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Even Dozen Vying for North Adams City Council
Staff Reports On: 11:58AM / Monday August 19, 2013

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Barring any further changes, voters will have a round dozen City Council candidates on the ballot this fall.

The potential field had been a large 18 — one short of the number for a preliminary election — but swiftly declined as the deadline drew near. Three more candidates have fallen off after the deadline passed.

The latest to withdraw is Michael Denault, who informed the city clerk on Monday that he was buying a house in Vermont, taking him out of the running. Anthony Sarkis Jr. withdrew his name earlier and incumbent David A. Bond, who took out papers late, missed the required 50 certified signatures by two.

City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau said candidates have until Thursday to withdraw their names from the ballot.

So far, appearing on the ballot will be only four incumbents — Lisa Blackmer, Keith Bona, Jennifer Breen and Nancy Bullett — ensuring that more than half the council will turn over this election.

Seven newcomers and previous candidates will join them: Eric Buddington, Robert F. Cardimino, Michael J. Hernandez, Benjamin J. Lamb, Kate Hanley Merrigan, Joshua J. Moran, David R. Robbins, Wayne J. Wilkinson.

Voters can select up to nine candidates so it will be a tight race to get into the top slots.

Historically, voters have been amenable to keeping all or most of the incumbents in office. Three of the incumbents not running this year have around 20 years each under their belts — Michael Bloom (22), Marie Harpin (16) and Alan Marden (24); the fourth, John Barrett III, served one term but is the city's (and state's) longest serving mayor (26).

The incumbents running for re-election can't boast those numbers yet. Blackmer and Bona are the veterans this time, with Blackmer running for a fourth consecutive term and Bona seeking a third term, although he previously served four terms in the 1990s. Both Breen and Bullett were elected in 2011.

The candidates will be listed alphabetically on the ballot with the incumbents listed first.

iBerkshires will be asking all the candidates for their views on various city issues. We are inviting North Adams residents to give us questions they think the candidates should answer. You may post your question in the comments below or send to info@iBerkshires.com with  "Candidate Questions" in the subject line. Please, stick to issues and avoid personal attacks.



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Newton Candidate Blurring Party Lines In Governor Race
By Andy McKeever On: 03:32PM / Monday August 12, 2013
Independent candidate Evan Falchuk meeting with voters earlier this year.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In 2012, Newton native Evan Falchuk grew tired of the bickering in politics. And instead of siding with the Democrats or the Republicans, he decided to side with the 53 percent of Massachusetts voters who are unenrolled.

Falchuk is a founding member of United Independent, a designation he hopes to turn into a recognized political party, and is running for governor. His platform is relatively simple — to take a practical, pragmatic approach at solving the state's problems.

"People want to be involved in the decision-making process," the 43-year-old said in an interview on Tuesday. "We're finding our appeal is across the political spectrum."

He uses the state's recent transportation bill as an example of how politics have not fixed a problem. Falchuk says the state's transportation infrastructure is absolutely a problem but prior to the governor pitching his plan earlier this year, residents had ranked it very low in their priorities. In just a short period of time, the governor and Legislature battled over a transportation bill, and passed one that is not enough to fix all the problems. Meanwhile, residents were, for the most part, left out of the process.

"I believe the state is not transparent enough with how we spend taxpayer money," he said. "We need to have to confidence and faith in our government ... voters feel they can only do so much."

So Falchuk's No. 1 priority is to implement fundamental change in how government works. Not just communicating with voters better — though that is an issue, he says — but leading the way so that from the governor's office down, decisions are made in a much more democratic way.

"We've got a political system that is broken," he said. "My No. 1 priority is to rebuild faith in our government."

By getting more people involved and blurring party lines, Falchuk believes he can begin solving some of the state's problems. Particularly he would like the change the tax system to become more progressive, lower the cost of living and doing business, address the economic inequalities among residents and identify barriers that slow small businesses. He calls for going through the budget line by line and analyzing if each department is spending the money correctly.

But Falchuk says to revamp the system, there needs to be a strong, innovative and smart leader at the helm. He believes he's the one for the job.

"I'll put my resume up against anybody else running for governor," he said, but added that isn't why he should "be hired" — it's the extra effort he's willing to put in that elevates him against the rest.

Falchuk was a Washington, D.C., attorney working on Securities and Exchange Commission cases before becoming an executive of Best Doctors Inc., a research company that ensures patients get the right diagnoses. Since he joined in 1999, the Best Doctors has grown from six employees to some 600 people.

But after becoming frustrated with politics, he's resigning his position to concentrate on his political campaign.

"You can either complain about it or you can get a shovel and dig. Nothing happens until people do something," Falchuk said.

Other candidates who have announced for the gubernatorial race in 2014 are Dan Wolf, Joseph Avellone and Don Berwick. Treasurer Steve Grossman is also expected to join the race.



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North Adams Sees Races for Mayor, Council
By Tammy Daniels On: 06:26PM / Tuesday August 06, 2013
City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau waits for any final candidates to return nomination papers on Tuesday.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Nearly more than half the City Council will turn over in this year's municipal elections.

Among the names missing from the ballot will be Council President Michael Bloom, Alan Marden and Marie Harpin — all of whom have served for at least two decades. Also missing is another veteran of city politics, John Barrett III, who served only two years on the council but 26 as mayor.

Three potential candidates had taken out papers to challenge Mayor Richard Alcombright but only one had returned them by Tuesday: Robert R. Moulton Jr.

Not returning papers are Richard David Greene, who had been handing out his campaign stance while collecting signatures, and former mayoral candidate Ronald A. Boucher. Greene is reportedly running a write-in campaign.

"We've been friends for 50 years, I still consider him a friend and he comes from a great family," said Alcombright of his opponent. "Rob was right with me at my announcement four years ago but we've had our differences."

Alcombright said Moulton had described their positions as "far apart," how far apart to be debated this campaign season. "I'm looking forward to raising these issues with him," he said. "It should be a good and friendly campaign."

Moulton agreed, saying "we're friends with different points of view ... We'll let the people decide."

"I'm looking forward to the campaign, I'm sure there are a lot of good issues we'll be debating, some different views on the way the city should be run," he said. "It should be very entertaining and I think it will be good for the city."

There are 15 14 13 12 candidates for the nine at-large City Council seats, although three still need signatures to be certified: incumbents Lisa Blackmer and David A. Bond, and newcomer Kate Hanley Merrigan. (David Bond did not have enough certified signatures.)

"There are a lot of new people," said City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau, as the seconds counted down to the 5 p.m. deadline. "But we always have a big amount of people [for council]."

Newcomers on the ballot this year are Merrigan, David R. Robbins, Benjamin J. Lamb, Joshua J. Moran, *Anthony M. Sarkis Jr. and Michael Denault, as well as Planning Board member Wayne J. Wilkinson and previous council candidates Eric Buddington, Robert F. Cardimino and Michael J. Hernandez. (Michael Denault withdrew his candidacy on Aug. 19 because he is moving to Vermont.)

Incumbents returning papers were Blackmer, Bond, Keith Bona, Jennifer M. Breen and Nancy P. Bullett.

Edward Lacosse, Richard Lacosse Jr. and MaryAnn Benoit-Albee had informed Gomeau they would not be returning papers for council.

"I'm just really pleased to so many candidates, and a new younger field taking an interest in the city, and to see so many incumbents staying in," said the mayor. "It's sad to see Mike Bloom and Al Marden off the council because of the historical reference that they bring and their service to the city. They should be commended.

"Marie, her years of service not only on the council but through the BCAC and beyond, that just speaks volumes of her as a community leader. I wish them all well."

Alcombright said he commended "anybody for coming out now and being in public service ... it's not an easy thing to do."

Running for three seats on the School Committee are incumbents John Hockridge, Heather Putnam Boulger and Mark P. Moulton and newcomer Michele L. Vareschi. Stewart Burns did not return papers.

There is no race for McCann School Committee, with incumbents Paul A. Gigliotti and Gary F. Rivers running unopposed.

*Sarkis submitted a letter to the city clerk on Aug. 8 stating he was withdrawing because his professional business had to be a priority.



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Pittsfield To Hold Preliminary Elections in Two Wards
By Andy McKeever On: 06:00PM / Tuesday August 06, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, August 6 at 6:00 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There will not be a citywide preliminary election.

As of the deadline, there were only enough candidates to warrant a preliminary election in Wards 1 and 3. There are races in most of the other wards but there needs to be more than double the number of available seats to require a preliminary election to narrow the field.

In Ward 1, Tammy Ives and Lisa Tully are challenging incumbent Christine Yon for the City Council seat. In Ward 3, five people are vying for the seat vacated by Paul Capitanio, who is not seeking re-election. Nicholas Caccamo, Jeffery Germann, Richard Latura, Jennifer McGurn and Thomas Wells Jr. are all seeking that seat. Latura's signatures still need to be certified.

While those two wards are seeing competition, the corner office is going uncontested. Mayor Daniel Bianchi will be running unopposed for the position.

Four councilor-at-large positions will see competition with seven candidates vying for the seats. Incumbents Barry Clairmont, Churchill Cotton and Melissa Mazzeo will be challenged by Kathleen Amuso, Barry Clairmont, James Conant, Mark Miller and Donna Todd Rivers. Incumbent Kevin Sherman is not seeking re-election. Cotton's signatures still needs to be certified.

There will also be a race in Ward 6 with incumbent John Krol being challenged by Joseph Nichol.

There are a number of other unopposed seats — Kevin Morandi for Ward 2; Christopher Connell for Ward 4; Jonathan Lothrop in Ward 5; Anthony Simonelli in Ward 7 and Linda Tyer for City Clerk.

Eight seven candidates are vying for six seats on the School Committee. Incumbents Katherine Yon and Daniel Elias are being challenged by Joshua Cutler, Brittany Douglas, Pamela Farron, Brandon Mauer, Anthony Riello and Cynthia Taylor. Douglas and Farron's signitures still need to be certified.

Update: Brandon Mauer withdrew his name on the last day to do so, Aug. 22. In a public statement, he said, "It has recently come to my attention that I may have employment obligations that would not allow me to offer 100 percent to the School Committee position, that the citizens of Pittsfield deserve, and I also expect from myself."


PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Races for the November election are beginning to shape up.

There will be a few City Council races and the number vying for School Committee seats has grown as of Tuesday.

But the mayor does not yet have a competitor. Mayor Daniel Bianchi is currently the only candidate to return nomination papers, putting him on the ballot for a second term. Gerald Ely has taken papers out for the position but he has not returned them.

The four a-large council seats could have as many as eight candidates but so far only four of those eight have returned nomination papers.

Incumbents Melissa Mazzeo and Barry Clairmont have both returned papers. School Committee members Kathleen Amuso and James Conant have also returned nomination papers for the seats. Incumbent Churchill Cotton and Edward Carmel and Donna Todd Rivers have all taken out papers but had not returned them. For an at-large seat, nomination papers must be signed by 300 registered voters. The fourth at-large incumbent, Council President Kevin Sherman, has stated that he will not run this year.

Ward 1 incumbent Christine Yon has returned nomination papers and will be challenged by Tammy Ives and Lisa Tully — both of whom have returned papers with the required 50 signatures from within the ward.

Ward 2 incumbent Kevin Morandi; Ward 4 incumbent Chris Connell and Ward 7 incumbent Anthony Simonelli have all returned papers and are currently running uncontested. Joseph Nichol, who represented Ward 7 from 2009 until unsuccessfully running for mayor in 2011, has taken out papers for Ward 6; incumbent John Krol has not taken out papers yet. Ward 5 incumbent Jonathan Lothrop has not returned election papers and no one else has so far taken out papers for that seat.

Ward 3 has seen a lot of interest but so far has no official contenders. Councilor Paul Capitanio is not running for re-election but five people have indicated interest in being candidates. Jeffrey Germann, Jonathan King, Richard Laura, Jennifer McGurn and Thomas Wells have all taken out election papers for the seat but have yet to return them.

Nine people have shown interest in six seats on the School Committee but only two have become candidates by returning nomination papers. Incumbent Daniel Elias and newcomer Cynthia Taylor have both returned papers while current Chairman Alfred "Alf" Barbalunga has said he will not run for re-election.

Taking out papers but not returning them yet for School Committee are Joshua Cutler, Brittany Douglas, Tanya Edwards, Pamela Farron, Brandon Mauer, Anthony Riello and incumbent Katherine Yon. Three hundred signatures are needed to get on the ballot.

 

Nomination papers available now; the deadline to return papers with the required signatures is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6, in the city clerk's office.

A preliminary election is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 24, if needed, and the general election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5.



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Four Indicate Interest in North Adams Mayoral Run
Staff Reports On: 02:50PM / Friday August 02, 2013

Update on Aug. 2, 2013: The city could see a lively mayoral preliminary election if the four potential candidates all return papers.

Ronald Boucher, former City Council president who unsuccessfully challenged Richard Alcombright's re-election two years ago, took out nomination papers on Friday. He joins potential candidates Richard David Greene and Robert R. Moulton Jr., a fellow former councilor who backed Alcombright at his first election and Boucher two years ago.

So far the only candidate to return the required nomination papers is Alcombright, who will be running for a third two-year term. Three candidates would have to return papers for a preliminary election on Sept. 24.

Five more people have also taken out papers for City Council and six have returned papers to get on the ballot.

Robert F. Cardimino of East Quincy Street, David R. Robbins of Cady Street, Kate Hanley Merrigan of East Main Street, Benjamin J. Lamb of the Townhouses and Joshura Moran of Catherine Street took out nomination papers between last Thursday, July 29, and today, Friday.

Those five and Edward Lacosse, Richard Lacosse Jr., MaryAnn C. Benoit-Albee, Eric Buddington and incumbent David Bond have not returned papers.

Incumbents Jennifer M. Breen, Nancy P. Bullett and Keith J. Bona have all returned papers; Anthony M. Sarkis Jr., Wayne J. Wilkinson and Michael Hernandez will also be on the ballot.

Incumbents who not taken out papers so far are John Barrett III, Michael Bloom, Marie Harpin and Alan Marden.

If all the potential candidates so far return papers by the Tuesday deadline, there will be 17 names on the ballot.

Taking out papers for North Adams School Committee are incumbents John Hockridge, Heather Putnam Boulger and Mark P. Moulton, and newcomers Michele L. Vareschi of E Street and Stewart Burns of Holbrook Street. None of the potential candidates had returned papers as of Friday.

Both Gary F. Rivers and Paul A. Guillotte have returned papers for McCann School Committee. The incumbents will run unopposed for the two seats.

The deadline to submit papers with the required 50 signatures by registered voters 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6.
 


So far, three candidates have indicated interest in running for mayor and a dozen for City Council.

 

Original post: July 26, 2013; 7:22 p.m.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — With less than two weeks to the nomination deadline, three people have taken out papers for mayor and 12 for City Council.

The deadline to submit nomination papers with the signatures of 50 registered North Adams voters is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Papers are still available in the city clerk's office.

Mayor Richard J. Alcombright has already indicated his intention to run for a third two-year term and took out papers on June 24. Also taking out papers were Richard D. Greene of 611 State Road, Holy Family Terrace, and Robert R. Moulton Jr., a former city councilor, of 985 Massachusetts Ave., on July 24 and 25, respectively.

None of the mayoral candidates have yet returned papers.

City Council incumbents who have taken out papers include Lisa Blackmer, Keith Bona, David Bond, Jennifer Breen and Nancy Bullett. As of Friday afternoon, incumbents John Barrett III, President Michael Bloom, Marie Harpin and Alan Marden had not.  

Past council candidates computer programmer and musician Eric R. Buddington of 23 Warren St. and real estate agent Michael J. Hernandez of 160 Eagle St. have taken out papers, as has Planning Board member and Mobile Home Park Rent Control Board Chairman Wayne J. Wilkinson of 120 Oak Hill. Papers were also taken out by Edward LaCosse of 98 Brayton Hill Terrace and Richard LaCosse Jr. of 85 Brayton Hill Terrace; they were the first to pull papers for election, both on May 1. Also in the mix are frequent council attendee MaryAnn C. Benoit-Albee of 16 Rand St. and business consultant Anthony M. Sarkis Jr. of 453 Walnut St.  

Of the council candidates, only Breen and Hernandez had returned signatures, although they had not yet been accepted.

All council seats are at large with the nine highest vote-getters being elected.

Should all three (or potentially more) mayoral candidates return papers, there will be a preliminary election, as occurred in 2011, to narrow the field to two. There are currently 12 people indicating interest in a council run; 19 would be required for a council preliminary election.

There are three seats up for election for School Committee, currently held by Heather P. Boulger, John Hockridge and Mark Moulton; and two seats on the McCann School Committee, Paul Gigliotti and Gary Rivers, both of whom have reportedly pulled papers.



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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Election
Tuesday, Nov. 4

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation was Oct.15.


Candidates on the ballot in races for state office; all others on the ballot are unopposed. Links will take you to their campaign websites.

U.S. Senator
Edward J. Markey, Democrat
Brian J. Herr, Republican

Governor/Lieutenant Governor
Charlie Baker & Karyn Polito, Republican
Martha Coakley & Stephen Kerrigan, Democrat
Evan Falchuk & Angus Jennings, United Independent Party
Scott Lively & Shelly Saunders, Independent
Jeff McCormick & Tracy Post, Independent 

Attorney General
Maura Healey, Democratic
John B. Miller, Republican

Secretary of State
William Francis Galvin, Democratic
David D'Arcangelo, Republican
Daniel L. Factor, Green-Rainbow

Treasurer
Deborah B. Goldberg, Democratic
Michael James Heffernan, Republican
Ian T. Jackson, Green-Rainbow

Auditor
Suzanne M. Bump, Democratic
Patricia S. Saint Aubin, Republican
MK Merelice, Green-Rainbow

Municipal Elections

The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015

You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.

2010 Special Senate Election Results

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