Globe reporter: Kathleen Kouril Grieser may be entering the Ward 2 contest by Greg Reibman | Jul 20, 2015 | Newton | 71 comments Tags: Kathleen Kouril Grieser | Village 14 blog Boston Globe reporter Ellen Ishkanian tweets… Looks like Kathleen Kouril Grieser is adding her hat to crowded Ward 2 field in Newton. Hmmmm — ellenish (@ellenish1) July 21, 2015 Note: If you have a question, or expect a reply from Village 14 Staff, use Contact Us, not comments. 71 Comments Greg Reibman on July 20, 2015 at 10:53 pm This is, um, curious for many reasons, including that Kouril Grieser’s already endorsed two candidates from Ward 2, Sallee Lipshutz on July 20, 2015 at 11:09 pm It’s so hot in Newton that… Double, double, toil and trouble, Fire burn and cauldron bubble… Oops, that’s another thread! Colleen Minaker on July 21, 2015 at 8:13 am Newtonville has always been a tranquil, quiet village with very little controversial events. That all changed when our mayor entered into a partnership with a private developer to promote housing in our village center. He is leasing useful public land at a discount to achieve this purpose. The development of this plan requires over 8 waivers as it does not conform to existing zoning laws. Who will oppose such a violation of the public interest? Now everyone can see why we have a very active political climate in our village. Kathleen is simply demonstrating to the voters the importance of this upcoming race. The parking lot land was deemed surplus but the Border Order outlined several conditions. So far I see that the conditions are being violated. So now we have a significant problem. Let the race begin. Jane Frantz on July 21, 2015 at 9:23 am Quiet and tranquil is not how I remember my years Newtonville. 😉 Andy Levin on July 21, 2015 at 10:09 am FYI: Kathleen’s position from a month ago hasn’t changed. She has pulled papers and reserves the right to return them with signatures to become a candidate, but at this time she is still not intending to run. Blueprintbill on July 21, 2015 at 10:54 am Kathleen is brilliant and would get my vote in any race. She is pro Newton as we all know it,.. Not as some would like to see it . Howard Haywood on July 21, 2015 at 12:31 pm Blueprintbill, I respectfully disagree with you I believe that Kathleen’s objection to every affordable housing proposal in Newton does not prevent change and keep our city tranquil. I believe that is accomplished by how we treat one another and welcome new people into Newton. It is ludicrous to think that one building with 68 units will destroy Newtonville. People make our community what it is and those who will occupy such developments as Austin Street will add and increase the vibrancy of Newtonville. Janet on July 21, 2015 at 2:36 pm @Howard Making global assertions “Kathleen’s objection to every affordable housing proposal in Newton” or anyone other than your own position does not bode well for your candidacy for Charter Commission. I happen to respect Kathleen and comprehend her position on these matters. I don’t always agree with her, but I feel she is true to her values. Can someone please explain to me why there is a social responsibility to provide housing to people in Newton who could otherwise not be able to afford to live here? When most people look for housing they have a price range and select there communities accordingly. What am I missing? Lisa K on July 21, 2015 at 3:03 pm You don’t seem to get it Reverend, Austin street and 40Bs are horrible ways to get affordable housing. Austin street will surely end up costing the city by adding school children to schools that are 20% overcapacity – where does that make sense? It only make sense to who pockets the money with their little T-Rex hands. What happened to walkable schools? What happened to Fix It First? The very first bullet in Newton’s seemingly long forgotten Comprehensive Plan. All you people who think paving over the Garden is progress need to stop drinking the Kool-Aid! Howard Haywood on July 21, 2015 at 3:57 pm Janet, I happen to respect Kathleen also because of her commitment to what she believes in but that does not mean that I can’t have a different opinion. So it is your assertion that Newton should not have as one of its goals to maintain a diverse stock of type and cost of housing. Am I to understand that you support the “tear downs” and that the housing market only be accessible to the well to-do? If that’s what your goal is for Newton then you should be ashamed of yourself for requesting Federal dollars to pay for the upgrade of Farlow Park because CDBG grants in all cases are to have some benefit to Low and Moderate Income people. If the City of Newton is going to reject the building of affordable housing it should not receive CDBG or HOME Funds and will not comply with the Community Preservation Act. If my opinions do not abide well in my not decided run for the CRC so be it but my position on housing and development have nothing to do with the responsibilities of the Commission. Mike Striar on July 21, 2015 at 4:22 pm I think V-14 should reevaluate its policy about stories featuring non-incumbent, *potential* candidates who have not even submitted signatures, let alone actually qualified for the ballot. Private citizens should not be subjected to the same scrutiny as official candidates or office holders. Howard Haywood on July 21, 2015 at 4:38 pm Lisa, Austin Street is NOT a 40B project. Greg Reibman on July 21, 2015 at 4:48 pm Janet writes… Making global assertions “Kathleen’s objection to every affordable housing proposal in Newton” or anyone other than your own position does not bode well for your candidacy for Charter Commission. Two points: 1. But she has objected to everything! 2. I’m fine voting for Charter Commissioners who are grounded in reality. Howard Haywood on July 21, 2015 at 5:11 pm What puzzles me is that CAN-DO has developed approximately 40 units of low income units over the years but it has been a struggle with each project even though they are in-fill development which the anti-development people say they support. If not for the consistent loyal supporters of CAN-DO on the Board of Aldermen her projects left to the community would not have been approved. I admire Josephine McNeil for her steadfast commitment to create housing for people who otherwise could never benefit from attributes of a City like Newton. She has withstood horrible personal attacks and unfounded accusations but not deterred her from seeking to build more housing. I don’t see the folks opposed to 40B or other large development at public meetings supporting CAN-DO. I don’t hear their voices when mean spirited Newton residents spread outrageous rumors about CAN-DO’s prospective tenants. Now because the cost of property in Newton has reached a level where the CAN-DO type of development may no longer be financially feasible, where is the out cry. Charlie Shapiro on July 21, 2015 at 5:46 pm @Howard- What horrible person attacks and unfounded accusations? CAN-DO’s work has been steadfast and quite successful. One small grassroots group building 40 units deserves all of our respect. tomsheff on July 21, 2015 at 9:04 pm What is the relationship between Ellen and Kathleen? Why would a globe reporter care about the 6th entry in a councilor at large race? Can we expect more coverage in this race? Janet on July 21, 2015 at 9:20 pm @Howard Maybe you should be ashamed of yourself for saying that low-to-moderate income people do not deserve nice parks. Newton Corner Advisory Committee with their measly appropriation of CDBG neighborhood improvement funds has improved Carleton Park and the Nonantum playground (in the Charlesbank neighborhood) where the city wanted to go cheap and install a chain-link fence where we had the funds for a nicer fence in this low-to-moderate income neighborhood. Eligible activities of these HUD funds appropriated for low-to-moderate income neighborhoods includes: Construction of public facilities and improvements (such as water and sewer facilities, streets, neighborhood centers, and the conversion of school buildings for eligible purposes Public services, within certain limits Activities relating to energy conservation and renewable energy resources and may be used for things other than housing. As far as I am award, the majority of Newton’s CDBG funding goes towards housing and other programs that CDBG designates are necessary. The appropriation of dollars are is done by the Planning Department in the consolidated plan sent to HUD and in turn the Advisory Committees are recommending spending. If you want to really know the crime in federal monies appropriation, why does wealthy Newton get $1.7 million dollars per year in CDBG funding and a town like Framingham with a much higher number of low-to-moderate income residents only get a few measly hundred thousand? The second crime is that at least 20% of the CDBG funding goes towards into the city’s coffers to administer the programs. Howard, you never answered my question about why residents in Cambridge (for example, or Newton for that matter) are responsible to fund affordable housing for people who could not normally afford to live that community? fignewtonville on July 21, 2015 at 9:21 pm Frankly, I think it is kind of great if she jumps in. Am I the only one that sees that all 3 of the new candidates are anti-Austin Street? I’ve heard several folks crowing about that like it proves something. All that proves is that new candidates tend to be exactly that…new. And they more often than not take positions opposed to the incumbent, after all, if you agree with the incumbent 100%, why run? But while the anti-development types are glad they have candidates that mirror their views, I’d like to point out that 3 candidates are not an advantage. I have a feeling the incumbents would LOVE Kathleen to get into the race. The more dilution of the anti-development crowd, the better…. fignewtonville on July 21, 2015 at 9:23 pm ALSO, and completely off topic, is it really true the Bread and Chocolate is really just remodelling and will reopen soon? PLEASE say that is true. I miss my tasty treats on my way to the commuter rail. Bring back B&C. I expect that should garner universal support from all candidates. fignewtonville on July 21, 2015 at 9:38 pm Janet: Huh? How did you get from Howard’s comment to your comment? And your numbers on CDBG are way off. Framingham gets far more in Federal Assistance than Newton (which I have no problem with). And let me answer the question for Howard. Because providing affordable housing is the right thing to do. No one is asking Newton to do more than their fair share. But as a state and as a community there is an affordable housing crisis. A sense of community isn’t just about who can afford to live here. And if every community takes on a small amount of the weight to build affordable housing around the commonwealth, we get better outcomes as a state, and the local community benefits as well. Because many of our neighbors and friends can’t always afford to stay in Newton. Because our elderly can’t always afford to stay here as well. And because the folks I’ve met from the affordable units in many of the developments in Newton are some of the nicest folks around and they add to the community in numerous ways. And because Newton accepts federal and state funding, and is bound by certain rules as well. Cities and Towns are dynamic. They change. Change is hard Janet. But change does come. tomsheff on July 21, 2015 at 9:55 pm I think most people agree that affordable housing is wonderful. The question is, is it the right thing to do for every city/town. 40B does not take into consideration that some cities/towns are poorly run or can’t handle the extra citizens. I would say that 10 years ago Newton was much better off to accept 40B projects than today. The school population was maybe 20% lower and the traffic, with less population, was probably better. You put 40 more children in the school system and there will be problems and why should children suffer for poor decisions of the past. Simon on July 21, 2015 at 10:17 pm @Rev Haywood, Which ward are you? My understanding is that you are running too? Janet on July 21, 2015 at 10:24 pm @fignewtonville If my numbers are off, please tell us how much money Framingham gets in CDBG funds. I have spoken with the planning person in Framingham and they indicated to me that Newton receives much more money than Framingham does from HUD’s CDBG program. Is it rational that 20-25% of the funds go to administer the program? You said providing affordable housing is the right thing to do I am not stating an opinion on this, only asking why real estate agents in Massachusetts aren’t asking buyers/renters “where do you want to live” before asking them “how much can you afford”. I would like to live in Brookline, yet I cannot afford it. Does wanting to live in a town/city you can’t afford make it “right”? Greg Reibman on July 21, 2015 at 10:35 pm But while the anti-development types are glad they have candidates that mirror their views, I’d like to point out that 3 candidates are not an advantage. I have a feeling the incumbents would LOVE Kathleen to get into the race. The more dilution of the anti-development crowd, the better. That would be true in the preliminary but given the November ballot will include four names — I presume Albright and Johnson and two challengers — the field will be narrowed any way. Jane Frantz on July 21, 2015 at 10:38 pm Great comment, Fig. Greg Reibman on July 21, 2015 at 10:40 pm What is the relationship between Ellen and Kathleen? Why would a globe reporter care about the 6th entry in a councilor at large race? @Tom: Relationship? Ellen Ishkanian covers Newton for the Globe. I can’t imagine any reporter who covers Newton not knowing who Kouril Grieser is. The woman is a lightening rod. Greg Reibman on July 21, 2015 at 10:42 pm What Jane said. fignewtonville on July 21, 2015 at 11:04 pm Janet: CDBG isn’t the whole shebang. How about HUD funds, Section 8, HOME funds, Low income housing tax credits, etc? It is a yearly appropriation for CDBG, and it varies per community, size of community, and tasks being completed. No idea regarding the adminstration costs of the program. Perhaps Ted knows. If your argument is that the greater good is that more affordable housing can be built cheaper in poorer neighborhoods, I would direct you to the recent Fair Housing Supreme Court case. Take a look at the improved outcomes for low income residents who find housing in cities like Newton. As for you wanting to live in Brookline but only affording Newton, what you are asking is effectively why isn’t life fair, right? Why do we collectively help the low income while folks like me don’t get the extra advantage? I’d like to spend less on housing and live in Brookline, but no one is helping Janet do that, so it is unfair. Yep. Sometimes life and economic subsidies plays favorites. Accidents of birth perhaps. Fate. Whatever you’d like to call it. But your rhetorical question doesn’t lead anywhere besides a discussion of what is fair and unfair. And I’d maintain that in housing, like in life, what is fair is the wrong question a good portion of the time. fignewtonville on July 21, 2015 at 11:12 pm Tom: I’d imagine every community says something similar. 40B isn’t perfect. Everyone I think acknowledges that. But it does force communities like ourselves to either create more affordable housing on our own, or be forced to do so through a different process. Because, honestly, if not for that different process, I don’t think we’d be doing much of it. What I find funny is that there are dozens of affordable housing projects in Newton. None in Waban, but lots in Newton. I haven’t lived here long enough to know, but was there always nashing of teeth and rending of clothes with the building of housing in Newton? Mixed income projects tend to work. Schools are increasing in size for many reasons, but it does feel like we raise that more as an issue when we are talking about building more affordable housing. I wonder why that is. Ok, to bed I go. Simon on July 21, 2015 at 11:19 pm @Greg. Why are you so fixated on her? Why do you post anything you can about a woman who is simply a dedicated community preservationist? And why do frame your posts in such a way that they invite abuse of Kathleen by some of your commenters? In short, why are you a cyberbully towards a polite, intelligent woman who to my knowledge has never done anything unkind to you? Why do you hate her so much? It’s just weird. Lisap on July 21, 2015 at 11:19 pm @Fig, I did hear that the owner of Bread & Chocolate has been forced out due to high rent. I can’t confirm that because my info is, sadly, second hand. I sincerely hope to see the shop stay in Newton though. Janet on July 21, 2015 at 11:43 pm @fignewtonville I understand the premise of your “fairness” commentary. My rhetorical reply, how is it “right” or “fair” to provide housing for only some low-to-moderate housing qualified folks who want to live in Newton, Brookline and any other community where this much needed affordable housing is (or is going to be built)? What is the impact financially to the people who paid market rate for their properties and the supporting city services? If we are doing it because it is “right” then why doesn’t “right” apply to all? Why not use the same “life isn’t fair” reasoning with the select people you are planning to aid with affordable housing? Janet on July 21, 2015 at 11:45 pm @Simon Don’t expect an answer. There is no excuse for bullying including cyber-bullying. Simon on July 22, 2015 at 12:28 am @Janet, Absolutely. If anything I might get told to set up my own blog! If Kathleen is truly running who needs charter reform!! Sam Gordon on July 22, 2015 at 12:40 am @Janet Your comments demonstrate a fundamental lack of both understanding of the process and empathy. We create affordable housing so that everyone can have an opportunity to do better and to make something of themselves and to take advantage of the opportunities that living in Newton creates. You and your cohorts in the NVA staunch insistence that all people of a certain income level should be barred from even so much as setting foot in Newton reeks of a shameful and disgusting classism that goes against the merit based system upon which our country was founded. Should we turn the whole city into a condo community that requires the presentation of financial records to be sure a prospective resident is wealthy enough to afford to live here? I for one am tired of hearing this sort of noxious nonsense that we seem to be under a constant barrage of. Chris Steele on July 22, 2015 at 6:24 am @Lisap- partly correct. Bread and Chocolate could not come to terms with their Newtonville landlord, but the larger Newton Highlands location is thriving. Steve and Eunice would be delighted to see everyone there! Sam S on July 22, 2015 at 7:46 am @Sam Gordon – Lets for one, stop name calling (lack of empathy, noxious nonsense etc.). We can leave that to Greg, the cyberbully. I am not against affordable housing, but against high density housing. High density housing means more crowded schools. Stop before you start tearing in me as some rich elitist. I am not. We stretched to buy in Newton. Perceived quality of schools, neighborhoody feel, and a gentler pace of life attracted us. These are very much the same reasons that are fueling Newton’s high prices. High density housing will destroy it. So what about fairness to me? About the choice I made? And before you single me out, its not just me. Every… I mean every high density project has faced stiff opposition from its neighbors. Residents dont want clutter in their neighborhoods. They did not fork out their hard earned $$$ for sitting in traffic and for having their children in over crowded schools. Basic economics, man! Do you think the Riverside neighborhood is going to be attractive when built? Do you think there will be a bidding war for those single families when, Philips St. Neri is built with 100s of apartments (by a developer who is known for not maintaining)? Eventually, Newton will just not be attractive to type of families who currently buy. Ironically, this entire argument reminds me of Margaret Thacher’s quote “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” tomsheff on July 22, 2015 at 7:57 am Sam (and others), Lets not act like Newton has 0% affordable housing. We have 7.5% affordable housing which isn’t bad given the outside resources (ie impact on schools, traffic, developable land, parking, etc.). The problem with most affordable home advocates is that they care so much for this one issue, that they are willing to hurt the rest of the city. You’ve all confirmed that there is affordable housing in this city, why is an arbitrary number thought up by dimwitted legislators (thats the Trump in me) the number to base whether or not we are good for affordable housing. Newton leads in many progressive issues including affordable housing. I don’t care what the Globe says, what developers say or anyone else. They don’t know the climate here. There is no consideration in the 10% number on traffic, schools, etc. they can’t take that into consideration, because those numbers are always changing. Right now, in Newton, it is very difficult to accept a huge 40B project thrust upon us. Ten years ago, I ran for Mayor in Newton. I made a promise to myself (and to others) that I would work to get to the 10% threshold. That was then and this is now. There is no way I would make that promise today. Also, not that Janet needs any defending, I don’t think she is a member of the NVA. I can safely say I’m not a member, either….just two people that have a different viewpoint than you. Jane Frantz on July 22, 2015 at 8:22 am According to the Waban Area Council website, the St. Phillip Neri development will have 48 units. Lisap on July 22, 2015 at 8:24 am @Chris Steele – thanks so much for the update/clarification! Marti on July 22, 2015 at 8:35 am Howard, Colleen gave her opinion and made some statements about Austin Street. Blueprintbill just said why he supports Kathleen. Then your comments move the conversation toward judging ideas to be ludicrous and telling those who differ that they should be ashamed of themselves. To me, it seems a futile exercise because it immediately stops the dialogue and heightens defenses creating a moral discussion of right and wrong which is an entirely different controversial issue. There is a difference between giving an opinion on a controversial subject and making a statement about personal judgement. Very few care about a differing position when it includes statements that their opinions are morally wrong. Howard Haywood on July 22, 2015 at 9:03 am Marti, I only spoke to Janet’s comments and non one else’s I agree I have no right to make moral judgements. My opinion is that we do have an obligation to be our sister/brothers keeper. If people would read the recent decision by SCOTUS it strikes down the practice of discrimination in siting of public housing or housing funded with federal funds. I have admitted and will again that I have overstepped the boundaries of respectful discourse. What I won’t don’t do is stop being a vocal advocate for fair housing practices and to be willing to publicly apologize when I have judged wrongly and spoke beyond respectable discourse. Barry Cohen on July 22, 2015 at 10:15 am Per the reverend “What I won’t don’t do is stop being a vocal advocate for fair housing practices” This is probably the crux of the issue. Everyone has a different idea of what is “fair”. He thinks denying anyone the opportunity to live within the geographical area known as Newton is unfair. Others, who struggled and saved to move into an upper echelon community like Newton, think it’s unfair to now bring in, with subsidies, in a way that changes the physical and social character of the city, those whom they may have left behind in their previous communities who really can’t afford what they worked hard to obtain. And there are a ton of other ideas about what is fair. I’m a guy who struggled to get here. I grew up in Brighton. Look at it. In many parts of Brighton, near Cleveland Circle, near Oak Square, near Newton Corner, there are beautiful old homes which preceded the apartment buildings and commercial spaces that now are there, crowding them and their neighborhoods. Now much of Brighton is a high density, not so desirable place. I look and imagine how beautiful a place it probably was before that. Yes, there need to be places for all people, but what the reverend and others want here, pushing high density subsidized housing and fighting against so-called McMansions, is the beginning of the Brighton-ization of Newton, or at least parts of Newton. Many people don’t want to see that process begin, or continue, since it’s already here in some parts of the city. Ted Hess-Mahan on July 22, 2015 at 10:32 am Barry, the Fair Housing Act lays out what is “fair.” The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that disparate impact is sufficient to find a violation of the duty to affirmatively further fair housing under the Act and that intentional discrimination need not be proven. Places like Westchester County, where the local government has actively resisted creating affordable housing in more affluent communities, have lost millions of dollars in federal funding for their continuing violations of the Fair Housing Act. You may not agree, but that is the law. Barry Cohen on July 22, 2015 at 10:47 am Ted, The “law” is what a pressure group was able to convince lawmakers should be the law. It isn’t necessarily “fair”, just because it has fair in its name. Most people are finding that the “Affordable Care Act” has not made health care more affordable for them. You fall back on law when it suits you. When the law didn’t allow gays to get married, you didn’t accept that as the law. This is true of any law. In a democracy like the US, there’s no fundamental set of codes that determines right and wrong. It’s solely a popularity contest. Theocracies have fundamental rules. Simon on July 22, 2015 at 10:55 am Ted, Should Kathleen run and become elected the pair of you would certainly balance out the issues surrounding “Fair housing”. If she were to unseat Marica,, each of you would have the pleasure of gazing across the chamber at one another. I’m sure the BOA would become far more interesting than it is today. Janet on July 22, 2015 at 11:32 am And who makes the law? In this reference comparing the 1st to the 112th Congress we can see that the majority of the legislators are attorneys (and looks like they always have been. More comedians, firefighters, astronauts and documentarians need to be in public office! Howard Haywood on July 22, 2015 at 11:43 am Barry, I grew up in Newton a descendant of a family that has resided here since the mid 1860. I have worked hard and been able to continue to reside here because I am a legacy home owner. I hope my adult kids will bs able to remain but it is doubtful and if they can’t afford to they will have to move elsewhere. I hear your point and if the majority of the people in Newton feel as you do they should be willing to stand for their values as you do. I guess you are right that the concept of fair is in the eye of the beholder but when the government participates in the practice of redlining that is against the law and a very conservative SCOTUS agreed. Just like you said people who can’t afford Newton should look somewhere they can afford I suggest that people who want exclusivity should look to other places. Janet on July 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm @Howard You are the only one talking about exclusivity. Most residents I know living in Newton earned their way here Barry Cohen on July 22, 2015 at 1:28 pm Newton is hardly an “exclusive” place even now. Look to places like Weston and Carlisle for that. There’s a wide range of housing prices, and a wide range of rental prices in various parts of Newton. It’s actually pretty heterogeneous. It really is not the place that should come under attack for exclusivity. Howard Haywood on July 22, 2015 at 2:16 pm So did I Janet and many others who now can’t afford to stay here. I guess we will always agree to disagree and do believe that you and Barry love Newton just as I do but have a different outlook for its future. I hope that I the years to come Newton will be somewhere in the middle of what we hope for. fignewtonville on July 22, 2015 at 6:47 pm Barry and Janet: Like it or not, Newton accepts a fair amount of money each year from the Commonwealth and the Federal govt. Our schools, our police, our firemen and women, our administration, our housing funds, the funds to help support and care for our elderly, our grants to the hospitals within our borders, the funds to maintain our roads and bridges. Fair Housing is the law. Blaming the attorneys seems rather silly. Comparing it to the Affordable Care Act is also rather silly. Lots of knashing of teeth but not much substance in those arguments. Simon and Sam S., do you know anything about cyberbullying? I’ve found it remarkable that when anyone challenges the ideas of NVA or Kathleen, very quickly the cries of “mean” “cyberbully” etc. start to come out. So I read all these posts and while Greg can be acerbic, the idea that he is a bully is laughable. Mostly he just seems to mock and challenge Kathleen’s “community preservation” ideas. Which seems mirrored by much of the rhetoric coming from your side in public (and private, if I remember some of the earlier NVA discussions). Everyone should feel free to mock and challenge. Kinda of what blogs are meant for. He isn’t using foul language, he isn’t using derogatory language…. Not really seeing where you are coming from, and it detracts from your arguments. Barry Cohen on July 22, 2015 at 7:11 pm Fig: “Like it or not, Newton accepts a fair amount of money each year from the Commonwealth and the Federal govt.” Interesting bit of personal history that I never forgot. I was a high school student during the Cold War. At that time, the schools and most local things were supported by local governments only. The US gov’t offered to give language labs and money to high schools because they wanted people to learn Russian. I had a history teacher who repeatedly railed against this. He said that once they start giving money, it will grow, the local governments will become addicted to it, and they’ll take over control by threatening to take the money away. Pretty prophetic, I think. I’d refuse the money, free us of the slavery to them, and just figure out how to make do without it. It is possible. Sallee Lipshutz on July 22, 2015 at 8:16 pm @Fig:”What I find funny is that there are dozens of affordable housing projects in Newton. None in Waban, but lots in Newton.” Wrong! There has been an affordable housing project in the lower square in Waban, on Wyman Street, along the tracks at the MBTA stop for many years. It is neither out of context with the rest of the neighborhood nor overpowering in its architectural massing. Pitchforks and torches were not brought out when it was proposed or built. When a project fits in, is reasonable in its neighborhood’s context, offers little density overload, it works. Jane Frantz on July 22, 2015 at 8:32 pm Barry – We grew up in the same era, but have different memories. I remember when teachers had to resign when they became pregnant, we began the day saying the Lord’s Prayer, Christmas was celebrated in school, Easter was as well, women and minorities were not a part of any history course, children with disabilities were not allowed in the public schools. My interesting tidbit is that I learned all 4 verses of every Christmas carol, not in Sunday school, but in my public school. We had a Christmas pageant each year, complete with Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the angels and archangels. It was the highlight of the school year. For the record, I grew up in Andover, a community not unlike many metro-Boston suburbs. It was a very bad time for my young neighbor born with spinal bifida who was refused an education. It was a bad time for my sister who had to quit her teaching job when she became pregnant. It was a bad time for too many children whose families didn’t fit the mold, for women, and for minorities. Yes, the federal government stepped in and stopped all of these practices and we’re better off for it. Janet on July 22, 2015 at 8:56 pm Just because in 2015 we educate Americans with disabilities and don’t pressure pregnant women to quit their job are not good reasons for having to foot the bill for people who are not financially in a position to live in the community of their choice. I would love to live in apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, but I cannot afford it. Perhaps the affordable housing is in Jersey City, NJ. BOB BURKE on July 22, 2015 at 8:58 pm What Jane said. Patrick on July 22, 2015 at 9:53 pm Sallee, “When a project fits in, is reasonable in its neighborhood’s context, offers little density overload, it works.” Very well stated. Greg Reibman on July 22, 2015 at 10:02 pm I agree. Barry Cohen on July 22, 2015 at 10:34 pm Yeah, Jane, I guess Big Daddy government is what we all need. Run our lives and take care of us. No other way to deal with issues except put ourselves in their hands, because they do things so well. So what if they tell us what to do and what not to do in every aspect of our lives. It’s worth it. Jane Frantz on July 22, 2015 at 11:13 pm Hey, we gave the local 200 years and it just wasn’t getting done. What would you have preferred – we wait another 100 years? Jerry Reilly on July 23, 2015 at 12:13 am @Barry Cohen – Newton is hardly an “exclusive” place even now. Look to places like Weston and Carlisle for that. There’s a wide range of housing prices, and a wide range of rental prices in various parts of Newton. Yes, Weston and Carlisle are indeed very exclusive, even more so than Newton, but if you think Newton is not also exclusive you’re dreaming. Newton is 15th out of 351 towns in median income. Newton’s median house price (2013) was $855K. Cheapest single house currently listed on Trulia is $389K. Yes there is a wide range of house prices – from housing for the wealthy, to housing to the very wealthy, to housing for the extremely wealthy. The days of a family of relatively modest means buying anything in Newton are gone. The median income for an individual in MA is $36K (2013) and for a household it’s $67K. Those numbers say that someone making the MEDIAN income (not low income) in MA cannot afford to buy the cheapest house currently available in Newton. If that’s not “exclusive”, I think you need a new yardstick. Jane Frantz on July 23, 2015 at 7:08 am What Jerry said. Barry Cohen on July 23, 2015 at 7:32 am What Jerry said?? Karl Marx said it too. The rich are too rich. The solution worked well in the Soviet Union, the PRC, and Cuba, didn’t it? Howard Haywood on July 23, 2015 at 9:30 am Simon, I live in Newtonville (Ward2) I have taken out nomination papers for the Charter Review Commission and currently gathering signatures. Once I have the signatures I plan to do as much research as possible on municipal charters, talk to people who have experience in charter review and most importantly become as knowledgeable as possible on our charter and the roles and responsibilities of our elected officials. Based on my self evaluation of my knowledge and understanding of the responsibilities of the commission I will make my decision to run or not. I think it is prudent that periodically the charter should be reviewed to make sure it best suits the current and future governmental direction of the city. I have no particular biases but I think a careful review of the responsibilities of the Councilors is necessary before delving into the idea of reducing its size. I also think it is important for me and any other potential candidate to be aware of the Mass General Laws that dictate some of the charters responsibilities. As far as my qualifications I have participated and continue to participate on various boards and commissions and have always had a deep interest in civic affairs. I am retired and commit the extensive amount time the commission will require. Jerry Reilly on July 23, 2015 at 12:22 pm Barry Cohen -you’re,a bit touchy there barry. I didn’t make any disparaging remarks about the rich. I merely pointed out that your remarks about Newton having a,wide range of housing isn’t true … unless you mean a,wide range of housing for various level of wealthy folks. Some of my best friends,are wealthy 😉 Howard Haywood on July 23, 2015 at 3:51 pm I find it interesting that when folks talk about why 40B is such a terrible law and it doesn’t really address the need for affordable housing they never address the reason why 40B was enacted. Cities and towns, especially those in metro- west deliberately changed zoning to keep people out. If not for the entrenched classism and racism we would not be discussing 40B today. Chickens always come home to roost. Barry Cohen on July 23, 2015 at 5:51 pm “Chickens always come home to roost.” Are we channeling the other great reverend, Jeremiah Wright, whom Obama had to shut up during his first campaign? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=208t80uceSg “entrenched classism and racism”? This is the pastor who thinks “love” is the solution to everything? Janet on July 23, 2015 at 6:35 pm As much as I appall the use of such phraseology such as “What Barry said…” I am inclined to agree with him here. Thank you for the reminder and priceless link to the unfailing Reverend Wright. By baiting the bloggers and likely lurkers such as Cecelia Burks, Robert Fitzpatrick, and Carol Fulton; Howard seems to want to get into a racism argument within this thread. Discussing the immediate need for housing in Massachusetts is not a racial issue. What is considered ‘affordable’ is subjective… Howard Haywood on July 23, 2015 at 8:49 pm Janet that is your opinion but there are many established housing experts that will tell you that you are wrong, just look at the report from the Newton Fair Housing Commission. For you or anyone else to deny that racism is not an issue in our society is living in some type of dream world. I don’t happen to agree with Rev. Jeremiah Wright but I do respect his right to voice his opinion especially because he served in both the US Marines and Navy and was part of the medical team that saved President Johnson and after his service returned to a society that denied him full rights. Have you not read of the “Redlining” practices conducted and carried out by the United States Government? Are you denying that blacks all over this country have and continue to have by their homes through a “straw”. When people refuse to recognize a problem it is very unlikely that their will ever be a solution. Janet and Barry you have never had to face the indignities that we blacks have and continue to be subject to. Janet, I told you of these recently and you doubted my experiences but when you sought a different opinion you heard the same experiences. I brought up race because it is the truth and I find it regrettable that you have besmirched the character of the people that wrote the letter you mentioned implying that I encouraged them to write it. In recent post I have agreed that most likely we will never agree but I will not sit silent and let you deny that the cancer of racism does not exist in Newton and this country. I have not called you or anyone else a racist but you have no basis or experiences that it does not exist. And yes I do believe that love is the answer to our human existence to exist harmoniously. If you have another answer please share it. Greg Reibman on July 23, 2015 at 9:03 pm I’m letting Rev. Haywood have the final word here. This thread is closed.