Bissaillon: Regionalization Deserves Close Look
ADAMS, Mass. — Dave Bissaillon, candidate for state representative in the 1st Berkshire District, believes that regionalization can save money and improve the quality and effectiveness of services.
In a statement released Friday, the candidate said that if elected, he would advance any such efforts that district communities pursue.
"I experienced firsthand the benefits of combining efforts when I served as Berkshire Chamber of Commerce CEO," Bissaillon said. "I led the merger of
smaller chambers of commerce and launched the Berkshire Blueprint initiative to develop a strategic plan to advance the regional economy."
For municipalities, regionalization's benefits include cost savings, greater access to basic and specialty services, and helping cities and towns more easily meet mandated responsibilities, he said.
Bissaillon noted that 1st Berkshire District communities have a history of working together to both serve the public good and steward limited municipal dollars. For example, North Adams and Williamstown's Hoosac Water Quality District have processed both communities' wastewater since 1977. The Franklin Regional Council on Governments offer a variety of services, including a cooperative purchasing program that can save towns money by volume discount buying.
"Regionalization offers a strategy for municipalities trying to maintain public services in an era when local revenues are threatened if not reduced," Bissaillon said.
"We just witnessed a small, but important example of how regionalization can help. North Adams, Adams and Williamstown recently hired a single Veteran's Agent to assist residents of all three municipalities," Bissaillon said. "This joint effort will ensure consistency in the delivery of services and meet an important need they all share."
The candidate strongly recommends that municipal officials read the report produced by Lt. Gov. Tim Murray's Regional Advisory Commission (RAC). The report chronicles the history of regionalization in the state, cites the pros and cons of this type of collaboration, illustrates recent successful examples, and amasses a range of technical information on the subject. The report is available here.
"I encourage leaders in the 11 First Berkshire communities to investigate areas in which regionalization could work to their benefit," Bissaillon said. "I recognize there can be concerns about giving up some independence, especially when jobs and longstanding ways of doing things are on the table. But greater good can result."
Bissaillon said the data presented in the regionalization study prompts questions such as:
Does our school administration model best serve our children and our budgets?
Do we have in place the most efficient system for caring for and transporting the elderly in our communities?
Is municipal finance handled most adequately town by town?
Could we do a better job with regional energy and green strategy plans?
What might be the most efficient ways to handle housing authorities in a region?
Do our local libraries take advantage of regional opportunities?
Are public health issues better addressed in a regional manner?
Bissaillon said local leaders might also consider attending the second annual regionalization toolkit conference, "A Practical Guide to Sharing Municipal Services," on Thursday, Sept. 2. Information is at www.mapc.org
|Tags: Bissaillon, regionalization|
MacDonald: I'll Fight For Education Funding
ADAMS, Mass. — Ed MacDonald, candidate for state representative for the 1st Berkshire District, sees education as one of the most important issues that we will have to address in the future.
"In today's world, we are so completely consumed by the word 'integration,' especially when dealing with the ever-increasing amount of technology in our daily lives. Whether it is cell phones entering all of our pockets, with laptops becoming more commonplace, and wireless Internet providing connectivity for our machines, we are truly becoming more integrated with technology," said MacDonald. "However, this dehumanization of the process by using such an unfeeling word as 'integration' is the first major hurdle we as a people have to acknowledge. Thus, instead of focusing on integration, our focus should be on the process of interweaving science and technology into our daily lives.
"This interweaving process needs to form a continuous fabric that we can further expand upon. Thus, something needs to change in our educational system as the times are changing. Our district and even more importantly, our nation needs to be a leader in this interweaving of technology in order to establish and maintain a true advantage with the rest of the world. As such, a progressive plan has to be established on how to make our district one of the leading powerhouses of the state, the nation, and eventually the world."
The candidate said the Berkshires' prime location allows us to capitalize on talent from all of the very best colleges ranging from one of our closest, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, to a bit further but definitive leader in science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. So far, he said, we have not truly been capitalizing on some of the best and brightest minds of our age. Something needs to change and with change comes great opportunity.
"Our children's educations and their very future will depend on the decisions we make with science and technology," MacDonald continued. "Just as promotion of an interweaving of science and technology is one of the first steps, we have to start from the ground and work our way up.
"The entire puzzle is only complete when we acknowledge that we have a range of students that pass through our education system. With the proper care and attention, we can lead the charge for many generations to come with unparalleled education for our children.
"As your next state representative, I will fight for every dollar that goes into the school system. I will look at changing funding for charter schools versus public schools. Currently, there is no equity in funding public education. Education will be one of my priorities in the State House. We need to remain competitive with the rest of the world and the way to do that is to provide quality education for all."
Cariddi Endorsed by League of Environmental Voters
BOSTON — The Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters (MLEV), a non-partisan political group that advocates for the environment, has endorsed Gail Cariddi for 1st Berkshire District state representative, citing her strong commitment to environmental issues that affect both the commonwealth and her district.
"MLEV is pleased to announce our endorsement of Gail Cariddi,” said MLEV Executive Director Lora Wondolowski. “With her strong history of local leadership and commitment to the environment, Gail will be a great legislator for her district."
In her MLEV questionnaire, Cariddi prioritized the need to preserve public space, increase recycling rates by passing an expanded bottle bill, and to lead efforts to conserve energy. According to MLEV, as a long-time environmental advocate, Cariddi has the experience to make real change in the legislature.
For information on all MLEV’s 2010 endorsed candidates, go to www. mlev.org.
|Tags: Cariddi, MLEV, environment|
Mass. Sierra Club Endorses Cariddi for State Representative
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Sierra Club on Monday endorsed Gail Cariddi of North Adams for the House of Representatives. The district includes Adams, Charlemont, Clarksburg, Florida, Hawley, Heath, Monroe, North Adams, Rowe, Savoy and Williamstown.
"Gail has a sustainable vision toward sustainability," said Phil Sego, Mass. Sierra Club political chairman, in a press release. "Her activities and commitment to environmental issues such as energy conservation and agriculture are examples of the work she'll continue as a legislator, to keep our state's economy, and environment, healthy and safe for the long term."
"I am very pleased to receive this endorsement. If elected, I plan to advocate for our sportsmen, farmers and protection of our working landscapes by seeking a seat on the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture," Cariddi said.
The Sierra Club has endorsed candidates for legislative office across the state, including Cariddi, and three for Congress. These endorsees have shown they will be leaders on pressing environmental issues such as protecting the environment through energy conservation, alternative energy development, transit, toxics reduction and more. In the coming weeks more endorsements will be announced, said officials of the l
"Any time we can recognize environmental leadership we try to do so," said Sego. "Political leadership is as important as ever — we're increasing stress on the waste stream, our water supply, our transportation systems and our public lands while cutting these agencies budgets. Leadership is necessary to keep our environment, and our families, healthy and safe."
For a complete listing of Sierra Club political endorsements, visit www.sierraclubmass.org and click the "politics" link on the left.
The Sierra Club is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization dedicated to the preservation, protection, and exploration of the earth’s natural environment. It is noted for its high-profile national positions, and is also deeply rooted in local, regional and statewide issues. Its endorsement process includes in-depth research and careful analysis of a questionnaire designed specifically to address local environmental issues, according to the club. The club's endorsement is then communicated to its members, which currently number greater than 25,000 statewide.
Local Radio Hosts State Rep Forums
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Vox Radio is teaming with veteran journalists Clarence Fanto and Dan Valenti to present three live radio forums involving candidates for the two state representative seats in contention on Sept. 14, primary day.
Valenti, a broadcaster and writer, will moderate the events. Fanto will serve on the panel with Vox news director Larry Kratka, who is hosting. Fanto is a freelance writer and columnist for the Berkshire Eagle. He is the Eagle’s former managing editor.
The forum schedule is as follows:
• Aug. 31, 11 to noon, from WBEC studios, 1420-AM, 2nd Berkshire District Democrats Thomas Szczepaniak of Dalton, Paul Mark of Hancock and Noreen Suriner of Middlefield.
• Sept. 1, 11 to noon, also from WBEC, 2nd Berkshire District Republican candidates Michael Case of Washington and Rosanne Frieri of Richmond.
• Sept. 2, 9 to 10 a.m., from WNAW studios in North Adams, 1230-AM, 1st Berkshire District Democrats David Bissaillon of Adams, Gailanne Cariddi of North Adams and Edward McDonald of Adams.
The format will allow for candidates to engage in dialogue and argumentation with each other in addition to responding to questions from the panel.
Candidates will not be allowed to have notes. There will be no timed answers. Valenti said the format, which he devised with Fanto and Kratka, is designed to feature maximum interaction between and among candidates as well as testing their ability to think "on the fly."