LWVN sent this letter to the editor of the Newton TAB:
On April 30, 2017, members of the League of Women Voters of Newton (LWVN) overwhelmingly voted to support a “yes” vote in November on the proposed changes to the city charter. Of the 59 members who attended, 52 voted in favor and 7 voted against the measure.
Why does LWVN support the proposed city charter? The main reasons are to not only have a smaller City Council, but also to give all voters the right to vote for 100% of their local representatives.
For decades, LWVN has supported a smaller City Council (formerly Board of Aldermen) in an effort to make this legislative body more effective and responsive to Newton voters. The main issue is whether or not the proposed configuration (8 at-large councilors with a residency requirement and 4 true at-large councilors) is an improvement. The vote shows that our members firmly believe it is!
Why is the new structure considered a benefit? Here are just a few of the comments we heard:
- We currently vote for only 70.8% of our City Council. This new charter would allow us to vote for 100% of the Council, making them fully accountable to the entire population.
- Just because a councilor lives in the same ward doesn’t mean that they represent the same views as their neighbors.
- Minority groups (defined by ethnicity, socio-economic level, political affinity, etc.) are spread throughout Newton, and this new voting structure would give them more power to elect a person who represents their views.
- What happens in one part of Newton affects everyone, and our governing structure needs to reflect that.
The League of Women Voters of Newton strongly urges all Newton voters to support this proposal in November.