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While I don’t always agree with him, I admire Andy Levin for not being shy about expressing his views on the TAB’s editorial page, while keeping the news reporting on big issues in the rest of the paper balanced.

One strong example of this is the series that began a few weeks back on Newton’s tear downs. Andy followed up on reporter Jonathan Dame’s reporting with a personal column (clearly labeled “My View”).  Andy reached a conclusion I never saw coming and likely elevated lots of folks’ blood pressure in the process. Read the whole thing, but here’s two excepts.

To be honest, my attitude about Newton’s newer homes has evolved since I moved back here six years ago. I live in Ward 8, a section of the city where so many of these houses have sprung up over the past decade or so and where residential construction these days seems to be almost ubiquitous. Initially, I was a bit uncomfortable with them, overwhelmed by the cost of such big houses. I suppose this is a more socially correct way to say I was just a bit jealous — not of others’ money, so much, but of the fact people could live in such vast space while I was crammed into less than 1,300 square feet with three other people (two of them young, rambunctious kids).

…. however, passing by these newer houses every day for several years now — often slowing to examine their finer details — I’ve grown to appreciate them for what they truly are: excellent homes that add beauty and economic value to our community. Many of them are designed in classic styles, evocative of home construction from the early part of the 20th century, similar to homes built in older sections of our city. Indeed, they are not at all like most of the so-called McMansions slapped together as part of planned neighborhoods in small towns outside Greater Boston.