On Nov. 6, residents of the city of Belmont will have a very important decision to make. Three seats are open on the City Council, but four candidates are running. Candidates include incumbents Warren Lieberman, Julia Mates, Charles Stone, and newcomer Deniz Bolbol. Read the stories below to find out more about the candidates.
Newcomer Deniz Bolbol wants all Belmont residents to be heard
By Eliza Insley and Jon Garvin
This fall, on Nov. 6, Belmont will have its City Council election. There are three available seats with four candidates running. The candidates include Charles Stone, Warren Lieberman, Julia Mates and newcomer Deniz Bolbol. Ms. Bolbol is a Belmont community member who wants to see active change in her community after feeling let down by the current council.
Ms. Bolbol is the only candidate who is not an incumbent. Ms. Bolbol explained why she decided to run for city council during a phone interview. Ms. Bolbol explained, “I got involved because someone came to my door and told me what was going on in City Hall…I went down to a council meeting and saw how things were being run. The current council is not responsive…this council is not being respectful to the majority of residents and instead has their own idea.”
Ms. Bolbol was raised in Belmont and wants to give the residents of Belmont more of a voice. “My only objective here is to give everyone a voice because I think democracy is much stronger when we have a marketplace of ideas.” She explained that a free exchange of opinions means that “all different ideas get to come to the surface and then we can find the best idea.”
When asked about what issues she’s most concerned with, she said that over-development was an important issue for her. Ms. Bolbol believes that nature and open spaces are an important part of why people love living in Belmont. She argued that a push for over-development will have unintended consequences. “What are going to be the implications for infrastructure when we add 1000 or 500 or 300 new units? What’s going to happen to the schools when we add more kids to a classroom? What’s going to happen to our traffic when we add ‘x’ many more cars? Those are the questions that need to be asked.”
Ms. Bolbol said, “Another issue that is really important…is Cal Fire ranked Belmont as very high in wildfire risk…one thing we’d like to see is the city get really proactive about present wildfire tragedy…you can do a lot of things to protect residents and to prevent minimize the risk.”
According to Public Alerts, there was a large wildfire in Marin County which is in the Bay Area. The alert stated, “Marin County Fire is responding to a 5 acre Vegetation Fire in the area of Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Difficult access. 0% contained.” Marin County is about 60 miles away from Belmont.
When asked how being raised in Belmont affected her political goals, Ms. Bolbol said, “Well, you know, I love Belmont-so it’s probably a little more personal because I grew up here.”
For more information on Deniz Bolbol, click here.
For more information on the Belmont City Council election, click here.
Julia Mates talks Belmont Community
By Kai Lock and Garrett Kelly
Editor-in-Chief and Staff Editor
On Nov. 6, Belmont will have its City Council election. Candidate Julia Mates answered questions about the upcoming election and her passion for Belmont.
Mrs. Mates answered a series of questions related to the Belmont City Council Election in the following interview. Mrs. Mates explained that she chose to run for City Council because she started off as a planning commissioner, and she applied to the position of City Council to be able to see some of the plans on the Planning Commission be updated and eventually seen through. “I just kinda wanted to make sure we saw those through, and I would be able to do that with City Council.”
Mrs. Mates talked about her priorities if she were to get elected, which included things that were already in place at Belmont such as the 9/11 emergency response, making sure that schools are safe and keeping the spread of wildfires under control.
She also talked about the housing crisis in Belmont and her plan to provide housing for their residents. She believes that the housing problem could be too big for Belmont to solve on its own, but that the City Council can keep things stable and lookout for new housing projects.
“It’s a huge problem, so I don’t think Belmont can take care of that housing issue on it’s own,” she said. “But making sure that, you know, we continue to build housing units and give an eye toward where we can place housing.”
She continued to talk about her passion for Belmont City Council on her website. On the site, Mrs. Mates stated that she is optimistic for the future of Belmont and that she hopes to see it’s community grow.
“I am honored to be serving you on the Belmont City Council to champion and maintain the quality of life services you expect and deserve.”
For more information about Julia Mates, click here.
Warren Lieberman Gives Insight into the Belmont City Council Election
By CC Logan and Carter Reid
With the Belmont City Council election coming up, Warren Lieberman has been busy working on his campaign for city council. Lieberman has served as a Belmont city councilman / mayor for 12 years. With four candidates running, and only three spots available, Mr. Lieberman has his work cut out for him.
According to Mr. Lieberman, the way Belmont runs their elections is quite different. Instead of voting for a mayor, Belmont citizens vote candidates onto a city council, which is composed of five people who then vote on who will be mayor for the following year. A council member will serve a term of four years, although new ones swap in every two years. Every two years there is an election; this year three members will be appointed, joining the other two members who started two years ago. In two years from now, two more members will be elected to join the three elected this year.
This year, Mr. Lieberman is running for his fourth term on city council. Mr. Lieberman said, “I have several priorities. One is to do what I can to maintain and improve the quality of life for those folks who live in and work in Belmont and that can mean anything from improvement in our sports fields, maintaining our open space, improving traffic and working to improve and reduce congestion.”
One of Mr. Lieberman’s big goals is to bring back citizen lunches, where he would have lunch with a Belmont resident to discuss any city-related topic. He said, “I started a ‘Lunches with the Mayor’ program where every month we got six to eight people from the public who signed up to have lunch with me and our city manager and the city treasurer. And people began to learn about how their city government worked in a very relaxed environment.”
As for the other candidates, Mr. Lieberman has a good relationship with them and is looking forward to working with them to better improve our city.
If you want to learn more about his campaign, you can visit his website here.
If you turn 18 before Nov. 6 (Election Day), and you haven’t already registered to vote, you can register here.
Charles Stone talks Belmont development and infrastructure
By Nicholas Reed and Armando Sanchez
Charles Stone is from San Mateo County in California. He’s lived his life in Daly City, San Bruno and before moving to Belmont with his family. There, he began taking notice of the issues in the city, and he decided he needed to do something about it.
Mr. Stone is a graduate of UC San Diego. He obtained his law degree from University of Santa Clara. He is the owner of a private practice and works as an attorney in the greater Bay Area, based in Belmont.
He began doing volunteer work, and he was then elected to the school board. He ran for council for the first time in 2014, winning a seat.
Since his community involvement has often involved children, he has a very youth-friendly lens for looking at issues, and he often thinks of the future when tackling difficult problems involving development.
Mr. Stone has a very pro-development standpoint, advocating for more housing projects including low-income housing across Belmont. He also advocates for higher sales taxes to help pay to fix Belmont’s failing infrastructure, including its crumbling roads.
Mr. Stone also plans to bring more business into Belmont, as he has already seen the building of a Mercedes dealership and Crystal Springs Upland School. Mr. Stone has plans to build a vibrant downtown in Belmont, which is one of the tenants of the Belmont specific plan.
Since Mr. Stone is running for re-election, we asked him what he would do differently this time around (if he is the chosen candidate). His response was that he would definitely attempt to work more collaboratively than years prior and that he would try to break the status quo and breach barriers. He also mentioned how he prides himself on becoming a part of a council that people wish to emulate.
Quickly following his answers to what he would do differently, we asked him what he would do the same. He said he wanted to keep his time focused not just on Belmont issues but state and county issues too. He also mentioned how if re-elected he would have extended time to fix things like the sales tax going from 10 to 12 percent.
After that we asked Mr. Stone if this year specifically had big things on the ballot. He responded by explaining that governing requires individuals who understand how to compromise and how to disagree without being disagreeable, adding that “the current council is like that.” indicating that the current council attempts emulate that ability to compromise. He also states that “the county has all sorts of plans.”
He also talked about his competition. He stated that there are no “niche groups” and that stereotypes of NIMBY old people aren’t true. He also stated that he has no specific demographic he is aiming for and mentioned how younger people could affect him as much as older ones.
This will be Mr. Stone’s second time running for council. He’s currently running alongside three other candidates for three seats on the council. The election will be on Nov. 6.