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Brookline leaders collaborated under her leadership

Dear Brookliners,

Brookline needs a strategic plan. And Zoe Lynn can make it happen.

Local governing has only gotten harder in recent years, what with the corrosive legacy of the Trump years and the multiple traumas of 2020.

We know the issues. Among them: racial and economic justice in housing, policing and schooling; land use and development; climate change and sustainability; economic development. The usual ad hoc approach that has served us in the past will not serve us well going forward—the problems are just too big and divisive.

It is increasingly clear that we need to engage in a town-wide, strategic planning process that will focus our talents, our resources, and our good will—all abundant in Brookline—to accomplish some serious problem solving.

The good news is that one of the candidates running for Select Board, Zoe Lynn, has the exact

skills Brookline needs to develop a democratic, community-generated roadmap that can guide our decision-making for the immediate future, and beyond.

We don’t have to guess if this could work, or if Zoe can lead a strategic town process on tough issues. Zoe has already done it, here in Brookline. In 2019, as our Sustainability Administrator, she organized dozens of listening sessions, a massively attended Sustainability Summit— where Brookline leaders collaborated under her leadership —and led ten Working Groups, which produced excellent town legislation (among other outcomes). The fossil-free construction article, in particular, is having ripple effects across the Commonwealth. Having experienced Zoe’s amazing leadership, many of us who participated are now supporting Zoe’s candidacy.

As impressive as her work product is, Zoe’s personal qualities are more so. She listens. She validates, she finds common ground, she helps craft solutions that have deep community support. She is not interested in factions, in us-them politics. She wants to develop effective responses to profound problems—and she has the skills, the energy, and the discipline to get it done.

In normal times (whatever that means) Zoe would be a gift. Today she is a necessity. Please join me and others in giving Zoe Lynn one of your two votes for Select Board on May 4.

Learn more about Zoe at VoteZoeforBrookline.com.

Don Weitzman

[Don Weitzman is a Town Meeting Member, Precinct 8, a former Select Board Member, and a founding member of the Select Board’s Climate Action Committee.]

An asset to the Select Board

I am proud to endorse Zoe Lynn for Select Board in our May 4 election. Zoe brings a much-needed strategic lens to the challenges our Town faces, and has the leadership and change-management skills to enable us to make real progress.

I first met Zoe when she was the Town’s Sustainability Program Administrator, and was impressed by how effectively she led our community that is so passionate about environmental issues but has many different priorities. Zoe brought together stakeholders, fostered input from the community and Town staff, strategically prioritized initiatives based on this feedback, productively channeled the community’s energy — and with timeliness and focus, executed a strategy to move us toward action.

Zoe is focusing on 5 key challenges facing the Town — housing and economic development, racial equity, climate change, financial strategy, and inclusion — and has developed priorities, actions and a critical change-management processshe would bring to the Select Board to address these challenges. In addition, Zoe believes in integrated goal setting, action plans, metrics to assess progress, and transparent reporting — all of which I think are critical to effective Select Board leadership.

One of her financial strategy priorities is to address the fact that our Town’s projected expenses are rising faster than our projected revenues, our so-called structural deficit. Our elected leaders have known about this problem for years and yet we still lack a comprehensive plan to address it. Should we increase revenues by inviting well-planned economic development (that protects historic buildings), strategically plan periodic overrides, and/or professionalize our arrangements with non-profits so that their payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS) to Brookline are as generous as they are to surrounding communities? Which services should we expand, and which should we scale back? Are there other innovative solutions we could consider? With Zoe, the Select Board will be better equipped to collaborate with a diversity of community stakeholders to develop a shared vision, priorities, and a plan to address these questions — and to then oversee its implementation. Zoe is committed to prioritizing this work.

Zoe’s skills would be an asset to the Select Board and complement the skills of her fellow Board members.

I urge you to join me and the many others endorsing Zoe, and to vote for her on May 4. For more details, see VoteZoeforBrookline.com.


Mike Toffel, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 8

A leader with vision, expertise, and consensus-building skills

We are enthusiastically endorsing Zoe Lynn for Select Board in the May 4 election. Zoe’s demonstrated commitment to climate and sustainability issues is evidence of her commitment to the future and that is a commitment to the health and well-being of Brookline’s children and future generations.

Time outdoors is healthy for young bodies and minds, and it fosters learning and development. As part of a quality education, children need outdoor experiences and environmental education. An appreciation for the environment can also encourage our children to become good stewards of our community and our planet.

Providing and maintaining valuable outdoor infrastructure for Brookline’s children will require a Select Board that sets integrated sustainability priorities in collaboration with the School Department. It will also take collaboration between the School Department, the Parks and Open Space Division, and Brookline Recreation. To this end, Zoe Lynn has an impressive track record of bringing Town departments together; fostering cross-stakeholder discussion; and leading community-based planning.

Zoe served as Brookline’s Sustainability Program Administrator in 2019. In this role, she convened the Town’s first, Select Board-sponsored, Sustainability and Climate Action Summit. Among other accomplishments, she brought together and led a Composting Working Team that included community members, the School Department, and Town staff. Some of us were part of this team, and we saw first-hand Zoe’s ability to facilitate meaningful discussion and lead results-oriented planning. She took a community composting “goal” from a stand-still aspiration to a collaborative discussion, and it resulted in a budget and operations plan between the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Schools. As many others have shared, Zoe’s ability to bring people together on issues, and then lead them to work in the same direction, is impressive.

Proactive collaboration between Town and School officials is vitally important as Brookline works towards its climate goals and builds the sustainable infrastructure for our children to inherit. This kind of work takes a leader with vision, expertise, and consensus-building skills. Zoe Lynn is that leader.

Learn more about Zoe at VoteZoeforBrookline.com, and please join us in electing her on May 4th.

Maiyim Baron, Precinct 9

Deane Coady, Precinct 5

Susan Helms Daley, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 1

Marga Dieter, Precinct 12

Carolyn Thall, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 16

Donna Viola, Precinct 3

Sandra Wesemann, Precinct 5

Progress on the climate crisis — she proved she gets things done

I enthusiastically endorse Zoe Lynn for Select Board. Why? Zoe knows how to get things done and is the best candidate to help Brookline lower its carbon footprint and lead on combatting the climate crisis.

I am a climate activist. I helped organize door-to-door campaigns for Green Homes Brookline (home insulation), NStar Green (electricity from wind) and Solarize Brookline, as a member of Climate Action Brookline. I was also at the first meeting of the Green Caucus of Town Meeting Members, when the idea for Brookline Green Electricity was hatched, and I took part in every step thereafter.

Too often I have witnessed our Select Board not take bold enough steps to combat the climate crisis. I believe the hearts of our Select Board members are in the right place, but we need more than sympathetic hearts. We need to get meaningful things done, which requires leadership from people who will act proactively and decisively.

Zoe Lynn is such a leader.

Zoe’s commitment to advance townwide efforts to combat the climate crisis when she was Brookline’s Sustainability Program Administrator were spectacular. Her 2019 meeting, which drew 100s of Brookliners into a discussion of steps Brookline could take to lower its carbon footprint, was impressive. And the outcomes from climate bylaws to composting were even more impressive. Zoe’s master’s degree in environmental justice, policy, planning and community engagement, along with her training in change management, were aptly in evidence. She proved that she gets things done.

Before coming to Brookline, Zoe was the Director of Environmental Sustainability for one of the six community college systems in Nebraska. She developed and executed a masterplan for their seven campuses and sites, and led hundreds of projects, programs and community initiatives. She oversaw the development of a wind turbine initiative to generate all of the electricity for one of the campuses, and apearheaded everything from single-stream recycling, to geothermal heating and cooling, to composting, to the development of net-zero facilities all in politically-conservative Nebraska.

Beyond climate change, Zoe stands for other progressive values, including on issues from race, to policing, to housing, to schools, to infrastructure.

Zoe is the right person, at the right time, for the right position. So, I hope you will join me and vote for Zoe Lynn for Select Board on May 4.

Edward L. Loechler, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 8

Leadership skills that would serve the Town well

We are endorsing Zoe Lynn for Select Board, and, in so doing, are joining many Brookliners who had the opportunity to work with her.

Our work with Zoe arose out of the very successful 2019 Select Board Sustainability & Climate Action Summit that Zoe designed and led. The Summit, attended by over 150 people, brought together the Select Board, Town departments, residents, business owners, employees, and students, and was the culmination of Zoe’s work listening to a wide range of stakeholders in her first months as the Town’s Sustainability Program Administrator.

Zoe developed and executed strategy to harness the unique combination of expertise, energy and commitment in Brookline to advance the Town’s zero climate emission goal. This consisted of creating a new “working team” model that leveraged staff and resident volunteers to create concrete outcomes.

Many of us worked with Zoe on the “sustainable transportation” team. Zoe brought together residents with a wide range of interests, from people-powered and micro transportation, to electric vehicles. Our work led to a warrant article on sustainable, equitable and healthy transportation that established goals and timelines for shifting away from single-occupancy gas-powered vehicles. It passed overwhelmingly at the fall 2019 Town Meeting.

Our work gave us an opportunity to see Zoe’s many talents—talents that are not usually combined in a single person. She has a deep technical understanding of sustainability issues. Zoe is able to skillfully manage large groups of stakeholders made up of people with diverse viewpoints, many strongly held. She reaches out to people who may disagree with her to find areas of common ground to enable meaningful progress. And Zoe can plan and execute strategy, as is reflected in the success of the climate-related warrant articles that she led from community conception through Town Meeting approvals.

In our work with Zoe, we experienced an approach to solving difficult issues that we had not seen before in Brookline. We believe Zoe’s leadership skills would serve the Town well, not only in addressing sustainability, but also in addressing other challenges, including economic development, affordable housing, racial justice, equity, and financial planning.

For meaningful change, join us and others and vote for Zoe Lynn in the Town election on May 4.


Blake Cady, Precinct 5

David Kroop, Precinct 8

Anne Lusk, Precinct 5

Jan Preheim, Precinct 5

Leonard Wholey, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 11

Serious competence at the helm

Zoe Lynn is running for Select Board! It’s great news — Zoe will bring rigor and forward momentum to Town government, to our progressive priorities, and to Brookline writ large. I’m voting for her on May 4th, and I hope you will too.

Here’s why.

My family moved back to the area two years ago, settling here in Brookline. My wife Julie and I are planning to raise our two young kids here, so I’m interested in the longer-horizon challenges — climate resilience, racial justice, our schools, our budgets — the hard ones.

The Town had just hired Zoe as its first Sustainability Program Administrator. I met her while working on Warrant Article 21, the gas line climate action bill. It was the sort of good policy that dies from a thousand objections to a thousand details, by a thousand people for whom those details matter.

Zoe understood this, and she took it head-on. She opened the conversation to a profoundly broad collection of stakeholders, in a series of public meetings — at the beginning of the process, when it mattered most. I attended several of those meetings, and I got to see her in action.

It took me a few weeks to understand the depth of what she was accomplishing. We heard very little from Zoe — instead, she asked questions, and listened, and guided discussion towards serious concerns and away from bloviators. (I took some lessons from this.) I learned so much from small business owners, restaurateurs, and fellow homeowners. Thanks to Zoe, so did the bill.

Zoe understood the policy. She pulled in the people who cared, she listened to them, and it mattered. I’ve never seen anything like it, and Warrant Article 21 passed Town Meeting in a landslide.

Brookline needs that kind of serious competence at the helm — to navigate big, progressive priorities down difficult paths, and to move our town forward without leaving anyone behind. I've never met someone better at understanding the details, at gathering the stakeholders, and at doing the hard work of governing.

Zoe Lynn is a different kind of candidate: a uniquely talented facilitator, an inclusive leader, and a tactical and strategic visionary. I hope you get to know her (check out www.votezoeforbrookline.com) and join me in voting for her on May 4th.


Dave Porter, Precinct 6

Strategic leadership, management skills, responsiveness and inclusivity

I am so proud to endorse Zoe Lynn for Select Board, and I hope you’ll join me by voting for her this coming May 4.

Zoe will bring to the Board the strategic leadership, management skills, responsiveness, and inclusivity that will enable Brookline to grapple with some of the toughest challenges the Town has faced. These include a fiscal crunch, a housing affordability crisis, systemic racism we can’t seem to shake, and a climate emergency. So many of our residents and small businesses face unprecedented hardship in the wake of the pandemic. In this election, we have a choice: stay mired in the status quo, or recognize right now that for change to happen, we need to get out and vote for it.

I spent a lot of time collaborating with Zoe on several of the 10 working teams she led in 2019 while she served as the Town’s first Sustainability Program Administrator. I have seen up close what an effective leader she is. I was wowed by the passion and skill Zoe brought to the job, truly listening to residents with diverse perspectives from across the community. Zoe managed to forge actionable consensus that didn’t compromise on ambitious goals. Ultimately, she brought about concrete actions across our Town government. Zoe worked with staff, the Select Board, committees, members of the Advisory Committee, Town Meeting, and community. As others have attested, Zoe leads with energy and vision — in a way that I rarely see in Brookline.

Brookline often has a reputation — not completely undeserved — for being strong on talk, but feeble on meaningful action. We see election promises go unfulfilled. We see Town Meeting trying to make up for an executive leadership vacuum — something for which a large legislative body that meets twice a year is extremely ill-suited.

Zoe Lynn’s inclusive, responsive, and outcome-oriented leadership style — not to mention her skill in transformational change management — epitomizes what we need on our Select Board at this moment, and as a Town in the years to come. Please join me and others in supporting and voting for her: Visit VoteZoeforBrookline.com.

Scott Englander, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 6

Demonstrated skill in addressing 'wicked' problems

How to remedy the lack of housing affordability in Brookline?

Housing affordability is a complex, interconnected problem: it is an economic problem; a racial justice problem; a transportation problem; a climate problem; a regional problem; and it is not just a subsidized housing problem, it is a “missing middle” problem. If we try to solve it from one of these frames, we’re doomed to failure. To paraphrase Einstein, “You can’t solve a problem from the fragmented paradigms that created it.”

In Zoe Lynn, we would have a Select Board member who has demonstrated leadership and skill in addressing “wicked” problems (Google it - it’s an eye opener!). Zoe’s campaign focuses on five “wicked" problems facing our community: housing affordability, economic development, racial equity, integrated financial planning, and climate sustainability. She realizes that all these problems are connected and need to be tackled in a comprehensive fashion.

We believe her leadership, vision and strategic approach to Brookline’s problems as well as her skills in creating collaborative strategies to address Brookline’s “wicked” problems would be an asset to the Select Board. She’s demonstrated her leadership in the arena of climate sustainability, bringing together a very diverse (and sometimes divergent) group of stakeholders in a 2019 Brookline Climate Summit with great success.

We believe she can repeat that success in the other arenas, and work to bring groups together to forge a solid Select Board, town-wide, collaborative strategy for moving forward on all these issues.

We endorse Zoe Lynn for Select Board, and we hope you will learn about her candidacy (at www.VoteZoeforBrookline.com) and support her too on May 4, 2021, with your vote.


Joan Lancourt, Precinct 14

Kea van der Ziel, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 15

Listener, leader and consensus-builder

We’re writing to endorse Zoe Lynn for Brookline’s Select Board. Now more than ever we need the special type of leadership that Zoe brings.

We worked closely with Zoe in 2019, when she served as our Town’s first full-time staff member devoted to sustainability. In that capacity, Zoe launched into the role without any template or roadmap. She immediately took the initiative to listen to diverse stakeholder groups, organizing a Select Board-sponsored Sustainability & Climate Summit, open to all. One-hundred-and-sixty residents, business owners, officials, and staff convened. We used Zoe’s Post-It-Note system to weigh in on the top sustainability priorities facing the Town. Zoe synthesized this information and formed ten working teams that brought together Brookline volunteers and staff expertise at unprecedented intensity and scale.

Zoe’s inclusive process and working teams produced collaborative town action on sustainability and climate issues -- including “Warrant Article 21,” a prohibition on new fossil fuel construction that passed Town Meeting 211-3. We knew that this prohibition was a practical and necessary first step, yet some initially believed that it went too far, too fast. After all, this was the first proposed “gas ban” east of the Sierra Nevada’s and the first in the nation to address major renovations as well as new construction. Zoe moderated public meetings in which the community was invited to raise concerns and offer solutions. Her process built unexpected political consensus, transforming early critics into authors who wrote solutions into the legislation itself. Because the resulting policy was so well vetted, considered and calibrated by the community, it is now being copied verbatim, or nearly verbatim, in a dozen municipalities throughout the state.

Zoe’s collaborative leadership style, focused on bringing diversity into the discussion, is not as easy to copy as the policy it has produced. Zoe is a great listener, leader, and consensus-builder who has reminded us that we don’t need bulldozer-style policy practices or power plays to make progress. Instead, we must engage in deep conversations across the community, focus on our shared goals, and harness our strengths to propel us into the future. At a time when there are so many challenges to divide us, we believe Zoe Lynn would be excellent on the Select Board, to move us forward together -- inclusively, equitably and sustainably.


Diane Sokal, Precinct 5

Jesse Gray, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 10

David Klafter, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 12

Suzette Abbott, Precinct 12

Responsiveness, inclusion and transformational change

We are excited to be endorsing Zoe Lynn for Select Board.

Inclusion is important, and Zoe encompasses that in the way she listens, manages, leads and delivers. We have had the opportunity to work with Zoe. She cares deeply about creating and fostering inclusive environments that support all Brookliners.

Brookline needs more voices and advocates on the Select Board so that our values and our priorities as a community are represented by our actions from our municipal budget down through our municipal programs. Again and again we see that racial, economic, and social disparities plague our built environment, our transportation systems, our health care systems… impacting quality of life and very real outcomes for everyone. This is true because what we, as a community, do for our most vulnerable brothers and sisters, bestows benefits that accrue to everyone in Brookline.

We need to do more to protect our most vulnerable in Brookline and lead by example with equitable and respectful programs that work. This requires a responsive and strategic executive body, our Select Board. Zoe Lynn has demonstrated to us that she can and will bring this responsiveness, this inclusion and transformational change to our Town leadership.


David Lescohier, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 11

Lisa Cunningham, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 15

David Gladstone, Precinct 16

Effective and the right choice for the Select Board

We are excited to be early endorsers of Zoe Lynn for Brookline Select Board.

Many of us had the opportunity to work with Zoe during her time as the Town’s Sustainability Program Administrator. We saw her listen deeply to residents across the community and devote the time necessary for understanding a myriad of perspectives, constraints, barriers, and opportunities, and then pull together a cohesive, forward-moving plan.

This work was done in a way and on a scale that we, in Brookline, had not experienced before. Zoe’s unique but effective approach pulling stakeholders together to get things done, while integrating feedback from across the community is what we need on the Select Board now. She engaged Town employees, elected and appointed officials, and community members to effectively advance the Select Board’s climate goals.

Zoe comes to Brookine with fresh ideas and clear convictions. In her work with our community and Town, she learned and has demonstrated effective knowledge of our representative Town Meeting form of government. Within her first few months as Brookline’s first Sustainability Program Administrator, Zoe brought together 150 people from across the town to create the Select Board’s Sustainability & Climate Action Summit in 2019. She coordinated a complex process that distilled aspirational community ideas and energies; recruited community expertise; and led volunteer working groups ultimately leading to successfully passed policy. Nine integrated sustainability and climate warrant articles, representing community priorities from the Summit, moved to the fall Town Meeting, just months after her work started.

Brookline is facing a number of challenges, from climate change to financial planning, social justice to affordable housing. Zoe Lynn is a change agent we need, committed to hearing residents, employees, business owners and town staff. We are confident that Zoe is the right choice for the Select Board.

Please join us in supporting Zoe in a much needed candidacy for our town and its future.


Kathleen Scanlon, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 3

Cher Duffield, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 6

Tracie Burns, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 8

Roslyn Feldberg, Town Meeting Member candidate, Precinct 10

David Lowe, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 11

A joint letter: Why your Select Board vote is important for the financial stewardship of the Town (read here)

Letter: Why your Select Board vote matters on climate (read here)