Candidate for Ward Councilor, Ward 5
Campaign Website: https://www.billhumphrey.org/
Bill Humphrey is a fifth-generation resident of Ward 5 and a proud Newton Public Schools alumnus. He has worked in digital media, policy research, radio broadcasting, and progressive community organizing and campaigns for the past decade. He volunteers with the Newton South Speech & Debate Team.
Questions and Answers
Question 1: Discuss an experience where you made a decision that you now regret.
In my first campaign job out of college, I was put under significant pressure to support the re-election of a candidate I did not believe in over a friend I did. I ended up yielding to the pressure, but the person I originally supported ended up winning anyway. I learned to trust my gut instincts after that and stopped letting powerful people push me around against my beliefs.
Question 2: Do you support the proposal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in Newton by 2050? Why or why not?
Yes, but we need to go farther and faster than that. The IPCC says the whole world needs to cut emissions 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 to have even a chance at containing warming to disastrous, not catastrophic, levels. A 30 year timetable encourages us to keep putting off action. Decisions made today will affect emissions in 2050.
Question 3: What is your opinion of the current development proposals such as the Northland and Riverside projects?
It is better to negotiate for the best deals we can get for our community when growth is happening, and growth will continue to happen due to our proximity to Boston. My objectives are for additional affordable housing, transit access, and sustainability. The current proposals are not in 100% alignment with my preferences, and I hope to see further refinements, but they are more in the right direction than walking away from the negotiating table in favor of 40Bs or by-right development inappropriate to the locations. We have had an extensive public input process on both and have seen major changes in the proposals responding to that feedback.
Question 4: There are a number of expenses that the City needs to grapple with: union contracts still being negotiated, tight school budgets, NewCAL (a new Senior Center), the acquisition of Webster Woods, possible rehabilitation of the Armory, etc. What are your priorities and why?
This question inadvertently has a false choice framing. If Newton tries to skimp on city service quality, fair contracts, senior services, green space protection, and public asset acquisition, we will quickly find ourselves in a much worse position as a city and face even worse budget outlooks. Our failure to stay on schedule with infrastructure maintenance amid the last recession has left us with bad roads that are not good for residents or businesses. Similarly, our teacher pay fell so far behind peer towns that we’re now losing talent and coasting on an old reputation that once brought new taxpayers in droves. We can’t sustain austerity.