Candidate for Mayor: Peter MarchettiNote: These interviews constitute an experiment in crowd sourcing election concerns from the public. Over a period of weeks, responses from the public were solicited as to what questions they would like to hear the two mayoral candidates answer. The questions were selected and distilled from among those received most frequently via email, Facebook, Twitter, and conversations with voters to be representative of some of the concerns respondents felt they had not heard not heard enough on candidates from.
Favorite Color: Green.
Favorite Sandwich: Spicy Italian from Subway
Endorsed by: United Educators of Pittsfield, The Berkshire Eagle, Mayor James Ruberto, City Council President Gerald Lee
In order to move forward, we have to unite. I believe my track record on the City Council speaks more of unification than of division. While getting all of the 45,000 people in Pittsfield to agree on something will never be realistically possible, I think I have demonstrated my skills for building concensus and establishing compromise, for instance in the rezoning of the Petricca property. One of the most important tasks of the mayor is to help make sure all parties realize what it is they're striving for, and then they find there is usually a lot that they agree on.
You have been called by some 'an extention of the Ruberto administration' — do you agree or disagree with that assessment, and why?
I think it's important to remember that I have served as a city cCouncilor under two mayors, and two City Council presidents, and have worked with all of them to set goals and advance agendas. There have been decisions [of Ruberto's] I have not been happy with, such as appointing himself to the PEDA board, and I have made those concerns known.
Also, I think that my leadership style is different. But I think the real question is, what are you afraid I'm an extension of? I intend to continue those policies which have been successful and improved life in Pittsfield, and I think my opponent would also agree that he is in favor of continuing the positive growth we've seen as well.
The immigrant population and ethnic diversity of Pittsfield is growing. How would you address the need to increase the racial diversity of teachers in our schools?
First of all, I think that all city government should reflect that kind of diversity, that it should be representative of the people it's serving. Having devoted so much of the last 7 years to the Morningside district, which is the most diverse in the city, I feel I am uniquely prepared to make strides in this area.
With Pittsfield receiving international attention for one of our most serious crimes in years and a wave of recent robberies, what do you think of the current state of crime in perception and reality, and what as mayor would you do to improve both?
There is crime, and obviously more needs to be done. Public safety services need funding. There's also an issue of perception vs reality, and its important to look at everyone's perception. I feel safe when I am walking around at night near our cultural outlets, but someone else might not, and if their perception is of being unsafe, then that's their reality and we need to do something about that. I want to have a permanent full-time police chief and work with them to reduce crime and increase the perception of safety in town. I want people to feel safe. We have had a terrible violent crime recently, and that's a tragic situation, but I think unfortunately it's lead to a perception that 'none of us are safe,' and I think it's important for people to remember that this was not a completely random act. The parties had an existing relationship with each other, they weren't strangers. There was an underlying issue, so it's not something that was a random act that might happen to any of us at any time.
You've indicated that continued cultural growth in Pittsfield is an issue of great importance to you. About a year ago, WBUR from Boston did a lot of coverage of the emerging arts and cultural scene here, and since then at least three of the establishments featured — Storefront Artist Project, Pittsfield Contemporary, and Emporium — are no longer open. This and the closing of shops such as Chapters Bookstore has some wondering if interest in cultural happenings is declining in Pittsfield, or if support for the cultural sector is lacking. What as mayor would you do to support and foster more growth?
First of all I would point out that stores like Chapters are foremost a business, and not a cultural attraction. Retail-oriented business is tough and there is only so much support the department of Cultural Development can do. I do think that the mayor needs to work with Megan Whilden to get more grant funding for the department to use in its efforts. I'm in favor of creating a full-time grant writing position for the city. But I think that if you look back to a few years ago, when you had Pittsfield with no major cultural venues, in the center of these communities with long-established attractions like Tanglewood, and now we have Colonial, we have Barrington Stage and the Beacon. We have people like Julianne Boyd and Kate McQuire and we have all these things going on. My opponent and some of his colleages voted against all that.
Springside Park, Pittsfield's largest and most historically controversial park, has had recurring differences of opinion about what projects and uses are appropriate. Do you have any particular vision or ideal for the future of this 200-acre area near downtown, and/or ideas or priorities for Pittsfield parks in general?
In order to look at really making much progress in doing anything at Springside Park, there needs to be an effort to connect the dots between all the people involved. There's about five different groups involved, you've got the Friends of Springside, the Arboretum, Morningside Initiative. It needs money, of course, but before you can really do a lot with it there needs to be a concensus and some connections cultivated between the groups. There's been some progress already, we've removed the outdated heating house there, Morningside Initiative is talking with Jim McGrath [parks manager] on the issue of restoring the pond. Generally I'd say priorities like preserving and restoring natural beauty and the Springside House come before a dog park, but again, we need to get everybody together and see where we agree and don't to move forward with this.
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Ward 5 Candidates Spar Over 2005 Strip-Club Permit
|Ward 5 candidates Jonathan Lothrop and J.Joseph Breault have traded jabs over the extent of Breault's involvement with a proposed strip club six years ago.|
The controversy began at the Oct. 24 debate at Berkshire Community College. Incumbent Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop, in his closing remarks, said he was "disappointed" in what he described as opponent J. Joseph Breault's proposal to open a strip club at the site of the former Munchies Pub.
The debate closed on that, leaving no time for Breault to respond to this, and the candidates were seen exchanging tense words during the post-debate handshake.
In a letter to the editor printed in Wednesday's Berkshire Eagle, Breault fired back, accusing Lothrop of launching "a low blow and a false accusation." He said that at the time, he had been entertaining possible buyers for the restaurant, and it was they, not he, who had sought to open the adult establishment.
"I had no interest in bringing a strip club to the former restaurant," Breault said in his letter.
In response, Lothrop issued a statement Thursday defending his remarks. "In Mr. Breault's letter to the Berkshire Eagle of November 2, 2011, he attacked my integrity for bringing up this issue. If these facts were not true, I never would have raised it as an issue.
"Mr. Breault admits his role in attempting to sell the property to someone who wanted to open a strip club, in his letter to the Eagle. Mr. Breault's statement that, 'I had no interest in bringing a strip club to the former restaurant,' is itself a false statement."
To support his claim, Lothrop pointed to records from the Zoning Board of Appeals that feature Mr. Breault's name and signature, as the owner of the property, on the application for an Adult Entertainment Permit.
"I think it is more than fair to say that Mr. Breault was in favor of his own application."
Documents obtained by iBerkshires include a 2005 application to the zoning Board of Appeals to construct a new facility at 1525 West Housatonic Street "to offer adult entertainment," specifically "live nude dancing from Noon to 2 A.M." The primary applicant is listed as Michael Brisbois, MJB Management, of Springfield, and includes his signature as applicant as well as that of J.Joseph Breault as the property owner. According to information provided in the Board of Appeals' report on the application hearing, under the business proposal being submitted the property was to be purchased by Finch LLC from Mr. Breault, and leased to MJB Management who would have operated the club.
At the June 1, 2005, hearing, attorney Daniel Kelly of Springfield presented a presentation of the proposal at a hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals. Two area residents, Ron Blaszak of Lenox and Steve Fillio of Pittsfield, spoke in favor of the application, while Councilors Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Dan Bianchi, Pamela Malumphy, Lou Costi, Linda Tyer, and Lothrop, along with administrators from nearby Hancock Shaker Village and the Ramada Inn, and numerous other neighbors in Ward 5 spoke against it.
In the ZBA's ruling to deny the permit, one problem cited in the report was that "The applicant does not own the property. The application is signed by Michael Brisbois as the the applicant and Joseph Breault as owner. No information is provided regarding the current relationship between the applicant and owner."
Board members John Fitzgerald, Sylvia Stein, Ben Kaplan, Hank Ervin, and Albert A. Igegni III voted unanimously to deny the Special Permit request.
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Bouvier, Malumphy Return Papers For State House Bids
Tricia Farley-Bouvier joins Mark Miller, Peter White and Pam Malumphy in the upcoming race for state representative.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Tricia Farley-Bouvier announced her candidacy for state representative on Monday by turning in her nomination papers at City Hall and resigning from her city post.
Bouvier, a city native and former city councilor, said she will focus her campaign on "bridging the communication gap between Pittsfield and Beacon Hill, enhance workforce development, improve K-16 education and strong public safety."
She boasts years of being educator — in classroom and in administration — working with a wide variety of students. She then became the public affairs coordinator for current Mayor James Ruberto and promoted to director of administration.
"My breadth of experience has prepared me well to represent Pittsfield," Bouvier said in an press release Monday. "I would like to be the voice of Pittsfield families on Beacon Hill. I will advocating for and partnering with community agencies, public safety officials and municipal government that serve our families and seniors."
Malumphy, also a former city councilor, became the first candidate to turn in her nomination paperwork on Thursday — hand delivering the voters' signatures to the secretary of state's Springfield office.
"Getting on the ballot is always the first hurdle of a campaign and I was really proud to get people’s support in gathering signatures and having them certified by the city and then the state," Malumphy said in an email.
Malumphy's background includes teaching, marketing, business development and fundraising. Recently she was the regional director of the state Office of Business Development.
In 2009, Malumphy made a bid for mayor but didn't make it past the preliminary election. She will be running as an independent.
"I became unenrolled over two years ago. Although I still vote heavily Democratic, I like having the option of looking at individual candidates, where they stand on issues, and their message," she said.
Both Bouvier and Malumphy came to prominence in 2003, winning at-large seats on the City Council as candidates endorsed by local political action group WHEN (Women Helping Empower Neighborhoods).
The election will be held on Oct. 18 and candidates must have returned nomination papers by Aug. 9. The special election is to fill the seat of Rep. Christopher Speranzo who was appointed to be the clerk-magistrate at Central Berkshire District Court.
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State Police Association Backs Bosley
State Police Association of Massachusetts representatives came to Pittsfield to endorse Daniel E. Bosley, center, for Berkshire County sheriff. With him are SPAM Treasurer Dana Pullman, left, President Rick Brown, Vice President Tim Babbin and Jeff Gordon, representative for Western Massachusetts.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Flanked by state troopers, sheriff candidate Daniel E. Bosley stood outside the Berkshire Juvenile Resource Center on Thursday afternoon to announce that he'd received the endorsement of the State Police Association of Massachusetts.
"I sent very few letters out looking for endorsements but one of the ones that I did send out was to the state police association," said Bosley, who added his experiences with the state police goes back 23 years when he was serving on a criminal justice training council for the Legislature. "We've had a good working relationship."
SPAM, as it's known, represents nearly 2,000 troopers and sergeants across the state; the Commissioned Officers Association of Massachusetts represents those the rank of lieutenant and above. The association's 15-member Executive Committee voted on the endorsement several weeks ago but the announcement was delayed in part by accidents that caused the tragic death of one trooper and injuries to two others in less than two weeks.
"We've supported Dan in this race because he's a huge supporter of the state police association," said SPAM President Rick Brown, noting the state representive's strong advocacy in keeping the Westfield barracks open and for making the state police the primary law-enforcement agency for gaming, should it be approved. "Whenever we've asked Dan to step forward for us, he's always been there."
Though standing outside a center operated by the sheriff's department, the North Adams Democrat was technically in enemy territory. Signs for Tom Bowler, a 20-year Pittsfield Police detective and native son, dotted the neighborhood.
This is Bosley's first endorsement from any group. Bowler's wrapped up local endorsements from the district attorney, corrections officers and police officers locals, and the Berkshire County Police Chiefs Association, all of whom he's worked with at one time other, as well as the local representing court officers and the Central Berkshire Labor Council.
Their different backings from law-enforcement agencies not only reflects their long careers but their deep philosophical difference on the role of the sheriff: lawman or warden.
Brown made it clear SPAM believes the job is that of an administrator.
"The sheriff's departments are experienced in taking care of care, custody and control, and transportation," he said. "Our job out on the road is law enforcement; their job is to take care of people inside the facility and maybe have a chance to rehab these people and maybe we won't have to encounter them when they get out of jail.
"Every candidate we've supported in these races believes this."
Bosley has touted his experience in the Legislature, from drafting bills to leading committees, as providing him with an understanding of corrections, education and rehabilitation as well as a continuing relationship with Beacon Hill leaders that will open doors.
"Our job is a public safety job, not a law enforcement job," said Bosley. "We need to work together and that's why I proposed the regional lockup ... we need to work together faciliate the law enforcement part of this as well as the rehabilitation and public safety portion."
Brown said the association does not seek out candidates to support but will consider those who request endorsements. Bowler did not approach the organization for an endorsement, he said. Normally, the group also doesn't endorse candidates in primaries, but with both Bowler and Bosely running as Democrats, the primary will determine the winner.
"He's not going to be carrying a weapon, he's not going to be going out there doing law enforcement, he's going to be administering, bringing funds in and making sure the inmates that are behind the bars in that jail stay within the facility," said Brown. "If anybody can get the resources to make that happen, Dan bosley can because of the relationships he has on Beacon Hill."
Original press release received July 14, 2010.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Sheriff candidate Daniel E. Bosley has been endorsed by the State Police Association of Massachusetts. Representatives of SPAM will appear with Bosley to announce the endorsement at a press event Thursday, July 15, at 3 p.m. outside the sheriff's Juvenile Resource Center, 264 Second St., in Pittsfield.
"Representative Bosley understands the value of a strong working relationship between the sheriff's office and the state police in the effort to better protect residents of Western Massachusetts," SPAM Secretary Ed Hunter said of the Executive Board's vote to back the state representative.
"During the past few months of his campaign, Representative Bosley has stressed the importance he places on taking care of business within the jail – focusing on care, custody, and control – while working with the state police outside of the jail. He has articulated a clear strategy for sharing information with the state police, preparing for the re-entry of state prisoners, and partnering on common goals such as the creation of a regional lockup.
"Based on his past record of support for SPAM, his assertion of these goals, and his stated commitment to the State Police and Public Safety, the Executive Board believes the residents of Berkshire County will be best served by his election."
Bosley, of North Adams, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the post of sheriff in order to continue his service to the people of Berkshire County. Bosley has represented the First Berkshire District since 1987. As sheriff, he said he will draw on his experience in public finance, public administration and public safety to ensure the Berkshire County sheriff's office, the jail and House of Correction, and the programs run by the sheriff's office receive fair funding from the state. Additionally, he said he would bring an innovative approach that will allow him to improve systems and programs, making Berkshire County a safer place to live while conserving taxpayer dollars.
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Patrick, Cahill Speaking in Berkshire County
Two of the state's top elected officials — who also happen to be in contention for governor — will be speaking at the Massachusetts Mayors Association annual spring conference on Friday at Cranwell Resort in Lenox.
Gov. Deval Patrick and state Treasurer Timothy Cahill's separate talks will be closed to the press but we're guessing the Great Recession that's created historic deficits for towns and cities across the commonwealth will be the No. 1 topic. Patrick, a Democrat, and Cahill, who was a Democrat and is now running as an independent, will likely both be speaking to their strategies for increasing jobs and revenues as well as commenting on issues relative to their current positions.
Cahill is speaking at 10 and the governor at 11, both with press availabilities afterward.
Cahill, however, will be on the air earlier with "Charlie in the Morning" on WJJW 91.1-FM at 8:30 a.m. The station is operated by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and morning radio host and graduating senior Charles Schnitzlein over the past year has tapped into both local and state politics by interviewing officials such as Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley and local selectmen, along with musical guests. Cahill will be the first major political guest who's traveled to the college for a sitdown interview.
iBerkshires will be joining Schnitzlein for the morning program; we'll also be at Cranwell for press roundtable with the governor at noon. If you have any questions you think we should ask either Cahill or Patrick, related to current or campaign issues, let us know at email@example.com, tweet to @iberkshires or @CharlieMorning or comment here or on our Facebook posting.
The mayors conference opened Wednesday at Cranwell and continues through Friday at 5. Both Berkshire County Mayors James M. Ruberto, who represents the association's District 1, and Richard Alcombright are expected to attend the event.
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