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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Eric Buddington: City Council Candidate

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Wednesday, September 28, 2005

City council candidate and musician Eric Buddington
•SEE VIDEO INTERVIEW

•SEE VIDEO INTERVIEW

North Adams – Don’t look for lawn signs bearing Eric Buddington’s name during the city election season’s remaining six weeks.

Buddington, 32, of 23 Warren St., said that he is distributing informational pamphlets about his city council candidacy and may undertake a door-to-door campaign.

But he will not be erecting lawn signs.

Signs may generate name recognition, Buddington said, but do not offer any significant information to voters.

“[Signs] won’t help me win for the right reasons,” Buddington said during a Sept. 26 interview.

The media bears responsibility for delivering accurate information about election candidates to the voters, Buddington said.

Buddington is among eight incumbent city councilors and seven challengers vying for nine city council seats during a Nov. 8 city election. City Councilor William Donovan announced earlier this month that he will be moving from the city and is no longer seeking reelection to the council.

Buddington has not previously sought elected municipal office.

Finding North Adams

A 1997 bicycle trip focused on finding a place to call home led Buddington to the city, he said. After completing an internship with a geological survey project, Buddington set out to find a permanent place to live. He bicycled throughout New England and was in the city when his bicycle needed repairs.

“I remember that I arrived here on July 4, 1997,” Buddington said.

The former Glastonbury, Conn. resident said that the open nature of the city’s citizens enticed him to take up residency.

“I liked the fact that I could pick someone out of the crowd and start a conversation,” Buddington said during a Sept. 26 interview. “I love living in a community where everyone knows everyone else.”

Buddington was living in a rental property at 68 Veazie St. when he declared his candidacy; he has since purchased his current Warren Street residence. He is a musician and a member of the “Flying Garbanzos,” “Spare Parts,” and “Poke in the Eye” bands. He operates a computer repair and troubleshooting business from his home, and past employment includes working as a systems administrator, he said.

Build the Downtown

“Poor planning” was how Buddington described a Nigro Development LLC proposal to develop property along Route 8. The property is situated just to the north of a Starwood-Ceruzzi-owned proposed development site near the Adams/North Adams border.

The Nigro proposal involves erecting a 137,000-square-foot shopping venue and a 744-space parking lot. Expected occupants include a restaurant, a bank, and a home improvement store.

Development that introduces business to the downtown and maintains walking distance between the venues is preferable to constructing vast malls along the city’s outskirts, Buddington said.

He began thinking about seeking elected office when he encountered challenges while trying to acquire specific information about the city.

“Some of it was because I’d had trouble getting information and some of it was trouble knowing who to ask,” Buddington said, and added that many people working at city offices have been helpful to him.

Signs and Parking

City government could be “simpler,” Buddington said, and noted that some aspects of the city’s government processes are cumbersome.

“But it’s sporadic,” Buddington said, and cited city business sign approval procedures, parking in the Center Street parking lot, and winter season parking rules as examples of public confusion.

Buddington said he’d like to see sign regulations that are clear and defined so that people can avoid “not knowing what will be accepted and what won’t be” as they are trying to open or promote their business.

“The other thing I hear a lot about is Center Street,” he said. The parking lot is riddled with “elaborate rituals” centered on who can park where for how long and at what cost, he said.

Visiting friends who parked overnight on city streets during a city-wide November-April overnight parking ban period often discovered that the vehicles were ticketed, Buddington said.

Buddington said that there were no signs that reflected the seasonal parking ban in the area where the cars were parked and he also said that there was no snow at the time.

“There wasn’t a practical need to be off the streets,” he said.

If elected, he would work within the city’s existing city council/mayoral structure, Buddington said. In the city, the mayor has significant control over the finances, while the council has more influence over regulations, Buddington said.

The city should develop a long-term plan that covers several decades, Buddington said.

Looking out over five to 10 years isn’t adequate, Buddington said. A long-term plan should cover at least 5 decades, or 50 years, he said.

“Personally, I’d go 100 [years],” he said. “We need to have a long-term development plan. We need to know where our drinking water will come from, and our green space.”

Environment

Buddington attended Wesleyan University and received a bachelor’s degree in Earth Science in 1996. He is interested in environmental issues, particularly those that impact the city and its residents, he said. He offered examples.

“The Hoosac River, running in channels as it does, gets rather warm,” he said. “We don’t have much of a fish population.”

Flood chutes could be altered so that the water flows in a narrower channel, which would reduce the warm temperatures, and riverbanks could be reconfigured in certain areas, he said.

[the previous sentence was edited on Oct. 1 due to text error.iberkshires regrets the error.]

Among his strengths is the capability to discuss and disagree with civility, he said.

“I am willing to let someone be wrong this week and still listen again next week,” he said.

He doesn’t anticipate words of public praise from those also seeking city council terms, but the candidates have conducted themselves well to date, Buddington said.

“The incumbents and the challengers have been very polite, which reflects on why I live here,” he said.

His interest in city government and environmental issues will continue no matter what the election outcome, Buddington said.

“I do want to be elected,” he added.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.

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