Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment Q & A

Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment recently published candidate responses to questions they had posed to Town Council candidates a few weeks ago. See Lisa's responses to selected questions below. 


1) Enhancing municipal commitments to green practices in such areas as energy efficiency, recycling and renewable energy.

I support Smart Growth policies, and think Watertown should seize the opportunity to actively promote sustainable projects and embrace progressive and net-zero energy goals. We could accelerate our commitment to take climate action in buildings, transportation and waste; our progress on reduced emissions and adaptation to climate change should be measured and reported consistently. We should investigate collaboration with neighboring cities.

As a resident who loves to garden, I understand the vital importance of good soil, vibrant plant life, and sustainable water usage. In other communities, there have been successful citizen-led initiatives that have become town-wide programs with the support of local legislators and partners such as school departments, the library, MassDEP, haulers.  I am intrigued by large-scale state efforts, such as Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law, as well as municipal efforts by our Cambridge neighbors’ recent successful completion of a compost curbside pilot.

Locally-based composting can be on different scales and there are a range of models and activities that could work for Watertown: community drop-offs, training and demo sites, collection and composting services, to even smaller scale projects such as school community gardens. I would like to see curbside pickup for compostables and community compost site(s).

2) Affordable Housing and Income Inequality

Smart growth policies not only integrate transportation and land use decisions; they empower us to design communities with a strong sense of place.  These policies also create a range of housing opportunities and choices, with community and stakeholder collaboration. The need for affordable housing affects many cities and towns, so it is instructive to look at progress made by Metro West Collaborative Development and the Housing Corporation of Arlington. Although we have raised the threshold from 10% to 12.5% for affordable housing units in new large developments, there are more goals outlined in the Watertown Housing Production plan that should be considered. It would also be beneficial to consider creating incentives to renovate and maintain the older housing stock that already exists in Watertown.

There are different approaches to reaching these goals. They can be citizen-led or Town-led, but what is significant is that they involve effective collaboration between all stakeholders. As a town councilor, I would support various collaboration methods (e.g. as chair of a working group, or in support of a task force led by citizen advocates) in the ongoing effort to improve issues of concern for public life in Watertown.

Responses from all the candidates can be found at WatertownMANews.