Candidate for Ward Councilor, Ward 2
Campaign Website: http://www.bryanbarash.com/
Bryan Barash lives in Newtonville with his wife Claudia and their 2 dogs. A BC Law graduate and 2 term Newton Human Rights Commissioner, he's been active in the local community for years. Bryan is General Counsel to State Senator Harriette Chandler and has extensive policy and government experience.
Questions and Answers
Question 1: Discuss an experience where you made a decision that you now regret.
I try not to dwell on mistakes. We all make mistakes, and we all have to live with them. Then we have to move forward and accept the world as it is, rather than as it might have been. So I wouldn’t say that I have regrets. I may have missed opportunities: Should I have gone into the federal government after working on Barack Obama’s campaign? Maybe. But I’m happy with where my life has taken me and excited to serve in local government. I am asking for your vote on November 5th because I am deeply committed to public service and have the experience to be an effective voice for all of Ward 2.
Question 2: Do you support the proposal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in Newton by 2050? Why or why not?
For a good chance of avoiding the worst effects of climate change, the science is absolutely clear that we need to AT LEAST be net 0 carbon by 2050. Climate change poses a severe threat to our way of life. I support taking all the steps laid out in Newton’s Climate Action Plan to meet this goal. My opponent has refused to support any mixed-use developments, walkable to transit and shops, even though the Climate Action Plan states that they are essential to meeting our emissions targets (plus addressing our affordable housing crisis). We can’t afford to pick and choose which solutions to the climate crisis are convenient to implement.
Question 3: What is your opinion of the current development proposals such as the Northland and Riverside projects?
By law Councilors cannot prejudge special permits. Speaking more generally, Newton badly needs more housing of all kinds and a larger tax base. There is broad agreement that Riverside (on the Green Line and connectable to commuter rail) is an ideal site, with some disagreement about size. Northland is farther from transit, and Needham and Oak Sts are already busy, so special care must be taken not to overwhelm the neighborhood. I support strong transportation demand management techniques and efforts to reduce the number of cars that will be generated by these sites.
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?
We need to do all of these things. First, we absolutely must pay our teachers and public workers fairly. It’s the right thing to do and will help us retain top talent. We need a new Senior Center, although the Albemarle site was not appropriate. We should preserve Webster Woods. And we need to make better use of some of our public buildings. Prop 2.5 essentially has left us with an austerity budget. I want to grow our tax base, especially our commercial tax base. It may eventually become necessary to consider an override, and I would strongly support taking steps to mitigate the effects of any tax increase on those least able to afford it.