To be most successful, we need to work as a team: locally, as well as regionally. Here are areas we should focus on in the next few years:
Belmont Fire Department. During my first term in office, the Council appointed me as its representative to help negotiate a contract that enabled Belmont to have a more financially sound Fire Department. Our efforts were successful. Now, we are negotiating with San Mateo and Foster City to further improve our Fire Department. The Council has again appointed me as its representative. I would like to have the opportunity to complete this process. I have championed working with neighboring communities in innovative ways and benefitting from regional best practices.
Parks, Recreation, Open Spaces, and Sports. Belmont’s Babe Ruth 15’s just completed an incredibly successful season in which they were NorCal champs and narrowly missed participating in the Babe Ruth World Series. Their efforts remind us of our responsibility for protecting and enhancing our recreational spaces to ensure diverse opportunities are available for all. When you have a few minutes, take a look at the new Davey Glen Park. And now, plans are underway to improve the facilities at O’Donnell Park (long overdue!). Those are just some examples of how your City Council is working for you.
Smart Economic Development. For Belmont to thrive, it is critical that the businesses in our community succeed. We updated our downtown zoning to facilitate this. The City has the responsibility to ensure that the necessary conditions for this exist while insuring we do so in a manner that promotes the sense of a “village” that so many in Belmont want.
Infrastructure. Fix our crumbling roads! Finally, after too many years of neglect, we have taken a meaningful step. Belmont’s voters passed Measure I in 2017, providing more than $1 million a year to improve Belmont’s infrastructure. I will continue to focus on identifying creative strategies to improve our roads and infrastructure, which as we all know, need a lot of work! For example, left unchanged for 40 years, Belmont’s Transient Occupancy Tax is lower than most other cities in San Mateo County. If Belmont’s voters approve it in November, we will raise an additional $500,000 per year with a small increase in our Transient Occupancy Tax; a tax that is paid by those who stay in our hotels. This will allow us to improve even more roads. I will also continue to work for increasing the “walkability” and “bicycling-ability” of our city. Together, we can make Belmont better.
Outreach. I have consistently advocated for community outreach. For example, as Mayor of Belmont, I began a “Lunch with the Mayor” program, holding monthly lunches with Belmont residents and business representatives. Some Mayors adopted this program or built on it. For example, Councilmember Charles Stone modified the idea to have “Coffee with Charles.” I believe this program has helped lead to a better and more transparent relationship between Councilmembers and the public. My goal is to represent and work for all of Belmont’s residents. Please get involved. You can make a difference!