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Boucher Vows to Cut Sewer Tax in Half
Boucher Campaign On: 05:43PM / Friday November 04, 2011
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — This is the fourth installment of mayoral candidate Ron Boucher sharing his views and ideas on important issues facing the city of North Adams. The below discussion focuses on the reduction of the sewer fee implemented by the current administration by over 50 percent.

"When the City Council originally voted to institute this fee, I was in favor of this because the mayor promised part of the fee would be placed in an enterprise fund for infrastructure improvements. This has not occurred, and instead the money has been used for pay raises, which is completely unacceptable. With the lack of an enterprise fund being set up as per the original plan, why should the people pay for something they are not getting."

"I am proposing an immediate reduction in the sewer fee, from 42 percent to 21 percent, a reduction by half. This would help immediately alleviate the financial burden on property owners. Now people will ask how can we do this and still balance the budget? The truth of the matter is that this fee is already built into our tax base, like the city of Pittsfield, and is not being correctly backed out by the current administration. Residents are being double hit and in these trying economic times that is neither ethical nor acceptable."

"Please remember, Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. I would like to ask one final time for your vote for to lead the city of North Adams."

The campaign to elect Ron Boucher Mayor of North Adams would like to extend an invitation to the public to stop by his campaign headquarters at 107 Main St. You can also learn more about Ron Boucher, his campaign and views by visiting his website at www.VoteBoucher2011.com or emailing him at VoteBoucher2011@yahoo.com.


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Pittsfield Election Polls
Staff Reports On: 09:24AM / Friday November 04, 2011
Just for fun, we've added these polls for a completely unofficial election survey.

Select who you think will be the winners in each contest. You can vote no more than once a day but you can multiples on the council polls. The names in paranthesis are running as write-ins.
Next mayor of Pittsfield will be
 Peter Marchetti
 Daniel Bianchi
 None of above
  
pollcode.com free polls 
   
Pick the council Ward winners
 Ward 2: Kevin Morandi
 Ward 2: (Peter White)
 Ward 3: Paul Capitanio
 Ward 3 Jeffrey Ferrin
 Ward 4: Christopher Connell
 Ward 4: Ozias Vincellette
 Ward 5: Jonathan Lothrop
 Ward 5: J. Joseph Breault
  
pollcode.com free polls 
Who will win the 4 at-large council seats?
Melissa Mazzeo
Churchill Cotton
Kevin Sherman
Anthony Maffuccio
Nicholas Caccamo
Richard Scapin
Barry Clairmont
(Joseph Nichols)
  
pollcode.com free polls 



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Ward 5 Candidates Spar Over 2005 Strip-Club Permit
By Joe Durwin On: 10:53PM / Thursday November 03, 2011
Ward 5 candidates Jonathan Lothrop and J.Joseph Breault have traded jabs over the extent of Breault's involvement with a proposed strip club six years ago.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A failed attempt to open a strip club in Pittsfield six years ago has sparked complaints of "false accusation" in the Ward 5 race.

The controversy began at the Oct. 24 debate at Berkshire Community College. Incumbent Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop, in his closing remarks, said he was "disappointed" in what he described as opponent J. Joseph Breault's proposal to open a strip club at the site of the former Munchies Pub.

The debate closed on that, leaving no time for Breault to respond to this, and the candidates were seen exchanging tense words during the post-debate handshake.

In a letter to the editor printed in Wednesday's Berkshire Eagle, Breault fired back, accusing Lothrop of launching "a low blow and a false accusation." He said that at the time, he had been entertaining possible buyers for the restaurant, and it was they, not he, who had sought to open the adult establishment. 

"I had no interest in bringing a strip club to the former restaurant," Breault said in his letter.

In response, Lothrop issued a statement Thursday defending his remarks. "In Mr. Breault's letter to the Berkshire Eagle of November 2, 2011, he attacked my integrity for bringing up this issue. If these facts were not true, I never would have raised it as an issue.

"Mr. Breault admits his role in attempting to sell the property to someone who wanted to open a strip club, in his letter to the Eagle. Mr. Breault's statement that, 'I had no interest in bringing a strip club to the former restaurant,' is itself a false statement."

To support his claim, Lothrop pointed to records from the Zoning Board of Appeals that feature Mr. Breault's name and signature, as the owner of the property, on the application for an Adult Entertainment Permit.

"I think it is more than fair to say that Mr. Breault was in favor of his own application."
 
Documents obtained by iBerkshires include a 2005 application to the zoning Board of Appeals to construct a new facility at 1525 West Housatonic Street "to offer adult entertainment," specifically "live nude dancing from Noon to 2 A.M." The primary applicant is listed as Michael Brisbois, MJB Management, of Springfield, and includes his signature as applicant as well as that of J.Joseph Breault as the property owner. According to information provided in the Board of Appeals' report on the application hearing, under the business proposal being submitted the property was to be purchased by Finch LLC from Mr. Breault, and leased to MJB Management who would have operated the club.

At the June 1, 2005, hearing, attorney Daniel Kelly of Springfield presented a presentation of the proposal at a hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals. Two area residents, Ron Blaszak of Lenox and Steve Fillio of Pittsfield, spoke in favor of the application, while Councilors Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Dan Bianchi, Pamela Malumphy, Lou Costi, Linda Tyer, and Lothrop, along with administrators from nearby Hancock Shaker Village and the Ramada Inn, and numerous other neighbors in Ward 5 spoke against it.

In the ZBA's ruling to deny the permit, one problem cited in the report was that "The applicant does not own the property. The application is signed by Michael Brisbois as the the applicant and Joseph Breault as owner. No information is provided regarding the current relationship between the applicant and owner."

Board members John Fitzgerald, Sylvia Stein, Ben Kaplan, Hank Ervin, and Albert A. Igegni III voted unanimously to deny the Special Permit request.


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Pittsfield Ward 4 Candidates Offer Experience, New Ideas
By Tammy Daniels On: 01:22AM / Wednesday November 02, 2011
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Ward 4 race is a choice between experience or innovative thinking, say the candidates.

Ozias "Chuck" Vincelette and Christopher J. Connell faced off last Monday in one of a series of debates for candidates sponsored by The Pittsfield Gazette and Pittsfield Community Television, and hosted at Berkshire Community College. The moderator was David Cachat of PCTV.

They are vying to replace outgoing Ward 4 Councilor Michael Ward. Connell lead Vincelette by less than 100 votes in September's preliminary, which left third-place candidate James Brosnan out of the running. Connell failed to best Ward two years ago; Vincelette is seeking a return to the council after being defeated by Ward in 2005.

Connell said he had learned a lot since his defeat in 2009 about safety, taxes and PCB issues, and touted his current involvement in the city. The property manager has served on the Traffic Commission and on local boards like the Pittsfield Family YMCA and participation in fundraisers for local organizations. He moved to the city nine years ago.

Vincelette touted his 40 years living in the ward and his prior service representing it, and pointed to his years as a math teacher at Pittsfield High and in local banking. He upbraided Connell for a candidate's statement on PCTV that claimed Vincelette had done nothing to contribute to the city in the past six years. "I take exception, strong exception" to that statement, he said. "Because it is simply not true."


Ozias 'Chuck' Vincelette is seeking to return to the council to represent Ward 4; Christopher J. Connell is mounting his second attempt for the seat. 
The candidates differed mostly by degree on the issues. Both men believed that better enforcement was necessary to slow down speeders on the newly paved — and faster — Holmes Road.

Vincelette said the problem goes back a decade and is further complicated by the several different speed limits along the road. "It all has to do with enforcement," he said, suggesting that "police officers on their time off come in and write citations ... They would get paid based on the number of citations they write."  

Connell claimed he'd mentioned hiring enforcement officers at a prior debate "to not only monitor Holmes Road and Ward 4 but the other hotspots in the city." Rather than overtime, he said the city should hire a traffic officer and that the revenue "for wirting tickets would more than pay for the salary, the vehicle, and whatnot for this type of officer." Using electronic enforcement might also work, Connell said.

Neither really supported the plan proffered by the state for remediating the polychlorinated biphenyls from the so-called "Rest of the River," which includes dredging Woods Pond.

"I would personally like to see all the PCBs taken out but there are things to consider, for example the ecosystem ... and the property values," said Connell. "If we go to bank-to-bank remediation, the property values for those homes on the river are going to go down dramatically and people are going to be trapped because they won't be able to sell their houses."

He held out hope that advances in technology would allow a less invasive cleanup.

Vincelette said the city hadn't actually seen the plan yet, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would decide the course in conjunction with the state. Of concern was the fact that city no longer had an official voice in the issue becuase of the consent agreement. 

"All we can do is accept the decision. There's only one dog in this fight and it's the EPA," he said. "We're all wiating to find out what is the final decision."

They both supported continued municipal trash pickup, with Vincelette saying its a service that works well for citizens and Connell advocating for more education to increase recycling and reduce costs.

Both believed the city needs to change its budget review process.

"The process we have now starts only a month before the budget has to be approved and certified," said Connell. "Starting earlier will give us more in-depth perception of what's actually in the line items. ... what areas we could tweak a little bit."

Vincelette thought the current processs "is an excerise in futility" that has failed to rein in spending. "We tried to cut the capital budget but we actually raised it by $450,000," he said, suggesting a "select subcommittee" do a separate review and report back to the entire council. "You'll never get six people to agree to a cut.

Both also came down against replacing the school bus fleet at this point. The buses were purchased five years ago with the pledge to set aside money for replacements.

Vincelette said the school system had promised to do that for years with no results. "It's never going to be set aside yet we still have the problem of bringing our kids to school," he said, adding the city needed to explore other options including reviewing routes that appeared to have to few children riding.

Connell said the city should to look into leasing. "The bottom line is, we bought a new fleet, the money was supposed to be put aside every year to purchase a new fleet and it wasn't now we have to deal with it," he said. "We have to weigh all the costs, all the options and pick the best one."

In closing, Vincelette said it was "time to talk turkey" and laid out his credentials and experience within the ward and community. "Living a life of honest work, civic engagement and straight talk; this is the experience and traits I want to bring to the council table."

Connell called for new ideas. "We need new and innovative ideas to press forward in this difficult times," he said, adding he'd have a website and other social media to keep in contact with constituents. "The ways of the past just don't work anymore ... we're in the 21st century."



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North Adams Mayoral Debate Video
By Tammy Daniels On: 12:41AM / Wednesday November 02, 2011
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mayoral candidates Richard Alcombright and Ronald Boucher met in a feisty forum about economic growth, school building options, transparency and whether visions trump plans and vice versa.

The hourlong debate was filmed at Northern Berkshire Community Television and can be seen at various times through Monday. The full debate is here, in four parts.





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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

Election 2009 Stories

Election Day 2008

 

 

 



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