Town Council At-Large Profile: Tony Palomba

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Background

I have been a member of the Town Council for ten years. I have served on six of the Council’s standing Committees, including the Committee on Public Works and Committee on Rules and Ordinances, as well as on the Ad Hoc Committee on Transportation. I have chaired the Committee on Human Services since 2010 and most recently, chaired the Committee on Media and Public Outreach. I am co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Victory Field II. In addition to my official Town Council responsibilities, I am an active member of the Steering Committee of the Watertown Youth Coalition, the Task Force on Substance Use Disorder, and the Watertown Transportation Task Force. In the past, I was coordinator of the Dog Park Task Force and a member of the Social Service Resource Specialist Advisory Committee. I bring forty years of experience in government, political campaigns, and community organizing to my work as a Town Councilor.

Website: http://www.councilorpalomba.com/

Candidate Statement

I am running for re-election because I want to continue the important work I began this past term. The Committee on Human Services made great strides in addressing the issue of affordable housing. Over the past two years, we hosted 13 public meetings to learn about the challenges to increasing the stock of affordable housing and the opportunities available to Watertown. We have a lot more work to do. If we want to remain a diverse community, both economically and culturally, we need to build support for more affordable housing among the administration, the council and the community. I want to be on the Town Council to continue this work.

The Committee on Media and Public Outreach was created this term. In two short years we have met consistently to identify how the Town communicates with residents and what tools residents use to learn about Town activities. In addition, we learned what it takes to develop a communication strategy and how social media, if done right, can be a powerful tool as one element of a communication plan. In cooperation with Watertown Community Conversations, we developed a Community Engagement Project that included 18 Kitchen Table Conversation throughout Town. These facilitated discussions focused on how residents engage with Town government and what can be done to foster greater engagement. I want to continue this work and continue to advocate for a full-time Communication Director and a part-time Community Engagement Officer.

These are only two of the many reasons I want to be re-elected. In addition, I want to:

  • conclude our efforts to revise our 1983 noise ordinance.
  • play an active role in reviewing our Charter, a task that is required every 10 years.
  • work cooperatively with the Community Preservation Committee to review and approve proposals for historic preservation, affordable housing, and open space and recreation that will be funded with Community Preservation Act money.
  • advocate for the purchase of Walker’s Pond for open space and recreational use.
  • vote on funding for our new and renovated elementary schools and for a debt exclusion for our new (or renovated) high school.
  • advocate for a shuttle on Pleasant and Arsenal Streets that can be used by residents.
  • review and contribute to the Town’s greenhouse gas inventory and energy assessment, our bike and pedestrian plan, and our public art study.
  • advocate for weekly recycling pick up and a pilot composting program.

Why should voters re-elect me? Because I understand how important it is for a Town Councilor to be both patient and persistent. One cannot be successful in bringing initiatives to fruition or in addressing the concerns of residents without practicing patience and persistence.

In addition I have demonstrated, through my work on numerous Town Council committees, how much I value residents’ opinions and concerns, the role of local government in serving those in need, community engagement in Town government, and Town government’s collaborating with community organizations. Finally, I will bring a decade of experience and achievement if re-elected on November 5.

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