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. He believes in the core elements of democracy with every fiber of is being and he shows it in his work for us. For the last two years, he has lead the charge on an important deep dive into the issues surrounding affordable housing in Watertown and in the effort to better communicate the inner workings of our town government to each and every person: ‘Palomba-ism’ at its best. He’s been a regular participant in public transit advocacy group meetings (a shuttle bus supporter from the start) and progressive initiatives towards complete streets and the decarbonization of our community and where he doesn’t have his own expertise in things, he always knows where to look for help.

My last endorsement is for our popular progressive activist Caroline Bays.  Caroline has made great strides in her first year and promises to be an impactful leader in this next term. She the only candidate that has expressed her support for a close examination of what consultants and staff are telling us about parking minimums and that is almost enough to win my support on its own.  Aside from that, she has shared good ideas for our upcoming charter review, for funding the TMA shuttle, for more affordable housing and she has also shown an interest in looking a little more closely at our sexual harassment policies in the administration which has been an area of some concern for many. She believes in helping the underdogs in the world and I am investing my third At-Large Councilor vote in her for these reasons.

There’s a fourth seat up for grabs. While I’ve been able to narrowed things down a little on this one, its still not a clear-cut choice for me on where to spend this vote.  Each candidate has brought some good policy ideas and so I’m thinking now about their abilities to work effectively to implement them and to commit to the hard grind of a busy two-year term. That’s a harder call and  is more up to us all as individuals to consider. 

I encourage you to weigh the same factors as you make this important choice.  
See you on Tuesday!


Aaron Dushku

Former Town Councilor At Large

Garfield Street

6 thoughts on “LETTER: Former Councilor Announces His Endorsements for 2019 Election

  1. ” ..and she has also shown an interest in looking a little more closely at our sexual harassment policies in the administration which has been an area of some concern for many”

    This is news to me. Where is the sexual harassment happening? Residents should be made aware of this.

    The bigger problem for me is that if we keep electing people that have been in office, some for longer than others, then we will keep getting the same outcome as a town in terms of growth, addressing issues, etc. One main complaint that is heard throughout town is the overbuilding of the town. I certainly would be reluctant to keep putting the same faces back on the TC, especially since I feel very strongly that we, the town, are heading in a lousy direction as a town.

    I would also want someone who understands more about our public education and is more of an advocate. All this talk about building a shiny new building but very little talk about addressing the many problems that exist within the four walls of our school. A new, very expensive, building alone is not going to solve the many problems that exist in our schools. Our public schools have never had the reputation of even being “average”. All rankings put us below average, especially troubling considering we are surrounded by towns/cities in the top half of those rankings. I don’t want any more candidates that don’t understand the many failures of our public education. Voters may not be so willing to pay more in taxes for a new school if they think drastic changes won’t be made.

    I think it is time to add some new faces on the TC. Jimmy M, Michelle C, and John G, all seem interesting and quite capable and it may be time to get some fresh ideas and perspectives.

  2. Thanks, Aaron. Couldn’t agree more with you and with the Watertown Parent who posted before me. What isn’t working in Watertown should be looked at in the upcoming Charter Review. Perhaps it’s time the “this is the way we’ve always done it” attitude isn’t the way it should be done anymore…. just sayin’. I’d also like to see people who are not native Watertonians, who have only lived here say 5, 10 or 20 years, get appointed to commissions by the town. Folks who have lived elsewhere may have some ideas worth considering.

  3. I agree with Rena about the importance of the Charter Review. If you are not happy with some of the outcomes that the town has experienced, particularly in the realm of development and transportation, it has as much to do to our form of government as it has with the people sitting on the Council. There is too much power vested in staff who are not held accountable to the citizenry (that is, the people who pay their salaries).

    We need a new form of government that will be more responsive to the citizens and that will fight for them and their best interests. We need a government that will provide vision for the future that staff would be charged with implementing, rather than themselves making policy in de facto fashion.

    There is not enough listening going on. At times it seem like those who work at 149 Main
    Street feel that their judgement supersedes that of the voters and the taxpayers, who are too unsophisticated to understand the issues facing our town. But rather it is the residents of Watertown who can see, for instance, when traffic studies are biased to avoid upsetting the developer who paid for them.

    The Charter Review is our chance to fix what isn’t working for the residents of Watertown. There are no magic bullets as the challenges that are facing our town are complex and powerful. But we must be able to do better than we have been. If we cannot, then Watertown will be vastly changed for the worse in ten or fifteen years.

    Incumbents, if you win on Tuesday, do not take that as a message that Watertown voters are content with business as usual. Many of you are running unopposed, which I believe has been a negative factor. A vigorous and refreshing debate taking place every two years would do much to fight the staleness that is hanging over us.

  4. At one time I could have backed either of those candidates, however, as long as any of them continue their support for the Mt. Auburn St project, I can not, and will not be voting for ANY of them. For myself, the Mt. Auburn St. nonsense is the deal breaker.
    I find it frustrating and unacceptable that these 3 (along with John Gannon and Jimmy Mello ), would get behind a project that will only disrupt and threaten the quality of life in our community.

    With that in mind, I will gladly be casting my vote for Clyde Younger; a candidate that acknowledges this boondoggle for what it is, and Michelle Cokonougher who at least has some doubts and uncertainties about the project.

  5. Too bad she had to try to ruin the last swear in ceremony by taking a knee during the pledge of allegiance or national anthem. That remains in the minds of many people who are proud of our country and aren’t happy with those who give the impression they are not. I would not endorse her.

  6. I have tried very hard to give my vote to any one of them and I cannot. I will not vote for any of them. I will pass on this election.

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