2023 Candidate for Councilor at Large, Ward 8Biographical statement
Vice President of Council and Chair of Land Use Committee. Past Chair of Public Safety & Transportation, Real property Re-Use and Vice Chair of Finance Committee. Husband of Janice, father of Jennifer and Sydney. Committed to health of our schools, infrastructure all that makes Newton great.
Questions and Answers
Question 1: Was your motivation to run for office prompted by an issue which impacts the community that is not being adequately addressed?
My motivation for running for office is grounded in my desire to be a cog in the process of guiding the City. The complicated work that takes years and the constituent services that occur on a daily basis are both challenging and important. I enjoy finding common ground and consensus, which I consider my north star. I want to continue to serve Newton and I am presently motivated by ongoing work in modernizing the special permit process and helping shepherd the very contentious re-writing of our zoning code. There is much work on going to our schools and common spaces, and roads and sidewalks are always in need of more attention.
Question 2: Housing affordability and its role in increasing racial diversity in Newton has been a stated goal. What measures would you take and support in order to meet this goal?
The underlying land in Newton is so expensive that it is almost impossible to create developments that are100% affordable. Thus we create affordable units by our inclusionary zoning ordinance which dictates that between 15% and 20% of units above 6 units will be affordable under programs based on area median income. Its a slow process to create these units but it is a path. Newton is also missing the middle market units, smaller and more naturally affordable units for those over the affordability requirement but under the higher end that is not attainable for most. These units are desperately needed for our children, retirees and for all.
Question 3: Small businesses are the heart of our economy and they are struggling. How can you help the city support these businesses?
Our small businesses are affected by the free market and the ever changing economy and technology. On line shopping and changes in the way we live have had the greatest effect on our smaller businesses. We can support these businesses by bringing vitality to our villages in several ways. We can make it easier for shops to do business with the city by lifting barriers to the permitting process so new businesses can come here without delays to entry. We can revitalize our villages to make them more attractive which will bring more patrons to our businesses. And we can encourage property owners to value diversity of tenancy.
Question 4: Buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Newton. Residential and commercial buildings need to be weatherized and electrified. Relying on voluntary action produces extremely slow progress. What incentives or mandates would you put in place to motivate home owners to weatherize their houses?
As a country and state we have made great progress in encouraging and promoting weatherizing and green retrofitting of existing and new construction. In Newton we have emphasized sustainable building practices. We have created standards in requirements for new building that include heating sources and insulation. However we must encourage all in curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Through our Director of Climate & Sustainability within the Mayor’s office we promote all the ways to become more energy efficient. It’s a never ending process in education and encouragement. Recent changes to building state building codes mirror our goals.