October 2018 Minutes

Belmont Democratic Town Committee

October 3,, 2018 7 P.M.

Belmont Town Hall Selectman’s Meeting Room

Chair: Linda Levin-Scherz, Vice Chair: Paul Roberts

  1. Unanimously approved minutes of previous meeting.
  2. Unanimously voted in Vera Iskandarian as Secretary
Activism Update: Helen Bakeman  mentioned a great organization Trip to flip.org which connects you with a local campaign for canvassing
Upcoming Events November Election: 3 Questions pls Belmont’s School Question!
Presentations: 7: 10 P.M.  First Guest: TOM HOLLAK, Treasurer Brookline Democratic Town Committee

             Tom Spoke about a group called Force Multiplier whose goal is to turn the House Blue in November.  This is the best way to check R power.

             65 House seats are competitive.  Force Multiplier organizes grassroots fundraising for House candidates it works with.

            Organization focuses on seats held by Republicans that voter data shows flip is possible.

7:20 P.M.  Second Guest: ELLEN SCHREIBER.: New School to be voted on in November.


A bit of history: Belmont was chosen by MSBA in Jan 2016 after applying for 0 years and out of 351 towns in MA.  The MSBA is funded by 1% of sales tax.

      Belmont as already spent 2.5 years and $2m planning, on schematic designs, feasibility studies.  Now it’s time to secure funding or we lose the $80 m. grant from MA.

      New school education standards focuses on skills.  School design has to address current education requirements.

      Arlington is spending $308 m. on a 9-12 school, and Waltham is spending $300 m. for 1830 students.  We are building a school for about 2300 students (half of the student population).

      Belmont has 17,000 registered voters and we need half plus one to vote for school.  In 2012, BHS did get a warning school was not meeting certain standards related to condition of building which were repaired.  School has Asbestos,old electrical, and is not ADA compliant.

Messaging about New 7-12 School:

  1. We are building 2 schools in one. A 7-8 middle school and a 9-12 HS.  Gym and auditorium will be shared. Current Field House and Pool will stay same. Chenery wll be 4-6 upper elementary school.

We have 16 modular classrooms right now.  If new school does not pass, we will need 32 new modular classrooms.

  1. We are getting much more money than we expected: $80 million!!  Belmont has 120 days to get funding or lose this grant from the state.
  1. This is the responsible Choice for Belmont.  The New school will cost $213m. If we vote NO, we will have to spend $247 m. for modulars, renovations and additions with no state help.

8:10 P.M.  Third guest is Karen from CAmbridge Health Alliance for Vote No on Q1


Currently there are no limits on patients except in ICU.  Voting NO is supported by various hospital associations and allegedly by senate democrats.  According to Karen, current law provides safe patient care and that voting NO is supported by the MA Nurses Association which represents 23% of nurses/70% of hospitals.

Right now, hospital executives decide how many patients are assigned to nurses and voting NO will keep this the same

 In 2004, CA passed a similar safe staffing law limiting patients to 4.  Mistakes decreased, readmission decreased, profits increased. (some of these facts are disputed by others.

The MA law limits to 5 patients per nurse with exceptions.  CA Nurses spent 3 hours more with patients, on average.

Fourth guest: Cece Buckley, RN for 34 years on Vote YES on Q1

    Nurses have been trying to have the MA legislature to do something for years, and putting this on the ballot was a last measure.  

   This is about Patient Safety.  It will decrease mistakes, readmissions and avoiding readmission will save hospitals money.  Hospitals claim voting Yes will cost more. Yes, hiring nurses will cost more. Most MA hospitals are very profitable.  There are some smaller hospitals that are not profitable. Hospitals claims this will cost another $900 m. to them which may be passed on to consumers if they need to hire 3,000 RN’s etc.

    Health care executives do spend a lot of money but spend it where they want.  Claim that MA hospital are not profitable is questioned by many.

    The proposed law is  not as rigid as the other side will make you believe.

    MA has a surplus of 100k nurses and graduates 3500 per year.  There will not be a shortage of nurses.

  In CA, profits increased and outcomes improved since law was passed.  

Meeting ended at 9:10 P.M.


Attendance: Full (Elected)


Helen Bakeman

Ted Dukas

Elizabeth Goss

Vera Iskandarian

Anne Quirk

Steve Klionsky

Linda Levin-Scherz

Jeanne Mooney

Richard Waring

Julie Wu

Russell Leino

Lifetime Members:

Richard Madden

Barbara Miranda

James Staton

Associate Members:

Stephen Sheshtakofsky

Ellen Schreiber

Daniel Barry


Karen Funkenstein


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