Letters to the editor in support of Roy Epstein, March 21 edition

Support Roy Epstein for selectman

Diversity. It’s a word that comes up repeatedly when governance is discussed. It comes up at all levels — federal, state and local. Most of the time, it is applied to race, to gender and to religious belief. And indeed, there are many areas where these designations are valid; more, they are objectives worthy of effort.

Important as these objectives are, they are not the only ways in which to define and attain diversity. Diversity may be viewed through the prism of philosophical and ideological differences. In that case, diversity occurs when people with widely differing views not only find ways to work together successfully but enjoy doing so. This can be particularly important in matters of governance.

We are all aware that discussion and compromise are sorely lacking in national and even state politics. Now, we see this intolerance, this inability to bridge differences, to work together, to communicate and to compromise affecting town politics and governance. More and more, Belmont is divided with those who claim the “progressive” mantle isolating themselves from others whose views may be even slightly different.

Under these circumstances, diversity must be defined not by race, not by gender and not by religious belief. Diversity must be defined by the ability to attract and work with people from across the entire political spectrum. It must be defined by the ability to get these people to work with each other and do that willingly. And it must be defined by the ability to listen to and work with everyone, at any level, in order to create and win support for the compromises necessary to make government work.

Only one person running for selectman can give Belmont the kind of diversity it needs today. Roy Epstein, who talks to everyone, works with everyone and who is able to get people of vastly different views to work together willingly, is that man. Please keep Belmont diverse by voting for Roy Epstein for selectman on April 2.

Judith Feinleib, Precinct 6 Town Meeting member, Oakley Road

Support Roy Epstein for selectman

As Belmont voters, we have a big office to fill in the coming election that requires us to select a new selectman. This office is a job, not a place to make political or social statements. The person we elect will work for all of our residents equally.

I am a former Town Meeting member (19 years) who pays attention and watches public meetings on television. Over the years I have learned what the job of selectman requires and it is a lot. It is important that we elect someone with real experience for this job, not someone who will need to learn-as-you-go. Think about it. When you apply for a job, the person most qualified with the necessary experience is the one who will be hired. Most people know going into a career that you move up the ladder, gaining experience along the way which may be pertinent for higher level jobs. Employers want experience and their customers expect it as well.

That’s what I want in a new selectman — a highly qualified leader who understands the history and financial implications behind each department and building project and is knowledgeable of what those before him/her have done to make our community the vibrant and sought after place in which to live that it is today. Our town not only needs this type of individual but we deserve to have leaders with expertise.

Roy Epstein is that person, the most qualified candidate for selectman who has proven experience leading the town of Belmont. Roy will bring his creative problem solving skills he used for the new light department location and now the police station and DPW renovations to this job. He has unique solutions to complex problems. I have seen Roy in action at the Warrant Committee, Town Meeting and various other committees. It is clear that he has the relevant experience and he has taken positive action to make things happen. Please join me in voting for Roy Epstein on April 2.

Susanne Croy, Stults Road

Support Roy Epstein for selectman

I am a woman and I am voting for Roy Epstein.

Roy champions women in leadership positions. He and his wife Joanna moved to Belmont from Chicago because of her job as a librarian, not his. His campaign chair is a woman. So is his campaign treasurer. He was on the search committee that hired our current town administrator, Patrice Garvin, who is (drum roll) a woman.

Belmont faces some scary financial realities. We have to build a $295 million high school on time and on budget. We also have to renovate both the Police and DPW buildings, implement the Community Path and figure out how to build a library and ice rink. We have to do all that while funding schools, repairing streets and sidewalks and maintaining critical services for seniors and all other residents.

Given all that, I want a leader with a proven track-record of creative problem-solving and sound fiscal management. I have been disappointed in recent weeks to hear people argue that I should vote for Roy’s opponent because she is a woman. It’s great to be a woman but that’s not the most important qualification for leading Belmont right now.

Last year, Town Meeting voted to keep the Board of Selectmen at three members, rather than expanding it to five. A major reason for doing this was the challenge of finding experienced candidates. ”[T]he various boards and committees, like the Warrant Committee and Capital Budget Committee are key training grounds and that expanding the boards would not expand the pipeline or training grounds. Elected candidates could come to the committee with little or no experience in town government.” (Ellen Schreiber, quoted in Report to Belmont Town Meeting, Committee to Study the Number of Selectmen, Jan. 30, 2018, Page 26)

Many women currently have the necessary experience to lead Belmont. Seven women sit on the Warrant Committee. Six women sit on the School Committee. Five women sit on the Capital Budget Committee. If any of those women were running for selectman, I would consider voting for them but they aren’t. I won’t vote for a woman who has been a member of Town Meeting for less than one year. It comes down to qualifications and experience. This position requires deep financial knowledge and management experience.

On April 2, I will vote Roy Epstein. I urge other women (and men) to do the same.

Linda M. Turco, Radcliffe Road

Contents, not packaging

When I learned that Roy Epstein was running for selectman, there was no question that I’d be voting for him. I first met Roy several years ago at a meeting of the Cushing Square Neighborhood Association. While most of the people in attendance expressed concern and were anxious about the forthcoming development, Roy was a calm presence as he offered important insights and shared his knowledge. I know Roy can also be counted on to keep a keen eye on important issues in Cushing Square, e.g., business development, pedestrian safety and setting limitations on future development.

I also admire Roy’s innovative ideas for tangible solutions to some of Belmont’s challenging projects like the bike path, DPW/Police building, the library and the new high school. Roy is both competent and confident; he speaks up and he’s prepared to take action, which is exactly what the town needs.

Our fast paced, politically correct world demands instant gratification, like daily deliveries to our doors and knowing everything about everyone after a quick superficial google search. I am choosing to vote for a solid candidate who I know is dedicated and has significant experience making Belmont better. It’s important to dig deep and look at a candidate’s contents, not their packaging. Roy is that candidate. Roy’s already been a leader in Belmont for years, expertly fulfilling the various roles he’s taken on, and I know he’ll be a very effective leader in the near future as Belmont’s newest selectman.

Kathy Rushe, Precinct 5 CSNA member, Horne Road

Support Roy Epstein for selectman

As a lifelong resident of Belmont, I am writing to express my support for Roy Epstein for the Board of Selectmen. I have seen many changes over the years in Belmont as our community has become more and more desirable to reside in and raise families. Our first rate school system and town services remain second to none in spite of a continually strained annual budget sprinkled with debt exclusions and overrides, which I have supported.

I believe Jessie Bennett has a future in Belmont government but should first serve on key committees to gain experience in the mechanics needed to run the town.

Roy’s ability to hit the ground running is a key piece of what is needed to keep the ship on course. I have spoken to Roy on a few occasions since his announcement to run and am impressed with his vast knowledge of all issues facing us as a town as well as institutional knowledge which I deem important.

Roy’s involvement in town affairs goes back many years. His current involvement as chair of the Warrant Committee, DPW/Police Station Building Committee, Community Path Committee, Light Board Advisory Committee and many other groups is a statement of his true commitment to Belmont.

Please join me in voting for Roy Epstein, our next selectman.

Frank French Sr., Evergreen Way

Support Roy Epstein for selectman

In the upcoming April election, I am voting for Roy Epstein for selectman because Roy has the proven track record of experience to effectively contribute to Belmont’s governance immediately. Roy’s experience and fiscal expertise is particularly important in these next several years as our community will face complex financial challenges that come with the very large capital projects underway.

I fully support and recognize the need for more diversity in our town government. However, I must prioritize relevant experience and expertise as my first criteria. Roy has served for more than a decade on the Warrant Committee and its chair for the past three years which makes him the candidate that is best prepared to serve as selectman and, in one year, chair of the Board of Selectmen. Roy’s intimate working knowledge of the drivers and constraints of the budget is a crucial first step towards providing workable and practical solutions. Roy also understands the challenges that small business owners face and recognizes that higher tax rates on businesses is not at all helpful to attracting, retaining and growing local businesses.

On April 2, please vote for Roy Epstein because he has the deepest understanding of town government interactions and operations making him the candidate that is best prepared at this time to help guide and steward our community into the next decade.

Elizabeth Woo, Randolph Street

Roy Epstein is uniquely qualified

I enthusiastically support Roy Epstein for selectman.

Belmont faces some difficult issues in the next three years. In 2018, Belmont voted for a large debt exclusion to help fund the new 7-12 school; the full impact of that debt service will start appearing on property tax bills within two years. Meanwhile, several long-overdue infrastructure projects will need to move forward just as the town faces increasing operating budgets. An operating override is likely.

The nature of the challenges facing the town calls for strong leadership, creative problem solving and a full grasp of the intricacies of the town’s finances.

Of the candidates, only Roy Epstein has the qualities these challenges require. A Town Meeting member since 2003, on the Warrant Committee since 2007 (currently chair), Roy has well over a decade of direct experience with town government and finance. He helped advise the Light Board as it made decisions about the new transmission line and substation. These decisions, with Roy’s input, saved ratepayers almost $25 million. He is familiar with town by-laws and state municipal finance regulations. Roy does not need months to learn the job.

The best demonstration of Roy’s leadership and creativity is that he was able to break a seemingly intractable town logjam. Capital investment in Belmont had languished for decades as the Town rehashed its priorities. Police Station and the DPW yard repairs (estimated cost: $50 million) were badly overdue, but lacked constituents. Roy insisted on a new, innovative approach to designs for the projects. This approach is estimated to cost $9 million — a staggering $41 million savings.

Having broken the backlog, Roy is now prepared to move forward on two additional projects: a new library, and a new hockey rink. And there are other infrastructure challenges. We need to rebuild our roads and sidewalks. We need to re-line our sanitary sewers to stop pollution of the Mystic River.

Finally, the selectmen also serve as the Light Board. Belmont Light will play a critical role in the town’s Climate Action Plan, which relies heavily on electrification of both transport and home heating. Roy’s detailed understanding of Belmont Light’s operations, power procurement strategies, and electrification plans make him uniquely qualified to serve on the Light Board.

Please join Sherry and me in voting for Roy Epstein on April 2.

Ralph T. Jones, former selectman, Summit Road

Original Article - Wicked Local