One Ward 2 candidate at-Large City Council, Braden Houston, has come up with an interesting solution to the divisive either/or (Yes/No) recommendation of the Charter Commission regarding elimination of Ward representation. It’s an interesting proposition – especially as the Charter Commission so deeply missed the mark on Ward representation that it diminishes the entire process and overwhelms their other recommendations.

I’ve condensed this “third option” (see below) but read Bradon’s suggestions in its entirety at https://www.houston4newton.org/news/2017/9/20/a-third-option-on-the-charter-beyond-yes-or-no .

“The two main perspectives shared by the majority of people are:
1. I would like to see a reduction in the size of the City Council
2. I do not want to lose my Ward Councilor”
“Group 1 – Residents…will vote “Yes” because they want change and are fearful that they may not get another near-term opportunity, but are not comfortable with the idea of losing local representation.
Group 2 – Residents…will vote “No” despite the fact they might like much of what the new charter has to offer, but just can not accept the loss of the ward councilors and the potential of concentrating power in certain neighborhoods…
If we chose to reject the Commission’s version of the charter in November, Massachusetts provides another avenue by which a “Compromise Charter” revision can be completed http://www.mass.gov/dor/local-officials/dls-newsroom/ct/charting-a-route-for-charter-change.html. This process is called a “home rule petition” and it is relatively straightforward…
…Massachusetts law allows the City Council, with the Mayor’s approval, to submit the “Compromise Charter” to the MA legislature as a piece of proposed legislation. Once this is passed by the House and Senate and signed by the Governor, it would only then need to be approved by the voters of Newton. All of this could take around a year, as all of the research, debate and reviews of the charter document have already occurred under the Charter Commission’s auspices.”

Houston advocates that the new City Council and candidates make a pledge: “to take up this idea to complete the revision with a balanced charter.”

What do you think?







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