Bosley Expands on Regional Lockup Concept
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Daniel E. Bosley, candidate for Berkshire County sheriff, further expanded on plans for a regional lockup facility and criticized his opponent for his stance opposing this.
"A regional lockup facility would save money for our cities and towns in these tough fiscal times, would give the Berkshire County House of Corrections an additional revenue source and would put more police officers on the street rather than spending time guarding prisoners," Bosley said. "My opponent's opposition to this idea shows that he doesn't understand how this system or budgets work."
Bosley said that at the present time, any police force in the county has to watch over people who have been arrested.
"That means that we are taking police off the streets to watch prisoners in towns all over the county. I would rather keep these officers on the streets by bringing all prisoners to one facility and having people with an expertise in this area watching them."
The current state representative pointed to Hampshire County, which has a regional facility. "The Hampshire County jail charges a per-capita fee of less than a dollar a year to cities and towns and a charge to the state for state police prisoners for this service. For that minimal fee, the sheriff transports prisoners to the regional lockup, and the towns don't need to watch, feed, provide medical care for prisoners, nor keep police off the streets. A regional facility is a good deal for both the jail and cities and towns.
"This is the kind of innovative thinking we need to make sure we have the resources to do the job and to ensure that our cities and towns are safe. This is part of my plan as to how we can do this. Given our budget situation in Massachusetts, we need to be thoughtful and innovative. We need to offer up a vision of how we will perform as Sheriff and not just offer vague platitudes about collaboration."
Bosley went on to say that if the state built a facility for the sheriff's office, it could be used to make positive changes to the present facility.
"We could use the opportunity to move the woodworking shop from an area where it is virtually unusable to make it more productive and conducive to training inmates in skills that will help them find jobs and stay out of jail in the future. That makes us all safer. We could also install an area in anticipation of video arraignments. This is an idea that I have pushed in my campaign. It is an idea that works in other states. The court budget is in a desperate situation. The courts are laying off employees and closing courts, even here in Berkshire County. Now is the time to advance this idea to save money for both the courts and the jail. I will be ready day one with ideas that will take advantage of these opportunities."
|Tags: Bosley, lockup|
Cariddi Calls for Greater Transparency in State Government
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A March 2010 poll conducted by the nonpartisan Clarus Research Group found that 92 percent of voters believe that "government agencies should make better use of new technologies to cut costs and improve efficiency."
With the goal of using technology to open up the legislative process to voters, 1st Berkshire District candidate Gailanne Cariddi has proposed a number of reforms aimed at providing more transparency and increased accountability in state government.
"It was President Thomas Jefferson who said 'an informed populace makes wise decisions,' but today, all too often, people have a hard time finding out exactly what is happening on Beacon Hill. That has to change. We need to do a much better job of providing online tools to give citizens access to state government data with ease, speed and at no cost," she said.
Cariddi's proposals for greater oversight include:
• Creation of a searchable website detailing costs, recipients and purposes for all appropriations, providing the public with access to a checkbook-level of detail regarding state spending, investments, tax reductions, tax credits, subsidies and direct grants;
• Upgrading the Legislature's website to provide more information in a timely manner;
• Requiring committee votes cast by legislators to be posted online;
• Banning committee votes by e-mail, telephone or wireless devices such as Blackberry;
• Opening the Legislature's budget accounts to annual review by the state auditor and repealing the Legislature's exemption from the state Freedom of Information Act, allowing citizens to inspect government records; and
• Improving television coverage of House floor sessions and committee hearings to Western Massachusetts local access cable stations.
"It is unacceptable that it can take days for House journals to be posted online so the public can view the roll-call votes of their elected representatives," Cariddi said, adding that she would push for a system by which residents can view each legislator's votes by bill number or subject matter. "Judge Louis Brandeis' famous statement that 'sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants' certainly applies more than ever today."
As a leader in the effort to create Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp., Cariddi pledged to continue to push for the airing of legislative committee hearings and House floor debates on "Gavel to Gavel" in order to reach the far northwest corner of the commonwealth.“
"Given that we are located in the Albany (N.Y.) media market, North County folks often know more about what is going on with the elected officials in the Empire State than in our own capital in Boston. I want to shorten the disconnect between the State House and the 11 communities of the 1st Berkshire District," Cariddi said.
Cariddi's views on technology and access to government are available on her website.
|Tags: Cariddi, technology|
Sheriff's Office Not Involved in Campaign
The sheriff's office isn't campaigning — for anyone. That's the word from Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano Jr., who felt compelled to issue a statement on Monday clarifying the issue after more than a few calls from county residents who thought his office is stumping for candidate Thomas N. Bowler.
Massimiano, who is stepping down at the end of his current term after 32 years in office, said he's also reminded his staff that while they are free to participate in campaigns, they do so as individuals and must not represent themselves as campaigning in any official capacity.
Robert McDonough, spokesman for the sheriff's office, said several recent calls brought the matter to the sheriff's attention. In the statement released by the sheriff's office, those callers "said they have been approached by workers for the Thomas Bowler campaign who claimed to be representing the sheriff's office. At least one resident reported feeling she was being intimidated into posting a Bowler campaign sign on her property."
Bowler's sister and campaign manager Donna Mattoon said on Tuesday she was baffled by the complaints.
"We can't keep lawn signs in stock," she said. "We don't have to force anyone to host a lawn sign - we're running out."
Mattoon said the campaign ordered 5,000 signs and only has about 500 left; so many people have contacted the campaign by phone, website and Facebook, "we're running around like crazy people lately" delivering signs. Plus, she added, Massimianio was still a candidate whem Bowler threw his hat in the ring, so why would he be stumping for her brother? "I don't think anybody is confused by that issue."
Massimiano has not endorsed either Bowler or his opponent Daniel E. Bosley at this time. The two Democrats will meet in a Sept. 14 primary that is expected to decide the winner of the office.
"I want people to understand that no one is out putting up signs on behalf of the sheriff's office," Massimiano said in the statement. "If you have been told that this office wants you to post a sign — for either candidate — please call and let me know. The situation will be taken care of."
Bowler, a Pittsfield Police detective, received the overwhelming backing of Local 297 of the International Brotherhood of Correctional Officers in late February; the local represents officers working in the Berkshire County House of Correction. He also was endorsed by the local police chiefs association and Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless.
His supporters are passionate — one got into a debate with Bosley at a forum for the candidates last month. Mattoon described the campaign as "joyful."
"People aren't being discouraged from campaigning zealously," said McDonough. But, he said, it's a violation of ethics for backers who misrepresent themselves.
Mattoon said she heard the sheriff's statement on the radio Tuesday morning. "I was stunned to see that someone felt intimidated into hosting a lawn sign.
"We would never want anyone to feel intimidated," she continued. "But if somebody's lines got crossed I'd love to know about it so we can fix it."
|Tags: Bowler, Bosley|
Bosley Calls For Regional Lockup
Daniel E. Bosley of North Adams, a candidate for Berkshire County sheriff has renewed his call for a regional lockup facility to assist state and local police. A regional detention facility would give local communities a place to detain people arrested in their local communities, he said.
Bosley said many smaller Berkshire County communities don’t have facilities to detain people when they are arrested. "In smaller communities, this hampers our public safety efforts. In larger communities, it is cost effective to use a regional facility."
Weekend arrests are particularly troublesome and costly for local departments, he said. "Imagine having to pay a local employee to watch over someone arrested for an entire weekend. Now multiply that by several communities, add the savings for cities and towns if the sheriff’s department transports their prisoners and you can see that a regional facility makes sense."
Currently, the configuration of the Berkshire County House of Corrections doesn’t allow the sheriff to accept arrests from the local police in all circumstances. Women are particularly difficult to provide for because they need to be housed in separate areas, according to the candidate.
"Currently, we don’t have the room or flexibility to take people from the police on a consistent basis. We need to work with local communities to have a facility that provides services for state and local police, save money for taxpayers, and makes us safer," said Bosley.
The current state representative added that we have ample land on the present site that houses the BCHOC and noted that his experience on the Bonding and Capital Assets Committee in the Legislature gives him the experience to work with government officials and Department of Correction personnel to build a facility.
"There are people in government looking at consolidation of Department of Corrections programs and that gives us an opportunity to work with them to develop capital plans and funding for a regional facility. With my expertise in this area, now is the time to add a regional lock up to the sheriff’s services," he said.
"This is just one of the new ideas that I have been talking about as I travel around Berkshire County talking about my candidacy. People deserve to hear our ideas and plans as well as our experience in this campaign."
Williamstown Candidate Statements
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — All 17 candidates on the May 11 town election ballot were offered free television time to introduce themselves to voters and say why they are running for positions ranging from library trustee to town moderator to selectman.
WilliNet, Community Access TV for Williamstown, invited the candidates to videotape a short statement of up to five minutes in length. Over the course of three days, 12 of the 17 candidates taped their message in the Spring Street studio. They were combined for broadcast as "The Candidates Speak."
"'The Candidates Speak' offers voters the opportunity to put a face with the name on the ballot and acknowledges the efforts of the individual candidates, especially in the uncontested races," said WilliNet Executive Director Deb Dane.
"The Candidates Speak" airs on WilliNet's Channel 17 and at willinet.org through May 10 or can be watched below.
|Tags: Williamstown, television|