Candidate for Councilor at Large, Ward 2
Campaign Website: http://susanalbright.orgBiographical statement
I grew up in Newton and raised my family here. Professionally, the two prongs of my career are 1/experise in community services for developmentally disabled people and 2/ development of internationally used educational infrastructure for medical education. I love knitting and gardening.
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 decision to run this time was motivated by the need help our village businesses thrive. 75 years ago our forepeople made decisions that seemed right for the times but are outdated now. We need to provide more opportunities for housing in our villages the way life was before urban sprawl so shoppers can walk to visit village businesses. I’ve watched Newtonville blossom since the new housing appeared there. On a summer evening that village is full of people enjoying themselves. We need these same kinds of enhancements for all our villages.
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 high housing cost will only stabilize with more housing. World-wide economists write that lack of housing supply raises the cost. This knowledge hasn't filtered to the general public. Building ONLY affordable housing won't bring down prices. New Zealand did it. To do: 1/Make it easier “by-right” to build housing in Newton with place-making excellence rules 2/Reexamine inclusionary ordinance to require more affordability?3/Put some free cash into the Affordable Housing Trust – to subsidize more affordable housing. Google: America, take note: New Zealand has figured out a simple way to bring down home prices in Business Insider.
Question 3: Small businesses are the heart of our economy and they are struggling. How can you help the city support these businesses?
See my answer to #1. In addition to having more people live in walking distance of shops we need a mechanism to support a small business if it is displaced by development.
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?
Newton is in process of developing an ordinance similar to BERDO – Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure as have Boston and Cambridge. Newton should move forward on this implementation quickly. This will require building owners to first disclose their emissions and then ultimately correct them. The City Council is also trying to qualify to be one of the 10 cities allowed to require that new construction for homes be only electric – no more fossil fuels. Official approved participation in the MBTA Communities is one of the requirements to make Newton eligible to be one of the 10 communities.