With Mayor David Cohen's nose-diving popularity culminating in last week's announcement that he will not seek reelection, at least three people are seriously considering running for the city's top job.
Among them is Democratic state Representative Ruth Balser, a longtime friend and supporter of Cohen, who said she can be a force for healing in Newton.
|Ruth Balser (Globe file photo)|
Consensus in Newton is a rarity these days, as the city undertakes construction of the most expensive high school in the state and faces a $12 million override. City officials have been criticized for the construction of the $197 million high school by parents, state officials, and a fiscal watchdog group that said it has made Newton a "poster child" for suburban excess. The override vote, set for May 20, remains another contentious issue that has pitted a faction that wants improved funding for city services against residents who say local taxes are already too high.
Cohen, an override supporter, has been a polarizing figure on both fronts. On Friday, under pressure from some of his most trusted political allies, he announced he will not seek reelection. The news came after an ill-timed disclosure by Cohen that he planned to seek a 28 percent pay raise. Some residents said he should have stepped down sooner.
Jockeying among Cohen's would-be successors has begun.
|Setti Warren (Globe file photo)|
Ward 6 Alderman Ken Parker, a longtime critic of the mayor and his management of the new high school's design financing, has also formed an exploratory committee and a website. He said he supports the override.
Ken Parker (parker2009.org)
"There's been a lot of division recently," he added. "We need to come back together."
Read more about the fight to be Newton's next mayor in the online edition of the City & Region section.
-- Meg Woolhouse