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 is Kristin Mercer.
1. What differentiates you from the other candidates?
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.”
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?
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.
Next up...Warren Lieberman (Wed. Oct. 30)
[Editor's note: Biographical information on each candidate, including a list of endorsements can be found at www.smartvoter.org.]