Think of any contentious issue that has faced the city – the Northland Project, the marijuana referendum, NewCal, leaf blower, Austin St, Engine 6,….

Whenever I feel strongly about a particular position on a particular issue, the most frustrating part is being faced with a lot of people who can’t see the extremely obvious merits of whatever I think about the issue.  Funny thing is though, there are a lot of people lined up on the other side of the issue that can’t believe that people like me can’t see the merits of their position.

We are fortunate enough to live in a city where the citizenry often gets very involved in the issues of the day.  The downside though is that its very easy to slip in to shouting matches with both sides accusing the other of bad faith and nefarious motives,

I say this as someone with some first hand experience in that department.  My first involvement in any public issue activity in Newton was about some trails along the river in my neighborhood about 8 years ago.  At the time, my first instinct was to ascribe all sorts of incompetence, malfeasance, and malign motivations to folks on the other side of the issues involved there.   To this day, there are a few things I said publicly back then that I wish I could now retract.

So going forward, both here on Village14, and in all public dealings on the issues of the day I try to keep reminding myself that virtually everyone I disagree with on different issues is also working for the betterment of the city.  This goes for our fellow citizens as well as our elected officials.  I’ve yet to meet one who wasn’t working hard in the interests of the city, despite the fact that we can often be completely in opposition on particular issues.

These ramblings were inspired by a chance meeting yesterday with an old friend.  I live here in Upper Falls, ground-zero for the Northland project, and Right Size Newton’s opposition.  While I’m a bit apprehensive about the scale of the Northland project, I’m also excited about the possibilities for the project to rejuvenate the neighborhood and rehabilitate some wasteland that’s sort of an eyesore.    I’m frankly dead set against the upcoming referendum which will attempt to repeal Northland’s permitting for the project and I will continue to urge folks not to vote for it.

Despite that, running into my old friend reminded me that, in the big picture, we’re all on the same team.   So here’s a heartfelt thanks to Right Size Newton for having our neighborhood’s interest at heart.  Thanks for doing a great job of sparking the community involvement of so many people who haven’t previously been involved in civic affairs.   Congratulations on an incredibly effective and efficient  signature drive – 4000+ signatures in 20 days was pretty impressive.

I still hope your referendum question fails but I hope we work together on whatever the next big issue is.  I hope too that Right Size folks realize that the people on the other side of the Northland project don’t have any malign interests, just different views of what’s in the best interest of all of us.