Incumbent Pittsfield Ward 6 City Councilor John Krol is opposed Tuesday by a former Ward 7 councilor in Joseph Nichols, who recently moved into Ward 6. It has been a sharply contested battle waged around responsiveness to ward residents and the bigger picture of how best to move Pittsfield forward.
As a supporter, although not a blind follower, of Mayor James Ruberto's agenda, Mr. Krol has been pigeon-holed as an anti-Mayor Bianchi councilor. Mr. Krol, however, has demonstrated that he can disagree without being disagreeable and making arguments personal, and he is able to articulate good reasons for his votes and positions, whether or not they agree with those of the mayor. That is basically what a city councilor should do.
As a councilor in both mayoral administrations, Mr. Krol has worked to be a consensus-builder on issues like the commercial vs. residential tax rate, mosquito control programs, green projects and job creation. He takes a positive approach, welcome in a city where negativity has too often prevailed, and this is reflected in his support for cultural tourism, improving the schools, downtown renovation and the airport expansion.
When he was elected to the City Council from Ward 7, Mr. Nichols came on like a Pittsfield version of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, always in an attack mode but too often failing to marshal sufficient facts to support his vigorously argued points. In an editorial board meeting at The Eagle, Mr. Nichols acknowledged that he faced a "learning curve" and said he would now be a more effective councilor. He is obviously sincere about wanting to serve the community, and would be knowledgeable and responsive on ward issues. But Mr. Nichols' core argument that Mr. Krol has been unresponsive to ward constituents doesn't hold up given the tangible road and sidewalk improvements and safety upgrades that the incumbent has lobbied for and seen to fruition.
During his tenure on the City Council, Mr. Nichols was a regular "No" vote on strong Ruberto initiatives, such as the airport expansion and tougher regulations on landlords, among others. Mr. Nichols seems to see government as a burdensome presence in Pittsfield, but it was shown during the Ruberto years that government can make Pittsfield a far better place for its residents and businesses. Making progress in Pittsfield often necessitates government butting heads with entrenched forces of the status quo, and as a councilor, Mr. Nichols did not take on those forces, as has Mr. Krol.
Mr. Krol has done so largely through persuasion and bridge-building, and has been an effective city councilor who clearly believes government has a positive role to play in making the ward and city better for residents. The Eagle endorses John Krol for re-election in Ward 6.