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: Warren Lieberman (incumbent)
- 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
1. What differentiates you from the other candidates?
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.”
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?
“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.
Next up.....Gladwyn d'Souza
[Editor's note: Biographical information on each candidate, including a list of endorsements can be found at www.smartvoter.org.]