Saying he felt he should go out on top – “like David Ortiz” – Dr. David Alper announced today, Saturday, Feb. 10, he was withdrawing his nomination for election to a record 11th term on the Belmont Board of Health.
“I want to leave before people started saying ‘What’s with that old guy? Get him out of there,'” said Alper, after meeting with Town Clerk Ellen Cushman at 1 p.m. Saturday with formally withdraw from the race.
With Alper leaving the race, the sole resident who has submitted nomination papers for the board is Stephen Fiore of Van Ness Road, an attorney in civil litigation with the Cambridge firm of Foster & Eldridge. Alper said one reason he wanted his decision known over the weekend was to allow anyone interest in serving 48 hours to gather the 50 signatures required to run for the seat.
First elected to the board in 1988, Alper said he several events occurred in the past week that led him to reconsider running for another three-year term on the three-member board. On Monday, Alper was selected to the Board of Trustees of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), the Bethesda, Maryland-based professional medical organization representing 80 percent of the 15,000 podiatrists in the United States.
Saying his inclusion on the national board “an amazing honor,” Alper said the time commitment to the organization “is enormous” with travel and paperwork taking up most of his free time.
Alper and his wife will also become empty nesters as their son will be heading out of the house by the end of the summer, “and I wanted to spend more time with her.” Add his thriving practice from his Oak Avenue residence, “laying all that together, maybe it’s time to say goodbye to the board.”
But before he leaves in the final eight weeks, Alper said he’ll be completing two major initiatives he’s been heavily involved. By April 1, the board will have created comprehensive health regulations on the future retail sale of marijuana in Belmont, with a final vote on March 26.
“Useless [residents] votes to withdraw from sales, Belmont will be prepared with common scene rules and regs,” said Alper, as applications for state-issued retail licenses will be accepted on April 1.
Alper said through the work by new Town Administrator Patrice Garvin, funds have been found to allow the town to hire a Youth Coordinator for a revitalized Belmont Youth Commission which Alper has been advocating for several years.
“So there are a few victories to have before I leave,” said Alper who said he’ll remain a Town Meeting member and “be there when something else needs to be done.”
“It was really a perfect of storm of events. So I’m happy to be moving on,” said Alper.