Candidates demonstrate the spirit of Belmont


Candidate Eric Reed explains the necessity of an engaged community in the amphitheater of the Belmont Library.

Alex Lay, Staff Writer

After the cancellation of the City Council Candidates’ forum on Sept. 26, the Belmont community stepped in and turned the unfortunate situation into a meet-and-greet allowing citizens to get to know the candidates.

According to a flyer sent out by the Belmont Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters withdrew their previous commitment of moderating the event after the Belmont library, who was acting as host, cancelled hours before the event was supposed to occur.

The candidates were informed of the cancellation, but they had no way of reaching out to the public, while people continued showing up to the nonexistent event. The community was informed of the situation and immediately started formulating a plan.

“A symbol of Belmont was expressed because the community bonded through the issue, whereas in a larger city, people would have just gone home,” said Mayor Christine Wozniak.

The lack of sponsorship did not affect the final outcome of the event and John Boykin helped fill in as a replacement for the LWV.

“I am an impartial helper and I had moderated other events prior to this one, so I was well qualified for the position of moderator. Everyone was clueless and no one was in charge so I stepped in to help solve the crazy situation,” explained Boykin.

Many of the candidate’s short speeches made in a condensed time frame, focused on the importance of a trusting and collaborative relationship between the future council members and the community of Belmont.

“Communication is a key factor on the council and trust between each of the council members is imperative,” said candidate Warren Lieberman.

Lieberman was not the only candidate that believed that trust was an extremely important factor in order to achieve success.

“I want a partnership with the community where the community can reach out to the council at any time and vice versa,” said candidate Eric Reed.

The collaboration theme was expressed in the way the community dealt with the cancellation of the Belmont Library sponsorship.

“Even though the original event did not occur, the people of Belmont solved this sudden problem. The group moved the candidates and interested people to the amphitheater and lined up the candidates and allowed them to speak. Considering the situation, the event went well. People got the chance to meet the candidates, which was the purpose of the original event,” explained Wozniak.

The amphitheater was located outside at night where it was windy and cold, causing some discomfort among candidates and audience. Even with the issues of weather, the purpose of the event was fulfilled allowing satisfying both groups of people.

Originally, the event was supposed to run smoothly and in a comfortable setting, but the situation flipped quickly. Candidates were told to go home along with the people that had come to view the forum but they persisted and came out on top.

There will be several other forums in the future starting in Oct., where the candidates will have more chances to explain their points of views.

The candidates emphasized the need to develop trust in the community, and that trust was expressed in an unanticipated but symbolic solution of the wake of the forum cancellation.

A sign posted on the locked doors of the Belmont Library.
A sign posted on the locked doors of the Belmont Library.
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