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2017 mayoral candidates’ responses to Tree Questionnaire

Seven candidates are competing to be the next mayor of Newton. As a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, we are not permitted to endorse candidates for public office. However, we wanted to find out more about how the candidates would use their powers and influence as mayor to impact the city’s Forestry budget and tree policies, and share their responses before the September 12 Preliminary Election, which will narrow the field to two for the November election. On August 23, we emailed this questionnaire to all seven candidates.

We are very grateful to the five who took the time to respond (during what turned out to be a busy week for questionnaires). Below are the questionnaires as returned by the candidates. We have not edited for content, nor can we vouch for the accuracy of any statements made by the candidates.
For ease of comparison, here are the question-by-question responses, again not edited for content, only for typographical consistency. (Order of candidates is rotated.)
NOTE:  In addition to the questionnaire, candidates were also sent these documents for reference:

The Newton Tree Conservancy is a non-profit organization established in 2008 to restore, enhance and protect Newton’s Urban Forest. It was born out of the recognition that the city is not in a position to cover all the costs necessary to maintain our City trees – the trees along our streets and in our parks and other public areas, and that in order to continue to enjoy the economic and environmental benefits of these trees, we must take action to develop initiatives that will supplement what can be supported through the city’s budget.

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Mission
Our goal is to promote the health of Newton’s trees through:

  • Funding for planting and care of new trees, as well as preservation pruning and tree maintenance in a way that will supplement – not replace – city funding
  • Educational programs to build public awareness of the value of trees and the risks of not properly caring for and replacing trees along streets and in parks and other public places, and to help people know how to keep their own trees healthy
  • Training programs and volunteer opportunities to give citizens an opportunity to participate in tree maintenance and planting

Directors and Officers

Julia Malakie, President

Penny Caponigro, Recording Secretary

Ron Joseph, Membership Chair

Barbara Darnell, Treasurer

Nate Cenis, Director

Katherine Howard, Director

Hal Lichtin, Director

Jack Wittenberg, Director

Ex officio: Marc Welch, City of Newton Director of Urban Forestry

Sponsors
The Newton Tree Conservancy thanks its sponsors: Newton Community Pride (www.newtoncommunitypride.org), the Charles River Neighborhood Foundation (www.charlesriverneighborhoodfoundation.org), Newton Conservators Inc. (www.newtonconservators.org), and the City of Newton Division of Urban Forestry (www.newtonma.gov/gov/parks/forestry/default.asp).

2 comments

  • Fred Swinehart

    I have just done the same thing in my little town of Midland, MI. After hearing an excellent lecture and reading the book “Bringing Nature Home” by Prof. Douglas W. Tallamy of the University of Delaware, I selected and planted a White Oak sapling in the out lawn of my home, replacing an invasive and sterile Norway Maple.

    Good for you and your fine organization.

    • Hi Fred,
      We are big fans of “Bringing Nature Home” also, and many of us heard him speak in Newton a couple of years ago. Is “out lawn” what Midland calls the strip between the sidewalk and the street? We call them berms; many with wider ones seem to call them “tree lawns.” I wouldn’t say Norway maples are sterile — they seem all too fertile! They constitute the bulk of Newton’s street tree population, but have for maybe a decade been classified as invasive and outlawed for sale in Massachusetts. As they die, we’re replacing them with a diversity of species. Not including ash for some years, as the EAB has been anticipated, and has now arrived in Massachusetts (although not yet in Newton).

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