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Community Inquiries

This space will be updated as I receive questions from the public and provide more detailed answers. These will come from conversations and various platforms (Facebook, Reddit and Nextdoor). Any questions will remove the original askers information and posted here with my thoughts. I would encourage all voters to pose any/all of these questions to other candidates if these subjects matter to you. 

Questions

  • How will you accomplish creating Transparency, Inclusion & Accountability (paraphrased question)?

    • I'm open to listen to any idea that will help our community address its issues, or help it build to a better future. Transparency requires open doors and meetings, Inclusion requires listening to the people impacted and asking questions of experts, and Accountability requires voters and citizens to lean in, participate and force their officials to provide answers – or vote them out when those officials won’t provide them.​

  • Follow Up Question and Statement regarding Transparency: Would you support more meetings allowing virtual attendance? “I would also suggest it's far past time we have a modern system for announcing meetings. It's possible to announce them both on the physical board outside the city hall and through online means (for example if the outside board is a digital display). The board outside city hall is starting to rot away anyway.”

    • Regarding Virtual Meeting Attendance – I would support virtual attendance for all meetings. This likely requires a level of investment in technology to make that feasible, but in my opinion, that is money well spent. That said, there may be rules in place that prevent permanent virtual/hybrid options, so this idea may also require amendments to those items, which I would obviously support. Hybrid meetings have distinct challenges that would need to be worked through (moderation, the potential for mis-use, etc.), but these are issues to be solved, not issues cited as a reason to not make appropriate changes to our processes.

    • As for the statement regarding notification – I completely agree (this is why I’m posting across platforms – our communities engage in various ways, and while I would love everyone to traffic my website, I understand we need to deliver information where people are). We need a far more wide reaching, intentional approach to soliciting input and participation. There are numerous platforms online that people engage with far more than bulletin boards (digital or otherwise) and the City should be leaning into those in addition to its legacy approaches (email, FB, Nextdoor, Reddit, City Website, Instagram, and whatever other practical platforms exist that require nominal additional effort to engage with).

  • What changes to support housing affordability would you support? If you're seted on the council, you're going to be voting on the new MBTA Communities Zoning changes. What changes do you support?

    • In my opinion, the MBTA Communities Zoning changes are mostly a non-issue and Waltham needs to adopt the changes needed to be compliant with the law (I have not heard a compelling argument against them that would stand up in court). Failure to do so will only have negative impacts on residents that are most in need, as the state budget impact would be felt by the Housing Authority. The law doesn’t require incremental investment by the city – it only requires we alter the existing rules and allow the market to function. This dovetails with the first thing that I think Waltham needs to do about housing – we need to examine our zoning around the city and make adjustments that make sense. The current rules are too restrictive and should be amended to make it feasible to start building enough housing to support our population. We also need to examine the standards and rules related to Affordable Housing – what the definition of Affordable is, and what proportion of it needs to be included in any new spaces.

  • What do you think should happen at Fernald?

    • Much like the Stigmatine, the process of planning here has been poorly socialized. I’d like to get an actual explanation of why the proposal includes and excludes what it does. The Fernald is an incredible resource with a very complicated history – no one will get everything they want out of that site – but real conversations, and proposals that include explanations would go a long way.

  • Public Input Questions: What are you going to do about the rats, sinkholes and sh!t in the tap water (brown water)??? – I’ve inquired with the person that asked the question to clarify some parts of this question, and I’ll address those when I have insight.​

    • Regarding rats – The rat issue is a complicated one that will likely require a multi-faceted approach to resolve. First and foremost, I am in favor of providing appropriate trash bins/totes to all households – we did this with Recycling Bins some time ago and we should do the same with trash containers. Along with that, the city should look at the trash pick up schedule and determine if it would be appropriate to have more frequent pick ups in key areas. I’m less familiar with the standards for inspection and servicing of dumpsters, but seen enough with holes in them to know that should be addressed. Removing the things that attract and sustain the rats is the simplest and most sustainable solution. As I understand it, the city has used different types of poisons, which may be necessary going forward, but I would like to assess alternative options as well. Putting poison into the ecosystem at the scale of Waltham puts other animals at risk and we need to be protecting our wildlife, pets and children.

  • What was your take on the taking of the Stigmatine Property?

    • The approach to the situation and the lack of transparency in the process is what I take issue with. In my opinion, the process was not conducted in the open, and that was inappropriate. There was little to no solicitation of input from the community and as a result, there was an astonishing level of hearsay and rumor around the transaction. You asked how I may achieve a level of transparency and I think it begins with simple, proactive soliciting of input. Announcements are made, but they are not pushed forward with any real effort – posting something on a bulletin board, or the city website is, in my opinion, inadequate. We need officials that will lean into notifying citizens about what is going on – there are several avenues that people are more likely to interact with and we should be using those as often as we can. We need our officials to actually share their points of view at these input sessions so people have a clear understanding of what the city is trying to do, or why a proposal is what it is. A level of Question and Answer, instead of just making statements, could create opportunities for genuine engagement, and that’s what I’m looking for.

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