Letter To The Editor: Ruban Thanks ‘All Who Supported Me’


To the editor:

Thank you to everyone I had the pleasure of meeting along the campaign trail, and a special thank you to those who supported, voted and volunteered for me. I knew that Belmont was full of intelligent, talented, educated, dedicated people, but you surpassed my expectations. We could not have come as far as we did in such a short amount of time without that.

I embarked on this journey because I wanted to begin a dialogue about how Belmont government does business.  I am proud to say we have had that conversation, in particular, about building the new high school and Community Path; creating greater transparency for citizens to participate in town government; implementing rezoning and other vision plan recommendations, and streamlining business processes. I know that talking about these projects and bringing them to fruition are two very different things and understand Mark has a challenging job ahead of him. I want you to know that I support him in these endeavors on behalf of the town as he begins his next term as our selectman.

Thank you again to all who supported me. It was a tremendous honor to have your faith. I hope that now you will join me in helping our town government work to achieve the best Belmont for all of us.

Alexandra Ruban

Letter to the Editor: The Facts Eclipse Allegations on Town’s Trash Contract

Photo: Trash collection in Belmont.

To the editor:

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” This bit of wisdom from Daniel Patrick Moynihan is important, particularly during town elections. Paul Roberts submitted a letter to the editor to The Belmontonian that is all opinion. No facts. Belmont residents deserve to know the facts.    

According to Paul, his candidate (Alexandra Ruban) was drawn into politics by the “… sneaking suspicion that something was amiss in the town’s relationship with its recycling contractor.”  Alexandra “ … discovered that Belmont this year simply renewed its contract without soliciting bids from competing firms and that the Town had been doing this for more than a decade!”  In other words, she suspects that Belmont has been wasting money because of malfeasance by town officials.

The head of the Department of Public Works negotiates all contracts. Therefore, this fabricated allegation is a slur on the reputation of two distinguished town employees: [current DPW chief] Jay Marcotte and his predecessor, Peter Castanino. 

I will not remain silent when the work of these good men is subject to baseless allegations. Castanino devoted two decades of honorable service to the citizens of Belmont. He is one of the finest civil servants ever to serve our town.    

Even in political campaigns, there is no room for this type of attack. I am reminded of a time when a Boston attorney challenged a politician with these words: “Have you no decency, sir?”

Let’s review the facts about this year’s contract extension. 

  • FACT:  the two-year bridge contract did not exist when Roberts wrote his letter to the editor. It was considered by the Selectmen on Monday evening, March 7, and Alexandra (who opposed it) did not attend the meeting.  
  • FACT: when looking for cost savings for our taxpayers, it often is easier to get those savings from an existing contractor.
  • FACT: the cost increase in this new contract was driven by a wage increase required by the State’s prevailing wage statute. The two-year extension is a good deal as a bridge to a new five-year contract. Doug Koplow, chair of the former Solid Waste/Recycling Committee testified on Monday night and concurred in this assessment.   

Let’s review the previous decade. We achieved substantial savings. Belmont has done an excellent job of controlling costs. There have been two five-year contracts. 

  • FACT: the cost of solid waste and recycling has increased by 1.6 percent per year from FY ’05 through FY ’15.  That is less than the annual increase in the town budget. That is good management for Belmont taxpayers.   
  • FACT: all contracts have been reviewed in public by the Warrant Committee and the Board of Selectmen.

Finally, citizens should understand that Alexandra knew most of these facts. Marcotte explained the history of solid waste and recycling contracts to her in a telephone conversation earlier this year. It appears that Alexandra ignored facts that did not fit her narrative. Governing requires an ability to listen and learn.

In an election year, facts matter. Civility matters. Character matters.

I urge you to re-elect Mark Paolillo as Selectman on April 5. 

Ralph Jones

Town Meeting Member, Precinct 3, former Chair of the School Committee, Warrant Committee, and Board of Selectmen

Letter to the Editor: Ruban Has The Right Ideas For Belmont

Photo: Alexandra Ruban

Letter to the editor:

I will be voting for Alexandra Ruban to be Belmont’s next selectwoman. I encourage readers to join me. 
Alexandra is an accomplished professional and the mother of two children. She has a deep, personal investment in the continued excellence of our public schools. Alexandra wants to make Belmont’s government work better for residents: opening its opaque operations to the light and saving taxpayer money that can be invested in the services we care most about schools, roads, and public buildings. 
Like many in town, Alexandra was drawn into politics by curiosity, civic responsibility and the sneaking suspicion that something was amiss. In her case, the issue was the town’s relationship with its recycling contractor. 
She began asking questions of Town Hall and discovered that Belmont this year simply renewed its contract without soliciting bids from competing firms. More outrageous: the Town has been doing so for more than a decade! Alexandra knows Belmont can do better, saving money, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and putting the town back on track with its own Climate Action Plan in the process. 
A campaign was born.
Mark Paolillo is a good and gentle man from an esteemed family. I count him as a friend. But elections aren’t about demeanor or personal style. Elections are about your record in office and your job performance. 
On far too many issues: from the Town Center redesign debacle to the multi-million dollar deficits that have been a fixture of his tenure, Mark has voted with Sami Baghdady and other staunch conservatives on the Board. During that time, residents have seen fees rise, capital investments deferred and school and town services cut. 
Alexandra has the right ideas for Belmont and the courage of her convictions. I ask you to join me in voting for her in April.

Paul Roberts

Town Meeting Member, Precinct 8

Newcomer Ruban To Challenge Incumbent Paolillo for Selectman

Photo: Alexandra Ruban submitting nomination papers on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

A relative newcomer will be challenging a lifelong resident for the open selectman seat at the Belmont Town Election in April.

Claflin Street’s Alexandra Ruban submitted more than 100 signatures with Town Clerk Ellen Cushman on Tuesday, Feb. 16, setting up a race with two-term incumbent Mark Paolillo from Pilgrim Road. 

In a press release submitted by her campaign team, Ruban said there is a lack of transparency and consistency on important decisions made by town government and the current board made up of Paolillo, Jim Williams and Chairman Sami Baghdady.

“After observing the decisions made by our Board of Selectmen in recent years, I am concerned that there is a lack of transparency and accountability in the office that is challenging the Town’s goals and financial viability,” said Ruban, who moved with her husband and two children to Belmont from Somerville in 2013. 

“Rather than just complain, I want to use my experience to do something about it, namely: run for Town Selectman,” Ruban said in the press release.

Leading Ruban’s team is campaign chair and communications manager Erin Lubien, who was communications director for Selectman Jim Williams’ election campaign last year. Ruban’s campaign treasurer is Vera Iskandarian of Waverley Street.

“I look forward to meeting with my constituents and representing the concerns of many in the upcoming election season,” Ruban said, noting that elected, she would be only the fourth woman to serve as a Selectman since the town was incorporated in 1859.

The owner of a consulting firm that helps small businesses grow and optimize their performance, Ruban will be holding a community “meet and greet” on Feb. 28.