Candidate for Ward Councilor, Ward 5
Campaign Website: https://renagetz.org
My name is Rena Getz Escudero. I was born in Spain and have lived throughout the world. I’m a neurochemist. We moved to Newton 25 years ago to raise our children, all NPS graduates. I’ve been an active NPS parent, community activist and Waban Area Council founding member and current vice president.
Questions and Answers
Question 1: Discuss an experience where you made a decision that you now regret.
I regret not running for elected office sooner. I learned with the passing of Brian Yates, our longstanding Ward 5 Councilor At-Large, that we lost a significant voice in our community. Brian was one that believed in “Village Values” – in having a passion for your community and a belief that city government needs to care for the most vulnerable among us. He also believed in respecting and preserving our history and the uniqueness of each of our Ward 5 Villages. I share these sensibilities and I am committed to upholding these values and the importance of being a true voice for our Ward 5 community. It is important to continue this legacy.
Question 2: Do you support the proposal to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in Newton by 2050? Why or why not?
Yes I support Newton as a municipality doing its part to combat Climate Change by reducing the reliance of the city and its residents on fossil fuels for energy use and transportation by 2050. We can implement Newton’s Climate Action Plan and promote and expand Newton Power Choice. As a community we can support energy use reduction and electrification in new construction as amendments to our zoning code. At the state level we can advocate for changes in our building code to a net zero Stretch Code and we can lobby for the city to participate in the vote on the International Energy Conservation Code to increase base building efficiencies.
Question 3: What is your opinion of the current development proposals such as the Northland and Riverside projects?
Redevelopment in Newton needs to be principally of public benefit for residents of Newton. The Northland and Riverside redevelopment proposals offer the City of Newton opportunities and advancements, if done correctly – an expansion of housing choice and number of dwelling units but there needs to be a balance of respect for the abutting residential neighborhoods and full consideration of the impacts to our stressed infrastructure, the quality of life for abutting residents and the fiscal implications for Newton longterm. I would support more subsidized units and deeper levels of affordability for a large rental project at the Northland site.
Question 4: There are a number of expenses that the City needs to grapple with: union contracts still being negotiated, tight school budgets, NewCAL (a new Senior Center), the acquisition of Webster Woods, possible rehabilitation of the Armory, etc. What are your priorities and why?
Sound fiscal management will be a significant challenge for Newton in the upcoming decades due to the counter-balancing need to pay down the unfunded pension and OPEB liability at an accelerated rate. Settling the Union contracts is of high priority as our city employees are to be valued. With our aging demographic, a facility for our seniors is important but needs to occur without the loss of open space or park land. The acquisition of the Armory for housing or other municipal uses is a priority but needs to be balanced with supportive funding sources and realism in total rehabilitation costs for the building and the site.