The LWV Massachusetts announced yesterday that its Voters Guide to the Primary Election on Sept. 9 is now available online. The guide features answers from all 20 candidates for statewide office to questions posed by the LWVMA — five questions to the gubernatorial candidates, and 3 office-specific questions to the candidates for each of the other offices: Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth (Secretary of State), Treasurer and Auditor.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo unveiled the long-awaited gun violence prevention bill May 27.
LWVMA and its partners in the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence applaud the bill’s strong provisions to reduce gun violence in our state, including background checks on secondary gun sales, expanded police chief discretion in issuing gun licenses for rifles and shotguns, reporting of all required information to the national instant background check system, and improved data collection about guns used in crimes and suicides. We hope the legislature will add an amendment to restrict bulk gun purchases as well.
Please contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to vote in favor of the strong provisions in this bill. You can find their contact information here.
The National Rifle Association and its Massachusetts affiliate will make a strong showing in opposition to this bill. Theirs must not be the only voice our legislators hear. Make your voice heard loud and clear in support of stronger gun laws.
The House bill, H.4121, contains four of the five provisions that the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence has been advocating for:
- Background checks on secondary gun sales, including for all private sales. Such sales would have to take place with a licensed firearms dealer present.
- Massachusetts coming into compliance with the National Instant Criminal Background Check system (NICS). There are provisions to protect the privacy of the submitted information.
- Expanded police chief discretion in issuing gun licenses for rifles and shotguns in addition to handguns. This gives police chiefs discretion to not issue when there are known dangerousness issues.
- Improved data collection about guns used in crimes and suicides, tracing the ownership history of all guns used in and recovered from crime scenes to help determine the source of these guns.
The bill does not include the Coalition’s fifth priority, a limit on handgun purchases per month in order to minimize trafficking and straw purchases and reduce urban violence. We expect that provision to be introduced as an amendment.
The bill also contains numerous provisions dealing with school safety and mental health issues. It is important that the legislature include funding for any of these provisions to avoid burdening our schools and mental health facilities with unfunded mandates.
Rachel Brown, a Newton North High School student, recently received an award from LWVN at Annual meeting for her video submitted for the LWVMA “Dear Future Governor” student video contest. Check out the video here. Congratulations, Rachel!
For the People
A Civic Education Competition
The League of Women Voters of Newton’s first civic education competition.
Four teams of 8th grade students will compete.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Brown Middle School Auditorium, 125 Meadowbrook Rd.
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Host: Ruth Balser, Representative to the MA State Legislature
Meryl Kessler, Executive Director, LWVMA
Meryl Kessler, Executive Director, LWVMA
Ellen Gibson, Newton School Committee
Brooke Lipsitt, former president, Newton Board of Aldermen
Below is a letter that LWVN sent to the Board of Aldermen today urging them to reject the petition to rezone the Austin Street parking lot.
Dear President Lennon and members of the Board of Aldermen:
The League of Women Voters of Newton strongly urges you to reject the petition # 47-14(2) to rezone the Austin Street parking lot. We feel that the current Mixed Use 4 district is the most appropriate for the site, and for the City.
The Austin Street parking lot, an under-utilized City-owned property, was identified during Newton’s Comprehensive Plan process as a site that could add vitality to Newtonville’s center through a mix of commercial and residential uses, as well as contribute to the City’s financial base through tax revenue.
The League of Women Voters has strong and longstanding positions supporting the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan, creating affordable housing in mixed income developments and in-fill developments in Newton, making city-owned sites available for such housing, and creating open and recreational space, which this project includes. Our positions also support mixed-use development near transit, which minimizes adverse environmental impacts.
The League is a multi-issue organization that considers a wide range of topics. Forward-thinking solutions such as sustainable, transit oriented, mixed-use developments that include retail, commercial, residential, parking and access to public transportation are ways to meet often conflicting and complex needs. There are always trade-offs that must be weighed in balance to determine what is in the long-range best interest of the City.
Community input is an important component for a successful outcome. Public meetings have been held over the years, soliciting comments and questions from citizens and businesses on this project. This process is far from over; once the Mayor selects a developer from the short-listed, qualified finalists, the program and design will be subject to further detailed review.
Via the Special Permit process, controlled by your Board, additional engineering, traffic and financial feasibility studies will be commissioned to inform the design and ’right size‘ the project. That phase will involve open public hearings and in-depth review and analysis in full public view. The next design phase must include well-functioning vehicle circulation, sufficient parking, context-sensitive building massing and design, engaging and well-landscaped outdoor spaces. All this should be explored further with professionals, City staff, and the public.
Once the Mayor selects a developer, we can work together to help shape this project into something that will benefit Newtonville and the entire City. The League of Women Voters urges you not to undermine the process by rezoning this parcel.