League Of Women Voters (Virtual) Candidates’ Night On Monday, March 22

Photo: The annual candidates night will take place on Monday, March 22

The Belmont League of Women Voters will be holding its annual Candidates’ Night for all those running for town-wide posts and Town Meeting on Monday, March 22 at 7 p.m.

In addition, representatives of ballot questions on the April 6 ballot will be defending their sides of all issues.

And while the event will be virtual via Zoom and the Belmont Media Center, Town Meeting candidates will have their opportunity to participate in the traditional “parade” but this year it will be done on video.

League Women Voters Hosting Congressional Candidates Forum Tuesday, Oct. 13, 7:30PM

Photo: The forum

Several chapters of the League of Women Voters are joining together to host a candidates forum for the Fifth Massachusetts Congressional District featuring incumbent US Rep. Katherine Clark (Democrat) and her challenger Caroline Colarusso (Republican).

The forum will take place virtually on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Viewing Options:

Zoom Webinar Live: TinyURL.com/5thCongForum
Live Broadcast: Belmont Ch 8 (Comcast) or Ch 28 (Verizon) Livestream: BelmontMedia.org/watch/govtv
Shared with Cable Access Stations across the District Recordings available on demand: BelmontMedia.org and LWV websites

The forum will be conducted according to LWV guidelines. After a brief opening statement from the candidates, a League Moderator will ask questions submitted from LWV members and the public, followed by closing statements from the candidates.

League chapters from Arlington, Belmont, Boston (Cambridge Unit), Framingham, Lexington, Melrose, Natick, Sudbury, Waltham, Wayland, Weston and Winchester participated in the forum.

Below is important information on the voting process:

Voting – checkregistration: Vote411.org/check-registration
Ballot application: MailMyBallotMA.com
Track ballot: TrackMyBallotMA.com
Early Voting: Oct. 17–30, Locations and times: MassEarlyVote.com
Deadlines: Registration — Oct. 24; Vote-By-Mail application — Oct. 28.

Ballot: must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and be delivered at local election office by Nov. 6.

Be an informed voter: Visit the LWV Voter Guide for information on all candidates at VOTE411.org.

Penny Schafer, Economist and Civic Leader, Dies at 76

Photo: Penny Schafer (family photo)

Penelope “Penny” Schafer, a well-respected environmental economist who lived most of her life on Lewis Road, was known by her family and friends for being “generous almost to a fault,” willingly providing her time and energy to the service of her church, community and civic groups in her hometown of Belmont.

Schafer – who always went by Penny – died on Aug. 26, 2020 in Portland, Me. She was 76. The cause was a stroke suffered at her vacation home in Jefferson, Me.

“She leaves behind a legacy of making the world a better place at both the national and local level,” remembered one of her clients who she worked with at Cambridge-based Abt Associates.

Schafer’s colleagues at Abt recalled her as an amazing mentor, smart, funny, and, most of all, wise. She had an amazing capacity for kindness, while pushing her colleagues to be better than they knew they could.

Schafer was nationally known for her work on the dangers of lead paint and their abatement, working principally with the US Environmental Protection Agency. She conducted risk assessments of the environmental impacts of lead and other pollutants such as mercury and asbestos on the environment, and performed impact and cost-benefit analyses of proposed environmental regulations. She also developed an early Web-based lead database which provided organizations and families with access to data on childhood lead poisoning and facilitated interdisciplinary collaboration in the effort to prevent childhood lead poisoning.

Although she never sought the spotlight, Schafer was dedicated to her community and invested great time and energy in making it a better place for all. She served as an elected Town Meeting Member for 38 years. In addition, she was on the town’s Warrant Committee, which oversees the town budget, including chairing the committee for a period. She also played a vital role on Belmont’s Senior Center Building Committee and the Council on Aging including being its president. 

Schafer was also a dedicated member and officer of the Belmont League of Women Voters, most recently serving on its board and as its treasurer. She also devoted serious time to the First Church in Belmont, serving in various roles since joining around 1978, including most recently on the Parish Board and a just completed six-year tenure as its treasurer. She was an active long-term member of her Radcliffe College Class Reunion Committee.

Schafer was born on April 10, 1944 and grew up in LaGrange, Ill. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1966 and earned a doctorate in Urban Planning with a concentration in Economics from Harvard University in 1976. 

While in graduate school she fell in love with Robert Schafer, and they were happily married for 50 years, celebrating their golden wedding anniversary on Aug. 23, three days before she died.

Schafer is survived by her husband, a son, Karl, and two brothers, Gale and Brad, and their families.

The family is establishing a Penny Schafer Memorial Fund at the First Church in Belmont, 404 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478, to which contributions can be made in lieu of flowers or other gifts. A memorial service will be held once the Covid-19 virus subsides and in person gatherings are again possible.

Three Public Meetings To Discuss Civil Service, McLean Rezoning, Special Town Meeting Articles

Photo: Special Town Meeting Public Meetings

The Select Board has authorized at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 31 the remote Special Town Meeting for up to three nights this month:

  • Monday, Sept. 21
  • Wednesday, Sept. 23
  • Wednesday, Sept. 30

Town Moderator Mike Widmer has asked that all Town Meeting Members make time to participate in the topical meetings or watch the recordings before Town Meeting begins so that all can start on the same baseline of information.  

  • Tuesday, Sept. 8: McLean Zoning By-law,  hosted by the Planning Board Chair Steve Pinkerton
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9: Removal of Police and Fire personnel from Civil Service, hosted by the Town Administrator Patrice Garvin and Select Board Chair Roy Epstein
  • Thursday, Sept. 10: League of Women Voters Warrant Briefing hosted by Laurie Slap, Chair of Warrant Committee

Below is additional information including meeting access information. 

Amend Zoning Bylaw: McLean District Zone 3 Overlay

The McLean Zone 3 Overlay zoning article relates to a residential housing development proposed for in the area of McLean Hospital. Details on the proposed project can be found here


The article amends zoning originally adopted in 1999 for a project that was never built. After much negotiation between the town and the current developer, the proposed zoning amendment allows 40 age-restricted (55 years of age or older) townhouses and 110 apartments (57 age-restricted apartments and 53 non-age restricted apartments). The townhouses will be 2.5 stories with one to four units per building. 15 percent of the townhouses (six units) will be set aside for affordable housing. The apartments will be contained in two buildings with a garage and four residential floors above. The apartment layouts include studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. 25 percent of the apartments (28 apartments) will be set aside for affordable housing. Permitting for this development will be through the Planning Board under Design and Site Plan Review. 

Webinar ID: 820 1129 4827

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

To join by telephone, 
Call: 1 (929) 205 6099 
When prompted, enter:  820 1129 4827 # 
When prompted, enter # 
To ask a question or raise your hand, enter *9 on your phone. 

If you are just interested in following along, watch on Belmont Media Center.
Channel 8 on Comcast
Channels 28 or 2130 on Verizon
Watch online at > belmontmedia.org/watch/govtv

Removal from Civil Service: Police and Fire

This article seeks the approval of Town Meeting to remove all uniformed Police and Fire Department personnel from the provisions of the Civil Service laws, which removal would become part of a negotiated agreement between the Town of Belmont and the Belmont Fire Fighters Local 1637, Belmont Patrolmen’s Association and Belmont’s Police Superiors Officers Associations.  Civil Service was adopted in Belmont for Police and Fire in 1915, before the existence of collective bargaining agreements.  The Select Board believes the interests of the town employees and the Town would be better served in the modern era by withdrawing from Civil Service.

Webinar ID:  815 5872 3892

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

To join by telephone, 
Call:  1 (929) 205 6099 
When prompted, enter:  815 5872 3892 # 
When prompted, enter # 
To ask a question or raise your hand, enter *9 on your phone. 

If you are just interested in following along, watch on Belmont Media Center.
Channel 8 on Comcast
Channels 28 or 2130 on Verizon
Watch online at > belmontmedia.org/watch/govtv

League of Women Voters Warrant Briefing

This will review all other Warrant Articles that will be sent to Town Meeting Members once the Warrant has been finalized. 

Webinar ID: 839 3666 6891

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

To join by telephone, 
Call:  1 (929) 205 6099 
When prompted, enter:  839 3666 6891 # 
When prompted, enter # 
To ask a question or raise your hand, enter *9 on your phone. 

If you are just interested in following along, watch on Belmont Media Center.
Channel 8 on Comcast
Channels 28 or 2130 on Verizon
Watch online at > belmontmedia.org/watch/govtv

Warrant Briefing Wednesday; Know What’s Coming At Town Meeting

Photo: The warrant briefing provides a heads up for Town Meeting members on articles and amendments.

Town Meeting members and the public are invited on Wednesday, June 10 at 7 p.m. to attend the 2020 ‘Zoom’ Warrant Briefing for next week’s annual Town Meeting.

The meeting is cosponsored by the town’s Warrant Committee and the Belmont League of Women Voters.

Residents and members will have the opportunity to ask questions of town officials and department heads about the articles and amendments prior to the annual legislative gathering on Tuesday, June 16.

Laurie Slap, chair of the Warrant Committee, will preside.

To join the Zoom Meeting, head to:


Meeting ID: 898 6923 4568

One tap mobile +19292056099, 89869234568# US (New York)

Meeting ID: 898 6923 4568

Town Celebrates League Of Women Voters During Suffrage Centennial

Photo: Honoring the League of Women Voters of Belmont: (from left) Ann Goldberg, Select Board’s Adam Dash, Amy Grossman, Penny Schafer, Select Board’s Roy Epstein, Board Chair Tom Caputo, Town Administrator Patrice Garvin, Maryann Scali and Pat Hawkins.

Maryann Scali first voted for president in 1956 when she pulled the lever for President Eisenhower.

“I liked Ike,” said the life long Belmont resident, who rarely missed the chance to cast a ballot. Years later, Scali and a dedicated group of women have been on the forefront of promoting access to the polls.

During the centennial year of women suffrage, the town celebrates the 86th anniversary of the founding of the Belmont League of Women Voters with a proclamation from the Select Board on Monday, Feb. 3.

The league’s purpose is “Making Democracy Work” by providing informational statements, sponsoring debates, publishes an annual voters guide for town elections, and generating interest in the political process.

Q&A: Warrant Meeting On Articles Before Special Town Meeting Tuesday, Oct. 30

Photo: Poster for the event 

The public and Town Meeting members are invited to attend a Warrant Briefing tonight, Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.

Residents and voters will have the opportunity to ask questions about the Warrant Articles prior to Special Town Meeting scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Nov 13.

The articles that will be before the “Special” will include:

  • Appropriation of debt to build the Belmont High School construction project.
  • Amendment to the zoning bylaw to create an overlay district along South Pleasant Street.
  • Amendment to the zoning bylaw to create an adult use marijuana overlay district.
  • A Community Preservation Committee off cycle request for $400,000 for the design of an Alexander Avenue underpass.
  • A citizen petition to extend the temporary moratorium on marijuana establishment for an additional six months til June 30, 2019.
  • Reduction of the senior property tax deferral interest rate from eight percent to four-and-a half percent.

Town officials and department heads will be present to provide information. Roy Epstein, chair of the Warrant Committee, will preside. Tonight’s meeting is cosponsored by the Warrant Committee and the Belmont League of Women Voters Education Fund.

Town Meeting Preview: Warrant Briefing Monday Night

Photo: Belmont Town Meeting in action.

The Belmont League of Women Voters and Warrant Committee is co-sponsoring the annual warrant briefing to acquaint Town Meeting members with the non-financial articles on the Town Meeting warrant.

The meeting will take place Monday evening, April 23 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St. This is an opportunity for Town Meeting members and the general public to ask questions of town officials and department heads concerning any of the warrant articles prior to the 2018 Town Meeting beginning in one week on Monday, April 30

Warrant Committee Chair Roy Epstein will preside.

Why Wait For The Mail? The League’s Belmont Voter Guide Is Now Online

Photo: It’s here! This time online!

The Belmont League of Women Voters annual Voter Guide, the essential pamphlet for all registered residents who will be coming out to vote at the Town Election on April 3, is now online. 

While the print copy of the guide is at the printers and won’t be sent to the post office until Monday, March 26, find out who’s running and where they stand on some of the important issues facing Belmont residents as each candidate for townwide and Town Meeting is given the opportunity to make a statement that appears in the guide. 

The pamphlet also provides maps and information on where a resident votes, what precinct they belong to and other facts. 

The Voter Guide is at:


Or visit the League’s website at BelmontLWV.org and click on the first link for the Voter Guide.

Brown Bag Talk: How Marijuana Regs Will Impact Belmont

Photo: Sale of marijuana begins 

The League of Women Voters in Belmont is holding a Brown Bag discussion on local marijuana regulations with members of the Belmont Board of Health and Planning Board on Friday, March 9, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission released draft regulations and has concluded hearings and discussions on these regulations. They are due to release final State Regulations by March 15. Licensing for facilities starts April 1 and retail businesses can open in communities that allow the sale of pot on July 1 with Belmont delaying openings until Dec. 31. How will this affect Belmont?

Bring your lunch; beverages and cookies provided. The meeting is open to the public.

Questions should be sent to BrownBag@BelmontLWV.org