Community Leaders Urge 'No' Vote on Question 3
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mayor Richard Alcombright, state Rep. Dan Bosley, state Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, Adams Town Administrator Jonathan Butler, Clarksburg Town Administrator Michael Canales, Florida Town Administrator Christine Dobbert and Williamstown Town Manager Peter Fohlin, have come out against what they say would be the "devastating fiscal impact to all North Berkshire communities" if ballot Question 3 is passed.
Question 3, to be voted on in next week's election, proposes a reduction of the state’s sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent.
According to a statement released by Alcombright's office on Oct. 28, at the Oct. 20 Massachusetts Mayors meeting attended by Alcombright, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation speaker Andy Bagley described Question 3 as “heading over the cliff."
The state already faces a $2 billion dollar shortfall in the upcoming fiscal 2012 budget, which would jump to $4.5 billion if the voters approve Question 3. According to MTF, the resulting massive spending cuts would eliminate or erode a wide range of services from education and public safety to health care and human services.
“Our communities would be devastated by the loss of revenue in FY2012 and passage of Question 3 would additionally assure deep and chaotic cuts right after the first of the year. It is projected that the City of North Adams would be cut by as much as $2.1 million dollars in FY2012 if Question 3 passes and we would certainly see significant revenue reductions in this current fiscal year. Overall, the FY2012 impact on municipal and school budgets in North Berkshire from Question 3 alone would be over $4.6 million dollars in addition to the already projected cuts of up to 15 percent on both municipal and school aid. All in all, with the passage of Question 3 and anticipated FY2012 cuts, North Berkshire could lose close to $8.8 million dollars in state aid,” Alcombright said in the statement.
Fohlin added, “Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation projects Williamstown and Mount Greylock Regional School District will lose over $400,000 if Question 3 passes. The effect on education, public safety, and public works would be devastating. I can’t imagine asking Williamstown property owners to fill such a huge gap.”
The state has cut municipal and school funding by more than 18 percent over the past three years and the passage of Question 3 would assure reductions in funding of over 20 percent next year. These massive reductions in revenue would mandate deep and painful cuts to all segments of municipal and school budgets for all communities in North Berkshire County, the statement concluded.
|Tags: Question 3, sales tax|
Coakley Endorsed by Crime Victims, Law Enforcement Leaders
BOSTON – Citing their personal experiences and the importance of the Attorney General’s office in protecting public safety, police officers, law enforcement leaders, prosecutors, child safety advocates and numerous crime victims endorsed Martha Coakley for re-election as Attorney General.
Speaking at a press conference outside Faneuil Hall on Tuesday, Coakley was joined by District Attorneys Gerry Leone, Dan Conley and David Capeless, victims of crime and victim advocates, and representatives from law enforcement across Massachusetts. Speakers included Debbie Eappen, mother of eight-month old Matthew Eappen, for whom Coakley served as prosecutor in the case brought on her son’s behalf when he was killed more than 12 years ago.
“I’m proud to be a prosecutor…It means that we wake up every day and speak for those who need it most,” AG Coakley said. “But it’s been more than just standing up for them, I’ve also been inspired by them.”
“In October of 1997, Martha Coakley became one of our heroes,” said Debbie Eappen. “Martha brought hope to my devastated family... Our family is deeply grateful that Martha has chosen a 25-year career protecting the public from crime of all sorts. I know that my family - children, disabled, and elderly - are safer because of Martha Coakley’s service to the state of Massachusetts. It is with deep respect and admiration that we emphatically state that there is no better person for the job of Attorney General than Martha Coakley.”
Debbie is the mother of Matthew “Matty” Eappen, an eight-month old baby who in 1997 was the victim of abuse and killed by his nanny. Martha was part of the prosecution team in the case against Matty’s killer, and her experience on this case allowed her and Debbie to collaborate on educating medical professionals about the prevalence of child abuse and shaken impact syndrome.
Coakley also earned the support of a wide range of law enforcement groups and leaders, including district attorneys, police officers and advocates for child safety.
“There is only one candidate in this race with the experience to protect our young, protect our elderly, and to work in the cyber crime age,” said Rick Brown of the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM). “Martha Coakley is the only one who is going to be able to lead us in to the future in police work. She has 25 years of experience and I’m proud to be standing here offering SPAM’s endorsement to her to continue protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth – the victims, the witnesses, everybody that has been preyed upon through crime in the state of Massachusetts.
“Let’s remember why we elected Martha Coakley District Attorney and Attorney General in the first place,” Suffolk District Attorney Conley said. “It wasn’t only because she knew her way around a courtroom, but because she knew her way around our neighborhoods, where justice and injustice are felt much more acutely. It wasn’t only because she has a first-rate public policy mind, but because she listens to victims of crime and translates their hurt and frustrations into solutions that work and give us hope.”
“I urge the voters of Massachusetts to keep Martha Coakley doing the fine job she has for the past four years,” said Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless. “Martha has used the office of the Attorney General to protect the public’s rights and safeguard their resources, and has been and ally and a friend to her fellow prosecutors and partners in law enforcement. I commend the integrity that Martha brings to the office, I applaud her commitment to upholding our laws, and I am proud to join her in ensuring justice and safety for the citizens of the Commonwealth.”
According to the Coakley campaign, as a federal prosecutor, an Assistant District Attorney, Middlesex District Attorney, and now as Attorney General, Coakley has an unmatched record in the AG race of protecting kids and communities. As a prosecutor for the Middlesex DA’s Office, she has personally and successfully prosecuted dozens of violent criminals in Massachusetts. As Chief of the Middlesex DA’s child abuse unit, she oversaw the prosecution of hundreds of predators who harmed children.
According to the Coakley campaign, she is the only candidate in the race for Attorney General who has prioritized victim support and public safety challenges such as cyber crime, senior safety, neighborhood safety and child protection.
Other achievements highlighted by the Coakley campaign include:
*The Cyber Crime Initiative, wherein Coakley's office trains local and state law enforcement officers in how to handle cyber crimes, with specialized trainings on topics such as digital evidence, cyber-bullying and others.
*Opening a state-of-the-art computer forensics laboratory that assists with criminal cases from across the state.
*In 2008, Coakley led a two-year effort with MySpace and Attorneys General across the country to develop a plan to make social networking sites safer for children. She also successfully took on Craigslist by calling on the site to take down its adult services section to better protect victims of human trafficking.
Public safety and victim advocates who have announced their support for Martha Coakley include:
Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless
Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter
Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett
Hampden County District Attorney Bill Bennett
Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone
Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley
Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early
The Massachusetts Police Association
The Massachusetts Coalition of Police
State Police Association of Massachusetts
State Police Superior Officers Association
Debbie Eappen, mother of murder victim Matthew Eappen
Dodie Laplante, mother of murder victim Betsie Hughes
Annette Presti, mother of murder victim Joanne Presti and grandmother of murder victim Alyssa Presti
Laurie Myers, child safety advocate
Democrats Prepped for Final Campaign Drive
State Sen. Benjamin Downing, left, coordinator Josh Hochberg, Paul Mark, Tom Bower, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray and Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray joined local Democrats on Monday to kick off the final leg of the 2010 campaign season.
Some 75 party members and officials were on hand to open the campaign office at 31 South St., just recently the headquarters for Tom Bowler's successful campaign for sheriff.
"We forged some tremendous and wonderful friendships - we hope everlasting friendships - we developed some fantastic partnerships working from this location," said Bowler. "We wish the coordinating campaign all the success on Nov. 2 that we did on Sept. 14."
The get-out-the-vote drive may have greater significance on the statewide level where recent polls have Gov. Deval Patrick and Republican challenger Charles Baker in a dead heat than at the local level.
In the heavily Democratic Berkshires, the 1st Berkshire District and county sheriff were decided primary night when no Republicans chose to run. Going into the general election, only Democratic nominee Paul Mark of Hancock has a GOP opponent, Michael Case of Washington; both Reps. Christopher Speranzo of the 3rd District and William "Smitty" Pignatelli in the 4th District will be vying against Green/Rainbow Party candidates Mark C. Miller and Scott Lee Laugenour, respectively.
Patrick, on the other hand, is working hard to fend off Baker, former head of Harvard Pilgrim; Murray's opponent is Richard Tisei, state Senate minority leader. Trailing behind are Treasurer Timothy Cahill, running as an independent, and Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein for governor and Stein's running mate Richard Purcell for lieutenant governor. (Cahill's running mate Paul Loscocco jumped ship last week.)
Murray speaks with Mary K. O'Brien.
Murray reminded those present that he was selected by them, not the governor, but kept his sharpest comments for Patrick's opponent. Baker, a state budget secretary in the 1990s, is running on his fiscal acumen, but Murray dismissed his reputation, saying he raised insurance premiums 150 percent while at Harvard Pilgrim and pointed to his role in the state's modern symbol of waste and fraud.
"The architect of the Big Dig financing plan now wants to be your governor," he told the appreciative crowd.
U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, who is facing Republican Bill Gunn, was supposed to attend but had to cancel. Also missing was Attorney General Martha Coakley, who was in Lee that morning and at The Berkshire Eagle in the afternoon, and Suzanne Bump of Great Barrington, who's running for auditor.
Olver's campaign manager Debra Guachione stepped in to make a pitch for the entire Democratic ticket. "Only four years ago, we broke a 16-year chain of Republican leadership," she said of Patrick and Murray. "Those governors wanted to be in Mexico, Canada, Washington and New York — not Massachusetts."
Murray said Patrick had the perfect cover for the leaving the state during its worst years: "The president of the United States asked me serve."
"But he didn't. He didn't cut and run," the former Worcester mayor continued.
Downing, a former Olver staffer, said it was important to return the Amherst professor to office.
"We need him to continue to be our voice on Capitol Hill," said Downing. "When Democrats remain in power in 2010 and when we make sure the president's agenda isn't stalled by a party that just wants to say no to anything."
In addition to the candidates, the local party members attending included Mary K. O'Brien; Mayor James M. Ruberto, who gave a passionate plug for his friend Patrick; former North Adams Mayor John Barrett III, who has been a strong backer of his former mayoral colleague Murray; Daniel Bianchi; Sherwood Guernsey; and Pittsfield Councilors President Gerald Lee, Christine Yon and Melissa Mazzeo.
Field organizer Josh Hochberg said the vote drive would depend on "friend banks," to prevent people from being inundated with phone calls.
"Open up your cell phone, open up your address book and call your friends," he said.
|Tags: Democrats, Patrick, Murray|
Bosley Looks to Wind Up Legislative Career
Daniel Bosley, center, speaks with MCLA President Mary Grant and her husband, Jim Canavan, at a subdued gathering at Taylor's after the representative conceded defeat in the sheriff's race.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — For 24 years, Dan Bosley has been working on educational initiatives, community programs and big budgets — very big budgets. He'd hoped to translate those skills into the sheriff's office but it wasn't to be.
Voters overwhelmingly backed Tom Bowler's bid to become the first new sheriff in 32 years.
"I had a tough job," said Bosley at his gathering at Taylor's Restaurant. "I had to explain what the sheriff did and then explain why I was the best candidate, while the other person just said, 'I'm the best candidate.' "
Bosley said he'd called Bowler earlier to congratulate him and offer his support. "I think he ran a great race."
The candidates agreed on a number of things but diverged most prominently on the function of the job. Bosley defined it as public safety; Bowler, a Pittsfield Police detective, as law enforcement. He gained the endorsement and active support of local law enforcement agencies, the district attorney and the corrections officers. Saying the sheriff is a lawman and not a warden fit with the voters.
Condolences from a supporter.
"I think the voters were more interested in security, more interested in putting a lawman there," he said. "And the voters have spoken."
Bosley had hoped to counteract Bowler's grip on Pittsfield with a higher turnout in Northern Berkshire. "I just couldn't crack that Pittsfield market," he said. Turnout was high enough in Pittsfield to give Bowler the advantage but not enough in North County to make a difference for Bosley, who won both Williamstown and North Adams but not Adams.
With a new representative selected on Tuesday in Gailanne Cariddi, the man whose name was once bandied about as a potential speaker of House has options open for the first time in years.
"I really have no idea what I'm going to do. I focused on this race and now tomorrow I'm going to focus on something else. ... well, I'm going to focus on some things my wife said I absolutely have to do," he laughed. "I'm a pretty talented guy, I'm pretty smart and I'll find something to do."
He decided to leave the Legislature because it was just time, he said, not because of any of the reasons many have speculated on, including his loss of stature with the new House speaker.
"It's been 24 years. I've done everything I've set out to do," said Bosley, referring to his work in education, insurance and green jobs, his efforts on economic development bills and in making Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the science center at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and the reconstruction of the Hadley Overpass a reality. "I'm grateful for the support I had and we accomplished everything."
All but one bill he's been working on for a decade. Bosley doesn't think that one will ever happen but he plans to spend the next three months on tying up his two dozen years of service and transitioning everything over to Cariddi as smoothly as possible.
"I'm going to work hard until Jan. 3 and then, hopefully, I'll be down there to see her sworn in; I'll applaud and I'll leave.
"It's been a privilege serving the people of Berkshire County for 24 years."
Cariddi Clear Winner in 1st District
Gailanne Cariddi is hugged by supporters at Petrino's Cafe after winning the 1st Berkshire District.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Gailanne Cariddi emerged as the winner in the 1st District, the first new state representative in 24 years and the first woman to occupy the seat. Although a primary election, there's no Republican running so the Democratic winner will coast to victory in November.
The longtime North Adams city councilor was surrounded by well-wishers at Petrino's Cafe on Main Street in North Adams as numbers continued to flow in from the district's hilltowns.
"I'm sure that it really hasn't hit me yet because it's so wonderful for so many voters to come out and support me," said Cariddi. "I really want to thank all the voters because without all of them, and the team we put together to run this election, we wouldn't be this happy right now."
The city native felt she was the leading candidate and her father was sure. He wasn't excited Tuesday, she said, "he said he knew I was going to win."
"Right along I felt I was the leading candidate but I told everyone I had two opponents from Adams nipping at my heels so I had to keep going," said Cariddi, referring to House hopefuls David Bisssaillon and Edward MacDonald.
Cariddi easily took North Adams, pulling 1,710 votes to Bissaillon's 575 and MacDonald's 379. She came in second in Adams, no surprise, with Bissaillon sweeping the town with 1,328 votes; Cariddi took 356 and MacDonald 261. It was in Williamstown, however, that Cariddi pulled far enough ahead that it would have been tough to catch her. She pulverized both men with 70 percent of the vote. Some 1,028 ballots were cast for Cariddi in the Purple Valley compared to 293 for Bissaillon and 164 for MacDonald.
She continued to roll up the smaller towns, gaining 221 votes in Clarksburg (Bissaillon, 120; MacDonald, 48) out of the 425 votes cast, and took Charlemont with 84 votes.
Cariddi believed her stances on the economy, jobs, community development, green initiatives, agriculture, small business, tourism and arts and culture put her over the top.
"They want somebody with a positive attitude who's going to keep moving our district forward," she said. "I think all of those things resonated with the voters. I talked about them time and time again. People wanted issues; I gave them issues."
The party was winding down at the Bounti-Fare in Adams for David Bissaillon. The former Berkshire Chamber president said he didn't want his supporters to leave sad.
"The people who worked for me, who supported me, they were my heroes. I'm grateful for what they've done," he said.
David Bissaillon talks with a supporter at the Bounti-Fare after losing his first run for office.
He wasn't ready to speculate on if he'd make another try at elected office — "not tonight" — and planned to take a breather and get back to work at Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins Insurance Agency.
"Unfortunately, my message didn't resonate with the voters," Bissaillon said. "We ran a clean campaign and I learned a lot. .... I wish Gail all the best. It's a great victory for her."
Edward MacDonald, who had been confident of a surge on Sunday, had already closed up his gathering at the American Legion in North Adams before we got there. The Chester town administrator had worked hard but couldn't catch Cariddi nor capture his hometown of Adams.
|Tags: Cariddi, Bissaillon, MacDonald|