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Pittsfield City Council Hopefuls Outline Positions
By Joe Durwin On: 11:55AM / Thursday October 20, 2011
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The six candidates for City Council at-large seats moved briskly through their positions on some current council issues on Monday at the latest in the series of Pittsfield election debates co-sponsored by Berkshire Community College, the Pittsfield Gazette and Pittsfield Community Television.

Incumbents Melissa Mazzeo and Kevin Sherman, former councilors Anthony Maffucio and Richard Scapin, 2009 mayoral candidate Nicholas Caccamo and local accountant Barry J. Clairmont appeared out of the total eight candidates seeking election to the four at-large council seats voters will decide on Nov. 8.

Churchill Cotton, who is also on the ballot, was not able to be present at the debate for medical reasons. According to PCTV debate moderator Shawn Serre, Cotton was admitted to Berkshire Medical Center on Monday for "precautionary tests."

Ward 7 Councilor Joseph Nichols, who is mounting a write-in campaign for one of the at-large seats was not included in the debate because only candidates appearing on the ballot were invited.

Nichols, who placed third in the preliminary election for mayor on Sept. 27, is one of two councilors seeking to remain on the council through write-in campaigns. Peter White, who was edged out of the Democratic nomination for 3rd Berkshire District representative, is campaigning as a write-in candidate against Kevin Morandi for the Ward 2 seat.

More about the candidates' positions on their websites

Melissa Mazzeo
Kevin Sherman
Churchill Cotton
Joseph Nichols

No websites found for Anthony Muffuccio or Richard Scapin
The candidates at Monday's debate expressed a great deal of agreement on the need to return to an in-house city solicitor to replace the system of outsourcing for legal services instituted during the Ruberto administration, an issue which has been a point of frequent discussion throughout the municipal campaign season.

Candidates also leaned in favor of advancing a review process to look at updating the city charter, an idea which has gained interest over the last year. Mazzeo said she believes a city charter commission should be comprised of volunteers who come forward from the community, not chosen by the mayor.

"I definitely think we need an overhaul," she said. "It's going to take a few years, we have plenty of other communities [going through charter reviews] to watch."

Sherman, who has advanced the petition to begin a charter review commission, envisioned something based on the model of Northampton, which has moved forward rapidly with the process. He described a scenario involve a drafting commission with one citizen from each of the city's seven wards appointed by the City Council, along with two mayoral appointees.

The six contenders differed on the question of whether there should be a shift in tax burden off the commercial tax base onto residents. Sherman, Clairmont and Caccamo said yes, that they supported at least some shift off local business. Maffucio and Scapin said no, and Mazzeo described herself as "in the middle," and that while she doesn't want to put more burden on residents, nonetheless echoed Scapin's contention that higher taxes on businesses cost residents anyway in the form of higher prices for goods and services.

Though unable to attend the debate for health reasons, Cotton spoke to iBerkshires last week, at which time he indicated that educational issues, such as the high school problem, were a major factor in his choice to run for council this term. The current School Committee member said he'd been pleased with Superintendent Jake Eberwein's presentation on the progress of the School Building Needs Commission.

"It's important for residents to understand that no decisions have made yet, they're not going to be made without them," Cotton told iBerkshires.

Voters may choose to cast a vote (or write-in) for up to four of the eight candidates at the general election on Nov. 8. The four top vote recipients will become the four at large city councilors for the upcoming term.


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Council Veteran Marden Seeking 13th Term
Marden Campaign On: 04:30PM / Wednesday October 19, 2011
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Alan Marden has submitted the following letter announcing his candidacy for City Council.

To the Voters of North Adams:

I am pleased to announce my candidacy for another term of the North Adams City Council. It has been my privilege to have served you for the past 24 years and with the challenges, and opportunities, facing my beloved city I wish to continue to be involved in moving North Adams forward.

I do not like talking (in this case writing) about myself. The phrase "who you are speaks so loudly I can not hear what you say" says it all. But a candidate needs to list his/her qualifications for office. 

I believe my campaign slogan "Common Sense — Uncommon Experience" is appropriate. As noted I have been a city councilor for 24 years, have served on all the major council committees, most as chairman, and have been the council president seven terms. I have been involved in community and economic development in North Adams and the Berkshires, both professionally and as a volunteer since I arrived here to run the Chamber of Commerce in 1967.

I owned a small business, employing some 25-30 persons, that produced corporate and special events around the country. I administered a U.S. Department of Labor grant for the Berkshire Regional Employment Board for two years and for the past nine years have worked at the Alton & Westall Agency in commercial and residential real estate sales.

One last point regard my qualifications … no one will out work me. I do my home work. I take my civic duty very seriously.

On Nov. 8, I hope you will "Give One Vote for Al."


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Farley-Bouvier Wins Special Election
By Joe Durwin & Tammy Daniels On: 08:26PM / Tuesday October 18, 2011

Democratic nominee Tricia Farley-Bouvier was the winner of the special election on Tuesday. Right, Mayor James Ruberto totes up incoming election numbers.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Tricia Farley-Bouvier was the victor in Tuesday's special election for state representative.

Speaking at the Crowne Plaza shortly after the polls closed, Farley-Bouvier pledged to supporters: "The next year is about you!"

The Democratic nominee fended off three opponents in an election that saw about 6,000 voters go to the polls, or about 24 percent.

Her victory was slight — 92 votes by some counts — considering her strong backing by the current city administration and deploying some big guns, such as ads with Gov. Deval Patrick.

Hot on her heels was Green-Rainbow Party candidate Mark Miller, who nearly bested former seat holder Christopher Speranzo last year. Speranzo's departure months into his third term for a life appointment in Berkshire Superior Court left a bad taste in the mouths of some voters that Miller had hoped to capitalize on.

He was still excited about the close vote, calling it a "victory for multi-party democracy." Surrounded by supporters at Baba Louie's, he took a jab at the media's coverage of the campaign, especially The Berkshire Eagle that his family once owned as "unfair and appalling."

The Eagle endorsed Farley-Bouvier over the weekend.

Miller said he will not seek a recount but instead devote more time looking into the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Coming in third and fourth, respectively, were indendent Pam Malumphy and Republican Mark Jester.


Unofficial tally via WBEC:
Farley-Bouvier:     1,940
Mark Miller:           1,848
Pam Malumphy:   1,333
Mark Jester:            899
This was the second election for Farley-Bouvier, who bested fellow Democrats Peter White and Ryan Scago in a primary three weeks ago.

The excitement was palpable at the Crowne Plaza earlier in the evening as Farley-Bouvier's supporters waited for the numbers to roll in. All but two precincts in the city were open for polling and ballots came in fast and furious.

Friend and former boss Mayor James Ruberto crowed "It's over!" as Farley-Bouvier took an early lead. Miller surged ahead slightly with nine of 12 precincts reporting, but the former city councilor was firmly in front as the final numbers were tallied.

Farley-Bouvier, who's expected to make her first official appearance as representative-elect on Wednesday at a ribbon-cutting at the Conte Federal Building, succinctly summed up the election:

"Democracy in action ... the people have spoke."


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Marchetti Lays Out 'Vision for Pittsfield'
Marchetti Campaign On: 11:14PM / Monday October 17, 2011
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Candidate for mayor Peter Marchetti lays out his "Vision for Pittsfield" in a series of position statements concerning job creation, education, the arts, neighborhoods and communication from the mayor's office.

As the campaign season comes to a close, Marchetti, currently councilor at large, has identified five major areas that he feels need attention and looks forward to working with the public, the City Council, School Committee and boards and commissions in the city of Pittsfield to work out details for a forward-looking vision for our city.

A mayor Marchetti will seek to engage the discussion that will bring the city into the next generation. Together, all parts of Pittsfield can come together to flesh out the details in the most open and above-board way possible. All can have a part, and all are encouraged to join the conversation with a Marchetti administration in City Hall.

Councilor Marchetti has served Pittsfield in so many ways over the last two decades. As a member of the City Council, leading the Fourth of July Parade or serving on boards and commissions, including Traffic and Conservation, the Helen Berube Teen Parent Board, the PCTV Board and the Morningside Initiative, he has grown in all of these activities and they have provided him a wealth of experience that effectively can be applied to being Mayor of Pittsfield. 

This is the first of five statements:

First, Job Creation: I will develop an incentive program, utilizing a portion of the GE economic development funds, to support our existing businesses to grow and provide jobs. I will establish a small-business trust fund that will be used as needed to foster steady growth of our existing companies while pursuing more companies to locate here. With wise use of the GE economic development funds and support from the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. (PERC), both can be accomplished.

I will work to streamline our permitting processes for business expansion. My administration will build closer relationships between the city's Economic Development Office, PEDA, and the business community at large to fully tap the potential of the William Stanley Business Park. I will see to it that clearly established procedures are put into practice to enhance communication. In the current national economy, we must all be prepared to move quickly and decisively to capitalize on new opportunities. I see opportunities to strengthen locally owned businesses with a focus on new technology fields and our own plastics industry.

My experience in the private sector, and my community involvement, will serve the city of Pittsfield well. My 23 years at the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank enable me to see from a business perspective. Eight years of government experience as a city councilor, council vice president and chairman of the Finance Committee, have given me the insight into the constructive role that government can play. I want to see private, cultural and public sectors collaborate in a way that will benefit all of us. As your mayor, I will listen carefully and respectfully to everyone who wants to help Pittsfield to prosper.

I ask for your vote and support on Nov. 8 so that I may have the opportunity to serve as the mayor of Pittsfield - "One Pittsfield."

Please join in the conversation about our future. Thank You.    


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3rd Berkshire Candidates Wrap Up Endorsements
By Joe Durwin On: 08:30PM / Monday October 17, 2011
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield voters in the 3rd Berkshire District will once again go to the polls on Tuesday to choose their next state representative in what has been a passionately contested 4-way race prompted by the resignation of Christopher Esperanzo from the seat this past summer.

As candidates make their final push to get out the vote, individual and organizational supporters have been vocal in announcing their hopes for the winner.

On Sunday, The Berkshire Eagle announced its endorsement of Democratic nominee Tricia Farley-Bouvier for the seat, in contrast to last November when the publication chose not to endorse a candidate in the race between Speranzo, the re-elected incumbent, and the paper's former editor, Mark Miller.

iBerkshires.com has not publicly endorsed any candidate in this race, but has instead collected a list of endorsements received by each candidate.

Republican Mark Jester recently received the endorsement of New Jobs for Massachusetts, a newly formed political advocacy group based in Boxborough. A self-described avid sportsmen, Jester has also received the endorsements of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Political Action Committee, Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts, National Rifle Association, Berkshire County League of Sportsmen Clubs (23 clubs and 3,000-plus members), Pittsfield Sportsmen's Club and Lenox Sportsmen's Club.

Green-Rainbow Party candidate Miller's campaign has garnered a perhaps surprising amount of support among labor unions such as Massachusetts Nurses Association and United Auto Workers,  which have traditionally favored Democratic candidates. Other major organizations include Mass Alliance, a statewide coalition of progressive organizations and action groups, Planned Parenthood, and Clean Water Action. While the growing Occupy Berkshire movement kicked off just over a week ago has not officially endorsed any candidate, vocal support for Miller's candidacy was expressed by many participants at their recent rallies, and Miller was seen in attendance at their Lenox rally at Town Hall.

Independent candidate Pam Malumphy told iBerkshires "of the many endorsement questionnaires that were sent to me, I only filled out NARAL's [National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League]. What I've really focused on is going door-to-door and connecting with voters and great volunteers in this community." Malumphy cited as supporters City Councilor Melissa Mazzeo (who has run radio ads supporting Malumphy's campaign), Adam Hersch of Cavalier Management, Rich Vinette, executive director of Lee Development Corp., former Berkshire Chamber Chairwoman June-Roy Martin, and former City Solicitor Kathleen Degnan.

Farley-Bouvier is a favorite of many local and regional Democrats including Mayor James Ruberto (who hired her as his public affairs aide and then promoted her to acting director of administrative services), Rep. Benjamin B. Downing, Rep. Paul Mark, and Gov. Deval Patrick, who was in attendance at a Friday fundraiser held for her at Itam Lodge. Her campaign also offered the following names of local businesspeople and personalities who've publicly endorsed her run: Council President Gerald Lee, former Mayor Kit Dobelle, Tom Geary, Jeanne Massimiano, Carole Siegel, Shirley Edgerton, Mary O'Brien, Mary Rentz and Miguel Gomez. Farley-Bouvier also received the endorsement of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, who had previously endorsed candidate Peter White in the primary.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday for all precincts voting in the special election. A list of polling locations can be found here and on the Election 2011 blog.  (Note: Precincts B in both Wards 1 and 5 are in the 4th District.)


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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Primary
Tuesday, Sept. 9

Voting is from 7 to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation is Aug. 20; only unenrolled voters may select which primary to vote in. More information on registering can be found here.

Candidates on the ballot in a race for their party nomination; all others on the ballot are unopposed

Republican
  Governor: Charles D. Baker & Mark R. Fisher

Democratic
  Governor: Donald M. Berwick, Martha Coakley & Steven Grossman
  Lieutenant governor: Leland Cheung, Stephen J. Kerrigan & Michael E. Lake
  Attorney general: Maura Healey & Warren E. Tolman
  Treasurer: Thomas P. Conroy, Barry R. Finegold & Deborah B. Goldberg
 

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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