While I have supported the act of the Charter Commission to reexamine the City Charter, I very much disagree with 1) reducing the size and 2) eliminating the ward Councilor. I feel that the size of the Council allows for diversity, allows more new-comers to enter and allows for more involvement in committees. Why in a true democratic spirit would we limit voices? Thank you
LWVN Newsletter April 2016
I am OPPOSED to any change in our current ward district system.
Perhaps, we should have faith that there was great wisdom when our current Newton government was established, just as our United States democracy was founded on the principal that all men are created equal ...
There are many controversial issues facing Newton citizens, especially in the areas of development, housing and zoning that will be a constant in one neighborhood or another.
To put the power of decision making into the hands of so few and to remove the one ward councilor that is voted on only by their ward is to remove the democratic process. Though this proposal is purported to be more democratic, it simply cannot be. And I hope Newton residents, many of whom seem to be sadly unaware of the Charter Commission and what it is proposing, will wake up and see what is happening.
Twenty-four councilors may have its challenges, but in the end it gives all citizens in our large city at least a chance of having their opinions heard.
I will be voting against this when it comes to a public vote.
Ward Representation In Newton: Lots of Other Cities Have It — With Great Results
By Fred Arnstein and Pamela Geib — Neighbors for a Better Newtonvile
The Charter Commissioners believe that local representation is bad for Newton; that we should not have any Ward councilors. Is it true? Is ward representation bad for Newton? Newton is ranked by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) as the Number 1 Best City in the country. So Ward representation has not made Newton a terrible place. But we can dig deeper and look at the WSJ's full list of 50 Best U.S. cities. In that list, there are 43 cities comparable to Newton. It turns out that 60% of those Best cities have ward representation. So the idea that local representation is bad for a city is — that idea is simply wrong.
Remarks before the Charter Commission Meeting 12 April 2017
Thank you for your service. You deserve our respect and thanks. I hope I have conveyed that to all of you. This is a policy disagreement.
As conveyed to you last night by email, I researched the city council compositions of the 56 municipalities in Massachusetts that use a city council form of government. Your proposals are bigger outliers than our current council (google spreadsheet).
Of the 56 communities, 84% have ward-elected councilors. Of the communities smaller than Newton, 87% include ward-elected councilors; almost 9 out of 10.
Santa Clara is the latest in a long line of California cities that could switch to district elections under the threat of litigation, a move advocates hope will diversify politics in a growing Silicon Valley city that’s had only one council member who isn’t white in recent years.
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