PITTSFIELD -- Responding to a survey by The Eagle, local officials this week expressed a wide-ranging "top two" wish list for 2013 -- from school contraction to a new city charter to public safety to world peace.
In alphabetical order, these are the responses we received:
School Committee member Alfred E. "Alf" Barbalunga
n "I hope in 2013 that all Pittsfield public students have a safe, academically challenging and enjoyable learning experience.
n "I hope in 2013 that the United States of America develops more of a balance concerning what our national priorities are, most especially in the support and nourishment of our own citizens."
Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi
n "There are a lot of things I would like to see in 2013: long-term fiscal planning, public safety -- I can't just give two things; they are all important. Economic development, Taconic High School: These issues are all right up there, and they are all linked together. The schools are directly linked to economic development. As is charter review: Professionalism in our government is critical.
n "I also hope that as a nation, we can advance. Four years after President Obama's first election, I realize how much work is left to do. What we need today is more tolerance in the world."
Councilor at Large Barry J. Clairmont
n "My No. 1 wish is to see the high school project on the Taconic campus to move forward, whether it be a renovation or new
n "The second thing is the development of the William Stanley Business Park. We need to attract businesses that will provide our citizens with job opportunities that pay a living wage. My third wish is finding the funding to continue the Streetscape project on North Street so that the entire street has one harmonious look."
School Committee member
n "My No. 1 hope is that the Pittsfield community has a new high school building approved by the end of the year.
n "Second: That our government starts working together for the common good of all. Third: School Committee meetings that end by 8:30 p.m."
Councilor at large Churchill Cotton
n "I would like to see something that would support economic development, especially something at the Stanley Business Park.
n "And I would like to see some definitive plans for a Taconic High School project."
State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier,
n "Legislatively, my goals are to work on transportation finance reform with an emphasis on reducing the disparity between funding going to the MBTA and the transportation needs in the rest of the state -- and on reforms that will allow recent immigrants to better integrate into our communities."
School Committee member
n "One, get the city's vocational program going as a fully functional vocational program, including the auto body and metal fabrication programs.
n "Two, complete stabilization of the tax rate, which means no increases."
Councilor at large Melissa Mazzeo
n "I would like to see our elected officials in Washington start crossing the aisle and really tackle the issues that are holding us back as a country right now. We need them to put aside their "political" loyalties and start thinking about what is best for the people who elected them.
n "My second wish is local: I would like to see more business coming into Pittsfield, maybe in the PEDA site or other areas throughout. They would increase our tax base, employ our residents, put children in our schools, and all around add to our local economy. A few businesses coming to Pittsfield 2013 would be a shot in the arm for our confidence. And if I could sneak in a third wish, it would be for less violence in the world!"
City Council President Kevin J. Sherman
n "In 2013, I am hopeful that we will make progress toward upgrading our current school infrastructure. It's imperative that we have a direction, goal, and timeline for the process.
n "Another priority is the safety and quality of life in our neighborhoods. We have worked hard to put together ordinances on a city level to reduce avoidable nuisances in our neighborhoods. Safety remains a concern and I want to explore how we can effectively, practically and proactively help on a local level through legislation, as well as in cooperation with the Pittsfield Housing Authority, the neighborhood initiatives, and through our state delegation."
Ward 7 Councilor Anthony J. Simonelli
n "To see through the completion of the Hancock Road reconstruction, and beginning this spring, the resurfacing of the Highland Avenue and Lakeway Drive projects.
n "I would also like to see "unaccepted roads" throughout Ward 7 and the city receive the attention they deserve."
City Clerk Linda Tyer
n "Push forward on using tablet technology to improve distribution of materials and for more efficient communication with the City Council. A successful charter review that provides a clear and concise framework for how our city government is structured. And that the new charter is embraced by all community stakeholders.
n "Effort, energy and resources invested in archiving and preserving the city's oldest and most vulnerable records. And finally, success in all our endeavors as we assist our citizens in navigating their government."
Megan Whilden, director of cultural development
n "I hope that in 2013 we move much closer to restoring train service along the north-south corridor, which I think will have a terrific positive effect on the Berkshire economy, particularly its creative economy.
n "And on a bigger level, I hope that the arts and creativity will continue to help heal hearts and minds and bring people together. In 2013 I wish for everyone everywhere to have access to the healing, inspiring effects of creating art, whether it be a quilt or high school play or an amazing public service campaign online."
School Committee member Katherine Yon
n "I would like to see the selection of a dynamic superintendent of schools to lead our district. I am also hoping to see progress with the high school building project this year.
n "Finally, I think I speak for everyone when I say my wish would be to ensure that our schools are impenetrable to those whose distorted realities wreak mayhem with deadly weapons. We need to work together to recognize and help those needy individuals, and we need to find a way to balance constitutional rights with the proliferation of weapons that are only intended to kill. We have difficult work ahead. My hope is that good sense and reason will prevail."
To reach Jim Therrien:
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