Candidate Questions: Alex Blumin, Ward 2
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.
Give a brief biography
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,