Campaign Week-in-Review - 8/23/19: How You Can Help Before Sept 10; Quinobequin Natural Gas Update

by Irina Costache, Campaign Organizer | Subscribe by Email

What we’re hearing on the doors

Since last Friday, Bill and our group of volunteers knocked 445 doors! As of yesterday, Bill has officially finished knocking 3 out of 4 of the Ward 5 precincts for the third time since beginning his campaign! Here are a couple of updates of issues that voters have brought up to him in the past couple of weeks:

  • Many voters continued to bring up their concerns with the possibility that the proposed new senior center, NewCAL, might be built on green space in Newton. As mentioned in last week’s newsletter, the current city proposal is to build NewCAL at Albemarle Field on the “hardscape” of the pool, fieldhouse, tennis courts, and basketball court (all of which would be replaced with new facilities as part of the project). Bill still remains concerned about public transportation to the site and the city’s overall process for selecting the site but is waiting to see more specific details on the proposal at this point. 

  • A number of voters have been reporting unsafe streets and sidewalks to Bill, pointing out broken sidewalks, bad street intersections, and chronically speeding cars. As Ward councilor, keeping Newton’s streets and sidewalks safe for residents through design changes and consistent repairs would be a priority for Bill.

  • Some other top concerns have been about the environment and developments in Newton. (One voter brought up pressuring the National Grid to replace the gas lines in Newton.) As an environmental and affordable housing activist, Bill follows both of these issues very closely.

  • One voter brought up to Bill the need to elect younger officials to local government! As a young, lifelong resident of Newton, Bill will bring that perspective to the City Council.

We're continuing to distribute lawn signs as we go door-to-door. Please email Bill to request one.

Pre-election reminders: How you can help

The September preliminary vote is now less than three weeks away! As mentioned last week, we have ways you can get involved.

Dear Friend Cards: If you would like to get involved before the September vote by sending out postcards to Ward 5 voters you know or doing some reminder phone calls to supporters, please sign up here. You'll need to let us know sooner rather than later, however, so that we can order enough cards.

Polling Place Visibility: If you are interested in showing you support for Bill on election day by holding up a sign at one of the three polling locations in Ward 5, please fill out this form and we’ll get in touch.

Absentee Voting: Although the deadline to register to vote has passed, there is still time to request an absentee ballot, if you need one! The form to do so can be found here. The application for an absentee ballot may be sent by email (elections at, mail, fax, or delivered in person to the City Clerk’s office in City Hall. There’s no deadline but they should be requested as soon as possible to make sure the ballot can be returned in time.

Natural gas update from Nathan Phillips

As discussed in depth in our newsletter last week, one of the gas companies issued a statement announcing plans to vent natural gas into the air near Quinobequin Road in Ward 5 as part of emergency maintenance work across the river in Wellesley and Needham. The first release occurred this past Sunday, and the final release was set to be next Saturday, August 31. 

Here is an update on the natural gas situation from from Newton resident and Boston University environmental scientist Dr. Nathan Phillips, who went out with an air monitor during the first release:

"The plume [from the first release] reached much of Quinobequin Rd & several streets up the hill from there, as well as Newton-Wellesley Hospital, with gas readings of 5-7x normal background. The plume was intermittent depending on wind. People probably didn’t smell it because Enbridge said they deodorized the gas. The concern is air quality impacts on sensitive populations & climate damage. There are over 100 VOCs [volatile organic compounds] in uncombusted gas, some of which are known carcinogens & neurotoxins with no determined lower safe limit."

The 2nd release has not yet been scheduled but is likely to be sometime next weekend, broadly around August 31st. Bill is still being looped in on discussions with city officials to be able to provide updates to residents in Ward 5.