Generational Responsibility and the Green New Deal

When I was a child we lived in the country, and I played in the woods behind my house. I’d walk back through the pine trees down to a creek where I had a lot of time to think about my future. It was a future full of optimism and possibility. I dreamed of the life I would have someday.

My parents sacrificed to make that life possible. Daddy worked in the shipyard for 17 years until his union went on strike and the company broke the union. Then he took night classes in welding, worked at a pulp mill and eventually worked in a chemical plant until the day he suffered a stroke and collapsed on the plant floor. Mama worked as a bank teller, a typist, and eventually in a nuclear power plant. They made it possible for me to come to MIT and get a great education.

Their parents did even more. They grew up during the Great Depression. My grandfather was finishing a Chemistry degree at William and Mary, when he had to drop out and go to work to support his new family. Their generation conquered the Great Depression, defeated the Nazis, and launched an era of growth and prosperity that enabled my parents to instill in me values of responsibility and a belief that anything was possible if we just worked hard enough.

Now, I am a father. My wife and I have a good life with our kids in a town with great schools. We believed that we would be giving our kids the opportunity for an even better future.

But are we? We can go for a hike in Lowell Woods or Wilson Mountain and admire the natural beauty around us, but we cannot ignore the unsustainable future we are leaving our children. They will have access to college, but what jobs will they have? What will they do for their children? Increasingly, I see a future of an uninhabitable earth, rife with conflict over resources and defined by the constraints of global warming. We’ve heard the warnings for years and nothing seemed to matter.

But then I saw hundreds of young people going door to door on Capitol Hill…not looking for a job like I did many years ago, but demanding action to save their future. I saw a 15-year old girl stand up in Stockholm and expose the futility of inaction. And suddenly I saw people starting to listen.

It’s not enough to follow the patterns of our parents.

It’s time to look up from our daily work and realize that if we fail to act today, all our sacrifice is for nothing, because the world we leave our children cannot support them.

It’s time to listen to the hopes and fears of our young people and ask ourselves: what we are we doing to protect their future?

It’s time to demand action from our leaders to fix what is broken.

It’s time to take action ourselves and save the future for our children.

Green New Deal Town Hall

A group of us, concerned about the future for our children and inspired by the work of activists in the Sunrise Movement, organized and hosted this town hall meeting at the First Church and Parish Church in Dedham on June 12, 2019. We also started a regional organization, the Charles River Green Coalition, to continue momentum on working to address the interrelated issues of climate change, jobs and economy, and building a just and sustainable future. Here is the complete video of the event.

Tools for Transparency

The Town of Westwood posts tons of information online, but it can sometimes be a challenge to find the material you need. I’ve collected the following links to help residents better access these resources related to the Planning Board:

Link to Resource Description
Planning Division Section of town website with links to zoning map, bylaws, staff contact information, etc.
YouTube All Planning Board meetings are recorded by Westwood Media Center and published to this YouTube playlist. Subscribe to the playlist to receive notification as soon as a meeting is published.
Facebook official page on Facebook where Planning staff post materials.
IQM2 Agenda + Materials Our meeting packets are accessed through this tool. Please click the board name (default is Select Board) to change it to Planning Board. This lists all our meetings with links to the materials we are reviewing prior to the public meeting. Some materials are not public until the meeting, but in general, the items that have been submitted by applicants as well as peer reviews, third-party traffic studies, etc. are accessible through this system.
Current Planning Board Applications Recent and upcoming applications and materials the Planning Board is considering, organized by property or issue. This list is easier to access than the individual agendas when you do not know the date.
Stay Connected! Sign up for email notifications of meetings, town newsletter, and access links to other tools provided by the Town of Westwood.

Vote: Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Thank you to the voters of Westwood who re-elected me!

Dear Westwood friends,

Three years ago, I was elected to the Westwood Planning Board and now serve as Chair. I am asking for your vote to allow me to continue my service to Westwood. Town Election is Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

All meetings of the Westwood Planning Board are recorded by Westwood Media Center and may be viewed online by following this link.

When I campaigned for election to the board, I promised to focus on several key themes and, working collaboratively with the other board members and our Town Planner, have accomplished the following:

Meaningful transparency and resident participation

Development that enhances our community long term

  • Meticulously reviewed Islington redevelopment proposal to ensure key concerns were addressed and documented through the imposition of 50 conditions of approval
  • Ensured that applicants understood and adhered to our affordable housing requirements. Worked with our Housing Agent and participated in community workshop.
  • Reviewed all applications prior to public meetings and discussed with Town Planner to communicate concerns and opportunities to applicants

Safer walking and biking

As Chair this year

  • Initiated Pledge of Allegiance to open all meetings
  • Implemented gender-neutral naming from Chairman to Chair
  • Managed meetings to provide more opportunity for resident comments and wrap up most meetings prior to 10pm.

It has been a privilege to serve on this board and make a difference in Westwood. Thank you for your continued support.