Candidate for Ward Councilor, Ward 6
Campaign Website: http://www.lisagordon.org
Lisa Gordon was a member of the Newton Centre Task Force, Co-Founded the Friends of Newton Centre amongst other Newton Committees. She grew up in Ward 6 where she now lives with her two children and her husband, Ken. Professionally, Lisa is the Executive Director of the Responsible Retailing Forum.
Questions and Answers
Question 1: Discuss an experience where you made a decision that you now regret.
Three years ago, Bob, a very close friend of my family passed away. Bob was a Hungarian-American surgeon and Holocaust Survivor. For years, I helped Bob with his computer, but in the months leading up to his death when Bob reached out to me for computer help, I was busy planning my son’s bar mitzvah. I told him I'd help when I had time. Bob was going to be honored at my son’s celebration, but when the day came, he was ill in the hospital. He ended up passing on the day my son turned 13. I regret not finding the time to help. Making time for those we love should never be put off, no matter how busy we think we are.
Question 2: Do you support the proposal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in Newton by 2050? Why or why not?
This is my top priority issue. We must think globally and act locally, reducing our carbon footprint to zero. It won’t be easy. We must invest in more efficient heating and cooling systems for City buildings and schools in the face of budget pressure. We must resist the temptation to approve large-scale development that adds to traffic and pollution in the face of political pressure and a false narrative that dense residential development will reduce Newton’s carbon footprint. Rather, we should require special permit development to be solar-ready and to meet the passive house standard. We must also expand and improve public transportation.
Question 3: What is your opinion of the current development proposals such as the Northland and Riverside projects?
They are too big. I support development that includes a mix of housing and commercial uses. Northland and Riverside out of scale and too slanted toward residential. We should learn from Needham’s example and develop more office space, which is good for our tax base and good for our planet, as it will reduce commutes to work. We cannot afford to allow more massive projects that add embedded carbon, burn fossil fuels, and exacerbate existing traffic problems generating air pollution. Responsible development means considering impacts on our environment, roads, schools, and infrastructure, not just allowing developers to maximize profits.
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?
My priorities are (1) protecting the environment by reducing our carbon footprint and preserving open space, (2) establishing sound fiscal policies, and (3) making our government more accountable and responsive. With sound fiscal policies, we can fund world-class public education, a fantastic new senior center (not on parkland), and the acquisition of Webster Woods and other open space parcels (which we can pay for with CPA funds). I strongly support investing in affordable housing by partnering with non-profit organizations to build housing that is at least 50% affordable. The Armory would be perfect for 100% affordable housing.