by Frieda Dweck
With a few months behind us since last November’s election, the Yes for a New Charter campaign has had some time to reflect upon the campaign to approve a new city charter, and the effort to change the size and composition of our city council.
Our task was a challenging one – to convey a difficult message about a complex subject, and to convince voters to make a change. While we were all disappointed by our failure to get a new city charter approved in the election, we have much to be proud of.
Over the course of the campaign, we found there is still a large proportion of the Newton electorate that is uninformed about how our local government is structured, the choices that they are entitled to make when they step into the voting booth for municipal elections, and how their elected officials respond to them as constituents.
As a result of our efforts to change the charter, we believe that we provided a forum for Newton residents to engage in thoughtful conversations about how our local government works, and asked them to imagine how our local government could be better.
It is our hope that these conversations continue, that we keep tackling the difficult questions, and that we continue to challenge the status quo and continue to strive for a better government.
Finally, here is an accounting, by the numbers, of what the campaign and its many volunteers, accomplished:
- knocked on over 10,000 doors
- held over 30 coffees (or charter chats, as we liked to call them)
- had a presence at every fair, the farmers markets, and most other community events
- mailed three informational mailers to almost 20,000 households
- produced two palm cards that were distributed to thousands of people
- submitted over 40 letters to the Newton Tab, and many more letters to the city council
- installed over 500 lawn signs
- listed over 500 endorsers on its website