Metro, Politics, Newton

Ward 1 Candidates

Ward Councilor

Maria Scibelli Greenberg

Maria Scibelli Greenberg is seeking re-election for her third term as Ward 1 councilor. After her election in 2017, Greenberg said her top priority has been constituent services. 

“As your Ward 1 city councilor I am your liaison and advocate at city hall,” Greenberg said in her campaign video. “I take my job as your representative seriously, and I will do what I can to help you. I love my community and have a proven record of being an effective advocate for my community.”

Greenberg has focused on engaging in community-building efforts for her constituents. She encourages groups, such as Newton Corner Neighborhood Association and Jackson Homestead Neighborhood Association, to collaborate and tackle issues together, she said on her website.

She has also worked with the Nonantum Neighborhood Association (NNA) for the past 10 years to ensure that the voices of the residents of Nonantum, a village in Ward 1, are being heard. Greenberg worked with NNA to implement an Italian American Heritage Day in 2022, according to her website

Along with Nonantum, Greenberg supports local businesses across all the villages so they can maintain their liveliness and vibrancy, according to her website.

She has worked with the tree warden to plant more trees in Ward 1 and improve the tree canopy in an effort to combat climate change and beautify the community. 

Greenberg supports affordable, accessible, and diverse housing while on the council. Through collaboration with developers and residents, she has ensured that housing is the right fit for the neighborhood, she said on her website. 

Greenberg has lived in Newton since 1992 and in Nonantum since 1999, where she raised her family and sent her four children to Newton Public Schools.

As a Ward 1 councilor, she currently serves on the Programs and Services, Land Use, Real Property Reuse, and Special Re-Precincting Committees. 

Greenberg did not respond to The Heights’ request for an interview.

Kevin Riffe

Running for ward councilor in the ward in which he grew up, Kevin Riffe is hoping to keep Ward 1’s traditions and values alive.  

“I have a passion for the traditions and the people who made our ward great,” reads Riffe’s website. “I will work hard to maintain those traditions and values and work for the members of our community through availability, transparency and follow through and I humbly ask for your vote on November 2nd.”

He recently retired from Comcast as a senior director, where he worked for the past 38 years. He previously volunteered at the John M. Barry Boys and Girls Club of Newton’s youth programs and served on its board of directors for over five years. 

The priorities he lists on his website include public safety, education, and parks and recreation. 

If elected, Riffe seeks to create a safe environment for all Newton residents by emphasizing public safety.

“I believe that we owe it to the residents of Ward 1 and the rest of the city to provide a safe environment for everyone in the city,” he said on his website. “We should be working with our police officers, firefighters, and other first responders, to rethink, reimagine, and strengthen how we do this important work.”

Riffe did not respond to The Heights’ request for an interview.



Alison Leary

Alison Leary is running for re-election as a Ward 1 city councilor-at-large after being first elected in 2013. 

“My goal has always been to contribute to Newton’s excellent quality of life which includes great schools, great services, vibrant village centers, diverse neighborhoods and safe, walkable streets,” Leary said on her website

Her priorities to improve Newton include zoning reform and capital planning projects. These improvements involve creating more diverse housing options, creating a community more resilient to climate change impacts, and building a new senior center. 

As chair of the Public Facilities Committee, she is also interested in further expanding Newton’s public works, specifically with the Transportation Network Improvement Program. 

“You can’t miss all the infrastructure improvements going on around the City this summer,” Leary said. “Our [Department of Public Works] is hard at work improving city streets and sidewalks to improve accessibility and safety for all users.”

Her plans for public work projects also tie into her goal of meeting Newton’s climate change initiatives. According to her website, Leary wants to add electric vehicle charging stations in parking lots and adopt a stormwater ordinance to protect the bodies of water in Newton. 

Leary is a lifelong resident of Newton and even a graduate of NPS. She is also a member of the Zoning and Planning Committee. 

Leary did not respond to The Heights’ request for an interview.

John Oliver

John Oliver is running for re-election as a councilor-at-large in Ward 1. First elected in March in a special election, he is now seeking a full term. 

After moving to Newton in 2003 and starting a family, Oliver quickly became involved in the community, serving as co-president of Horace Mann Elementary School and Newton North High School, according to his website.

“In 2019, the city was looking for a site to build the new senior center,” Oliver said on his website. “When the list of preferred locations was published, I was bothered to see the only options listed were Newton parks. Albemarle Field was chosen as the preferred location, despite it being the most-used park in the city for youth sports, adult recreation and more. I helped lead the effort to protect Albemarle and find a location better suited for the facility. I am proud to have worked on this project and look forward to the re-opening of the senior center in Newtonville.”

His priorities include improving city services and infrastructure, supporting the school community, and bolstering environmental efforts.

Newton’s Climate Action Plan, approved by the City Council in November 2019, is appropriately ambitious, and an example for other communities to emulate,” Oliver said. “But now we must work to make the plan a reality. Investing in clean energy and climate resilience not only improves our air and water, it saves money – for the city, for our local businesses, and for our residents.”

Oliver did not respond to The Heights’ request for an interview.

Allan Ciccone

Allan Ciccone is seeking election for councilor at-large in Ward 1. A lifelong Newton resident, Ciccone has dedicated his life to service.

Ciccone is a Vietnam veteran, a retired Newton police officer, and served as an Alderman at-large in Newton for 12 years, according to his website. Ciccone raised his three children in Newton, including his son Jay Ciccone who served on the council and died last year.

“Since my son’s passing, I have taken a hard look at the representation that my community has,” Ciccone said in his campaign video. “I am running to bring common sense back to the city council.”

On his website, Ciccone lists his priorities as affordable housing, public safety, and public utilities. 

“In order to maintain and enhance the public safety within the city of Newton, there is absolutely no way we should be defunding the police at this time,” Ciccone said. “We should allow the chief to have the resources he needs to train, equip, and maintain the security that the citizens have been accustomed to in the past.”


School Committee

Rajeev Parlikar

Rajeev Parlikar is running for the Newton School Committee in Ward 1 and is concerned with academic excellence. 

As a Newton resident since 1994 and a parent of an NPSstudent since 2007, Parlikar is most interested in achieving academic excellence and navigating the Newton Public School system through the end of the pandemic, according to his website.

“I’m very happy about our safe return to fully in-person learning,” Parlikar said on his website. “I will work to ensure that we put the necessary safety protocols in place for our students and staff, and that we create contingency plans that allow us to quickly react to changes to the public health situation.” 

He also feels strongly about creating a safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environment for an increasingly diverse community.

“I am deeply concerned about how frequently we hear about racist and anti-Semitic incidents in our schools,” he said. “I will stand with our students, staff, and parents in the pursuit of making our schools a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment for all, with no place for racism, gender or LGBTQ bias, bullying, or discrimination of any kind.”

Parlikar did not respond to The Heights’ request for an interview.

Featured Graphic by Olivia Charbonneau / Heights Editor

October 25, 2021