Our Support on the TAB Letters Page

August 25, 2009

Parker will make Newton a city of “firsts”

Imagine Newton becoming the first city in the nation to have zero waste water. It may sound far fetched, but in my business, and in my Newton home, it’s a possibility that’s within reach.I have spent my career developing advanced ecological water solutions for governments and companies around the globe, and I know we can do this in Newton.

One of the ways to bring about such exciting possibilities locally is by electing leaders with the vision, skills and leadership style to embrace and implement new and innovative ideas. I have decided to support Ken Parker for mayor of Newton. I have devoted my life to improving water efficiency and pollution prevention, and I have no doubt that Ken is the type of leader who will work hard to represent my ideas effectively at City Hall. I also know that he is also focused on improving management and addressing financial challenges to allow the city to adapt, innovate and change.

To meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century, our city government should be racing to get ahead of the curve in its use and reuse of water, and its approach to pollution control. On Sept. 15, please cast your vote for Ken Parker for mayor.

David Del Porto
Ward Street


Parker: An opportunity to elect a great mayor

This fall, Newton has the opportunity to elect a mayor who will not hide behind a spokesperson. We have the opportunity to elect someone who is interested and devoted enough to his current role as a Newton alderman that he lists his phone number and email on his columns in the TAB so that anyone in this city can contact him about any issue.We have an opportunity to elect someone who has gained experience dealing with the current issues facing Newton as an alderman for the past 18 years.This person is Ken Parker.

Ken is someone who I met to help our neighborhood with a local traffic issue. Ken has proven to be approachable, friendly, helpful and resourceful to the people in our neighborhood on traffic and other issues. On citywide issues, Ken has proven that he is not afraid to approach and deal with whoever will help him solve a problem that faces Newton residents.Ken is also not afraid to promote ideas that will benefit Newton in the future such as Wi-Fi and community preservation.

I would like to know that the next mayor of Newton is someone who I can contact at any time with any problem and know that I will be treated with respect.I would like to know that the next mayor of Newton is someone who is well versed and experienced dealing with the current issues facing Newton.I would like to know that the next mayor of Newton has an ability to help any member of the Newton community whether that person is a resident, business owner, public servant, or visitor.In short, I would like to see Ken Parker become the next mayor of Newton because he is most qualified for the position.

Jeff Goldman
Herrick Road


Parker’s 18 years on the board have been ‘extremely productive’

As a long-serving alderman, I am concerned that the TAB’s profile of Ken Parker (Aug. 19) used the board’s records in a misleading way that made Ken appear to be ineffective. This is far from the truth, and Ken’s record in taking initiatives and getting results on the Board is not reflected in the matters he has docketed, or has been invited to co-sponsor, when measured in this way.If a similar analysis were applied to any alderman who regularly dockets items, most of us would have as many pending action or voted No Action Necessary (NAN) as does Ken.

Unfortunately, the article did not explain why the majority of items docketed by aldermen are held in committee or voted NAN, unlike the mayor’s requests for appropriations and appointments which are voted up or down.In fact, NAN usually signifies a successful outcome, since many items we file are for discussion, investigation, or a department head’s report.These goals are achieved in committee, the members are satisfied, and they recommend NAN to the Board.

Other items are held for a variety of reasons, to resolve questions, explore options, get a legal opinion, etc.Holding is not a tactic to kill an idea, but rather to develop it.

If the article had explored Ken’s results in passing measures he sponsored such as the smoke-free Newton or light pollution ordinances, or important budget resolutions (which don’t carry docket numbers), or zoning changes such as the Floor Area Ratio relief granted two weeks ago, or CPA open space and historical preservation initiatives like the Crystal Lake and Angino Farm purchases, the story would have been quite different.In fact, Ken’s 18 years on the board have been extremely productive.Vote on Sept. 15 to let Ken apply that productivity in the mayor’s office.

George Mansfield
Alderman, Ward 6

August 18, 2009

The TAB needs to apologize

I agree with Barbara John, vice chairman of the Ward 6 Democratic Committee. You owe Ken Parker an apology. Your July 29th article did quote negative statements from his ex-employer in the headline, but only if one had time to read the whole article did you learn that he was often 10 minutes late in the morning but stayed until 9 p.m. I have employed people in a doctor’s office and the only times that I was that strict about arrival times was in the case of the receptionists because you can’t have patients’ calls unanswered.

You had an editorial comment the next week that did not apologize but had vague self-congratulatory statements that once you uncovered this statement about lateness you had to share it with the community. Now, I open the Aug. 12 TAB and see the ridiculous cartoon on the opinion page.

Ken Parker’s most characteristic trait is that he is an incredibly hard worker. The idea that you would take a negative statement from an employer and build it up to this level amounts to a smear campaign. I don’t agree with your self-assessment of objectivity, and I think that you should assess again and publish an editorial that admits that things got out of hand. This will not repair the damage you have already done. I read the TAB every week but from sodden piles in neighbors’ driveways, I know that not everyone does. Many people often flip through without completing the article. The cartoon especially has probably been very damaging. I have always respected the TAB but I am ashamed for you to have done this kind of dirty-tricks distortion reporting.

Judith Mannix
Winchester Street


Why I support Ken Parker for Mayor

As a former alderman, a long time city activist, a parent and a teacher in our city, I’ve had the privilege to work with several of the current mayoral candidates. I feel that I know the candidates, their beliefs, and their abilities to deliver on those beliefs quite well. We are blessed with a number of good candidates, but I believe we have one who stands out in the crowd. I am supporting Ken Parker. Here is why:

Ken is extremely knowledgeable about complex city issues. He is an excellent listener with skilled friends and advisors, and he is willing to actively seek additional input when needed. Ken does not rush to judgment; he is thoughtful and analytical. Ken has the courage to admit mistakes rather than covering his tracks like many elected officials. Ken is tireless, and he is an effective team player. Most of all, Ken is unafraid to tell the truth, to take tough stands, and at times, to stand alone. Consider the boondoggle that is the current construction of Newton North High School, where anyone who dared question the plan was vilified as anti-schools. Yet it was Ken Parker who repeatedly stood alone, questioning the design selection, the cost and the financing in the absence of a debt-exclusion.

With Newton facing difficult times, we need a leader like Ken Parker. Please cast your vote for him on Sept. 15.

Linda Jordan Kraus
Walnut Street


Walnut Street

August 11, 2009
Parker can manage mayorship

City government is a business, one that provides a schedule of services in return for taxes and fees. It is unfortunate that the process of selecting a mayor/city manager is political because political experience and even fidelity to a particular political ideology are not indicators of managerial effectiveness. In fact, political ideology often gets in the way of managing.

I support Ken Parker for mayor/city manager of Newton. I don’t agree with him on every issue. As others, I occasionally find him irritating. Nonetheless, I think that, among the current candidates, he is most likely to be an effective mayor/city manager. Here’s why:
Ken is a businessman. Business has always been his sole means of support. In his current entrepreneurial role, he has no choice but to deliver a quality product at a reasonable price. Otherwise, he doesn’t make a sale.

Ken is accessible. He is on the street. He answers his own phone. He will listen to what you have to say (and may disagree). But in every instance, you will get a lecture on any issue you raise (based on his 17 years experience as a Newton alderman), and his analysis will be intelligent even though it may have led him to a different conclusion than yours.
Ken has been preparing himself for the job of managing Newton for over a year and a half. He has amassed an incredibly talented group of advisors in finance, administration, and education, the three major issue areas facing our city. He has spent countless evenings talking with people in the neighborhoods in order to learn, to sell himself, and to begin negotiating solutions to Newton’s problems.
Newton is not an “Our Town.” It is not enough for our mayor to show up at public events. We need an effective city manager.

Jim Noon
Newton Centre

Parker is ready to lead Newton
I love to swim at Crystal Lake, which is right near my house in Newton Highlands. Indeed, this activity has been a favorite of mine since I was little. It is also a favorite of my parents and grandparents who live nearby.

The recent improvements at Crystal Lake serve as a reminder as to why Alderman Ken Parker should be our next mayor; he delivers amazing results on issues that matter to Newton residents. Whether it is on city finances, management or public recreation, Ken can be counted on to do the right thing for Newton. At a time when our government is in need of reform and faces difficult financial challenges, there is no doubt that Ken Parker is the right person to lead Newton. Please cast your vote for Ken Parker on Sept. 15.

Nathaniel Lichtin
Pine Crest Road

Parker is hardworking and knowledgeable
As a member of the Newton Centre Task Force, I am writing in wholehearted support of Ken Parker for mayor of Newton.

The task force meetings were contentious and often frustrating and troubling to those few of us who served on it as neighborhood residents. Ken listened to our concerns. He attended several meetings, gave us reassurance and advice, and offered solid data to back up our positions.

Although the task force held monthly meetings for over a year, including public information sessions, I do not recall any of the other mayoral candidates attending these events where issues of such vital concern to our community were discussed, let alone taking an active role in urging us toward a reasonable consensus as Ken did.

I hope that those who care about Newton’s future, and who want a hardworking, knowledgeable mayor with a well-thought-out plan for getting us there, will join me in voting for Ken Parker.

Amanda Heller
Pelham Street

August 4, 2009

The real Ken Parker

I know all the aldermen and former aldermen who are running for mayor. As alderman-at-large from 1991 to 2004, I was honored to serve with them (and, by the way, have not endorsed any candidate).

But in your July 29 news stories and editorial, I could barely recognize one candidate — Ken Parker. The picture you construct of Ken is completely at odds with the Ken Parker I knew during my time on the Board of Aldermen. During the time we served together on the board, Ken and I differed on fundamental issues. But we worked together effectively and amicably, acknowledging our differences and our common ground, too. (When I was stepping off the board, Ken and I docketed together, among other things, an item seeking to create a WiFi coverage program for Newton). In all that time, Ken remained what he is: passionate, ambitious, deeply interested in the fine print (where the problems are), trustworthy and imaginative.

Robert Gerst Former alderman at-large Ward 1    

Unfair business

News flash: Some people don’t get along with their boss, especially if their ideas might be better than the boss’s! The TAB has done a great disservice to the people of Newton by devoting a headlined article and negatively slanted editorial about Ken Parker to the comments of a hostile former boss and his allies, particularly since Alderman Parker now runs a successful competing business. The Parker campaign should be judged on the strength of its meticulously researched and clearly defined policy proposals. Openness to diverse opinions has been at the core of the Parker campaign, and a synthesis of those opinions forms the cornerstone of Alderman Parker’s campaign platform. As one of his constituents for many years, I have always found Ken Parker to be unusually receptive, responsive and reliable.  

Arthur Tischler Lakewood Road  

Parker would be a responsible Newton mayor

grew up in Newton and still follow news from my old home town-as my sister and father still live there. I understand that Ken Parker is running for mayor of Newton, and I’m writing to recommend Ken as an excellent candidate. I know Ken well because I worked with him professionally for more than two years at WorldTrade Executive, where I served as the marketing director while Ken was the director of operations. I had a very strong working relationship with Ken, whom I found to be personable, hard-working and reliable. I was impressed that Ken took on a great deal of responsibility at a relatively young age and that he handled a difficult work environment with poise and professionalism. Our boss would often throw multiple projects Ken’s way. Somehow, Ken managed to stay on top of the latest “urgent” priority while still taking care of other issues that were essential to the operation of the company. In addition to hard work and dedication, Ken has another thing going for him: he is not afraid to speak truth to power. When Ken saw something that needed to be fixed or changed, he was not afraid to say so, even when it would have be easier not to speak up. He not only had great ideas to improve the company’s bottom line, he followed through and made things happen. If you want a mayor with great ideas who will not just talk a great game but actually accomplish great things for Newton, then you should give Ken Parker serious consideration.  

David Kagan Spring Lane  

‘The Ken Parker I know’

Newton Alderman Ken Parker is a paragon of cooperation and makes a virtue out of bringing disparate voices together to create a common ground that will ultimately be best for the city. As an example, over the last year he led a 100-plus person committee of Newton citizens to create his “Blueprint for Newton’s Future.” That incredible document is not merely the fruit of Alderman Parker’s tireless laboring, but the product of a wide breadth of Newtonites committed to change and the betterment of our city. It is also a testament to Alderman Parker’s ability to bring people together under one banner and create real results. The Ken Parker I know is continuously excited at the fresh opportunities he is afforded every day to meet new people and hear their stories and ideas. The Ken Parker I know is a leader. He has consistently impressed me and everyone around him with his cool head and his innovative spirit. He has, time and time again, demonstrated the maturity to marshal the forces of what has grown into a campaign of hundreds of volunteers and supporters and guide them towards running the best-run campaign this City has seen for a very long time. He has reached out to businesses and schools, across village centers and city corners, and impressed upon all those who will listen to him his maturity, his common sense, and his love of Newton and all those housed within its borders. He will make a great mayor.  

Paul Jones Bonmar Circle  

The mayoral race: time to prioritize

They’re all smart, personable people. Ken Parker is the only forward-looking candidate who knows how to run this city. No period of on-the-job training.  


Don Quinn Langley Road

July 24, 2009

Parker Focused on Results

This week, I read in the Boston Globe that Alderman Ken Parker is asking Mayor David Cohen to start fixing our schools right away. I applaud Ken for his leadership on this issue, and so many others that matter to Newton residents. Of all the candidates for Mayor, Ken Parker is the one who impresses me the most. He’s always quick to identify problems, and he thinks creatively and works well with others to find and implement solutions. Over the years, he has developed an impressive track record of success. Ken is clearly dedicated to good city government, and he will serve us well as mayor. I hope Newton residents will join me in voting for Ken Parker on Sept. 15.

Linda Klein, Newton Highlands

June 24, 2009

Ken Parker can turn Newton around

I enjoyed Ken Parker’s recent column in the TAB about “lessons learned” from the Newton North High School project. He’s right! By being more open, taking the time to listen, and improving planning, there are many things our city could do better, from building a new high school, to taking better care of our streets and parks, to restoring trust in our government. For our community to benefit from these lessons learned, we must elect new leadership at City Hall. Ken Parker has years of experience, he has achieved great results as an alderman, and he is open, honest and optimistic. He is just the type of person who can turn things around for Newton!

Ruth Dubrow Walnut Street

June 16, 2009

Please join me in voting for Alderman Ken Parker for mayor

Over the years, I have watched Ken Parker grow up in office. He has been an inspiration to my family and me with his ability to learn, change and communicate. Ken is willing to talk to anyone at anytime about any issue, whether he agrees or not. He has constant energy and enthusiasm. Ken has the ability to identify effective leaders, is inclusive with decision-making and is very effective at delegating responsibility to others. I know that he will bring all those positive qualities and more to the mayor’s office if elected in November.

I first got to know Ken when he tirelessly led the effort to successfully pass the smoke-free Newton ordinance in 1993, which was very significant at that time. Recently, he was successful in leading the effort to expand Crystal Lake. Ken has also been a leader in fiscal responsibility by supporting Canadian drug importation, expanding the recycling program, and encouraging smarter investment strategies.

Ken Parker is a person I trust to invest the dollars we, as Newton taxpayers, send to city hall. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a thoughtful and seasoned (18 years on the Board of Aldermen) leader who will make our city proud as mayor.Please join me in voting for Alderman Parker for mayor of Newton in September and then again in November.

Mark S. Trachtenberg Moulton Street

June 2, 2009

Ken Parker’s city knowledge is ‘encyclopedic’

I agree with Bobby Jones of Bonmar Circle that Kenny Parker is the most energetic, most creative, and most passionate candidate for mayor, and his knowledge of the city is encyclopedic! I urge the citizens of Newton to consider his candidacy for mayor and to vote for him this fall. We desperately need his ideas and his compassion.

Jack Nusan Porter Walnut Street

Ken Parker is mayor-ready

I’ve been spending some time with Ken Parker in the last few months, and each time have become more impressed with him as a candidate for mayor. For example, I was sitting in a group of volunteers helping with the stimulus fund grants. Multiple questions would arise and each time Ken would pull out his phone, call the appropriate person and receive answers in minutes. This demonstrates that Ken will be ready on his first day of office already having the ability to effectively solve our problems in a timely manner. And because he truly wants our city employees to take pride in their jobs and deliver their best, has the unique ability to engage hundreds of volunteers to work hard, and has already identified our city’s problems and the best solutions, Ken Parker is what Newton needs now — a mayor ready on day one!

Lisa Ganley-Leal Newton Centre

May 27, 2009

A Mayor Parker will make Newton proud

Last week the four candidates for mayor participated in a debate hosted by the Newton GOP. It was very well attended and organized. I appreciated the moderator’s efforts to get clear, meaningful responses from all candidates.

For me, Ken Parker was the clear standout. He is a very talented individual with such energy and passion for the details of running a municipality. In addition, Ken has a strong track record of success as an alderman. There is no doubt a Mayor Parker will make Newton proud for years to come.

Bobby Jones Bonmar Circle

May 20, 2009

Ken Parker’s leadership instills confidence

Right now, Newton’s elected leaders are wrestling with decisions about next year’s budget. It’s not an easy conversation, I am sure. Times are tough and there are many competing priorities. As a resident, I count on my elected officials to make realistic, apolitical assessments of the lay of the land and propose practical, common-sense solutions to get us through these tough times.

Not everyone can do this well, but there is one person who for me really instills confidence, and that is Ken Parker. Over the last few weeks Alderman Parker has pushed back against the mayor’s pay raises for top staff, fought to avoid layoffs of city employees, and sought to prevent a dramatic hike in our water and sewer rates. For years, Ken Parker has impressed me with his eye for the sensible solution and his ability to achieve results. I am glad he is running for mayor, and I hope all Newton residents will support him. Ken can make real improvements for our government and the Newtonites it serves.

Kathleen Heitman Saw Mill Brook Parkway

May 6, 2009

Parker offers concrete solutions

Whether Ken Parker has taken the time to write an op/ed for the TAB, as he did last week suggesting the inclusion of citywide environmental metrics into any broader city performance management system, or gone on WBZ as he did today to oppose pay hikes for Mayor Cohen’s top staff, Ken seems to be the only candidate who is consistently making concrete proposals to tackle the management issues facing Newton, without wasting taxpayer dollars. Ken’s solutions are both straightforward and forward-looking — the kind of leadership that Newton needs. I think he’ll make a great mayor of Newton.

Joshua Davidson Pine Crest Road

Parker is in the know

I went to the transportation forum for the Newton mayoral candidates last week, and found the majority of the candidates to be very charming. However, charm alone does not run a city. Unfortunately, a few of the candidates were uninformed about the issues that were being discussed. However, one candidate was outstandingly knowledgeable, and that was Ken Parker.

Not only was he armed with factual information, but he took very progressive positions on the issues. For instance, he supports having bike paths on streets throughout the city to encourage Newtonites to save gas and get exercise, but he fully realizes that some streets are too narrow and crowded to allow such paths. He realizes that you have to match environmental needs with practical needs for a plan to be viable.

Although some of the other mayoral candidates are attractive and interesting, Ken is the one who possesses a profound understanding of Newton.

Barbara John, Boylston St

April 22, 2009

In support of honesty and transparency in the mayor’s office

I attended the April 13 School Committee meeting at which Mayor Cohen attempted to cut the school budget by a million dollars, then give it back, and then tell School Committee Chair Marc Laredo he would settle it all in a private meeting with him the next day. It was such a perfect example of the kind of dishonestly, obfuscation, and shell gaming that I am sick and tired of from this city’s political leadership. I want our next mayor to be honest with the citizens about our fiscal situation, and to provide leadership in terms of solving our problems. I am supporting Ken Parker for mayor because I think he stands out from the pack in terms of having those qualities.

Emily Norton Newtonville

April 15, 2009

Ken Parker: An artful candidate for mayor

I usually classify local political events as pretty dull and suffer through them as part of my civic duty. However, last night I actually had a delightful evening when I attended the opening of Ken Parker’s mayoral campaign headquarters. It was a fantastic event! Thanks to the help and generosity of scores of Newton residents, the office is beautiful.

It was heartwarming to see so many residents come together with loans of furniture, food and ideas to give this local campaign a truly professional headquarters. What impressed me most was the use of the space both as a campaign office and a place to support Newton artists. There were more than 20 amazing works on display by local painters, photographers and architects, which will continue to rotate over the course of the campaign. The talent in this city never ceases to amaze and inspire me!

I want to thank Ken for creating a headquarters that is a tribute to the citizens of Newton. It truly shows his pride in this city. Ken’s commitment to engaging the people of Newton in a meaningful, creative and innovative way is constantly impressive. If you are interested in a mayor who will think outside the box and maintain our community’s legacy of excellence, please support Ken Parker this fall.

Kate Wissel, Homer Street


We all win with Parker as mayor

I have heard the candidates discuss the many problems facing Newton. It is quite clear that Ken Parker is the only truly qualified candidate who understands all of the complexities facing the City. Let’s not underestimate Ken’s years as a Newton alderman and his thorough knowledge of the inner workings of the city. He’s experienced, smart, energetic, focused, enthusiastic and he listens attentively to the concerns of the constituents. Ken has all the leadership qualities that Newton deserves. We will all win by having Ken Parker as the next mayor of this great city!

Jane M. Tardif Brooks Avenue

March 11, 2009

Vote for Ken Parker

The national economic scene continues to remind us why our upcoming citywide election is so important. Michael Slater is right in saying we need to choose especially carefully this fall when we cast our vote for mayor.

In my view, one candidate already stands out above the others. Ken Parker has the knowledge of the operations of city government, and has been putting forward detailed plans to guide us through tough times. I believe he will do a great job as our city’s executive office.

Mark Friedman Hyde Street

February 11, 2009

Avoid layoffs, service reductions with a pay freeze

I think Ken Parker is right on with his call for a one-year moratorium on Cost of Living Adjustment salary increases. Even in the best of times, Newton spends more than it receives in revenues — and these are not good times. I hope that especially the school committee, which is now beginning the process of negotiating the next teacher contract, takes this to heart. As a parent I am especially concerned that if we offer more money in salary and benefits than we can afford, the result will be teacher layoffs, which are bad for both teachers and students.

Emily Norton, Prescott Street

January 28, 2009

Parker’s policy and passion

In his recent TAB article (“Tough Choices for Garden City”) the Citizens Advisory Group chairman, Malcolm Salter, states that Newton needs a mayor with a strong passion for the intricate details of public administration and “experience in capital planning”. I agree, and I therefore support Alderman Ken Parker’s candidacy for Newton mayor. Ken is just the leader Mr. Salter describes. It is rare to find a politician who shows comparable excitement about, and in-depth knowledge of, the ins and outs building maintenance, pothole patching and recycling, together with deep understanding of the mechanisms that make City Hall work.

Arthur Tischler, Lakewood Road