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!


Writing Our Own Future: Grants in Newton

President Obama's national stimulus package has led many to wonder: how is Newton positioned to receive federal and state grant monies?  In recent years, while other nearby cities have secured substantial federal and state funding, Newton has fallen behind, lacking the staff resources to prepare and submit successful grant applications. That leaves us with a great opportunity; by improving these resources, our city's financial situation can improve, and important projects can move forward.  To read more, please click here and let us know your thoughts.


"Be Prepared"

With Swine Flu dominating news headlines, and public health agencies around the world carefully monitoring a serious disease outbreak, we are reminded that Newton should always be prepared for emergencies in advance. Currently, our city is not as prepared as we should be to respond to a natural disaster, terrorist attack, disease outbreak, or other emergency.

We should develop and promulgate an emergency response and communication plan with the following components: clear lines of communication, pre-positioning of emergency supplies and medicines in strategic locations throughout the city, and planned evacuation routes in case a portion of the city is not safe.  To learn more, please click here.

Also, for a fact sheet on the Swine Flu, please click here.


Shrinking Newton's Environmental Footprint

With the 40th Earth Day at hand, many Newton residents are wondering what our city can do to reduce it's environmental footprint. As one step forward, we should have an easy way to measure and track our carbon footprint. Alderman Parker has already proposed NewtonStat to measure the efficacy of city services. Why not EnviroStat to measure our environmental performance?

In a column in the April 21 Newton TAB, Alderman Parker outlines an innovative way for our city to take concrete steps to improve our environmental performance. To learn more about how this will happen, please click here.


Stopping Deforestation....In Newton?

Our urban forest provides countless benefits to the residents of Newton, as well as its many visitors and guests. It's also an asset valued at $64 million; our family of 33,000 trees should not be neglected by the Garden City. Yet, because of aging trees, slowed planting, environmental pressures, budget cuts and a lack of good policy, we are losing about 400 trees per year.

As Mayor, Ken Parker will work with the Parks and Recreation Department, the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Urban Tree Commission, the Planning Department, the Board of Aldermen, and interested citizens and community groups to develop a public tree management plan by January 1, 2011. To learn more, please click here.


75% Recycling by 2015?

For decades, Newton had been a leader in the recycling area.  However, in recent years, Newton’s recycling has declined from a high of 47% of waste recycled down to just 38% in 2006, the most recent year for which data are available.

In Newton we have a tremendous opportunity.  Due to the significant environmental and financial costs of waste disposal, efforts to reverse this trend will be cost-effective and achievable.  Even a 5% increase in recycling could save the City over $200,000 in trash collection fees and could generate $65,000 in receipts for the sale of recyclables. We propose that Newton set a goal of achieving a 75% recycling rate by the year 2015, a rate which will have a meaningful impact on our environment and budget, and make Newton residents proud.  To learn more, please click here.