As an outgoing town councilor with some inside knowledge, I recommend that voters judge incumbent candidates Hanneke, Ross, Ryan and Steinberg on what they have done, not on what they say.
If they say they are “for a vibrant downtown” or “continuing deliberate planning” for downtown zoning, know this: All four voted against the temporary moratorium on permitting new buildings – requested so that we could thoughtfully complete our zoning amendments first. They all support the new five story Archipelago building which the builder says is designed to house 100% students. Although they have been in the process of pushing through 18 zoning amendments since January, they have proposed nothing to address complaints about setbacks or building height. This month, led by Hanneke and Ross, they are pushing apartment buildings (meaning buildings with no retail on the first floor) with an undetermined number of units in the core of downtown. And Ross and Ryan are pushing expedited rezoning of the CVS parking lot for a parking garage via a much less than transparent backroom process.
If they say they are “for affordable housing”, or that they “voted for inclusionary zoning”, know this: All four blocked attempts to put forward the most impactful means of providing affordable housing – inclusionary zoning – for two years. Inclusionary zoning would require developers to provide a certain percentage of affordable units in all new construction. Hanneke and Ross again led the charge. The Council’s list of zoning priorities submitted in January of this year still did not include inclusionary zoning. All four did finally vote for inclusionary zoning but only after our planning department insisted on adding it.
If they say they are “for meeting climate goals”, know this: It’s pretty easy to say you are for a goal that doesn’t have to be accomplished until 2050. All are silent on implementing the 2025 climate action plan. All four worked to prevent a strong climate action committee. (Although I invited Ross to cosponsor legislation creating that climate committee, I soon figured out that he was working to weaken it.) Steinberg voted against the initial Zero Energy Building bylaw. Hanneke attempted to either slow or block the adoption of our climate goals.
If they say they are “for more inclusion” or “for more diversity”, see these comments:“Defund 413 Condemns Councilors Hanneke, Steinberg, Ross, and Ryan For Their Failure To Support Racial Justice”
I highly recommend voting for:
- Ellisha Walker, Vira Cage and Bob Greeney for at Large Councilors,
- Pam Rooney for District Four and
- Jennifer Taub and Dorothy Pam for District 3 Councilor.
They are independent and far more progressive.
Darcy DuMont is an outgoing town councilor from District 5. Views expressed are hers and not those of the Town Council.