Town Council At-Large Profile: Michelle Cokonougher

Background

I’ve been involved in Watertown’s government for about 4 years now. I’ve attended meetings, spoken on a number of issues, done significant amounts of research on issues facing Watertown, and have been responsible for changes that have been made. Here are some of the things I’ve accomplished in my time advocating for Watertown:

I provided research to members of the Town Council that led to us increasing our LEEDS Requirement on new developments to a Silver Level, initially in the RMUD District, and that eventually led to a town-wide requirement. I found a discrepancy between Watertown’s Zoning Ordinance and the state law that I brought to the attention of one member of the Town Council and the discrepancy was eventually corrected. During the process of creating the RMUD, the town-wide requirement for the affordable housing set aside was 12.5%.

Town Council At-Large Profile: Tony Palomba

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.

Town Council At-Large Profile: John Gannon

Background

I’ve been a municipal attorney for 25 years, advising over 100 cities and towns of Massachusetts every day on the issues that are currently facing Watertown. I’ve been a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals in Watertown for 10 years, I’ve been former Acting Town Attorney, working as Watertown’s lawyer. But I think more importantly, I’m a native of Watertown, a product of the Browne School, West Junior High, and Watertown High School; my upbringing in Watertown is an important part of who I am. I went on to Brown University and then to Suffolk University Law School, where I became lawyer to bring innovative approaches to cities and towns.  After starting a family here, I became a homeowner, taxpayer and ratepayer. Like others who chose to come to Watertown, I chose to stay here.  Watertown is a wonderful place in so many ways, and I’m here to help give back some of what this community has given to me.

Town Council Hopefuls Discuss Building Support, What Inspires Them

On Nov. 5, Watertown voters have a choice of seven candidates running for the four Town Councilor At-Large seats, which are elected by the entire town. To find out more about the candidates, former Town Councilor At-Large Aaron Dushku asked each a series of questions about what they would if elected, with the answers to be published by Watertown News. This is the fifth in a series of five pieces featuring the answers from the Watertown Councilor At-Large candidates. (Note that Michelle Cokonougher declined to submit answers).

Watertown Asserts It Has Met Affordable Housing Goals, Can Prevent 40B Projects

Watertown officials believe they have found a seldom used way to meet the state’s affordable housing requirements, which would mean developers could not build high-density residential projects without having to go through the town’s normal zoning rules. The state law made to encourage the creation of affordable housing, often called Chapter 40B or just 40B, requires towns with less than 10 percent of its housing units that are officially designated as affordable units to allow projects with 20 percent or more affordable units to be approved in a streamlined process. Meeting the requirement is known as reaching “safe harbor.” Watertown has not reached the 10 percent threshold. There is, however, a second method to reach safe harbor, which is having 1.5 percent or more of a community’s land devoted to affordable housing.

Council Candidates Talk About What Subcommittees They Prefer, How They Deal With Defeat

On Nov. 5, Watertown voters have a choice of seven candidates running for the four Town Councilor At-Large seats, which are elected by the entire town. To find out more about the candidates, former Town Councilor At-Large Aaron Dushku asked each a series of questions about what they would if elected, with the answers to be published by Watertown News. This is the fourth in a series of five pieces featuring the answers from the Watertown Councilor At-Large candidates. (Note that Michelle Cokonougher declined to submit answers).

Town Council Candidates Speak About Budget Priorities, Accomplishments

On Nov. 5, Watertown voters have a choice of seven candidates running for the four Town Councilor At-Large seats, which are elected by the entire town. To find out more about the candidates, former Town Councilor At-Large Aaron Dushku asked each a series of questions about what they would if elected, with the answers to be published by Watertown News. This is the third in a series of five pieces featuring the answers from the Watertown Councilor At-Large candidates. (Note that Michelle Cokonougher declined to submit answers).

Candidates Look at the Big Issues They Expect to Face as Town Councilors

Candidates for Councilor At-Large, from right, Michelle Cokonougher, Jummy Mello, Clyde Younger and Caroline Bays. On Nov. 5, Watertown voters have a choice of seven candidates running for the four Town Councilor At-Large seats, which are elected by the entire town. To find out more about the candidates, former Town Councilor At-Large Aaron Dushku asked each a series of questions about what they would if elected, with the answers to be published by Watertown News. This is the second in a series of five pieces featuring the answers from the Watertown Councilor At-Large candidates.