Watch the Common Ground Eighth Anniversary Special on the Web

If you haven't caught the June episode of Common Ground yet, time is running out to see it, since we did a new show last Thursday.  The June show was an eighth anniversary special featuring Jeff Seideman and Alderman Vicki Danberg and includes some great (mostly true) stories from Vicki and Jeff and a surprise guest (in addition to our usual policy discussions.  Until the folks at NewTV upload the new show, the old one will continue to be available through the NewTV web site.

The new show features Aldermen Steve Linsky and Dick Blazar.  For two mild-mannered lawyers, it was interesting to see how passionately they disagreed over the issue of naming rights for spaces in public buildings.  That show is now being cablecast on NewTV's blue channel (Thursdays at 8PM and other times throughout the week) and will soon be up on the web.

Our next live show will be Thursday, August 9 at 8:00 PM.  It will feature an All-Star cast, including two Aldermen and a member of the School Committee.  We'll be talking budgets and maintenance and some other exciting stuff, so set your DVR if you'll be traveling then :-)

If you have ideas for topics and panelists for future shows, please email your ideas to me at  Should we discuss national issues like the Affordable Care Act and the Presidential Election?  Let me know what you think.


Ward 8 Candidates Advocate Radical Ideas

Winning the Ward 8 Aldermanic Debate from barbara John on Vimeo.

I just got a chance to watch the Ward 8 candidate debate that I moderated during the summer and was surprised by the bold (some would say rash) ideas being proposed by some of the candidates.  All three candidates demonstrated strong command of the issues and gave some thoughtful answers, but they also said a few things that might raise eyebrows.

Before you vote this Tuesday, you should watch this video to find out:

- Which Ward 8 candidate thinks the Community Preservation Act (CPA) has run its course in Newton and should be repealed?

- Which candidate thinks that the potential impact on school overcrowding should not be a consideration when the Board of Aldermen deliberates Special Permit applications for new housing developments?

- Which candidate wants to cut special education spending?

- Which candidate thinks that Mayor Warren's budget process is exactly the same as Mayor Cohen's?

You might be surprised by the answers. . .





Solve the federal budget deficit

The NY Times has published a fun interactive graphic that lets you do what Congress and the President have not been able to manage:  balancing the federal budget.

Try your hand at it:

Then email it to the candidates for U.S. Senate and ask them to fill it out.  Any that refuse to reveal their preferences don't deserve serious consideration.

Jun302011 please charge me sales tax

I love, but it is not fair to brick and mortar retailers that Amazon gets away with undercutting prices by avoiding sales tax.  Also, it reduces state tax revenue, forcing us to cut back services or pay more in other taxes and fees.  As a loyal Amazon customer, I ask you:  please start chargning me sales tax.