Four Ward Races Open in Pittsfield Election
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Four ward councilors have announced that they will not seek re-election, leaving space for new leadership in those areas and a changeup of at least a third of the council November.
Ward 1 Councilor Helen Moon, in a Facebook video post this week, said the physical and mental strains over the past two years related to the pandemic and her personal and professional life led to her decision not to run for a third term.
"I thought it was unfair to my constituents that I cannot give myself 150 percent like I try to because of what's happening in my own life," she said. "You deserve somebody who is going to put you No. 1 and I cannot give you that."
During her four years, Moon has backed investment in infrastructure and education; pushed to make city communications more accessible, including by adding Spanish translations; and advocated for better services for the city's homeless.
Last fall, she was honored by the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus as an elected woman of color and for her support on the environment, education, and health care and as a "tireless advocate for youth."
Nomination papers for the 2021 municipal election became available at the city clerk's office on April 2 and are due July 16.
There are two Pittsfield restaurant owners seeking a bid for at-large seats — Craig Benoit, owner of The Hot Dog Ranch, and current at-Large Councilor Yuki Cohen.
In December 2020, Benoit advocated for local eatery owners who felt that the city-specific indoor-dining ban was unfair to their businesses and a large financial burden, which ultimately led to Mayor Linda Tyer offering a compromise that reversed the ban.
Cohen has been in hot water for COVID-19 violations at her establishment, Methuselah Bar and Lounge. Most recently, the bar lost its liquor license for 30 days. Cohen has publicly apologized for her actions to other media outlets.
Also taking out papers for at-large are former mayoral candidate and school resource officer Karen Kalinowsky; retired state police officer and Pittsfield High basketball coach Brandon Michael Mauer; and current council members President Peter Marchetti, Earl Persip III, and Pete White.
Downtown Pittsfield Inc. board member and administrator of the website "The Pittsfielder" Nicholas Russo has taken out papers for Ward 2 and Charles Kronick and Kevin J. Sherman, a former councilor, for Ward 3.
James Conant, Courtney Gilardi, and Andrew M. Wrinn are on the ballot for Ward 4. Gilardi, who resides on Alma Street, has been an advocate for residents against the Verizon cell tower at 877 South St. since it was erected last summer.
Patrick Kavey has taken out papers for a second term as Ward 5 councilor and Edward Carmel, a member of both the former and current homeless committee, for Ward 6.
Ward 6 Councilor Dina Guiel Lampiasi pulled nomination papers on Thursday.
In Ward 7, Nolan Smith Fernandez has taken out papers to challenge current Councilor Anthony Maffuccio.
School Committee members Mark Brazeau and Daniel Elias have taken out papers for re-election; Katherine Yon, William Cameron, and Alison McGee have not taken out papers at this time.
Newcomers taking out papers for School Committee so far include Karen Reis Kaveney-Murray, Katie Lauzon, and William Tyer.
Tags: election 2021, municipal election,