Charter Commission Signature Drive Update

Our signature collection team has been making great use of the beautiful weather we’ve had this summer! As of the June annual meeting, we needed 60 completed petition sheets (2,700 signatures). Over the summer, 6 of us have collected 24 sheets (1,080 signatures) at the library and the farmers’ markets, which brings our remaining tally needs to 36 sheets (1,620 signatures). [Read more...]

LWVN urges Aldermen not to rezone Austin Street site

Below is a letter that LWVN sent to the Board of Aldermen today urging them to reject the petition to rezone the Austin Street parking lot. [Read more...]

Membership Meeting on Transportation

Thursday, April 3

7:30 – 9:00 pm

Waban Library Center, 1608 Beacon Street, Waban

Join League members as we discuss potential local positions on transportation.  We’ll decide on whether or not we’d like to put two proposed statements forward for a vote at the Annual Meeting in May.  This League process needs 25 League members to participate, discuss, and review the material, so join us on April 3rd!

Click here for the LWVN-Transportation-Discussion-Book–Updated

LWVN urges Mayor to reopen public comment period for Engine 6 proposal

The letter below was sent to Mayor Warren on July 19, 2013.  Click here for links to the discussion on the Newton TAB and Village 14 blogs:  Newton TAB BlogVillage 14 Blog

Dear Mayor Warren:

The League of Women Voters of Newton (LWVN) strongly urges you to reconsider your decision by reinstating the Engine 6 proposal and permitting the process to proceed with an extended period for public comment.

The LWVN supports adequate housing to promote self-sufficiency for a diverse population of low-income residents.  We recommend that low-income residences be spread throughout the city rather than concentrated in a few neighborhoods, and that there be a preference for Newton residents.  The Engine 6 proposal meets these requirements and should once again be brought up for public discussion.

Public understanding and participation in decision-making is a core belief of the League.  LWVN is concerned that closing down discussion before the public comment period was over did not encourage more understanding and participation from the community.  We recommend treating the 30-day public comment period as a minimum, extending this period to encourage all residents to review the facts, and letting MetroWest/Pine Street Inn make revisions to address Newton’s concerns.

In particular, our review has led us to the following conclusions:

1. The community impacted by projects such as Engine 6 is the entire city of Newton, not just the immediate neighborhood.  Distributing low-income and special needs housing throughout the city adds diversity to villages, as well as opportunities for all Newton residents to work together to address socioeconomic issues and stereotyping.

2. The standard notification process for affordable housing projects requesting CDBG funding is one of the sources of the present controversy.  The existing communication process of contacting the local paper and posting meeting information in City Hall may no longer be enough.  We suggest that the Planning and Development Board, which has significant jurisdiction in the area of CDBG funding, reconsider current notification policy and entertain changes that would inform abutters and community members more effectively. However, attention to a notification process should not preclude action on pending/available proposals that can benefit the entire city.

3.  While it is not required, an early community meeting is usually held before any low-income housing project is approved by the Planning and Development Board.  A community meeting in May where residents could have expressed concerns and asked questions would have led to changes and improvements in the proposal before the official 30-day public comment period.  Without this meeting, many Waban residents felt blindsided by elements of the project.  While opposition to the proposal was vocalized loudly and quickly, those in support of the Engine 6 proposal needed more time to adequately prepare their statements.

4. The MetroWest/Pine Street Inn group was not fully prepared for the comments from the community.  Stereotyping and fear regarding the potential Engine 6 residents took hold before the petitioners were able to present accurate information.  MetroWest/Pine Street Inn made changes in response to the expressed concerns, but they were not able to present them when the process was cut short.

A proposal that encounters such intense opposition, much of it based on emotion and incorrect assumptions, needs strong leadership. We firmly support an open and honest conversation about low-income housing, and consider this process the community equivalent of a “teachable moment,” where neighborhood fears are expressed, questions responded to, and information from similar residences in other communities used to show how a proposal such as Engine 6 may enhance our community. We will be sharing our position with the community via the Newton TAB.

An extended comment period is a better solution than cutting the process short.  We ask you to reinstate the Engine 6 proposal.

 Signed,

 Susan Flicop

President, League of Women Voters of Newton

 cc: Emily Costello, Editor of the Newton TAB

LWVN March Topic Meeting – Local Program Planning

Date: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Time: 11:30am-1:00pm
Location: NewTV Conference Room, 23 Needham Street, Newton Highlands

Join us to discuss our program proposals for next year.  We will talk about the local Education Consensus Study, committee reports and proposals, and action priorities for next year.  This is your chance to have input into what the League will be doing next year.

If you would like more information, please visit our League Program Planning page.

Charter Commission Initiative

The League of Women Voters of Newton has been working since this fall to get enough signatures to put the question of a Newton Charter Commission on the November 2013 ballot. More information about this initiative, the League’s 2009-2010 Charter Study, and how you can help can be found here.

LWVN February Topic Meeting – Education Study Update

Join us!

A new LWV Newton Education Committee has been established. The first task was to review previously developed local education positions. For the topic meeting we will be reviewing our recommendations that include re-studying some positions and changing wording for others. Come and be a part of this important effort to update LWVN education positions.

When: Wednesday, February 13, 2013; 7:30-9:00pm

Where: NewTV Conference room, 23 Needham Street, Newton Highlands

For more info: education@lwvnewton.org

LWVN Members Vote to Support Newton Override

The League of Women Voters of Newton members who were present at the January 10, 2013 membership meeting voted overwhelmingly to support all three City of Newton override proposals.

LWVN Member Meeting – League Vote on Newton’s Override Proposal

Join the League on Thursday, January 10, as we vote whether to support Newton’s override proposal.

Please bring your questions, concerns, and opinions.

The meeting will be held from 7:00-8:30pm (note new end time), at the Waban Library, 1608 Beacon Street, Waban.

This will be an all-member meeting, per our bylaws, to vote on whether to amend our program for this year and take a position in support of the override proposal. With a vote to approve, the League would then be able to advocate on behalf of the override.

Also, according to our bylaws, we need a quorum of 25 members in order to take this vote. Please be sure to attend!

Information about the override can be found on the City’s website, a LWVN FAQ about Newton’s budget process can be found below, and more information is included in the LWVN Override Outline.

RSVP or more information at info@lwvnewton.org.

November Topic Meeting – Newton’s Override Proposal

Join the League this Thursday, November 15, as we discuss the Mayor’s override proposal. Please bring your questions, concerns, and opinions. We will have information and handouts for you to bring home.

We will be holding two meetings on Thursday, at two different times and locations:

·      Thursday, November 15, 11:30am-1:00pm, NewTV Conference Room, 23 Needham Street, Newton Highlands

·      Thursday, November 15, 7:30-9:00pm, Waban Library, 1608 Beacon Street, Waban

Please note that each meeting will cover the same information; you are welcome to attend either or both meetings.

For more information, please email Sue and Anne at info@lwvnewton.org.

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