Candidate for Councilor at Large, Ward 5
Campaign Website: http://www.debcrossley.org
Newton 34yrs, City Council 10yrs. BArchitecture, BS Environmental Design, MA licensed architect, 2 adult children. Volunteer: NPS, LWV, Energy Commission, City Plan, Housing Partnership… Support wise stewardship & strategic planning for sustainable, livable, inclusive, welcoming community.
Questions and Answers
Question 1: Discuss an experience where you made a decision that you now regret.
There's not much time to regret past decisions - but to act to correct them, if you realize you've made a mistake. There is one I cannot correct. I wish I had allowed my father to teach me to play bridge. He was a bridge master and teacher, beloved by his students, many of whom attended his memorial last year. He was a huge influence in my life in many ways, got me interested in science and nature, politics and gardening - and a 'good' healthy argument - to name a few. But as a young person, I also found him intimidating when it came to cards! It would have given him joy to play bridge with his children - so I regret not taking that on.
Question 2: Do you support the proposal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in Newton by 2050? Why or why not?
Yes! - because we can and must leave a cleaner and healthier environment - built and natural - to our children and theirs. I have worked with the Citizens' Commission on Energy, and the city "Sustainability Team" closely as they prepared many drafts of the Climate Action Plan - an impressive roadmap to help Newton reach this goal. By tracking & communicating incentive programs, using regulatory tools (zoning), tracking new technologies, and facilitating consumer investments (EV charging stations) we must first reduce energy use via conservation & efficiency, then substitute clean energy sourced high efficiency electricity for fossil fuels.
Question 3: What is your opinion of the current development proposals such as the Northland and Riverside projects?
Newton's Comprehensive Plan envisions sustainable mixed-use development near transit nodes, & along Newton's 3 commercial corridors: Washington & Needham St., Rt. 9. Riverside is well located at a transit hub; Northland has public transit accessible via free, frequent shared-ride service, reducing SOV trips by limiting to one car living. Both projects would add to housing diversity and units affordable to 50-80% AMI, dramatically improve area stormwater management, be of high quality, durable and & energy-efficient construction, clean up a brownfield site, restore and expand green space and provide walkable interesting streetscapes.
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?
Staff deserve fair wages and we must maintain a depth of program in our schools made available to all students. Simultaneously, our budget strains under major liabilities: disciplined paying down decades of underfunding pension, healthcare & other post-employment benefits - weighs heavily on other key expenses. Investing strategically to repair long-neglected buildings, roads, sidewalks, etc. must continue. Bonded CPA funds can be used to acquire Webster Woods. A new senior center is needed, but plans uncertain. If the armory can be repurposed economically as 100% affordable housing (analysis coming), the city will pay only $1. + staff time.