Pittsfield Candidates Make Pitch to VotersBy Tammy Daniels
01:33AM / Tuesday, September 15, 2009
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There are so many candidates for mayor in Pittsfield that they nearly overpowered the stage at Berkshire Community College on Monday night. There are so many running, it's been difficult to tell them apart — positionwise at least.
Mayor James M. Ruberto and challenger Mark Marciano share a laugh at Monday's forum. Top: candidates pose for closeups by Pittsfield Gazette Editor Jonathon Levine; Right, moderator Larry Kratka tosses a question.
Over the course of nearly two hours, all 10 candidates tried mightily to differentiate themselves on city issues and offer a reason for voters to check their name on next week's ballot — all within a minute.
Monday's forum was one of a series being sponsored by The Pittsfield Gazette and hosted by Berkshire Community College. The forums are being televised on Pittsfield Community Television.
WUPE and WNAW radio host Larry Kratka kept the questions rolling and keeping each candidate to his or her allotted minute response. A flat-panel monitor prominently placed in front of the stage kept the time.
Questions were asked of the candidates in groups of three or four; "quick response" questions designed to be answered with a word or two were answered by all 10.
"You can speak for 5 minutes and say nothing; you can answer a question in 60 seconds and say a lot," said Kratka.
So what did they say? For the most part, the candidates — Nicholas J. Caccamo, Patricia "Pam" Malumphy, incumbent James M. Ruberto, Mark A. Marciano, Rick E. Moon, Daniel L. Bianchi, Paul Kwasniowski, Stephen A. Fillio, Lisa M. Boyd and Jeffrey W. Ferrin — stuck to their campaign themes.
It became apparent in some cases that while the inviduals could speak at length about their prime focus their broader knowledge of city issues was shallow at best.
Ruberto touted his leadership, pointing to savings, economic development and rising school quality: "I will always look to the [needs] of residents of Pittsfield first."
Not surprisingly, the three-term mayor had the most facts and figures at his fingertips, followed by Ward 6 Concilor Daniel E. Bianchi and former councilor Patricia "Pam" Malumphy. Caccamo pushed savings and economic development through buy-local and efficiencies; Boyd, an analyst, also said efficiencies in budgeting and policies would create savings and promised more open government. Fillio, who tried unsuccessfully to get on the ballot two years ago, bemoaned the loss of activities that would bring people to Pittsfield. Marciano said government should act more like business in being consumer oriented.
Moon and Kwasnioski offered the broadest strokes in how they might govern. Moon promised to be a good listener for at least five terms; Kwasnioski called for "regime change," comparing the current administration to Saddam Hussein's but promised only to serve two years.
Ferrin, a city employee, said worker morale is at its lowest and that the city was profligate in its spending.
"I've had the displeasure of wasting your money on a daily basis," said Ferrin.
The forum will be televised on PCTV at various times over the next week; iBerkshires will update with more information from the candidates on Tuesday.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 22, from 8 to 8. The top two vote-getters will move on to the general election in November.