The IdeaBlog

Welcome to the Ken Parker for Mayor of Newton IdeaBlog!  In 2008 over 100 people came together with Alderman Ken Parker and prepared an exciting plan for our city called A Blueprint for Newton's Future.  Together, they have proposed innovative, creative ways to address our financial challenges, reinvent local government in Newton for the 21st century and restore excellence to our wonderful community. 

Here on the IdeaBlog we will be highlighting their ideas and welcoming your input--so have a look and let us know your thoughts!


We Have a Great Plan--Let's Implement!

Following an inclusive citywide effort, chaired by Newton resident and planner Philip B. Herr, Newton's current Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the Board of Aldermen in November, 2007.  The Plan contains a host of great ideas to guide the development of our community in coming years. 

However, the plan is only as useful as we make it.  A Parker Administration will quickly move to integrate the principles of the Comprehensive Plan.  By January 1, 2011, A Parker Administration will submit proposed ordinance amendments to the Board of Aldermen that are designed to incorporate the principles of the Comprehensive Plan into our zoning ordinances and other local laws.  To learn more, click here.


How About Smooth Streets, For Starters?

There's no disputing that in recent years the ride around Newton via car or bike has become a little bumpy.  When you hit a pothole, you grimace and grumble at what might seem like a minor annoyance and and fact of life in a city.  In fact, bad streets are a serious problem. 

Smooth, well-maintained streets have a positive effect on quality of life, increase property values, increase bike safety and reduce fuel consumption. Preventive maintenance of streets reduces the need for expensive street reconstruction, lowering the overall cost of maintaining roadways while improving the quality of road surfaces.  Click here to learn more about how Ken Parker will address the issue of poorly maintained streets in Newton, and let us know your thoughts!


Better Budgeting

When money is tight, should we cut revenue-generating positions like parking control officers?  Defer building improvements that save money?  Delay hiring a CFO to increase investment returns?  Probably not.  Yet Newton's current budget process is blind to the true cost of providing a service, to the long-term consequences of budgetary decisions, or to correlations between expenses and related revenue-generation and cost-savings.  There's a great deal we can do to improve the process,and as a result improve Newton's fiscal health.  To learn more about Ken's plan for budgeting, please click here.


Now That School's Out, Let's Think About The School Day

Centuries ago, agrarian work shaped life for families throughout the United States. The Newton Public Schools operate on a schedule that evolved based on the needs of an agrarian society and that has not been significantly updated in centuries, let alone to accommodate recent changes in work patterns and to take advantage of modern technology. 

By re-examining our assumptions about when school should be in session and what educational activities can take place outside of the formal school day, we can make better use of education resources and help all of our students to succeed.  Newton has the opportunity to work with other interested Massachusetts communities to study the school day and to research best practices in ELT.  There is a great deal going on in this area, and Newton should help lead the way.  To learn more, please click here.


Recognize Excellence, Improve Productivity

When you enter City Hall you might notice several plaques recognizing City employees who have received one of to awards, "The Innovation Award" and "Employee of the Year".  What might be less noticeable, though, are the dates of the most recent awardees - 2000 and 2001 respectively.  Of course, over the last nine years there have been many great and innovative employees at City Hall.  What has stopped is the recognition. 

In order to get the results from our government that are consistent with the expectations and values of Newton residents, we need to create an atmosphere in which everyone takes pride in their work and knows that they are making a real difference.  If we do this, our city will perform much more efficiently.  To learn more about Ken Parkers plan for improving morale and productivity at City Hall, please click here.