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Residents Begin Drafting a Blueprint for Newton's Future

Yesterday our subcommittees on Financial Management, Environment and Sustainable Development met to begin planning for Newton's future.  We had a great turnout--many thanks to all those who attended--and a very lively and engaging discussion.  This is the start of a process which will result in a detailed plan for improving our City government and addressing some of the challenges we face today.  If you were not able to attend yesterday, please stay tuned as the subcommittees will continue to meet over the summer.  If this is the first you've heard of this effort and you would like to sign on, please get in touch!  The full press release about yesterday's meeting is below.


Monday, June 2, 2008, Newton, MAChange has officially commenced in Newton. On Sunday, June 1st, dozens of members of the Ken Parker for Newton Mayor 2009 Exploratory Committee gathered at the Boys and Girls Club in Newton to brainstorm and lay the foundation for a plan to restore Newton’s excellence. Meeting as three subcommittees—Financial Management; Environment and Sustainable Development; and Education—residents began to take an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities faced by City government. Their goal— to develop a blueprint for Newton’s future.

The Financial Management Subcommittee is chaired by Todd Krasnow, an entrepreneur who helped to start a number of locally-based businesses, including Staples and who is currently with Highland Capital, a venture capital firm based in Lexington, MA. Mr. Krasnow led the group’s discussion about improving management of the City and its finances.

“Thanks to Ken’s commitment to open, collaborative government we have a real opportunity to work together to address some of the City’s financial and management challenges,” said Krasnow, “I’m glad to facilitate this important discussion.”

Newton Alderman George Mansfield is chairing the Environment and Sustainable Development Subcommittee. His group’s discussion addressed pressing issues relating to the quality of life in Newton, including protecting the residential character of Newton’s neighborhoods, planning for environmentally-sustainable development and improving public transportation and other safe and efficient modes of mobility.

"I'm pleased to facilitate and expand this important discussion with residents about maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in our city,” said Alderman Mansfield, whose subcommittee members are focused on keeping “Newton a wonderful place to live and raise a family.”

Parent activist Lucia Dolan and former School Committee member Leslie Schneider are serving as co-chairs of the Education Subcommittee. Their group, which includes Newton North High School student representative to the School Committee, Ben Miller, began to explore areas of excellence for teachers and students and growing programs like the Daytimer, which require administrative support to flourish.

“I am excited to be working with Ken because I know he is a strong supporter of neighborhood schools and of excellence in Newton schools, said Dolan. “Neighborhood schools are great for children and help build the communities that make Newton a wonderful place to live. I know Ken would work to provide the support they need.”

Throughout the lively evening session Alderman Ken Parker, an entrepreneur and experienced business strategist himself in addition to his local government work, served as a resource for participants as they put their creative minds to work for Newton’s future.

“We have a talented and knowledgeable group of people developing an exciting plan to make Newton’s government work better,” said Parker. “It’s a privilege to work with this dedicated group of volunteers on improving our local government. I look forward to hearing from more and more Newton residents as we move ahead with this process.”

Newton residents interested in participating in this initiative should get in touch with Shawn P. Fitzgibbons, the Field Director of the Ken Parker for Newton Mayor 2009 Exploratory Committee. Shawn can be reached at shawn@parker2009.org or (617) 997-2577. For more information on this effort, please visit www.Parker2009.org.