Ron Newman (ron_newman) wrote in davis_square,
Ron Newman

Rebekah Gewirtz's December E-Newsletter

Rebekah Gewirtz E-Newsletter: December 2006
Holiday Greetings from Ward 6!

Dear Friends,
Happy holidays! Please feel free to forward this e-newsletter to others who you think might find it useful or interesting. Also: if you would like to be added to or removed from the list, please send an email to: Finally, we’re coming into an election year so please make a contribution to my re-election campaign if you can! Checks can be made payable to: CTE Rebekah Gewirtz 36 College Ave Apt 53 Somerville, MA 02144 or at

Ward 6 Fun Fact:
According to, “Beyond the Neck: The Architecture and Development of Somerville, MA”, most of present-day Davis Square was part of the 10-acre estate of Person Davis (1819-1894). Person Davis, who moved to the area in 1850, was a grain dealer and land owner. In 1883, the Somerville City Council designated the area Davis Square after Davis even though many people had wanted to name it “Middlesex Square” to reflect a more regional market.

Items in this E-Newsletter Holiday Update:
  1. Development in Davis Square: Photograph of the future One Davis Square; Sagra Italian Restaurant on Highland Ave; O'Natural's closing - Boloco Mexican Restaurant to come
  2. Illuminations Tour: maps and guides still available
  3. Trash Ordinance update - Effective January 1, 2007
  4. City's Towing Policy - Effective through December 31, 2006 (and how it relates to climate change)
  5. Assembly Square Agreement signing of the covenants
  6. Upcoming Meetings and Hearings of Interest
    1. Davis Area Resident Business Initiative: January 9, 2007
    2. Davis Square Task Force: February 26, 2007
    3. SAFE Start Public Hearing: March 17, 2007
1. Development in Davis Square
In my last e-update I mentioned changes happening in Davis Square.  Since that time I was able to get a pdf photograph of the future One Davis Square.  I've asked the owner of the site to display it on the chain link fence outside the construction site and that may happen within the next couple of months.  In the meantime, to see a picture of One Davis Square check out this link:
Sagra Italian Restaurant will be opening at 400 Highland Ave in the coming months.  At the Board of Aldermen meeting on December 14, 2006 we approved a permit for their new sign and awnings.  There will be a ribbon cutting once it's opened and I will work to let you all know about that once I know.
O'Natural's will be closing soon and replacing it will be Boloco Mexican restaurant.  This means we will have three Mexican restaurants in Davis Square once Chipotle opens at the Halloween Scream site.  As this is a change in ownership and not a change in use no review of this change will be required but I plan to ask the new owners to come to a future Davis Square Task Force meeting to introduce themselves to the community. What kind of development would you like to see in Davis Square?  Think about joining the Davis Square Task Force so you can be a part of discussions on development in the area.  Send an email to me and I will add you to the Task Force e-list:
2. Illuminations Tour: maps and guides still available
The City's Illuminations Tour was this past Saturday night, December 16, 2006.  If you missed the trolley tour featuring the great lights throughout Somerville, but want to see what the participants saw, starting Saturday December 16, 2006 Illuminations Tour Map are on sale for $3.00 at McIntyre and Moore Booksellers in Davis Square.  It's best to use the tour map in conjunction with a good map of Somerville. 
You can also buy Illuminations cards and the new book, "Somerville: City of Lights", being sold at:
Blue Cloud Gallery, 713 Broadway in Ball Square
McIntyre & Moore Booksellers, 255 Elm Street in Davis Square
Magpie, 378A Highland Ave, Davis Square
Mudflat Gallery, The Marketplace at Porter Square shopping center (cards only)
3. Trash Ordinance update - Effective January 1, 2007
This year, I was a member of the special committee set up by the President of the Board of Aldermen to address the rodent problem in Somerville.  This committee met with the Rodent Control Task Force on a very vigorous schedule and from our meetings we developed a new trash policy for the city.  Rodent problems are very often the result of residential trash being improperly stored and maintained and this ordinance is designed to address this problem.  The new ordinance will go into effect on January 1, 2007.  You will be getting a pamphlet in the mail from the city outlining the ordinance and there is information on the city website about it, as well.  Go to for more.
Here's a brief overview:
  • While stored on residential property, all trash must now be stored in waterproof and airtight containers with a lid
  • Trash put out for pick up must remain in a container, but does not need to be covered
  • Containers put out for pickup may not exceed 50lbs when full
  • Trash stored in other non-regulation barrels or unapproved containers will be considered bulk items: they will be disposed of, but will be considered in violation and ticketed appropriately
If you have any questions about the new trash ordinance, please feel free to contact me at: This ordinance is very similar to the ordinance on the books in Cambridge, which has been largely effective in controlling the rat problem in that city.
4. City's Towing Policy - Effective through December 31, 2006 (and how it relates to climate change)
The city has continued street sweeping throughout the month of December this year.  There were several reasons for this decision.  It's my understanding that one of the major reasons was the warm weather.  Since it is unseasonably warm leaves continue to fall and clog the gutters and trash continues to build up, as well.  If you've parked on the wrong side of the street on a street sweeping day you have likely gotten a notice on your dashboard letting you know that street sweeping will continue through December 31, 2006.  Please take note of this and remember to park your car on the correct side of the street. 
While I enjoy warm weather, the implications of this record setting heat are unnerving.  I hope if you haven't seen it yet, you'll take the time to see Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" about the devastating impacts of global warming.  Gore says in the movie that when learning about global warming many people jump from disbelief to despair without ever stopping in between to take action.  Since seeing the movie I have used my position as alderman to take action.  I spoke about climate change when advocating for the Green Line extension two months ago; when we authorized new vehicles for the Department of Public Works; and during the budget process.  I submitted a formal board of aldermen order requesting that the next time the city seeks to buy vehicles at least two of these vehicles are hybrids.  I have also spoken in favor of green technology at Assembly Square and would like to see Somerville take advantage of any opportunity to acquire and utilize a windmill like the one in Hull that powers entire neighborhoods. 
To learn more about global warming and what you can do go to this website: or contact me if you have ideas that the city could implement.  Somerville is one of the hundreds of cities that have signed on to honor the Kyoto Protocol.  Let's make it real by becoming a leader in the fight against climate change.  Email me at: with any big=85 or small... ideas you have.
5. Assembly Square Agreement; Signing of the covenants
On December 14, 2006 the city of Somerville and Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) entered into new covenants for the Assembly Square site.  These covenants reflect many of the provisions in the agreement between Mystic View Task Force and FRIT.  I outlined some of the key provisions of the agreement in my last e-newsletter.
FRIT is now in the zoning process.  It's my understanding that Ikea will be built first, within the next 2.5 years and residential, retail, and office space will be developed 6 months to a year after that time, assuming the land swap takes place as planned between Ikea and FRIT.  One of the key provisions of the agreement between FRIT and Mystic View involves caps on traffic.  The trips have been capped at 50,000 per day down from 100,000 originally proposed.  We will now have to determine the best ways to effectively monitor trips to be sure this happens.  I will be working on this in the New Year.
For questions about Assembly Square please feel free to contact me at:
6. Upcoming Meetings and Hearings of Interest
a. The next meeting of the Davis Area Resident Business Initiative (DARBI) will be on January 9, 2007 @ 7pm at 30 College Avenue.  All are welcome to attend this meeting!  The website the group has been working on is now on-line!  Check it out.  There's a blog on it and information about Davis Square:
b. The next meeting of the Davis Square Task Force will be on February 26, 2007 at 7pm at 167 Holland Street.  We will discuss development in Davis Square and other items of interest.  If you want an item added to the agenda, please email me at: and I will put it on.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend Davis Square Task Force meetings.  If you want a say in your community you should participate!
c. The mayor commissioned a group to explore ways to make the city safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.  I asked at several Board of Aldermen meetings that the results of this commission be made available to the public as soon as possible.  The report, called SAFE Start, was released on December 12, 2006 and there will be a Public Hearing on it on March 17, 2007 at City Hall.  All are welcome to attend the public hearing and to speak about aspects of the report or issues around public safety they would like to continue to see addressed.

To subscribe or unsubscribe from this list, email
Tags: burritos, civic, development, garbage, local businesses, local government, parking, restaurants
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic