This is a great city, a wonderful city, but it’s gotten complacent.
We residents are comfortable, but we’re missing out.
Missing out? On what?
Glad you asked.
Thorny problems need out-of-the-box solutions. We all know house prices in Newton are off the charts, rents are sky-high, there’s little open land for development, affordable housing is nearly impossible to find, and demographic studies show that household size in Newton will continue to shrink in the coming decades.
I’m not talking communes with hordes of barefoot hippies. I’m talking about eliminating the restrictive no-more-than-four-unrelated-persons zoning rule that won’t allow a homeowner to rent to five responsible individuals no matter how big the house. In fact, studies show that 30% of all Newton households are non-family households even now.
It’s more than crazy that young parents in our city end up sending their child to college before they can walk. The average 5-day-a-week daycare program costs $30,000 a year. Wow! Talk about unsustainable. Don't we want young families in our city? You bet we do! Young families populate our public schools, care about our playgrounds, fill our sports programs, keep our streets lively and our shops full, plus they're the ones supplying us with kids to shovel snow! We need to address this pressing issue immediately. We need to create government subsidies for quality daycare. And we need to do it now. Let’s keep our city vibrant and inhabited by residents of all ages!
MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING
It’s time to think out of the box. There’s any easy fix to offer more affordable housing in our city, without any new developments. Our prosperous city already has plenty of available stock. Where, you ask? Amid our city’s abundance of big single family homes. Archaic zoning laws from the bad old days don’t permit more than 4 unrelated people to live in a single family home. This means your 5-bedroom house can’t be rented out to 5 responsible adults. The result? Not enough low income units, and big houses on the rental market are under-utilized. So let’s strike that outdated zoning rule and open our doors! This will diversify our city, help people find rentals they can afford, all without straining the city budget.
BIKES, BIKES, BIKES!
Bike Share Program
Who wouldn’t benefit from a great bike ride? It’s good for the heart, the legs, the roads, and the air. It’s also good for the city’s coffers. With a bike share program tourists will be able to explore Newton on wheels. And they’re loved by locals for the boon to environment and health. Think it’s too cold in Newton for biking? Nope. Bike share programs are wildly successful in frigid Chicago and Minneapolis. So let’s do it!
We need more! Because the more bike lanes, the more bikers! The more bikers, the healthier the people! The healthier the people, the happier our community! (The more analogies, the more you hate reading this!) Point made? Every major street in our fair city should have a bike lane. And why the heck does the Needham Street bike lane not connect to Chestnut Hill? This needs to be changed immediately! Let’s connect this city for two wheelers!
YOUTH COMMUNITY SERVICE
You’ve heard the line: “It takes a village.” If it takes a village to raise a person, it takes every person to sustain a village. Want to nurture our youth to become citizens who care about our neighborhoods, our city, our state, our country, and each other? Want to fight the creeping isolation in our culture where everyone stays inside glued to their screens? Our youth are the next generation of… well, everything! What better way to discover what a community is and to get a true feeling for our city than to volunteer in any of its areas of need. Literacy. Hunger. Cooperative gardens. Infrastructure. I’m proposing to create a mandatory community service program for everyone of high school age, designed to broaden their experience and open their eyes and hearts and minds. I’ll also create government subsidized programs to empower new graduates in all kinds of industries, especially in manufacturing and tech.