Skip to content
Newton, Needham, Watertown, Wellesley

Fake group masquerades to trick Newton voters

Need to Knows Graphic

Fake group masquerades to trick Newton voters

How will you be dressing this Halloween?

If you’re planning on going as someone who will be attending our Fall Business Breakfast on Friday but don’t have your ticket yet, go here now. 

Just like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups at my house, we only have a handful of breakfast tickets left. I expect they'll both be gone before lunch time.

In addition to Halloween, we’re now one week away from municipal elections in Newton and Watertown, with early voting already underway in both cities.

Both elections will determine the leadership of each city council, with economic development and housing as pivotal issues. 

We start today with a preview:

Watertown council president candidates provide distinct visions 

There’s only one contested city council contest this year in Watertown, which might suggest that voters are generally happy with the way things are going.

Clyde Younger disagrees.

The former town councilor is challenging incumbent council president Mark Sideris, largely, it seems, because he wants to fire Community Planning and Development Director Steve Magoon, the guy who oversaw a lot of Watertown's recent life sciences and housing growth

(Back when he was council president, Younger tried, unsuccessfully, to fire then Town Manager Mike Driscoll too.)

Younger also doesn't seem to want Watertown to abide by the MBTA Communities Law, or at least, he wants the city to do the bare minimum by counting existing housing. Sideris is taking a more expansive view.

We covered many issues related to businesses and economic development earlier this month in a chamber debate between the pair. Watch it here.

Webinar YouTube Thumbnail
Newton’s election is more complicated

Once again, housing and change are the main, okay only, divisive issues in the Newton City Council contests next week.

And you only need to look at the clusters of signs across city lawns to see how divided Newton has become.

(As has become a Newton tradition, this election has taken an ugly turn, which I'll get to at the end of today's newsletter.)

But what no one directly talks about on the campaign trail is that this really is an election over which side controls the city council.

Unlike in Watertown, where voters elect their council president, Newton’s council president is elected by 24 council members.

Then the council president selects the committee chairs who get to shape city policy, including zoning, land use and every other ordinance and bylaw.

This year’s ballot includes only two contested at-large contests and four ward races and City Council President Susan Albright isn't among those facing a challenger. Still, next Tuesday is actually about whether or not voters want to give Albright (or one of her like-minded colleagues) the gavel again.

Or do they want someone from the “other” side, possibly former President Marc Laredo, who also does not face a challenger?

The chamber doesn’t endorse candidates But if you want to know which candidates fall into which camp (spoiler alert, there's no overlap):

  • Here are the candidates endorsed by Right Size Newton, which has opposed many recent mixed-use development projects and opposes the city's current Village Center Overlay District plan.

Prefer to make up your own mind? Fig City News has a comprehensive Newton election guide with links to videos and profiles, including the NewTV/League of Voters forums).

The Newton Beacon also has some good candidate interviews.

And in Needham, it’s Special Town Meeting time

Needham Town Meeting began last night.

The Needham Observer pulled out all the stops yesterday offering extensive previews. Needham Local has a good summary too.

The warrant articles, the Observer’s Peter O’Neil writes, include removing some arcane rules including Needham's long standing ban on the “grazing of animals” (vote “neigh” if you oppose, he suggests), letting dogs in heat run in the streets, or something called "coasting."

On a more substantive note, members will be asked if the town wants to adopt the Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Energy Code (something Watertown, Newton and Wellesley have already signed onto).

There's also nonbinding yet divisive question about the purchase of the Foster Property for both open space and housing.

Today's grab bag 

  • Massachusetts ranks No. 7 in the U.S. on a list of the best states for women entrepreneurs according to the upcoming inaugural Impact of Women-Owned Businesses report. (BBJ)

  • Newton voters who want to learn more about the 2023 City Council and School Committee candidates in the upcoming Newton municipal elections are invited to attend Saturday Night at the Races, a “candidating” event, Nov. 4, from 3 to 5:30 p.m., at the Newton North High School cafeteria. All 2023 Newton candidates have been invited to participate in this event, whether or not they have a challenger.

  • Join Lasell University’s new President Eric Turner for a virtual Neighborhood Town Hall and Q&A Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. RSVP
  • The artists of Needham Open Studios are hosting a Fall Pop-Up on Nov. 4, 2023, showcasing a variety of original artwork. Free admission and parking available. Details.
  • If you haven’t read it yet, make some time to read the Globe Spotlight Team's profile about an East Watertown’s family’s struggles to stay in their home over four generations and what it says about how housing has become out of reach for so many working class families. 

Wellesley business closing, but not for the usual reason

In a half of century in the car repair buisiness, Auto Lab Alignment in Wellesley Square is closing.

According to the Swellesley Report this isn’t another story of a business owner calling it quits, or looking to spend more time with the grandkids. Rather, owner John Donovan's landlord was unable to secure insurance which is forcing the cancellation of his lease. 

Fake group sets out to deceive Newton voters 

Newton For Everyone

Finally, I mentioned earlier that Newton’s municipal election has taken an ugly turn.
Here’s what happened: 

A few weeks ago, I announced that our chamber was teaming up with a coalition of civic, housing and climate activists, and clergy supporting the proposed Village Center Overlay District currently under consideration by the Newton City Council.

The goal of the Newton For Everyone coalition was to educate the public about the proposal which we believe will make Newton more welcoming and affordable and will be beneficial to our planet.

We also agreed that we would not endorse political candidates in Newton's Nov. 7 election.

But now someone, or some group, has been using social media and paid online ads purporting to endorse city council candidates both under both the “Newton For Everyone” name and under the similar name “Newton for Everybody.”

This person, or persons, also formed a “Newton for Everyone PAC” with the state Office of Campaign Finance that also has no connection to us.

To be clear, the candidates these fraudsters are promoting are those opposed to the Village Center Zoning plan.
It’s disheartening that anyone would resort to using disinformation to confuse the public rather than engage in an honest discussion.
We urge these impersonators to end these deceitful tactics immediately.

That’s what you need to know for today, unless you need help escaping Dracula, Frankenstein and the Mummy.

Greg Reibman (he, him)
President & CEO
Powered By GrowthZone