Doing the Work
As City Councilor At-large, I have worked to engage with my neighbors from all over the city to meet the challenges of this crucial moment in history. The choices we make now as a community will determine whether we emerge from this period of global and national crisis stronger or more divided. I have asked, in every instance, if the city's actions under consideration move Northampton toward equity, sustainability, and social justice. Here's where I stand on some of the city's most important issues.
As the climate crisis results in changing temperatures, weather patterns, and more intense and a higher frequency of major storms, I am committed to Northampton being part of the climate solution.
As a City Councilor, I have supported every measure introduced to implement the elements of the Sustainable Northampton Plan. As a city, we are working to not only fulfill the Northampton Climate Resilience & Regeneration Plan, but to exceed its benchmarks. We must act urgently to ensure that all city government buildings and operations are net carbon neutral well before 2030. That's completely in the hands of local government, after all. And I believe by working together we can get Northampton, as a city, to net carbon neutral decades before the Plan's stated goal of 2050. We can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 85% by increasing building efficiency, replacing sources of electricity generation with renewable energy sources, shifting toward electric vehicle use and alternative forms of transportation, and ensuring that land use patterns in Northampton support the City’s goals of becoming net carbon neutral.
Because climate change impacts our most vulnerable residents more significantly, it is essential to incorporate equity and environmental justice principles as a top priority in Northampton’s environmental planning and implementation. This includes social investments to ensure that vulnerable residents have options when extreme temperatures, storms, and flooding occur.
While Northampton is just one city, we can achieve greater impacts by collaborating regionally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase the use of renewable energies, shore up essential infrastructure, and support our most vulnerable residents.
I continue to support full implementation of the recommendations of the Northampton Policing Review Commission. As a fundamentally safe and supportive community, Northampton has an opportunity to be a leader in police reform. Like many others, I believe that public health and public safety must be collaboratively and holistically addressed.
As City Councilor, I have voted to approve full funding and implementation of the Department of Community Care. I have also voted to approve the funding needed to ensure that the police department can safely and effectively respond to violent crimes and serious felonies and to maintian the tools needed to do their jobs with the highest degree of professionalism and integrity and to hold them accountable when they fall short.
As a criminal defense attorney, I have seen first-hand how poor police practices result in injustice and undermine public safety. Like all of my neighbors, I call on the Northampton Police Department to carry out its duties to truly protect and serve equitably and without racial bias.
We urgently need sustainable and equitable housing in Northampton. I support in-fill development and creative zoning reform that allows us to build new homes on existing infrastructure. As a member of the Planning Board, I supported legislation allowing for 2-family by right homes in all areas of the city and as City Councilor At-large, I would advocate for more creative solutions like this.
I believe we must continue to update and reform zoning laws which have historically acted to entrench segregation and look for ways to build into the zoning code our city's goals for addressing the climate crisis.
Main Street Redesign
Northampton is embarking on a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine Main Street to ensure that it meets the needs of everyone who comes to our downtown to live, work and play, now and in the future. After years of colloborative study, design, and public debate, we have a plan that will make Main Street safer for everyone, whether you are getting there on four wheels, two wheels or on your own steam, while also preserving our historic Main Street's unique character.
Now Northampton must turn its attention to nurturing our downtown businesses through the the construction. The city must partner with downtown businesses to make sure they can continue to meet their customers' needs and access the resources they need to ease the impact on their bottom line. We're a community that can do hard things and I know that our work now will benefit Northampton for generations to come.