Election 2009: Pittsfield Ward 7 ProfilesPITTSFIELD, Mass. — There's a four-way race for the Ward 7 City Council seat this year but only two will emerge from a Sept. 22 preliminary election and move on to the November ballot.
In a random drawing for ballot placement on Aug. 20, incumbent Anthony Maffuccio took first, J.D. Hebert, second, Joseph Nichols, third, and Loren Paduano, fourth.
ANTHONY V. MAFFUCCIO
Anthony V. Maffuccio
EDUCATION: Taconic High graduate; classes at BCC
EMPLOYMENT: City Council
PUBLIC SERVICE: elected for three terms, Ordinance and Rules Committee, Public Works Committee, Traffic Commission chairman, former council member at Holy Family Parish, Eucharistic minister at St. Charles' Church
PRIMARY ISSUES: To serve the public and grow the city's economic base
"I've been honored to serve the citizens of Ward 7 for the last six years, and I enjoy helping people, and I'd like to continue in public service," said Maffuccio, a full-time councilor.
Going forward, the biggest challenge for Pittsfield is trying to find and generate new revenue for the city.
With new cash flow, Pittsfield could begin to unburden the taxpayers, said Maffuccio.
Maffuccio, 39, said he's in favor of the local option hotel/motel tax, which has not yet passed in Pittsfield, although it has in other municipalities across the commonwealth. He wants to support any company that has interest in coming to Pittsfield, and also supports tax incremental financing to make the city that much more attractive.
JOSEPH C. NICHOLS
Joseph C. Nichols
413-841-1737 (Cove Bakery)
FAMILY: son, Joseph E., 9
EDUCATION: St. Joseph's and Taconic high schools; some college
EMPLOYMENT: Proprietor Joey's Batting Cages and Cove Bakery
PUBLIC SERVICE: None
PRIMARY ISSUE: To represent the ward and economic growth for the city
Nichols said he's running now to give back to his ward.
"It's just the right time for me. I don't feel we've had proper representation," said Nichols, "and I also want to help the city. It's a two-pronged reason: I want to help the city with ideas and entrepreneurial skills that I have to help grow the tax base and some other ways, besides increasing taxes on the current population and coming up with new fees."
He said he's motivated because the current taxing measures to him are wrong. Economic growth is also critical for Nichols. He said Pittsfield's biggest problem is that not enough is being to done to grow new and existing businesses.
"If we can solve that problem, then all other problems will have the necessary funds to be resolved," said Nichols. "It's really all about economic growth."
City hall also needs to take a new attitude toward the existing businesses in Pittsfield.
"They are like the foundation of Pittsfield, so they need to be strengthened," said Nichols. "They haven't had a good attitude toward these people for many, many years, if not decades, and that what needs to change. Everybody [who's] right here is capable of growing this economy."
Nichols is in favor of incentives for businesses large and small. To draw in new business, a new economic growth task force, with more accountability and transparency and with dynamic members from Pittsfield, would also be a good start, he said.
"I don't see that happening [now]," said Nichols.
LOREN V. PADUANO
Loren V. Paduano
EDUCATION: Pittsfield High School, 1974; Berkshire Community College, two years total
EMPLOYMENT: Berkshire Nautilus gym, trainer/coach, maintenance
PUBLIC SERVICE: coach of swim team at Saint Joseph's, 2006-2008, Boys' Club, 1974; Army, 1976 to 1982, honorable discharge with the rank of sergeant
A Pittsfield native, Paduano said he's running because he wants to support the ward and the community, and to be more action-oriented than the incumbent.
"Things are not getting done the way they should be. You just can't show up at one point and not show up at another point. I'm a team player and I'm willing to work with Ward 7 as well as the community to get [things done]," said Paduano. "I've been doing a lot of knocking on doors and talking to people. I do a lot of one-on-one conversations
with them. I don't believe that a name on a (political) sign is going to make you any better."
He's visited folks on McArthur Street, Thomas Island Road, Wahconah Village trailer park and High Street, and he was going again on Monday to meet more people in the Pontoosuc area. He said these folks are not seeing the other candidates out there.
"Hopefully, people will understand where I'm coming from. I like to take action, but I listen first and speak later," said Paduano.
Paduano — no stranger to service, with a number of years in the military — sees the city's biggest problem as the budget. He doesn't want to penalize public safety departments in the city by slashing police and fire budgets senselessly.
"The Police and Fire department, we need them as critical. Do you want to deprive the security of the people because you're short two firemen or four police officers? Think about the welfare of the people first," said Paduano. "How would you like to be in a burning home and the Fire Department couldn't respond in time because they were short two guys? Or vice versa, a shooting on your street and no cops show up, and you have people hurt."
He also is against the local options motel/hotel tax, as he believes it hurts businesses. "I hope that people respect me for that one," said Paduano.
FAMILY: girlfriend, Nicole Wright; daughter, Taylor, 11
EDUCATION: B.S. in public relations from Rochester Institute of
Technology, 2006; associate's from RIT, in emergency and disaster
EMPLOYMENT: director of transportation, housing, shelter and
facilities for Berkshire Community Action Council
PUBLIC SERVICE: BCAC, emergency medical technician
"I've done emergency preparedness, helping the homeless, people in need through BCAC, and this is just the logical next step for me," said Hebert, who's lived in the city for 30 years. "I have this really big desire to help people whose voices can't be heard."
In his time with BCAC, Hebert said he's done a lot with a very limited budget, a reality that can easily carry over to the city budget.
"I hate the term 'doing more with less.' Doing more with what we have to deal with" is the phrase he prefers, said Hebert.
Pittsfield's biggest issue right now is that too many decisions are being made without a buy-in from the residents.
"I think the right now, the city of Pittsfield and particularly Ward 7, is in need of some responsive community leadership, and that's where I'm going to hang my hat," said Hebert. "I think that there's a lot of independent interests being pushed through right now without a lot of transparency in government.
"Again, town hall-style meetings: Let's get all of the concerned people, all of the stakeholders together, let's talk about the facts, let's talk about the issues at hand, and I am not afraid to make a tough decision once we've heard the facts," he continued.
Grassroots participation will be a key element of his tenure should he be elected, said Hebert. To work with the current budget, Hebert wants to talk with department heads and get back to basics, realigning what they do with their missions and goals.
"In the interest of getting the most for your taxpaying dollar, let's get some fresh blood and fresh ideas in there for the City Council and talk," said Hebert. "I don't profess to be an expert in what it takes to run a city, but I feel that by getting back to basics we can all come in together and make some solid decisions moving forward."