In a recent post on V14, Paul Levy asked that when the Globe expands its coverage of Newton, they look into Mayor Warren’s overreach concerning how he carried out the contract with Big Belly and to perform a post audit. 

I would extend his request to include that when the Globe, along with Gail Spector and her journalism class, expands its coverage of Newton, one of the first things they cover is how and why Newton Mayors have the audacity to not only preside in an authoritarian manner but have the power to get away with it!!

Mayoral overreach did not stop with Mayor Warren – Mayor Fuller proudly carries the mantel of overreach like a pro. As My comment on Paul’s post said:

It was in her first month that my article in the Tab first broached the subject of her overreach – after she started telling the City Council how to vote on issues and then carried out a no-bid contract for a consultant to conduct the Washington Street zoning study.

The City Council is charged with providing checks and balances to the executive branch. In our strong mayoral system, when the mayor makes decisions without informing the members of the council, it’s hard for them to do their job. Although it was the city council that granted Mayor Fuller’s request for $500,000 to contract the Principle Group to do its study.

In retrospect it now seems that some councilors generally know what our mayors have been up to but either don’t care that the mayor is overstepping the bounds of the power of the executive branch or are afraid to stand up against them.

How are we residents to trust the “system” in place, when we have seen behind the curtain and found out it’s not the all powerful Oz – it’s a just a mayor skilled at attempting to outwit her constituents and a city council that’s not doing its job? That’s exactly what residents are being asked to do now with the Newton Senior Center that has morphed into the Newton Community Center with senior programming being vacuously termed the Newton Center for Active Living. 

From the mayor’s 9-4-2019 newsletter:

Learn more about NewCal.
In the coming weeks and months, residents will have at least 10 opportunities to learn more about the Newton Center for Active Living, or NewCAL, the community center focused on seniors. The top ranked site for NewCAL is to coexist with the Albemarle-Gath Pool complex.
The five community meetings (in green bold below) will give residents a chance to ask questions and hear directly from the project team. The meetings in blue are with committees and commissions when residents will hear elected and appointed officials discuss the plans. No votes are anticipated at these meetings.
These meetings will provide detailed information on the site ranking process and early ideas on site layout scenarios at Albemarle. We will be looking for community feedback.
In anticipation of the meetings, more information will be posted online here by the end of the day on Friday, Sept. 6, including details on more than 40 sites considered for NewCAL as well as answers to frequently asked questions.
In the coming weeks and months, the City will work with many stakeholders to decide if Albemarle is the right site by looking at alternative site plans with the help of the architectural team. We look forward to working with the Parks & Recreation Commission, the Council on Aging, the City Council, neighbors of Albemarle and the Day Middle School, and community members.
While the Albemarle-Gath Pool site is the top ranked location for NewCAL and will be studied in depth, the City will continue to consider non-city-owned sites until a final proposal is sent to the Parks and Recreation Commission, Council on Aging and the City Council.
NewCAL Newton Center for Active Living Meeting Schedule:
To be kept informed about the NewCAL project, please sign up at [email protected].  
(This is an e-mail address, not a page to sign up – just ask to join the list.)

FAQ’s here 

Including paying for the project, the process to date, the program and how it was developed, Albemarle pool and traffic among other things  

Flyer here

Bolding and strike-throughs mine

In the FAQ’s, the first thing I want first to illuminate is that the “favorite” site is to “co-exist with the Albemarle pool,” complex, including a renovation of the pool, locker rooms and field house, while also pointing to the statement that “if a pool is included,” a new source of funding will be found. 

So which is it and how was the budget for the project determined? According to the mayor, $16+ million will cover the 2.5 acres on city owned-land and the programming, multipurpose, administrative space and a gym provided in the 37+ sq ft building but not a pool., even though the site being studied in depth has a pool included.