Mayoral Candidate Boucher Shares Views On School Buildings
"I strongly endorse the neighborhood school concept currently employed in our community. As a parent and grandparent myself, there is a certain level of comfort you feel when sending your child off to school in your own neighborhood. That feeling needs to continue. I do not believe the city is currently in the financial position to fund a new school, or schools, as proposed by the School Committee, chaired by the mayor. Chances are good that the [state School Building Authority] will not pass the two school option and I believe a Debt Exclusion vote would face a similar fate as the Proposition 2.5 override," Boucher said.
"Instead the city should invest money to temporarily fix the current Greylock and Sullivan buildings, to keep our children in neighborhood schools. My plan for the future would be, once the Drury and Brayton debts are paid, to replace one school, and only then if we can absorb the cost in our budget, so a Debt Exclusion vote would not be needed. Finally I would like to add that it is not the building, but rather the teachers and curriculum that make up an excellent school system."
You can learn more about Ron Boucher, his campaign and views by visiting his website at www.VoteBoucher2011.com. Inquiries can be mailed to VoteBoucher2011@yahoo.com.
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.
North Adams Solicitor Deems 460 Ballots Illegal
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — More than 400 ballots in last Tuesday's preliminary election for mayor were deemed illegal by City Solicitor John DeRosa because voters followed the instructions on the ballot and voted for more than one candidate.
According to DeRosa, the ballots were printed erroneously and instructed voters to vote for more candidates than were officers to be elected and, therefore, those votes are illegal according to state law. Even without those votes, Richard Alcombright and Ronald Boucher would have won the top two spots, placing their names on the November ballot for mayor. The City Council may adopt a home-rule petition to ask the state Legislature to validate the results instead of holding another election.
"We found this to be an honest mistake and a good faith mistake," DeRosa said on Monday at a press conference at City Hall.
City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau prepared the ballots and set the voting machines to look for two candidates because the election was narrowing the field down from three to two candidates for the general election. The day after the election she was questioned about the ballots and contacted DeRosa for an opinion.
"I thought what I did was right and the question began to arise throughout the day ... The doubt was put in my mind and I began to question and I looked at the statutes and ordinances and I didn't find anything as far as language goes on the ballot and I immediately called John DeRosa," Gomeau said.
This was the first preliminary election in the city in at least 14 years. Pittsfield has had preliminary elections in the last two cycles to narrow large mayoral fields down to two candidates; in both cases, the ballots instructed voters to select one name.
There have not been any complaints lodged with the city clerk or the secretary of state's office and the issue was brought to light by Gomeau's own volition, DeRosa said.
"We feel we've gotten it right and we technically need to correct it," DeRosa said.
The City Council will now hold an emergency meeting, as early as Wednesday, to adopt a home-rule petition that will validate the results. A total of 460 ballots were deemed illegal but the next runner-up, Robert Martelle, was 535 votes behind so even without the illegal ballots, the same two candidates would move on to the general election. The petition must be approved by the state Legislature before the next election on Nov. 8.
"We are confident this is the right approach," DeRosa said. "We fully expect the Legislature to approve it."
DeRosa said he will be meeting with state officials Monday afternoon and the mayoral election is not expected to be delayed. There are other towns seeking home-rule petitions and the process should move quickly on Beacon Hill, he said.
Alcombright and Boucher both expressed support of Gomeau and believe the error was an honest mistake.
"It's not a big deal. It's not the end of the world and we will keep moving forward," Boucher said.
DeRosa's full opinion and a draft of the home rule petition are available below.
2011 North Adams Preliminary Election Ballot Opinion
Boucher Reacts to Primary Results, Begins General Campaign
"My campaign staff has worked tremendously hard these last two weeks, and this was more than we had hoped for and clearly shows how our support is growing each and every day," said Boucher, currently City Council president. "Considering my campaign was only formally announced two weeks ago, my staff assembled six weeks ago, and considering I was outspent 10 to one, I am optimistic for the future, but want to ask all my supporters to continue to work as hard as ever in order to build on this momentum, in order to carry us to victory in November."
Boucher added, "Now that the race has been narrowed down to myself and my opponent, my detailed position on issues will be made public in a series of press releases starting next week. I look forward to one-on-one debates with my opponent and am confident that once the public learns the details of my positions and ideas, I will emerge as the victor on Nov. 8. Finally, I would like to congratulate Mr. Martelle on a great preliminary effort."
The campaign to elect Ron Boucher Mayor of North Adams would like to invite everyone to come watch Ron march in the Fall Foliage parade on Oct. 2, and also to extend an invitation to the Spaghetti Supper Fundraiser at the American Legion on Oct. 13. You can learn more about Ron Boucher and his campaign by visiting www.VoteBoucher2011.com. Inquiries can be mailed to VoteBoucher2011@yahoo.com.
Barrett Reels In 45 Write-In Votes For Mayor
|Write-in: John Barrett III
|Total ballots cast
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city's longtime former mayor still has supporters who would like to see him reseated in the corner office.
In Tuesday's preliminary election John Barrett III received 45 write-in votes. Six others received write-in votes but because the totals were fewer than five votes, the names will not be recorded.
The official totals put Richard Alcombright with 1,105 votes and Ronald Boucher with 741 to place them on the mayoral ballot in November. Robert Martelle finished with 216 votes.
However, the ballots had voters have been puzzled. Rather than voting for one person, the ballots asked for voters to vote for "no more than two" candidates, which created 1,204 blank votes. If someone voted for one person, their other vote was considered "blank."
City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau said the voting machines were set and the ballots were written that way because the election sought two candidates. But a number of residents claimed preliminary elections in the past have always asked voters to choose only one.
According to Brian McNiff, a spokesman from Secretary of State William Galvin's office, the city charter would indicate how many candidates to vote for on the preliminary ballot.
Former City Clerk Mary Ann Abuisi, who was clerk during the last preliminary 14 years ago, said preliminary elections have been rare but does not remember ever having voters choose multiple candidates.
In Pittsfield, voters in the preliminary election on Tuesday only picked one candidate. In any case, more than two-thirds voters chose not to select two candidates.
Boucher and Alcombright both submitted their campaign finance reports, detailing receipts and expenditures up to eight days before the election.
As of Sept. 19, Boucher received a total of $1,669 in contributions and spent $666.27. He also received $1,410 worth of in-kind contributions. Alcombright received $7,466 in contributions and spent $5,910.
The full reports are available below.
2011 Finance Report Ron Boucher
2011 Finance Report Richard Alcombright