Hey Blogging Belmont! Well, Belmont’s annual Town election is upon us. Belmont voters who haven’t already cast an absentee ballot will go to the polls Tuesday, April 6. A number of readers and friends have reached out to me in the past couple weeks to get my thoughts on the various races on the ballot this year, which includes both a competitive School Committee race with five candidates for two seats and – of course – Question 1, the Proposition 2 1/2 Override.
As I’ve done in past years, I’m using this post to explain who I’m voting for (or would vote for if I could) and why. I hope you find it helpful in making up your own mind! Please share it around to your friends in town and remind them to get out to vote on Tuesday!
Use the following links to jump to the information you’re interested in.
- Voting Absentee? Drop It Off!
- Know Your Voting Location
- Vote YES on Question 1!
- School Committee
- Board of Health
- Belmont Housing Authority
Voting Absentee? Drop It Off!
If you plan on voting absentee, you should already have received your absentee ballot and – at this point – it is too late to stick it in the mailbox. Complete it according to the instructions in the package you received from the Belmont Town Clerk. When you have filled out, signed and sealed your ballot, drop it in the box outside the entrance to the Town Hall Building (facing the driveway).
Know Your Voting Location
If you are going to be voting in person, you need to know where the voting location is for your precinct. Belmont is divided into 8 precincts, each with a distinct polling place. To figure out which precinct your address is in, refer to this list on the Town Clerk’s website.
Polling locations in Belmont are as follows:
Precinct 1: Belmont Public Library, Assembly Room, 336 Concord Ave.
Precinct 2: Belmont Town Hall, Selectmen’s Room, 455 Concord Ave.
Precinct 3: Beech Street Center (Senior Center), 266 Beech Street
Precinct 4: Daniel Butler School, 90 White Street
Precinct 5: Beech Street Center (Senior Center), 266 Beech Street
Precinct 6: Belmont Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Road
Precinct 7: Burbank School gym, 266 School Street
Precinct 8: Winn Brook School gym, 97 Waterhouse St (enter at Cross St)
The Easy Part: YES on Question 1!
First thing’s first: if you do nothing else, join me in voting an enthusiastic YES on Question 1, the Proposition 2 1/2 override. If you haven’t been following the issue, Question 1 seeks voters’ approval for a $6.4 million Proposition 2 1/2 override to fund both Town and School services.
There has been much written or said on both sides of this question, and -sadly – a fair amount of false and misleading claims made by opponents of the override. The bottom line is that our schools, town services and public health and safety need steady and consistent funding to keep up with inflation and serve the growing needs of our community. For a town with a budget almost entirely derived from residential property taxes and hemmed in by the artificial constraints imposed by Proposition 2 1/2, periodic overrides are unavoidable and the only means of continuing to fund critical town and school functions.
With the virus on the retreat and our new 7-12 school set to open next fall (on time and on budget) now is not the time to plunge our Town of Homes into a financial crisis or to deprive our children, seniors and families of services they desperately need. Join me in voting YES on Question 1, and remember to look for it at the bottom of your ballot.
Saeh and Gomez for School Committee
I will be casting my vote for the two, open School Committee seats for newcomer Jamal Saeh and incumbent Evelyn Gomez, who was appointed to fill an open seat last year but is seeking her first, full three year term. I am excited to vote for both candidates, both of whom I have met, spoken with and been left deeply impressed by.
If you haven’t had a chance to, I would recommend you read the responses both submitted to the Blogging Belmont Questionnaire for School Committee candidates. Jamal’s is here. Evelyn’s is here. As you know, COVID 19 pandemic exposed some unique vulnerabilities and deficiencies we have as a community and a school district. First among those is our threadbare school budget, with per pupil spending that ranks in the bottom quartile state-wide. The other deficiency, in my mind, was a dearth of creative thinking and decisive action in response to COVID: from tents for outdoor classes in the fall to prompt, fact-based decision making on physical spacing, air quality and distance learning. Our next School Committee needs to assume a leadership role, work cooperatively with parents, advocate for the needs of the Schools and hold administrators accountable for their decisions – good and bad. Jamal and Evelyn, in my mind, are the two candidates best suited to do that.
Adrienne Allen for Board of Health
As we now all realize: we need a smart, capable and activist Board of Health to stay on top of public health issues in the town, from disease prevention and screenings to equitable distribution of health resources to sanitation. That’s why I’ll be voting for Adrienne Allen for Belmont’s Board of Health this Tuesday. Adrienne has a sterling record – she’s a primary care physician and the mother of three who has served on Belmont’s Energy Committee. As she indicated in her candidate’s statement, her focus on the Board of Health will be to forge inclusive health programs and improve health monitoring in town. Vote Allen for Board of Health!
Re-elect Mahon for Housing Authority
For the one open seat on Belmont Housing Authority, my vote is for Anne Mahon. Anne has done amazing work in her first term and deserves our hearty support for another.Among other things, Anne is working to win federal funding to improve BHA’s existing units, many of which are in need of substantial upgrades after years of neglect. Federal funds could also allow Belmont to increase the number of BHA units available, helping to address our community’s chronic shortage of affordable housing. With so much in the works, now is not the time to change horses. Vote Mahon for Housing Authority!
Once again, we have only a small number of contested races for Town Meeting, where each Precinct elects 12 members each year to three year terms. However, we do have some progressive write-in candidates even in Precincts (like 4 and 7) where there are 12 candidates for 12 slots. I’ll be sure to note when there is a write in candidate. TM is a cumulative tally, so you’re best off not voting for folks you don’t know or whose positions you don’t fully understand.
Precinct 1 Town Meeting
In P1 – the power house of Belmont’s progressive movement – I like the following candidates:
1. Jessica Lee Bennett 15 TROWBRIDGE ST
2. Peter Dizikes 34 Randolph St
3. Kimberly Haley
4. Henry McFarlan Ogilby 96 TAYLOR RD
5. Emma L. Thurston. 101 Baker St
6. John J. Weis 30 Chenery Terrace
Precinct 2 Town Meeting
In P2, I like the following candidates for Town Meeting:
1. Sumner W. Brown 35 Ross Rd
2. Thomas M. Caputo 63 Richmond Rd
3. Lydia Kogler
4. Barry Lubarsky
5. Judith McSwain 35 Ross Rd
6. Meghan Moriarty 22 GARFIELD RD
7. Suzanne Robotham 19 Scott Rd.
Precinct 3 Town Meeting
In P3, I suggest voting for the following progressive candidates:
1. Ade Baptista
2. Joseph John Bernard 71 Waverley St
3. Bonnie Friedman 16 Hay Rd
4. Shaun A. Goho 50 DAVIS RD
5. Richard P. Hartley 11 EDWARD ST
6. Juliet Jenkins 76 Lorimer Rd
7. Jason Ketola,
8. Norah Piehl
9. Vincent Stanton 32 Royal Road
Precinct 4 Town Meeting
In P4, I suggest voting for the following progressive candidates in P4, including a write in candidate:
1. Debra Deutsch 56 Hull St
2. Lucia E. Gates 11 Agassiz St
3. Dana Harrington
4. Anne Mahon
5. Gitanjali Rege 64 BEECH ST
6. Daniell G.Stevens 3 CHESTNUT ST
7. David M. Webster 18 Holt St
8. WRITE IN – Eric Perkins 32 Thayer Rd. (write-in candidate) -Eric’s Statement: upon seeing that many of the candidates for town meeting member in Precinct 4 were against the override, I was compelled to submit myself as a progressive candidate for town meeting membership from our district of Belmont. I support the override and the long-term financial considerations behind it. As a director and project planner in a local nonprofit organization and a member of the Belmont community for over 12 years, I believe I can be an engaged representative for our neighborhood. Please consider writing in “Eric J. Perkins (32 Thayer Rd.)” for the two year “Town Meeting Member Precinct 4” position on your ballot, and don’t forget to fill the oval next to the write-in line. Thank you for your consideration!
Precinct 5 Town Meeting
In P5, please consider voting for the following progressive candidates for Town Meeting.
1. Jessica Barnard
2. Claus Becker 20 Poplar St
3. Sarah Bilodeau
4. David Coleman 26 GEORGE ST
5. Thayer Donham 77 Hammond Rd
6. Matthew Gasbarro
7. Casey Claire Williams 46 WILEY RD
8. Roger Wrubel 165 Slade St
Precinct 6 Town Meeting
In P6, please consider voting for the following
1. John Bowe, 20 Elizabeth Rd
2. Theodore Dukas, 236 Payson Rd
3. Laurie Graham, 46 LAWNDALE ST, #1
4. Elshad Kasumov
5. Gail Mann 196 PAYSON RD
6. Aaron Pikcilingis 24 BRANCHAUD RD
7. Judith Singler 53 Selwyn Rd
8. Philip Thayer 39 Oak Ave
9. Peter Whitmer 41 Hurd Rd
Precinct 7 Town Meeting
Here are the Town Meeting candidates I like for Precinct 7.
1. Elizabeth Ann Goss 100-102 FAIRVIEW AVE, #2
2. Geoffrey Lubien 38 Unity Ave
3. WRITE IN – Vitaliy Lvin 40 Falmouth St
4. WRITE IN – Glen Mohr 281 Washington St.
5. Alexandra van Geel 64 Livermore Rd
6. Glenn P. Wong 70 Livermore Rd
7. WRITE IN -Marcia Haines (360 School St) – consider writing Marcia in for both the open 3-yr term and the open 1-yr term in P7.
Precinct 8 Town Meeting
Precinct 8 is my home precinct. Here are the progressive candidates I’ll be voting for there:
1. Kevin Brosna 31 Tobey Rd
2. Laura Caputo 75 OLIVER RD
3. Anthony A. Ferrante 15 Westlund Rd
4. Mark Kagan
5. David Nuscher 50 Winn St
6. Lynn Peterson Read 62 Munroe St
7. Ellen Sugarman 119 Cross St