PETER G. ARLOS
Friday, September 01, 2006
Re: What about Nuciforo's conflicts of interest?
Dear Berkshire Eagle:
You (The Berkshire Eagle) state that Arlos should accept decision, but what about State Senator Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.'s conflicts of interest. Nuciforo worked and continues to work for a private Boston Law Firm serving big banks and insurance companies while chairing powerful state Legislative Committees that regulate these same Boston Financial Institutions!
The Eagle is like the State Ethics Commission in that you only pick on the weak Pols while letting the powerful ones free ride the laws we all should be living by, not just a select few!
-Jonathan A. Melle
"Arlos must step down from board: Commission rules on conflict of interest"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Thursday, August 31, 2006
PITTSFIELD — A state commission has ordered that the Berkshire Regional Retirement Board remove its treasurer, Peter G. Arlos, for violating the state's conflict-of-interest law.
In May, Arlos agreed to pay $2,200 in restitution to settle allegations that he violated state conflict-of-interest laws by voting in favor of his own pay raise in June 2000.
Arlos, 80, served as county treasurer from 1985 to 2003. That position was abolished when county government was dissolved, but Arlos, who also served 28 years on the Pittsfield City Council, moved into the newly created position of chairman/treasurer of the Berkshire Regional Retirement System in March 2003, a part-time position.
The board oversees the retirement system's more than $88 million in assets. There are roughly 1,200 active employees paying into the system and more than 615 former municipal and county employees drawing pensions.
In a letter dated Aug. 11 to the Berkshire Regional Retirement Board, the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission, or PERAC, said that "no individual who ... has been found by the Ethics Commission or any court to have violated (the conflict of interest law) shall serve or be permitted to serve... as a member... of a board."
PERAC, based in Somerville, provides oversight, guidance, monitoring and regulation of the state's 106 public pension systems.
Cannot legally serve
PERAC has informed the Berkshire board that the Ethics Commission's finding means that Arlos cannot legally continue to serve on the board, and that the members are required to remove him at their next meeting, which takes place this morning at 9.
Retirement board member Gerald S. Doyle Jr. said yesterday that he wasn't sure what action the board would take when it meets this morning. He said some members have indicated that they plan to speak with legal counsel first.
"This isn't a case of anybody doing anything vindictive to Peter Arlos," Doyle said. "It's that PERAC has indicated that he's in violation. If that's the ruling, then we have no choice."
Board member Patricia Carlino, who has spoken with legal counsel, said PERAC requires that the board act immediately.
"It's not where we can wait until the next meeting," she said.
PERAC's executive director, Joseph E. Connarton, said that the commission's regulation applies to anyone whom the Ethics Commission finds violates the state statute.
"It's rarely used," Connarton said. "But it's obviously there to protect the system."
Through his wife, Alma R. Arlos, Peter Arlos said he has appealed PERAC's ruling to the state Division of Administrative Law Appeals, claiming the decision is "contrary to law, in excess of its authority and an abuse of its discretion."
In a letter to the Division of Administrative Law Appeals, Alma Arlos, who is also an attorney, has asked that the board delay the implementation of PERAC's determination until "the issues in this matter are resolved."
In response, the Division of Administrative Law Appeals' first magistrate, Kimberly A. Fletcher, has said that her agency does not have the authority to stay implementation of a decision pending the outcome of an appeal.
However, Fletcher's letter states that, "in an attempt to get this appeal resolved quickly," the division has expedited Arlos' request for a hearing and has scheduled one for Sept. 13 at 1.
In a telephone interview, Alma Arlos said that she and her husband were unaware that PERAC had reached a determination and that the agency had taken "unilateral action" when it made the decision at its last meeting, on July 26.
"PERAC took action on July 26 without informing anybody of this, which seems to me to violate due process," she said.
Carlino said Peter Arlos' decision to appeal PERAC's decision has no bearing on what the Retirement Board is required to do.
"It's not an appeal to us," she said. "It's not between us and Peter. It's between Peter and PERAC. ... We have no authority to grant a stay. We didn't bring this, PERAC did."
Although Arlos agreed to pay restitution in May, settlement with the Ethics Commission wasn't finalized until June 8. The five-page agreement contains 14 "findings of fact" to which both Arlos and the commission agreed.
Those findings include that, on June 21, 2001, when the Berkshire County Regional Retirement Board voted 3-2 to give Arlos a 3 percent raise, Arlos voted with the majority in favor, which resulted in him receiving $1,200 in additional salary from fiscal 2001 to fiscal 2003.
"Arlos booted from post: Retirement board seeks replacement"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Friday, September 01, 2006
PITTSFIELD — Peter G. Arlos has been removed as chairman/treasurer of the Berkshire Regional Retirement Board — at least for now.
The move came yesterday as the board's four members declined to grant a stay of a state commission's ruling that requires his removal. The board also voted unanimously to uphold a ruling that it find a replacement for the remainder of Arlos' term within 30 days. His six-year term expires in 2009.
The Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission, or PERAC, ruled on Aug. 11 that the Berkshire board remove the 80-year-old Arlos for violating the state's conflict of interest law. Arlos has appealed that ruling.
On May 23, Arlos had agreed to pay $2,200 in restitution to settle allegations that he violated the state conflict-of-interest law by voting in favor of his own pay raise in June 2000. PERAC provides oversight, guidance, monitoring and regulation of the state's 106 public pension systems.
No authority to stay action
The Berkshire board's attorney, Carol E. Nesson of West Roxbury, informed the board by letter that it does not have the legal authority to stay an action by PERAC that directs it to take a particular action.
In its August letter to the Berkshire Retirement Board, PERAC states that any individual who has been found by the state Ethics Commission or any court to have violated the conflict-of-interest law cannot legally serve as a member of a board.
Arlos, who spent 28 years on the Pittsfield City Council, served as county treasurer from 1985 to 2003. That position was abolished when county government was dissolved. Arlos then moved into the newly created position of chairman/treasurer of the Berkshire Retirement System, a part-time position, in March 2003.
Arlos did not attend yesterday's meeting. But in a letter Executive Officer Sheila LaBarbera, Arlos asked the board to stay any action on PERAC's determination until his appeal can be decided by the state Division of Administrative Law Appeals. A hearing on that appeal is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 13.
His wife, Alma Arlos, told the board yesterday that after reviewing state retirement law, she didn't believe that PERAC had the legal authority to order the Berkshire board to remove one of its members. She said PERAC had made its determination on whether to remove Arlos from the board at a meeting on July 26 that no one was told about until they received written notification two weeks later.
Alma Arlos, who also is a lawyer, asked the board to grant a stay until PERAC's next meeting on Sept. 19 so the matter could be brought forward then. In a letter to Alma Arlos dated Aug. 29, PERAC's Executive Director Joseph E. Connarton stated that only the full commission can grant a stay of its directives.
"The Ethics Commission is simply going by the statute that is on the books," said acting Chairman Peter Menard. "It says that not only can (Arlos) not serve on the Retirement Board, but he can't serve on any board in the state or in the community.
'We have a vacancy'
"Therefore, as I see it, we have a vacancy at the moment," Menard said.
Alma Arlos also said she believed that PERAC's entire regulation did not apply to Arlos because he had agreed to a settlement with the state Ethics Commission.
"The order of the Ethics Commission did not contain a finding," Alma Arlos said. "It was an order based on a settlement. The finding is they dismissed the case."
But board member Michael Ovitt said a section of the disposition agreement between the state Ethics Commission and Arlos states that he admitted to violating the state conflict-of-interest law when he agreed to pay restitution. The agreement also states that Arlos, "also agrees to waive all rights to contest the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions" that are contained in the disposition.
In response, Alma Arlos said her husband admitted that he voted for his own pay raise but never admitted that he violated the state conflict-of-interest law. Later, Alma Arlos acknowledged that the section Ovitt referred to was included in the disposition, but referred the board to the final paragraph, which states that the Ethics Commission has allowed a joint motion with Arlos that accepts the settlement and dismisses the case.
"We're following what we have to follow," said board member Patricia Carlino. "Your argument is not with us. It's with PERAC and the Ethics Committee."
"I think we're going all over the place," said board member Gerald S. Doyle Jr. "The guts of the matter is we have PERAC, the Ethics Committee and our attorney saying we can't grant a stay.
"Whatever happens on the 19th, either Peter will be back or he won't," Doyle said. "As of today, I don't feel that we have the authority to grant a stay."
"Arlos should accept decision"
A Berkshire Eagle Editorial
Friday, September 01, 2006
Peter and Alma Arlos can parse the state Ethics Commission's decision indefinitely in search of legal loopholes, but the state's conflict-of-interest law is clear, and Mr. Arlos should in good conscience give up his position. As treasurer of the Berkshire Regional Retirement Board, Mr. Arlos agreed to pay $2,200 in restitution to settle allegations that he violated conflict-of-interest laws by voting in favor of his own pay raise in June of 2000. The Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission told the BRRB that under Ethics Commission guidelines, Mr. Arlos can no longer serve as treasurer, and yesterday the board voted to remove him as chairman/treasurer and seek a replacement. Mrs. Arlos, a lawyer, claims the Ethics Commission dismissed the case without a finding, but Mr. Arlos did agree to pay a fine, and he waived his right to contest the ruling. Rather than nitpick the language of the ruling in search of ways to spin it, Mr. Arlos should do what's right and accept the BRRB's decision.
Dear Berkshire Eagle, Bill Everhart:
Re: "Crunching numbers in Pittsfield" (A Berkshire Eagle Editorial, 5/30/2007): I strongly write my dissent against the following statement by the Editors of the Eagle: "Under state control, incidents like the removal of Berkshire retirement board member Peter Arlos at the direction of the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission after he voted in favor of his own pay raise would be far less likely to occur."
THE BACK STORY
My dad was a Berkshire County Commissioner who served with Peter Arlos, who was the Berkshire County Treasurer. Both men were victims of the Kafka-esque Massachusetts State Ethics Commission. During the Spring of 1998, a complaint was filed against my dad for speaking out on the issue of the state's obligation to pay its fair share of Court House rent to the then Berkshire County Government. I read the all of the State Ethics documents that were faxed to my dad and at issue was one news article published in the North Adams Transcript newspaper in the Fall of 1997 quoting my dad on the public issue of Court House rent. The State Ethics Commission stated that while they granted my dad permission to run for elected office, he had restricted constraints on his speech regarding the state since he worked for the state government. Because the State Trial Court Chief Justice was the Administrative Officer for the State's Courthouse System, including rent payments to the County Governments, and my dad worked under his authority for the state government, my dad's speech was alleged to have been insuboridinate. Fortunately for my dad and my family, (now retired) Judge Barbalunga advocated for my dad's constitutionally protected freedom of speech and ruled that my dad could keep his long-standing job with the state. Judge Barbalunga stood up to some powerful, corrupted politicians and interests to help my dad and my family from being ruined.
Moreover, during the same time period, during the Spring of 1998, then State Senator Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr. set up secret plans with the Pittsfield Police Department to have me arrested under the false pretenses that I was threatening him for opposing my dad's political positions. While, in fact, it was Luciforo who was the one to have previously threatened me twice in two separate incidences, Luciforo wanted to not only see my dad lose his job and financial security, but also for my dad to see his son (me) rot behind the bars of the Berkshire County Jail at the hands of Luciforo's "Good Old Boy Network" political buddy Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., the long-standing Berkshire County Sheriff. As an aside, upon moving from the beautiful Berkshires to Southern New Hampshire, Carmen Massimiano warned me to not tell on Luciforo and himself for what they had planned to do to me during the Pittsfield Political Machine's persecution of my dad and his family for opposing the special interest demands of the Good Old Boy Network.
In retaliation for my true stories about the political persecution of Luciforo and Massimiano, Denis E. Guyer made it his personal mission in life to destroy my reputation by spreading vicious, slanderous and hurtful rumors against me to the good people of the Pittsfield area while leaving out the rest of the story. Denis E. Guyer is the opposite of my dad, who is a good man and used his political power to help people instead of slander them. Denis E. Guyer is a GOLDDIGGER because he married Allison Crane of Crane & Company only for her money, not for love. Denis E. Guyer is now part of the Pittsfield Political Machine ran by the Good Old Boys' Network, and he will be guaranteed money from the Cranes and power from the special interests. But like Luciforo and Massimiano, Guyer will always have the strongest of my political opposition -- and I will always speak my good conscience as long as I live!
While Peter Arlos was once my friend, I no longer consider him to be so after he said to me that he opposed President Bush II's ordering me a hearing before the VA system to be ruled eligible for Veterans Disability Benefits after I disobeyed illegal orders in the U.S. Army in order to protect human lives. Arlos only saw me benefiting from my honorable military service, not the sacrifices I made to protect the sanctity of human lives. I am a good man, and when people see me as otherwise then I no longer consider them my friend -- and that goes for Peter Arlos too.
THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO PETER G. ARLOS!
While living in Southern New Hampshire, I have followed the parallel State Ethics charges filed against my dad's former colleague, Peter Arlos. Like my dad, Arlos defied the oligarchy and spoke out against the state's foul treatment of county governments during the 1990s. Like me, Arlos believed in freedom and free speech, and like both my dad and I, the special interest state and local politicians got even with Arlos through political persecution. The error Arlos made by voting for his own pay raise could have and should have been handled in a private way, but it was the point of the top-down state and local governments to publicly punish him via news articles in the Eagle.
I find my experience with Berkshire County politics to be very interesting because I graduated cum laude with a Bachelors Arts degree in political science and peace studies during this same time period. I then went onto study public administration at U Mass Amherst, receiving a Master's Degree in May of 1999. Graduating with honors and then successfully receiving my graduate degree was in sharp contrast to the political reality one faces when participating and dealing with one's own government. In theory, democratic institutions are there to protect the common citizen from political persecutions. But in reality, these institutions are there to persecute the common citizen to profit the special interests of the career politicians or the oligarchy.
I have had it with The Berkshire Eagle's myopic Editorials that make some politicians look good when they are corrupted, while others are made to look bad and treated like the scapegoats of the same system that has politically persecuted them. (I also think of all of the great work Rinaldo Del Gallo III has done for Pittsfield, and even the Orwellian Alan Chartock joined the Eagle in criticizing him.)
Just look at the terrible picture Luciforo, Massimiano and Guyer have painted of me. Here I am, a common citizen who has done nothing other than good deeds in my life -- even recognized by the sitting president for protecting human lives -- BUT IN PITTSFIELD I AM STILL NOTHING MORE THAN TARGET PRACTICE FOR THE OLIGARCHY's POLITICAL PERSECUTIONS. Somethings wrong with this picture, Berkshire Eagle Editors. The truth hurts, but it will set you free, too. Stop scapegoating people like Peter Arlos and start addressing the real and many problems facing both Pittsfield and the entire Berkshire region.
Jonathan A. Melle
"Support Arlos for committeeman"
The North Adams Transcript - Letters
Monday, January 28, 2008
To the Editor:
On Feb. 5, the Massachusetts Democratic primary will be held. With all the excitement surrounding the presidential campaign, the public tends to forget that they will be selecting city and town and area party officials as well.
Peter G. Arlos, present Democratic state committeeman for the Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin District, is running for re-election and, because he is a persistent and articulate champion of Democratic Party values and issues, deserves re-election.
Over the years, in articles, forums and letters to newspapers throughout the state and nation, he has argued for those programs that aid the sick, the poor, the old, and he has supported pay increases and benefits for working people while the rich get richer and productivity increases.
He has strenuously objected to the efforts to reduce pension plans provided by employers, the so-called "defined benefit" pensions, and replace them with less secure contributory pension plans. For many years now, he has recognized the problems created by a health care system that now leaves 47 million people without any health insurance at all and that wastes 30 percent of every health care dollar paying for administration. He has been a vigorous proponent of a single payer system to serve everyone.
Peter Arlos makes sure that his voice is heard in the centers of power because he sends letters to those newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post, where they are printed.
During elections, he is one of the only state committee members who has held public forums, bringing the candidates together on one stage to face each other, speak on issues and answer the questions of the people. He deserves another four years spreading the message and supporting the ideals of the Democratic Party.
Jan. 23, 2008
"Local seats up for grabs on Tuesday"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Saturday, February 02, 2008
PITTSFIELD — "Arlos vs. Barron" may not have the same cachet as, say, "Clinton vs. Obama."
But when voters go to the polls Tuesday for the state presidential primary, they can also choose between Peter G. Arlos of Pittsfield and Matt L. Barron of Chesterfield for the male representative on the Democratic State Committee for the Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin District. This is the same district that state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, represents.
Margaret Johnson Ware of Williamstown, the district's female representative to the Democratic State Committee, is running for re-election unopposed.
A 1,500-vote defeat
Arlos, who turns 82 tomorrow, is running for his fourth consecutive four-term on the state committee. He defeated Barron by over 1,500 votes in 2004.
Barron, who turned 50 last November, said he decided to run again because he has put a considerable amount of time into working with the Democratic Party at the grassroots level. Chair of the Chesterfield Democratic Town Committee since 1998, Barron also served as a member of the state Democratic Party/Campaign Services Committee between 1999 and 2007.
Last year, Barron co-founded RuralVotes, a nonprofit issue advocacy group that is focused on the revitalization of rural America, and has organized more than 20 Democratic town committees in Western Massachusetts over the last 10 years.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Barron characterized Arlos' performance as district representative as "abysmal," saying the former long-time Pittsfield city councilor fails to attend state committee meetings and other related functions.
'He is a disgrace'
"My passion is helping to build our party at the grassroots level especially in rural communities," Barron said in a written statement. "My opponent, Peter G. Arlos, has the worst attendance record of the entire 343-member state committee. ... He is a disgrace to our party and the district."
According to Barron, Arlos failed to attend every Democratic State Committee meeting between 2004 and 2007 except for one gathering in 2005 when he arrived a half hour before the meeting ended. He also missed 24 consecutive DSC meetings between 2000 and 2003, Barron claimed.
Arlos said he doesn't attend the Democratic State Committee meetings because "they serve no purpose other than to have a good time."
A constant advocate
Instead, Arlos said he has constantly advocated for the people of his district by sending letters to elected officials and major newspapers on their behalf. According to Arlos, his written opinions on government issues have been published in the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Times.
He also has copies of letters sent to him by Bill Clinton in response to written queries on government issues that Arlos sent to the White House during the 1990s.
"How can they say you're a disgrace if you're defending the people of the Democratic party?" Arlos said. "It's what I do. I've never seen Barron or the Democratic Committee speak on behalf of the working people."
A recent endorsement
Arlos recently received the endorsement of former Pittsfield mayor and current city Democratic Committee chairman Remo Del Gallo.
Besides serving for 28 years on the Pittsfield City Council, Arlos served as Berkshire County treasurer for 18 years, as a county commissioner for four years, as chairman of the state group insurance commission for three years in the 1960s, and on numerous other state and local boards. Arlos also served on the Berkshire County Regional Retirement Board until August 2006, when he was removed for violating the state's conflict of interest law by voting for his own pay raise six years earlier.
Barron said one of his goals is to create more local Democratic town committees in communities throughout the district, especially in the rural areas. According to Barron, 11 of the district's 48 cities and towns do not have local Democratic Party committees.
Arlos said he has a list of all the communities in the district, and plans to contact the chairman of the state Democratic Committee to organize local groups.
Re: Arlos v. Barron - Round #2 - They are both CORRUPT!
February 2, 2008
If I still lived in my native Berkshires, I would vote for "None of the ABOVE"! Peter Arlos is NOT a Democrat! Arlos symbolizes a phenomenon I have also now witnessed in New Hampshire -- Career Politicians go where the POWER is and say they are a "Democrat" in Massachusetts or a "Republican" in New Hampshire to make a life for themselves off of the backs of mostly-hard-working taxpayers.
I have sat in Peter Arlos' former Pittsfield County Government Offices for many years. What Pete Arlos was all about was using the public system for his own gain. I would hear Arlos and Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., collude in order to consolidate their power, wealth and images. What did these career Pols do?
Right up Rinaldo Del Gallo III's alley, if Joey got Katey pregnant, they would ensure that Joey would pay Katey's child support (with compoundng interest with administrative penalties), and that Katey would pay into one of Peter Arlos' Section 8 public housing projects near North Street. If Joey got into trouble and did not want to be a "good boy" (meaning Carmen did not hire Joey as one of his Jailers to work the 10 P.M. to 6 A.M. graveyard shift), then Joey would be arrested and be incarcerated in the Carmen's Jail.
That is what Peter Arlos is all about: Using the SYSTEM to control Pittsfield's large welfare caseloads to enrich himself with power, wealth and public image. Arlos is a MILLIONAIRE by making a career in public service off of the backs of the taxpayers who subsidize public assistance programs for "Katey" and Jail for "Joey".
I HAVE LIVED THIS LIFE, but succeeded in restraining myself from getting the proverbial "Katey" pregnant, and have since moved 130-miles away from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The thoughts of the situation I was put in, and watching how the Massachusetts' "Democrats" cared about the poor, all still haunt me to this very day!
Peter Arlos wrings his hands, while Carmen Massimiano licks his lips. These are two Massachusetts "Democrats" who PROFITED off of the business of "Regulating the Poor"! They use the letter of the law to ensure compliance with welfare programs and jailings, but the spirit of the law is to CONTROL disadvantaged people for their own gain!
Matt Barron is also a career politician who is very connected with powerful Massachusetts Democrats, including DENIS E. GUYER!
Matt Barron confounds me because he will selectively point his finger at Arlos without doing the same about Andrea Nuciforo, who strong-armed 2 women out of a 2006 Massachusetts State Government Election to win the seat unopposed, or Chris Hodgkins, who missed of half of his roll call votes during his last term in political office in 2001-2002, or Peter Larkin, who resigned his elected office 6 days after taking the oath in 2005 and then went onto be a highly paid lobbyist on Beacon Hill, or Dan Bosley, who used Orwellian logic to say casino gambling is bad because it will cut into the state's regressive taxation system that is the Lottery, or Smitty Pignatelli, whose first vote in 2003 was a vote for the now disgraced Speaker Finneran, or Stan Rosenberg, who wants to shut people out of the state government via the referendum process, or Denis Guyer, who illegally, racistly, discriminatorily, viciously...slandered me for 3-straight-consecutive-years predominantly in front of women and children from 2004 to 2006! Matt Barron even works for Dalton State Representative Denis E. Guyer as a legislative aide!!!! Matt Barron has received all of my emails about Denis' attacks against me, but has never renounced them.
Matt Barron has singled out Peter Arlos to gain political power as a Massachusetts Democrat. Instead of taking on the SYSTEM, Matt Barron is taking on an old man entrenched in the SYSTEM. I hope Peter Arlos wins this election like he did 4 years ago, but only because Matt Barron is equally CORRUPT!
Jonathan A. Melle
"Arlos-Barron rematch is only local race"
The Pittsfield Gazette, Jonathan Levine, 31.JANUARY.2008
Voters in Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary will see a second contested race.
Matt Barron of Chesterfield is again trying to unseat Peter Arlos as the district’s Democratic state committee man.
In 2004, Arlos retained his seat with 7,379 votes, compared to 5,858 votes for Barron.
The challenger has come out swinging in what is one of just five state committee races that’s contested among the 40 Democratic seats statewide.
“My passion is helping to build our party at the grassroots level especially in rural communities,” said Barron.
He terms Arlos “a disgrace to our party and our district.”
Barron bases his claims on Arlos’ attendance record at state committee meetings, saying he has the worst record among committee members.
“He neither serves on nor contributes to any state party subcommittees and he is invisible at party gatherings and events across our district,” said Barron. “Mr. Arlos has become a Democratic ‘no show’.”
Arlos counters that he is one of the most active and visible Democratic committee members in the state. He said he uses the position to promote the Democratic agenda, to disseminate information to voters and to assist Democratic candidates with outreach efforts.
“I bring out our issues in a broader way,” he said. “I’ve been very fortunate. I’m the only one on the state committee now or ever to get into the New York Times, the Washington Post or the Los Angeles Times... That’s a great asset, bringing attention to our issues at the national level.”
Arlos said he attended two committee meetings this term, “the one where we elected the officers and the one I hosted.”
He’s proud of that record, saying his other accomplishments are far more valuable. “Going to a meeting where there is no purpose or rhyme or reason is ridiculous,” he said.
Arlos said that instead he has used his position to help candidates and voters get together.
“I had the forum that brought all the candidates for governor to the Itam Lodge,” he said. “I had the rally for the representative candidates running for Larkin’s seat ... These are positive things for the party, for the candidates and for the voters... These are far more valuable than meetings with no purpose.“
Barron is co-founder of RuralVotes which he describes as “a non-profit issue advocacy group focussed on the revitalization of rural America.” He served for eight years on the state party’s campaign services committee, supporting legislative candidates.
“There is much work to be done over the next four years,” said Barron. “Eleven towns in this state senate district still have no local Democratic organization and I will continue to work to change that.”
Arlos served for decades in county elected positions and was Pittsfield’s longest serving city councilor. Though retired, Arlos said he continues to hold informal sessions to assist constituents.
“I make myself available,” he said. “I’m at the library from 1 to 3 p.m. every day to help people who need help.”
Arlos has a history of overcoming opponents in the state committee race. In 2000, Pittsfield Mayor Gerald Doyle, Jr. — who had often clashed with Arlos at City Hall — hoped to knock Arlos from the party position. In 2004, it was Barron’s turn. The challenger hopes 2008 turns the tide.
Margaret Johnson Ware is running opposed for reelection as the district’s Democratic state committee woman.
"Arlos win seems certain"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Thursday, February 07, 2008
PITTSFIELD — With more than half of the 48 communities reporting results yesterday, it appears that former longtime Pittsfield City Councilor Peter G. Arlos will be re-elected to a fifth consecutive four-year term as the Democratic State Committee's male representative for the Berkshire, Hampshire, and Franklin districts.
As of yesterday afternoon, Arlos had compiled 13,475 votes to challenger Matt L. Barron's 9,226 votes in Tuesday's election in unofficial results obtained from 28 district communities.
In Berkshire County, where all but 16 of the district's towns and cities are located, Arlos led Barron by almost 4,500 votes as of late yesterday afternoon. Results could not be obtained from nine of the county's 32 communities.
Arlos, who turned 82 on Sunday, finished first in 21 of the 23 Berkshire communities where results were available yesterday, losing by only five votes in Dalton and eight votes in Richmond. He won by only two votes in Lanesborough and by five votes in Hinsdale, but posted significant margins of victory in his hometown of Pittsfield, in North Adams, and in Williamstown.
His largest margin of victory was in North Adams, where Arlos received 1,405 votes to Barron's 475. He also received 1,013 votes in Williamstown to Barron's 447.
Arlos attributed his apparent victory to issues that concern average citizens. He his written letters on several issues including health care that have been published in several major newspapers.
"I'm always speaking for them," Arlos said, referring to his constituents.
In Pittsfield, the district's largest community, Arlos received 4,073 votes to Barron's 3,670, and finished first in 12 of the city's 14 precincts. Barron won by 72 votes in Ward 4A, Arlos' home district, and by 170 votes in Ward 4B.
Barron, who lives in Chesterfield in Hampshire County, had also lost to Arlos by some 1,500 votes in the 2004 election for the district seat. He did better outside the Berkshires on Tuesday, defeating Arlos 688 votes to 491 votes in the five towns outside the county where results could be obtained.
Barron defeated Arlos by 59 votes in his hometown of Chesterfield, and by 110 votes in Worthington, which is also in Hampshire County. In Franklin County, Arlos won Heath by 43 votes, and Charlemont by 42 votes, while Barron took Ashfield by 13 votes.
"I'm running against a guy with incredible name recognition," the 50-year-old Barron said yesterday. "Recognition not only from being on the Pittsfield City Council but from serving as Berkshire County treasurer."
"It doesn't hurt," Arlos said yesterday.
Barron said he also believed that the older voters that helped Hillary Clinton win Massachusetts helped Arlos, and that the number of blank votes that were cast, particularly in the Berkshires, also hampered his chances.
There were 101 blank votes cast in Egremont, 153 in Dalton, 595 in Williamstown and 1,219 in Pittsfield. According to Barron, 520 blank votes were also cast in Great Barrington which Arlos won by 429 votes.
"A lot of people don't know what this office is so they're hesitant to vote for it," Barron said.
Barron criticized Arlos before the election, claiming he had only attended one Democratic State Committee meeting between 2004 and 2007.
"I may go," Arlos said, when asked if he would begin attending meetings if he is re-elected. "I'll definitely go if it's something that's affects the citizens of Western Massachusetts. I'll be there to protect their interests."
To reach Tony Dobrowolski: TDobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com; (413) 496-6224
Berkshire County Courthouse
"Longtime City Councilor Arlos dead at 82"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Wednesday, November 19, 2008
PITTSFIELD — Former city councilor Peter G. Arlos, the most colorful and controversial Pittsfield political figure over the last 50 years, died on Sunday at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge. He was 82.
Arlos, who served 28 years on the City Council, longer than any other member, had been in ill health since his last term as an at-large councilor expired in 2004. Although he needed a cane to get around, Arlos had remained active, filing countless petitions with the current City Council on all manner of subjects, and winning re-election in February to a fifth consecutive four-year term as the Democratic State Committee's male representative for Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin counties.
He was also the founder and proprietor of Pace Vending Company for 35 years in the city.
According to his obituary listed in The Boston Globe, memorial services will be arranged at the convenience of his family.
Peter G. Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000, shortly after his election to a seat on the Democratic State Committee. 'He always stood his ground and voted what he thought was right for the community,' said Ward 7 City Councilor Anthony V. Maffuccio. (Eagle archives).
"Pittsfield 'Icon' Peter Arlos dies: The longtime political figure died Sunday in Cambridge at the age of 82."
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Thursday, November 20, 2008
PITTSFIELD — Peter G. Arlos, the most controversial and colorful Pittsfield political figure over the last 50 years, has died.
Arlos, who served 28 years on the City Council, longer than any other member, had been in ill health since his last term on the council in 2003. Although he needed a cane to get around, Arlos had remained active, filing countless petitions with the current City Council on all manner of subjects and winning re-election in February to the Democratic State Committee. He died on Sunday at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge. He was 82.
"Some people do nine things wrong and one thing right and get away with it. He was nine right and one wrong," said former Pittsfield mayor and current Community Development Board Chairman Remo Del Gallo. "It's the love-hate thing. Pete was one of those. Either you loved him or you hated him."
First elected at age 26
A 1944 graduate of Pittsfield High School, where he was captain of the football team, Arlos first ran for City Council at age 26 in 1953 but wasn't elected until his fourth try in 1971. He also served as a county commissioner between 1974 and 1978, as county treasurer from 1985 to 2002, and on numerous state boards. He served two years in the Navy during World War II and spent three years at Siena College in New York.
Arlos also founded Pace Vending, which he ran for 35 years until he sold the business in 1985. His attempts to transport vending machines and place them in establishments in both Pittsfield and New York state in the 1950s frequently landed him in legal trouble.
In 1960, Arlos and his brother-in-law, Santos J. Bicoules, were fined $100 by a New York state justice of the peace for being in possession of a pinball machine. Arlos claimed he had been taking the machine to Albany for repairs. He later wrote a letter to then- New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller claiming his civil rights had been violated.
Violated conflict-of-interest laws
During his long political career, Arlos was known simultaneously as a champion of the little guy who stood up for the city's poorest citizens and a disruptive force. Not afraid to challenge the powers-that-be — which he did repeatedly — Arlos also fell victim to the temptations that afflict the powerful. He lost his seat on the Berkshire Regional Retirement Board in 2006 when he was found to have violated conflict-of-interest laws by voting for his own pay raise six years earlier.
Arlos sometimes found himself on both sides of the same issue. In 2007, he filed a petition with the City Council that sought more enforcement of an ordinance that requires residents and businesses to clean their sidewalks after a major snowstorm. But during discussion at the subcommittee level, it was learned that Arlos owned a vacant lot on Dewey Avenue and Linden Street where the sidewalks were never cleared and the grass was never mowed.
Although he considered himself a champion of the people, Arlos was cited by a fellow councilor in 1972 for being the only council member with an unlisted telephone number.
"Some saw him as a negative influence on the community, and some as a positive force," said retired Berkshire Eagle editor Grier Horner, who covered City Hall from 1965 to 1979. "I think there was a little of both in there. He certainly was the political force during my time."
Amid all the controversy, Arlos had another trait that stood out.
"He did so many things for so many people that it's unbelievable," Del Gallo said. "People don't realize."
Del Gallo said Arlos once helped with the tuition costs so a Pittsfield student could attend Williams College in Williamstown.
Those who knew him said Arlos was at his best when debating an issue before the City Council.
"He was a guy who came to life when he was on stage," Horner said.
"He was a formidable debater," Horner added. "Hardly anybody could stand up to him. He sometimes made derisive comments about people. He had a million ideas. There were so many I could never find out which ones came to fruition and which ones didn't."
Former City Councilor James R. McCaffrey, who served on the council between 1982 and 1991, had several verbal battles with Arlos.
"We did," McCaffrey said. "But I loved him, and he loved me, too. We were good buddies. We had some battles over the years, but I never held a grudge, and he didn't either."
Tully remembers Arlos in council as being "very long-winded," and capable of using the coverage of his activities in The Eagle to his advantage.
"What really amazed me the most is how he got The Eagle to write these editorials against him, and they made him more popular," Tully said. "It was like he was using them as his agent."
Arlos is survived by his wife, the former Alma Rosenfield of Becket whom he married on June 14, 1953. He is also survived by two sons, George P. Arlos of Cambridge, and Maurice B. Arlos of New York City, and a daughter, Alexa Arlos of Cambridge. He was predeceased by a daughter, Dayan Arlos. He also leaves three grandchildren, and two sisters, Betty Bicoules and Antonia Arlos, both of Pittsfield.
Funeral services are private and at the convenience of the family.
"Pittsfield icon Arlos known for his passion"
By Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Thursday, November 20, 2008
PITTSFIELD — Those who knew and worked with Peter G. Arlos remember him as passionate about serving his constituents and stubborn in his arguments.
"Everything he proposed was for the good of the community, whether he was on the City Council or working in county government," said City Council President Gerald M. Lee, who served with Arlos for two years.
"He was not afraid to tell you if he thought you did something wrong — and sometimes, he was right," added Lee, who also dealt with Arlos when Lee was the Pittsfield police chief.
"He was an icon," said former City Councilor James R. McCaffrey. "He was, in my opinion, the most famous politician in the city of Pittsfield. He outdid (the late U.S. Rep. Silvio O.) Conte and all of them. He knew a lot of people. Everybody knew Pete."
Ward 7 City Councilor Anthony V. Maffuccio said Arlos was "determined and stubborn."
"He always stood his ground and voted what he thought was right for the community," Maffuccio said. "He'll be missed by many people as he was a good icon."
North Adams Mayor John Barrett III said it was "very frustrating" at times to work with Arlos. The two served together on the County Commission for two years in the late 1970s.
"He would sometimes read the newspaper if someone was speaking before us, or he would go off on a tangent at times when he did speak," Barrett said.
But Barrett praised Arlos for his ability to overcome several defeats, including one to Barrett, who beat Arlos for a spot on the Democratic State Committee in 1972. It was Barrett's first political victory.
"(Arlos) was the most resilient politician I ever met," Barrett said. "He kept bouncing back."
And Arlos usually did it without Democratic Party backing.
"He was never part of the political establishment," Barrett added. "He marched to the beat of a different drummer."
John J. Pignatelli Jr., of Lenox, worked with Arlos on the County Commission and, later, when Arlos became county treasurer.
"Peter and I got along very well, and we never had a problem," said Pignatelli, who served on the commission from 1972 to 1992. "We both respected each other."
Pignatelli and Arlos knew each other as teenagers and as opponents on the basketball court, long before they began their political careers.
"We used to play at the (Pittsfield) Boys Club on Saturdays and we would be on opposite sides," Pignatelli said. "I found him to be gentle on the court."
Pignatelli's son, state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox, followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a county commissioner from 1996-1999, when Arlos was the county treasurer.
"I entered when county government was struggling, and we had a couple-hundred-thousand dollar deficit," said the younger Pignatelli. "(The commission) had to work closely with the treasurer, and we were very proud to balance the books."
Mayor James M. Ruberto remembers meeting Arlos for the first time when Ruberto was a boy growing up in the city. While he never worked with Arlos in the political arena, the two agreed on one issue before Arlos died: redesigning the Park Square rotary.
"He shared this love of realignment of North and South streets so no traffic will go around the rotary," Ruberto said. "It's too bad he won't get to see it."
Peter G. Arlos, 82
November 16, 2008
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Peter G. Arlos, 82, of Arlington Street and of Cambridge, a longtime civic leader and businessman, died at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008.
Born in Pittsfield in 1926, son of George and Bessie Arlos,
he graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1944 and attended Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.
He was a Navy veteran of World War II.
Mr. Arlos was founder and proprietor of Pace Vending Co. for 35 years, selling the business in 1985.
A civic activist, he was the longest sitting councilor on the Pittsfield City Council, serving for a total of 28 years. He was elected in 1971, defeated for election in 1999 and then won a single term in 2001. He failed in his bid to return to the council once more in 2005.
He also was Berkshire County treasurer from 1985 to 2002, and maintained his position until 2006 as treasurer of the county Retirement Board when it became the Berkshire Regional Retirement Board on the dissolution of county government. He also served as a Berkshire County commissioner from 1974 to 1978 and on the Democratic State Committee.
He leaves his wife, the former Alma Rosenfield, whom he married on June 14, 1953; two sons, George P. Arlos of Cambridge and Maurice B. Arlos of New York City; a daughter, Alexa Arlos of Cambridge; two sisters, Betty Bicoules of Pittsfield and Antonia Arlos of Pittsfield, and three grandchildren, Pilar A. Arlos, Alexander E. Arlos and David G. Arlos-Viaud.
He was predeceased by another another daughter, Dayan Arlos.
FUNERAL NOTICE — Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are being handled by Levine Chapels in Brookline.
"Remembering Peter Arlos"
The Berkshire Eagle - An Op-Editorial, By Jack Dew
Thursday, November 20, 2008, PITTSFIELD, Massachusetts
When I first met Peter Arlos, I thought he might be homeless.
Dressed in a shiny green Celtics jacket, a frayed button-down shirt with a spreading ink stain on the pocket, dirty khakis and a worn pair of sneakers, Arlos shuffled into the Pittsfield post office on a cold November morning. George Bush had just been declared the controversial winner of the 2000 Florida vote, and I had been dispatched to gather reactions.
Veteran Eagle photographer Joel Librizzi called Pete over. His hair mussed and unshaven, he launched into a scathing but articulate attack of the vote count.
"Bush will win," Pete prophesied, "but only because his brother is the governor and controls the apparatus."
When Pete left, I turned to Joel and said, "Who was that?"
"That's Pete Arlos," Joel said. "He's a legend."
And so he was, for good reasons and bad. Pete was obsessed with local politics as others are obsessed with baseball or stamp collecting; it was his hobby and his identity. As a county commissioner, treasurer and, for 28 years, a Pittsfield city councilor, Pete always managed to find the spotlight and was never afraid to pick a fight, portraying himself as a defender of the "little people," as he called his constituents.
He practiced politics with wit and a slash of a mean streak. In 2002, he asked then-Mayor Sara Hathaway to give the council a memo from an environmental lawyer. When she refused, he likened the dispute to that between President Clinton and independent counsel Kenneth Starr and appealed to the Massachusetts secretary of state's office, which eventually ordered the mayor to release part of the letter.
When the 2001 City Council was being organized, Arlos claimed a balky right knee required him to take the first seat — the one furthest from the council president's right hand — that traditionally began debate on petitions. While Arlos claimed disability, fellow councilors suspected he wanted to dominate floor debate. He got the seat.
That put Arlos next to the press table, where I and others sat during council meetings. My head down, busily taking notes in the midst of a budget debate, I'd often hear, "Pssst. Pssst. Jack." I'd look up and see Pete. He'd give me a wink, point to whoever was speaking, and say in a stage whisper, "He's a faker."
As former Eagle reporter Dusty Bahlman once told me, Pete was addicted to ink. He loved to see his name in the paper and had a knack for finding his way into our pages. When the Eagle was still on Eagle Street, Dusty recalled, Pete would slide early copies of his council petitions under the door on weekends, knowing he was likely to find a hungry reporter desperate for something — anything — to write about.
He liked to dispense tips and political gossip. I often answered the phone to hear Pete's unmistakable voice saying, "This is Deep Throat." He'd reel off a story about some misdeed by a state representative or the latest infighting among Berkshire Democrats. His stories were seldom accurate, but there was often a kernel of truth in them, some nugget of news that became the jumping-off point for an article.
Pete's last term on the council ended in 2003. My last visit with him was in March, 2004, in his treasurer's office in the basement of the Berkshire Superior Court. The wood-paneled walls were covered with pictures of Pete and famous political figures, a monument to more than 50 years spent fighting in the state's political arena.
He had taken his loss hard, blaming political insiders and backroom deals. But, as always, he had a story to pitch. He had taken to picking up discarded lottery tickets as he roamed Pittsfield, collecting them in brown paper bags to illustrate the need to re-implement a second-chance lottery and stop the litter.
He made a final, unsuccessful run for the council in 2005. In many ways, Pittsfield had moved beyond Pete. The redevelopment of North Street, the finished restoration of the Colonial Theatre, the arrival of a new generation of councilors closed the book on the Pittsfield that Pete had scrapped over all those years.
When I saw him in passing, he seemed tired. He liked to tell me he had the body of a 40-year-old, but his health was visibly failing. His petitions to the City Council — always numerous — were no longer written in his distinctive, loopy cursive but typed by someone else. He no longer walked to the Berkshire Athenaeum, where he would hold court in the periodicals section.
In February, Pete won his final election, a contest for a seat on the Democratic State Committee. He won even though he had attended just one meeting in three years. His opponent griped that Arlos won on name recognition alone.
"It helps," Pete responded.
Jack Dew is an Eagle staffer.
"Name chambers after Arlos"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I believe Mayor Ruberto should do the city of Pittsfield and Peter Arlos a great honor by the naming the City Council chamber in his honor. He did a lot for the people who lived in and still live in this city. There will never be another person who cared as much for this city or the people in it.
Mister Mayor, do the right thing and show his family and the people how much he meant to this city. It would also show the future City Council members how much he was respected in this city for what he accomplished in his career.
The Massachusetts State Ethics Commission: A Kangaroo Court!
"A nightmarish future: Judge Luciforo!...Jonathan Melle in Hell!"
Peter G. Arlos
Still on the agenda: property owned by the late Peter Arlos deeded to city
"Peter Arlos legacy resurfaces"
By Jonathan Levine, The Pittsfield Gazette, November 11, 2010
Two years after his death, the memory of an iconic politician returned on Tuesday.
City councilors voted unanimously to accept a gift of land from the estate of Peter Arlos.
Asked afterwards if the famously independent Arlos would have approved of the gift, council president Gerald Lee — who often gave Arlos rides after meetings — recalled the former councilor’s love of publicity.
“He’d be happy if he gets his name up there,” smiled Lee.
The donated land is a lot at the intersection of Dewey Avenue and Linden Street.
Community development director Deanne Ruffer said that the parcel is on the path of a proposed river walk way and includes frontage on the Housatonic River.
“This property was identified in the westside river way plan as a targeted location for a canoe launch or take-out,” she said.
With the Housatonic River Association having just installed a canoe launch at Wahconah Park, “we see this as one ideal location that requires very little effort to be a canoe take -out.”
Ruffer said that officials have eyed the site “for several years.”
As family members are looking to settle Arlos’ estate, they contacted the Berkshire Natural Resources Council about the property, which brought the opportunity to the attention of the city.
Ruffer said that the family agreed to donate the parcel directly to the city, provided the transaction can close this year.
She said that the canoe take-out should be operational in the spring, with short-term parking allowed at the property.
Ward 5 councilor Jonathan Lothrop asked who will be responsible for maintenance of the site, since if he been “cited as an unkept parcel of land.”
Ruffer said that the city maintenance department will be responsible for the parcel as it is for any municipal recreational or park area.
Ward 6 councilor John Krol welcomes the donation. “This is very consistent with what the westside has been advocating,” he stated.
Arlos passed away in November 2008 at the age of 82. He served 28 colorful years on the city council.
December 24, 2014
Re: my response to Dan Valenti's misrepresentation of the late Pete Arlos
The late Peter Arlos, "the Aging Greek God", was part of the problem in Pittsfield politics. He opposed all the proposed projects that would have made Pittsfield a better community. Arlos did not want a downtown mall. He didn't want a new ballpark. Arlos profited off of the poor people who rented his "Pottersville" downtown Section 8 apartments. In terms of being an advocate for the little guy, he was just the opposite, Arlos was vested in the political and governmental system in Pittsfield politics. Arlos was a millionaire, as they called him "pinball Pete". Despite his wealth, Arlos served decades in the Pittsfield City Council, and was a Berkshire County Commissioner and then a Berkshire County Treasurer. Arlos received public healthcare insurance benefits, a middle class public salary, and then a comfortable public pension. He did NOT need the public dollars and benefits! Arlos was already wealthy! To me, Arlos was just plain greedy and loved the power of Pittsfield politics. Pete Arlos was a Massachusetts Democratic Party Committee member. Arlos was no Democrat! Like many Pittsfield politicians, Arlos said he was a "Democrat" because you had to be a Democrat to be elected in Western Massachusetts. For example, "Democrat" Peter Larkin became a "Republican" GE lobbyist. "Democrat" Andrea Nuciforo II was a private Attorney for "Republican" big banks and insurance companies. "Democrats" Carmen Massimiano II and John Barrett III endorsed Republicans like Bill Weld, the late-Paul Cellucci, and Charlie Baker for Governor of Massachusetts. Being a Democrat in Pittsfield politics is the biggest lie! Peter Arlos would wring his hands with schadenfreude when the little guy struggled and Pittsfield decayed into corruption and poverty. Arlos mocked the poor with pseudo-compassion. Arlos was known to have hurt a lot people. Arlos told me he didn't want me to receive my Veterans benefits. He told me that I was "no good". What did he want me to be? A homeless Veteran with no healthcare and mental health care. I ceased my association with Peter Arlos about one decade ago because he was rooting against me, just like many other Pittsfield politicians. I am happy I don't live in Pittsfield anymore. Pittsfield politics makes me upset because of Pittsfield politicians like Pete Arlos, Peter Larkin, Andrea Nuciforo II, Carmen Massimiano II, et al.
- Jonathan Melle
December 24, 2014
Re: Peter Arlos was a phony!
Peter Arlos may have been an advocate for Pittsfield during his time in Pittsfield politics, but he did oppose all of the ideas to make Pittsfield a better place. Arlos opposed the downtown mall proposal. Arlos opposed the new downtown ballpark idea. Arlos opposed the performing arts theater project for downtown Pittsfield, which did succeed during the Jimmy Ruberto regime. Pittsfield has a continuous decline in population and a remaining aging population that will die off in a couple of decades from now. Pittsfield’s current plan is to attract young families to stay and move to the area. The opposite is happening in Pittsfield. Young people are moving out of Pittsfield because if they stay they will be working poor and/or live in poverty with welfare assistance programs for their subsistence. Moreover, hundreds of students are choicing out of Pittsfield public schools. Pittsfield’s planners want a broader use of the city’s downtown, and a new 21st century broadband system. Downtown Pittsfield, which has received tens of millions of public dollars for its revitalization, is still known as Social Services Alley by day, and place most people avoid after hours.
If I didn’t know otherwise, I would guess that Pittsfield politicians like Peter Arlos was a Republican. He supported Proposition 2.5, which gutted local funding and control of public schools. Arlos supported Massachusetts public school teachers and other public employees not being vested in the Social Security system, which screws them out of many thousands of dollars in retirement benefits and leaves them in poverty. Arlos called teachers, cops, and other local and state public workers: “Public Payroll Patriots.” Arlos was a hypocrite because he was vested in the public personnel system himself, despite being a wealthy millionaire. Arlos, like the movie character Henry Potter, profited off of the poor, who rented rooms in his Section 8 downtown Pittsfield housing. Arlos liked downtown Pittsfield’s poverty because he preyed on and profited off of the poor. Arlos never wanted Pittsfield to develop into a middle class community. Peter Arlos was a phony!
- Jonathan Melle
December 25, 2014
Look at the outcomes of Pittsfield politics! The picture is not pretty. Thousands of people have moved away from Pittsfield over the past several decades. Pittsfield tax base is shrinking, while its taxes are growing way above the rate of inflation. The test of any community is an affirmative answer to the following question: “Would the average middle class family move to our community?” Put another way, does our community attract investment via families and business. In Pittsfield, population and job losses are staggeringly high. Why is that? I am not scapegoating the millionaire turned Pittsfield politician named the late Peter Arlos, but his fiscally conservative and shortsighted (penny wise, but pound foolish) policies that produced every negative trend and socioeconomic indicator in the book of social sciences and behavioral studies. Pittsfield politics is a failure in long-term socioeconomic planning! I use the following illustrative example of Pittsfield. If I had a daughter who studied in school and earned a scholorship to Harvard University, I would be seen as an elitist and would not fit into Pittsfield’s dysfunctional social fabric or way of life. But it I had a daughter who had an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy at the age of 16 and went on welfare, we would fit right into Pittsfield’s culture of dependency, job loss, population loss, poverty, etc. My pregnant daughter would receive all the welfare assistance programs, rewards, and affirmation in Pittsfield. In fact, there are more local people in Pittsfield who receive welfare assistance programs and other social services than have full time, living wage jobs. Those are the people who have not moved away from Pittsfield because they don’t have the means to go anywhere else. Pittsfield’s downtown is known as “Social Services Alley” by day, and place most people avoid by night. Peter Arlos made his money and political career off of the underclass in Pittsfield. Pete Arlos was no Democrat. Pete Arlos was a phony!
- Jonathan Melle
December 26, 2014
In Dan Valenti's view of Pittsfield politics, Peter Arlos was the champion of the little guys, while Dan Bianchi is part of the problem. I totally disagree with Valenti's view about Arlos. Pittsfield politics is a textbook case of failed municipal management and long-term planning. Thousands of people have moved out of Pittsfield. Thousands of jobs have been lost in Pittsfield. Pittsfield's taxes are very high and are raised by around 5 percent per year in addition to its multimilion dollar capital budget, debts, and unfunded liabilities (or long-term debts). Pittsfield's finances are unsustainable and the municipality will become insolvent in the next 2 decades. Pittsfield will have to declare bankruptcy like other local governments throughout the nation. Peter Arlos was a millionaire. He didn't need the taxpayer financed benefits, but he took them anyways. Arlos received generous salaries, healthcare insurance, and pension benefits via the local taxpayers. Arlos opposed everything that would have developed Pittsfield from the underclass to the middle class, including the downtown mall, the new ballpark proposal, and the performing arts project. Arlos owned Section 8 properties he would rent to working poor and welfare assistance recipients in downtown Pittsfield. The last thing Arlos wanted was development investments because he would lose his underclass clientele. Arlos always wanted more and more money, political power, and influence over local people. That was his M.O. and political agenda. Dan Valenti should understand that the number one constituent to Peter Arlos was Peter Arlos!
- Jonathan Melle
"A History of Organized Crime in the Berkshires"
By Joe Durwin, iBerkshires Columnist, March 8, 2015
Pinball on Trial
Not long after, Daniel Caligian went into the pinball machine business with Peter G. Arlos, a controversial figure who would later become the city's longest reigning city councilor. Together, they ran Automatic Vendors Inc. until 1950, when Arlos severed ties to begin his own pinball machine distribution business, Pace Merchandising Co. When their respective licenses to sell the machines expired at the end of 1951, their re-application to the Licensing Board launched the dramatic "Pinball Hearings," which dragged on before the board for the first several months of 1952.
Pinball machines had been a matter of local controversy for a number of years....In March 1946, the Supreme Judicial Court had ruled that only pinball machines that did not have a cash pay-off of any kind attached were legal in the commonwealth, and in October of that year, Pittsfield's Chief John Sullivan issued an order to local establishments for the removal of such gaming apparatus, even five taverns that had been issued permits by the city's Licensing Board just three months earlier.
Subsequent legislation from Boston in 1949 further clarified the legality of non-gambling pinball machines, though local authorities were still very much of the opinion that the industry surrounding their use was being used as some kind of front for other forms of illegal gambling, probably because of the reputation of their primary distributor as a known bookie.
"Mr. Caligian along with his former associate in AVI, Peter Arlos, astonished the trappers by swallowing the bait and applying for the licenses," wrote Roger Linscott in The Berkshire Eagle.
The Pinball Hearings, which played to packed audiences in City Hall chambers, lasted from February to early May .
Considerable testimony from police officers and other witnesses alleged instances of book-making and other "questionable enterprises" had been occurring at places rented by Caligian and Arlos, and the board ultimately denied their permits.
Letter: “Carrying on Arlos legacy of taxpayer advocate”
The Berkshire Eagle, December 30, 2016
To the editor:
The times and days that you can view my show on PCTV-Channel 16 will change on Jan. 1. The show will be on Monday at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday at 5:30 a.m., and Thursday at 11:30 p.m. Please save this schedule. The reason for this change is to allow more people to view my show at new times in case they were not able to view my Friday TV shows.
The show will be the same. The main purpose is to give you the taxpayers of the city of Pittsfield a slant on city government that you cannot get from any other news source in the city.
I want to make it clear that I ask for nothing for myself on my show. I am your voice — the voice of the little guy who has no say in city government.
Many people have likened me to the late Peter Arlos — an icon of city government for more than 30 years in Pittsfield. Peter and I were good friends for more than 30 years. He used to visit my father's barber shop, first on West Street and later on Fenn Street, and I got to know him well. I learned a lot from him, but I am quite different from Peter.
He had his style and I have mine. He would point out where problems existed in city government and I was like him in that respect. But I was different in that I always offer input as to how we can do better for the taxpayers.
I remember one incident with Pete when I was a teacher at Pittsfield High School and I called him to tell him that one of his sons was very unruly in my classroom. After that conversation, I had no further problems with his son, who became a model student.
Peter's daughter, Pyal, was one of the brightest students I ever had in my career as a high school teacher. She died an untimely death. He would come to my house on Southern Avenue several times a week for several years and I did my best to try to pull him out of a deep depression over the death of his daughter. I believe he went to his death plagued by the untimely death of his beloved daughter.
He was a polarizing figure at times in city government, but to the Gaetanis he was our loyal and dear friend for many years. We all loved him and voted for him in city elections. Today, I continue Pete's work in trying to help the taxpayers of this city in any way I can.
In 1985, the mayor and City Council decided to build water filtration plants designed by me, Dr. Miles Krofta and Dr. Lawrence Wang, scrapping the plan to build a $100-150 million project suggested by the city's consulting engineers and former DPW head Gerald S. Doyle Sr. This was done by a 10-1 vote of the City Council, with only Pete dissenting. I asked Pete why he voted against me and he said it was just in case the system failed, at which time "I will be able to say I told you so." But he added that if his vote was critical he would have voted for me in a heartbeat. That was classic Pete Arlos, and we were friends until the day he died.
There will never be another Peter Arlos. Although he has been deceased for many years, many people still talk about him. Peter, rest in peace. Your good friend, Craig.
- Jonathan Melle
- Amherst, NH, United States
- I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at email@example.com
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