Bianchi Sets Meeting to Unveil 'Plan For Pittsfied'
"Throughout this campaign, I have been overwhelmed by the number of suggestions and concerns that voters have about issues in Pittsfield. I have done my best to incorporate their feedback — and my vision for Pittsfield — into a comprehensive plan for Pittsfield. Many voters have heard pieces of my plan throughout the course of this campaign, but it has always been my goal to share the specific action items of this plan with the voters of Pittsfield," Bianchi said.
"Because of the enormous interest in the special election for state rep, municipal candidates have had limited public opportunity to debate the real issues facing Pittsfield. Over the next three weeks, I will share my 'Plan for Pittsfield' as I to continue knock on doors and generate public interest on the differences between myself and my opponent.
"As we celebrate our 250th anniversary of Pittsfield, it is a time to reflect and plan for the future. My plan addresses taxes, city services, education, economic development and job creation, expansion of open government, and public safety."
Bianchi said, "This meeting will give everyone an opportunity to learn about my specific action plan to move Pittsfield forward. And, there will be an opportunity for the public to ask me questions."
Following Wednesday's town hall meeting, Bianchi will put his "Plan for Pittsfield" on his website at votebianchi.com.
Alcombright Highlights New Economic Projects
"In my previous communication, I outlined many of the positive economic things that have happened since I took office in January 2010. There are many things that have happened and many great things that are in our immediate and near future," said Alcombright.
"We will have a Super Walmart announcement within the next couple of weeks. Walmart has filed plans with our Building Department and there currently is activity at the site. This multimillion dollar development will provide much needed growth to our tax base and will bring up to 90 new full and part-time jobs. This project could also be the catalyst for further development of the parcel just further to the south as well as a remarketing effort of the existing Walmart. The projected increases in traffic through the Main and Marshall Street intersection could provide additional traffic within our downtown and to businesses along the State Street corridor.
"Scarafoni Associates and the Brien Center will embark on a private/public partnership that will provide approximately $1.5 million in renovations to the Transcript building on American Legion Drive. This effort assures that the Brien Center will remain in North Adams and that the 60-plus jobs they provide will remain, as well as the exceptional services they provide. And while the Brien Center is a not-for-profit entity, through the efforts of this administration and this partnership, the City is assured that real estate taxes exceeding $250,000 will be paid over the next 10 years.
"I am very excited about the continued progress of our solar initiatives. As we continue to plow through the negotiation and contract process, I, along with several from my administration, have been working diligently to bring a massive four-site solar project to the city. This includes solar arrays at the former landfill, the airport, the former sewer treatment plant in the west end, and the roof at Drury High School. The scope of this project is such that when completed, it has the potential to save the city up to $350,000 annually on electricity costs. This project is overwhelmingly attractive because it comes with no cost to the city.
"Another major project is the renovation of the former Haddad Ford building on Route 2 that will become the new home for Carr Hardware. This renovation will allow Carr to move and grow their operations, product line and will add eight to 12 new jobs. This expansion will also benefit our tax base.
"We are very close to a forward thinking, self-sustaining Mohawk Theater solution. I have been collaborating with MCLA and Mass MoCA for more than 10 months on a project that will provide an academic as well as a community theater solution. Combine this and all of the above with the $50 million MCLA Center for Science and Innovation project that has just broken ground, $3.5 million in improvements that have begun at the Greylock Valley Apartments, and the potential for school renovations and this city could have upwards of $100 million in construction projects beginning or happening in the city over the next 12 months.
"All of these projects will contribute to the growth of jobs, the growth of our tax base, will encourage people to locate here, buy homes here and educate their children here. I am excited to be a part of this growth and I will continue to look forward and not back."
Alcombright Outlines Platform: 'Together We Move Forward'
"With the election approximately five weeks away, I want to make certain my positions are very clear to the public including the positions I have taken on growth, schools, taxes and other opportunities. Through a succession of press releases over the next several weeks, I hope to show you that my positions and my decisions have been consistent with what was discussed two years ago. Most importantly, I want the voters of this city to see that the work that I have done, was done without political bias, political gain or political pressure. I truly want people to know that I have done what I have said I would do, manage this city, bring our finances under control, open up city government and create transparency, utilize the talents of many and begin the processes necessary to facilitate growth.”
Alcombright continued, "One thing that I spoke of two years ago was growth. The only way to stabilize our tax rate and to succeed as a community is through growth. The only way to begin projects, build schools, remediate neglected infrastructure is through growth. My campaign slogan this year is 'Together We Move Forward.' We cannot move forward by looking backward with only a handful of people making decisions. And while I have made some very difficult decisions, I have not made them in a vacuum. I indicated at one point that we are in an economic cycle whereby right now, it is difficult to spend and when you cannot spend, you must plan.
"Since January 2010, I have filled boards and commissions with close to 50 appointments tapping the energy, ideas and creativity of our greatest asset, the people who live here. Many of our boards were not fully appointed and many did not meet on a regular basis. Our boards and commissions are more active than ever and doing some great work. These are good people who are taking the time to make this city a better place. Unlike my opponent who wishes to have less involvement from the community, I want to reach out even more and invite greater collaboration.
"In this severe national economic crisis that has loomed for several years, I am very proud to have been part of what I consider significant successes in North Adams over the past two years. While many communities have lost ground, we have many great stories to tell. Growth at Excelsior Printing, Cariddi Auto, Shima, Shear Madness, Creations, The Transcript offices and I Got Goodies. We have seen four new restaurants - Rub, Desperados, Public and the Sushi House. My administration worked with private investment to be certain the Brien Center remained in the city at the former Transcript building, guaranteeing some $250,000 in tax revenue over the next 10 years. Walmart has installed a sewer system, our Juvenile Court is staying in the city, United Cerebral Palsy has established a new location on Union Street, Carr Hardware is engaged in a significant expansion, the Dollar Tree Store opened and we have secured $3.5 million in grants through the North Adams Housing Authority for much needed improvements in our public housing and we have completed significant roadwork. All of these accomplishments have retained jobs and brought new jobs while preserving our tax base. Again, all of this in the middle of a recession, with no money, just people moving this community forward.
"There are many other significant growth opportunities in the works and I will share those things in my next release. While some think that 'back' is the way to go, I will move this city forward through my continued efforts in working with a host of agencies, professionals, our neighboring communities and the public. We cannot survive alone and must look to the greater region to grow. I will not look back. I will continue to keep my vision clear and I will work with all who want to move this community forward."
Malumphy Says Opponent's Anti-Choice Stance Hidden
Following a unity rally for 3rd Berkshire District Democratic nominee, Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Malumphy reached out to Lee Harrison, the chairman of the Berkshire Brigades (the countywide organization for the Democratic Party) to relay that she had learned that their nominee was anti-choice.
Mr. Harrison responded with an email stating, "I guess this response sums it up" and attached a letter written to Massachusetts Democrats by Chairman Walsh.
In the letter, Walsh offered the following:
"Tricia and I don't need to agree on every issue for me to be enthusiastic in my efforts to support her election."
The letter, however, never states what issue or issues Mr. Walsh is referring only leaving further suspicion that Ms. Bouvier's anti-choice stance is being hidden. In this letter, which begins with a reference to Congressman Barney Frank, Mr. Walsh gives the impression that he and Ms. Bouvier disagree on a far less important issue than one that is fundamental to the core of the Massachusetts Democratic Party platform.
"I was offended that Mr. Harrison was so dismissive regarding this crucial issue and equally offended in reading the letter from Chairman Walsh. He begins by making a reference to Congressman Frank which only added another layer of vagary to a letter that never addresses the real issue of Ms. Bouvier being anti-choice," said Malumphy. "What is the Democratic party if it does not uphold its core value in supporting a woman's right to choose?"
Speaking as a former Democrat, Malumphy is a pro-choice advocate currently chairing the Berkshire Commission on the Status of Women and a member of a countywide consortium working to address the critically important issue of teen pregnancy.
[Farley-Bouvier has said she is personally against abortion but supports programs that educate about pregnancy and family planning. In a statement in The Berkshire Eagle, Farley-Bouvier said, "As an elected official, I understand that I am responsible for all of my constituents and their varied needs. ... Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and it is my responsibility to uphold the law. I will not vote to restrict access to or funding for programs and services for women who seek services."]
LETTER FROM JOHN WALSH BELOW
We support Democrats in elections
Like so many things, Barney Frank has the most interesting way of describing situations like this. I once heard the congressman explain that there was only ONCE where he voted for a candidate whom he agreed with on everything. That was himself — the FIRST time he ran. He conceded that by the time he was running for reelection there were a few votes he wasn’t too happy about. I guess the point the congressman was making – and one I agree with – is there are many different factors voters take into consideration when casting their votes for a candidate. Our party is strong because Democratic primary voters are wise in their decision-making and we nominate and elect excellent candidates who hold a wide variety of positions on many issues. As a state party organization, we trust the wisdom of the people who make up our party on the ground and once they have chosen the nominee we do what we can to help them win.
The Democratic primary voters in Pittsfield had a familiar challenge: three talented Democrats running for this one open seat. They chose in Tricia Farley-Bouvier a woman who has worked hard for Democrats and Democratic causes for many years. She ran a grassroots, door-knocking, person-to-person campaign that would make anyone in the BMG community proud. Tricia and I don't need to agree on every issue for me to be enthusiastic in my efforts to support her election. If the voters in Pittsfield agree, she'll be a welcome addition to a very strong – and very Democratic – legislative delegation from the Berkshires.
Last week, I traveled to Pittsfield with two members of our staff for the event to kick off the final election. Our staff has been in regular touch with Tricia and her team this week and I’m looking forward to being back in Pittsfield early on Saturday to help and would encourage any Democrat who is free to join Auditor Suzanne Bump as Tricia's campaign kicks off a canvassing effort that will be crucial to her victory.
It's beautiful in the Berkshires this time of year.
John Walsh, Chair
Massachusetts Democratic Party
Bianchi Identifies PEDA As Top Priority
"If I am elected mayor of Pittsfield, one of my first points of action will be to appoint myself to the PEDA board," Bianchi said. "I have said that I would want to be an active member of this board and help lead its efforts to recruit new business to Pittsfield. In my opinion, just three months shy of leaving office is not the appropriate time to have a completely reconstituted board. This project is far too valuable to the city of Pittsfield and its economic resurgence."
During Bianchi's bid for the corner office in 2009, Ruberto had publicly apologized for his lack of leadership at PEDA. At that time, Ruberto made a promise to Pittsfield voters that he would lead the project until his term as mayor expired.
"For the past several years, residents have listed the development of the PEDA property as one of their top priorities," Bianchi noted. "When I served on the City Council and since then, I have been concerned about the mayor's commitment to the leadership of the PEDA project. I share the public's disappointment in the lack of urgency to establish and achieve milestones and to set developmental goals. I question the mayor's resignation from the Board at this time.
"My opponent, who is a close confidant of Mayor Ruberto, has publicly stated he does not want to serve on the PEDA Board. This is where we disagree. I won't be satisfied with quarterly updates from the board. I will take a proactive role to ensure that the board has the resources and mayoral involvement to develop the park and much more importantly, be a catalyst for attracting new employers to Pittsfield. My priority is creating jobs," Bianchi said.
"Under the right leadership and with the support of a committed board, I'm confident this project could provide Pittsfield with a unique opportunity to create new jobs and secure additional revenue for the city.
"After researching the original consent decree, and analyzing the provisions of Section 268 of Chapter 295 of the Massachusetts fiscal year 1999 budget (PEDA legislation), I recognize the tremendous influence and authority the Mayor has with regards to the development of this project. If elected mayor, I will take that responsibility very seriously and use good judgment and fair review when considering board appointments and staff appointments. I want to be sure that the PEDA board is representative of our community at large, populated with the appropriate talent and has the necessary resources to meet the critical next phase of the operation," Bianchi added.