Candidate for Ward Councilor, Ward 5
Campaign Website: http://www.kathywinters.org
I am from Burnt Hills, NY, attended BC and Georgetown Law, and have lived in Newton for 19 years with my husband and four children. I am an attorney and have built a strong record of community service during my time here. I am currently President of the Waban Area Council.
Questions and Answers
Question 1: Discuss an experience where you made a decision that you now regret.
As I think of decisions I regret, I think of challenges I did not take on because of an otherwise very full plate as a parent of four kids. I have come to decide that there is never a perfect time to take on something like running for public office, and that we need people with very busy lives to offer their talents and serve our community.
Question 2: Do you support the proposal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in Newton by 2050? Why or why not?
Yes, I am supportive of addressing the crisis in front of us by seeking to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 2050. Obviously some of the steps that need to occur are outside of the city’s control, but I am supportive of the city’s (not yet final) Climate Action Plan, which sets out feasible strategies to set the city on the path towards a future without GHGE, such as the establishment of an energy concierge office to help residents electrify their heating systems and increase the energy efficiency of their homes.
Question 3: What is your opinion of the current development proposals such as the Northland and Riverside projects?
There are some great aspects to Northland, especially open spaces, the rigorous sustainability standards, and the age-friendly design of one building. Traffic in surrounding neighborhoods is the big concern, and the TDM requirements have to have teeth to ensure that Upper Falls (already among the densest sections of the city) is not choked with traffic. I wish we had negotiated an option for school space at the site. Riverside presents an opportunity to grow our commercial tax base and to build needed housing next to the T. But we have to strike a balance in the mix of commercial and residential and take traffic impact into account.
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?
Maintaining excellent schools is at the top of my list, and we need to provide competitive teacher compensation. I would also prioritize improving our streets and sidewalks, and making pedestrian pathways and bike routes safer throughout Newton, but especially near schools, village centers, and transit. I support a new senior center in a suitable location and I support the acquisition of Webster Woods through CPA resources. Finally, we must stay on track with funding our unfunded pension and OPEB liabilities. It will be difficult to fund all of these priorities – we have to be strategic about maintaining and growing our tax base.