We can seek out new ways to increase our housing stock while also centering the needs of our most marginalized residents, protecting our green spaces, and considering our environmental impact.
Housing and shelter are basic necessities that impact us all. Simply increasing supply won’t solve all of Arlington’s housing problems, and the mandate to be carbon-neutral by 2050 compounds the issues of supply and affordability. I’d like to see us forge new pathways toward economic justice and home ownership for lower- to middle-income families and look for housing solutions that benefit the elderly and young professionals. The work of the Planning Department and the Housing Corporation of Arlington is tremendous, and I’d like to support those agencies by increasing community input from direct beneficiaries of HCA and Block Grants. There’s a slogan in the disability world that says "Nothing About Us Without Us!" which communicates the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the group affected by that policy.
Many appeals are needed at the state level. Many concerned residents, along with our state representatives, are actively engaged in efforts to:
Repeal the ban on rent control so that this policy tool can be used in municipalities at their discretion
Sponsor tenants’ rights to purchase homes
Support accessible, affordable, and integrated housing for people with disabilities
Add alternative housing vouchers for persons with disabilities
I will help our town enact these statewide reforms in ways that benefit the Arlington Community.
Complementing the work currently done by our residents, departments, and boards, I will elicit resident participation in matters of housing and coordinate with experienced community leaders working on these issues.
It is our responsibility to steward and protect the health of our ecosystem when setting budget priorities.
Arlingtonians are leaders in supporting environmental issues through strong community-government partnerships. Sustainable Arlington, Mothers Out Front, and the Clean Energy Future Committee have remarkably mobilized this community and are championing legislative positions that advocate for positive environmental change and readiness.I would support the ban of natural gas hookups and infrastructures in new housing developments. Our large commercial spaces and existing buildings are one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions. We need to faze out emissions standards that aren’t addressing the climate crisis, and we need new standards of ordinances for these spaces to be included in our budget priorities.
Many residents continue to highlight the intrinsic link between transportation and the environment and would like this connection to be given more attention. There are highly skilled and invested committees already looking at ways to help Arlington become the best town around to commute without a car. Even the mindfulness of increasing bike racks at HCA.
Arlingtonians want small, mindful changes in community behaviors that would have a big impact. Fresh voices have encouraged leaders to bring mindfulness about the planet into public conversation so we can all begin to adjust our habits and patterns. Some suggestions have included:
School and day-care centers should be no-idling zones
Buying recycled plastic toys or having a plastic toy exchange
Bring your water bottle to events like Feast of the East and other town-wide events
Support local businesses that operate in a poison-free-pest control operated environment.
We have already started to feel the effects of climate change in Arlington with increased incidents of wildlife sightings and the increased presence of rodents and raccoons. The city of Somerville has adopted uniform trash barrels and has regular inspection and enforcement of dumpsters to prevent rodent infestation. I would support recycling bins and compostable garbage bags at restaurants, parks, schools, and town-wide events. I would also encourage movement away from single use water bottles.
The actions we take today have an immediate effect on vulnerable populations in Arlington, and will only benefit our future quality of life. This is certainly an ongoing public discussion with public remedies. We also need to bring the right technology, pilot cases, and willing building owners into the discussion. I will work to ensure prospective businesses coming into Arlington are aligned with the principles of sustainability.
We are stronger as a community when we bring multiple perspectives to bear at every level of the process.
Representation to me means anyone who would be effected by an issue: renter and homeowner; adolescent and elder; women and men; refugee, asylee, and native born; straight, gay and non-binary etc.
I have witnessed a strong desire for community involvement from town departments and committees. I have also heard a strong desire from concerned community members for more community involvement on matters that affect them (including issues on affordable housing, density and zoning, and how to reach the harmed communities and repair broken trust between the community and police department). We need to find a way to repair this disconnect and make it easier for the community to have input into the decisions being made that affect us all.
Representation and involvement in town is important because the coming together breaks down assumptions we have of one another, builds relationships, and makes for a healthier community. It can lead to creative solutions.
As an elected official, I will continue to encourage town members to become involved in groups and committees so that the composition and perspectives expand.
As a Select Board Member, I will represent the opinions of all Arlington residents, including the most traditionally marginalized voices to the Board, considering how each decision will affect the different parties.
As a member of the Select Board, I will encourage committee members and leaders to be accessible and responsive and an active presence in the community by reaching out to underrepresented groups and where groups congregate (laundromats, schools, libraries, grocery stores). It will take a concentrated and organized effort to involve more voices and perspectives.
I will work with other departments and board people in creating a safe and efficient way for residents to be part of conversations, voice their concerns, and how they can help move things forward.
I will work with various committees on expanding the diversity and where we display job postings and town surveys. How we advertise and to whom are some simple steps to inclusion.
Many people don’t know how to participate in town government, or who their local officials are, or they are unable to for situational reasons. I’d like us to look into those inhibitors of participation and start to address them- through technology (e.g. live tweeting) and other means.
Steps to inclusion also involve supporting the efforts to implement the pay equity, and access to workforce development and services to support mental and emotional well being.
Promote an atmosphere of respect by adhering to a code of kindness in our public conversations and professional interactions.
Everyone has the right to feel safe in their community. We instinctively attack or withdraw when we don’t feel safe. When a community is divided and we don’t feel safe expressing alternative views, or fear reprisal from fellow residents or leaders, we usually react in kind victimizing, marginalizing or excluding others, or retreat into isolation.
The incident involving Lt. Pedrini’s provocative and threatening published statements, have broken trust between the community and the Arlington Police Department (APD).
There has been fear that his statement “lets meet violence with violence” would be followed with action.
There has been fear about others in the APD sharing those same views.
There has been fear that the Chief of Police, APD and the community were not in agreement about community policing practices.
There have been questions about what constitutes “remorse;” about how to hold a person accountable for their words.
There are many more questions, including how and when to use restorative justice.
As a member of the Community and—if elected—a member of the Select Board, one of my first priorities is to help breach the trust between the community and the APD. I want APD to be the best it can be and its officers to do their work with integrity and confidence in their ability to do their job.
How can APD relate more effectively to the Community? How can we use the Pedrini affair as an opportunity for growth and healing? Those are the issues that I’d like to help us explore—perhaps using co-facilitation. Healing the wounds caused by the Pedrini affair will require courage to honor each others' lived experience—to acknowledge our fears and also, to acknowledge the resilience that will let us move past them. Restoring safety and trust is going to require effort on everyone’s part.
As a means of ensuring that incidents like one that has torn apart our Community for over a year now will not be repeated, if elected to Select Board, I would propose incorporating into the Town’s code of conduct a communications and social media policy that prohibits hateful speech and/or writings.
How else can the Select Board promote public safety and civility in our Community?
By modeling professionalism and civility in the interactions of all its members with one another and with the public at large
By being responsive to Community members who bring a concern before it, including on issues where individual Board members may not agree, or where there are competing interests.
In keeping with its solemn responsibility, by being thoughtful in its dealings with the public and gracious in its responses, even when its graciousness is not reciprocated.
Because the Board has broad social and community networks, its members should have the courage to bring any incivility they observe to that networks attention, and be willing to accept legitimate criticism in that regard from their peers.