1075 Commonwealth Ave., Newton Ma. 02459
I support the new City Charter. It facilitates the election of minorities given our population distribution. It aligns Newton with most cities. Most people have no idea which Councilor is the Ward Councilor – rather they ask the Councilor they know for help, perhaps in another Ward. Ward & Precinct lines are arbitrary; running down the middle of streets, they change every decade and thus not an immutable characteristic. Smaller, reorganized Council will be more effective.
Civil discourse is needed on controversial issues. We need to empathetically understand the issues and find places where sides agree. Building trust is needed. “Getting to Yes” defines a method where sides identify and agree on facts, identify mutual interests and understand the best alternatives with and without agreement. I'll work with the Planning Department to expand topical forums for zoning redesign; a good place to learn & agree on facts and propose alternatives. Please attend these
1.Is the site in a village center or within a 5-7 minute walk from the village center?
2. Is there public transit proximate to the site?
3. Does site meet the Natural Resources Defense Co. standards for Leed Neighborhood Project - and will it be environmentally sustainable?
4. Will the site promote good pedestrian vitality?
5. Are there businesses and amenities such that adding to the site will enhance the pedestrian environment and provide a critical mass of shoppers for the village businesses?
82 Norwood Ave., Newton, MA
I am in favor of the proposed new charter. A reduced city council will be more responsive and effective. There will be more contested elections, less diffusion of responsibility and redundancy of effort, and more effective deliberation.
Every month I send out a newsletter and host office hours. In both capacities, I explain issues empirically, put forward my own opinion with reasoning, and welcome debate from my constituents and colleagues. Oftentimes, people tell me they disagree with my conclusions but appreciate the rational approach.
I do not presume the merit of an answer based on its source: I have worked for both Governor Patrick and Governor Baker and welcome good ideas from any thoughtful, civic-minded person.
Walkability is my primary criterion for rezoning a site to Mixed Use 4. If a site is within a five-minute walk – known as the 'pedestrian shed' – of transit and retail, then it is a prime candidate. The goal is to create village centers that are safe, interesting, comfortable, and useful for pedestrians and cyclists, especially seniors and young families. I supported Washington Place, for example, because it will make Newtonville more walkable – and affordable.
168 Mount Vernon Street, Newton, MA 02465
I will be voting “No”. Sadly, I like everything that the Commission did in putting together the new charter- the research was excellent and the document contains a number of beneficial provisions. However, losing local representation far outweighs any potential benefits. I wish they had proposed something more balanced like 8 local (ward) and 8 at-large councilors, as so many people had suggested. We need to maintain a representative balance, and the proposal certainly does not accomplish this.
My opponents and I all want what is best for Newton. However, our individual life experiences provide us with different views on what that is and how best to get there. No matter who is elected, the City will continue- the key point is that we need to stop “catastrophizing”. To promote civil discourse we should strive to do three simple things: 1) Stick to the facts and subject 2) Listen and summarize our understanding 3) Meet in person at every available opportunity. The best idea will prevail.
Rezoning should take into consideration the objective and subjective. That said, we should rely on data from traffic, school enrollment and financial impact studies. These studies need to be truly independent- in my professional career, I cannot recall a developer sponsored study that does not claim “no or minimal impact.” With regard to public transit, we need a firm commitment from the MBTA on improved service. We cannot create a traffic and parking problem and expect the MBTA to bail us out.