… and some more from the charter commission ….
In recent days the charter commission has been reviewing Article 2 of the city’s charter.  That’s the section that spells out the details of the legislative branch of the city government – e.g. the City Council’s rules, etc.
Some draft language has been proposed for an entirely new ability for councilors to appeal “Charter Objections”.   Within the Charter Commission this new provision has been by far the most controversial matter taken up so far
While I’m personally in favor of this expansion of legislative prerogative, I’d be surprised if the Charter Commission doesn’t get a fair amount of push-back about it.   Clearly the commission has been doing its homework and is not shying away from suggesting some major structural changes in the charter.

What do you think?
Article 13 – Debate by Summary Contest
Sec. 13-1. Definition and Overview.
In the absence of satisfaction from the exercise of the Charter Objection provision outlined in Section 2-9, City Councilors may exercise the option to move for decision by Summary Contest.
Sec. 13-2.  Forum and Terms.
The proponent and any other participants in debate on the matter at hand (hereafter referred to as Contestants) shall be removed to the remote, inaccessible, and forlorn area of the City commonly known as the Wells Avenue Office Park.  This location shall be hereafter referred to as the Forum.
Each Contestant shall arrive at the Forum with no weapons, no food, and only minimal protective gear (the nature of which shall be established by ordinance).  Each Contestant will have the opportunity to seek food and weapons from within the Forum. 
Contestants shall engage in combat until such time as only one remains conscious. An auditory signal (suggested as a cannon or equivalent) shall be sounded as each Contestant is incapacitated. The final remaining Contestant shall be determined to have “won” the debate item.  All others who have been incapacitated or killed will be determined to have “lost” the debate item.
The events of the Summary Contest shall be broadcast live on NewTV on the Government Channel and on the City’s website.
(Please note that the measures for special elections to fill Council seats vacated by death may be found in Section 2-5 of this Charter.)
Sec. 13-3.  Sponsors and Gifts.
As the events of the Contest will be broadcast, registered voters of the City of Newton will have a direct opportunity to weigh in on individual questions brought to the Contest Forum.  Specifically, voters may band together to sponsor “gifts” to their preferred Contestant in the form of food, medicine, or weapons (defined in Section 13-4).  While much latitude will be permitted in the types of gifts allowed, such gifts are defined as political contributions and must be declared as in-kind contributions as defined in Massachusetts Office of Campaign & Political Finance guidelines.
Sec. 13-4. Weapons.
Any object commonly used in melee, trap, projectile, or martial arts combat shall be defined as a “weapon” and is an allowable gift under the terms of Section 13-3. The Zoning Code of the City of Newton, while capable of inflicting significant blunt object trauma, is to be understood as a document and therefore may not be considered a legitimate weapon.
Sec. 13-5.  Provision of Medical Care.
Under no circumstances will medical care for injuries sustained during Summary Contest be covered under the City of Newton’s medical insurance plan.

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