Dear Move Newton Forward Supporter:
The past 24 hours have been perplexing, to say the least. Yesterday evening we learned that the Mayor decided to accept a pay raise, originally budgeted by the Board of Aldermen two years ago, increasing his salary from $97,500 to $125,000.
Coming just two weeks before an election where Newton will face a difficult choice between increased property taxes and sharp cuts in people, programs and services, the manner and timing of this announcement could not have been worse for our campaign. It was a slap in the face to our organization and served to undermine much of our hard work.
After facing a storm of public outrage, the Mayor announced this afternoon that he would rescind the pay raise and continue working at his current salary. While we are pleased that the Mayor has chosen to reverse an ill-considered decision, the entire episode reflects critical misjudgments and more importantly, serves as a great distraction from the task at hand: winning support for the override on May 20th.
We have said all along that the override vote on May 20th is not a referendum on the Mayor; rather it is a vote to fund a deficit in city and school operations. Unfortunately, pervasive voter concerns with the current administration combined with this latest salary episode, have made it very difficult for us to get our message out to the voters.
David Cohen has had a long and distinguished career of public service on behalf of the people of Newton, both on Beacon Hill and in City Hall. However, there is a growing consensus that the Mayor will not be able to attract support for another run in 2009. In the interest of clarifying the critical decision that Newton voters will be asked to make on May 20th, we urge the Mayor to announce that he will not run for re-election in 2009.
The Mayor needs to make his decision; it is time for the people of Newton to make theirs.
Now, more than ever, the override vote is a referendum on the future of Newton, not the political fate of a single person. It is a choice between support for the school system and city services that make Newton such a great place to live, or a series of cuts that are very real and would be damaging to our schools, police department, libraries, and a whole range of other city services.
We look forward to continuing to work with all of you in the final two weeks of the campaign, holding signs and handing out fliers, making phone calls, and talking to our friends and neighbors about the importance of voting YES on May 20th. We thank you for all of your hard work.
Sarah Ecker, Rob Gifford, Chris Hill
Co-Chairs, Move Newton Forward
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