Candidate for Councilor at Large, Ward 3
Campaign Website: http://www.coteward3.com
Councilor-at-Large since 2014. Marines out of HS, Past Board member of Habitat for Humanity, Board member of both the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, and Homeless Shelter, Casa Nueva Vida. Works as a Advisor with CWM, and holds an MBA. Jim, and his wife Albie, have 10 children and 6 GC.
Questions and Answers
Question 1: Discuss an experience where you made a decision that you now regret.
A regret that I have is that I did not run for City Council earlier. I say this because the position has proven to be a perfect fit for my personality and natural abilities. Now in my 3rd term, I realize that it takes time to build rapport with the many people in the community that impact the daily lives of all of us. Given these exciting, yet challenging times of people looking to invest in Newton, the experiences that I’ve gained will greatly benefit the residents, and will go a long way in ensuring that Council actions are well thought out and fair.
My colleagues and I work well together and are effective.
Question 2: Do you support the proposal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in Newton by 2050? Why or why not?
The goal to eliminate Green House gas is a vision developed by people based upon today’s technology and demands on the environment. I support goals that are forward thinking and will accept this goal within parameters of life. A concern of mine is that we cannot “price” people out of Newton. My hope and thoughts are that new technology, yet to be developed, and driven first by the enormous changes forecast with the arrival of 5G, new materials for buildings, and then overall improvements in transportation systems that we can work towards the goal in an economically painless way.
Question 3: What is your opinion of the current development proposals such as the Northland and Riverside projects?
Newton is fortunate, due to location and other factors, the city is able to attract developers and investors eager to spend their capital. Having said that it’s incumbent upon City leaders and residents to accept these investments in a way that doesn’t change or take away from the quality of life that many currently enjoy. Riverside, a parking lot, and Northland, home to old infrastructure, are two obvious locations that can accept development and add value to the city. As a City Councilor with ongoing discussions on both of these topics, I’m not at liberty to discuss items involved in the Land Use process.
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?
There are many interesting concepts and plans floating around the city in many neighborhoods. The City Council experienced a huge turnover of experience and committee chairs in the 2017 election, and also voted in a new Mayor. Collectively, we are now hitting our stride in taking on all of the many ideas and issues in front of us. We have NewCAL, development, school budget issues, Webster Woods, the Armory, and a host of other concerns. Prioritizing these items wouldn’t do the residents of the city justice as there many different concerns involved in each project, and the timetables and funding options will be different in each case.