June 2023 Newsletter
Hello Newton Neighbors and Friends,
Thanks for subscribing to my newsletter - this is the first edition with more to come. If you like it, great - tell a friend (and subscribe below). If not, feel free to ask to be removed from this list anytime - the last thing I’d want is to be an unhelpful obstacle on your journey towards inbox zero. The goal of these newsletters is to inform and open a two way line of communication - please don’t hesitate to reply with feedback, questions, or suggestions.
After three months on the campaign trail, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot, meeting neighbors and residents across Newton's Ward 2 and beyond. Some common themes I’m hearing:
People love this city - despite all the complaints and ideas for how things could be better, there’s a reason people move to and stay in Newton; there’s a lot to enjoy about this place - from the parks, to the schools, to the cast of characters that live across this village of nearly 100k.
The streets are in bad shape - regardless of where people stand on other issues, there is broad consensus that our ratio of potholes to roads is just too high. I agree with this critique and view well paved streets and sidewalks as a city’s fundamental responsibility to its citizens and one which can have a meaningful impact on the safety and quality of life for drivers, cyclists, runners, walkers, and stroller pushers (I’m biased on this one) alike. If elected, smoothing the streets is a priority I would aggressively advocate for.
Housing - this is of course one of the more sensitive and polarizing topics with a range of views and perspectives, with some residents advocating to dramatically increase Newton's housing supply, some neighbors seeking to maintain the status quo, and many in the middle seeking a balanced approach. This is also a timely issue given the city’s multi-year work around zoning redesign and the zoning requirements under the state’s recently passed law for MBTA Communities, of which Newton is one. The Zoning and Planning Committee will open a public hearing tomorrow (Monday, June 26th) at 7:00pm to discuss and get feedback on the latest Village Center Zoning Proposal. You can join the meeting at City Hall or on zoom here: https://newtonma-gov.zoom.us/j/84222707047. I encourage anyone that can make it to attend and be part of the conversation on how to best move forward on zoning.
Schools - for all the mixed reviews I’ve heard about the current state of the schools, it seems there is at least a broad baseline level of satisfaction with the quality of education at Newton Public School. Are there things that can be improved? Absolutely. Are there concerns about the budget over the coming years and whether there will be sufficient funds to properly invest in the schools? Definitely, and this is a big problem to continue to dive into. But it was reassuring from conversations I’ve had that students seem to still be experiencing a quality education at NPS. In the immediate term, there is particular excitement from both parents and the school committee around the new incoming Superintendent, Dr. Anna Nolin (formerly Natick’s superintendent of schools), who begins next week.
A few updates from the campaign trail:
I'm knocking on doors and passing out this survey to get neighbors' feedback on what's working and what can be improved in Newton - if you have two minutes, would love to hear your take.
Lawn signs are up - and even got a little publicity for maybe being up too early?! If you are up to having one in your yard I would greatly appreciate it - just fill out this form and I'll bring one over right away.
Donations continue to come in, approaching $10k. This is an open seat and I'm expecting a competitive race - while my goal isn't to raise the most I do need to raise enough to run an effective campaign, with more work to do to get there. So if you already gave, thank you! If not, now's your chance - any amount would be appreciated, and you can contribute directly here.
Special thank you to volunteer Ben Paton who reached out at the start of my campaign and has been a dedicated and helpful volunteer from day one. Ben is a recent college graduate, NNHS class of 2018, and proud lifelong resident of Ward 2. Earlier this month he stepped into a new role as an analyst at Pearl Meyer so I'll be missing his regular company on the campaign trail but grateful for the time he gave. Ben is one of those genuinely caring guys that shovels out everyone on his street when it snows. He introduced me to his neighbors, and brought warmth, energy, and curiosity to every door he knocked. Thank you, Ben, and good luck with the new job!
As always, don't hesitate to hit reply and share your thoughts on the above or anything at all - feedback is always welcome. And in case I overdid it with too many words in this first newsletter, dropping some photos from the campaign trail below - hope to see you out there!
Newton City Councilor Candidate - Ward 2
No better way to get my daughters' attention than purple swag at Waban Village Day:
Knocking on doors and collecting signatures with volunteer Ben Paton (front), business school friend Chris Harding (back left) and me (Celtics T-shirt...it was the playoffs so I had a good excuse for being the least well dressed):
Juneteenth Celebration at Hyde Playground with my eldest daughter Lily:
Newton Highlands Village Day with Lily, Zoe, and friends from The League of Women Voters of Newton where I recently served on the Board of Directors...I have no idea how my kids managed to find such cool construction hats (or those lollipops!) but it turns out campaigning is full of activities perfect for young kids: