2023 Candidate for Councilor at Large, Ward 6
Campaign Website: https://vickidanberg.comBiographical statement
My husband & I made our home in Newton in 1977 and raised 3 children who benefitted from our great schools. I have an MBA in finance & management and have served as your Councilor since 2004. My priorities this term are walkable villages, housing, schools, & continuing infrastructure improvements.
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?
I was motivated to run for office by the change of Newton Centre from a village that had a movie theatre, hardware store, two grocery stores and many other useful local businesses into one with 14 banks and 26 hair and nail salons. We have lost local business to Amazon and super-malls and are overrun by commuter traffic that does not stop to shop. Business needs foot traffic and customers to survive and thrive In 1987 our zoning stopped allowing housing over retail. I saw that we need to get housing back into the Centre, chaired the Newton Centre Task force that made that proposal and advocated for affordability and universal design.
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?
Diversity creates a healthy community. We are losing economic and racial diversity due to high housing costs. I support housing in our villages with an affordability requirement (any project 7 units or over). I support welcoming programs like METCO that help diversity. More multi-family housing will also make homes attainable to more people. Housing near transportation and amenities allows families to reduce car expense. Newton is deeply affected by the housing crisis. The Governor has made a good start with the MRT zoning plan. We can and must add more multi-family housing if we hope to diversify. More diversity requires affordability.
Question 3: Small businesses are the heart of our economy and they are struggling. How can you help the city support these businesses?
Small business is still recovering from COVID. I will continue to advocate for pro-small business policies: Streamlined permitting processes currently costly and time consuming, adding more allowable business categories by right, no parking requirements for village commercial, maintaining outdoor dining without removal of indoor seating, training & tech assistance workshops and working with the Chamber on marketing and shop local campaigns. I also support organizations like the Newton Cultural Alliance that run “Shop Local” holiday events throughout the City and would support a City liaison to help business navigate permitting & licensing.
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?
59% of the GHG emissions in Newton come from energy consumed in residential & commercial buildings. We need to weatherize, electrify and improve efficiency. We exempted exterior insulation and other energy efficiency improvements from the required setbacks. Incentives to encourage weatherizing include requiring energy audits before homes can be sold, disclosure of energy ratings at point of sale, tax credits and rebates for weatherization improvements, retrofitting requirements for older homes undergoing renovation. Electrifying: Using the periodic necessity to replace heating units to shift to electric heating. Discourage fossil fuels.