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In their own words: Belmont selectman candidates Dan Scharfman and Andy Rojas

Posted by Evan Allen  March 28, 2012 11:36 AM

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Andy Rojas and Daniel Scharfman are vying for a single contested seat on the Belmont Board of Selectmen. Voters will cast their ballots in the Town Election on Monday, April 2. Here, in their own words, they describe their experience and how they'd deal with the town's most pressing issues.

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Andy Rojas

ANDY ROJAS

I am Andy Rojas and I am 58 years old. I am a registered landscape architect and a principal with my wife, Allison, of Rojas Design, Inc. I am currently Vice-Chairman of the Planning Board and have been a member for seven years. I have also served on Town committees related to economic development and capital projects and many others.

What are the three main issues facing Belmont and how would you deal with them?

As a Planning Board member, I have applied my experience and skills to the many development-related issues that come before the Board. During the next five to ten years, we need to expand our tax base through well thought-out, mixed-use commercial and residential development that carefully balances the benefits to Belmont of developers’ proposals and their impact on our infrastructure, Town services, and schools with the preservation and enhancement of our small- town residential character and quality of life. As Selectman, I will strive to ensure that this balance is respected by the appointment of thoughtful members to the Planning and Zoning Boards, as well as other committees. As the Selectmen’s liaison to the Planning Board, I will use my vision and experience with growth management to help achieve reasonable compromises for neighborhood-sensitive economic development. Our Town’s future depends on it.

My second priority is to cut expenses and the careful stewardship of taxpayers’ dollars. As Selectman, I will identify and implement new, well-targeted approaches to yield significant savings for the Town, including consolidation of IT, public works, and building services functions for the Town and the schools; regionalizing public safety and emergency services; prioritizing and funding capital projects based upon actual needs and available funds; restructuring health care costs through negotiation and legislation; and maximizing use of technology for proactive communications with residents. And I will ensure that critical Town and school services are not at risk and that we are functioning as efficiently as possible and spending every tax dollar wisely before I ask our residents to approve an override.

My third priority is to provide leadership for the preservation and enhancement of our outstanding school system. Education is a very high priority for me personally. Our residents take pride in our schools. They play a vital role in maintaining our Town’s special character, our positive self-image, and our property values.

I am the best qualified Selectman candidate to meet these and other challenges. Please contact me at (617) 281-4617, andy@rojasdesigninc.com, or on my website,http://andyrojas.com. I respectfully ask for your vote this Monday, April 2nd.

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Dan Scharfman

DAN SCHARFMAN

Age: 54
Elected Offices:
Belmont School Committee (including Collective Bargaining teams)
Town Meeting Member

Belmont Appointed Offices:
Task Force on Athletics and Extracurricular Activities
Information Technology Advisory Committee
Performing Arts Curriculum Steering Committee
Butler Green Repair Project Committee
Library Feasibility Study Committee
Superintendent Screening Committee

Policy and Oversight Experience:
The Cantata Singers, Inc. - Chairman
The Children’s Village – President
League of Women Voters of Massachusetts – Trustee
League of Women Voters of Belmont - Director

Professional Experience:
Vice President of Information Solutions, Baird Associates, Inc.
29 years managing technology planning and implementation services – helping complex organizations solve complex problems while staying true to their mission and values.

Education and Personal Profile:
Brown University 1979 (BA, MA)
Belmont resident for 19 years
Married with 2 children – both graduates of Belmont High School

What are the three main issues facing Belmont and how would you deal with them?

Finances – Without long-range plans our town services will erode unacceptably. I’ll promote realistic financial plans to control labor costs in ways that are fair to our employees, choose capital projects carefully, and give taxpayers clear choices between losing services and adding revenues. I’ll support efforts to regionalize services, if it improves quality or saves money. We need a forward-looking, effective Town Administrator to implement these changes, and I’ll use my experience hiring executives and professionals to help recruit and get the most out of a top-notch leader for Belmont.

Development – I’ll press our planners and boards to revisit Belmont’s zoning and overlay by-laws and regulations. We must insure that our development guidelines reflect the needs of our residents to prevent conflicts like those surrounding the Cushing Village project. For Cushing Village, I’ll use my negotiating skills to help find a final consensus that serves the interests of residents and developers alike. I’ll work with the state and neighboring communities to preserve rather than develop the ecologically sensitive Belmont Uplands site. And I’ll do everything in my power to keep Belmont a walkable community where families live for multiple generations while enjoying open space, public transportation, access to useful businesses, safe quiet neighborhoods, and excellent schools.

Change – Town government will be forced to change over the next ten years by financial pressures and the demands of an interconnected society. We will have to making hard choices, use new technologies, with consolidated and regionalized operations. I’ll apply nearly 30 years of experience helping organizations change for the better to insure that Belmont never loses its unique character.

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