Bianchi Identifies PEDA As Top Priority
"If I am elected mayor of Pittsfield, one of my first points of action will be to appoint myself to the PEDA board," Bianchi said. "I have said that I would want to be an active member of this board and help lead its efforts to recruit new business to Pittsfield. In my opinion, just three months shy of leaving office is not the appropriate time to have a completely reconstituted board. This project is far too valuable to the city of Pittsfield and its economic resurgence."
During Bianchi's bid for the corner office in 2009, Ruberto had publicly apologized for his lack of leadership at PEDA. At that time, Ruberto made a promise to Pittsfield voters that he would lead the project until his term as mayor expired.
"For the past several years, residents have listed the development of the PEDA property as one of their top priorities," Bianchi noted. "When I served on the City Council and since then, I have been concerned about the mayor's commitment to the leadership of the PEDA project. I share the public's disappointment in the lack of urgency to establish and achieve milestones and to set developmental goals. I question the mayor's resignation from the Board at this time.
"My opponent, who is a close confidant of Mayor Ruberto, has publicly stated he does not want to serve on the PEDA Board. This is where we disagree. I won't be satisfied with quarterly updates from the board. I will take a proactive role to ensure that the board has the resources and mayoral involvement to develop the park and much more importantly, be a catalyst for attracting new employers to Pittsfield. My priority is creating jobs," Bianchi said.
"Under the right leadership and with the support of a committed board, I'm confident this project could provide Pittsfield with a unique opportunity to create new jobs and secure additional revenue for the city.
"After researching the original consent decree, and analyzing the provisions of Section 268 of Chapter 295 of the Massachusetts fiscal year 1999 budget (PEDA legislation), I recognize the tremendous influence and authority the Mayor has with regards to the development of this project. If elected mayor, I will take that responsibility very seriously and use good judgment and fair review when considering board appointments and staff appointments. I want to be sure that the PEDA board is representative of our community at large, populated with the appropriate talent and has the necessary resources to meet the critical next phase of the operation," Bianchi added.
North Adams Solicitor Deems 460 Ballots Illegal
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — More than 400 ballots in last Tuesday's preliminary election for mayor were deemed illegal by City Solicitor John DeRosa because voters followed the instructions on the ballot and voted for more than one candidate.
According to DeRosa, the ballots were printed erroneously and instructed voters to vote for more candidates than were officers to be elected and, therefore, those votes are illegal according to state law. Even without those votes, Richard Alcombright and Ronald Boucher would have won the top two spots, placing their names on the November ballot for mayor. The City Council may adopt a home-rule petition to ask the state Legislature to validate the results instead of holding another election.
"We found this to be an honest mistake and a good faith mistake," DeRosa said on Monday at a press conference at City Hall.
City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau prepared the ballots and set the voting machines to look for two candidates because the election was narrowing the field down from three to two candidates for the general election. The day after the election she was questioned about the ballots and contacted DeRosa for an opinion.
"I thought what I did was right and the question began to arise throughout the day ... The doubt was put in my mind and I began to question and I looked at the statutes and ordinances and I didn't find anything as far as language goes on the ballot and I immediately called John DeRosa," Gomeau said.
This was the first preliminary election in the city in at least 14 years. Pittsfield has had preliminary elections in the last two cycles to narrow large mayoral fields down to two candidates; in both cases, the ballots instructed voters to select one name.
There have not been any complaints lodged with the city clerk or the secretary of state's office and the issue was brought to light by Gomeau's own volition, DeRosa said.
"We feel we've gotten it right and we technically need to correct it," DeRosa said.
The City Council will now hold an emergency meeting, as early as Wednesday, to adopt a home-rule petition that will validate the results. A total of 460 ballots were deemed illegal but the next runner-up, Robert Martelle, was 535 votes behind so even without the illegal ballots, the same two candidates would move on to the general election. The petition must be approved by the state Legislature before the next election on Nov. 8.
"We are confident this is the right approach," DeRosa said. "We fully expect the Legislature to approve it."
DeRosa said he will be meeting with state officials Monday afternoon and the mayoral election is not expected to be delayed. There are other towns seeking home-rule petitions and the process should move quickly on Beacon Hill, he said.
Alcombright and Boucher both expressed support of Gomeau and believe the error was an honest mistake.
"It's not a big deal. It's not the end of the world and we will keep moving forward," Boucher said.
DeRosa's full opinion and a draft of the home rule petition are available below.
2011 North Adams Preliminary Election Ballot Opinion
Roach Announces Candidacy for City Council
To the voters of North Adams,
Two years ago over 1,200 of you gave me your vote when I ran for City Council. To say that I am honored that so many of my neighbors thought that I had something to offer the city is an understatement. Thank you.
This year, I am humbly asking for your vote again. I still believe that the core issues that make up North Adams' challenges relate directly to our ability to provide the best education we can for our children; strengthen neighborhoods for families and seniors with policies that address housing and poverty; and ultimately create jobs by expanding and attracting people to our city’s middle class and the businesses that go hand in hand.
Schools, Neighborhoods and Commerce: A simple but not so easy recipe that will take time and patience to foster.
I am a father, husband, writer and a chef. My journeys have taken me from Detroit, through the University of Michigan and the Culinary Institute of America, to Minnesota and Nebraska, then to the Pacific Northwest, and finally to the place I've proudly called home for the past eight years and most certainly will for decades to come, North Adams.
You have my word that I will work hard and honestly and I will give every side of an issue a fair hearing. My business, finance and policy experience will serve the city well in finding creative ways to balance budgets, solve problems and create opportunities. I believe in good governance with a balanced fiscal approach that is accountable to the people it serves. Sometimes we may not agree, but I will always take the time to explain my positions respectfully and with consideration. I will not shout but I will stand strong for the people of this town. My vote will always be guided by principle and conscience.
Please take the time to learn about the 18 candidates running for the nine positions on City Council. Ask tough questions of us and see who actually answers your questions with thought and deliberation. But most importantly, remember to vote on Nov. 8. The future of our community rests in your hands.
Breen Kirsch Campaign Gets Coakley Endorsement
Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas N. Bowler, Jennifer Breen Kirsch, Attorney General Martha Coakley and state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi at Breen Kirsch's campaign kickoff Friday night.
Surrounded by Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas N. Bowler, state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi and Mayor Richard J. Alcombright, Coakley lent her former prosecutor support in her candidacy.
"She worked hard for me when I was district attorney and now she's back here and you can't do better," said Coakley. "There's nothing more important than good government in the cities and towns we live in, so I'm here to support her and we'll get her elected."
Breen Kirsch said: "I take Martha's support tonight very seriously. Having been a Middlesex prosecutor, I know what a great attorney Martha is, her protection of children and victims of crime. Two things I carried back to the Berkshires with me. I also gained unparalleled trial and legal experience working for her in Cambridge. I also know how much Martha loves North Adams, and treasure that connection we have. I decided to come back home, while she decided to stay in Boston, and she has made such an impact state-wide and nationally. I love this city, I love North Adams. I want to make an impact right here."
"My platform is based on protecting the integrity and charm of the neighborhood schools in North Adams, supporting our teachers. I represent children in the court system who rely on their schoolteachers as pseudo-parents, and I revere what our teachers do for the disenfranchised in this city. I see it firsthand. As a former prosecutor, I know the impact that a good public safety system has on a community. I intend on keeping our officers safe while they are on the street. I intend on using my legal experience to protect these interests, while NOT raising taxes, because I've had so many conversations with constituents who simply cannot afford to pay one more penny in taxes. Lastly, I support the arts community, but having been raised here, I understand the need for other jobs — technology and manufacturing."
In addition to Coakley and the delegation listed above, about 70 friends and family came to lend support for Breen Kirsch's candidacy, including Central Berkshire Register of Deeds Andrea Nuciforo, and City Councilors Keith Bona and Alan Marden.
Boucher Reacts to Primary Results, Begins General Campaign
"My campaign staff has worked tremendously hard these last two weeks, and this was more than we had hoped for and clearly shows how our support is growing each and every day," said Boucher, currently City Council president. "Considering my campaign was only formally announced two weeks ago, my staff assembled six weeks ago, and considering I was outspent 10 to one, I am optimistic for the future, but want to ask all my supporters to continue to work as hard as ever in order to build on this momentum, in order to carry us to victory in November."
Boucher added, "Now that the race has been narrowed down to myself and my opponent, my detailed position on issues will be made public in a series of press releases starting next week. I look forward to one-on-one debates with my opponent and am confident that once the public learns the details of my positions and ideas, I will emerge as the victor on Nov. 8. Finally, I would like to congratulate Mr. Martelle on a great preliminary effort."
The campaign to elect Ron Boucher Mayor of North Adams would like to invite everyone to come watch Ron march in the Fall Foliage parade on Oct. 2, and also to extend an invitation to the Spaghetti Supper Fundraiser at the American Legion on Oct. 13. You can learn more about Ron Boucher and his campaign by visiting www.VoteBoucher2011.com. Inquiries can be mailed to VoteBoucher2011@yahoo.com.