Candidate Questions: Alex Blumin, Ward 2

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Alexander Blumin is running for the Ward 2 seat.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — iBerkshires sent a questionnaire to council candidates earlier this week and invited the candidates in the preliminary elections in Wards 2 and 7 to submit theirs by this weekend. 

The only preliminary candidate to return the questionnaire was Alexander Blumin, who is running for Ward 2. 
The preliminary election is Tuesday, Sept. 19. 
Candidate Blumin's answers are below. 


Give a brief biography

I was born in 1959 in Odesa, Ukraine. Immigrated to the U.S. in 1994. I lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., 11 years, and worked on construction jobs. I moved to Pittsfield in 2005 when I bought my first house on Hamlin St. Next year I bought a next-door rental property. I have been running a Rental business for low-income people, and tenants on disability without City or State help using my own hands, knowledge, and experience. Since 2000 I have worked 3 times for the Federal Government on seasonal jobs. I got an Associate degree in Industrial Technology, a Software Quality Assurance Certificate, a NY State R.E. license, and credits from BCC college in Math, Biology, Psychology, and other fields. I have extensive knowledge of PC, Mac, Internet, hardware and software testing, and verifiable experience in Mass General Laws in local Courts. I am active in Pittsfield politics since 2007. The Second St bridge was repaired after my Petition. One hour parking sign was removed from Hamlin St. with 7 month battle in City Hall after my Petition with the help of Councilor Chris Connell. A fax machine was installed in Pittsfield library upon my Petition. 
First year of Mayor Daniel Bianchi I filed a Petition to amend City Ordinance Chapter 3 1/2 which required homeowners certification "under penalty of perjury" to certify what we were not licensed to certify. The petition was approved after 8 month battle in Council with the participation of the Mayor and the Director of the Board of Health. I attended each and every meeting of the Human Rights Committee. I speak frequently at Council Meetings defending residents' interest. I am completely independent — one of you who lives here, in Pittsfield.

Why are you running for City Council?

I am running to represent homeowners, business owners, and taxpayers as we are not represented in Pittsfield Council. Just a few Councilors really care about us.

What is your relevant experience?

See my biography above. It's all there.

What are the issues that you would like to address as a councilor? What is the most pressing issue in Pittsfield?

Property taxes; water and sewer; city budget increase; crime, police, drugs, corruption, incompetence.

Are there any City Council actions in the last term that you would have handled/voted differently?

The city budget as of now is $205 million with an 8.9 percent increase instead of the usual 4.5 percent increase. I would never have supported a such budget. If the city keeps this rate — city budget would double just in eight years consequently crushing fixed-income homeowners and elderly residents.

How can the city address the housing crisis and lack of available units?

I disagree with the question. In the capitalist system, it is market, supply, and demand who should address it, not local residents. For that, the State Legislature should change Mass General Laws creating economic stimuluses for investments in residential properties. But we see the opposite in Boston. Recently Governor Maura Healey approved a new bill banning evictions unless the tenant gets approval or is denied for the RAFT program (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition, which may take a long time, effectively cutting any business interest investing in rental housing in Massachusetts.

How do you feel about the current and planned roundabouts on Tyler Street and near BMC?

My personal feelings are irrelevant. Those large projects should be done upon residents' referendum or at least active participation as it is OUR city. We should make decisions.

Do you agree with the bike lanes and Complete Street efforts?

The question combines two different subjects. Personally, I disagree with bike lanes. Bikes should have the rights on the road, but not override whole traffic. Moreover, as a Class A professional driver, I can say what is on North Street violates traffic rules as a driver cannot make a right turn from the left lane of traffic, but that is exactly what it is there. A Complete Street is one that provides safe and accessible options for all travel modes — walking, biking, transit, and vehicles — for people of all ages and abilities. The MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program provides technical assistance and construction funding to eligible municipalities. In general, I agree with the idea but not as it's done.

How do you feel about policing in the city?

In general, police work well but there is a lot of room for improvement. We must have officers on foot in the downtown to stop harassment, disturbance of peace, garbage, and graffiti. More should be done in training how to handle residents with mental health issues, but in the content of Mass General Laws, not by substitute by social workers.

How can business be stimulated on Tyler Street?

I am against artificial stimulation. The city should not overtax property owners running rental units for businesses. The city should not give any municipal gifts to new companies but create an equal business field for all providing low-interest rate loans upon collateral. Equality in business must be preserved to have a stable working economy. How did the stimulus end with Beacon Cinema? Mr. Rich Stanley went bankrupt while the city lost $2 million loan. Hot Plate near the Police Department is on stimulus now. Just walk and see how they are doing.

What is the most pressing issue in your ward? (Ward 2)

Income inequality between Ward 2A and 2B. All other issues are like the whole city.

How do you feel about the slow development of the William Stanley Business Park?

That question should be addressed to the city Community Development Department. Certain things shall be done strictly by professionals not amateurs trying their best. There are hundreds of business and technical components involved in developing William Stanley. How can anybody feel not knowing all those ingredients? But even knowing it — only professionals can provide evaluation. The question is out of line.


Note: All submissions are lightly edited to conform to iBerkshires' style.

Tags: municipal election,   preliminary election,   

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Berkshires Receive National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — To help address the crisis, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of more than $1 million in funding for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development to address the impact of the opioid crisis on the local workforce in Berkshire County.
Administered by the department's Employment and Training Administration, the National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant will support Massachusetts in its efforts to employ people in positions as recovery coaches, harm reduction specialists, peer navigators and community health workers. The funding will also provide employment and training services to eligible individuals affected by the opioid crisis.
The project will serve the following communities: Adams, Alford, Becket, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Dalton, Egremont, Florida, Great Barrington, Hancock, Hinsdale, Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, Monterey, Mount Washington, New Ashford, New Marlborough, North Adams, Otis, Peru, Pittsfield, Richmond, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield, Stockbridge, Tyringham, Washington, West Stockbridge, Williamstown and Windsor.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency in October 2017, enabling Massachusetts to request this funding.
Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand the service capacity of dislocated worker programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that cause significant job losses.
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