Environmental Issues Committee meeting on Thursday

The Environmental Issues Committee will meet on Thursday, November 16th at 11 am at Panera Bread in Newton Center.  If you’re interested in issues ranging from updating our water and sewer systems to gas leaks to green energy in Newton, come join us!

WSCC Movie Screening–The Divine Order on December 1

Join the Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition for the Opening Night Screening of “The Divine Order” at Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge, Friday, December 1 at 7 pm!

About the movie:  Political and religious leaders in Switzerland cited the Divine Order as the reason why women still did not have to right to vote as late as 1970. Director Petra Volpe explores this surprising history through the story of Nora, a seemingly unremarkable housewife from a quaint village who must learn to become an unflinching suffragette leader. After organizing the village’s first meeting to support women getting the right to vote, her family is mocked, bullied, and shunned. Despite the obstacles and backlash, Nora perseveres and convinces the village women to go on strike, abandoning their homes and families. A strong ensemble cast brings the story to its inspirational conclusion when Swiss women finally secure the right to vote in 1971. The Divine Order is a heartfelt and captivating film about regular people demanding their right to an equal voice. (Dan Hunt, Tribeca Film Festival Guide, 2017) [Read more…]

More discussion of Home Rule petition by City Council on Wednesday, November 15th

The Programs and Services Committee of the Newton City Council will hold a meeting on Wednesday, November 15th at 7:45 pm in the Council Chamber at Newton City Hall.  The committee will be discussing what recommendation to put forward (if at all) to the whole City Council on December 4th.  The docketed item is for a reduction in the size of the City Council from 24 to 16, and a new structure of 8 at-large councilors and 8 ward councilors.  Our current structure has 16 at-large councilors and 8 ward councilors.

This meeting will not include a public hearing.  If you wish to comment on this proposal, you can email the members of the committee through the committee clerk at kdean@newtonma.gov or you can email the entire city council at citycouncil@newtonma.gov.

Charter Proposal Fails to Pass–Home Rule Petition to be Discussed Tonight

The majority of voters rejected the Charter Commission proposal in yesterday’s election, with 10,912 voting in favor and 12,519 voting against.

We sincerely thank all the members of the Charter Commission for their years of dedication to the study, research, and discussion of the city charter, and hope that they will continue to engage the community in discussion of how to make our local government work better.  We also thank the leaders of the Yes for a New Charter campaign for their hard work, positive attitude and focus on this one issue.  And of course, we thank all the volunteers who knocked on doors, wrote cards, made phone calls, held signs, and did many other tasks important to the campaign.  Despite the loss, we believe this led to important discussions about how our government works and what we value in our representation.

We urge our members to attend a public hearing tonight (Wednesday) in the Council Chambers at Newton City Hall, starting at 7 pm.  The Programs and Services Committee of the City Council will begin public discussion of their home rule petition to reduce the size of the City Council to 8 at-large councilors (with residency requirements) and 8 ward councilors.  According to the agenda, this is a public hearing. 

LWVN strongly urges voters to say “yes” to the charter proposal

LWVN strongly endorses a YES vote on Tuesday in favor of the proposed new city charter.  

After many years of advocating for a smaller city council and a review of the city charter, as well as observing the Charter Commission in action, LWVN reviewed the proposal this past spring and overwhelmingly voted to support a YES vote.

While reducing the size of the City Council, the proposal also enables all Newton voters to vote for 100% of the City Council, increasing accountability of our elected officials.  Geographic representation is still an essential part of the proposed structure, with one Councilor elected at-large from each ward, and four elected at-large without residency requirements.

Other improvements include important procedural updates that bring our city charter in compliance with Massachusetts laws and a requirement for public comment at meetings of all Boards and Commissions.  Term limits are added for both City Council (16 years or 8 terms) and Mayor (12 years or 3 terms).

Remember, we are voting on this proposal only.  The docketed home-rule petition is NOT on the ballot and is not a guaranteed option.  We need to vote on the Charter Commission proposal on its own merits, and LWVN believes this will be a positive step forward for our city.

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