Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Monday, April 06, 2009
  It's On!
Alcombright is running for Mayor.
City Councilor Richard J. Alcombright alerted the media Monday morning that he will announce his bid Tuesday morning at his home to unseat longtime incumbent John Barrett III.

Alcombright, a Hoosac Bank vice president and city native, is serving his fourth full term as city councilor and has been a member of the McCann School Committee since 1991. He was appointed by the council in 2000 to fill the unexpired term of his late father, longtime City Councilor Daniel F. Alcombright Jr.

Barrett, the longest-serving mayor in Massachusetts, is in his 13th term. He will face his first substantial opposition since he defeated Paul Babeu, a former city councilor and county commissioner, in 2001 for the second time.
I've spoken to Dick about his intentions and have great faith that he is doing this for the right reasons.

I honestly do not know if Mayor Barrett will run or retire rather than have to put on a full fledged campaign. He says he is a candidate, so I would take him at his word.

The dynamic I see at play is that after 26 years, Mayor Barrett has made as many political foes as he has allies. These voters would likely back anybody who runs against JBIII. In Dick's case, I just don't sense any real public opposition to him. His biggest hurdle will be to demonstrate that he would be an effective leader. If he does that successfully, with everything else being even, I tend to think he has a pretty darn good shot.

Now with all that said, the council races will get interesting. Watch for some announcements in the near future.
This whole thing is going to be interesting... both the mayoral race and the council openings.

I have spoken several times with Dick as well, and he's got to be doing it for all the right reasons... 'cause why else would you take this risk?

I'm just glad he threw his hat in the ring. He is a well-liked, well known local that, I believe, has everything it takes to be a solid mayor. He told me that he would first, surround him self with really smart people... what a concept, many minds, thinking together, instead of just one.
How about it Greg--got a hat??
what? No discussion on this? Come on people, this is interesting.

chbpod: I agree that this will make for some fun if you are a politico-news junkie.

It will be fun to watch.
After reading hundreds of comments in the Transcript's TOPIX columns, I am totally depressed at what passes for political discussion in NA. It should be an interesting race, if there is any intelligent discussion of the merits of each candidates vision.

So far, it seems more like a mud fight from the Barrett haters. I asked some folks who are all excited about Alcombright running what he had actually accomplished on the City Council or School Committee.

All got was silence, and "that" look.

I think the best thing we could have is a sharing of visions from both sides, and a lot of fresh thinking as to the way forward for economic develoipment in NA.

Bashing Mass MoCA and artists who have purchased houses and brought businesses to NA may appeal to a segment of the population, but it is not exactly a constructive solution to our problems. That's just using a straw man instead of a real argument for getting elected, Mr. Banker.

Let the campaigns begin.
So far, it seems more like a mud fight from the Barrett haters. I asked some folks who are all excited about Alcombright running what he had actually accomplished on the City Council or School Committee.

Well, Larry, let me turn that around on you for a second. Any idea what John Barrett had accomplished in local government before he was elected mayor?

Second, the mud seems like it's coming from you--why are Alcombright supporters automatically Barrett haters? Why isn't it possible to appreciate the Mayor's lifelong service to the community while still maybe wanting to turn over the reins of power?

Third, are you asserting that Dick Alcombright is an artist-basher?

I'm still making up my mind on this one, frankly. There's a long way to go yet. But can't you just support who you like without spewing on the other side? Isn't there enough of that over on the Topix boards?
I'm not sure where the thought that Dick is bashing Mass Moca and artists come from.

All he said is that we have "ridden the Mass Moca wave" for a long time... now we need to do things ourselves, in support of that.

I totally agree with that. These discussions oft turn to... "why doesn't Mass Moca do more to prop up the city?" As if Moca is rolling in cash and doesn't need to focus on itself to continue.

As far as "What has Dick done on the Council"... What has anyone done on the council? The council is only as powerful as the Mayor allows it to be, as their only actual binding function as per the city charter is voting yay or nay on the budget. Thats it. Otherwise they are simply an advisory board.

I agree with Ross in that I personally don't feel any ill-will toward the Mayor as he has done a fine job running this city during some quite trying times... especially the late 80's into the 90's.

I just also agree with the "riding the wave" notion...I think there are many voices in this city with great ideas that are routinely dismissed. THAT is what I would like changed.
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