This website has been created to inform the people of Newton about my record and plans for the future.
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2013 has focused on completing improvements to our city properties. The Civil War Memorial in our Newton Cemetery, one of the first to be built in the Commonwealth, will be repaired this year, well in advance of its 150th anniversary in 2014. I've joined the Historic Burying Grounds Committee of Historic Newton and will work to use previously appropriated Community Preservation Act funds to continue repairs to the Burying Grounds. The repairs to the graves of Revolutionary War veterans, including my great great great great grandfather Samuel Richardson, at the South Burying Ground have been particularly welcome. The approval of the Overrides has enabled work to proceed on the replacement of the Angier School in Waban, the last village school in Ward Five. I'll also work to upgrade the Cabot and Zervas Schools while seeking creative solutions to overcrowding in the schools. Alderman Lisle Baker and I filed a Friend of the Court Brief upholding the decisions of the Massachusetts Land Court on the 2001 Zoning Amendments concerning the development of substandard lots. I'm pleased to note that the Massachusetts Appeals Court has upheld the Land Court's decision and that the Supreme Judicial Court has declined to review their decision making it clear that substandard lots that have been vacant for decades should remain so.
Iím a sixth generation (at least) Newtonian. I graduated from the Emerson School like my father before me. I borrowed books from the Upper Falls Branch Library as a child unable to get to the Main Library at the opposite corner of the city, and as an adult trying to pick up books in brief stop offs on my way home from work. I graduated from Meadowbrook Junior and Newton South High School. My education in Newton enabled me to earn a B.A, in English from Boston College and a Master of Urban Affairs degree from Boston University. I spent many years as a neighborhood activist and political junkie.
I came to the Board to support the values of our villages, including branch libraries, village schools, neighborhood parks, and village businesses. Iíve fought a fierce rearguard action to protect these values even as public financial policies and limited local powers led to their decline. Iíve learned how to write and pass ordinances and resolutions to promote and defend village values. I know how to compromise to find a way to blend the opinions of my colleagues in a productive way. I opposed the recent Branch Library closings as well as the earlier ones, and made sure that the people of the affected neighborhoods had basic branch library book collections on which to build community libraries.
As past Chair of the Zoning and Planning Committee and a past member of the Public Facilities Committee, I worked to preserve the quality of life in our city, particularly the environment and history of the city. Iíve been a consistent and innovative voice for solar energy and recycling. As President of the Friends of Hemlock Gorge, Iíve led the revitalization of this beautiful park.
As a sixth generation resident of the city with ancestors buried in at least two of the Historic Burying Grounds and a resident of Historic Upper Falls, I care deeply about the historic buildings and landscapes of our city. I sponsored, co-sponsored, or otherwise supported the Landmark Ordinance, Demolition Delay Ordinance, and all of the three Historic Districts proposed since I joined the Board. Iíve also carefully monitored them and proposed changes when they became onerous or burdensome. I'm a happy patron of the Auburndale Community Library and the Waban Library Center and would be happy to help activists from other villages to follow their example.
Iíve sponsored nationally recognized amendments to the Zoning Ordinances to control the plague of monster homes in the city. When new and older elements of the Zoning Ordinances became unreasonable for some property owners without any public benefits, I appointed a Zoning Task Force of knowledgeable residents and professionals from relevant disciplines to find ways to update the ordinance to relieve undue burdens without sacrificing neighborhood values and carefully guided the hearing and review process to enact amendments that fixed previous problems without creating new ones.
As member and later Chair of the Public Buildings Preservation Task Force, I helped to begin the Historic Preservation of many of our historic public structures. I've monitored the implementation of the amendments and worked with citizen groups to make sure that they're properly carried out. I've proposed new amendments to correct problems and to deal with major changes in topography.
As a member of the Public Safety and Transportation Committee, I was the first to flag the issue of impact of the Route 128 Add-A-Lane Project on traffic in Newton and worked to preserve MBTA bus service to the city.
I have tried to keep our legislators and the Massachusetts Municipal Association focused on the ending the telecom tax exemption.
Iíve proposed a variety of new ideas like using the principles of the Main
Street Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to revitalize
our village centers, replacing demolition of buildings with deconstruction
and architectural salvage, formally recognizing our existing Sister City
Relationships and seeking new ones that reflect the diversity of the city.
I appreciate the opportunity to have worked on these and other issues on
your behalf, and I look forward to continuing to do so in the future. Please do not hesitate to contact me to express your views on any
topic before the city or to seek information about city matters.
Iíve enjoyed serving the city and would deeply appreciate the chance to continue.
My home address is 1094 Chestnut Street, Newton, Massachusetts 02464.
You are visitor since July 31, 2003!
This page last updated on Monday May 13, 2013
Yates web site went online on August 23, 2001
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