Thanks to everyone who voted in yesterday’s Town Election. The Town website is weird and hard to use, but I was able to get the results from The Town Clerk’s page and you can view them here: PDF (of course!)
A rundown of elections results from Tuesday’s vote.
Before delving into the races, let me say that overall, turnout _stunk_ with just 2,816 of 17,111 voters turning out to the polls – 16.46%. That’s pathetic and while I recognize that an absence of contested races at the top of the ticket makes for lackluster turnout, and that “elections are elections,” I also know that you don’t get representative government with fewer than 1 in 5 voters exercising their right to vote. I say this by way of arguing – here as I have in private – that Massachusetts needs to join our neighbors like Connecticut and give towns the option of holding local elections in November, when state-wide and national elections drive higher turnout. It is both ridiculous and expensive for communities like Belmont to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for the sake of “tradition,” holding local votes in April so that a tiny sliver of voters can exercise their franchise. OK. Rant complete.
On to the voting – such as it was, Over all, it was a good day at the polls for progressive candidates at the polls on Tuesday.
Caputo is our new Selectman!
At the top of the ticket, Tom Caputo, who ran unopposed but for a late write-in effort by Tomi Olsen, won handily with 94% of the vote. Without an opponent, Tom was afforded the luxury of a low-key race. In some ways, that was too bad: I think his ideas and vision for Belmont are spot on and, together with Selectmen Dash and Paolillo and our new Town Administrator, Patrice Garvin, I expect great things from our newly configured Board. There’s lots of work to be done – time to get going!
Burgess-Cox and Donner on School Committee
In the School Committee race, Blogging Belmont backed Susan Burgess Cox and Tara Donner, and lo and behold they came out on top. The surprise here was the strong performance of Ms. Donner, who was the overall top vote getter with 38.08% (1767), handily beating out Burgess-Cox with 32.69% (1517) and Jill Norton with 29.07% (1349). I’m thrilled to see Susan return to the Board for another term and to welcome Tara, who will bring a strong, independent voice to a Committee that has been – at times – too docile. Jill Norton ran a strong campaign and finished just short. I really hope she considers submitting her name for the spot that has opened up with Tom’s ascension to Board of Selectmen. Given her qualifications and the strong campaign she ran, I would lobby hard for her to get that open, 1 year slot!
As for Town Meeting – overall, it was a good day. Many precincts were uncontested, which makes it hard to chalk up progressive victories as evidence of any political sea change. And, in some cases, progressive candidates lost out to progress-averse incumbents (as in P6 and P8). The power of incumbency is strong in Belmont – not least because your name appears up top on the ballot. :-/
But we did a good job fielding strong progressives for Town Meeting spots and seeing them elected. In Precincts like my P8, there’s clearly a big shift going on with newer residents displacing longtime Town Meeting incumbents. That’s encouraging and reflects the tremendous demographic changes happening in Belmont.
I’m thrilled to be working with all these fine folks on Town Meeting in the months ahead !
Three Year Slots:
- Jessie Bennett – elected
- Peter Dizikes – elected (topmost vote getter)
- Ian Todreas – elected
- Emma Thurston – elected
- Helen Goldin – elected
- Gail Gorman – elected
- Mary Gavin – elected
- John (Joe) Weis – elected
- James Staton- elected
- Stephen Tomczyk – elected
Two Year Slot:
Jessica Olans Hausman – not elected (lost to Heather Barr)
Three year slots:
- Lesley Aitken – elected
- John Buckley – elected
- W. Sumner Brown – elected
- Susan Burgess-Cox – elected (top vote getter)
- Thomas Caputo – elected
- Judy McSwain – elected
- Meghan Moriarty – elected
- James Gammill – elected
- Suzanne Robotham – elected
One year slot:
Linda Levin-Scherz – elected in a squeaker with a 3 vote margin!
We had six solid, progressive candidates on a slate of 10, all of whom were re-elected, with Bonnie Friedman the top vote getter in P3.
- Shaun Goho – elected
- Bonnie Friedman – elected top vote getter
- Stephanie Clement – elected
- Vince Stanton – elected
- Carole Williams – elected
- Juliet Jenkins – elected
There were 4 write in candidates as well:
- Rich Hartley (11 Edward Street – write in)
- Cortney Eldridge (206 Beech Street- write-in)
- Brad Abruzzi (14 Pearl Street – write-in)
- Jill Souza Norton (96 Clark St – write-in)
Their status is unclear as of this morning. I see 232 write in votes total for P3, which I’m guessing are distributed across that group. The top two vote getters will take the remaining two, open spots in P3. We’ll update you when we hear about which of the 4 write ins made the cut!
We had six solid, progressive candidates in P4 as well, where there were only 10 candidates for 12 open spots. All were elected/re-elected. Former Selectmen Sami Baghdady was the top vote getter in P4 (10.63% of the vote – 145) with our own Lucia Gates just behind him.
- Alon Joseph Manela – elected
- David Webster – elected
- Lucia Gates – elected
- Charles Clark – elected
- Debra Deutsch – elected
- Elizabeth Schmidt – elected
As with P3, it is unclear which of the write in candidates will make the cut. I see 79 write-in votes for P4. The top two will be elected to fill in the P4 slate of 12 members. The three candidates are:
- Gitanjali Rege (write-in)
- Dan Stevens (write-in)
- Seneca Hart (Hull Street- write in)
We had seven candidates in Precinct 5, where there were 13 candidates to fill 12 slots. Alas, Paul Aloisio fell short of the line: missing the cut by around 19 votes.
Three year slots
- Claus Becker – elected top vote getter.
- Paul Aloisio – not elected
- David Coleman – elected
- Thayer Donham – elected
- Myron Kassaraba – elected
- Casey Claire Williams – elected
- Roger Wrubel – elected
There were 13 candidates for 12 slots in Precinct 6 and we singled out 10 for support. Alas: Cabell Eames fell just short of the mark (6 votes), coming in 13th place! Laurie Graham was the top vote-getter in P6. Congrats, Laurie!
Phil Thayer – elected
Jamie Shea – elected
Aaron Pickilingus – elected
Peter Whitmer – elected
Cabell Eames – not elected
Gail Mann – elected
John Bowe – elected
Theodore Dukas – elected
Laurie Graham – elected
Judith Singler – elected
There were 12 candidates for 12 slots in Precinct 7. We recommended 9 of those 12 and (surprise! surprise!) all were elected. One note: newcomer Elizabeth Goss was the top vote getter overall with 168 votes, or 8.9%! Congrats Elizabeth!! We were also remiss in not adding Dovie Yoana King to our list of progressive candidates in P7, which was an oversight on my/our part. I voted for Dovie as a delegate to the state Democratic convention and think she’s awesome. Dovie tied for second overall with 164 votes (8.69%). Congrats Dovie!!
- Elizabeth Goss – elected top vote getter
- Glenn P. Wong – elected
- Joan Drevins – elected
- Laura Hill – elected
- Thomas John – elected
- Glen Alexander Mohr – elected
- Steve Pinkerton – elected
- Alexandra Van Geel – elected
- Geoffrey Lubien – elected
We’re seeing some of the biggest shifts in Precinct 8 – long a conservative stronghold in Belmont, but one that is experiencing a rapid demographic and political makeover. In this year’s Town Meeting election those changes were evident. We singled out 10 candidates who we thought would be great to elect/re-elect. Nine of them were elected with newcomers Laura Caputo and Shilpa Lawande garnering the most votes. Only Mark Smith fell short of the mark, losing to Don Mercier by just 9 votes.
- Sonja Plesset – elected
- Shilpa Lawande – elected
- Patrick Murphy – elected
- Pamela Eagar – elected
- Ellen Sugarman – elected
- Laura Caputo – elected top vote getter
- Lynn Peterson Read – elected
- Anthony Ferrante – elected
- Dave Nuscher – elected
- Kathleen Baskin – elected
- Kevin Brosnan –elected
- Mark Smith – not elected