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UCAN: ‘Troubled’ by Questions 5 and 6

2014 October 30
by Greg Reibman

Esther Schlorholtz and Josephine McNeil, co-chairs of Uniting Citizens for Housing Affordability in Newton submitted the following column to the Newton TAB but for whatever reason, it was not published I offered to publish it here to continue to conversation started on other threads on this site.

TWO TROUBLING BALLOT QUESTIONS

The November 4 ballot includes two non-binding local questions on which we recommend a “no” vote.

Question 5 calls for requiring approval by a majority of voters for sale of any but the smallest parcels of municipally owned real estate. Public participation required in the sale of city-owned real estate in Newton already goes beyond that required under Massachusetts law, adding to the time and cost involved for all such sales. The process for sales in Newton has proven to be sound and should not be changed to an even slower and more expensive one just because some residents are concerned that this city’s administration and elected officials may shortly sell property such as the Austin Street parking lot which those residents think should not be sold despite years of public debate and consideration.

Question 6 suggests changes to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40B that would fundamentally alter it, indeed mute its intent. Adopted in 1969, that statute enables housing developments that include at least a specified share read more…

This is one Yellow Dog Democrat who cannot support Marilyn Devaney

2014 October 29
by Bob Burke

Something that’s stuck in my craw for the past two months has been the letter that I and literally thousands of other people in Newton received from Marilyn Devaney’s campaign just a few days before the September Democratic Primary.   The letter was purportedly signed by 6 of the 8 members of the Governor’s Council and it accused Devaney’s opponent Charlie Shapiro of making “slanderous,” “bizarre” and “untrue” attacks on Devaney.   Shapiro came back and in my opinion effectively countered most of what was in that letter.  But that’s almost beside the point.  Political campaigns can turn negative and nasty as we all well know.

But that’s when truly “bizarre” and disturbing things started to happen.  A lot of us thought there was something fishy about the letter itself.  It seemed too personal and focused an attack on a single opponent to have been signed by so many of the Councillors.  Jim Morrison at the Tab apparently felt the same way.  He started calling or emailing the 6 Councillors who the Devaney campaign claims signed this letter.  One stated that she had not signed the letter.  Others weren’t sure and still others read more…

POLL: Ballot Question Six (Uh, something to do with 40B)

2014 October 28
by Greg Reibman

Here’s the last of our ballot question polls: Voters in most Newton Wards will have the added opportunity on election day to weigh in on two non-binding ballot questions.

No matter how many times I read this question, I don’t understand this.  So I won’t be voting for it.  For those who are smarter than me here’s the text.

Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote for legislation that would allow local elected officials, in communities that have taken steps to promote affordable housing at a local level, to have binding input regarding density, required parking, and other project characteristics to the extent that those changes would help to protect existing neighborhoods and businesses from negative impacts on infrastructure and public services, when a local zoning board of appeals is deciding whether to approve an application for a comprehensive permit to build affordable housing in that locality under Chapter 40B of the General Laws?

Spooktacular Candy Deal

2014 October 28
by Andreae Downs
Save on dentist’s bills, and get some toys, books, or art supplies by trading the post-Halloween candy at Green Planet Kids in Newton Highlands.
Only children (accompanied by an adult) can get the trade-in deal (you must be between 2-12), and only if they are willing to part with a pound or more of fresh, in-the-wrapper candy. Each child with a qualifying amount of candy will get a $5 gift card.
Green Planet’s Annabelle Ship will send the sweets to overseas troops.
The deal ends Nov. 7.
Adults can get into the $5 gift card action by “like”ing the store on Facebook.

 

The rise and fall of industry in Lower Falls

2014 October 28
by Jerry Reilly

The Wellesley Historic Society willower_falls_bridge300l be leading a walking tour this Saturday called “The rise and fall of industry in Lower Falls.

Tour meets On Sat, Nov 1 at 9:30 AM at the rear of Starbucks, 2322 Washington Street, Newton Lower Falls. This is a 90-minute, one-mile guided historic walk, recommended for adults and interested teens. For more information or to reserve your spot, please call 781-235-6690 or email our Executive Director, Erica Dumont, at director@wellesleyhistoricalsociety.org.

Free for Historical Society members, $5 for non-members

Why I support the expanded bottle bill

2014 October 28
by Nathan Phillips

bottle

 

Halfway through my ride into work today (route above) I started counting littered non-deposit bottles versus deposit-redeemable soda cans and bottles.  The results: 31 non-redeemable bottles vs. 5 redeemable cans*.  If the expanded bottle bill passes, all 31 of the those currently non-redeemable pieces of litter would be redeemable.

The argument against expanding the bottle bill on the Secretary of State’s website says: “Let’s focus on what works instead of expanding an outdated, ineffective, and inconvenient system.”  Based on my direct observation, the current system did not work well for plastic water bottles, but was more than six times as effective for redeemable soda cans and bottles.

If you’re unconvinced or undecided on the expanded bottle bill, I suggest taking a walk and counting for yourself.

*Of the 36 total pieces of litter, 35 were in separate locations, making them independent samples.  Interestingly, the cans were all (flattened) beer cans, and all near BU, indicating perhaps that saving beer cans for deposit redemption is not a high priority around campus.

 

POLL: Ballot Question Five (Selling city real estate)

2014 October 28
by Greg Reibman

Voters in most Newton Wards will have the added thrill on election day to weigh in on two non-binding ballot questions.

Here’s the text for ballot question five:

Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote for legislation to require that a majority of the voters in a municipality approve the sale of any municipally owned real estate containing more than 7,500 square feet of land?

So much for the theory that it’s better to leave your car unlocked

2014 October 27
by Greg Reibman

Every now and then, Newton police issue a warning about a rash of car break-ins and a discussion emerges with someone saying they don’t lock their car doors because they don’t want their windows broken or door jimmied.

Newton Patch’s latest listing of recent car break-ins (scroll down) pretty much debunks that theory.

NewTV’s House of Haunts This Week

2014 October 27
by Jessica Leff

HofH_STD_Final

NewTV’s second annual House of Haunts is almost here! Come and enjoy a night full of frights at this free family-friendly event offering fun and games for the kids, a costume competition, pumpkin decorating, treats, scary stories and a spooky scavenger hunt.

 

The event will be held at the NewTV Studio located at 23 Needham Street in Newton, MA from 4:00pm-7:00pm on Thursday, October 30th, with judging for the costume competition taking place at 6:45pm.

 

Ballot Question forum Thursday at Waban Library

2014 October 27
by Village 14

The League of Women Voters Newton is sponsoring a forum about the six ballot questions that will be on the ballot Nov. 4 for most Newton voters.

LWVN members will lead the discussion, presenting basic information on all the questions as well as League positions on Questions 1, 2 and 3.  The event will be on Thursday, October 30 at the Waban Community Library from 7 to 9 p.m.

Globe endorses Charlie Baker for governor

2014 October 26
by Gail Spector

The Globe’s endorsement for governor is now online. Thoughts?

Newton’s solar potential

2014 October 26
by Nathan Phillips

A new program to build out solar power in Newton was unveiled at last week’s Harvest Festival.  The  Newton Solar Challenge is a public-private partnership among the City, Green Decade Newton, and BarnRaise Energy, a Newton-based renewable energy startup.  This program comes on the heels of two previous solar programs in Newton (described in the latest Green Decade newsletter), which together have installed nearly 400 kilowatts of solar energy capacity on Newton roofs.  Add to that the 685 kilowatts of power the city has installed at Newton North, Brown, Countryside, and Memorial Spaulding schools, and we’ve got over a megawatt of solar capacity in the city now, equal to the electricity consumption of hundreds of homes.

read more…