My name is Peter Bruce and I'm a candidate for the seat soon to be vacated by retiring Ward 2 Councilor Emily Norton. I commit to:
Though some people seek fame and fortune, I’ve sought more to be of service, especially to truth and social justice. I’ve worked as a soldier, community organizer, political campaign coordinator, paralegal, college professor, cab driver, and elected politician. I’ve also raised a family and have two grandchildren. I’ve had a rewarding life, because I’ve stayed true to my values and worked hard at what I do.
And I’ve evolved by listening to colleagues, family members, and to you, my friends and neighbors in Ward 2. I’ve developed the skills to think critically and creatively, to write and organize effectively, and to motivate people and build consensus. These skills and experiences equip me to serve as your City Councilor.
Most people support the improvement of village centers, but not 5-7 story buildings lining Walnut and Washington Streets or other village center thoroughfares.
Most people reject increasing the threshold at which developers can build without a Special Permit (and public input) from 10,000 to 30,000 sq. feet. Abandoning the Special Permit process would eliminate the benefits of: 1) negotiations between the public and developers over design elements, 2) mitigation payments, and 3) community amenities negotiated between developers and the public.
I am for excellence in our schools, curricula, and teachers. And I believe that Newton educators should be paid competitive salaries. Newton’s Charter gives the School Committee jurisdiction over school affairs; the City Council generally has little say in these matters.
Voters are upset about worsening local traffic but are not going to give up their private vehicles. Most people need these to live in Newton. The vehicle is not the problem, it’s the fuel. Newton needs many more charging stations for electric vehicles. The reduction and elimination of parking space requirements and eliminating road lanes are also not solutions; they exacerbate the problem by increasing congestion and dangerous particulates.
We continue to use 20th century planning models in the 21st century. The result is we’re creating modern heat sinks in our village centers. We assume incorrectlythat more people will flock to mass transit at a time when work and office use in Boston is declining precipitously. More green space, with enough room for mature, large trees is essential!
Newtonites support building affordable housing. Yet the City Council is enabling developers to build mostly upscale apartments, not affordable to families and young people entering the workforce. For example, Trio rents two-bedroom apartments for ~$5000/month. We need more affordable housing and less gentrification and overdevelopment. We can build more affordable housing by assisting small and nonprofit developers.