Home About Archives RSS Feed

Tully, Yon Argue Issues in Pittsfield Ward 1 Debate

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
Christine Yon, left, and Lisa Tully are both seeking election as the Ward 1 City Councilor.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The future development of the former General Electric land seemed to be the biggest difference between the Ward 1 candidates during a debate at Berkshire Community College on Monday.

Incumbent Christine Yon is being challenged for the City Council seat by Lisa Tully. While Yon says there is room for mixed usage at the William Stanley Business Park, Tully says the city should focus on industry before considering anything else.

"I think we would be selling out with retail," Tully said, adding that the site has only been "marketable" for the last year and supports the administration's push for manufacturing. "Retail is going to be knocking on our doors in two years."

The newest proposal from Waterstone Reality for a massive box store on one of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority's parcels has become a dividing issue in the city. Yon said she cannot make an opinion on that particular proposal at this point but says she isn't against uses other than manufacturing.

"There are challenges with the site in question. I do believe there is room for mixed use on the site," Yon said. "How long do we wait? That's what I wonder."

Yon said manufacturing is "very, very competitive" and there are hurdles in the way of attracting those companies. She cited the lack of access to highways and old school buildings as difficulties toward attracting the companies.

Another issue separating the two is the newly crafted city charter. Yon says she will not support the charter revisions because of the difference in terms between the mayor and city councilors. A Charter Review Commission is proposing a four-year term for mayor while continuing the two-year terms for city councilors.

"I would hate to see 10 percent of our population choosing our legislative branch of the government," Yon said, citing a low voter turnout during municipal elections that would be even less without a mayoral election.

Tully, however, says the move to four years for mayor is enough time for to learn the job and begin implementing policies before hitting the campaign trail.

"I think four years would be a good idea for mayor and I think the City Council should be two," Tully said.

Tully said if elected another focus would be stabilizing tax bills. She said the city should look at consolidating city-owned buildings and getting a better handle on the school budget. Yon agreed that there maybe places in the school budget to create efficiencies and added that she would work with department heads to keep a close eye on those budgets.

"We need to evaluate our school system and see where we can be more affective and efficient there," Yon said.

As for ward-specific issues, Yon said speeding cars and mosquito control are particularly pressing. Tully, however, said crime is a major concern.

"I think one of the major issues going on in the city right now is safety," Tully said. "It is swarming the city."

For Tully, crime, bringing in industrial jobs and taxes are her three main focuses; she says her goals would be to make sure the residents are heard.

"My goal in the upcoming election is to make sure all of my constituents are happy, that things are being done in a timely fashion," she said. "I want to bring those needs to City Hall."

Yon agreed and said the "most important issue being a ward councilor is the issue that is directly in front of you when that phone call [from a constituent] comes in."

Yon says for four years she has provided that type of service for Ward 1 residents and has produced "positive results."  But she still has the renovation of the Springside House, the extension of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail and planning a future of the Tyler Street fire station to finish.

"I am passionate about these initiatives and I'd like to see them to completion," she said.

Tully took shots at Yon's record though and cited her votes on increasing the budget every year and being open to the retail option at the PEDA site as ways she is not representing the people. She added the City Council is "divided" and that needs to be fixed so the councilors can work together.

"I believe that a ward councilor is someone you can trust," Tully said. "I'm going to do what they want."

She said she has already begun finding out the residents concerns during the campaign and promised to be "a voice for them."

Tully is in her first bid to get involved in city politics while Yon has served multiple public roles — from churches to councilor to athletic clubs.

"I've always enjoyed being a leader and I work very well with people and developed great relationships that have led me to be affective in government," Yon said."I have four years of a record of accomplishments achieving positive results."

The debate was sponsored by the Pittsfield Gazette and Pittsfield Community Television. It was moderated by William Sturgeon.


Support Local News

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.

How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

News Headlines
Williamstown DIRE Committee Member Running for Select Board
March Is Downtown Pittsfield Restaurant Month
Pittsfield School Committee Takes Stance Against MCAS During COVID
Letter: Hinkell Family Thanks Community for Support After House Fire
MedUX Wins Lever's Berkshire Manufacturing Innovation Challenge
Literacy Network Adds Two New Staff Members
Sheffield Land Trust Winter Lecture
Price Chopper/Market 32 And Freihoferís Complete Fundraising Effort
Pool Testing in Lanesborough-Williamstown Schools Yields Negatives
Pittsfield Council OKs $960K for Infrastructure Benefiting Bousquet

Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Election
Tuesday, Nov. 4

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation was Oct.15.

Candidates on the ballot in races for state office; all others on the ballot are unopposed. Links will take you to their campaign websites.

U.S. Senator
Edward J. Markey, Democrat
Brian J. Herr, Republican

Governor/Lieutenant Governor
Charlie Baker & Karyn Polito, Republican
Martha Coakley & Stephen Kerrigan, Democrat
Evan Falchuk & Angus Jennings, United Independent Party
Scott Lively & Shelly Saunders, Independent
Jeff McCormick & Tracy Post, Independent 

Attorney General
Maura Healey, Democratic
John B. Miller, Republican

Secretary of State
William Francis Galvin, Democratic
David D'Arcangelo, Republican
Daniel L. Factor, Green-Rainbow

Deborah B. Goldberg, Democratic
Michael James Heffernan, Republican
Ian T. Jackson, Green-Rainbow

Suzanne M. Bump, Democratic
Patricia S. Saint Aubin, Republican
MK Merelice, Green-Rainbow

Municipal Elections

The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015

You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.

2010 Special Senate Election Results

Election 2009 Stories

Election Day 2008




1st Berkshire (42)
2010 (0)
2011 (78)
2012 (59)
2013 (63)
2014 (76)
2nd Berkshire (29)
3rd Berkshire (19)
4th Berkshire (14)
attorney general (6)
auditor (5)
campaign (72)
candidate forums (49)
city council (40)
Congress (25)
election (74)
endorsements (47)
events (30)
fundraising (10)
governor (26)
letters (9)
local (18)
mayor (54)
news (8)
school committee (21)
selectmen (22)
selectmen (16)
sheriff (28)
state (24)
statements (45)
Mark Independent Selectmen Debate Letters To The Editor Democratic Party Macdonald Preliminary Pittsfield Cariddi Primary Election 2013 North Adams Special Election City Council Bowler Bissaillon Candidates Berkshire Brigades Lieutenant Governor Democrat Debates Republican Party Szczepaniak Governor Campaign U.s. Senate Town Elections Boucher Mayor Bosley Williamstown Town Election 1st Mass Election 2014
Popular Entries:
Bosley Looks to Wind Up Legislative Career
There's a New Sheriff in Town
Three Make Case for 2nd District Seat
Cariddi Clear Winner in 1st District
Longtime City Councilor Cariddi Kicks Off State Rep Campaign
Candidates Forum Scheduled for Aug 17
Bissaillon Campaign Hosts Pancake Breakfast
Baker Wins Governor's Race
Suzanne Bump Seeking Re-election as Auditor
Election Day 2010
Recent Entries:
Independent Falchuk Hits Threshold To Start New Party
Baker Wins Governor's Race
AG Candidate Healey Hears Concerns on Hospital
Candidate Kerrigan Stops in Pittsfield For Get Out The Vote Push
Suzanne Bump Seeking Re-election as Auditor
U.S. Senate Candidate Brian Herr Fighting for Name Recognition
Area Democrats Making Final Push For November Election
Coakley Stresses Commitment to Berkshires
Candidates Showing Differences As Governor's Race Heats Up
Gubernatorial Candidates Spar In Springfield Debate