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BrianYatesI’ve always considered Alderman Brian Yates to be something of a maverick.

First elected in 1987, it’s not always easy to predict where Yates would come down on many issues. It’s often even harder at times to guess his reasons behind some votes.  I chalk that up to his long historic perspective as a sixth generation Newtonian, years of seeing what works and doesn’t in city government and pride in being an independent thinker and doer.

So I was surprised this August when Yates appeared as part of a slate of candidates supported (and since endorsed) by the no-growth advocacy group, Newton Villages Alliance.

My surprise wasn’t so much whether Yates didn’t or didn’t share their views, but just that any alliance with one political (and frankly predictable) group seemed so out of character with his usual mavericky independence.

So tonight I asked Yates why.

“Because they asked me,” he replied.

“Do you agree with all of their positions?” I asked.

“I don’t agree with anyone on everything,” Yates replied.

“I know. I’ve always considered you to be a maverick…”

“Thank you,” Yates said.

“…so why would a maverick want to align themselves with any group, rather than standing out as the independent, unaffiliated person you’ve always been?” I asked.

“Good question,” Yates said. And then, after a long pause. “I’ll get back to you on that.”

I will let you know when I hear from him. Or Alderman Yates, you can share your answer here in the comments section.