May 3, 2016: Taking Action Against Climate Change: A Carbon Fee for Massachusetts
Co-sponsored by the LWV-Westwood-Walpole-Dedham, LWV-Needham, LWV-Hingham, LWV-Norwood, LWV-Sharon-Stoughton, LWV-Winchester and LWVNewton.
Massachusetts, already a national leader in energy efficiency, is poised to take a big step in accelerating the transition to clean energy as proposed legislation for carbon pricing gains support. Our speakers will discuss the need for a carbon pricing program, how it works, who it will impact, and what it will mean for Massachusetts.
- Marc Breslow, Acting Director of Climate Xchange
- Cathy Buckley, Chair of Massachusetts Sierra Club
April 13, 2016: Visioning a Better Washington Street & State Legislation on Transportation
We held an open discussion and visioning session on how Washington Street could better serve residents and businesses. We looked at alternatives and discussed their pros and cons. LWVMA Transportation Specialist Lois Levin summarized state bicycle bills that affect transportation and safety.
- Presentation made during this meeting: Transforming Washington St: A community discussion document
- MPO study report: Washington Street Subregional Priority Roadway Study in Newton
March 31, 2016: Charter Commission Roundtable Discussion
Attending: Josh Krintzman, Rhanna Kidwell, Anne Larner, Chris Steele, Howard Haywood, Brooke Lipsitt, Karen Manning, Bryan Barash, Jane Frantz
Panel criteria: diversed and experienced, representing 5 different wards, split between ward aldermen and aldermen-at-large, represented different committees, and various opinions on city charter.
Read Notes from the Roundtable Discussion.
March 9, 2016: Later Start Times for Newton High Schools
Studies show that an average adolescent needs between 8 ½ and 9 ½ hours of sleep per night to do their best in school and activities. According to recent surveys of our own students in Newton, 80% of Newton South High School respondents said they get less than 7 hours of sleep a night. Also, 80% of respondents said that lack of sleep affects their academic performance.
Over 70 school districts (1,000 schools) in the country have moved to a later high school start time. In the past 5 years, there has been increased conversation and consideration of start times across the country. In addition, the American Pediatric Association issued a recommendation in 2014 that middle and high schools should not start before 8:30 am.
The Newton School Council is currently examining what a later high school start would look like in Newton and how it could be implemented. Chris Steele and Risa Shames of the Newton South School Council presented information they have gathered on the topic, and Ruth Goldman of the School Committee discussed the ongoing work of the Late School Start Time Working Group.
We talked about ideas to address the discrepancy between the amount of sleep Newton teens get and how much they need to be successful.
February 3, 2016: Elections
David Olson, Newton’s City Clerk, and members of the Election Commission, met with us to discuss preparations for the upcoming elections, changes in early voting opportunities, and decisions about polling locations.
January 28, 2016: Consensus Meeting – Money in Politics
LWVN hosted a topic/consensus meeting on Money in Politics, part of the LWVUS study.
January 22, 2016: Our First LWVN Book Group
We discussed American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, by Colin Woodard (2011).
December 10, 2015: Hunger in Newton
Newton is an economically diverse municipality and struggles with ‘big city’ issues like poverty and hunger. We had an engaging conversation with Amy Radin, Executive Director of the Centre Street Food Pantry in Newton Centre, and Rachel Nenner-Payton, MSW, LICSW, Community Social Worker for the City of Newton, as we explored the topic of Hunger in Newton.
November 12, 2015: Newton’s Sustainability Director, Andy Savitz
Improving Newton’s sustainability includes things like Newton’s current Home Energy Efficiency campaign, which aims to assess another 1,000 homes for energy efficiency in the coming year, but it also includes “social and economic prosperity.”
We had the opportunity to meet Andy Savitz, Director of Sustainability for Newton, and discuss what a Sustainable Newton looks like and how you, and LWVN, can contribute to it.
October 15, 2015: Consensus Meeting- The Process for Amending the US Constitution
Did you know that there are two different ways the US constitution can be amended — by congressional proposal or by convening a convention — and that a convention has never been used successfully? LWV US is conducting a study about the process of amending the U.S. constitution, and has asked local leagues across the country to learn about the topic and answer a series of questions. National’s study guide summarizes the study this way:
The question for us today is: what are the shared values and beliefs within the League – what consensus do we have – regarding the circumstances that might allow or compel the League to endorse a constitutional amendment or an Article V Convention?
- Constitutional Amendment Study Guide (pdf)
- Constitutional Amendment Consensus Questions (pdf)
- Additional information from LWV US
September 1, 2015: All About City Charter Commissions
This November, Newton will vote on the question “Shall a commission be elected to revise the charter of Newton?” We heard from a charter expert, a member and an observer of the Everett Charter Commission about the process, the kinds of changes that can result, and the responsibilities of serving on the commission.
- Marilyn Contreas, charter expert recently retired from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- John Hanlon – member of the City of Everett charter commission that concluded in 2011; current Everett city councilor, past alderman and mayor
- David Flood – member of Everett’s Charter Review Committee; active observer during Everett’s charter commission
“All About City Charter Commissions,” a joint production of NewTV and LWVN, is now available online at All About City Charter Commissions.