Occupation: Businessman / Consultant
UCSD BA Psychology
Vice Chair Legislative Committee
Belmont resident for 3 generations
1. What differentiates you from the other candidates?
During the eight years I rowed competitively on crew in high school at at UCSD, I developed the key team building attributes of drive, dedication and perseverance. A race isn't won by an individual, but a perfectly synced team, working together towards that common goal to pull the boat across a finish line. I consider myself a team builder, and hope to bring said skill to the Belmont City Council. This involves listening to all neighborhoods and stakeholders within our community to ensure due diligence has been executed for the greatest common good of Belmont. I hope to bring a fresh, new pragmatic prospective to local city government, one that works well with all.
Though there are few immediate remedies in sight, I would like to explore three that I believe will enhance our downtown. As an incentive, we can offer free WIFI to the public in the downtown area. Not only will this draw people from our community, it may enable businesses to advertise and also aid the City in disseminating pertinent information to the public. This is achieved by having a "splash" login page where Belmont can post bulletins and local business can purchase advertisement space for the week. This is a relatively inexpensive solution.
Holding more social events and fundraisers such as Save the Music Festival is a must to draw local and out of town residents to Belmont which may indirectly enhance our tax base. By adding adequate evening lighting to our downtown with safety lit crosswalks, people may be more likely to come out and enjoy our downtown.
There are numerous businesses downtown and I think if Belmont improved an enhanced, tranquil outdoor eating/ reflecting area, more residents may be enticed to come out and enjoy the beautiful weather. Our permit process needs to be streamlined to encourage new restaurants to establish downtown as a destination point.
- Occupation: Father / Business Owner
- School-Force (Belmont-Redwood Shores Education Foundation) Endowment Chair
- B.A. in Political Science from UC San Diego with Minors in Law & Society and Psychology
- J.D. from Santa Clara University
I’ve always been able to listen to diverse viewpoints, efficiently analyze information, build consensus and make things happen quickly. My experiences, values, and viewpoint are unique. As a solo practitioner in downtown Belmont I understand the challenges facing our businesses. I know what it’s like to stare at the bottom line and wonder why our business license fees are so high. As a father of two young daughters and member of an education foundation board I believe in partnering with our education community to find win-win solutions. We should honor Belmont’s tradition of investing in our children while jointly confronting growing issues like traffic. My dual income family uses Ralston East and West to commute and I understand the true dynamics of this issue. With hard work and common sense, we can find solutions that work for all of us-- not just for bicyclists, just for pedestrians, or just for drivers because most of us fit into several of those categories. Belmont is an amazing place and together, we can make it even better.
We should move quickly to implement zoning changes that attract the right businesses and work hand-in-hand with existing businesses to create the beginning of a walkable, vibrant, and tasteful downtown. Belmont should also partner with existing businesses to appeal to NDNU students and nearby technology employees. One way to increase patronage and boost sales is to create a rewards program tied to my “Belmont Bucks” platform. Each time a resident patronizes a local business or restaurant, they will receive “Belmont Bucks.” This virtual currency will be redeemable for things like “mayor for a day,” tours of the firehouse, police ride-a-longs, priority for park reservations etc. We should also work diligently look for other opportunities for the city to help existing businesses prosper and attract new businesses.
Eric L Reed
Occupation: Father / Biotechnology Director
Former Planning Commissioner, City of Belmont, 2008-2013
Belmont 4-H Project Leader
MBA, Santa Clara University
Associate Director, Genentech, Inc.
Supervisorial District Lines Advisory Committee, Alternate.
Each candidate in this race brings with him/her a unique perspective on issues and a desire to improve Belmont. My perspective has been shaped by my experiences. I’ve lived my whole life in San Mateo County and I’ve seen how proactive economic development strategies can rejuvenate a city and I know we can do that in Belmont.
Working for a global biotech company for 23 years (Genentech) has helped me understand how innovation drives success and the positive impact that can have on a community. I have also learned that effective collaboration is the way to solve problems.
As a Belmont Planning Commissioner (for 5 years), I was able to see the impact that our planning processes and regulations have on homeowners and businesses and I understand that those impacts are not always positive. Lastly, being a father and a homeowner has helped me understand how critical it is that we continue to support our schools and how important the City-School Board relationship is.
City-owned properties (e.g. the auto shop on Hill and ECR) could be screened with trees and landscaping. An underused patch of ground on Ralston across from Flasner Lane could be turned into a pocket park- trees, grass, benches and bike parking would make it an inviting spot to have coffee or eat lunch. The City could increase the incentive for facade improvements.
We could study the impact of the closure of Emmett to car traffic and make downtown “walkable.” Beautifying downtown is important, but it should occur alongside efforts to create solid tactics to spur economic development. I would start by reforming the Economic Development Committee so City and business leaders alongside residents like you can determine the best path forward for Belmont’s downtown.
My in-depth knowledge of complex city issues comes from years of community involvement. Other candidates, who have no accomplishments on a city-wide level, attempt to make this campaign a referendum on education or on departing Council members. In contrast, I have a proven track record of accomplishments for Belmont and a reputation for participating in the process to get things done.
I am NOT endorsed by national real estate interests. My decisions are based on the best interests of Belmont and its residents. Throughout the years I’ve earned the respect and endorsement of community leaders. George Metropulos, Belmont’s 2010 Educator of the year and former Belmont Mayor said, “Kristin is knowledgeable on the issues facing Belmont, has direct experience of how municipal government works, and is the only first-time candidate with a long track record of volunteerism in Belmont.” David Long, business owner, neighborhood organizer and former Planning Commissioner said “No one in Belmont has a broader knowledge or a clearer vision of how to change our city through smart legislation.”
The scattered handful of businesses we call Downtown does not have the critical mass needed to thrive. Yet Belmont’s zoning standards allow nothing more - a one story building with half of the lot paved for parking. There is no “short term” cosmetic fix for a poor underlying zoning structure. The good news is it costs nothing to rezone. The Village Plan that I drafted contains the vision for this district – compact and vibrant yet small-town in character. Please visit http://www.belmont.gov/subContent.asp?CatID=240000176(Belmont Villages Element) to see the plan.
To lead the way the City must develop its own parcels, adhering to high standards and the vision. Working in partnership with developers, at no cost to the City, we can plant the seed that will inspire and attract innovative businesses.
- Occupation: Incumbent
- Ph.D., Operations Research, Yale University
- Former Mayor, City of Belmont
- Former Finance Commissioner, City of Belmont
- AYSO and Belmont/Redwood Shores Little League, Coach and Manager
- President, Consulting and Software Development Firm
I was elected to the Belmont City Council in 2005 and re-elected in 2009. I have an excellent working relationship with elected officials in our region. When Senator Jerry Hill identified an economic development opportunity for San Mateo County, he contacted me; we developed a strategy that led a large company to locate its headquarters in Belmont.
From 2000 – 2005, I served as a Belmont Finance Commissioner. As the Council’s representative to the South Bayside System Authority (SBSA), my financial knowledge proved crucial. The SBSA operates the sewage treatment plant serving Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, and West Bay Sanitary District. I identified a potential misallocation of costs for a Capital Improvement Project; Belmont residents would end up paying more than their fare share. I negotiated a new allocation that saved the City’s residents several million dollars.
I am a strong advocate for transparency in government and finding ways to facilitate public participation. As Mayor in 2008, I began outreach programs including “Lunch with the Mayor.” Each month, the Mayor and City Manager had lunch with 6 – 10 Belmont residents. Sirinee Tippakorn, a Belmont resident who attended a lunch, said “It is a great idea for Mayor Lieberman to reach out to the community… he listened and shared with us, honest and straightforward answers. . . I appreciate his efforts to understand and incorporate our vision to improve our town.”
“Off the Grid,” the gourmet food trucks and the Farmer’s Market are two initiatives the City Council approved to offer a more interesting downtown. We need to do more.
We should focus our efforts on retaining, revitalizing, and recruiting downtown businesses. In the next year, completing the downtown village zoning plan and site-specific zoning plan described by our economic consultants last May, are critically important. They are necessary steps towards obtaining a downtown with a village feel.
Belmont needs to better engage with local businesses. For example, jointly design Shop/Dine Around Belmont programs where the City provides marketing and promotional support and businesses provide discounts to those participating in the programs.
- Occupation: Engineer / Nonprofit Director
- Director, Green Youth Alliance
- Planning Commissioner, Belmont
- Engineer Atmel Semiconductor 25 years
- Trails Master Plan task force, County of San Mateo
- Downtown Access Plan, City of San Jose
- Green Building Task Force, County of San Mateo
Not long ago, an older woman was killed walking across Ralston. As an engineer, I know that we can make Ralston safer, and this will be a priority for me. Furthermore, I know that planning and design done right saves money.
The City Attorney attends every Council meeting and reviews every decision. How many more lawyers does the Council need? An engineer on the Council offers a different perspective and can push for sustainable solutions that actually work.
In addition, I bring a decade’s worth of experience working on neighborhood issues and city commissions. With the Green Youth Alliance, I have education experience too. I know Belmont's waterways, I know Belmont's roads. I've solved problems like adding more buses to the school commute. I can read complex proposals and catch the waste.
The other candidates simply do not have my unique skills and expertise.
Zoning is the mold that determines how our buildings will shape the downtown. Not long ago a patron of one of the bars downtown was killed. We need to shape safer and better uses for our vacant parking lots. The challenge should always be- Is it safe to be here at 10PM?
This zoning should include shape a plan that will connect us across Ralston and El Camino. People should figure prominently in the plan, and their walking routes and gathering places should be identified. These changes don’t cost anything, but to be successful residents from surrounding neighborhoods should see and experience qualities in the plan that reflect their values.
Great places are created by the people who live in them. To get started with very little investment, we can use flower pots and paint to delineate the space where residents can feel safe. Zero interest loans can go toward making facades more inviting.[Editor's note: Biographical information on each candidate, including a list of endorsements can be found at www.smartvoter.org.]