26 Circuit Avenue, Newton, MA 02461
Yes. The elected Charter Commission conducted an supremely well-organized, open and rigorous process, studied input from widely diverse sources, propose a leaner Council that will serve the people more effectively, responsively and accountably. The people's voice and access to public deliberation remains central. Important administrative procedures were codified. Twelve Councilors can focus deliberations on the important and tough issues by meeting as a whole, reducing repetitive sessions.
I strive to model constructive, collaborative deliberations and not tolerate rude, unkind or threatening remarks. Normally the ground rules for a public meeting are made clear in advance - and repeated. We are one community and must collaborate to understand and solve the citywide problems we face. Folks who want a voice should be given time. I begin by working to understand and find common ground on an issue, acknowledge basic facts and agree on goals and objectives - and disagree with respect.
"Mixed Use 4", a zone seeking certain complementary uses, allows a MAXIMUM of 5 stories/60', intends to enhance and sustain village life, and requires a special permit process. Good sites exist in larger village centers along commercial corridors, with access to public transit - if walkable: from home to transit or village five minutes or so - about 1/4 mile/1,320 feet. Multi modal transit options must be integral to a design and buildings proportioned to scale carefully within existing context.
854 Chestnut Street, Newton, MA 02468
A large council means meetings regularly run past 11 pm. That makes participation in local government difficult if you work.
I find the Charter Commission’s argument compelling: ward councilors are elected by as few as a couple hundred votes, which gives voters in some wards disproportionate voice.
Newton is not a city, like Lowell, with segregation in certain wards of the very rich or very poor.
BUT—I can work with the current structure, or with whatever the voters decide.
For the last four years, I have been a Waban Area Councilor. This elected body of nine neighbors spans both parties and disagrees on some issues. Yet we work together constructively. This takes time and hard work. It is a function of building relationships around and beyond the issues.
Assuming the best intentions
These are also essential in reaching out to residents. I've been knocking on doors to listen to voters. I look forward to continuing this work.
MU4 Zoning seeks to recreate an historic village center mix in appropriate settings. Where there is bus and/or train service, or where the mix of uses nearby is already fairly mixed (such as Needham Street), allowing for lots of different destinations close to each other, I would expect most built sites, and most parking lots would would be appropriate. I would not favor building on parkland, open space, or where the city now has public buildings that might be re-used for public benefit.
1094 Chestnut Street, Newton, MA 02464
I oppose the proposed new City Charter because it will reduce the quality of city services to the residents and lessen the accountablity of the city government to the residents.
I oppose the proposed Home Rule Amendment because it will also reduce the quality of services to residents.
Stick to the issues in public debate. Do not ascribe bad faith or ulterior motives to those that you disagree with.
The Mixed Use 4 District was adopted to deal with the Austin Street parking lot which has neither stores nor homes. I would not use it any where it would cause displacement of residents from their homes or displacement of stores/jobs. In the Death and Live of American Cites, Jane Jacobs said that cities need old buildings to save affordable housing and jobs. She was right.