LETTER: Sustainable Watertown Supports the Community Preservation Act


To the Editor,

Sustainable Watertown encourages Watertown to vote for the Community Preservation Act (CPA), Question 5, when you vote Tuesday. Question 5 is on the back of your ballot.

The CPA will allow residents to Invest in Watertown with matching funds from the State to be spent as the community decides on improving parks, trails, and recreation; veterans memorials and historic sites; and to create more affordable housing. We would receive about $2 million a year. The state has already given out $542 million.

One-hundred-sixty-one (161) other cities and towns in Massachusetts have been benefitting by the millions of dollars since the program started more than a decade ago. There would be a 2 percent surcharge on your real estate tax bill. The cost is affordable, about $124/year per family with exemptions for low income and moderate and low income seniors. If you receive a tax abatement or exemption you will pay a reduced amount for CPA as well. The tax rate does not go up.

The Watertown community would benefit and recommendations to the town would be made right here by a special committee. How better to build community and benefit all the people?

Question 5 is supported by all of our state legislators, many Councilors that we know of, and School Committee members, including a Watertown Strong Schools founder, Kendra Medville Foley, current School Committee Chair, John Portz, and former chair, Eileen Hsu Balzer. There is no conflict between school building in the future and the CPA. In fact, existing schools can benefit with CPA investments.

Sustainable Watertown is proud to support Question 5.


Stephen Steadman
For the Steering Committee

9 thoughts on “LETTER: Sustainable Watertown Supports the Community Preservation Act

  1. Who is on the Sustainable Watertown steering committee? (besides Barbara Ruskin) & who are your Board of Directors/elected officers?

    I could not find any names on your website

  2. Is the Sustainable Watertown Steering Committee Barbara Ruskin, Stephen Steadman, and Joseph Levendusky or do you have other members and if so who are they? I am a resident trying to figure out who is behind your CPA endorsement (and organization).

    I think that it’s unusual that you don’t list any members/donors/committee members/board members on your website – which made me ask, who endorsed the CPA? (beside you 3 & I’m sorry but I don’t know Stephen Steadman or what makes him qualified – he may be, I just don’t know)
    Thanks for responding

  3. Why is the Sustainable Watertown Steering Committee membership a secret? (and for that matter your board and donors) Why hasn’t Stephen Steadman (the author) or any other member responded?
    I’m a resident of Watertown, your group is claiming to represent Watertown, I’d like to know who this group of people is – why are you responding like it’s such a nefarious question? The question is simple, it seems that your answer is not.

    I was just trying to figure out if the CPA was actually good or bad but now I’d really like to know, WHO IS SUSTAINABLE WATERTOWN? Who is your board? Who is on your steering committee? Who funds you? What’s your deal & why should anyone put value on what Sustainable Watertown says when you speak on behalf of 3 people?
    I was just asking a basic question but you’ve piqued my interest.

  4. Hilarious. Joe, this is the backlash from the Homeowners and WSS. Ask who is behind the Homeowners and Watertown Education Advocacy Facebook page. Right after you ask that question you will be met with crickets..

  5. Sustainable Watertown members/board/donors certainly seems like a secret. Are you a nonprofit? PAC? Or what are you?

    I’m a Watertown resident asking a reasonable question about your organization after you took a public stand on an issue and asked others to do the same. Do I need to know the secret handshake before your Steering Committee can be revealed to me and if so, why?

    Pete, I’m just a resident who, after reading this letter, went to their website and actually liked their work against WalMart but found it really unusual that no officers, committee members or donors were listed and wanted to know more about who was involved but Joseph’s cat and mouse about who’s on the Sustainable Watertown Steering Committee made me curious and now I just want answers.

    I also believe that the recommendation of only 3 people could be very valuable, depending on who the 3 people are and their knowledge of the subject (the exact circumstances that elicited my question).

    Mr. Editor, can you shed any light on who Sustainable Watertown is? (at least the steering committee as the author hasn’t responded and Joseph Levendusky claims that there are other members beyond himself, Stephen Steadman and Barbara Ruskin but refuses to elaborate) and who funds them?


    • I don’t know who exactly is on the board of Sustainable Watertown. As far as funding, I don’t think they are funded by anyone, except their own member’s donations.
      I think the group formed when Walmart was trying to come into Watertown on Arsenal Street and members will give input on development in town and other issues in town.
      Last year they hosted a pair of debates for the Town Council candidates.

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