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Who are the City Council candidates in Newton’s Ward 3?

Two challengers vie to succeed Ward 3 Councilor Barbara Brousal-Glaser, who is not running for reelection: Julia Malakie and Carolina Ventura. In the at-large race, challenger Pamela Wright seeks to replace one of the Ward 3’s two incumbents: Andrea Kelley and James Cote.

With voters preparing to cast their ballots in the Nov. 5 municipal election, the Globe sent questionnaires last month to every City Council candidate about a range of topics.

On Sept. 19, Newton city solicitor Alissa Ocasio Giuliani advised city councilors that they should not respond to the Globe’s questions regarding whether they supported or opposed two mixed-use developments now under review by the City Council — a 524-unit proposal at the Riverside MBTA station and an 800-unit project at the corner of Needham and Oak streets in Upper Falls.

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A copy of Ocasio Giuliani’s written opinion is here, and a Globe report on the issue is here.

When candidates used the same language to respond to separate questions about the two projects, their responses were condensed into a single answer.

WARD 3 COUNCILOR RACE

Ward 3 councilor candidates Carolina Ventura, left, and Julia Malakie.
Ward 3 councilor candidates Carolina Ventura, left, and Julia Malakie.CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Carolina Ventura

Age on Election Day (Nov. 5): 37

Village: West Newton

Position sought: Ward 3 Councilor

Profession: Attorney

Why are you running for City Council?

The next several years are crucial to our future. The next council will vote on development, sustainability, and quality of life. As a mother raising children in West Newton, I want to speak up for the future of our city.

Explain why you either support or oppose the following proposals:

Riverside:

Given its transit oriented location, Riverside is a good place to build a mixed-use project. I’m confident that we can solve challenges around traffic and highway access to make that site an asset to our city.

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Northland:

I like the mixed use aspect of this project, as well as the significant number of affordable units. However, given its location near Needham Street, we need to be extra careful about traffic and congestion.

If elected, what is one specific action you want to accomplish during your new term, and why?

I wish to contribute to reasonable solutions around traffic and walkability in West Newton Square. We live a short walk from there, and I would love to see careful attention paid to the infrastructure of that area.

How should Newton balance the need for more housing against the impact of development?

Almost all of Newton’s affordable housing is embedded in larger developments. Thus, the balance is the same. The Council must negotiate zealously for maximum impact reduction, with a goal of finding common ground and consensus between builders and the community.

Julia Malakie

Age on Election Day (Nov. 5): 64

Village: West Newton

Position sought: Ward 3 Councilor

Profession: photojournalist

Why are you running for City Council?

To keep Newton the Garden City, represent residents’ wishes as West Newton village center and residential neighborhoods face development pressure and proposed “upzoning” for higher density, and help residents stay informed and better navigate city government in daily life.

Explain why you either support or oppose the following proposals:

Riverside:

Zoning for large parcels in Newton should be primarily commercial to address fiscal needs, but at a scale that roads and transit can handle. The MBTA doesn’t expect a Green Line capacity increase until 2040, so there is a need to attract reverse commuters.

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Northland:

Zoning should be for primarily commercial, for fiscal reasons, but at a scale that road capacity can handle. Lower residential parking requirements are appropriate to attract single-car families, but must not be negated by elimination of the overnight parking ban.

If elected, what is one specific action you want to accomplish during your new term, and why?

New zoning that discourages teardowns and requires energy-efficient new construction. Goal should be to promote preservation of smaller, most affordable homes, avoid environmental waste of demolitions, and save more trees and green space to mitigate the impact of climate change.

How should Newton balance the need for more housing against the impact of development?

Even the city’s housing consultant RKG said we cannot build our way to housing affordability. New housing units are more expensive than what are torn down, increasing income disparity. Focus on commercial development will minimize impact on schools.

WARD 3 AT-LARGE COUNCILOR RACE

Newton Ward 3 councilor-at-large candidates, from left, Andrea Kelley, James Robert Cote, and Pamela Wright.
Newton Ward 3 councilor-at-large candidates, from left, Andrea Kelley, James Robert Cote, and Pamela Wright.CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Andrea Kelley

Age on Election Day (Nov. 5): 66

Village: West Newton

Position sought: Ward 3 Councilor-at-large (Incumbent)

Profession: Landscape Designer and Site Planner

Why are you running for City Council?

I am a voice for civil, thoughtful, balanced consideration on local, grassroots matters. It is my main goal on every proposal that comes before us to be a voice of positive and constructive discourse on even the most contentious items.

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Explain why you either support or oppose the following proposals:

Per the Newton Law Department: Councilors should avoid prejudging a potential petition prior to the conclusion of the Council’s review. Councilors should also not commit themselves to vote one way or another on any land use petition until all interested parties have had an opportunity to present information about the petition to the Council. Moreover, Councilors should only share and exchange comments during public hearings and meetings so as to preserve the fairness of the process.

Riverside and Northland:

neither support nor oppose, too soon to weigh in

If elected, what is one specific action you want to accomplish during your new term, and why?

Passing a revised zoning ordinance is a priority for me, to help shape Newton’s future and maintain much of what makes it unique, a blend of the old and the new.

How should Newton balance the need for more housing against the impact of development?

Overall benefit is the goal, appropriate siting is key. All impacts are not negative. Creating more housing, employment opportunities, commercial tax revenue, climate change action, decreasing private vehicle trips are positive outcomes. Traffic needs to be addressed.

James Robert Cote

Age on Election Day (Nov. 5): Age 63

Village: West Newton

Position sought: Ward 3 Councilor-at-large

Profession: Financial Advisor with Concord Wealth Management in Waltham

Why are you running for City Council?

My purpose for running for my fourth term is to provide value to the residents of Newton. Experiences gained over my working career, added to my time on the City Council, make me an excellent choice for residents concerned about quality of life issues. I’m an independent voice with an open mind.

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Explain why you either support or oppose the following proposals:

Riverside and Northland:

Unable to comment due to my role on the City Council

If elected, what is one specific action you want to accomplish during your new term, and why?

If reelected, I would continue to focus on the needs of the residents of Newton and work through the best solutions on items before me. My three terms of experience and common sense approach will benefit the residents of Newton.

How should Newton balance the need for more housing against the impact of development?

Land in Newton is very expensive, and given that, the only low-cost way to provide affordable housing is with bigger projects on a smaller footprint. We have to do so without negatively impacting the existing quality of life.

Pamela Wright

Age on Election Day (Nov. 5): 57

Village: West Newton

Position sought: Ward 3 Councilor-at-large

Profession: engineer and property manager

Why are you running for City Council?

I want to manage growth in a way that benefits all residents. We need to ensure that our schools, infrastructure, and traffic work for everyone. I want to provide more affordable housing, protect green spaces, and promote climate change initiatives.

Explain why you either support or oppose the following proposals:

Riverside:

Riverside is an ideal place for development but the proposed plan will overwhelm Grove Street and the surrounding villages with traffic. I support a smaller project in this area due to the traffic constraints of this site.

Northland:

Northland is another ideal place for development but the proposed scale will add to the already congested traffic on Needham and Oak Street. I support a smaller more heavily commercial project that the transit and road capacity can handle.

If elected, what is one specific action you want to accomplish during your new term, and why?

I want to approve reasonable development at Northland, Riverside, Washington Street, and other locations that provides housing and commercial space without overtaxing the city’s resources and infrastructure. All development should strive to meet tighter Passive House standards.

How should Newton balance the need for more housing against the impact of development?

Newton should require 25% affordable housing in new large developments that are spread throughout the city. The commercial portion will help more with our tax base. The detailed plan must address the impact to schools, infrastructure, and traffic before moving forward.


John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.