Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Thursday, November 01, 2007
  Time to Take Cheap Shots
Just last August The Transcript editorial page told us that the lack of challengers to the city council and Mayor was a sign of the voters' contentment. Those of us who actively watch local politics said it was apathy.

Last night's city council beauty pageant, with no calls whatsoever from residents, appears to have brought our hometown paper's editor over to the apathy interpretation as well.

But that is where my agreement with the paper's current editorial end:

If Glenn feels so strongly about national issues invading local politics, why on earth didn't he write a similar editorial after the Mayor was recently interviewed on Channel 9 during Sen. Kerry's visit? It was a brief but very pointed commentary on federal budgets and foreign policy - not on Lowe's or Mass MoCA or schools - It was about the war.

Maybe I am in a minority who thinks that local governments should selectively opine (sometimes loudly) on national issues in order to create platforms for residents to join larger movements, but criticizing a council candidate simply because he wants to occasionally engage issues that don't end at the city limits is, in itself, naive - Especially when the current council doesn't do much of anything aside from add the constitutionally required legislative legal window dressing to North Adams' charter and the body-politic. Name more than three issues the current council has taken up *on their own* in the past two years. Do you get my point?

This editorial cemented my vote for all three council challengers simply because....

As of right now I can only think of four incumbents who are worth keeping. The rest aren't bad (with the exception of one who *really* needs to go.) They just aren't very good, either.
Greg--I've been mostly quiet about the race so far. There's really just no story there, mostly, you know?

But I have to ask you how you could really think Mr. D'Amico would be an improvement on even the worst of the incumbents.

His basic premise of the elderly and veterans not getting their share of city services is simply ludicrous. Putting a guy like that, whose focus seems only to be on grabbing as much as he can for himself and his peer-cohorts, onto the coucil, would be giant step backwards for the electorate.

I've spoken with both Eric Buddington and Lisa Blackmer. I will say that I'm voting for one of those two, but not both.

As for incumbents, I'm still doing some research but I know straightaway that I will vote for three of them, probably will vote for one of them, and am disinclined to vote for the five others. I will probably vote for only four or five names.

But at the end of the day next Tuesday, I fully expect that all nine incumbents will cruise to re-election. So congrats in advance to you guys, and good luck next time to you other guys, and let's look forward to the next two years of good old stay-the-course politics. Way to go, us.
The apparent self imposed secondary status of the Council is what is most troubling. It may be a reaction to a time when "THE GANG OF FIVE" actually opposed the Mayor and held his feet to the fire. He blamed them for the reason that nothing got done, but in reality it was the Mayors lack of being able to work with others and accept that others had viable opinions and ideas, was the real reason nothing got done.
I agree that one definitely has to go. Because of her blatantly apparent clueless remarks at meetings and on the forum. Another is just running at the behest of the Corner Office trying to stack the deck again. I find it ironic that the citizenry of the Town came pounding at his door, begging him to run one more time when their collective interest in what goes on in Town politics is just about nill. Two others are maintaining the "Bobble Head" give the mayor what ever he wants, no questions asked attitude, and they should also begone.
I believe, as do the majority of those that follow Town Politics, that the Council has to become more active in the decision making process. No one that believes in the Democratic Process likes a "One Man Band". As a matter of FACT they find it akin to a dictatorship.
Wait a minute . . . we have a city council?

Greg, why don't you ever tell me these things?
Consider a vote for D'Amico a protest vote. He has no chance of winning and probably the other challengers don't either but I will vote from the bottom of the ballot up this year. And at most I will vote for 7. Maybe less.
Unless you can replace five, it doesn't really matter who you vote for. I found it funny that the transcript was looking for people to hold the council's "feet to the fire" - about what?

CJT was all fire and brimestone when he was running, now he has accepted the role of the CC and the pond remains calm. NA is on cruise control, every now and then the mayor needs to turn the steering wheel, but then its back to normal.
Just what were you looking for? What did you want CJT to do .....Jump up on the table and act like an asshole? or maybe throw a couple of punches at the mayor? That would be real civil! If you are looking for a hockey game, you are on the wrong channel. You don't have to yell and pout and pull a hissy fit if you don't get your way.....that is the Mayors way! CJT is smarter than that!
His performance certainly doesn't match his campaigning two years ago, and it was his campaigning that people voted for.
for the record i have had my "fire fight" with the mayor it just wasn't televised...i have worked hard on the council and will continure to do so if reelected....while my campaign last time around was quite a show it was based on making a point...i disagreed witht the way things were going and i showed that by speaking up we can make a difference...i agree that the council should take a greater role in governing ,as we can, but one councilior isn't going to get that done....i believe that the last two years have been a learning experince for me...i have taken advantage of many workshops sponsored by the mass municipal association, i sit on the presedintal committee of the public works board, i have been able to gather knowledge needed to further my goals on the city council...also what many, including myself, may not realize is that the council could send a thousand letters, ordinances, acts or resolutions to the mayor and if he doesn't sign them they go nowhere....

I essentially agree with CJT on the acts- resolutions etc. we can do that sort of stuff---and even if the Mayor vetoes and we override the veto-- it still doesn;t mean much---of course resolutions are just the "sense" of the Council and have no legal merit--- ordinances on the other hand do have legal standing---but then you get to the enforcement of such ordinances--some that are even on the books now are enforced more rigorously than others---that is still within the actions of the administrative branch--or variousadministrative boards or departments---Grasshopper has learned this lesson
well---and if you do have a bone to pick with the Mayor----you pick your spots---and I did see the Mayor and CJT go at it at one meeting-- Executive Session--and I forget when and what the issue was--that's why it wasn;t televised---I think they also met privately and hashed things out---and that has happened to most of us at one time or another---CJT has been a solid Councilor in my estimation-- he has been eager to learn and has succeeded in doing that--chbpod
Executive session.

Where can I find the exact requirements that an issue must involve in order to qualify for executive session?

I thought it was only things such as Human Resources and competitive contracts while the bidding is still open?

Chris - What was the general issue being discussed when you had this disagreement with the Mayor?
well it was in executive session so that is something that is supposed to be kept in strategy is usually what gets us in there....this particular issue has seince been made public so you should be able to figure it out.....
Litagation-- OR potential litigation-- qualify---specifically-- maybe you should read the Open Meeting Law-- and you don't need Eric Buddington for that--it's on the Mass Gov't website-- I thought anyone as informed as you knew that--sorry--I didn;t know that you didn't --it also involves strategy as to collective bargaining---read the Open Meeting Law--- -chbpod
daSnoop....Like for instance?
Actually, I've been wondering about the minutes of executive sessions. Under Mass. law, they must be kept, and eventually made public:

"...the records of any executive session may remain secret as long as publication may defeat the lawful purposes of the executive session, but no longer."

Yet the Clerk doesn't seem to have any such minutes. Perhaps one of the Councilors can explain?
well pretty much any thing i have been involved in during executive session has publicly come out....i would think the minutes would be there...
I don't think we have verbatim minutes of regular Council meetings-- my recollection is-- and it is a couple of decades since I looked at the recorded meeting minutes---- that all was there was a recording of the motions an votes on specific Council papers, etc. none of the debate or discussion was recorded---as far as Executive Session-- I have no idea---never needed to see any such minutes---and since no action can be taken during Executive Session--there would be nothing to record---except maybe a notation as to what the issues presented in Executive Session---when is it no longer "secret"??? maybe when the Mayor makes whatever was discussed public---whether he notifies the Clerk that Exec Sess minutes may now be published- I really don;t know----any of the recent Council Presidents may have a better read-- since they sit beside the Clerk and may know what sort of notes the Clerk is taking---Those would be Gailanne, Mike (the two most recent (covering 4 years) and Al Marden before that---chbpod
chbpod...what you are saying is that, contrary to State Law, no minutes of the meeting were kept?...and if by chance they were, it is within the purview of the Mayor to say when the minutes can be released to the public, not the State Statutes regulating timely release of them? So now you are saying that the Mayor can supersede any State Law just because He feels like it, and because He is He!
No that's not what I said-- and I apologize for any confusion-- if the Mayor brings to us (Council) an item(s) under executive Session-- they remain secret until such tine as they are no longer needed to remain secret-- abd usually that means when the Mayor reveals his position that was expressed in Exec Seeions---- that is tantamount to and acknowledgement that the Exec Sess stuff is now public--- and he should so inform the Clerk that those minutes are in the public domain-- question is however- just how "tight" are the minutes??? chbpod
That is a reasonable explanation and serves to clear up a lot. So there are minuates and people can get them at the Town hall.
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