Bryan Barash for Newton City Council Ward 2

Priorities

Priorities

LEADING WITH OUR VALUES
• Becoming a More Fair & Just Society
• Supporting Our Growing Senior Population
• Transparency & Campaign Finance
• Economic Diversity

LONG-TERM VISION
•Thoughtful Planning & Development
•Affordable & Middle Income Housing
•Improving Public Transportation

 

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
•Thriving Small Businesses & village centers
•Fiscal Responsibility

EXCELLENT PUBLIC SCHOOLS & SERVICES
•Public Schools
•Public Services
•Mental Health & Addiction

 

Effective Communication and Respectful Constituent Services

Civility seems to be a lost art these days, but if we can’t start here at the local level in Newton, then where? Bryan pledges to treat every person, whether they’re a resident, small business owner, a city worker, or anyone else he interacts with as your City Councilor with the utmost respect and attention. Open communication is a crucial part of a City Councilor’s job. Bryan will be there to hear what’s on your mind, and to carry your needs and concerns to City Hall.

Bryan will benefit from his years of experience in the State Senate working to satisfy constituent concerns. He knows how city government works, how state government works, and which non-profits provide services in the area and across Massachusetts. He will be well suited to ensuring your needs are met. Bryan believes in providing a response as quickly as possible and will always be available by phone, text, or email. He will schedule regular office hours at a variety of days & times to fit the differing lifestyles and availability of the residents of Ward 2.

“While sometimes we may not see eye to eye, I will always listen and will always be your voice in city government” - Bryan

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We want to hear from you

info@bryanbarash.com

(617) 564-1622


Bryan with Holly Gunner, Seniors Advocate & Ward 2 resident

Bryan with Holly Gunner, Seniors Advocate & Ward 2 resident

Marching with Newton’s Congressman Joe Kennedy at Boston Pride

Marching with Newton’s Congressman Joe Kennedy at Boston Pride

Leading with Our Values

Becoming a More Fair & Just Society

Bryan’s deep commitment to civil rights comes from his life experiences - including his Jewish heritage, service on the Newton Human Rights Commission, work for LGBTQ+ rights and service on the board of the Bay State Stonewall Democrats, and work on gender equality in the State Senate.

Bryan was an early and loud supporter of Newton becoming a Welcoming City, and will continue to work to make our community more welcoming and inclusive as a City Councilor.

At a time when you can’t turn on the news or check Facebook without seeing another story about race, gender, or anti-semitic discrimination, we must look at what we can do to create positive community relations and ensure Newton is a welcoming community to all.

Unfortunately, a past history of racial segregation and housing discrimination, including the MassPike going through and destroying a historically black section of Newton, has created generational barriers to greater racial diversity. In order to move forward and embrace a more diverse future, we must recognize that greater racial diversity requires greater economic diversity, and create more opportunities for people of varying income levels to live in Newton.

Bryan is a huge supporter of Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ) and the work they have done in our schools and our community. We must fight against a rising tide of antisemitism and racism in Newton, speaking loudly and with one voice that those views are not welcome here. We must continue to support people of all abilities and people living with physical or mental disabilities, not just in our schools, but through adulthood. And we must continue to support immigrants living in our community, regardless of their immigration status.

Supporting Our Growing Senior Population

Becoming an age-friendly city must be a priority. Currently seniors make up 28% of our population, and that number is growing fast. Our community should embrace these changes by providing opportunities and services that allow our seniors to age in place, whether that means remaining in their family home or moving to alternative housing with single-floor living. We need to continue to make our public places, transportation, and housing more accessible for those who are mobility impaired. Bryan supports building a new Senior Center that is fitting of a city of our size and resources. It should be attractive and supportive to seniors of varying income levels and ability. And we need to be more thoughtful about the little things, like ensuring our crosswalk lights are adjusted to allow enough time for people who are mobility impaired to cross, and adequate accessible parking availability.

Transparency & Campaign Finance

Bryan is a strong advocate for transparency in government and campaign finances. When he first announced his candidacy, he committed to running a clean, positive, grassroots campaign. To that end, and because he is so concerned about the pernicious influence of money in politics at all levels, he is refusing contributions to his campaign from municipal lobbyists and developers.

However, he discovered that although Newton requires municipal lobbyists to register with the city, none have done so to date, and there are no penalties for not registering. Bryan supports enforcing this ordinance and putting in place penalties for those who fall within the law but do not register. We also need to make our government more transparent by requiring all votes taken by the city council to be available online in an easily understandable format. Right now, you have to go through each individual meeting, sometimes by listening to the audio, to understand how your representatives vote. We can do better.

Bryan has long advocated for better public notice for public hearings. Currently, public hearings at the City Council often last for many hours and the public rarely knows at which point in the meeting they will have their opportunity to speak. Bryan believes that public meeting notices should include specifics about when and under what terms the public can expect to have their voices heard. By improving our public process and improving access to information, we can make it easier for the people of Newton to be informed and engaged on issues that affect their lives.

Economic Diversity

Newton is a city with immense talent and potential, but also a city where affording the rent is becoming harder and harder each year. A city where — for too many in Massachusetts, too many people aging here in Newton, too many of our children and siblings who would like to join us here — the price of entry is just too high. Bryan is committed to helping implement policies that make our city not just welcoming to all socially, but also economically, so that we can preserve the diversity of backgrounds we have today and will remain a city that social workers, teachers, firefighters, police officers, our own city workers, and people from all walks of life can call home.


Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change

Climate change is an imminent threat to the planet that requires every community to contribute to a solution. We are already seeing the effects of climate change in extreme weather events around the globe. We have a responsibility to implement policies that encourage sustainable practices.

Bryan supports efforts to prepare for climate change resiliency and move the city towards net zero carbon emissions as quickly as possible. This can be accomplished by becoming greener, more walkable, more bikeable, with better public transit and with more options for the average person to live a less carbon-centric life.

Bryan strongly supports Mayor Ruthanne Fuller's decision to go to 60% renewable energy for residential energy customers through Newton Power Choice. His household has opted up to the 100% renewable energy option, and he will work to encourage greater adoption of this option.

He supports transportation policies that make it more convenient to rely on more environmentally friendly modes of transportation and leave the car at home. He also supports transit-oriented development and views the creation of more multifamily housing near village centers and public transportation as a critical tool in combating global climate change. Some studies have estimated that cities could cut their emissions by as much as a third based on improvements in housing alone.

Bryan knows the impact government can make on environmental sustainability first hand: He played a key role in developing nation-leading climate legislation that passed the Massachusetts Senate in 2018 and is an active member of Green Newton. Newton’s environmental advocacy community will have a strong ally with Bryan on the City Council.


Bryan with the late Rev. Howard Haywood, a lifetime affordable housing advocate and Ward 2 resident

Bryan with the late Rev. Howard Haywood, a lifetime affordable housing advocate and Ward 2 resident

Long-Term Vision for Our Neighborhood

Thoughtful Planning & Development

Bryan supports community-based, long-term planning that ensures that the city is in the driver's seat as we plan for community improvements in the decades to come. He supports initiatives such as Mayor Ruthanne Fuller's "Hello Washington Street," which has provided a convenient community-oriented visioning process to solicit feedback and ensure the city’s plans are reflective of its people and their values.

By planning ahead, we can ensure that we create housing opportunities for all Newton residents that fit the scale of our neighborhoods while ensuring Newton continues to remain economically diverse AND becomes more racially diverse. Bryan will evaluate development projects with a critical eye toward ensuring they bring the best possible benefits to the city. He will look to prioritize such benefits as positive environmental impact, additional affordable housing, green space, fitting the character of the surrounding neighborhood, new community space, improvements to the surrounding streets and sidewalks, positive impacts on transportation, and synergy with existing retail.

Bryan supports increasing our inclusionary zoning requirements so that new residential buildings must provide adequate options for a variety of income levels. He supports decreasing parking requirements by requiring more aggressive transportation management techniques, through which we can ensure that new residents are relying less on cars as their primary transportation method. By doing so, we can reduce the impact new residents will have on traffic and reduce carbon emissions at the same time.

Increasing housing opportunities in Newton is a critical element of our community's future success, but it must be done in a way that makes sense for our community and takes into account the unique character of our existing villages.

Affordable & Middle Income Housing

In Newton, single-family home ownership is the predominant housing option, but one that is becoming less and less affordable for a wide range of incomes. Part of maintaining an economically diverse community is ensuring there are housing options for people at all income levels. Housing options that are required to be affordable for lower and middle income families, as well as more affordable market rate options, will allow our seniors, our children, and those who work in Newton to be able to afford to live in our community.

A state law, Chapter 40B, requires all communities in Massachusetts to meet certain affordable housing quotas. Newton falls far short. As a result, developers have the option to permit new construction through an alternative state process that gives the community far less control over the process and the public far less input. Negotiating special permits for new housing is hard work, but the community will benefit in myriad ways if our city council does it right and ensures affordable housing is built with the community in mind. Bryan will be a strong voice for permitting affordable housing, the right way.

Bryan will support policies that ensure we are getting the maximum number of affordable homes through proactive inclusionary zoning policies and hopes to see those policies expanded to include opportunities for middle income families and city workers. He supports efforts to create more deeply affordable housing, including projects like the Haywood House and Golda Meir House. He is excited for the opportunity to add more affordable housing through the acquisition of the armory in West Newton. And he will look for innovative strategies to allow for more affordable single family style homes.

Improving Public Transportation, Especially Commuter Rail

Bryan believes we need a comprehensive strategy to improve public transportation throughout Newton. Newton has great potential for transportation infrastructure. Where Bryan lives in Newtonville, he has easy access within walking distance to commuter rail as well as several express bus options. To highlight these options and share the experience of those without access to a car, Bryan did a #CarFreeWeek this summer. Check out how that went here.

We must insist on better, more frequent, more accessible commuter rail service. The commuter rail is the key to greater utilization of public transportation for commuters in Newton. Bryan brings intimate knowledge of state government and a creative problem-solving approach that will push this conversation forward to finally make real progress on commuter rail improvements. The MBTA is recommending improvements to accessibility, without any guarantee that service will be upgraded as well. Bryan believes we should absolutely move forward on upgrading accessibility, while insisting on a commitment to upgrade service along with it.

We also need to be thinking about transportation in the broader sense, by encouraging more walkable and bikeable villages that give people better options when they want to leave their car at home. Bryan is a strong supporter of bike lanes, preferably protected, as well as wider sidewalks, traffic calming measures, and clearer pedestrian walkways where possible. Newton does not have a single protected bike lane. We can make Newton more safe for our children (and all bike riders) by beginning to implement a network of protected bike lanes.

We need to think creatively about how to make our villages more transportation friendly for people who are mobility impaired. And we should explore creative solutions to our traffic and transportation problems including transportation networking companies (TNCs) such as Uber & Lyft, as well as intracity shuttles, while continuing to study and be ready for the possibilities that will be created by future advances in technology such as self-driving vehicles.


Fiscal Responsibility & Economic Development

Thriving Small Businesses & village centers

One of the wonderful things about Newton is the variety of small businesses that make up the beating heart of our village centers. For our villages to thrive, our small businesses need to thrive. Bryan will partner with the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce and local businesses here in Ward 2 to ensure their concerns are heard and their needs are met. Businesses in the district will know that, just like the residents of Ward 2, they have a voice in city government and someone they can come to with their concerns. Bryan would like to see the city work more closely with our businesses and our retail landlords to ensure storefronts are not left empty. We should aim for each village center to have a variety of retail, restaurants, and other neighborhood staples to allow residents to have convenient access to their daily needs.

Fiscal Responsibility

A critical aspect of a City Councilor's job is ensuring the city is making the best possible use of the taxpayers' dollars. Bryan’s job as General Counsel for State Senator Harriette Chandler includes serving as Budget Director. He has helped strategize for the state budget and fought for important capital projects. As a former small business owner, he knows what it's like to manage accounts and pay the bills (and the taxes). Bryan understands how to balance budgets and make the best use of limited resources. And he is keenly aware of the city’s OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) responsibilities and the importance of planning for the future to keep city finances in order.

Washington Street Valentine’s Pop-Up Shop

Washington Street Valentine’s Pop-Up Shop


Excellent Public Schools & Services

public schools

Bryan is so proud to have earned the endorsement of the Newton Teachers Association. It is wonderful to live in a community that values education and has public schools that are frequently rated among the best in our state. Our city must be vigilant to ensure that our schools maintain their excellence while increasing equity, and giving every student the learning experience they need. Bryan supports full day kindergarten and later high school start times.

Bryan will use his voice as a City Councilor to support our educators and public school staff and community in their efforts to expose students to new perspectives and allow their critical thinking skills to blossom.

public services

Government operates best when it is so effective that we don't even notice it. If we're thinking about our roads and sidewalks, it is because we're not taking care of them well enough. We need to re-prioritize our infrastructure, by improving the safety, consistency, and quality of all our roads and sidewalks. A city as large and successful as Newton deserves better maintained infrastructure. When mature curbside trees on city land die or need to be removed, the city should replace them with new ones. Sidewalks need to be maintained and consistent. Roads need better upkeep, by filling potholes but also by having a thoughtful plan to repave the roads and ensure they are examined for possible traffic flow improvements.

We need to stay up to date with the very best traffic management and safety techniques so that both drivers and pedestrians are safe and can swiftly move throughout the city. We must maintain excellent trash collection and snow removal, while continuing our efforts to expand access to effective recycling and composting. We have beautiful public parks, especially here in Ward 2, and must continue to keep them well maintained.

Mental Health & Addiction

Bryan is a strong supporter of comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment and support. These problems can seem hidden, in part because of stigma, but are no less important than our schools and our roads. Bryan knows firsthand the struggle that family members face when a loved one struggles with mental health or addiction. Thankfully, last year Newton launched a free Narcan training and distribution program. That is an important step. We must do more to provide at risk individuals and their support networks of family and friends with the resources they need.

We also need to be working to keep addictive substances out of the hands of children. Vaping is the most popular form of nicotine use for kids and newly opening recreational marijuana stores will present parents with new challenges.

Newton must remain vigilant, we must continue to have these conversations and look for ways to improve our response.