Boucher Shares Views on Mohawk Theater Development
"I believe the Mohawk Theater will play a significant role in the economic recovery of the city and also the revitalization of Main Street. Many of us remember what downtown used to be like growing up, with all the consumer foot traffic on Main Street, and re-engaging the Mohawk as an entertainment venue is key to this. I would move immediately to restart the renovation of the Mohawk which has been dormant the past two years under the current administration."
"Key to this initiative is to establish a for profit organization to access the $2.2 million in readily available historical tax credits which were awarded to the city during the prior administration. Once renovations are complete, the Mohawk can be sold to a for-profit organization of the city's choosing. Included in this sale would be stipulations that the Mohawk must be used for performances, shows, or movies, similar to the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, which has revitalized that section of South Street. Also, selling the Mohawk to a for-profit organization would place the city in a position to continue to receive property taxes from a sought after location on our Main Street. Under the mayor's plan, he would turn the Mohawk over to the MCLA, which would make the property tax exempt and each year the city would lose a large amount of potential property taxes."
"Please remember, election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. At this crucial point in time for our city, it is very important that all residents take the time to make their voices heard and vote."
The campaign to elect Ron Boucher Mayor of North Adams would like to extend an invitation to the public for Boucher's second Spaghetti Supper Fundraiser at the American Legion on Nov. 2, and also to stop by his new campaign headquarters at 107 Main St.
You can also learn more about Boucher, his campaign and views by visiting his website at www.VoteBoucher2011.com or emailing him at VoteBoucher2011@yahoo.com.
Bianchi Lays Out His 'Plan For Pittsfield'
Dan Bianchi said he wants to review the city's charter and look for ways to restructure it to become more efficient.
Bianchi laid out his plans to a large crowd at the GEAA on Wednesday, focusing on taxes, city services, education, economic development and job creation, expansion of open government and public safety.
"If you have a difference of opinion, you're marginalized. If you have an idea that doesn't match with the status quo, you are put down for it, you're marginalized," Bianchi said. "We've got to be a lot more open and a lot more inviting to people. I want everyone to be involved. You don't have to have a Ph.D.at the end of your name to serve on a board or a commission."
Bianchi said that if elected, he is committed to filling boards and commissions regular people, creating office hours for residents to just walk in and meet with him, host periodic ward meetings and upgrade the city website for residents to better interact with city government. Those plans are aimed to take the "politics" out of government operations.
"Far, far too often in our history we've seen a government that has been tied up and dominated by politics. It makes the operation of government inefficient," Bianchi said. "We're a 21st-century city with a 19th-century form of government."
Bianchi is calling for formation of a charter review committee to re-examine all aspects of the city's governmental structure, including the role of mayor. To help keep tax increases down, Bianchi is calling for another committee of retired professionals who will review the budget every year and look for ways to be more efficient and for annual re-examination of the roles of retiring employees instead of automatically replacing those positions.
"You can't always reduce things but you can making things better," Bianchi said. "We have an opportunity every year to review positions as people retire. It shouldn't be an automatic 'well, Joe retired, we've got to replace them.'"
Bianchi said he wants to plan the city's capital expenditures years ahead of time so that residents are not surprised by the annual bill. All investments should be handled in a more "scientific way," said the city's former finance administrator.
While Bianchi told the crowd that he believes the city can be managed better, he promised that he will not take office and begin firing department heads or other employees.
"I think with good management there is no need for layoffs, especially in an economy where we've got large numbers of unemployment and underemployment. The last thing I want to do is to be mayor and make it worse," Bianchi said. "There will be plenty of firefighters and, if I have anything to do with it, all the stations will be open, all the guys will be employed. That goes to the police officers, too."
Open government and long-term management strategies will allow the city to invest in education and small businesses, he said.
"I think we are on the verge of redefining ourselves as a community from the old manufacturing to the new community of the 21st century and it's going to be an exciting place to be," Bianchi said. "We've got to do what we can to really encourage the growth of our small businesses in the city ... What I'd like to do is create a pool of dollars that will help small businesses."
The city could not only loan money to small businesses from the free cash account but Bianchi said he would also like to take between $500,000 and $750,000 from the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority and make it available for small business owners. Also to grow economic development, Bianchi said he wants to form a development advisory committee and designate some areas of the city as state-recognized business improvement districts to allow small-business owners to access additional state grants and loans.
While supporting local businesses is one goal, Bianchi said he wants to establish a marketing plan to attract businesses outside of the area — particularly in emerging green technologies.
"We need to always being thinking green. I would like us to be the green city that can actually attract from the green industry," Bianchi said.
Bianchi joked about the number of committees he'd like to form, throwing out an idea for a multi-unit homeowner commission to help examine the state of the city's housing. From code enforcement to light ordinances to even the amount of available affordable housing, the commission would discuss all aspects to improve housing for business that are interested in moving their operations to the city.
Encouraging businesses to move here will also mean improvements in the school system. Bianchi said the "uniqueness" of the schools needs to be emphasized so that students will start staying in Pittsfield schools instead of choosing other schools.
For the re-building of the schools, Bianchi said he supports a two-school system and said he will advocate the state of pay for renovations of both Pittsfield High School and Taconic High School. He said he will also encourage a significant study into vocational education to see if there could be a regional trade school. But whatever school system comes to fruition, Bianchi said he would support a debt-exclusion vote for the renovations.
Bianchi also said the schools need to look at sharing services, particularly with administration and technological support, and stressed shared services across the county.
"We've really got to start thinking beyond just the city of Pittsfield," Bianchi said. "I am confident that we can come up with shared services that will make sense and save money."
Bianchi said he would like to meet with boards of selectmen and find ways to help each other. For example, Bianchi said that both North Adams and Pittsfield have engineering departments and the two cities could find ways to split those costs. Once again, Bianchi called for retired businessmen and engineers to provide their own ideas of how to "streamline" services.
But it is not just the senior sector he wants involved in government; he's also advocating for the the formation of a youth commission that can weigh in on city matters. The young people will not only have a say but he wants them to be voting members on boards and commissions.
Those plans also depend on fighting crime, he said, and he would like to work with Sheriff Thomas Bowler to establish citywide neighborhood watches and establish October as National Crime Prevention Month, which could help the city secure extra grant funding to put more police on the streets, he said.
"There are some things that we need to do. We need to have proper planning and that is why, after talking with many of you, after knocking on doors, I've gathered the opinions of a lot of people and put together with my own... that's how my plan was developed," Bianchi said, add as the meeting ended, "When I prevail, I'm going to have a lot of people ready to work... I'm encouraged with their commitment, not with my campaign, but to the city."
Sellers Announces Candidacy for North Adams City Council
I am running for the North Adams City Council because our community has to work together for a better city. I was born and raised in Adams and went through the Adams public school system. As a teenager, I worked the cash register at the Adams Supermarket and framing at Gazzaniga's Wallpaper and Paint Store both in North Adams.
My family was not rich, I needed to work to help put myself through college. We made some hard choices together and in the end I learned the importance of hard work and compromise to get the results everybody wants. With the help of my family, I attained my goals. I have a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Kansas City Art Institute and a masters in education from Cleveland State University.
After graduation, I married my college sweetheart and started my career. I worked for 30 years as a middle school art teacher, raised two children with my husband of 41 years, and now have five grandchildren. I have coached girls' high school soccer as well as middle school soccer and girls' basketball.
In 2003, while in North Adams on a family reunion, we saw the Eclipse Mill project and knew this was the place we wanted to be. Together with my husband, we made the decision to move our family and our 30-year-old business here to North Adams. River Hill Pottery has been operating successfully in the Eclipse Mill ever since. We've had some lean times but we've never regretted our choice.
The assets of this small city are immense. A major art museum, a wonderful college, beautiful natural resources, a newspaper, radio station and public access TV — we have a lot to offer. We have a lot of resources in each other, we have a lot of hidden strengths. People from all over the world come into this city, we have a lot of opportunities.
I have heard firsthand what wonderful things visitors say. And I can tell you, they're right. We have a beautiful city with a thriving population that only needs a little cooperation to make it great.
My experience in North Adams is that community is like family, and family supports each other and works together to be successful. I believe that my approach to government and life experience will bring energy to the council, and I am asking the voters for their support on Nov. 8. If anyone has questions or concerns, they may contact me at Gail.KolisSellers@gmail.com or stop by our pottery studio, I would love to talk with you.
Council Veteran Marden Seeking 13th Term
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."
Marchetti Lays Out 'Vision for Pittsfield'
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.