Final Say: Tommasina Anne Olson, Belmont Housing Authority


I’m Tommasina Anne Olson I ask to be re-elected as a member to the Belmont Housing Authority on Tuesday, April 2.

I have been tireless in my efforts to serve Belmont and selflessly put Belmont and the BHA first in all decisions.

I have been involved in the Belmont Community for a number of years and have served Belmont beginning as a Town Meeting Member in 1991.  Since then I have been a committed advocate for seniors through the Belmont Council on Aging since 2009 and the Belmont Housing Trust since 2014. Serving on both provide valuable information necessary to address the Housing needs of our Belmont residents.

Given my commitment to education, I also serve on the Belmont School Superintendent’s Advisory Council/Belmont Community Education. This year I initiated the installation of four Little Library on the properties with the hope of encouraging greater reading and education.

Finally, I am also the founder and producer of the Payson Park Music Festival which for the past 29 seasons produces 15 community musical events,  evidencing my strong commitment to the community.

I have earned the trust of residents who have brought me their concerns and I have had them addressed.  One such is the completion of the much- delayed Community Center handicap ramp at Sherman Gardens.   I also explored a request for an elevator at Waverley Oak with several Town agencies.

The Board has taken special note of concerns sanitary conditions at the BHA. In concert with our new executive director, we move swiftly once these issues are brought to our attention through work orders.   Our timeliness of completion of these work orders has improved greatly. We also occasionally find it necessary to work with other Town agencies: Belmont Health Department, Council on Aging, Belmont Fire and Police Departments.

With a new Director on board for the past year and a half, the BHA Board is making changes to rectify issues not addressed over the past 30 years. We are improving our facilities, our financial reporting systems, and our personnel policies.

There is much left to be accomplished. Using a grant from the Housing Trust CPA funds the Board has initiated exploration of additional and upgraded facilities on the Sherman Gardens site. Serving on the Housing Trust provides me with access to the Planning Board as we move forward to begin this work. This work requires my proven ability to collaborate with other Town agencies.

Additionally, to complete this work requires strong analytical and business skills, and cost-benefit analysis, which I possess.

I take pride in being an advocate for all the residents of the Town, especially seniors and handicapped residents.  I have always had, and always will have an open door policy to listen to resident concerns. 

Given my experience as a financial professional, I possess the skills necessary to move the Belmont Housing Authority forward. But as importantly, my demonstrated commitment to the community and my strong connection to the Belmont community makes me a solid, vital advocate for fostering a sense of community within the BHA properties as well as encouraging a sense of community with the Town Belmont.

I ask for your vote on Tuesday, April 2.

Letter to the Editor: Tomi Thanks Voters, Residents’ Interests ‘Paramount’

To the editor:

I wish to thank all of my supporters for their support during my campaign for Housing Authority.  Your conviction evidenced by your hosting a sign, delivering and mailing cards, speaking to friends, getting friends out to vote,  and voting for me,  all added up to a victory.

I promise to represent our collective interests in housing and sheltering those less fortunate.  Our residents’ interests and our community’s interest will always be paramount in my decision-making.

I thank you for your confidence in me and I look forward to representing you and our community.

Tommasina (Tomi) Olson

Member Housing Authority

Town Election 2016: Paolillo Retains Selectmen Seat; Prestwich, Bicer on Schools, 18-Year-Old Tops Town Meeting Ballot

Photo: Supporters of top vote collector Dan Vernick on Election Day in Belmont.

Mark Paolillo will be returning for a third (and final) three-year term on the Belmont Board of Selectmen as he easily beat back a spirited campaign from political novice Alexandra Ruban in the 2016 Belmont Town Election held on Tuesday, April 5.

Paolillo received 2,432 votes to Ruban’s 1,360, from voters in the eight precincts in town to secure the victory on a day when 3,907 voters, 22.6 percent of all registered voters, took the time to make it to the polls. Paolillo won all but one precinct – falling behind Ruban by five votes, 165-160 in seven – while more than making up that difference by winning overwhelmingly in his home district, in Precinct 8, by more than 250 votes (438-185).

Obtain the unofficial results at the Town Clerk’s Web page here. 

In the contested school committee race, first-timers Murat Bicer and Andrea Prestwich secured three-year terms finishing first and second with 1,959 and 1,931 votes. They outlasted Kimberly O’Mahony, who come in with 1,662 votes in a tight race for the seats vacated by long-time members Laurie Slap and current school committee member Elyse Shuster, who returns for a single year position, finishing the term of Laurie Graham. While Prestwich won half of the precincts, Bicer (who won three with O’Mahony winning her home precinct, the 4th, overwhelmingly) was always just a few votes from her total, losing three precincts (2, 3 and 5) by a total of 16 votes. 

For the race to fill the three-year-term on the Housing Authority, well-known Belmontian Tomi Olson defeated Paul Rickter by more than 150 votes out of 3,200 cast, 1,680 to 1,523. 

Over on the Town Meeting side of the ballot, the top story is 18-year-old Daniel Vernick (Belmont High ’15) who not only topped the vote in Precinct 1 with 339 cast; he received the most votes of any Town Meeting candidate running. Vernick, Yale ’19, ran an impressive campaign using social media, local contacts and going door-to-door to win his seat in the town’s legislative branch, saying he would bring “my [BHS] classmates’ perspective both internally within the school administration and externally through the town.” No one should be surprised by Vernick’s enthusiastic campaign, having started his activism as a 7th-grade middle school student calling for the passage of a Prop. 2 1/2 override in 2010. 

Five incumbents did not retain their seats including a pair in both precincts 1 and 6, while new members will be taking their place in the 290 member body including Kristen Zecchi in 1, Michael Chesson in Precinct 4, Elizabeth Lipson (with an impressive fifth place) and Katherine Gardner Poulin-Kerstien, and Gi Hyun Yoon-Huang in 8. 

And over in the “couples district,” Precinct 4 is sending three sets of married couples, the Flewellings (Sheila topped her husband, David, 205-192), long-time town meeting member Kevin Cunningham just got by his wife, newly-elected Lisa Gibalerio, by one-vote and Sandra Occhino was 14 votes ahead of her husband, John.

And finally, Warren Committee Chair Michael Libenson is back in Town Meeting representing his home Precinct 1 after being voted off the body a few years back, essentially for not responding to the questioner from the Belmont League of Women Voters guide. And School Committee member Susan Burgess-Cox successfully changed precincts now representing Precinct 2 for the next two years.