LETTER: Council Candidates Respond to Concerned Watertown Homeowner’s Questions

Watertown’s Town Hall. Dear Editor,

Like last election, the Concerned Watertown Homeowners Association asked the At Large candidates a series of YES/NO policy questions that will effect our community. Their answers below. As always we thank them for their time and candor, and hope this helps voters make informed decisions on voting day. We did not receive answers from candidates Michelle Cokonougher and Clyde Younger

John LabadiniPresidentConcerned Watertown Homeowners Association.

LETTER: Former Councilor Announces His Endorsements for 2019 Election

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I’m writing this little note just to share my thoughts on the Town Councilor At-Large race in Watertown. As some may know, the candidates have been under some good scrutiny with respect to policy questions in the forums, questionnaires and interviews in our local media and I think we all appreciate that. I also want to say that I appreciate each and every one of the candidates running for office here in town regardless of whether or not I may disagree with some of their priorities.  Thank you all for stepping up to do good for our city and for being willing to volunteer your precious time in the most noble endeavor of representing your constituency. That being said, I wanted to briefly share where I stand on the candidates in case anyone is still reading.  

Anthony Donato, a native son of our town and childhood friend to many of us may have once been thought to stand alone on those credentials but I think that his work in the last two years leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that he offers so much more than that. He stands in the company of very few councilors in his dedication to researching and listening to differing points of view on the issues that come before the council and I think that speaks volumes. He has expressed his willingness to push on the town-wide shuttle bus system that is a languishing initiative in need of champions and has been an impartial vote on several not-so-sexy but nevertheless important ordinance updates and improvements in his first term. Tony Palomba, is as compassionate, caring and loving a person as I’ve ever met.  He works every day in the support of his community and anyone who reaches out to him gets called back and heard.

LETTER: Library Trustee Candidate Shares His Vision

Watertown Free Public Library

Dear Watertown Residents,

My name is Theodore (Teddy) Kokoros and I am running in the November 5th election to become a Watertown Free Public Library Trustee. Even though I am running unopposed, (there are 3 candidates for 3 open Watertown Library Trustee positions) I wanted to share with you 10 of my priorities if I become a Watertown Library Trustee because you deserve information on every candidate on the ballot so you can make an informed decision on election day. 1. Help the Watertown Library survey as many Watertown residents as possible to get feedback from the Watertown community about what the library does well, what it could do better, and big ideas for The Watertown Library’s future. 2.

OP-ED: Looking at Gov. Baker’s Temporary Ban on Vaping

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, D – Belmont, who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston. On Sept. 24, Governor Baker declared a public health emergency and temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products in response to a multi-state outbreak of unexplained lung illnesses associated with vaping. In effect until Jan. 25, the ban seeks to provide medical experts time to properly investigate the dangers associated with the use of electronic nicotine and marijuana products, which will assist the state in developing a response that could include new legislation or Department of Public Health (DPH) regulations.

OP-ED: Raising Our Rate of Investment in Transportation

Buses like this one on the 71 bus will get priority heading toward Harvard Square on Mt. Auburn Street in the new Cambridge-Watertown Bus Priority Pilot program. The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, D – Belmont, who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:

The MBTA’s Board heard a presentation last week from leaders of Toronto’s regional rail system. What was really stunning was how rapidly Toronto has been investing in all forms of transit improvement and expansion. 

Since 2008, Toronto’s regional leadership has been engaged in a series of transit expansions which will add up to a total investment of approximately $60 billion by 2028. Annual spending has reached a level over $4 billion in some years. Four billion dollars in well-managed transit investments within one year represents staggering progress. In Massachusetts, we have struggled to raise our annual investment to $1 billion per year on transit. In private and public meetings officials ask constantly whether we can move more quickly, but again and again the answer has been that we don’t have the planning and management capacity to do so.

LETTER: This Monday, Let’s Remember What Really Happened

It is 2019 and the Commonwealth is still celebrating a man whose crews carried out mass genocide, enslavement, and rape of indigenous people in the West Indies. While many of us have the day off from work or school, most people probably don’t think about Christopher Columbus or his legacy on this holiday — they’re just glad to have the day off, or to get sales at their favorite stores. So why are many cities around the state and country changing the name of this holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day? Much for the same reason that confederate statues and the place names of known racists are being removed. It is not to erase these people from history — rather, it recognizes that these people should not continue to be honored.

OP-ED: Improving Rail Service Can Reduce Congestion at Rush Hour

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, D – Belmont, who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:

A closer look at recently-reported traffic numbers offers hope that expansions of rail service can make a real difference in rush hour congestion. I was discouraged by two analyses that came out over the summer. MassDOT’s report, Congestion in the Commonwealth, showed that daily vehicle volume dwarfs daily commuter rail ridership along the major radial commuting paths into the core of the Boston area. Around the same time, preliminary results from the Rail Vision model showed that even major expansions of commuter rail service outside 128 would garner ridership increases apparently too small to make a dent in vehicle volume. For example, the Congestion report shows at page 89 that on I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike), there are roughly 150,000 vehicles per day as compared to only 18,000 daily riders on the parallel Worcester line.