Campaign Week-in-Review - 8/30/19: Endorsements from Stonewall Dems and Engine 6; Another Natural Gas Update

by Irina Costache, Campaign Organizer | Subscribe by Email

Happy Labor Day weekend. With 11 days left before the first round of voting, we’re full steam ahead, despite the long weekend.

Door knocking update

This week, Bill and our volunteers knocked 426 more doors, nearing the end of Bill’s third pass around Ward 5! Since the beginning of February, we have knocked more than 6400 doors!

Some of the most common issues that Bill heard about from voters this week continued to be concerns about environmental action and road repair in Newton. Other voters this week also mentioned a need to improve the safety of our sidewalks so that they are more accessible to residents with disabilities or temporary injuries.


Public Events This Past Week

Newton Teachers Association Rally 

On Wednesday morning, Bill stood alongside many of his former Newton South teachers in the Newton Teachers Association as they protested at City Hall against the lack of a new contract. The rally had a huge turnout, stretching along Commonwealth Avenue. Currently, there are 17 unions in Newton working without a new contract. 

Climate Action Plan presentation

Bill attended Monday’s joint meeting of the Zoning and Planning Committee and Public Facilities Committee to review the city’s proposed Climate Action Plan. This will be a key step forward, but of course there’s a lot more work to be done.

More Endorsements: Stonewall Dems and Engine 6

The Bay State Stonewall Democrats, the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s LGBTQ+ wing, have endorsed Bill’s campaign! Bill’s political career began as an advocate for marriage equality - after graduating from the University of Delaware, he served as the Statewide Director and co-founder of the Delaware Right to Marry Political Action Committee, organizing students toward the successful passage of same-sex marriage legislation in Delaware.


Bill has also been endorsed by Engine 6, the Ward 5-based affordable housing advocacy group established during the unsuccessful 2013 effort to convert the former Engine 6 fire station in Waban to staff-supported housing for a small number of previously homeless individuals who were working to get back on their feet. (Bill supported the proposal.) The group said in their email to members today: 

“Ward 5 residents: We urge you to vote for Bill Humphrey. A 5th-generation Waban resident, Bill is young, full of energy, and already long active in progressive politics in Newton. Most important for housing advocates, he understands the forces and policies that contribute to our chronic housing shortage, and is committed to trying to turn the situation around. The other two candidates are long-time members of the Waban Area Council, which we believe was instrumental in the failure of two modest multifamily housing proposals that we supported, 1521 Beacon (St. Philip Neri) and 1615 Beacon (now the Suzuki School).”


Natural Gas Update

Following up on the newsletter information we published last week and the week before, earlier this week with limited warning to the city or public there was a second, sustained, maintenance-related venting of natural gas into Ward 5 on Quinobequin Rd, blanketing the surrounding neighborhoods for some 2-3 hours. This was shorter than the first release a couple weekends ago which lasted some six or more hours.

According to Newton resident and environmental scientist Nathan Phillips, the first release on August 18 was “equivalent [by volume] to the annual carbon emissions of between 174 and 439 average US cars.” The second release earlier this week was shorter in duration. While there was a relatively low risk of explosion from these two venting incidents, the air quality public health impacts may have been substantial. Bill spoke to city officials the night before the second release and remains looped in on discussions between city officials and the local scientific community which has been monitoring – with literal air monitors – the situation. The maintenance and venting should be completed at this point based on what we currently know.

It may be interesting to note that neighboring Brookline is currently considering a proposal to ban new permitting for hookups to the natural gas grid, in an effort to start transitioning away from legacy fossil fuel infrastructure.


How You Can Help the Campaign

Sign holding volunteer sign up

With the preliminary election coming up quickly (about a week and a half!), we are looking for volunteers to help and hold signs supporting Bill at the polls on election day -- Tuesday September 10! If you would like to sign up for a two hour shift at one of the 3 locations, please click here

Voter Reminders on September 9th

Please email Bill if you are available on Monday September 9th to help distribute reminders to the doors of our supporters about the next day’s election.

Lawn sign requests

We are still looking to distribute lawn signs! Please email Bill if you are interested in having a lawn sign installed in your yard.