June 25, 2007

Richardson for President

Filed under: Politics — marcstober @ 10:05 pm

For all of you (i.e., no one) who have been awaiting the official pronouncement: I support Bill Richardson to be the Democratic party’s candidate for President.

There are really just two reasons:

1. He’s a governor. Senators have won democratic primaries, but none have been elected president. I don’t pretend to know why, but maybe it’s because Senators, who spend more time arguing their party’s position on Capitol Hill, better appeal to the party faithful, while chief executives have less partisan responsibilities and so are more appealing to swing voters like myself (who “swing” the election).

2. He supports Israel, and seems to do so in an appropriately and authentically American manner. What I mean is that while I personally support Israel because it’s a Jewish country, he supports Israel because it is an ally and friend of the United States on a secular level, and doesn’t feel the need to apologize for that while helping promote peace. (Indeed, it’s certainly not in America’s interest to lose an ally in the region.)

A few months ago, I may not have been supportive of his “No Troops Left Behind” platform. I don’t think the war in Iraq was a completely bad thing. But, I think our troops have done their job; they can take down a regime but no one can impose a stable democracy on another nation. Hopefully the new Iraq will also be our ally in the region, but they’ll need to come to that on their own.

June 11, 2007

More Starter Homes?

Filed under: Newton, Politics — marcstober @ 10:59 pm

Repost of an article I submitted on TheGardenCity.net:

This article in today’s Globe talks about “a disparate collection of real estate agents, homebuilders, housing activists, and public officials who expect to propose legislation later this year that would either require or encourage municipalities to promote construction of ‘starter homes,’ which are in short supply in Boston’s suburbs. The houses would be modest…priced so families earning between about$80,000 and $130,000 could afford them.”

Our house was featured in another Globe article on housing prices (by the same writer) just about a year ago, and our family income is in the neighborhood of the high end of that range. We’ve been talking on this blog lately about mixed-use development such as Chestnut Hill Square, and what demographic would like to live over a mall. Chuck has blogged in favor of building up. Current state affordable housing law seems to encourage these many-unit buildings. But I probably would not have moved my family to Newton if the only thing in my price range was a high-rise condo. I would have gone somewhere else, where I could get a yard and driveway, even if it meant a longer commute to work. In fact, we moved here from Brookline largely because Newton was, relatively speaking, more affordable. Of course, not everyone is going to be able to afford a single-family here, but is it inevitable that that Newton is no longer going to be a place where middle-class families have their own back yards? Is this something we want, that we should try to change, or that’s just going to happen?