Letter to the Editor: Elected officials and hypocrisy with electrification

Elected Officials to Newton: “Do as I say, not what I do.”

The council is moving forward with a fiat that prevents all new development from using gas or oil. The ordinance also forces  electric energy on property owners that complete large renovations. The purported benefit is to reduce climate change, though I can’t find the council’s estimates of the emission impact, let alone a proper cost-benefit analysis.

Our elected officials’ approach can be best described as “do as I say, not what I do.” The tax assessor’s database reports that 11 of 24 councilors heat their homes with oil, while 11 use gas. Only 2 councilors live in residences with electric heat—Stephen Farrell, who is newly elected, and Bill Humphrey who lives in a residence that he does not own.

Mayor Fuller heats with gas, as does Ann Berwick who presumably is the same Ann Berwick that is Newton’s Co-Director of Sustainability.

State Representative Ruth Balser, who describes herself on her website as an “Advocate for the Environment” heats with gas, as does Cindy Creem, who is the Senate Majority Leader and Chair of the Global Warming and Climate Change Committee.

Full disclosure, like most of our elected officials, my home is heated with gas. Our elected officials need to respect the heating decisions of their constituents.

Jeffrey Pontiff