Maureen Reilly Meagher
In the spring of 2004 my husband and I arranged to have the purchase of our house in Waban coincide with Opening Day at Fenway Park. He had gone to college in Boston and we had a Red Sox cable feed while we lived on the west coast, so I was a fan before I lived here.
My family has long been active in politics. I recall going door to door in California to gather signatures for political candidates and issues, first on behalf of my parents, and eventually in support of my own interests. I worked with a national organization called Kids Voting in the public schools to teach civics and the importance of voting through mock elections. I have been active politically all of my life and I have enjoyed the opportunity to participate meaningfully in local government.
When I moved to Waban, I observed and supported the successful effort of a group of residents working with their State Rep., Kay Khan, to advocate for and then succeed in getting a sound wall installed on Quinobequin Road. It was done through grass roots organizing and preparation. When the opportunity came, they were ready. Their actions gave me a script. Alderman John Rice and then newly elected Mayor Setti Warren proposed and supported the notion of developing more neighborhood area councils, and when this concept of forming an area council came along that could focus on issues of interest to me such as infrastructure and open space, I responded. To better inform myself, I became active in the League of Women Voters in Newton as well as the Newton Conservators and the Charles River Watershed Association.
I am ferociously tenacious in seeking in-depth information about issues of concern to me. I study them until my head is bursting with facts and then I organize those facts to educate others in a fair and accurate framework that represents what I believe will bring the listeners closer to the critical information that will allow them to make informed judgments. I have learned a lot about process and places within City Hall where issues are vetted and decisions are made on issues of interest, such as:
- Our annual Operating Budget, the matrix that informs timing and priority of infrastructure repair, such as streets and sidewalks.
- Planning, which informs the way we might experience our village centers going forward: issues of traffic, density of built environment in our village center, etc.
- The Open Space Plan, the document developed as an inventory as well as an operating manual for managing the public spaces we value.
- I have become aware of the committees and groups that meet regularly to engage these issues. I have attended the meetings and brought timely information back to our ad hoc group and have brought the concerns raised at our ad hoc meetings on issues such as Add-A-Lane to our city officials and to our city staff professionals.
Waban will need to manage many adjustments to village life in the near future as Angier is rebuilt, as Add-A-Lane begins construction and as the Riverside Development is built. I am confident that the residents elected to our Area Council will be a positive addition in the relaying of critical and useful information between Waban and our city officials, and will also work to gain consensus on complicated issues that benefit from reasoned and respectful exchange of perspective seasoned with facts.
I have been one of the principal organizers of the Waban Area Council and hope to continue that work as a Council member.