Downtown development, Ralston Avenue traffic and safety, and the city’s regulatory powers are some of the top concerns for those seeking the seats for a four-year term on the Belmont City Council on Nov. 5.
There are six candidates seeking three open seats. Incumbent Warren Lieberman is running for re-election. Other candidates are Gladwyn d’Souza, Charles Stone, Kristin Mercer, Mike Verdone, and Eric Reed.
In this six-part series, Patch asks each candidate the same two questions to help voters gain better insight into some of these issues.
Each candidate’s answers are arranged individually, in reverse alphabetical order by the candidate’s last name. Today's candidate: Gladwyn d'Souza
- 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
1. What differentiates you from the other candidates?
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.
2. How would you improve the downtown area that we already have? Given a limited budget, what ideas do you have to perk things up and make some immediate improvements?
2. 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.
Next up...A repost of all six candidates' responses
[Editor's note: Biographical information on each candidate, including a list of endorsements can be found at www.smartvoter.org.]