Brookline Town Meeting is starting up again this week, and I wanted to share how I plan to vote on a number of warrant articles. If you live in Precinct 10, feel free to give feedback!
STM 2 WA-1 Budget Amendment
✅ YES on:
routine adjustments for schools, collective bargaining reserve, transportation projects
$200k for racial equity fund
🚫 NO on Spiegel indemnification (too many outstanding questions that are unlikely to be answered this week)
WA-4 Delegate licensing authority of Select Board (SB) to Town staff
SB members only receive a small stipend for their work, and non-essential/routine licensing tasks take up valuable time. Reducing the workload could help attract a more diverse range of SB candidates.
WA-6 By-law amendment on sidewalk obstructions
Sidewalk obstructions are a common complaint and can be dangerous for people with disabilities. This amendment clarifies that property owners need to remove overgrown vegetation and keep sidewalks clear for all to access.
WA-10 Home Rule Petition for Hybrid Town Meetings
Many people cannot participate in person, but can virtually (work long hours, caregivers, people w/ disabilities, etc). This would greatly increase accessibility and give more people the chance to join Town Meeting.
WA-11 Home Rule Petition exempting Brookline from in-person quorums [I was a co-petitioner on this]
This fixes the current law that discriminates against people w/ disabilities that can't meet in person. They can't be Chair, and can't be part of a public body with too many others in a similar position.
WA-12 Resolution to prep rooms/staff for virtual meetings [I was a co-petitioner on this]
This resolution would add a timeline (supported by relevant staff) to the Town's current work ensuring all rooms will be accessible as soon as possible. This is a disability rights issue that can't be delayed.
WA-13 Roll-call votes of all town committees
This article requires roll-call votes to be recorded for all town committees, which improves good government and accountability of committee members.
WA-15 Language access services
~10% of residents are Limited English Proficient (LEP). Since we receive federal funds, we're already required to implement a language access plan. This would put that in motion, and create a new position for a Language Access Coordinator.
WA-17 Resolution for town-wide composting plan
Composting reduces municipal solid waste, which saves the town money and helps the environment. A town-wide program that is part of the mandatory recycling program would make composting affordable and available to all.
WA-18 Resolution to use low-carbon concrete when possible
Support for this motion underscores the imperative to seek ecologically sustainable efforts in all town business and activity.
WA-19 Nuisance control by-law amendment
This imposes additional liabilities on restaurants and discourages participation in the outdoor dining program. It also grants police an expansion of power, and there are equity concerns around potential selective enforcement.
WA-20 Olmsted-Richardson Historic District
This would add 4 homes to a new historic district, but does nothing to make them open to the public or teach the public about the history behind these buildings. They are not currently at risk of demolition.
WA-23 Residential parking requirements
NO on Advisory Committee amendment
✅ YES on main motion
Brookline has unusually high parking minimums near public transit. This lowers minimums (while keeping accessible spots) - improving the environment and housing affordability.
WA-24 Residential parking requirements (if WA-23 fails)
This lowers the min residential parking spaces required through a permitting process. WA-24 is less preferable than WA-23, but it's better than not taking any steps towards reducing residential parking requirements.
WA-25 Electric vehicle (EV)-ready parking space requirements
This would require new residential parking spaces to have electrical infrastructure for EV charging, and includes a waiver process in cases where it's overly burdensome on the property owner.
WA-26 Comprehensive planning process
This sets up a Planning Process Study Committee to develop a planning and zoning reform process.
Robust public support during the planning process it establishes will still be vital to preserve affordability, equity, and justice.
WA-27 Financial impact of warrant articles
This would require warrant article petitioners to include a statement of financial impact. This could exclude petitioners that don't have access to the info required to make this analysis. Reducing barriers is a higher priority.
WA-28 Prohibiting sale of new fur products
This addresses the environmental, humane, and health concerns caused by fur production. (This was brought by a young first-time petitioner, and we should remove barriers to make the WA process easier for other new petitioners.)
WA-29 By-law amendment requiring public hearings for polling location changes
This would ensure that decisions impacting elections would only be made after holding a public hearing, except in extraordinary circumstances.
WA-30 Spiegel indemnification
This will have already been covered in STM 2 WA-1, and should not be moved.
Special Town Meeting
WA-1 Appropriation for the Gerald Alston settlement
I voted YES for the full $11 million settlement, and voted no on all amendments lowering the amount.
See what I wrote to other Town Meeting members on the topic:
WA-2 Appropriation for Driscoll School ground-source heat pumps
I voted YES to invest in ground-source heat pumps.