LETTER: Resident Concerned About Request for Taller Tower at Mall

I wrote this letter in December 2016 but it is even more relevant today in lieu of the zoning amendment proposal to increase the RMUD height to 197 feet. To the citizens of Watertown, regarding the Arsenal Project MP/SP proposal, 12/19/16. In over a year of meetings the issue which I thought would have been a major concern to both the citizens of Watertown, the city councilors, and the city planning department employees was rarely discussed. The issue I am referring to is the development of a 12 story building (building “G”) approximately 100 feet from Greenough Boulevard. Now the reason the developer wants to build this building is obvious.

LETTER: Resident, Architect Offers Critique of New Arsenal St. Apartment Complex

The first of the major Arsenal Street Project is built (Gables Arsenal Street). An analysis might be of value as we discuss the future projects. As a local architect I offer these comments since no one else has stepped up. From a town planning stand point a number of items stand out. The addition of 200+/- new units, none of which are studios with 15 percent dedicated to affordable units.

OP-ED: How Will Climate Change Impact Transportation in Massachusetts?

The following piece was submitted by State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who represents Watertown:

I spent Wednesday morning at a Rappapport Institute forum on climate change and transportation infrastructure. When I think about the local impacts of climate change, what I worry about most is water — flooding due to sea level rise. Increased precipitation is also an issue, but for the coastal region that I represent, the big issue is sea level rise. The areas I serve are sheltered from direct coastal flooding and do not face immediate inundation risks, but every legislator has to be concerned about the vulnerabilities of the transportation system that the region depends on. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has lead the region’s efforts to understand climate change — making the initial investment in the Boston Harbor Flood Risk Model to better understand the risks to the central artery and harbor tunnels.

LETTER: Thank You for a Successful Watertown Arbor Day Celebration

With only one month to plan, I would like to give some special thanks to those who were able to work with me on such short notice to pull together this year’s Arbor Day event.Thank you to Anthony’s Florist, Little Sprouts Dayschool, and Vacation Garden School, for providing fun activities for the kids. Thank you to Tom Burke, Manager at Stop & Shop on Pleasant Street; and to Michael Sullivan, Manager at 7-Eleven on Main Street; for providing snacks and beverages. Thank you to Adrian Deniz at Miller’s Ale House for doing a wonderful job of coordinating the lunches donated for our volunteers and table hosts. Thank you to Butler & Sons Tree Service Inc. for their donation of three $100 gift certificates and to Watertown Savings Bank for their donation of reusable bags. Thank you to Councillor Feltner for coming early Thursday morning to help setup and for doing a wonderful reading of the Arbor Day Proclamation.

GUEST POST: School Committee Member’s Q&A With a WHS Senior

(The following Q&A was submitted by Watertown School Committee Vice Chair Kendra Foley)

I always feel so proud of Watertown High School after hearing from our two School Committee high school advisors, Emily Koufos and Lauren Petrillo. Each month at our School Committee meetings, they give an update on the happenings at the high school, from sports to theater productions, AP tests to college acceptances. I recently had the opportunity to ask Emily Koufos a few questions about her experience at Watertown High School. KF: Have you had a favorite class? EK: My favorite class has definitely been AP Psychology.

OP-ED: Criminal Justice Reforms About Lifting People Up, Not Locking Them Up

(The following piece was submitted by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, who represents Watertown)

Last week, the legislature sent a broad reform of the criminal justice system to the Governor with a unanimous vote in the Senate and a near-unanimous vote in the House. The bill is about lightening up on the little guy – the person who has made some mistakes but wants to turn a corner and live right. If possible, we want to lift that person up instead of locking them up. And we want to cut away the web of bureaucratic entanglements that makes it hard for them to get back on their feet. For the most dangerous offenders though, the focus has to be on public protection and the bill also gives police and prosecutors a number of useful new tools.

LETTER: Resident Responds to State Senator’s Op-ed on Automated Traffic Enforcement

{The following is a response to an Op-ed written by State Sen. Will Brownsberger that was published on Watertown News on March 19, 2018. Read the Op-ed here.}
As someone who works with technology on a daily basis, I appreciate Brownsberger’s effort to convince us that cameras and computer programs can help us. But his message confuses me. He hints that municipalities would use this tool transparently and conservatively, yet also tells us that this method will be a lucrative way of securing revenue from citizenry; the machines will “easily pay for themselves”. He further perplexes us when in one line he says the barriers are “not technological” but then admits “no currently [sic] mechanism” that can ascertain the actual perpetrator.

OP-ED: Are We Ready for Automated Traffic Enforcement?

The following was submitted by State Sen. Will Brownsberger

Automated enforcement of speed limits and red lights could substantially reduce accidents. So far, we have not been willing to use the new technology in Massachusetts. To improve safety, I hope we can build support to experiment with automated enforcement in a thoughtful and transparent way. The technology to recognize license plates is now quite reliable. The barriers to using plate readers for enforcement of basic traffic laws are not technological.