Archive for April, 2009

Candidate Statement: Michael A. Burstein

April 30, 2009

Although I am new to precinct 12, I have been a Town Meeting Member from precinct 9 since 2001. In December 2008, my wife and I bought a condominium on Garrison Road in precinct 12, and I am hoping to represent my new precinct with the same dedication with which I represented my old precinct.

I am proud to say that in my nine years representing precinct 9, I have never once missed a night of Town Meeting.

I have long been a resident of Brookline. I first lived in the town from 1991-1993 when I was a graduate student, and my wife and I have lived in Brookline from the day we were married in 1995. In 2001, I ran for the Town Meeting seat being vacated by Representative Frank Israel Smizik, and won it with his endorsement. As a Town Meeting Member, I have paid careful attention to all the issues that have come before us and have been responsive to the concerns of my constituents.

Along with being a Town Meeting Member, since 2004 I have also been an elected Library Trustee. As a Trustee, I chair the building committee. As part of that role, I kept tabs on the renovation project at Coolidge Corner. I am now keeping tabs on a renovation at Putterham. I helped push for an extra staff member at the Coolidge Corner branch to relieve congestion. In addition, before I was on the Board, the library’s budget for purchasing items had been kept steady despite the rising cost of materials. As a Trustee, I pushed for increased funding to the materials budget, which we got. More recently, I supported and endorsed the override to keep town services at a level that our citizens expect, and I worked on getting the RFID program approved to relieve congestion in our libraries.

I grew up in New York City and graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in Physics and from Boston University with an M.A. in Physics. For many years I worked as a teacher, teaching at the Cambridge School of Weston and then at the Rashi School. I currently edit science textbooks at Pearson Education. I am also an award-winning science-fiction writer and occasional journalist; my first book, “I Remember the Future: The Award-Nominated Stories of Michael A. Burstein,” was published last year and is available in the Brookline libraries.

My wife and I are active members of our synagogue, Kadimah-Toras Moshe, located just over the border in Brighton. We are expecting our first children, a set of twins, this August.

For those who wish to know more about me, I maintain a website at and a blog at

I have been endorsed by Neighbors Building Brookline and by Brookline PAX.

I hope you will cast your vote for me on May 5.


Candidate Statement: Jonathan H. Grand

April 29, 2009

I have been a Town Meeting member since 1997 because of my belief that a community is only liveable to the extent that its citizens actively participate in it.  To some extent, town meetng and its nearly 250 members is an unwieldy form of government but it also allows for a lot of citizen input; this puts town officials and employees on notice that their performance is being observed and judged.  I am proud of my perfect record attendance over the past three years and having missed only one session during my entire 12 years; I believe that we Town Meeting members have an obligation to represent our constituents as well as share our reasons for voting on issues.  
In addition to my history with Town Meeting, I have been a trustee at Beaconsfield TowneHouse Condominium Trust for most of the 22 years that I have lived there.  It is a 31 unit community and I have been happy to make a contribution in maintaining the living standards of my neighbors as well as myself. 
I received a Masters’ Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan and worked in the substance abuse treatment and prevention field for many years.  I am the former executive director of two nonprofit agencies and have worked for the last 16 years as a consultant for Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., which provides consulting services to Federal and State agencies in the areas of substance abuse treatment and prevention, mental health, domestic violence, and health care. 
It has been a privilege representing you in Precinct 12 and I would greatly appreciate your vote on May 5th. 

Candidate Statement: David J. Cotney

April 28, 2009

I live on University Road and have been a Town Meeting Member since 2003. I also served on the Advisory Committee from 2003 to 2006, and was a member of the Selectmen’s Committee on Pension Obligation Bonds and the Moderator’s Committee on Norfolk County. I am the father of two students at the Driscoll School and I supported the Proposition 2 ½ Override.

I have nearly 20 years professional experience in state government working on consumer protection, fair lending, and community reinvestment issues and, most recently, foreclosure prevention. Currently, I am the Chief Operating Officer at the Massachusetts Division of Banks. In addition, I serve as the voting member on behalf of the states on the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s Task Force on Consumer Protection.

I earned my B.A. from Tufts University, my M.B.A. from Boston University with a concentration in Public & Non-Profit Management, and my M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

I hope I can count on your vote on May 5.

Candidate Statement: Lee Cooke-Childs

April 27, 2009

I live on Rawson Rd. and have been a Town Meeting Member for 15 years. My roots in Brookline go far back, as I’ve been a resident of our town for 40 years now. Besides being a member of Town Meeting, I serve on the Executive Board of the Brookline League of Women Voters, I’m the treasurer of the Brookline Neighborhood Alliance, and the co-chair of the Aspinwall Hill Neighborhood Association.  I work as a real estate broker for Chobee Hoy Associates. All of my offspring, my four including triplets and his three, are products of the Brookline schools.

I hope to receive your vote on May 5.

Candidate Statements Start Today

April 27, 2009

As we approach election day next Tuesday, Neighbors Building Brookline will post five candidate statements, one each from the five candidates we’re endorsing for Town Meeting. Come back to the site every day around noon or 1 pm to see the new candidate statement, and please remember to vote on May 5th.

Candidate Statements Coming

April 20, 2009

In one week, Neighbors Building Brookline will be posting statements from the candidates we’ve endorsed for Town Meeting from precinct 12. Although the League of Women Voters Guide allows each candidate a little space to introduce themselves, we’d like to give voters an opportunity to learn even more.

So from Monday to Friday of next week, we’ll be posting longer statements from each of our candidates. In the meantime, here’s what our candidates said in the LWV Guide, available at (The League asked two questions: a candidate’s opinion of the proposed Pay-As-You-Throw program, and a short biography.)

Michael A. Burstein
1. I support the program, with one concern: illegal dumping. I would want to make sure that the program would be enforced. Homeowners should not be responsible for trash dumped in front of their homes by anonymous neighbors. Safeguards would ensure no one would be charged for the disposal of someone else’s abandoned property.
2. Harvard College: A.B., Physics; Boston University: M.A., Physics. Brookline resident 1991-3, 1995-date. Teacher: Cambridge School of Weston, Rashi School; science textbook editor, Pearson Education. Library Trustee 2004-date. TMM, Precinct 9 since 2001. My wife and I just bought our new home in Precinct 12. We are expecting twins in August.

Lee Cooke-Childs
1. Yes. It has been shown to decrease non-recycled trash significantly and the payment is equitable.
2. 40+ year Brookline resident. TMM 12 years. Board of BLWV. Treasurer of BNA, Co-chair AHNA. All offspring products of Brookline Schools.

David James Cotney
1. Yes. I support a pay-as-you-throw trash managementprogram both because it is fair based on trash volume, and because it is a clear incentive for a reduction in waste, through increased recycling and reduced consumption of wasteful products.

Jonathan H. Grand
1. Yes. Towns and cities across the country are instituting environmentally sensitive practices and Brookline should be at the forefront. Many of us in the Town are already proactively recycling but financial incentives will increase those numbers. I would also like to see Brookline promote the use of cloth shopping bags; we must reduce the millions of plastic bags manufactured and distributed each year.
2. Brookline resident for 30 years. Town Meeting member since 1997. Trustee, Beaconsfield Towne House Condominium Trust. Former Boston Chapter Chairman, Appalachian Mountain Club. Consultant, Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. Former executive director of two nonprofit agencies.

Casey A. Hatchett
1. As an avid recycler, I support the PAYT program. In addition to its environmental benefits, PAYT is also about fairness. Despite best efforts to reduce use, recycle and compost, my family of five produces more trash than smaller households and I feel we should pay for our
share of removal.
2. Brookline resident for 15 years, homeowner, live with husband and three young sons. Active in our community: Brookline Police Officer for 11 years; Chair of Commission for Women 4 years, parent at Driscoll School. I am committed to Brookline. Areas of interest include: public safety, schools, environment.

Town Meeting Endorsements for May 2009

April 17, 2009

Neighbors Building Brookline is endorsing the following five candidates to represent precinct 12 in Town Meeting:


Lee Cooke Childs

David J. Cotney

Jonathan Grand

Michael A. Burstein

Casey Hatchett


Over the next few weeks before the election, we’ll have more information about our candidates.

Please remember to vote in the election on May 5, 2009.


April 16, 2009

Welcome to the Neighbors Building Brookline blog. Neighbors Building Brookline is a group based in precinct 12 of Brookline, Massachusetts, devoted to improving our community. Over the next few weeks before the election, we will present our endorsements for Town Meeting and give our candidates a chance to talk directly to the voters.