Issues and Endorsement Responses

Take a look below and see my answers to local organizations that make endorsements.

Brookline for Everyone Questionnaire

In a few sentences, how do you approach questions related to housing? Do you generally support building more dense housing, less dense housing, or maintaining the level of density we currently have in Brookline?

Brookline needs more housing broadly and more density for related and separate reasons. We have a housing crisis, where many types of housing are unavailable at almost any price, desirable types of housing are not allowed to be built, and the intense demand pushing up prices reduces our diversity as a Town.

Density is a great way to bring in more housing, but also provides benefits unrelated to the direct housing shortage. It improves walkability of neighborhoods, discourages sprawl, makes public transit more viable, increases the customer base for local businesses, and encourages many other climate-friendly practices.

In the Fall 2021 Town Meeting, Brookline for Everyone board members sponsored a warrant article on parking minimums (WA23). The compromise version the petitioners moved did two things: first, it decreased minimum parking requirements near transit (almost all of North Brookline) by approximately 50% — to 0.5 minimum required parking spaces per studio and 1 minimum required parking space for 1 or more bedroom dwellings. Second, it gave the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals the ability to further reduce or eliminate parking requirements by special permit to facilitate adaptive re-use of existing structures or in exchange for certain counterbalancing amenities such as greater open space or more affordable housing than otherwise required. How did/would you have voted, and why? *

I would have voted in favor of the original petitioners’ motion and then the compromise motion. Elimination of parking minimums is a simple method to address housing affordability and to incentivize the types of climate-friendly living we all need. While parking minimums anywhere are a needless public subsidy on driving with environmental, climate, health, and safety costs imposed on society at large, in Brookline specifically they are extra foolish as large numbers of households have fewer vehicles than the minimums even called for storing.

Chapter 40B is a Massachusetts state law that allows multi-family housing projects to circumvent local zoning rules if 10% of the homes in a Town aren't considered affordable. As Brookline hovers around the around the 10% threshold, what should Brookline do to encourage affordable housing for low and moderate income families and individuals beyond this state requirement?

We can certainly invite and support “friendly” 40B projects. Beyond that though, we should make revisions to our zoning code to make the types of affordable (capital and small “a”) buildings we want to see able to be built as-right rather than going through the lengthy, expensive, and monopoly-supporting 40B process. 40B should be a fallback option for affordable housing, not the only option.

Housing policy is closely linked to other policy/political areas, such as transit, racial justice, and environmental policy. How do you think about housing policy as it interacts with these other issue areas?

(a) Housing & Transportation

Housing and transportation are inexorably linked as land use concepts. The transportation infrastructure we build helps to dictate the types of housing viable in certain locations and the housing forms we allow affects the viability of transportation options. Brookline, as a “streetcar suburb” was built with a fundamental concept of moderate-to-high density living supported by robust local options within walking/rolling and biking distances with significant abilities to reach more distant locations via public transit. The “neighborhood character” we value in Brookline is based on these land use principles. Our ordinances and practices of the last 80 years have eroded our ability to maintain and renew this form over time; by planning for and prioritizing cars, we encourage more sprawl, less pleasant streetscapes, and worse health and safety outcomes for our residents and visitors.

We must tackle these issues simultaneously, building more housing (including at historic or higher densities), making it easy for folks to opt for public transit, and to work with the MBTA to improve the quality of public transit within Brookline and the region.

(b) Housing & Racial Justice

Housing and racial justice need not to have been conceptually linked, but American history has tightly coupled these items. We in Brookline and nationwide need to do the decades of hard work to break this link and end the use of housing policy as a shield for overt, casual, or unthinking racism and racist outcomes.

Brookline invented the racial housing covenant and the fingerprints of redlining can be seen in our zoning code today by simply overlaying the two maps. As we reform our zoning and housing policies, we must keep these issues front and center, seek out opportunities to directly counteract the multi-generational harm of past policies, not allow people with racist intent to shield themselves with housing policies, and ensure that our next round of changes center voices of those still struggling to overcome these barriers.

(c) Housing & Climate Change

Our housing and land use choices have a direct impact on climate outcomes. Denser and more urban living dramatically reduces the carbon impact of day-to-day life. Communities like Brookline make it easy to walk/roll, to cycle/scoot, and to use public transportation to achieve many of life’s day-to-day needs. By reducing or eliminating car use, the direct carbon emissions of all of those actions are similarly mitigated. Beyond transportation, though, denser living means fewer cubic feet to heat and cool (and shared walls and roofs help insulate the spaces we use), fewer carbon-intensive resources needed to provide public services (e.g., fertilizing playing fields or plowing sidewalks and streets), and improving the viability of pooled resources that enable fewer single-person trips (e.g., grocery delivery vans). Moreover, in a growing population, housing will be built somewhere, and encouraging density in places like Brookline means fewer forests and other greenfields demolished to make room for high sprawl and carbon-intensive housing.

Brookline Equity Coalition Questionnaire

1. Brookline is not immune to racism. It is embedded in our systems and institutions just as it is everywhere. How do you see racism show up in issues of housing, in our public schools, and in public safety in Brookline? *

Brookline invented the racial housing covenant and the fingerprints of redlining can be seen in our zoning code today by simply overlaying the two maps. As we reform our zoning and housing policies, we must keep these issues front and center, seek out opportunities to directly counteract the multi-generational harm of past policies, not allow people with racist intent to shield themselves with housing policies, and ensure that our next round of changes center voices of those still struggling to overcome these barriers.


Right-wing activists have been all too eager to defund social services and public health initiatives over the past 40 years. This has left police to handle the outcomes of our collective failure to care for our neighbors and trapped us in a cycle of reaction-only responses to poverty, access to health care, isolation, joblessness, and dangerous living conditions. All of these problems are more likely to be found among communities of color due to the history of racist and racialized policies spanning hundreds of years.


Policing is an objectively poor solution for inadequate social services in any context. The American context of violence and mistreatment of people of color by the police, including in Brookline, makes this a dangerous situation for people already in need. Brookline is not an island. While we have not had the most horrific situations occur within our borders, there is no reason to believe we do not have the same problems as the rest of our society. Indeed, there have been high profile incidents of alleged discrimination within the department, a survey showing black and Latino/Latina residents have less trust in fair treatment by the Brookline police, and plenty of anecdotes of bias and overpolicing of non-whites within our community.


2. What are your thoughts on the proposals to come out of the Task Force to Reimagine Policing — including the creation of a Town-level Social Services department, a new civilian crisis response team to respond to people in mental health crises or experiencing houselessness, and ending the police programs which inserted officers directly into schools and public housing complexes? *

The Task Force for Reimagine Policing did excellent work identifying clear improvements in how Brookline handles matters of public safety and policing. While not the end of the conversation, these steps would be an excellent start. I am happy to see the “school resources officer” and “walk and talk” programs ended (and especially the insult of having the BHA pay for it), but I am dismayed by the lack of progress on the other, and frankly more substantial, changes. Providing services to people in need, and ideally to people in need before a moment of crisis, is the humane thing to do.


It is made even more so when the status quo is to defer all action to the police; they cannot be as effective as experts who do not also implicitly carry the threat of deadly force. This is exacerbated by the fact that too many police officers express and act on conscious and unconscious bias against people of color and other vulnerable populations. While it may be true that these are “bad apples” compared to the whole, the oft-repeated expression has an important second half: Left with no consequence, a few bad apples spoil the barrel. Police across America have a lot of bad apples and a population-wide reluctance or refusal to address these issues has spoiled the barrel.


Furthermore, we know this is possible because it has already been done. Paramedics did not exist as a standalone, expert 24/7 service until the 1970s. It is in the lifetimes of many who resist the creation of a social services department that medical response services were separated from the police and fire response, with significantly improved outcomes for all involved.


3. In your opinion, what are the most pressing transportation- and housing- related issues facing Brookline? And what measures or policies would you like to see the Town implement to address these issues? *

Broadly, housing and transportation are too expensive in Brookline (and the Boston metro area as a whole). It is too expensive for all segments of people, including those looking for low-income, middle-income, and even for high-income housing. A very large number of Brookline homeowners would have a difficult time affording their current home today, including those of us who purchased in the last decade.


While there are short-term measures we can (and should!) take to improve the ability of current residents to stay, the only long-term solution is to increase the amount of housing available. These must be of multiple types and at multiple price points, supported by robust public transit that makes dense living viable and allows us to devote space to house people rather than cars.


Brookline, as a “streetcar suburb”, was built with a fundamental concept of moderate-to-high density living supported by robust local options within walking/rolling and biking distances and the ability to reach more distant locations via public transit. The “neighborhood character” we value in Brookline is based on these land use principles. Our ordinances and practices of the last 80 years have eroded our ability to maintain and renew this form over time; by planning for and prioritizing cars, we encourage sprawl, less pleasant streetscapes, and worse health and safety outcomes for our residents and visitors.


We must tackle these issues simultaneously. We must build more housing and reforming zoning. We must make it easy for folks to opt for public transit through bus lanes, signal priority, and bus stops that respect the dignity of riders. And we must work with the MBTA to improve the quality of public transit within Brookline and the region.


4. What issues do you care about most in Brookline?

My professional background is in transportation policy and I am a cofounder of Brookline for Everyone so housing and transportation issues are often top of mind for me.


That said, addressing those issues, along with many others, require a sincere reckoning with our history and our present. We must understand and seek to correct how racist, ageist, ableist, and sexist policies, practices, and actions have led to today’s status quo.


How we address these issues of racial and social justice will echo through our community for decades; our desire and ability to engage in this reckoning and take definitive actions will be the most important things we do as a community.

Biking Brookline Questionnaire

Question: Do you feel that the Town has made adequate efforts and has adequate policies to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries, and what do you think about Vision Zero?


Vision Zero should absolutely be a goal of the Town of Brookline and an achievable one at that, given our largely urban and livable land use. That said, the prioritization of cars, and the death and injury that come with them, remains a significant obstacle to achieving this goal.


Lowering speed limits, as Brookline has done, is a fine first legislative step. We remain largely stuck, however, when it comes to changing the built environment to actively discourage high-speed travel, to prioritize space for transit / walking / rolling / cycling, to remove parking, and to enforce the rules we have on the books.


As our Public Works department is constrained in people and budget on how many roads they can redesign each year, some of the problem is resources. Some of it is a lack of resolve from elected officials who are reluctant to stand up to the few who benefit from highly subsidized public provision of private gain (such as street parking) in favor of the more dispersed greater population whose mobility and safety would be improved though improved multimodal infrastructure.


Much also comes from the lack of priority given to these issues by the Town overall to communicate to vulnerable road users that their lives are worth protecting. Drivists and commercial goods delivery vehicles feel free to use bus stops and bike lanes as parking spaces, endangering the lives of anyone attempting to use them (and denying the civil rights of those who rely on accessible curb boarding of buses). Expanded walking and cycling areas in commercial districts during 2020 were routinely ignored and effectively became a space for free parking rather than improved safety and space for pedestrians.


The fact that police appear to have no interest in addressing these issues, despite having clear authority to do so, is further evidence of the need of the Town to implement the recommendations of the Commission to Reimagine Policing. Specifically this includes the recommendation to reassign traffic enforcement duties to a civilian organization solely responsible for addressing public safety in the deadliest environment Americans encounter daily.


The significant delay in the creation of bike facilities on Babcock Street and the reluctance to institute bus lanes on the most congested stretch of the 66, 65, and 60 bus routes are shameful abandonments of our professed values as a Town. If we truly want to address Climate Change, pollution, congestion, livability, and maintaining the “historical character” of our neighborhoods (which long predate cars and the violence associated with car culture), we need to move much more swiftly on these and future changes..


Question: How do you think safer bicycling accommodations would benefit Brookline residents, and, based on the benefits you have identified, how important a priority do you believe it is for Brookline's streets to be accessible for bicycling by people of all ages and abilities?


Safer bicycling infrastructure would go a long way toward improving the lives of people in Brookline, including those who do not or can not cycle. By reducing the reliance on cars, the streets become safer for all users, including those who do remain in cars, but critically the oft injured or killed people walking, rolling, and/or cycling. Moreover, the addition of safer bicycling facilities increases the number of people who are willing or able to cycle, promoting a virtuous cycle. This is accelerated by some of the exciting new technologies like pedal assist bicycles (including cargo bicycles) which further increase the number of people able to cycle and the number of trips able to be conducted by bicycle.


Question: Do you agree with this assessment, and are there specific bicycling-related changes in regulations and infrastructure affecting Brookline’s streets and its development patterns that you would like to see piloted or implemented?


As mentioned above, there are absolutely short-term actions we can do to at least reach a tolerable state of cycling infrastructure. As to our ability to keep up with our neighbors, I suspect this is a place where our highly distributed decision-making processes do us harm. A volunteer committee that meets 10 times a year has the authority to make recommendations to another volunteer committee that meets slightly more often which can provide direction to an understaffed and underfunded executive department. And then, Town Meeting (another group of volunteers that meets twice a year) is given an up-or-down vote on the full Town budget. There is very little way to enact accountability on any part of the system or to affect change in any timely manner. To that end, a charter change commission looking at alternative structures (as either a Town or City) may be the only effective long-term way to address this issue.


That said, recognizing that full street reconstruction is expensive and time consuming, there are many significant measures that could be taken in the short term if this was a priority of the Town. Planters or other semi-permanent barriers can be utilized to create separated bicycle lanes, there exist many low-cost treatments to create floating bus stops to deconflict bicycle and transit vehicles and to prioritize the safety and mobility of both user groups. A temporary Beacon Street Bridle Path can similarly be accomplished during studies for the long-term design that includes full intersection redesigns, land swaps with the MBTA, and the necessary engineering for the MBTA to accommodate the longer Type 10 supercars. These lower-cost options can be implemented in dozens of miles of road per year while the regular cycle of comprehensive street redesign continues.



PAX Questionnaire

1b. Briefly, what else in your background is pertinent, especially a history of progressive activities besides the above?

My entire professional career has been built around the idea of serving in or supporting government in providing high quality services to the public. I have done this by identifying where people are best serviced by direct provision of services and finding ways for the government to appropriately regulate and oversee the private sector where they are best suited. I worked for the Missouri State Government, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and now in Government Affairs for a government contractor. In my current role, I have made it a priority of my company to address not just the exciting technologies embraced by smartphone users but to ensure equity and access for people with low-incomes, in minority communities, who are undocumented, who are unhoused, who are unbanked, and/or who have physical or cognitive impairments.

2. WHAT/WHO INFLUENCED YOU TO RUN? What challenges do you see for Brookline? Where will you focus?

Brookline is an amazing place to live. Just a few steps outside of my apartment, I am surrounded by friendly neighbors, inviting shops, delicious restaurants, parks and playgrounds, wonderful schools, walkable streets and public transit to bring us anywhere in the region we want to go.

Brookline has real challenges. We have a crisis on housing availability and housing prices. Our buildings and infrastructure need repair and replacement. Climate change presents an alarming list of unknown problems we will need to address. Social and racial changes are rolling across the country, bitterly resisted by those on the right and those who are made uncomfortable by realizations that the status quo did not work for everyone.

Brookline is an amazing place to live, but that does not allow us to rest on our laurels. We have hard work to do to maintain what is great about Brookline and to ensure it can become a better place for those it has not always been amazing.

I am running for Town Meeting because I want to do this hard work for Brookline.

3. BUDGET PRIORITIES: What would you Increase, Decrease, or Leave the same: Affordable housing _I_; Facilities and streets _S_; Libraries _S__; Parks _S__; Police _D__; Fire _S_; Public Health _S__; Rec programs _S_; Schools _S_; Transportation alternatives _I_; Other(s) _Increase to alternative social services

4. LABOR/PUBLIC EMPLOYEES: After collective bargaining, union contracts come to Town Meeting for approval. As such, what are your views on the Nov. 2020 Police contract vote? (Incumbents: explain your vote or view; others: your view based on the WA2 explanations in November 2020 Combined Reports.

Our public employees deserve our thanks and support in terms of funding, staffing, and necessary resources to do their job. The demands on these offices day in and day out are large, and larger still because of COVID. Our Town needs to demonstrate that we value the essential services provided by our Public Works, Libraries, Public Health, Building Inspectors, Clerks, and other departments. Our commitment to public employees does not start and end only with the Police.

Regarding the specific 2020 contract, I likely would have voted in favor of the Article for lack of a better alternative at that time. We have tasked our police with too many types of responsibilities that we chose not to allocate to specialists; while we certainly need to reimagine this role, the people doing these jobs today deserve compensation and a contract. That said, with the benefit of hindsight, it is also true that the skeptics of this article have been correct in highlighting significant concern that the extra 0.5% raise, put into place in order to make progress on body cameras and similar oversight, would bear no fruit.

5. HOUSING –What are your views on land use policy (i.e., zoning)? How and where might you promote/support residential development, e.g., changing some (or all) single family and/or two family zones to more than that, supporting mixed use commercial/residential, and otherwise?

Brookline needs more housing broadly and more density for related and separate reasons. We have a housing crisis, where many types of housing are unavailable at almost any price, desirable types of housing are not allowed to be built, and the intense demand pushing up prices reduces our diversity as a Town.

Zoning changes that encourage mixed use and higher density is a great way to bring in more housing, but also provides benefits unrelated to the direct housing shortage. It improves walkability of neighborhoods, discourages sprawl, makes public transit more viable, increases the customer base for local businesses, and encourages many other climate-friendly practices.

While there will likely always be a collection of single and two-family homes within Brookline, it is foolish and damaging to our Town to have zoning laws that actively prohibit multi-family housing throughout much of the area of the Town. Moreover, there is a long national history of racism that drove the creation of many zoning laws nationwide and within Brookline specifically (Brookline notably invented the racial covenant in deeds) and we must consider the racial and racist impacts of these past decisions as we consider our future housing policy.

6. CLIMATE/ENVIRONMENT/OPEN SPACE – Town Meeting has passed many “green” initiatives, including restricting plastic bags & Styrofoam containers; and encouraging alternative transportation, net-zero building, and electric vehicles. What involvement, if any, have you had with environmental issues, and what are your thoughts for what we might focus on next?

Our biggest opportunity to impact climate and environment is through our land use policies. Our housing and land use choices have a direct impact on climate outcomes. Denser and more urban living dramatically reduces the carbon impact of day-to-day life. Communities like Brookline make it easy to walk/roll, to cycle/scoot, and to use public transportation to achieve many of life’s day-to-day needs. By reducing or eliminating car use, the direct carbon emissions of all of those actions are similarly mitigated. Beyond transportation, though, denser living means fewer cubic feet to heat and cool (and shared walls and roofs help insulate the spaces we use), fewer carbon-intensive resources needed to provide public services (e.g., fertilizing playing fields or plowing sidewalks and streets), and improving the viability of pooled resources that enable fewer single-person trips (e.g., grocery delivery vans). Moreover, in a growing population, housing will be built somewhere, and encouraging density in places like Brookline means fewer forests and other greenfields demolished to make room for high sprawl and carbon-intensive housing.

8. RACIAL CLIMATE: How do you perceive Brookline’s racial climate (i) in the Town workforce, (ii) in our schools, and (iii) in town, generally – especially as you perceive Brookline as compared with elsewhere in MA and USA.

I do not think I am qualified to perceive the racial climate of the Town, but I am ready to listen to the perceptions, experiences and suggestions of those who have had deeply racial (and racist) experiences within Brookline. Speakers at public meetings, surveys conducted by Select Board Committees, lawsuits lost by the Town, and emails sent to parents from the Schools show ample evidence that there are many people who are having severely negative racial experiences.

How this compares to anywhere else in Massachusetts or the United States is irrelevant. If we are not doing a good enough job, then it is on us to clean up our own house, no matter how much better or worse any other jurisdiction may be doing.

9. POLICE DEPARTMENT: What are your views on Brookline PD, (i) in general, e.g., proposals to reimagine and/or reform, e.g., the 2021 reports of the Committee on Policing Reforms and the Task Force to Reimagine Policing; and (ii) the 2020 TM debate/vote on a then proposed 17% Police budget cut. (Incumbents: explain your vote or view; others: your view based on the pages for WA 8 – SUPPLEMENTS 6 through 10 (pp. 1-5) & 15 in June 2020’s Combined Reports?

There is no doubt that policing in America needs to change.

Too many essential and preventative public services have been “defunded” leaving the police to handle the outcomes of societal failure to care for our neighbors. The best thing we can do to support police is to break the cycle of reaction-only responses and allocate resources toward services to address poverty, access to health care, isolation, joblessness, and dangerous living conditions and reduce the number of cases for which a police response is the only one available to us.

Too many police officers express and act on conscious and unconscious bias against people of color and other vulnerable populations. While it may be true that these are “bad apples” compared to the whole, the oft-repeated expression has an important second half, left with no consequence… bad apples spoil the barrel. Police across America have a lot of bad apples and a population-wide reluctance or refusal to address these issues has spoiled the barrel.

Brookline is not an island. While we have not had the most horrific situations occur within our borders, there is no reason to believe we do not have the same problems as the rest of the society in which we live. There have indeed been high profile incidents of alleged discrimination within the department, a survey showing black and latinx residents trust they to be treated fairly by the Brookline police less than white residents, and plenty of anecdotes of bias and overpolicing of non-whites within our community.

The Task Force to Reimagine Policing provided invaluable work and it is a shame that much of it remains on the shelf. The recommendations will not all be easy to implement but they are necessary.

10. TOWN VS. CITY GOVERNMENT: Describe your views of town vs. city government, in particular the role of a Select Board vs. a mayor, and the role of Town Meeting Members vs. a city council.

While I am ambivalent about the specific Town vs City divide, I am firmly convinced we need a substantial change in the nature of our municipal government. It is clear that we are too big (and have likely been too big for a century) for our current government structure. Our recent lengthy Town Meetings (and the frequent desire by those elected to make them shorter) are evidence that we need a legislature available for more than 5-10 nights a year. The number of non-contested and lightly-contested elections for Town Meeting, for Moderator (contested only once in the last couple of decades), for Clerk (contested only once since the 80s), and even often for the Select Board (including this year) mean that we are have no guarantee our officials represent the voice of the people.

That the demographic makeup of Town Meeting and of our Boards, Commissions, and Committees do not match the demographics of the Town provides stark evidence that the reliance on volunteers to accomplish the functioning of everyday government results in an unrepresentative set of decision-makers and thus an unrepresentative set of decisions. I was recently told that one of the powerful appointed boards likes to have one person with experience in the area they regulate (as the others often have good intentions but no expertise). I find that goal shocking. We deserve a government run by professional people with experience, not by those with the most free time, the most money, or the most overburdened spouses.

Finally, our byzantine system of elected and non-elected boards, commissions, and sub-committees results in extremely distributed decision-making. Aside from being painfully slow at times, it also means that it is difficult to hold anyone or any deliberative body accountable for these decisions.

As a result, I certainly support a Charter Commission to investigate alternative ways of maintaining Town Meeting structures, a Town Council structure, and also various appropriate City structures.