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Answers to League of Women Voters Questionnaire, 2007
Biographical information including why you choose to seek this office, and website (maximum 50 words):
Seeking thirteenth term as Ward 7 Ward Alderman to continue working to preserve and enhance the quality of life in the Ward and in Newton; currently president of the 2006-07 Board of Aldermen; Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School; educated at Williams College and Harvard Law School; website: www.aldermanbaker.org
Responses to questions: (maximum 75 words each):
What additional sources of revenue would you develop for the city; savings can be considered revenue?
The Blue Ribbon Commission on the Municipal Budget, which the Mayor and I jointly appointed, made recommendations from further recycling to enhanced energy efficiency. For example, I wrote the Newton Retirement Board, urging a move to state management of the pension fund investments, which it did. But the Commission warned that while its revenue recommendations might help, they would not close the future structural budget deficit, likely requiring additional taxation for the Newton we want.
How would you encourage safe walking and bicycling in the city especially during the winter?
Small actions can help. For example, I worked to get a school crossing guard back on Waverley Avenue, as well as a stop sign near the Ward School. I worked with Bigelow School parents and staff to update parking controls and plowing routes nearby. I got faulty street lights repaired near a crosswalk on Hammond Street, as well helped get a new lighted and plowed walkway to the T station at Middlesex Road.
What is the most important idea in the 2006 draft of the Newton comprehensive plan?
The draft Plan recognizes that Newton is a fully developed community having a valued structure of neighborhood character and cohesion, which involves consideration of "neighborhood as well as Citywide impacts." The Plan also recognizes that implementing land use, housing, transportation and other intentions should "be done with sensitivity to variations in places across the City," with a framework within which place-centered planning can take place, and then the City-wide plan should be updated in response.
R. Lisle Baker is the ward alderman for Newton's Ward 7 and president of the board.
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