Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pittsfield politics 2017. The lovely Linda Tyer leads Pittsfield politics towards 2020.


Lisa Tully

“Pittsfield Councilwoman Lisa Tully won't seek third term in 1st Ward seat”
The Berkshire Eagle, March 15, 2017

PITTSFIELD — City Councilwoman Lisa Tully has announced that she will not be seeking a third term representing Ward 1.

Tully, who was first elected to the council in 2013, said she hoped her early notice would enourage other candidates to step up to run for the seat in November's election.

"I want to see more young people get involved in city politics and the healthy debate of local issues during the upcoming election season for this very important position," she wrote in a media release. "It has been an honor to represent the residents of Ward 1 for two terms."

She cited the time constraints of public service.

"While the experience is very rewarding, being a city councilor is also very time consuming," she said. "At this moment in my life, I want to spend more time with my grandchildren while they are still young."

Tully, who is a charge nurse for the radiology/ cardiology department at Berkshire Medical Center, said she intended to remain active in the community.

"Although I will no longer be officially in public service, I will continue to serve the community as a volunteer. I will remain an advocate for the restoration of the house at Springside Park," she said. "I will continue to offer my services to the Morningside Initiative and assist with the annual cleanup. I also plan to get involved in other volunteer activities with the additional free time.

"I wish to thank all of my family, friends and neighbors who supported and encouraged me to put myself out in front of the public and seek a local office," she said. " Don't be surprised to see me return to city government when my nursing career winds down and my grandchildren are older."

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Moon

"This is a great place to live and I want people to understand that." - Helen Haerhan Moon, candidate for Pittsfield City Council

“Pittsfield City Council: Candidate steps up for Ward 1”
Moon says she was inspired to serve after the election
By Dick Lindsay, rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, March 16, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Bullish about the city's future, Helen Haerhan Moon wants to represent Ward 1 on the City Council.

Moon announced Thursday morning she plans to take out nomination papers next month in hope of succeeding Lisa Tully in the citywide November election. The critical care registered nurse at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington is the first Ward 1 candidate to emerge since Tully announced on Tuesday she wasn't seeking a third, 2-year term. The out-going incumbent has vowed to remain active in the community.

A native of South Korea, Moon relocated from Longmeadow eight years ago finding Pittsfield a great place to live.

"I'm running because I believe in the good of Pittsfield," she said in an Eagle interview. "I'm invested in making Pittsfield better."

Following the presidential election four months ago, Moon says she felt compelled to get more involved in her neighborhood, her ward, her city.

If elected, Moon plans to be part of the rejuvenation of the Tyler Street/Morningside area through the state-sponsored Transformative Development Initiative. The TDI project, through plenty of public input, looks to improve the housing, business and social opportunities in the Tyler Street area.

Moon also vows to push forward the restoration of the house at Springfield Park.

"Lisa has done a great job with Springside Park and I want to be an advocate for that," she said.

Moon realizes Pittsfield has issues with crime, drug addiction and other social ills, but she hopes to be part of the solutions to those issues. She also wants to be a voice for everyone in her ward and promises to improve the level of inclusiveness and diversity within the city.

"This is a great place to live and I want people to understand that," she said.

Reach staff writer Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.

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Mark Tully: “At ceiling, Pittsfield confronts reality”
By Mark Tully, Op-Ed, The Berkshire Eagle, March 20, 2017

PITTSFIELD — There is a common misconception that I hear often. People have the impression that since the city is close to the Prop 2.5 ceiling, the voters will be asked repeatedly to pass overrides in order to increase our tax levy. Some people say that there is no way the citizenry will pass a property tax increase. Other people say that once deep service cuts are apparent, the people will pony up and pass an override.

To these people, I have bad news. Proposition 2.5 does not allow for a voter supported override.

A Proposition 2.5 override is not permitted to increase the tax levy beyond 2.5 percent of the "Full and Fair Cash Value" of the community's property. This is the levy ceiling which cannot be surpassed. The only way to increase our levy is to significantly increase the "Full and Fair Cash Value" of the community through growth.

Is there cause for concern? Yes, we must all become aware of the financial dilemma facing our city. At the joint City Council /School Committee meeting at the end of January, a five-year financial forecast was presented by the Collins Center for Public Management at UMass Boston. This study, paid for by a grant, forecasts conservatively what the city's spending will be for five years, based on historical trends and current contractual obligations. Of course, the inevitable increases in health care, salaries and retirement benefits are the main cost drivers. Then the study looks at revenues where property taxes account for over 50 percent with very little growth in sight.

Shocking shortfalls

The comparison of revenues to expenditures is shocking. Next fiscal year, we will be more than $3 million short. For FY 2019 we will be more than $7 million short, FY 2020 more than $10 million, FY 2021 more than $14 million and FY 2022 more than $18 million.

These figures represent our cost overruns of doing business in the same manner as we have been doing for last 14 years. Except now, because of the Proposition 2.5 ceiling, we are not allowed to raise our taxes and cannot continue "business as usual."

We must make smart reductions this year and every year in the future. If health care increases 5 percent, we need to either cut a service by the same amount or decrease the health care benefits to employees. If the school department is to receive a contractual $1 million in salary increases, then we need to cut more services in the city budget or discontinue popular but not required school programs. This is not hypothetical, it is our new reality.

An opposition argument I hear often is that we must increase our tax base to solve our revenue shortfall. Yes, increasing our tax base IS the only solution. However that is similar to me saying I need to win the Powerball lottery to plan my retirement. The forecasted spending would require Pittsfield to find second home owners to build 1,000 luxury condos each year. Or a project on the scale of the MGM Casino that Springfield is building. We need to understand that in order to increase our tax levy by $1 million, (which is only a fraction of the annual levy increase), Proposition 2.5 ceiling mandates that we build $40 million of new growth into our value. Growth on a scale of this magnitude is not possible.

Are there other communities in Massachusetts at or near their ceiling? Yes, Springfield is at its ceiling, but it hopes the MGM Casino project stimulates growth. In addition to Springfield, Avon and Holyoke are the only other communities that have been at their ceiling. Pittsfield is next in line, Holbrook and Longmeadow are close but can still increase their tax levies by 6 percent, staving off the inevitable for a few years.

Last year, I had the good fortune to tag along with my wife, [Ward 1 City Councilor] Lisa, to Holyoke. Lisa made an appointment to meet with the Holyoke treasurer and auditor to learn how they operate without being able to increase the tax levy. Holyoke has many challenges and its underperforming school system was a major problem. When the Holyoke school system was taken over by the state last year, ironically, it financially helped the city. This year, to meet budget constraints, Holyoke had to close a fire station; consolidate department personnel and reduce staff by not replacing retirees. These are just a few of the savings Holyoke has to implement each year.

Diet and exercise

So how does Pittsfield move forward in the face of such financial challenges? There isn't a quick solution, this is a way of life change. I think of a Type 2 diabetic when the only way to reverse the disease and regain a high quality of life is through diet and exercise. We must put ourselves on a strict diet, but not a starvation diet because we must also exercise. Any increase to a department's budget must be determined if it will help the city grow and any decrease must be judged on if it will cause the city's growth to shrink. For example, would foregoing school department raises create a negative impact to the city? Or, would foregoing popular school department programs to pay for the raises have a negative impact on our city?

These are the decisions now before us. We cannot have it all. The credit card is max'd out and the savings account is depleted. We are all affected by this and are all in it together.

In closing, when we concluded our interview with Holyoke, Lisa asked the auditor if there is a bright side to being at their tax ceiling. He responded: Yes, because it forces public officials to finally make the unpopular but prudent financial decisions that they should have been making all along.

Mark Tully is a resident of Pittsfield and sales manager for Kidde-Fenwal Controls, an electrical/electronics manufacturer.

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“firefighters”
iBerkshires.com - Letter to the Editor, February 17, 2017

To the Editor:

Congratulation to the nine all white male firefighter that Pittsfield just hired with federal funds and to the City's Equal Rights and Employment Commission for a job well done. It appears they have made lots of progress in the last few years. The city should be real proud.

Sean Curran,
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

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“Pittsfield disregarded affirmative action”
Letter to the Editor of The Berkshire Eagle, March 18, 2017

To the editor:

Do we know racism, sexism and other "isms" when we see them or do we just say "Not here." Or do we give great speeches and write articles about the injustice of it all and and then call it a day.

I have to admit that I have been struggling with this issue. I grew up in Windsor, lived many years in Pittsfield and have now lived in Cheshire for many years. What caused me to write this letter was I read recently in The Eagle that Pittsfield appointed nine new firemen. Congratulations to them and to their families. I am sure they will serve the city well.
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[The nine recruits are Kyle Bailey, Brandon Bailey, Nicholas Teti, Brendan Shank, Shawn Leary, Craig Eggleston, Michael Herman, Timothy Sayers and Stephen Papa.]
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What my concern is that it appears that from the picture in The Eagle that the city appointed nine white, male candidates. Not one word has been said or written about this issue. I am not sure if we just choose to ignore this issue or with the emergence of Trump, this kind of action is condoned.

I have filed with the City Council a petition that calls for a review of theses appointments and the city's efforts to promote fair and equal treatment for all. I believe that the city and all of us can and should do better to insure better treatment and more opportunities for minorities. I urge everyone to write to federal and state officials, especially those in charge of grants to the city and urge them not to award them to the city until they show real progress in promoting affirmative action.

James M. Boyle,
Cheshire
The writer is a former School Committee chairperson and former city councilor.

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Dennis Powell of the NAACP speaks during a press conference Wednesday morning regarding the City of Pittsfield’s hiring practices and diversity efforts throughout local government. From left are Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski, City Councilor Peter White, Mayor Linda Tyer, Dennis Powell, City Councilor John Krol and Superintendent Jason McCandless. Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Credit: Gillian Jones, The Berkshire Eagle.

From left, city officials including Maria Richardson, Michael Summers, Robert Czerwinski, and Peter White listen during a press conference Wednesday morning regarding the City of Pittsfield’s hiring practices and diversity efforts throughout local government. The news conference was held in response to a letter to the editor from a former city councilor published in the Berkshire Eagle. The author also filed a petition with the City Council to review the city’s hiring practices in regards to affirmative action. Credit: Gillian Jones, The Berkshire Eagle.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, city officials and community leaders, hold a press conference Wednesday morning regarding the City of Pittsfield’s hiring practices and diversity efforts throughout local government. The news conference was held in response to a letter to the editor from a former city councilor published in the Berkshire Eagle. The author also filed a petition with the City Council to review the city’s hiring practices in regards to affirmative action. Credit: Gillian Jones, The Berkshire Eagle.

“Steps taken, steps needed: City examines diversity in workforce”
By Carrie Saldo, The Berkshire Eagle, March 22, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Work has been done, and there is still much work to do. That's what the president of the local NAACP had to say about the city's minority hiring practices.

Dennis Powell was among those who spoke during a news conference organized by Mayor Linda M. Tyer Wednesday. The event was held in response to a letter to the editor that stated the city disregarded affirmative action, and that leadership was not hiring enough non-white candidates.

Joined by nine community leaders, Tyer said the assertions made in the letter are false. Several of those gathered, including Powell, cited steps Tyer's administration had taken to increase diversity in both paid and appointed positions.

"Are we where we should be? No. Are we where we were? No," Powell said. "Progress has been made, but the process is a slow process because it was never practiced in years past."

Printed in Sunday's Eagle, a letter from James M. Boyle, a City Councilor in the 1990s and School Committee Chairman in the 1980s, pointed specifically to the hiring of nine white, male firefighters as proof city employment lacks diversity.

"I believe that the city and all of us can and should do better to insure better treatment and more opportunities for minorities," Boyle wrote.

In addition, he urged the public to write to federal and state officials, especially those who issue grants, and ask they be denied until the city demonstrates "real progress in promoting affirmative action."

Tyer said while its work to diversify city ranks is far from complete, it is ongoing and progress has been made.

"I just could not allow this false information to go unanswered," she said of her reason to call the news conference about the letter. "It is an absolutely unfair characterization of the city."

She vehemently disagreed with Boyle's call to action regarding grant funding.

She said grant funding supports work in numerous areas of city government including gang prevention, small business development, and a variety of housing programs. She specifically cited the Community Development department which she said received $45 million in grants over the past 12 years.

Boyle also filed a petition with the city that asked city councilors publically state their opposition to "racism and sexism" and should request updates from the mayor, department heads, and school leadership about efforts to diversify hiring.

City Council President Peter Marchetti said the petition would be referred to the mayor's office.

Personnel Director Michael Taylor described the city's hiring as fair, inclusive and added it focuses on "diversity and equality for all."

Taylor said, in an effort to reach a broader group of people, he has organized events to inform the public about qualifications needed for many of its jobs. In addition, its job openings are widely posted and also distributed by the local NAACP chapter.

While the majority of municipal government's approximately 480 employees are white, the workforce did become more diverse from 2015 to 2016.

The percent of African-Americans increased from 3.3 percent to 4.5 percent and Hispanics increased from 3.3 percent to 4.3 percent, according to statistics provided by Taylor. Asians and American Indians employed by the city still represent .2 percent of the workforce respectively.

Those figures do fall short of the broader population demographics.

Of Pittsfield's approximately 43,000 residents 85 percent are white, 5.4 percent are African American, 5.4 percent are Hispanic, 1.8 percent are Asian, and .2 percent are American Indian, according to 2015 information on city-data.com.

Powell pointed out that the local NAACP was instrumental in reviving an affirmative action policy and an advisory committee in 2013 under then Mayor James M. Ruberto. The committee had been dormant since the '90s.

Affirmative action policies typically dictate how an entity will work to improve opportunities for minority groups, which have historically been excluded.

He said the NAACP has been working to hold Tyer, and previous mayors, accountable for upholding its affirmative action policy.

"I see her on the right path," he said of Tyer. "Change starts with local government and I'm really pleased with the change I see occurring here locally."

He referenced the addition of Michael Summers and Yvonne West, both African-Americans, to the Board of Health as two steps in the right direction. Two people of color — Ty Allan Jackson, an African-American, and Helen Moon, an Asian-American — are running for City Council, which he cited as additional proof that a message of inclusion is being communicated to the public.

Powell also spoke highly of the on-going cultural competency training in the public schools and more recently among Tyer's senior staff.

Peter White, chairman of the city's Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, said it meets quarterly to discuss and debate ways to improve the treatment of minority groups, including members of the disabled community.

"We are making sure every effort is being put out there to hire diverse candidates," said White, also a member of City Council.

Among the attempts to increase diversity among its employees, the city may examine the Civil Service process. It requires candidates take an exam to determine eligibility for some jobs.

The test fee is $250 and testing is usually held outside of the Berkshires, both of which can be barriers for applicants, leaders said.

City fire and police departments use the Civil Service process to guide hiring. Results expire after two years and a candidate must pay to retake the exam if they were not hired and still want to be considered for a position.

Tyer said the city will continue to study the challenges of Civil Service hiring and that it would work with state leaders to try and improve the process.

She thanked Boyle for calling attention to the matter and said work on the issue would continue.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or csaldo@berkshireeagle.com or @carriesaldo

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Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer defends hiring practices during a press conference at city hall. Credit: JD Allen, WAMC.

"Pittsfield Defends Hiring Practices"
By JD Allen, WAMC, March 22, 2017

Pittsfield is promoting diverse hiring practices following allegations over several years that the western Massachusetts city does not conform to affirmative action standards.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer held a press conference Wednesday in response to a letter to the editor in The Berkshire Eagle that was critical of the city’s affirmative action policies. Tyer says the city has worked hard to improve diversity in its hiring practices.

“It is not about a quota," Mayor Tyer says. "It is not about meeting a quota. It is rather about addressing the barriers and creating an inclusive work environment.”

Pittsfield updated its affirmative action plan three years ago. Officials say the number of minority city employees has increased. Last year, Pittsfield employed 48 minorities out of 480 total workers.

The city also has promoted diversity training at public schools, city hall and public safety departments.

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Note: The city employs about 480 people; the School Department, about 1,200.

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Letter: “City should focus on residents, not on immigrants”
The Berkshire Eagle, March 23, 2017

To the editor:

This past November's election has taught us all many things. It has reminded us that the long shot should never be counted out and sometimes it ultimately prevails. Donald Trump is now our president, an upset to some and a relief to others.

I am of the latter. I am a huge Trump supporter. Why not build the wall and protect ourselves, and to help pay for it, he can start by taking money away from sanctuary cities. I am for veterans before immigrants. Love him or hate him, he is making a nation think about issues we have all taken for granted.

Which leads me to the anger I felt when the city of Pittsfield claimed that it will welcome immigrants with open arms. While working with state Sen. Hinds and Rep. Farley-Bouvier, Mayor Linda Tyer says we will give immigrants all the support possible. Shouldn't that have been a community discussion and not made by the great hierarchy of Western Massachusetts? They are supposed to represent one and all not just a minority of voters. I am sure the city will get some sort of payout for accepting the refugee resettlement community. The question is how much? And will the taxpayer see it? I doubt it. We just keep getting asked to pay more and more.

The mayor should be protecting who is already here. This city is in dire straights. Financially, we are a whisper away from economic failure. Plus there seems to be a spending problem going on even more so within the last few years. We need to make Pittsfield great again and the current administration isn't cutting it.

Getting the same type of people to run for office again won't fix the situation either. There have to be people who truly want change and who will vote for change regardless if the other members agree or not. We don't need more special interests. We need more strong-minded, opinionated people.

If a non-politician businessman can become president, then anything is possible. That includes improving the local government.

Tammy Ives,
Pittsfield

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“Pittsfield Public Schools to see 'real and substantive cuts'”
By Carrie Saldo, csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, March 23, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Anticipating nearly $1.7 million in budget cuts, and the potential loss of 65 positions, the Pittsfield School Committee wants to give itself and the public additional time to mull over the difficult decisions it is facing in fiscal 2018.

Initially, the district had intended to present its line item budget on the same evening as a public hearing about the budget. Instead, the committee will hold separate meetings to release the $60.7 million proposal and then to hear public input on it.

District leaders continue to work toward what they say will be a level-funded budget. With the city at its levy ceiling, and with no potential for a Proposition 2 override, Mayor Linda M. Tyer has asked all areas of city government, including the school department, to deliver level-funded budgets.

Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless presented the committee with the second draft of the fiscal 2018 budget during its meeting Wednesday.

The version cuts 65.3 positions and $1,325,153 from what would be a level services budget. Even with those cuts, the $60,665,421 proposal is $349,083, above this fiscal year, or a 0.57 percent increase.

The draft budget presented earlier this month proposed cutting 57.3 positions — the district has about 1,200 employees — and carried a 0.91 percent increase.

Committee member Anthony Riello asked about jobs saved through attrition. McCandless said about one-third of the positions might be retained that way.

Cuts to the district's pre-kindergarten offerings and contributions to the Helen Berube Teen Parent Program are among the other cuts McCandless pointed out, explaining the district believes other community partners will be able to make up differences in those areas.

He said that does not lessen the blow of the challenges ahead for the district and the students it serves.

"These are very real and substantive cuts, McCandless said.

The budget presented April 5 will include line items and it will be level funded, he said. The district will hold the budget public hearing April 12 and plans to adopt a budget April 26, a few days ahead of the May 1 deadline.

The city cannot ask voters for a Proposition 2 override because there has not been enough new growth in the city's tax base to support that, officials have said.

And the city lost $129 million in property value over the past five years, McCandless said Matthew Kerwood, the city finance director, explained in a meeting last week.

Tyer pointed out Pittsfield is not alone in its struggle to grow.

She said several Massachusetts communities are at or near their levy ceilings. Because of that, she said there may be an opportunity for those communities to work together on a solution. She said perhaps those municipalities could lobby state leaders to rethink the formula surrounding how taxes may be levied.

Tyer also told the committee health insurance premiums are increasing at exorbitant rates and she wondered aloud what would happen if the city stopped offering insurance.

"We would never do that," but if communities did, would it put pressure on insurance companies to stop increasing their rates, she asked.

Despite challenges, Tyer said she is optimistic that some new growth may be identified when the city's three year property revaluation takes place later this year.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo

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Craig C. Gaetani

“Council candidate says he'll fight for taxpayers”
By Carrie Saldo , csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, March 24, 2017

PITTSFIELD — A champion of the taxpayer.

That is what Craig C. Gaetani said he'll be if elected to the at-large City Council seat up for grabs.

Gaetani is the second person to announce a run for the post being vacated by Kathleen Amuso.

When asked about his campaign priorities he said: "Taxpayers' dollars, taxpayer dollars, taxpayer dollars."

Those were also the priorities he touted during an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2015, a loss he attributes to "trumped up charges" and not being a part of the "good ol' boy" network.

Gaetani, 68, runs Gaetani, Wang Scientific and Engineering Consultants and has said he is an experienced corporate executive with a variety of managerial experience. He worked many years as a corporate biologist, physicist, chemist, and worldwide director of technical marketing for Krofta engineering corporation, Krofta Waters Inc.

He is a cum laude graduate of the former North Adams State College and Berkshire Community College and a Vietnam veteran.

"I know a lot about a lot of things and am reasonable," which he said will make him an "outstanding" member of the council.

Gaetani has consistently voiced his displeasure with past and present elected city leadership for failing to work in the best interests of taxpayers. He said he has filed more city petitions to the council "than all of the councilors combined."

"As city councilor at large, City Council meetings will be very interesting — as the true voice of the taxpayer will be on board — with one goal and that is to serve the taxpayers with every drop of [my] strength," Gaetani wrote in a statement.

Mayor Linda M. Tyer has requested department heads submit level funded budgets for fiscal 2018.

Gaetani said this is a dire mistake.

As a member of the council, he would call for a 7 percent reduction of the budget.

He said he believes the city's Other Post Employee Benefits, promised to all past and current employees, is short by as much as $416 million. He has referred to that account as "the sleeping giant" that will bankrupt the city, during public comment at City Council meetings.

He said he will push for telephone lines at City Hall to be recorded at all times to avoid miscommunication and so that a permanent record can be kept of those calls.

He said he will also petition for a change to council rules to allow any city resident to address the council for any length of time. Current rules limit public comments to 3 minutes and speakers must sign up prior to the meeting to address the council.

Gaetani was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace at a January council meeting after he attempted to address the council without signing up for public comment.

Prior to being arrested, he had asked City Council President Peter Marchetti for dispensation from those rules because he was delayed by poor weather conditions.

He objected to questions being raised by the Eagle about six criminal charges pending in Northern Berkshire District Court calling them an attempt to "dig up dirt."

"It is time to move on from that," he said. "The only thing that holds any water at the present moment is I have not been convicted at all."

He faces three jury trial dates on three separate sets of charges: May 11 for threatening to commit a crime — shooting a city employee — and harassing phone calls; June 13, for two counts of witness intimidation and breaking and entering into a motor vehicle and July 11, for disturbing the peace, according to information from Northern Berkshire District Court.

Gaetani said he will self-fund his campaign and does not have a campaign team.

"I'm a one-man show," he said. "I always have been."

He said he will use his weekly television program "The Gaetani Pittsfield News Hour," which airs on Pittsfield Community Television, to distribute his information to the public. In addition, he intends to submit written statements to the Eagle and other area publications.

Ty Allan Jackson, an author and entrepreneur, announced his intent to run for council in February.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo.

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Letter: “Little pride, less logic in Pittsfield”
The Berkshire Eagle, March 28, 2017

To the editor:

I moved here about 12 years ago to be close to family, having lived in four states, I have noticed Pittsfield, even Berkshire County, is a place of no respect for one another and its business climate.

This is the only place I have ever lived or visited where the shopping carts are left where one's car was parked, usually six feet from a cart collection point or pushed against another vehicle. Running of red lights seems to be a passion in the county. Does anyone ever get stopped? Infrastructure of roads is a joke: Is it that hard to find someone competent to run a city or town road crew with some common sense and knowledge?

Schools — let's build a monument to some political hacks who do not give any say in the matter to the common taxpayer. I have lived in much larger areas with only one high school, while Pittsfield, with a declining population, needs for some stupid nostalgic reason to keep the one on East Street when the City Hall and Police Department buildings are in disrepair. It does not take a genius to figure it out — one high school, move the police and City Hall to Pittsfield High.

Taxes are a joke, you pay them for services and infrastructure, but we get fewer services and the rest is to redo North Street, as businesses leave. As a senior citizen I will be looking to move as soon as the new school is finished, since taxes will be incredibly high. Sorry, but outside business will not relocate; a fancy new school does not produce an influx of business. This is the pizza/auto parts store capital of Massachusetts.

Mayor and councilors, better wake up.

Maggie Smith,
Pittsfield

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Dina Guiel, candidate for Pittsfield City Council - Ward 2.

“Guiel challenges Morandi in Pittsfield's Ward 2”
By Dick Lindsay, The Berkshire Eagle, March 28, 2017

PITTSFIELD — The City Council's first political contest of 2017 has emerged as a possible showdown in Ward 2.

On Tuesday, Dina Guiel announced she was challenging incumbent councilor Kevin Morandi in the fall. Should a third candidate enter the race, a preliminary contest will be held in September, with the top two vote-getters squaring off in the November general election. Otherwise, Guiel and Morandi head straight for the Nov. 7 ballot.

Guiel said she is campaigning for her ward and the city, not against Morandi.

"I want nothing more than a clean, respectful race," she said in an Eagle phone interview. "This is more about me looking around and seeing what I can do for Pittsfield."

Upon learning of Guiel's candidacy, Morandi told The Eagle he was seeking his fourth, 2-year term.

"Absolutely," he said. "I'm looking forward to another two years as I like representing the constituents of Ward 2."

Guiel grew up in West Springfield, but fell in love with the Berkshires while attending Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. Following graduation from MCLA with a degree in sociology, she earned a masters in public administration and policy analysis from Northeastern University.

In between, she successfully created a youth mentoring program in Springfield and Holyoke, as well as helped create a master plan review for Dedham.

Guiel is currently working to establish a drug addiction program intent on helping addicts get their lives back together.

"Certainly there's a connection between drug addiction and a lack of economic prosperity," she said. "We need to bring jobs to the city."

As a city councilor, the young professional will have economic development for Pittsfield high atop her political to-do list, along with reducing violent crime.

She supports plans to revitalize the Morningside area that includes reuse of St. Mary of the Morning Star, the former Roman Catholic parish in the heart of Tyler Street.

Morandi is also bullish on Morningside and the redevelopment of the neighborhood's vacant properties.

"We need to give Tyler Street its own identity and make it attractive to business," said the self-employed barber.

The Lee native backs the reuse of St. Mary and wants to further champion continued growth at the Williams Stanley Business Park.

Since first elected six years ago, Morandi has preached fiscal restraint and calls on the city to step up efforts to trim the budget without greatly impacting taxpayer needs.

"I will fight hard for services we need, but done a more efficient way," he said. "I really want the city to be a more affordable place to live."

Reach staff writer Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233 or rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com

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“Pittsfield Awards Tax Incentives To Create Jobs”
By JD Allen, WAMC, March 29, 2017

The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts has awarded tax incentives to two local businesses through the state's Economic Development Incentive Program in an effort to create jobs and stimulate business growth.

Modern Mold and Tool received $145,000 in investment tax credits. It will go toward a $3 million investment to acquire and relocate the company’s expanded manufacturing facilities in Pittsfield.

Shire City Herbal received $74,000 in tax incentives toward a larger property for their company’s operations.

Shire City Herbals has also been working with the city’s Community Development Department and the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp for additional tax incentives.

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Mike Cirullo

“Mike Cirullo announces bid for Ward 1 Pittsfield City Council seat”
By Carrie Saldo – The Berkshire Eagle – March 30, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Jobs. That's the central focus of Mike Cirullo's bid for the Ward 1 City Council seat up for grabs this fall.

"Jobs certainly fix most else down the line for my priorities," he said. "When people have jobs you see crime go down and there is more money to be spending on education."

His intention to run creates a two-way race for a position held by City Councilor Lisa Tully for the past four years. She has said she won't seek re-election.

Helen Haerhan Moon, a critical care registered nurse at Fairview Hospital, announced her intention to run for Ward 1 earlier this month.

While a political newcomer, Cirullo, 35, has a background in public service.

He's a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and volunteers with four different entities.

He said his interest in public service shifted from national to local when he left the Massachusetts Army National Guard after nearly 10 years in the beginning of 2015. Through his union, IUE-CWA Local 255, he said he began identifying a number of local groups he wanted to volunteer with.

He now works with Tyler Street Business Group, the Berkshire Regional Employment Board, the Berkshire Central Labor Council and the Pittsfield High School Business Technology Advisory Committee.

"I wanted to volunteer my time, energy, and efforts hoping toward this eventual goal of getting more involved at the next level," he said.

Cirullo said his work with the employment board helped him learn there are typically between 1,300 and 1,400 jobs available countywide.

"But we can't fill the positions that we have in the industries we do have," he said.

As an employee of General Dynamics, he said he knows first hand that there is a need for people with engineering degrees. Vocational jobs, such as electricians, carpenters, and plumbers are also going unfilled.

"There's not enough people who have these hands-on skill sets," he said.

A Pittsfield resident since 2011, he lives on Williamsburg Terrace with his wife Ashley and two sons, Connor, 14, and Michael, 4.

The North Adams native has a degree in business administration from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and graduated from McCann Technical High School.

As for his campaign team, he said he is working with several advisers informally but is also looking for volunteers. In the meantime, he said he's hitting the streets and going door-to-door.

"It's going to be a rather personal approach to the campaign," he said. "I want to take the time to learn the needs and concerns of the people in this ward."

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo or csaldo@berkshireeagle.com

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Letter: “Fed up with aggravating Pittsfield parking meters”
The Berkshire Eagle, March 31, 2017

To the editor:

Last Wednesday I made by fourth trip to Pittsfield since the parking meters were installed to see a matinee at the Beacon Cinema. That's four times of wrestling with and trying to pay for my parking, to no avail!

The parking meter told me that my plate number was invalid and then so was my debit card. Grrrrr!

I managed to get a ticket for 30 minutes of free parking and left that on my dashboard. Just as I expected, a bright orange $15 ticket was on my car after the movie! The movie ("Beauty and the Beast") was great, but I will not be going back to North Street any time soon.

Betty Rood,
Hinsdale

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Bill Wright

“Newcomer Bill Wright challenges incumbent for Ward 4 Pittsfield City Council seat”
By Carrie Saldo , csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, April 2, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Community engagement. That's what Bill Wright says will anchor his City Council campaign.

"If we want to grow as a community we need to work together to make a difference," he said. "I love to see everyone at the local rallies and standing out on Park Square, making the efforts to show that they are here and willing to stand out for what they believe in."

The 45-year-old political newcomer is vying to represent Ward 4. Wright will face councilor Christopher J. Connell, who said he will seek a fourth term.

Having observed city politics for a dozen years, he believes the time is right for new voices on the council.

"I'm not going to set a hard and fast line" on priorities, he said. "I simply feel that if we want to grow as a community we need to work together to make a difference."

Wright has worked the past seven years for Blue Q, a Pittsfield-based company that designs and manufactures a variety of "awesome and artful curiosities," as it website states.

Blue Q received a state grant to implement the Lean manufacturing approach at the company. Made famous by Toyota, Lean teaches a systematic approach to being as efficient as possible. Wright said Lean has resulted in drastic improvement for company productivity — 33 percent in the first week.

He believes his knowledge of that approach could be useful for the city too.

"We just need to look at things a little bit differently," he said especially with budget cuts likely and the city at its levy ceiling.

His role at the company, which doesn't favor job titles, has him working on a wide array of things — from analyzing its Canadian taxes to negotiating UPS rates.

"I help everyone do a little bit of everything," he said. And that variety could also help guide his work on the council, if elected, he said.

He's also the company photographer and a professional photographer in his spare time.

In 2010 he created a series titled the Berkshire Veterans Photography Project, which was displayed in the city at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, the Statehouse in Boston, and the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. He took 100 portraits in six weeks for the project.

"I wanted to get something done," he said. "I went for it and I did it."

Wright has an associates degree from the Colorado Institute of Art. And served in the Air Force, as a law enforcement officer, during the Gulf War.

A native of Bridgeport, Conn., Wright has called the city home since 2005. His wife, Carrie, grew-up in the Berkshires. But the couple lived in several cities before returning to the area to start a family. They have three children, Paige, 14, Parker, 9 and Pilot, 5.

Lynn Wallace, who has received a Community Recognition Award from Downtown Pittsfield Inc, is Wright's campaign manager. Her love for the city aligns with his passion for it, he said.

"A sense of community is extremely important to me," Wright said. "We are a community, Pittsfield as a whole, not just my ward."

He will use Facebook and a website to communicate with the public. But most importantly, he said, he plans to campaign door to door.

"I want to run a really positive campaign," he said. "I'm going to get out there and see what everyone wants."

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo.

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Billy Keane

“Billy Keane announces run for Ward 5 seat on Pittsfield City Council”
By Carrie Saldo, The Berkshire Eagle, April 3, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Capitalize on the city's current assets: That's what City Council candidate Billy Keane advocates.

"I don't believe in importing success," Keane said in a written statement. "I believe that Pittsfield's future lies within the facets of the city that already exist."

Keane, 30, is seeking the Ward 5 City Council seat. In his first run for public office he is challenging incumbent Donna Todd Rivers. Rivers confirmed she will seek re-election to what would be her second term.

A real estate broker and musician, Keane intends to help the business and artistic communities grow and prosper.

"Pittsfield as a whole will thrive as well," he said.

Managing broker of Jan Perry Realty & Associates, a director of the Berkshire County Board of Realtors and a member of its Government Affairs Committee, Keane said he has a passion for local business.

He rattled off a number of the businesses he believes are poised to help reinvigorate the city including Shire City Herbals, Lenco Armored Vehicles and Interprint.

"I believe Pittsfield is on the cusp of achieving a level of economic and cultural success that we deserve and should reach for as the `Capital of the Berkshires'" he said. "But in order to get there we need a spirit of positive motivation, enthusiasm and a willingness to work together toward a common goal; I believe I can offer that to the council."

A graduate of E.O. Smith High School in Mansfield, Conn., he's pursuing a bachelor's degree in business administration through the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Degree Completion Program.

Born in Australia and raised in Mansfield, Keane has called Pittsfield home since 2009, when he joined a friend to pursue a music project. At the time he was living in New Iberia, La. and he kept his apartment there, initially.

"I expected to move back, but fell in love with Pittsfield and haven't left since," Keane said.

He and his wife, Waterfall Perry, own two homes in the city. And they live in Ward 5 with their dog and cat.

Keane is also a singer/songwriter who has performed as a solo artist and in groups. He is currently a member of The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow.

"I feel that the combination of my business leadership experience, as well as my deeply rooted connection in the local arts and cultural scene, lends me a unique and effective perspective on the community," he said.

Keane's campaign manager is Caitlin Harrison, who focused on legal studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst and has about a decade of experience in the hospitality industry locally and in Boston. He said they will use Facebook to share campaign information. He also plans to hit the streets to meet with would-be constituents.

"Where we want the city to be? Who we want to be as a city? I think these are important questions to ask" to understand what will help Pittsfield be the best it can be, he said.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or csaldo@berkshireeagle.com or @carriesaldo.

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Letter: “Community should expect safe staffing at BMC”
The Berkshire Eagle, April 4, 2017

To the editor:

The nurses at Berkshire Medical Center continue their fight for safe nurse-to-patient staffing levels in their new contract negotiations with the administration. Although a critical care nurse for 27 years, I recently left my position in the intensive care unit due to, what I perceive as, dangerous staffing levels. Like me, over the last couple of years, more than 40 highly trained critical care nurses have left. It is my view, that this exodus is related to unsafe staffing.

In the past year alone, 280 unsafe staffing reports have been filed hospital-wide, which Chief Operating Officer Diane Kelly disputes. The hospital has developed safe staffing grids which would ensure patient safety, along with state laws limiting the number of critical care patients to be assigned to a nurse at one time, yet it fails to follow these safety measures.

The hospital's new chief of staff, Daniel Doyle, has urged the public not to believe the nurses' recent staffing concerns, insulting us further calling our claims "rhetoric." He points to rating firms such as Leap Frog and CareChex (which cost hospitals money) for favorable ratings. Unfortunately these type of rating companies have been accused of failing to explain the methodology used to rate a hospital. Consumer Reports placed BMC's safety rating at 47 percent, which is low compared to other hospitals. With varied results, hospitals are then free to choose which rating they want to report to the public. Who do you trust? The nurses who are the backbone, ensuring your care, or some flimsy statistics?

If our neighboring hospitals are prepared to settle contracts by increasing staffing levels and ensure safe patient assignments, why doesn't BMC? The chief of staff recently said the nurses are doing a "disservice" by informing the public of the unsafe staffing at BMC while the nurses believe that the public has a right to know of the conditions that may alter their care.

The hospital's audited financial reports showed it made a profit of $31.2 million in 2016. The administration says that the safe staffing proposals would be financially damaging to BMC. As a community that depends on care, the question should be, how can we afford not to?

Bridget Ward, R.N.,
Lenox
The writer is a post-operative care nurse at BMC.

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“Proposed Pittsfield Public Schools budget cuts 73 positions”
By Carrie Saldo , csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, April 4, 2017

This story has been modified to correct the percentage of the teaching force slated to be eliminated.

PITTSFIELD — Budget cuts. That is how the Pittsfield Public Schools will make ends meet — for the next several years.

That's the reality as city school district leaders draft a fiscal 2018 budget, according to Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless.

Nearly 74 positions were sliced to arrive at the proposed level-funded $60,316,338 fiscal 2018 district budget. It does not cut programs for students, although some class sizes will increase.

The positions cut — exactly 73.6, according to the budget proposal — include teachers, paraprofessionals and administrative staff. District leaders have said about one-third of those jobs might be saved through attrition.

"Our only room to cut is through positions — through people's jobs," McCandless wrote in a two-page letter to the community. "No one takes any pleasure in this. It is simply doing what must be done."

About 83 percent of the budget is for personnel and 17 percent covers "everything else," which includes teaching materials, paraprofessional development and utilities.

Available on the district's website, the line item budget is expected to be presented to the School Committee at 6 p.m. Wednesday in City Council chambers. And a public hearing on the budget proposal is set for 7 p.m. April 12 at the Pittsfield High School library.

Keeping the dollar figure the same as this year, a mandate given to all city department heads, meant cutting nearly $3 million.

Almost 40 paraprofessional, and nearly 29.5 teaching positions, about 5.1 percent of the teaching force, would be eliminated.

As a result, some class sizes will increase, McCandless said. But, he added, "these cuts will not reduce programming options for students."

Art, foreign languages, orchestra, advanced placement courses, band and after school activities, were unscathed line items, a promise McCandless made early in the budget process.

He added that student athletic fees would not increase.

The budget does include a few spending increases, other than salaries and benefits, which are contractually obligated.

There is one new line item: a half-million dollars for curriculum. And the line item for out-of-district special education increased about $200,000 to $2,690,367.

The increases were offset by cuts, McCandless said.

Mayor Linda M. Tyer has asked all areas of city government to deliver level-funded budgets.

Pittsfield is at its levy ceiling, meaning it cannot raise taxes to generate more money. The levy ceiling also precludes the city from asking voter permission for a Proposition 2 1/2 override.

Over the long term, the district will consider how to generate more revenue, but that's not an option for several years, which is why the district had to identify budget cuts, McCandless wrote.

This is the district's third budget proposal. Two previous versions cut 57.3 and 65.3 positions from the district.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo.

IF YOU GO ...

What: Line-item budget proposal presentation for Pittsfield Public Schools to the School Committee

When: Tonight [4/4/2017] at 6 p.m.

Where: City Council chambers in Pittsfield City Hall

What: Public hearing on Pittsfield Public Schools line-item budget proposal

When: April 12 at 7 p.m.

Where: Pittsfield High School library

On the web ...

The district's proposed fiscal 2018 budget can be viewed at www.pittsfield.net

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Letter: “If Waterstone will build on GE site, let them”
The Berkshire Eagle, April 11, 2017

To the editor:

Why is everyone so concerned about the aesthetics of the proposed Walmart Supercenter? Have you seen the old Kentucky Fried Chicken building? Waterstone is willing to build on a brownfield! Let them.

In accordance with the almighty Consent Decree, granted in 1999, G.E.'s "brownfield" plan is worth approximately $50 million, designed to bring new commercial life to Pittsfield. It's 2017 and they are still trying to "bring good things to life." Once the brownfield is developed, according to the Consent Decree, there is a provision in which up to $4 million in future revenue from redevelopment of the GE site would be made available for additional natural resource projects by the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority.

If no one visits North Street, why does Michael Ward think Tyler Street would be better? (Letter, April 9.) All I ask is that the land remediation process be strictly monitored by the EPA. I was diagnosed with a vary rare form of cancer, primary cardiac, non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2003, a year after my property was remediated. GE was sloppy and careless with contaminated soil.

Kelley Breault-Schanz,
Pittsfield

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“Residents, businesses, officials decry Eversource rate hike at Department of Public Utilities hearing”
By Carrie Saldo , csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, April 10, 2017

This story has been modified to correct the spelling of Penni Conner's last name.

PITTSFIELD — Disproportionate. Exorbitant. And greedy. Those were among the words used, again and again, by residents and business owners alike to characterize a proposed rate increase by Eversource. They asked the state to reject its request.

Eversource wants state Department of Public Utilities' approval to raise its rates by more than $96 million next year and $50 million annually for the next four years, according to the state's attorney general. If approved, the proposed increase would add $11.64 to the average monthly bill for residential customers who live in the west and $8.45 for those living in the east as of Jan. 1, 2018, according to Eversource.

For Eversource's commercial and industrial customers, the proposal would increase electricity rates up to 37 percent in Western Massachusetts. The rates for businesses in the east would decrease.

Eversource officials have said the proposed increase is needed to offset its operating deficit of nearly $96 million.

The DPU held a public hearing on the proposed increases in Pittsfield Monday night, one of several it is hosting statewide on the issue.

It was standing room only inside the Berkshire Athenaeum auditorium, where about 275 people filled it and an adjacent room.

Jane Winn of Pittsfield spoke of the diverse interests of those at the hearing. Head of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, Winn pointed to fellow environmentalists, social justice advocates, business owners, state and local elected leaders and more.

Different though they are, she said they all agree on one thing: "We are all united against this rate hike, please take us into consideration," she said.

Many who spoke at the hearing said they were skeptical of the company's reasons for the proposed increase. They also said the increase is unfair to customers here, who on average earn less annually, versus the more affluent eastern part of the state.

"We are smaller, we are older, we are sicker and we are poorer," State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli said. "Those are four facts that we cannot dispute about Berkshire County."

Electricity rates for commercial and industrial customers in Massachusetts are among highest in the country, behind Alaska, Connecticut and Hawaii.

The proposed increase would impact the bottom line of commercial customers from $41,000 to over $1 million, according to testimony given to the DPU Monday.

Pittsfield Mayor Linda M. Tyer said the city's bill would increase $1.3 million.

"This will undermine growth, threaten job security, and jeopardize the economic prosperity of every citizen," she said.

Brendan Ronayne, senior finance manager for crane currency, said it is in the middle of a five-year, fixed-rate contract with the United States government to make its currency paper. He said it anticipates paying $550,000 more to Eversource while the electric company would receive "excessive" returns.

Pat Begrowicz, owner of Onyx Specialty paper in Lee, stressed the disproportionate nature of Eversource's proposed increase.

She said the company would generate $2.2 million from the 18 largest ratepayers in Western Mass. Meanwhile, 112 similar companies in the east will see their rates decline.

"This exacerbates the divide between east and west," she said.

Attorney General Maura Healey continued her effort to block Eversource's request to hike its electricity rates by as much as 10 percent in Western Massachusetts next year. She told the DPU residential customers in Western Massachusetts are struggling to make ends meet, and businesses are working hard to remain competitive and grow.

"It is time to return money to customers, not to raise their electric bills to benefit a highly profitable utility company," Healy said.

Eversource says it is facing a $35.7 million operating deficit in the west and a $60.2 shortfall million in Eastern Massachusetts.

Penni Conner, Eversource senior vice president and chief customer officer, attributed the company's shortfall to capital investments the company made to maintain infrastructure and services to customers.

Of Eversource's 1.4 million Massachusetts customers, 209,000 live in the western part of the state and 1.2 million live in eastern Mass.

Although the operating deficit in Eastern Massachusetts is larger, the impact of the proposed rate increase would be greater in Western Massachusetts because the rate hike would be absorbed by fewer customers here.

But Conner said Eversource is reviewing the consolidation of its distribution rates to determine if that would lessen the impact on customers in the western part of the state.

Conner also pointed out that customers here have received millions of dollars in the past five years in credits because of revenue decoupling.

If the company was not mandated to give those customer credits Eversource would have used that money "to avoid rate cases like this one," she said.

She said in recent years the company has also improved its service to customers in a number of ways, including tree trimming. She said fallen tree limbs are the leading cause of power outages. She said power outages in Western Mass. dropped 43 percent and are 23 percent shorter than before the merger of Western Massachusetts Electric Company and NSTAR into Eversource.

The DPU began holding hearings on the proposed increase last month and several others more scheduled this month. It will hold evidentiary hearings at the DPU in Boston in June.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo

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Our Opinion: “Eversource rate increase would be bad for business”
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, April 7, 2017

Eversource Energy will go before the Department of Public Utilities Monday with a rate hike request that Jonathan Butler, the president and CEO of 1Berkshire, warns that for Berkshire businesses could "take away growth potential for decades." We don't see that as hyperbole.

Eversource is seeking to raise $95 million in the rate hike, which would constitute an increase of about 10 percent over current rates beginning on January 1 of next year. That translates to a hike of $11.64 per monthly bill for the average customer in Western Massachusetts, according to the office of Attorney General Maura Healey. That is a hard hit for homeowners, but the impact on businesses that use large amounts of electricity it is potentially devastating. Mr. Butler was joined at an Eagle editorial board meeting last week by Patricia Begrowicz, the president of Onyx Specialty Papers in Lee — which along with Crane & Co. and Berkshire Health Systems comprise the three largest Berkshire users of electricity — and Peter C. Stasiowski, the director of communications for Interprint in Pittsfield, to discuss that impact.

For a business based in Lee, the prospect of a rate hike inevitably recalls the decision of Schweitzer-Mauduit International's decision to close four paper mills in Lee and Lenox Dale in 2007. There were a number of economic factors, but a critical one was an increase of $770,000 on that year's electricity bill issued by what was then the Western Mass. Electric Company. Ms. Begrowicz emphasized that the existence of Onyx is not threatened but the hike, if approved, "is absolutely going to affect growth." Mr. Stasiowski made the same point, and if Onyx, Interprint and other Berkshire businesses must curtail hiring and the purchasing of equipment to compensate for a larger electric bill, a struggling Berkshire economy will struggle even more.

Ms. Begrowicz told The Eagle that Onyx's $775,000 electricity bill for 2016 would increase incrementally to $1.2 million in 2019 if the rate hike was approved. In an interview with The Eagle, Pittsfield Schools Superintendent Jason McCandless said the impact on the city's 12 public schools would be "massive," adding to the woes of a department that is facing the prospect of teacher layoffs.

The disparity between the impact on the eastern and western regions of the state is also of concern. Eversource says it will raise $60 million in rate revenue from the east and $35 million from the west, which seems fair on the surface, but that $60 million would come from 1.2 million customers in the heavily populated east while only 215,000 customers — businesses, residents, municipal buildings and so on — which share the $35 million burden for the west. That translates to a $166 increase per customer in the west and $50 per customer increase in the east. The Berkshires shouldn't be subsidizing eastern electricity rates while it carries its only high burden.

Eversource says it is seeking to address a revenue deficiency of $35.7 million in the western end of the state and adds that it has been investing in better technology and other improvements. The company can certainly make a case for a rate hike increase, just not one that Mr. Stasiowski described as "insulting" because of the adverse impact on businesses of such a hike. Ms. Begrowitz also pointed out to The Eagle that her company is already hit with three rate increases a year by Eversource.

For traditional businesses, it appears too easy for Eversource to simply go to state regulators and request a rate hike without finding ways to cut its costs — which businesses like Onyx and Interprint will have to do if hit by the rate hike. Businesses that are unhappy with Eversource rate hikes also have no option of going to another source of electricity.

Eversource is asking DPU for permission to get a 10.5 percent increase in return on equity, compared to the 9.3 percent that was the average return on equity for utilities around the country in 2016. While 9.3 percent should be the absolute ceiling, its impact on Berkshire businesses would be only marginally less than the 10.5 percent increase, and that is without factoring in the unfair imbalance between east and west.

"When so many customers today are struggling to make ends meet and businesses are trying to lower their energy costs to maintain and grow jobs, it is time to return money to customers, not to raise their electric bills," Attorney General Healey testified at a state Department of Public Utilities hearing in Springfield late last month. Ms. Healey will testify at Monday's hearing, which will be held at 6 p.m. at the Berkshire Athenaeum. We urge the DPU to deny Eversource's rate hike request. Eversource has not made an adequate case for it the businesses, municipalities and residents that will be punished by it.

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“Forget manufacturing, go with Walmart”
The Berkshire Eagle, Letter to the Editor, April 21, 2017

To the editor:

How many more years have to pass, how much more money has to be wasted, before it becomes clear to everyone that manufacturing is not coming to Pittsfield? Nineteen years should be long enough to realize that the only sort of companies the city is capable to attract are an EV World plant and an online music workshop. And yes, Nuclea Biotechnologies, which owes PEDA $10,000.

For a change, there is a real company which wants to build in Pittsfield. Let it do so before it changes its mind! Yes, it is Walmart — so what? It will be convenient for people from the surrounding community to get there, either to shop or to work, and local businesses will benefit from the increased foot traffic. Any new building will look better than a post-apocalyptic concrete pad, and a low-wage retail job is better then welfare.

Gregory Jones,
Pittsfield

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Mayor Linda Tyer holds a press conference on the city’s new economic development strategy in the Pittsfield City Council Chambers.

“Rolling out the red carpet: Mayor wants to make it easier to do business in Pittsfield”
By Carrie Saldo, csaldo@berkshireeagle.com, The Berkshire Eagle, May 4, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Chris Kapiloff is on the cusp of expanding his city-based company.

To make money, he will have to spend money, which could eat into his ability to compete. But a new move by Mayor Linda M. Tyer could help.

Kapiloff, owner of the LTI Group, is working with a group of business professionals newly assembled by Tyer.

Dubbed the "Red Carpet Team," the group is designed to make it easier for businesses to get established or expand in the city.

Surrounded by business leaders and business owners, Tyer announced the team Thursday during a news conference at City Hall.

It is the first of a three-part economic development strategy she said would help the city better compete for business.

Business owners will no longer need to meet with multiple city departments to get what they need. Instead, they will meet with the Red Carpet Team, which consists of Tyer, and six other economic development officials from the area, region and state, as well as the city's Community Development Office staff.

Kapiloff, whose company makes laminated glass and polymer products, discussed plans to hire additional employees and expand its Federico Drive facility with the Red Carpet Team in the past month or so.

One of LTI's products, a specialty glass that cracks upon impact but stays intact, has been installed in more than 400 schools across the country since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Kapiloff said it has contracts with at least 400 other schools. "We are as busy as we have ever been," he said of the work taking place at its Federico Drive facility.

He said he is optimistic the team will be able to connect his business with incentives that will bring the costs here in line with his largest competitor, located in Alabama.

Kapiloff noted he pays three times as much for electricity than his Alabama competitor, and the minimum wage here is $3.75 an hour higher than it is there.

"I'm hoping the city can help narrow that gap," he said. "And make the cost of expanding here equal to expanding elsewhere."

Tyer said she is committed to keeping Kapiloff's business and attracting others.

As part of the mayor's larger economic development strategy, the city also will launch a new job in partnership with the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation and the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, which manages the William Stanley Business Park.

That post, a business development manager, will serve as an ambassador and technician for recruiting and expanding business in the city.

"This person will have the pulse of Pittsfield's commercial real estate market and will create and lead a sales and marketing strategy," said Tyer. She said that person would "quarterback" the Red Carpet Team.

Mick Callahan, chairman of the development authority and a member of the team, said the efficiency it offers businesses will deliver results.

"We all have Pittsfield in our name and Pittsfield in our heart but we also have Berkshire County on our mind," he said. "We don't want to miss any opportunity for success."

1Berkshire has an economic development team, but Tyer said the joint position will not be a duplication of efforts.

"They will focus entirely on Pittsfield," she said of the Red Carpet Team.

The development manager would also be well versed in city procedures, eligibility for programs that help businesses, as well as incentives and services available locally and beyond, she said.

The salary for the position would be shared by the city, the development authority and the revitalization corporation.

The City Council will need to approve Tyer's request for about $25,000, the city's portion of the business development manager's salary.

Pending that approval, Tyer said she hopes to have the position filled by this summer.

At large City Councilor Peter White, who attended the announcement, said he's often heard from business owners who were unclear where to direct their questions or ask for help.

"We need one point of contact," White said. "This is the perfect way to tackle the frustrations we are hearing from businesses."

Tyer also announced that MassDevelopment will hold monthly office hours at City Hall. And that she has appointed Deanna Ruffer to lead its Community Development office.

Ruffer, who led the office from 2004-12, oversaw a number of major developments including the renovation of the Pittsfield Common and the redevelopment of the Rice Silk Mill apartments. She left to take a similar post in Chatham.

The City Council will consider Ruffer's appointment on Tuesday.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo

Red Carpet Team

Linda Tyer, Mayor, city of Pittsfield

Mick Callahan, board chairman, Pittsfield Economic Development Authority

Cory Thurston, executive director, Pittsfield Economic Development Authority

Jay Anderson, board chairman, Pittsfield Economic Development Revitalization Corp.

Debra Boronski, regional director, Massachusetts Office of Business Development

Julie Cowan, vice president of business development, Western Mass. Regional Office, MassDevelopment

Mike Knapik, director, Gov. Charlie Baker's Western Mass. Regional Office

Staff from Pittsfield Office of Community Development.

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“The red carpet treatment”
By Berkshire Eagle Staff, Opinion: Editorial, May 8, 2017

The city of Pittsfield wants to make it easier to compete for businesses by adopting a three-part strategy intended to streamline the recruiting, retaining and expansion process. Last week, Mayor Linda M. Tyer announced the first phase of that project, the formation of a group known as the "Red Carpet Team," that will consist of Tyer and six other regional economic development officials.

Any attempt to streamline services is a good one, especially when it comes to attracting businesses to the Berkshires. The "Red Carpet" team can help eliminate the repetitive "red tape" that businesses often have to go through when they have to deal with a myriad of agencies instead of one.

This one size fits all strategy has already worked on the regional level. In 2010, the jumble of county business organizations that existed at the time were all folded into 1Berkshire to give entrepreneurs a single port of entry if they wanted to do business here. Seven years later, it's apparent that the strategy is working well. 1Berkshire's three remaining founding organizations, the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, Berkshire Creative and the Berkshire Visitors Bureau no longer exist as separate entities, and they are all located at the same building in a centralized location, the historic firehouse building on Allen Street. The Berkshire County Regional Employment Board has also joined them there. The city's new economic strategy also includes the hiring of a business development manager, who will oversee developments for the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation and the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, which oversees the development of the William Stanley Business Park of the Berkshires. PERC and PEDA are not located in the same place, they have slightly different functions, and they are not strictly under the city's auspices: PERC is a regional economic development agency that shares staff and space with the city's Department of Community Development, while PEDA is a quasi-public agency, whose board members are appointed by the city. Still, having one person to deal with — Tyer said the business development manager will "quarterback" the Red Carpet Team — will make it easier for businesses to reach those agencies, too. The salary for this position will be shared by the city, PERC and PEDA.

These steps come at the right time. PEDA and the city have already begun to collaborate on different business projects: the establishment of the Berkshire Innovation Center being a prime example.

Finally, MassDevelopment will be holding monthly business hours at City Hall. And the city's former Community Development Director, Deanna Ruffer, will be returning in the same position, if City Council approves her appointment Tuesday night. The city wants to take a new approach to economic development. Forming the Red Carpet Team is certainly a start.

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“Pittsfield proposed budget up 3.7%; would tap Free Cash against auditor's suggestion”
By Carrie Saldo, csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, May 8, 2017

PITTSFIELD — For the second consecutive year, the City Council will be asked to tap into free cash to reduce the property tax rate.

That request will be part of Mayor Linda M. Tyer's formal budget presentation to the council on Tuesday night.

The mayor is proposing a $156.6 million municipal operating budget for fiscal 2018, an increase of about 3.7 percent over the current year's budget.

A separate request calls for the use of $2.2 million in free cash to keep taxes in check. The city's auditor has repeatedly advised against the use of free cash for that purpose.

It is not yet clear the impact the use of free cash could have on the fiscal 2018 taxes. City Finance Director Matthew Kerwood was not available on Monday. The council narrowly approved the use of $2 million in free cash last year for the current year's budget. Even with the free cash, the tax levy went from $76.78 million to $81.3 million, up 5.9 percent.

Late last month, the School Committee approved a $60.7 million budget for fiscal 2018, a 0.4 percent decrease from the current year. That amount is included in Tyer's proposed operating budget.

With the city at its levy ceiling, Tyer requested that all city department heads submit level-funded budget requests.

Details of the operating budget were not available prior to deadline. Mayoral spokeswoman Roberta McCulloch-Dews said Tyer was working on the budget in advance of its being presented to the council Tuesday night. Tyer was not available for comment prior to deadline.

The proposed budget amount was included in requests from Tyer to the council as part of its meeting agenda. The council must approve a budget by June 30, in advance of the fiscal year, which begins July 1.

In a February report to the council, City Auditor Thomas Scanlon recommended against the use of free cash to reduce the tax rate, which he had done last year as well.

Instead, he suggested the city try to build a surplus because the city is close to its levy limit, the maximum amount it can raise without a Proposition 2 1/2 override vote.

But because the city is also at its levy ceiling — the maximum amount taxes can be raised each year — it cannot request an override from voters.

Regarding the proposed capital budget, new this year, City Finance Director Matthew Kerwood has differentiated between the proposed capital expenditures and enterprise fund capital expenditures. Enterprise funds, such as water and sewer, are paid for by usage fees charged to city property owners.

If the two amounts are approved, it would mean capital expenses of up to about $22.6 million.

Tyer is requesting $8.2 million for capital expenditures and $14.4 million for enterprise fund capital expenditures in fiscal 2018.

The big ticket items in the capital request include LED street light conversions of $3 million and street repairs and streetscape design upgrades of $2.5 million. And the enterprise fund capital requests includes $8.4 million for force main replacement at the wastewater treatment plant and water main and dam upgrades or repairs of about $3.5 million.

Last year, councilors debated the current budget over the course of two weeks. The operating budget was ultimately approved by a 7-4 vote after a five-meeting, 22.5-hour process. Councilors Christopher J. Connell, Kevin J. Morandi, Melissa Mazzeo and Anthony J. Simonelli were opposed.

The capital budget was approved, 9-2, with Morandi and Simonelli opposed.

The increased budget amount could raise the ire of at least one City Council member.

Speaking during preliminary budget discussions in February, Councilor at large Kathleen A. Amuso, told Tyer she expected a reduced budget from both schools Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless and the city.

"You are the experts in your areas," Amuso said at the time. "We need to look at reductions and I am looking at you to come to us with reductions. I don't want to do it."

Amuso said she was disappointed the city raised taxes more than 4 percent in the current fiscal year.

"That was too high," she said, adding she did not want that repeated in fiscal 2018.

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo

If you go ...

What: City Council meeting

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Council chambers, City Hall

*

Pittsfield City Council Agenda on May 9, 2017 – in part –

13. A communication from Mayor Tyer submitting an Order raising and appropriating $156,568,300 for the Fiscal Year 2018 Municipal Operating Budget
14. A communication from Mayor Tyer submitting an Order authorizing the City Treasurer to borrow an aggregate sum not exceeding $8,193,000 for Fiscal Year 2018 capital expenditures
15. A communication from Mayor Tyer submitting an Order authorizing the City Treasurer to borrow an aggregate sum not exceeding $14,390,000 for Fiscal Year 2018 enterprise fund capital expenditures
16. A communication from Mayor Tyer submitting an Order appropriating $2,225,000 from Certified Free Cash to reduce the Fiscal Year 2018 tax rate

*

http://www.cityofpittsfield.org/FY2018%20Budget%20Proposed.pdf

*

“Pittsfield Mayor Tyer releases proposed $163.9M budget”
Would create new consolidated Department of Public Services and Public Utilities
By Carrie Saldo , csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, May 10, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Mayor Linda M. Tyer's proposed fiscal 2018 operating budget will be the subject of six special meetings over the next two months.

The proposed $163.9 million budget, released online Wednesday, reflects an increase of 1.04 percent from the current year. It would mean the elimination of six positions and include the consolidation and reorganization of several departments.

"We have a balanced budget with excess levy capacity," City Finance Director Matthew Kerwood said.

Citing a number of unknowns in the process — including state aid, property tax value, and the amount of free cash that could be used to offset the tax rate — Tyer and Kerwood would not say what impact the proposed budget will have on the city's tax rate. And the potential increase residents could expect.

When a reporter pointed out that the proposed budget is based on a number of assumptions, Kerwood and Tyer still declined to comment.

"I am not trying to be evasive," Tyer said during a phone interview Wednesday. "The budget includes too many variables. We can't give you a number today."

A letter to City Council from Tyer explains her budget objectives: safe, blight-free neighborhoods, competitive public schools and economic growth.

Expenses

Sixteen of the city's 26 departments are at, or below, level funding, including the mayor's office, schools, police and fire, according to the proposed budget. Level funding was something Tyer asked of each of her department heads.

The schools and public safety are among the most expensive city services.

The Police Department has requested $9.8 million, down 0.2 percent, and the Fire Department's $7 million request is 1.4 percent less than the current year. Late last month, the School Committee approved a $60.7 million budget for fiscal 2018, a 0.4 percent decrease from the current year.

Among the largest percent increases for departments are 33.3 percent for the airport commission, and 30.5 percent for school building maintenance.

Those potential increases reflect a new policy decision, where certain repairs would be paid for with operational funds, instead of borrowing for them, Kerwood explained. Under the current budget, repairs for boilers, elevators and other items are capital expenses.

Fixed cost increases include $3 million for health insurance, and about $594,000 for retirement, and $120,000 for long-term debt payments, principal and interest.

Revenue

Regarding revenue, about $84.4 million will be generated through property taxes, with the balance made up by state aid, local receipts and free cash; Tyer has requested the use of $2.2 million. That would leave the city with $37,145 in levy capacity.

The city's auditor has repeatedly advised against the use of free cash in its annual budget.

The budget proposal includes some reorganization and the consolidation of a number of city departments. Those include making parks, grounds, parking enforcement, Department of Public Utilities, administration and engineering part of what would be a newly formed Department of Public Services and Public Utilities.

One commissioner would lead that department.

Those potential changes are aimed at "creating savings, greater efficiencies, and enhanced productivity," the letter states.

Meetings planned

The budget will be tackled in sections during a public hearing and four other meetings of the Committee of the Whole. The committee, which consists of the entire council, meets to discuss specific issues — in this instance the proposed fiscal 2018 budget.

Budget decisions made by the committee will be referred back to the council for a formal vote. City Council President Peter Marchetti said a budget vote will likely take place June 13 or June 27, depending on the outcome of deliberations by the committee.

If Tuesday's council meeting is any indication, its budget deliberations could be hard fought.

The group spent nearly 50 minutes debating a proposed repair for the former Capitol Theatre marquee, which is the current sign for the Ralph J. Froio Senior Center.

Councilors all said they agreed the marquee should be repaired. But the disagreed where the likely $200,000 needed to pay for it should come from.

The proposed budget includes $150,000 in capital funds for the marquee. But an additional $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds were a sticking point for councilors John M. Krol Jr., Peter White, and Nicholas J. Caccamo, who were against its use.

They said the money should be reserved for things deemed important by community residents who spoke at listening sessions held about the grants. Those items include sidewalk repairs and playground upgrades, they said.

But an effort to deny those funds to the proposed project was defeated when it failed to gain enough votes.

Looking beyond 2018, Tyer said she plans to review the city's health insurance plan, and negotiate with employee unions; consolidate school custodians into the city's building maintenance department; launch a toter system for its trash and recycling; and consider a "home improvement initiative" as part of its ongoing blight remove campaign.

View the proposed budget online:

http://www.cityofpittsfield.org/alert_detail.php

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo

IF YOU GO -

Pittsfield Fiscal 2018 Budget Meetings

Public Hearing, May 22

Up for discussion: Offices of the Mayor, City Council, City Solicitor, City Clerk, RSVP, Council on Aging, Veterans, and Cultural Development

May 25

Up for discussion: Pittsfield Public Schools

May 30

Up for discussion: Offices of Building Inspection, Personnel, Health, Police, Fire, and Emergency Management

June 1

Up for discussion: Offices of Public Services, Enterprise Funds, Building Maintenance, Library, Community Development, and Airport

June 6

Up for discussion: Offices of Workers Compensation, Finance & Administration, Information Technology, Unclassified, and Capital Budgets. And the approval of: free cash, revolving funds and a corresponding ordinance, parking revenue, and the budget.

*

Our Opinion: “Pittsfield must end raid on free cash”
The Berkshire Eagle, Editorial, May 12, 2017

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer's proposed fiscal 2018 operating budget essentially holds the line on spending in the financially strapped city. Or at least it appears to hold the line, as a variety of unknowns undermine any sense of certainty as the budget process gets underway.

The $163.9 million budget would constitute a 1.04 percent increase from the current year's spending plan (Eagle, May 11). City Hall noted a number of variables — from the amount of state aid to property tax value to the potential use of free cash — in declining to speculate on the budget's impact on the tax rate. These variables, combined with likely challenges to emerge from city councilors during the budget deliberation process, mean the proposal is essentially a starting point. Change to the numbers appears inevitable.

Economic realities have forced departments throughout the city to make difficult reductions, and the use of the city's free cash is tempting way to reduce that impact. Mayor Tyer has requested using $2.2 million of the $3.5 million available in free cash to keep taxes in check, which comes one year after the city used $2 million for the same reason. That request passed the City Council by a vote of 6 to 5.

City auditor Thomas Scanlon recommended against the use of free cash, which is essentially funds left over from the previous fiscal year, to reduce the tax rate for the current fiscal year, and reiterated his objections in a report to the City Council in February. With the city up against its levy limit and unable to call for a Proposition 2 1/2 override vote, Mr. Scanlon maintains the city needs to start building a surplus. In his report, Mr. Scanlon warned that the city will reach its levy limit in 2019 if current trends continue.

That trend will continue if another $2.2 million is taken from the fund. The city risks becoming dependent on a revenue source that shouldn't be depended upon because the amount of revenue cannot be accurately predicted from year to year. This is why the state recommends that free cash, when used, generally be targeted for one-time expenditures like capital projects.

Given the city's financial realities, the mayor and City Council don't have anything in the way of good options when it comes to building a budget. Department heads have held the line on spending or made reductions, with the School Department making particularly painful cuts.

Reaching the levy limit, however, is a major concern as well. If city officials take $2.2 million out of free cash, only $1.3 million will remain available, give or take whatever free cash emerges or doesn't emerge in the year ahead. The city must bite the bullet now and begin replenishing the cash fund before the levy limit is reached and the fund has all but run dry.

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“Gaetani, Powell join Pittsfield School Committee race”
By Carrie Saldo, csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, May 9, 2017

PITTSFIELD — Two challengers have taken steps to join this fall's race for School Committee.

Craig C. Gaetani, who is a former Pittsfield Public Schools teacher, and Dennis Powell, president of the Berkshire County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, are vying for a seat on the six-member panel.

All of the current members of the committee said they intend to seek re-election. Mayor Linda Tyer also holds a seat on the committee as a function of her office.

Both men have taken out nomination papers for a spot on the committee. Powell declined to comment for this article.

Gaetani says he will eliminate "fat" in the budget and bring much-needed technical expertise to the committee.

The School Committee recently approved an approximate $60.7 million fiscal 2018 budget, a 0.4 percent decrease from the current year.

"There is not one drop of technical expertise on the School Committee," Gaetani said. "There is no one to judge when the city is under or overpaying for something."

Current committee members currently work, or have worked, in education, banking, law enforcement, and human services.

Gaetani, 68, taught biology and chemistry in Pittsfield Public Schools from 1975 to 1981, when he said he lost his job due to budget cuts.

He taught for a six-month vacancy in 1975, was as a science tutor from 1976 to 1977. He went on to teach at Pittsfield High School from 1979 to 1980 and at the former Crosby Junior High School from 1980 to 1981, according to Harry Hayes, public schools director of human resources.

Gaetani traded public employment for the private sector and went to work for Krofta engineering corporation for many years.

He currently runs Gaetani, Wang Scientific and Engineering Consultants.

He is a cum laude graduate of the former North Adams State College and Berkshire Community College and a Vietnam veteran.

"I'm a numbers man," he said. "And in communities the bottom line is the dollars."

Gaetani said too much money is spent on administration and teachers salaries, especially Grades 8 and below.

The budget passed by the committee allocated $1.2 million for administrative salaries, a decrease of 6.6 percent from this year. Those salaries are 1.96 percent of the fiscal 2018 budget.

And $24.1 million is slated to pay for teacher salaries — about 39.7 percent of the budget, an increase of 1.9 percent from this year.

"We have to get a handle on teachers contracts," he said. "It needs to be a more equitable situation."

During budget discussions, which took place over the course of three months, administration and committee members said there was very little excess to cut from the budget.

Arriving at the budget approved by the committee required more than $3 million in cuts, including the elimination of its pre-kindergarten program and nearly 76 layoff notices that will be sent to teachers, paraprofessionals and administrative staff. About half of those jobs may be retained through attrition.

The district's teaching staff rallied together and voted to delay its step pay increase and the administration was flexible on the amount it planned to spend on new curriculum.

Gaetani also has taken out nomination papers for two City Council positions — at large and Ward 6.

If he qualifies for more than one race, Gaetani will need to choose which one he will run for. A person cannot appear on the ballot more than once during a given election, according to city law.

All candidates who collect enough signatures for their respective races must decide prior to the Aug. 9 deadline if they will run.

The six seats on the committee are awarded to the people who garner the most votes.

Gaetani has six criminal charges pending, on three separate cases, in Northern Berkshire District Court.

"I'm going to get these trumped up charges cleared and it's going to be a whole new ballgame," he said.

He faces charges of threatening to commit a crime — to shoot a city employee — and making harassing phone calls; two counts of witness intimidation and breaking and entering into a motor vehicle; and for disturbing the peace, according to information from Northern Berkshire District Court.

The election is Nov. 7 [2017].

Reach staff writer Carrie Saldo at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo.

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“On The Record: Pittsfield immigration policy, Walmart petition, Ruffer's return”
By Carrie Saldo, csaldo@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, May 12, 2017

As debate at the national level regarding immigration enforcement rages, Pittsfield has embraced inclusion policies that disregard immigration status.

Mayor Linda M. Tyer's administration has long said the city welcomes all immigrants. And the city now has documented proof of that stance.

The City Council accepted two immigration policies, and agreed to the creation of an ordinance requiring a 30-day notice of changes to them during its meeting Tuesday night.

"No person that visits our facilities is to be asked about their immigration status, or any question that may violate their privacy as a federally protected class," reads the Personnel Department's one-page 413 policy on immigration.

The Police Department policy, which is 11 pages and subject to review on Oct. 24, says that enforcement of federal civil immigration laws are not the department's responsibility.

The policy was an outgrowth of the Pittsfield Trust Act, which was first proposed in January. That proposed act has been placed on file.

At least a dozen residents have spoken in favor of the policies adopted at City Council over the past month and one against it.

Resident Alexander Blumin, who is running for City Council at large, has said the he would sue the city if the council passed the policy.

Vote on Walmart petition tabled

The City Council won't vote on a petition that called for it to support design conditions for a proposed Walmart Supercenter at the William Stanley Business Park. At least, not yet.

City Solicitor Richard Dohoney recommended the council table the matter, pending a likely public hearing on the developer's proposed plans, Council President Peter Marchetti explained at its meeting Tuesday.

Waterstone Retail, a Needham based developer, has yet to file plans with the city. But it has a purchase and sales agreement with the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, which manages the business park.

The developer would need a special permit from the council to build the proposed 196,000-square-foot store.

Last month, former City Councilor Mike Ward filed a petition asking councilors to support the project but only if developers agree to a set of requirements that would better integrate the store into the surrounding neighborhood.

A procedural move by at large City Councilor Kathleen A. Amuso blocked the matter from being voted on then. Discussion of the petition was delayed a second time, at Ward's request, because of the absence of Ward 1 Councilor Lisa Tully, who wanted to take part.

Ward’s idea calls for a multistory, mixed-use building sited near Tyler Street and Woodlawn Avenue. His vision includes storefront windows, entrances from the sidewalk and parking away from Tyler Street. Ward told councilors his proposal is meant to increase pedestrian safety in a neighborhood where walking and biking are common.

Ruffer 2.0

Deanna Ruffer will return to the city to once again head up the Community Development Office. She starts in early June.

In approving Mayor Linda M. Tyer's appointment, the council did not discuss the matter. Amuso voted against Ruffer's reappointment.

Ruffer, who led the office from 2004-12, oversaw a number of major developments including the renovation of the Pittsfield Common and the redevelopment of the Rice Silk Mill apartments. She left to take a similar post in Chatham.

The council also unanimously approved the following appointments:

Mary Beth Eldridge, Cultural Council

Peter Bergman, Commission on Tourism

Kathie Penna, Human Rights Commission

Mitchell Kellar, Pittsfield Fire Department lieutenant

Matthew Kiernan, Devon Whalen and Adam Healy, firefighter

The council also unanimously approved the following reappointments:

Thomas Hamel, Board of Registrar of Voters

Marguerite Bride, Cultural Council

Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers was absent.

Carrie Saldo's reporting includes Pittsfield government, education and politics. Reach her at 413-496-6221 or @carriesaldo

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“Pittsfield resident, candidate gets probation for harrassing calls, threats”
By Bob Dunn, bdunn@berkshireeagle.com – The Berkshire Eagle, May 12, 2017

NORTH ADAMS — Pittsfield resident Craig C. Gaetani, a candidate for City Council and School Committee, has been convicted of making harassing phone calls and threatening to shoot a city employee in 2015.

Gaetani, 69, who also ran an unsuccessful bid for Pittsfield mayor in 2015, was given a six-month suspended jail sentence, placed on probation for two years and ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

If he violates his probation conditions, the six-month sentence could be imposed.

His case was heard in Northern Berkshire District Court before Judge William O'Grady and was deliberated by a jury of six.

According to court records, Gaetani made multiple phone calls to the Pittsfield Fire Department asking to speak to someone about having junk vehicles removed from property he owns on July 3, 2015.

When he was told the people he wanted to speak with were not available, Gaetani allegedly called the woman an, "a--hole" before she hung up on him.

Gaetani called back immediately, informed the woman that he was going to be the next mayor and he would take away her job and retirement benefits before she hung up on him again, according to court documents.

One minute later, Gaetani called again, this time telling her he was going to "come to her office and shoot her with a gun."

She also showed police a log from June 12 that shows six calls from Gaetani over a 31-minute span about the same junk cars on his property.

During one of those calls, according to court records, Gaetani threatened to burn the woman's house down.

Gaetani, who acted as his own attorney, denied the charges, and, at one point, implicated his brother as the one who made the calls, but later recanted that allegation.

He also called the charges a smear campaign against him in an effort to derail his mayoral bid.

Gaetani lost the primary after receiving a total of 176 votes across the city's 14 wards.

During the intervening 18 months, several motions to dismiss the case, filed by Gaetani, were denied. The trial date was rescheduled and the case was transferred from Central Berkshire District Court in Pittsfield to Northern Berkshire District Court in North Adams.

Gaetani has two more jury trials scheduled in North Adams. On June 13, he is facing charges of breaking and entering and witness intimidation, and on July 11, he will face a disturbing the peace charge.

Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.

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About Me

My photo
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 jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary - 2009

50th Anniversary - 2009
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Columbus Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety
Paul Capitanio, left, speaks during Monday night's Ward 3 City Council debate with fellow candidate Melissa Mazzeo at Pittsfield Community Television's studio. The special election (3/31/2009) will be held a week from today (3/24/2009). The local issues ranged from economic development and cleaning up blighted areas in Ward 3 to public education and the continued remediation of PCB's.

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

Outrage swells in Congress!

Outrage swells in Congress!
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., listen during a hearing on modernizing insurance regulations, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). - http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!
Photo Gallery: www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/15/St_Patricks_Day_Boston/

The path away from Wall Street ...

The path away from Wall Street ...
...Employers in the finance sector - traditionally a prime landing spot for college seniors, particularly in the Northeast - expect to have 71 percent fewer jobs to offer this year's (2009) graduates.

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/economic_collapse_puts_graduates_on_unforeseen_paths/

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
Should he be fired? As Bank of America's Stock Plummets, CEO Resists Some Calls That He Step Down.

Hookers for Jesus

Hookers for Jesus
Annie Lobert is the founder of "Hookers for Jesus" - www.hookersforjesus.net/home.cfm - Saving Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada?

Forever personalized stamped envelope

Forever personalized stamped envelope
The Forever stamp will continue to cover the price of a first-class letter. The USPS will also introduce Forever personalized, stamped envelopes. The envelopes will be preprinted with a Forever stamp, the sender's name and return address, and an optional personal message.

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
First issued in 2003, the Purple heart stamp will continue to honor the men and women wounded while serving in the US military. The Purple Heart stamp covers the cost of 44 cents for first-class, one-ounce mail.

Dolphin

Dolphin
The bottlenose is just one of the new animals set to appear on the price-change stamps. It will serve as a 64-cent stamp for odd shaped envelopes.

2009 price-change stamps

2009 price-change stamps
www.boston.com/business/gallery/2009pircechangestamps/ -&- www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/27/new_stamps_set_for_rate_increase_in_may/

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
AP photo v Shepard Fairey

Rush Limbaugh lackeys

Rush Limbaugh lackeys
Posted by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe on March 3, 2009.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe
A 2007 US Penny

Dog race

Dog race
Sledding for dogs

The Capital of the Constitution State

The Capital of the Constitution State
Hartford, once the wealthiest city in the United States but now the poorest in Connecticut, is facing an uphill battle.

Brady, Bundchen married

Brady, Bundchen married
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen wed Feb. 26, 2009 in a Catholic ceremony in Los Angeles. www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/gallery/tom_gisele/

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto
Tanked Pittsfield's local economy while helping his fellow insider political hacks and business campaign contributors!

Journalist Andrew Manuse

Journalist Andrew Manuse
www.manuse.com

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court

Economic State of the Union

Economic State of the Union
A look at some of the economic conditions the Obama administration faces and what resources have already been pledged to help. 2/24/2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
The president addresses the nation's governors during a dinner in the State Dinning Room, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.
Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles teamed up for a musical medley during the show.

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009
Hugh Jackman pulled actress Anne Hathaway on stage to accompany him during his opening musical number.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
A Progressive News Commentator

$500,000 per year

$500,000 per year
That is chump change for the corporate elite!

THE CORPORATE ELITE...

THE CORPORATE ELITE...
Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric

The Presidents' Club

The Presidents' Club
Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton & Carter.

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!
White House Event: January 7, 2009.

Bank Bailout!

Bank Bailout!
v taxpayer

Actress Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks
She will present an award to her hometown (Pittsfield) at the Massachusetts State House next month (1/2009). She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for Paris.

Joanna Lipper

Joanna Lipper
Her award-winning 1999 documentary, "Growing Up Fast," about teenaged mothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays...
...from "Star Wars"

Massachusetts "poor" economy

Massachusetts "poor" economy
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states, but it is also very inequitable. For example, it boasts the nation's most lucrative lottery, which is just a system of regressive taxation so that the corporate elite get to pay less in taxes!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood Actress

Peter G. Arlos.

Peter G. Arlos.
Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000.

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes
Big Dig - East-west commuters take hit; Fees at tunnels would double. 11/15/2008.

The Pink Panther 2

The Pink Panther 2
Starring Steve Martin

Police ABUSE

Police ABUSE
I was a victim of Manchester Police Officer John Cunningham's ILLEGAL USES of FORCE! John Cunningham was reprimanded by the Chief of Police for disrespecting me. John Cunningham yelled at a witness: "I don't care if he (Jonathan Melle) is disabled!"

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
The 44th US President!

Vote

Vote
Elections

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check
A political cartoon by Dan Wasserman

A rainbow over Boston

A rainbow over Boston
"Rainbows galore" 10/2/2008

Our nation's leaders!

Our nation's leaders!
President Bush with both John McCain & Barack Obama - 9/25/2008.

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).
$5 rise at tunnels is one possibility $1 jump posed for elsewhere.

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My FAVORITE Journalist EVER!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!
John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at ground zero in New York City - September 11, 2008.

John McCain...

John McCain...
...has all but abandoned the positions on taxes, torture and immigration. (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman. September 2008).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
The deregulated chickens come home to roost... in all our pocketbooks. September 2008.

Sarah Palin's phobia

Sarah Palin's phobia
A scripted candidate! (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
Family FInances - September, 2008.

Mark E. Roy

Mark E. Roy
Ward 1 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas
Ward 2 Alderman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Peter M. Sullivan

Peter M. Sullivan
Ward 3 (downtown) Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Jim Roy

Jim Roy
Ward 4 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Ed Osborne

Ed Osborne
Ward 5 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Real R. Pinard

Real R. Pinard
Ward 6 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

William P. Shea

William P. Shea
Ward 7 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Betsi DeVries

Betsi DeVries
Ward 8 Alder-woman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Michael Garrity

Michael Garrity
Ward 9 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

George Smith

George Smith
Ward 10 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Russ Ouellette

Russ Ouellette
Ward 11 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy
Ward 12 Alder-woman for Manchester, NH (2008).

“Mike” Lopez

“Mike” Lopez
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH. (2008).

Daniel P. O’Neil

Daniel P. O’Neil
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Sarah Palin for Vice President.

Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Republican John McCain made the surprise pick of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today, August 29, 2008.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.
Congressman Olver said the country has spent well over a half-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq while the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. 8/25/08.

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!
John Kerry's 9/2008 challenger in the Democratic Primary.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion
In a tax revolt, Massachusetts farmers fought back during Shays' Rebellion in the mid-1780s after The American Revolutionary War.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress. "The Big Lebowski" is one of my favorite movies. I also like "The Fugitive", too.

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"
Go to: http://www.berkshirefatherhood.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=699&cntnt01returnid=69

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades. (8/15/2008).

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley
"The Bosley Amendment": To create tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporate interests in Massachusetts!

John Edwards and...

John Edwards and...
...Rielle Hunter. WHO CARES?!

Rep. Edward J. Markey

Rep. Edward J. Markey
He wants online-privacy legislation. Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan
She gained fame with her antiwar vigil outside the Bush ranch.

Olympics kick off in Beijing

Olympics kick off in Beijing
Go USA!

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, a customer pumps gas at an Exxon station in Middleton, Mass. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, July 31, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell as markets opened. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File) 7/31/2008.

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'
Some kind of monster on Onota Lake. Five-year-old Tyler Smith rides a 'sea serpent' on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The 'monster,' fashioned by Smith's grandfather, first appeared over July 4 weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ron Smith). 7/30/2008.

Al Gore, Jr.

Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore issues challenge on energy

The Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's financially wasteful pork barrel project!

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's pork barrel public works project cost 50 times more than the original price!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer
Note: Photo from Mary E Carey's Blog.

Tanglewood

Tanglewood
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine.

Google

Google
Chagall

Jimmy Ruberto

Jimmy Ruberto
Faces multiple persecutions under the Massachusetts "Ethics" conflict of interest laws.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama vows $500m in faith-based aid.

John McCain

John McCain
He is with his wife, Cindy, who were both met by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (right) upon arriving in Cartagena.

Daniel Duquette

Daniel Duquette
Sold Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield two tickets to the 2004 World Series at face value.

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008
Clinton tells Obama, crowd in Unity, N.H.: 'We are one party'

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Wanna-be Prez?

WALL-E

WALL-E
"out of this World"

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/popup?id=5057139&contentIndex=1&page=1&start=false - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5234555&page=1

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
NH's Democratic returning candidate for U.S. Senate

"Wall-E"

"Wall-E"
a cool robot

Ed O'Reilly

Ed O'Reilly
www.edoreilly.com

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
World Champions - 2008

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
J.D. Drew gets the same welcome whenever he visits the City of Brotherly Love: "Booooooo!"; Drew has been vilified in Philadelphia since refusing to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997...

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs
www.2joes.org

NH Union Leader

NH Union Leader
Editorial Cartoon

Celtics - World Champions!

Celtics - World Champions!
www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_18_08_front_pages/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_finals_game_6/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_celebration/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_15_08_celtics_championships/

"The Nation"

"The Nation"
A "Liberal" weekly political news magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel.

TV - PBS: NOW

TV - PBS: NOW
http://www.pbs.org/now

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone
List of Twilight Zone episodes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Twilight_Zone_episodes

Equality for ALL Marriages

Equality for ALL Marriages
I, Jonathan Melle, am a supporter of same sex marriages.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.
L.A. Lakers holds on for the win to force Game 6 at Boston

Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail
The 'Hail to the Sunrise' statue in Charlemont is a well-known and easily recognized landmark on the Mohawk Trail. The trail once boasted several souvenir shops, some with motels and restaurants. Now only four remain. (Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff).

NASA - June 14, 2008

NASA - June 14, 2008
Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston took a 20-second timeout, and the Celtics ran off four more points (including this incredible Erving-esque layup from Ray Allen) to build the lead to five points with just 2:10 remaining. Reeling, the Lakers took a full timeout to try to regain their momentum.

Sal DiMasi

Sal DiMasi
Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire
http://doj.nh.gov/

John Kerry

John Kerry
He does not like grassroots democracy & being challenged in the 2008 Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary for re-election.

Tim Murray

Tim Murray
Corrupt Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts, 2007 - 2013.

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts
downtown

Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Political Satirist on Massachusetts Corruption/Politics

Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Global Warming

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren & http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/WarrenAuthor.html

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Consumer Crusader

Leon Powe

Leon Powe
Celtics forward Leon Powe finished a fast break with a dunk.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett reacted during the game.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo finished a first half fast break with a dunk.

Teamwork

Teamwork
Los Angeles Lakers teammates help Pau Gasol (16) from the floor in the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant took a shot in the first half of Game 2.

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins (right) backed down Lamar Odom (left) during first half action.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem prior to Game 2.

K.G.!

K.G.!
Garnett reacted to a hard dunk in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce reacted after hitting a three upon his return to the game since leaving with an injury.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Kobe Bryant (left) and Paul Pierce (right) squared off in the second half of the game.

James Taylor

James Taylor
Sings National Anthem at Celtics Game.

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick
Attended Celtics Game.

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!
Attend Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
The actor (left) and his date were in the crowd before the Celtics game.

John Kerry

John Kerry
Golddigger attends Celtics game

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Ends her 2008 bid for Democratic Party nomination

Nonnie Burnes

Nonnie Burnes
Massachusetts Insurance Commish & former Judge

Jones Library

Jones Library
Amherst, Massachusetts

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton
2008 Democratic Primary

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"
U.S. Senator John Sununu took more than $220,000 from big oil.

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
4- U.S. Senate - 2008

William Pignatelli

William Pignatelli
Hack Rep. "Smitty" with Lynne Blake

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman

Gazettenet.com

Gazettenet.com
www.gazettenet.com/beta/

Boys' & Girls' Club

Boys' & Girls' Club
Melville Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

The Berkshire Eagle

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
Williams College - May 2008

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
www.boston.com/lifestyle/gallery/when_the_celtics_were_cool/

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries
New Massachusetts state lottery game hits $600 million in sales!

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

John Barrett III

John Barrett III
Long-time Mayor of North Adams Massachusetts

Shine On

Shine On

Elmo

Elmo
cool!

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce kissed the Eastern Conference trophy. 5/30/2008. AP Photo.

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton
Kevin Garnett (left) talked to Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (right) after the Celtics' victory in Game 6. 5/30/2008. Reuters Photo.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce showed his team colors as the Celtics closed out the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. 5/30/2008. Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis.

Joseph Kelly Levasseur

Joseph Kelly Levasseur
One of my favorite politicians!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
In the Big Apple: NYC! She is the coolest!

Guyer & Kerry

Guyer & Kerry
My 2nd least favorite picture EVER!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

Nuciforo & Ruberto

Nuciforo & Ruberto
My least favorite picture EVER!

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senate - 2008

NH Fisher Cats

NH Fisher Cats
AA Baseball - Toronto Blue Jays affiliate

Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH
Police Patch

Michael Briggs

Michael Briggs
#83 - We will never forget

Michael "Stix" Addison

Michael "Stix" Addison
http://unionleader.com/channel.aspx/News?channel=2af17ff4-f73b-4c44-9f51-092e828e1131

Charlie Gibson

Charlie Gibson
ABC News anchor

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/scott_mcclellan/index.html?inline=nyt-per

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise Idaho

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Legislative Hearing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, BCC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite classical U.S. President!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Higher Taxes, Higher Tolls

Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes
My favorite Congressman!

Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs
AA Red Sox

New York

New York
Magnet

Massachusetts

Massachusetts
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Button

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
"Luciforo" tried to send me to Carmen's Jail during the Spring & Summer of 1998.

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/174

Luciforo

Luciforo
Andrea F Nuciforo II

B-Eagle

B-Eagle
Pittsfield's monopoly/only daily newspaper

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!
A Red Sox No Hitter on 5/19/2008!

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Dustin Pedroia & Manny Ramirez

U.S. Flag

U.S. Flag
God Bless America!

Jonathan Melle's Blog

Jonathan Melle's Blog
Hello, Everyone!

Molly Bish

Molly Bish
We will never forget!

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo listens to some advice from Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the first half.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace embrace at the end of the game.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon calls for the ball as he charges toward first base. Papelbon made the out en route to picking up his 14th save of the season.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws to Royals David DeJesus during the first inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek during the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew is welcomed to home plate by teammates Mike Lowell (left), Kevin Youkilis (2nd left) and Manny Ramirez after he hit a grand slam in the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell crosses the plate after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury scored on the play. The Red Sox went on to win 11-8 to complete a four-game sweep and perfect homestand.

JD Drew - Go Red Sox

JD Drew - Go Red Sox
www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/05_22_08_sox_royals/

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!
Master Sgt. Kara B. Stackpole, of Westfield, holds her daughter, Samantha, upon her return today to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. She is one of the 38 members of the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who returned after a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Photo by Dave Roback / The Republican.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein

Kathi-Anne Reinstein
www.openmass.org/members/show/175

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
Tragic diagnosis: Get well Senator!

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=jonathan+melle+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/&ie=UTF-8

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Billionaire U.S. Senator gives address to MCLA graduates in North Adams, Massachusetts in mid-May 2008

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France
Go Red Sox!

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Interviewed on local TV

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
Luciforo!

John Adams

John Adams
#2 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood under a tree on the afternoon of May 9, 2008, on the foregrounds of the NH State House - www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/nhinsider/vpost?id=2967773

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Inside the front lobby of the NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Bill Clinton campaign memorabilia

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Liberty Bell & NH State House

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Franklin Pierce Statue #14 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Stop the War NOW!

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
"Mr. Melle, tear down this Blog!"

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood next to a JFK photo

Jonathan Levine, Publisher

Jonathan Levine, Publisher
The Pittsfield Gazette Online

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made rabbit ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made antenna ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I impersonated Howard Dean

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
mock-voting

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
pretty ladies -/- Go to: http://www.wgir.com/cc-common/cc_photopop20.html?eventID=28541&pagecontent=&pagenum=4 - Go to: http://current.com/items/88807921_veterans_should_come_first_not_last# - http://www.mcam23.com/cgi-bin/cutter.cgi?c_function=STREAM?c_feature=EDIT?dir_catagory=10MorningRadio?dir_folder=2JoesClips?dir_file=JonathanMelle-090308? -

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Go Red Sox! Me at Fenway Park

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
My favorite journalist! Her voice sings for the Voiceless. -/- Go to: http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/search?q=melle -/- Go to: http://ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com/search?q=melle

Velvet Jesus

Velvet Jesus
Mary Carey blogs about my political writings. This is a picture of Jesus from her childhood home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. -//- "How Can I Keep From Singing" : My life goes on in endless song / Above Earth's lamentations, / I hear the real, though far-off hymn / That hails a new creation. / / Through all the tumult and the strife / I hear its music ringing, / It sounds an echo in my soul. / How can I keep from singing? / / Whey tyrants tremble in their fear / And hear their death knell ringing, / When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing? / / In prison cell and dungeon vile / Our thoughts to them are winging / When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?

www.truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com
www.truthdig.com

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Concord NH

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=loc&newest=1&addr=&zip=01201&search=Search

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
smiles & beer

Jonathan Lothrop

Jonathan Lothrop
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Michael L. Ward

Michael L. Ward
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large
Pete always sides with the wealthy's political interests.

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez
Gerald Lee told me that I am a Social Problem; Lee executes a top-down system of governance.

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large
Kerwood poured coffee drinks for Jane Swift

Louis Costi

Louis Costi
Pittsfield City Councilor

Lewis Markham

Lewis Markham
Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor
Sherman ran for Southern Berkshire State Rep against Smitty Pignatelli; Sherman is a good guy.

Anthony Maffuccio

Anthony Maffuccio
Pittsfield City Councilor

Linda Tyer

Linda Tyer
Pittsfield City Councilor

Daniel Bianchi

Daniel Bianchi
A Pittsfield City Councilor

The Democratic Donkey

The Democratic Donkey
Democratic Party Symbol

Paramount

Paramount
What is Paramount to you?

NH's Congresswoman

NH's Congresswoman
Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Sam Adams Beer

Sam Adams Beer
Boston Lager

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Disney Animation

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008
"Luciforo" swears in Mayor Ruberto. Pittsfield Politics at its very worst: 2 INSIDER POWERBROKERS! Where is Carmen Massimiano? He must be off to the side.

Abe

Abe
Lincoln

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
Leader of the Autobots

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
1984 Autobot Transformer Leader

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/cleanupagreement.html

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/thesite/opca-reports.html

US EPA - Contact - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

US EPA - Contact -  Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/contactinfo.html

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html

Commonwealth Connector

Commonwealth Connector
Commonwealth Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

www.network-health.org

www.network-health.org
Massachusetts Health Reform

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

BMC HealthNet Plan

BMC HealthNet Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform
Eligibility Chart: 2007

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Massachusetts Health Reform

Business Peaks

Business Peaks
Voodoo Economics

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite
Reagonomics: Supply Side

Corporate Elite Propaganda

Corporate Elite Propaganda
Mock Liberal Democratic Socialism Thinking

Real Estate Blues

Real Estate Blues
www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/2008/0316/

PEACE

PEACE
End ALL Wars!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell's World War II artwork depicting America's values

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
A young Abe Lincoln

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN
www.openmass.org/members/show/218 - www.rachelkaprielian.com

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/164 - www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/04/legislator_describes_threat_as_unnerving/

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!
My #1 Political Belief!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

A young woman Hillary supporter

A young woman Hillary supporter
This excellent picture captures a youth's excitement

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman
My favorite Actress!

Alan Chartock

Alan Chartock
WAMC public radio in Albany, NY; Political columnist who writes about Berkshire County area politics; Strong supporter for Human Rights for ALL Peoples

OpenCongress.Org

OpenCongress.Org
This web-site uses some of my Blog postings

OpenMass.org

OpenMass.org
This web-site uses some of my blog postings!

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien
One of my favorite politicians! She stands for the People first!

The Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House
"The Almighty Golden Dome" - www.masslegislature.tv -

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
A corrupt Pol who tried to put me in Jail

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
Another view of Pittsfield's inbred, multigenerational political prince. Luciforo!

Luciforo

Luciforo
Nuciforo's nickname

"Andy" Nuciforo

"Andy" Nuciforo
Luciforo!

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)
Nuciforo's henchman! Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail

Andrea Nuciforo Jr

Andrea Nuciforo Jr
Shhh! Luciforo's other job is working as a private attorney defending wealthy Boston-area corporate insurance companies

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.
Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail! Carmen sits with the Congressman, John Olver

Congressman John Olver

Congressman John Olver
Nuciforo's envy

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol
Our Beacon of American Democracy

Nuciforo's architect

Nuciforo's architect
Mary O'Brien in red with scarf

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)
Former-Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Nuciforo intimidated her, along with another woman, from running in a democratic state election in the Spring of 2006!

Andrea F. Nuciforo II

Andrea F. Nuciforo II
Pittsfield Politics

Berkshire County Republican Association

Berkshire County Republican Association
Go to: www.fcgop.blogspot.com

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer
U.S. Senator & State Representative

John Kerry

John Kerry
Endorses Barack Obama for Prez then visits Berkshire County

Dan Bosley

Dan Bosley
A Bureaucrat impostering as a Legislator!

Ben Downing

Ben Downing
Berkshire State Senator

Christopher N Speranzo

Christopher N Speranzo
Pittsfield's ANOINTED State Representative

Peter J. Larkin

Peter J. Larkin
Corrupt Lobbyist

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!
GE's FRAUDULENT Consent Decree with Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will end up KILLING many innocent school children & other local residents!

GE's CEO Jack Welch

GE's CEO Jack Welch
The Corporate System's Corporate Elite's King

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand
Equilibrium

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts
In 2007, GE sold its Plastics Division to a Saudi company. Now all that is left over by GE are its toxic PCB pollutants that cause cancer in many Pittsfield residents.

Mayor James M Ruberto

Mayor James M Ruberto
A small-time pol chooses to serve the corporate elite & other elites over the people.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick
Deval shakes hands with Mayors in Berkshire County

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick
Governor of Massachusetts

Pittsfield High School

Pittsfield High School
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Pittsfield's former Mayor

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Pittsfield Attorney focusing on Father's Rights Probate Court Legal Issues, & Local Politician and Political Observer

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Very Intelligent Political Activists in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, Esq. is the spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He has been practicing family law and has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1996.

Mayor Ed Reilly

Mayor Ed Reilly
He supports Mayor Ruberto & works as a municipal Attorney. As Mayor, he backed Bill Weld for Governor in 1994, despite being a Democrat. He was joined by Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett III, the long-standing Mayor of North Adams.

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta
Cuts Dental Care for Public School Children-in-Need

Manchester, NH City Hall

Manchester, NH City Hall
My new hometown - view from Hanover St. intersection with Elm St.

Manchester NH City Democrats

Manchester NH City Democrats
Go Dems!

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards

NH State House Dome

NH State House Dome
Concord, NH

Donna Walto

Donna Walto
Pittsfield Politician -- She strongly opposes Mayor Jim Ruberto's elitist tenure.

Elmo

Elmo
Who doesn't LOVE Elmo?

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!
Hillary is for Children. She is my choice in 2008.

The White House in 1800

The White House in 1800
Home of our Presidents of the United States

John Adams

John Adams
2nd President of the USA

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden
Hillary is my choice for U.S. President!

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Radisson in Manchester NH 11/16/2007

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
U.S. Senator & Candidate for President

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004
Linda Tyer, Pam Malumphy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My friend Brian Merzbach reviews baseball parks around the nation.

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy
The Elites double their $ every 6 to 8 years, while the "have-nots" double their $ every generation (or 24 years). Good bye Middle Class!

George Will

George Will
The human satellite voice for the Corporate Elite

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
The Anti-George Will; Harvard Law School Professor; The Corporate Elite's Worst Nightmare

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

State Senator Stan Rosenberg

State Senator Stan Rosenberg
Democratic State Senator from Amherst, Massachusetts -/- Anti-Stan Rosenberg Blog: rosenbergwatch.blogspot.com

Ellen Story

Ellen Story
Amherst Massachusetts' State Representative

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.
Books are being written on Pittsfield's high teen pregancy rates! What some intellectuals do NOT understand about the issue is that TEEN PREGNANCIES in Pittsfield double the statewide average by design - Perverse Incentives!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Supports $30 Scratch Tickets and other forms of regressive taxation. Another Pol that only serves his Corporate Elite Masters instead of the People!

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter
The first woman whom the People of New Hampshire have voted in to serve in U.S. Congress

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes
A good man who wants to bring progressive changes to Capitol Hill!

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress
New Hampshire's finest!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader
Star Wars

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush
The Gruesome Two-some! Stop the Neo-Cons' fascism! End the Iraq War NOW!

WAROPOLY

WAROPOLY
The Inequity of Globalism

Bushopoly!

Bushopoly!
The Corporate Elite have redesigned "The System" to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, masses, have-nots, poor & middle-class families

George W. Bush with Karl Rove

George W. Bush with Karl Rove
Rove was a political strategist with extraordinary influence within the Bush II White House

2008's Republican Prez-field

2008's Republican Prez-field
John McCain, Alan Keyes, Rudy Guiliani, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, WILLARD Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul

Fall in New England

Fall in New England
Autumn is my favorite season

Picturing America

Picturing America
picturingamerica.neh.gov

Winter Weather Map

Winter Weather Map
3:45PM EST 3-Dec-07

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Depiction of American Values in mid-20th Century America

Larry Bird #33

Larry Bird #33
My favorite basketball player of my childhood

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008
Kevin Garnett hugs James Posey

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
All heart! Awesome basketball star for The Boston Celtics.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Go Patriots!

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Owner of Fox News - CORPORATE ELITE!

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous
A Corporate Elite Political News Analyst

Robert Redford

Robert Redford
Starred in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Plays a jaded journalist with integrity in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays the Neo-Con D.C. Pol purely indoctrinated by the Corporate Elite's political agenda in the Middle East

CHARLIZE THERON

CHARLIZE THERON
"I want to say I've never been surrounded by so many fake breasts, but I went to the Academy Awards."

Amherst Town Library

Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH - www.amherstlibrary.org

Manchester NH Library

Manchester NH Library
I use the library's automated timed 1-hour-per-day Internet computers to post on my Blog - www.manchester.lib.nh.us

Manchester NH's Palace Theater

Manchester NH's Palace Theater
Manchester NH decided to restore its Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater
Pittsfield tore down this landmark on North Street in favor of a parking lot

Pleasant Street Theater

Pleasant Street Theater
Amherst, Massachusetts

William "Shitty" Pignatelli

William "Shitty" Pignatelli
A top down & banal State House Pol from Lenox Massachusetts -- A GOOD MAN!

The CIA & Mind Control

The CIA & Mind Control
Did the CIA murder people by proxy assassins?

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones
Yale's Elite

ImpeachBush.org

ImpeachBush.org
I believe President Bush should be IMPEACHED because he is waging an illegal and immoral war against Iraq!

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008
www.blog.bobfeuer.us

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln
The 16th President of the USA

Power

Power
Peace

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer
A member of Green Peace activist sets up a giant thermometer as a symbol of global warming during their campaign in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. World leaders launch marathon negotiations Monday on how to fight global warming, which left unchecked could cause devastating sea level rises, send millions further into poverty and lead to the mass extinction of plants and animals.

combat global warming...

combat global warming...
...or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org
P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260, (413) 243-5665, tstokes@kyotoandbeyond.org, www.kyotoandbeyond.org

3 Democratic presidentional candidates

3 Democratic presidentional candidates
Democratic presidential candidates former senator John Edwards (from right) and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd before the National Public Radio debate yesterday (12/4/2007).

The UN Seal

The UN Seal
An archaic & bureaucratic post WW2 top-down, non-democratic institution that also stands for some good governance values

Superman

Superman
One of my favorite childhood heroes and movies

Web-Site on toxic toys

Web-Site on toxic toys
www.healthytoys.org

Batman

Batman
One of my favorite super-heroes

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer
Massachusetts' Governor stands with Dalton's State Rep. Denis E. Guyer.

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer
TV Star Bill Cosby stands with Denis E. Guyer

Denis Guyer with his supporters

Denis Guyer with his supporters
Dalton State Representative

Denis Guyer goes to college

Denis Guyer goes to college
Dalton State Representative

Peter Marchetti

Peter Marchetti
He is my second cousin. Pete Marchetti favors MONEY, not fairness!

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple
Matt Barron plays DIRTY politics against his opponents!

Nat Karns

Nat Karns
Top-Down Executive Director of the ELITIST Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Human Rights for All Peoples & people

Human Rights for All Peoples & people
Stop Anti-Semitism

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill
State House, Room 227, Boston, MA 02133, 617-367-6900, www.mass.gov/treasury/

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, 413-784-1240 / McCormick Building, One Asburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 617-727-4765 / marthacoakley.com / www.ago.state.ma.us

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...
www.takebackthecourt.org - A political billboard near my downtown apartment in Manchester, NH

Marc Murgo

Marc Murgo
An old friend of mine from Pittsfield

Downtown Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester, NH
www.newhampshire.com/nh-towns/manchester.aspx

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Movie Actress

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)
www.masschc.org/issue.php

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler
Mike Firestone works in Manchester NH for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign

James Pindell

James Pindell
Covers NH Primary Politcs for The Boston Globe

U.S. History - Declaration

U.S. History - Declaration
A 19th century engraving shows Benjamin Franklin, left, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman at work on the Declaration of Independence.

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/
Sybregje Palenstijn (left), who plays Sarah Godbertson at Plimouth Plantation, taught visitors how to roast a turkey on a spit. The plantation often sees a large influx of visitors during the holiday season.

Chris Hodgkins

Chris Hodgkins
Another special interest Berkshire Pol who could not hold his "WATER" on Beacon Hill's State House!

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.
Most of Boston's Big Dig highway remains closed, after a woman was crushed when 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto her car. (ABC News)

Jane Swift

Jane Swift
Former Acting Governor of Massachusetts & Berkshire State Senator

Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Governor

William Floyd Weld

William Floyd Weld
$80 Million Trust Fund Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mike Dukakis

Mike Dukakis
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
Amherst, Massachusetts, Journalist and Blogger

Caveman

Caveman
www.ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com

Peter G. Arlos

Peter G. Arlos
"The biggest challenge Pittsfield faces is putting its fiscal house in order. The problem is that doing so requires structural changes in local government, many of which I have advocated for years, but which officials do not have the will to implement. Fiscal responsibility requires more than shifting funds from one department to another. Raising taxes and fees and cutting services are not the answer. Structural changes in the way services are delivered and greater productivity are the answer, and without these changes the city's fiscal crisis will not be solved."

James M. Ruberto

James M. Ruberto
"Pittsfield's biggest challenge is to find common ground for a better future. The city is at a crossroads. On one hand, our quality of life is challenged. On the other hand, some important building blocks are in place that could be a strong foundation for our community. Pittsfield needs to unite for the good of its future. The city needs an experienced businessman and a consensus builder who will invite the people to hold him accountable."

Matt Kerwood

Matt Kerwood
Pittsfield's Councilor-At-Large. Go to: extras.berkshireeagle.com/NeBe/profiles/12.htm

Gerald M. Lee

Gerald M. Lee
Pittsfield's City Council Prez. Top-down governance of the first order!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
Mary with student

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon celebrates with Jason Varitek

Free Bernard Baran!

Free Bernard Baran!
www.freebaran.org

Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence
Capitol Hill

Sherwood Guernsey II

Sherwood Guernsey II
Wealthy Williamstown Political Activist & Pittsfield Attorney

Mary Carey 2

Mary Carey 2
California Pol & porn star

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Jimmy Ruberto for the returning Mayor's 3rd term

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown
www.berkshiregrown.org

Rambo

Rambo

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.
The Mount, the historic home in Lenox of famed American novelist Edith Wharton, is facing foreclosure.