A True Representative for Ward 5

My highest priority will be to listen to the concerns and viewpoints of the residents of Upper Falls, Newton Highlands and Waban and to represent you fully in the City Council chamber. I will advance Ward 5’s vision of our neighborhoods and our city while honoring our past and ensuring a sustainable future for our diverse community.

All of my votes will be cast with full consideration of their impacts on the residents of Ward 5.

Primary Responsibilities: Community Voice and Constituent Services

  • Help residents navigate City Hall to resolve their issues and concerns. I will be ready on Day One using the experience I have gained doing just this over the last seven years.
  • Promote governmental transparency by engaging and informing residents about issues directly affecting them early in the legislative process.
  • Improve access to our legislative processes in real time for Newton’s citizens.
  • Advocate for a resident representative on all mayoral appointed public bodies.

How I will fulfill specific responsibilities:

Citizen Engagement in the Zoning Redesign Process

I will inform and continue to educate our community on the proposed zoning code revisions, which I believe will singularly be the most impactful and transformative legislative act in the next term of the City Council, establishing the trajectory of Newton’s built environment for decades to come.

I believe we, the residents, are the most important and affected stakeholders of a new zoning code and our full engagement is essential.

Resident-based Master Planning of Ward 5 Village Centers

I will promote and advocate for community-based village center master planning for our village centers in Upper Falls, the Highlands and Waban prior to any enactment of a new zoning code. In Ward 5 we are fortunate to have our iconic village centers still predominantly intact in the year 2019.

Sustainability & Stewardship

I will support context-based redevelopment that honors, values, and respects our historic built environment, our existing tree canopy, and the scale and walkability of our current village centers. I will insist on “green” standards in all new development and promote adaptive re-use of existing buildings.

I will advocate for a zoning code that supports municipal Climate Change Resiliency.

Protection of Open Spaces and Habitats

Ward 5 is blessed with multiple open spaces (the parks and playgrounds at Emerson, Warren Lincoln and Braceland) and abutting in Ward 6 – Cold Spring Park (Old and New). We also have DCR Reservations (Charles River and Hemlock Gorge) and Park Lands (Quinobequin Road). As stewards in the “Garden City”, we need to value these treasures and habitats, prioritizing their preservation and betterment and improving accessibility for all to enjoy.

Ward Representation

I will continue to support the ward councilor seat on the City Council and to advocate for neighborhood area councils throughout the City of Newton. Civic engagement in Ward 5 has benefitted from having three of Newton’s four Area Councils.

Community Volunteerism

Community volunteerism is important to me and enriches my life on a daily basis. I have met so many residents working on various projects in our community. I believe we grow much more as individuals through giving rather than from receiving. I would like to facilitate more opportunities for residents to engage in volunteering.

Transit that Works for Ward 5

New transit modalities are coming but we first need to find short-term solutions that will address the need of commutes within Newton for our varied users.

The viability of Mass Transit solutions for commuting needs depends on improvements in service. At every opportunity, we, as a city, need to advocate for MBTA transit betterments in Newton as part of the regional Mass transit system.

The recent changes to the MBTA bus service in Newton unfortunately reduced routes and frequencies at a time when many of our residents need it most. It is not helpful in supporting the shift from single-occupancy vehicular use to Mass Transit.

Good Governance for the City of Newton

  • Ensure continued excellence in the Newton Public Schools
  • Support innovative programs and services for residents of all ages
  • Assure the continuation of a safe and welcoming community for everyone

Fiscal Management

Our long-term municipal policy and the consideration of any proposed development, vision plan or zoning code change needs to be based on solid fiscal analysis before it is approved or enacted.

Rena Getz testifies at public hearing at Newton City Hall, Newton, MA
I will be your voice in city government.
Ward 5 Proposed Zoning Map
Proposed Ward 5 Zoning Map
Newton Highlands Village
We need community-based planning for our village centers. Photo credit: John Phelan.
Echo Bridge over the Charles River, Newton, MA
We need to protect open space and habitats
Volunteers, Houghton Garden Cleanup
Volunteerism builds a strong community
Waban MBTA Station in Newton, MA
We need transit that works for Ward 5. Photo credit: The Boston Globe.
Newton City Hall
An informed citizenry is necessary for good self-governance