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Judith Knight endorses Paul Caccaviello for district attorney on Tuesday. Knight and Caccaviello both came up short in the Democratic primary to Andrea Harrington. Caccaviello, the current incumbent, has launched a write-in campaign.

Knight Backs Caccaviello in District Attorney's Race

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Despite Knight and Harrington both being considered the more progressive candidates in the field, Knight is opting to support Caccaviello instead of Harrington.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Judith Knight isn't going to be the next district attorney. But she hopes Paul Caccaviello will be.
Knight, who finished third in the Democratic primary in September, is putting her support behind Caccaviello's write-in campaign.
Knight made the announcement on steps of the Berkshire Superior Court on Tuesday.
"This is probably not the best political thing for me to do. I know I will be criticized ... but this is the right thing to do," Knight said. 
"My mother used to have an expression 'now is the time to rise above the principle and do the right thing.' This is one of those moments. This is the right thing for this community and he is the right DA for this community, if not me."
Caccaviello finished second in the race by about 700 votes and opted to launch a write-in campaign for the seat against the winner Andrea Harrington. Knight and Harrington were both considered the more progressive candidates but instead of teaming up with a fellow progressive, Knight is supporting Caccaviello, who's campaigned on his decades of experience.
"It may be counterintuitive to some that I'm endorsing Paul instead of Andrea Harrington when Andrea and I are considered progressive Democrats and we shared similar ideas about policy. But, to me, the role of the district attorney and being the district attorney is so much more than party politics. It is so more about the individual," Knight said. 
Knight said her endorsement comes only after being convinced that Caccaviello is willing to incorporate more progressive ideas. She criticized Harrington's experience for the job and trusts that Caccaviello can implement some level of change in the office. 
"The traits of the person are the most important. I have found with Paul, he has integrity. I've known him for 30 years. He's trustworthy. He's open-minded," Knight said. 
"He and I have talked a lot about policies I have been advocating for 12 years now, which is diversion programs, treatment instead of jail, pulling back on mandatory minimums, and having a citizen's advisory council board for the district attorney's office. Paul is open to all of those things."
She took some strong jabs at Harrington, characterizing her as deceptive.
"She is a great politician. She ran a great campaign. But she told us that she was going to run the district attorney's office like she ran her campaign. I found that very alarming because the district attorney is a public servant, not a politician," Knight said. 
She later added, "Andrea can be divisive. She is not always forthcoming with the truth when asked directly. And her inexperience really renders her so inadequate for this job that she will have to rely only on her political skills. I think we will all be in trouble."
Knight has been repeatedly critical of David Capeless, who handpicked Caccaviello to be his successor earlier this year and whom Knight ran against unsuccessfully more than a decade ago. Over the years she has disagreed with Caccaviello as well, but she said, many of those disagreements weren't because of him but because of policies Capeless implemented. 
"I have been outspoken about David Capeless' policies. I understand now that those were David Capeless' policies. Those aren't Paul's policies," she said.
Knight said Caccaviello has been open to many of her ideas, and she said there are still some such as the use of mandatory minimum sentences that she'd like to move him more on. 
"I'm not abandoning the platform I have been campaigning on and living this entire time. I think Paul is the better person to get it done," she said.
And she will have a role in the office if Caccaviello is elected. Knight said she will take on a volunteer effort to create a citizen's advisory council that will provide feedback and guidance to the district attorney's office. 
"That's something where I can still have input in the district attorney's office if he is elected. I can still have a voice," Knight said.

Caccaviello welcomes Knight's support.
She said she'd be gathering people who represent all areas of Berkshire County to be pre-emptive in identifying issues.
"I would have wanted that if I were elected. You can't just rely on the police because they're showing up when there is a crime. I think a DA should know if there are problems or tensions and this is a way to get that information," Knight said.
She said she still disagrees with the way Caccaviello got the job as district attorney, with Capeless resigning early and working secretly with the governor's office to appoint him to run as an incumbent. But, she is willing to move past that.
And Knight isn't concerned about the perception that she had been on Caccaviello's side the entire time, joining the race with the sole intention of splitting the progressive vote. She said she had intended to run against Capeless well before, had told Harrington that, and then Harrington jumped into the race ahead of her.
Caccaviello embraced the endorsement, calling it an example of pushing aside political differences.
"What you have right here is an example of collaboration and putting aside politics for the betterment of the community, the well-being of the entire community, for public safety. Politics and public safety do not mix," Caccaviello said. 
Caccaviello welcomes Knight's perspective through a citizen's advisory council, saying it is something he fully supports and believes will help the prosecutor's office feel the "pulse of the community." 
He's also hoping Knight's endorsement will translate into more write-in votes in November. Since his loss in the primary, he's held fundraisers, standouts, and has been advertising.
"I think people are paying attention. The response from canvassing and talking to folks has been tremendous. This is just another part of it. I'm happy to have Judy's support and ideas behind me," Caccaviello said.

Tags: district attorney,   election 2018,   endorsement,   

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Pittsfield City Council to Discuss Homeless Solutions

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday sent a group of petitions regarding the city's homeless population to the subcommittee on Public Health and Safety.
The three petitions ask officials to consider measures to safeguard the homeless and begin a conversation about homelessness within the city limits.
"I am glad we are having this discussion, and I look forward to hearing it," Councilor at Large Peter White said. "This has been an issue here for a long time and having people live in the park is not a long terms solution."
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