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Medford Democratic City & Ward 6 Committee Debate

Good Evening, thank you to the Medford Democratic City and Medford Ward-6 Committees for hosting us this evening, to those attending and watching- and to my parents, brother, family, friends and supporters who have been helping on the campaign.


I’m Jean Nuzzo, a lifelong Medford resident, Graduate of Bentley University, Certified Project Management Professional, volunteer with Kitty Connection outreach program, and candidate for city council.


Tonight I would like to speak with you about change.


Change is a part of life; we all grow and change and so do the places we live. Often change happens naturally, over time, without notice- you look around one day and suddenly see things aren’t the same as they used to be. 


When we raise the topic of change, the initial response is usually the same- yes, but no. You see it is in our nature to be resistant to change .


Why do we resist?

• Fear of the unknown

• not knowing how change will affect us

• what we will get in place of the familiar

• and most importantly- we don’t feel that we are part of the decision to make change-

and so, we avoid, fight, and oppose it.

Makes perfect sense- sounds a little familiar-right?


So, in order to achieve meaningful change, we must assure that individuals understand the changes we are looking to make, recognize the benefits the new condition brings, and assure that everyone feels heard and a part of the process. 


This is change management; the process by which we lead and guide change. 


Change agents

• identify and chart the course

• educate individuals about the change

• provide information on reaching the objective

• and build support for the plan.


They listen and respond to concerns, adjust the strategy accordingly and guide an organization (or community) to an end game- that is well thought out, clearly communicated, and agreed upon.


Clear communication, collaboration, and responsive problem-solving builds consensus to change.


You see, change isn’t made in a back room, behind closed doors- it is crafted out in the open- because the best plans- transformational plans, stand up to scrutiny and the light of day.


True agents of change welcome feedback- especially dissenting opinions- because these opinions help to improve the process and the result. It is through this grueling process of feedback and revision we arrive at a solution far better than we ever could have imagined.


Medford is on the verge of change, it is coming; but even so- we continue to do things the way they have always been done —yet still change is in the air- and it can be transformational.


I believe we can accomplish meaningful change, transformational change through many initiatives; my initiatives- such as:


• transparency, accountability and due diligence

let’s make information readily available online, bring our processes into the age of technology, make city hall and this podium accessible- with clear rules and multiple avenues of participation- there are many apps for meeting participation- and a number of our residents could benefit greatly from them.


• comprehensive zoning that safeguards our neighborhoods

let’s review our zoning ordinances and provide an easy to understand primer that makes zoning accessible to residents, and then let’s roll up our sleeves and work together to determine the areas want to, can and should change- and craft amendments to drive that change we need.  

We need to investigate senior housing, assisted living and target market housing options that can help make Medford affordable to those who work here. One option might be to allow for development on undersized parcels- if they are specifically used for target market housing for the missing middle.


• business & economic growth that increases our commercial tax base

our commercial tax is at roughly 10%, surrounding cities are at 40-65%. We need to make Medford more inviting to businesses; it shouldn’t take 6 months to open a storefront.  We should establish programs and funding to help bring in business- we could earmark linkage fees to help with this. Our Chamber of Commerce should be an ally in these efforts; their office should be visible- a resource for newcomers.


Increased commercial tax revenues helps to offset the residential burden, provide funding to improve our school programs, infrastructure and building maintenance and capital improvements.


• We must encourage walkability and a strong community- through planning, street and sidewalk repairs, and much needed infrastructure upgrades.  Studies show that people are more likely to walk when errands take 20 minutes or less, we should apply a complete neighborhood approach to planning which promotes “living locally”- providing services and amenities needed within a 20 minute walk- decreasing traffic congestion, improving sustainability and our quality of life.


• We need to build resiliency through maintaining our mature tree canopies, protecting our indigenous flora and fauna, and improving our green spaces- especially our parks and fields.

It has been proven that green spaces help to clean the air dissipate heat, and a mature tree canopy on a street can promote walkability and slow vehicle traffic. Our pollinators and small animals are at risk from over development, we need to maintain an environment that they can flourish in.


If you are concerned about rightsized development, preserving our natural resources, protecting our neighborhoods and transparency in government, please vote for me, Jean Nuzzo #13 on the ballot.


To learn more about these, and other issues, please visit www.nuzzomedford.com.


Thank you for listening.