To the editor of THE EAGLE:

The comments of public officials are often taken out of context, and I sincerely hope that is proven to be true regarding North Adams Mayor Alcombright’s comments with state officials regarding the financial plight of North Adams: "We’re broke. We’re broke. We’re one cycle short
of Detroit." (Eagle editorial, July 3).

I moved from Shrewsbury to North Berkshire in 1970 when I assumed a teaching position at North Adams State College. I loved the area: beautiful mountains, rural beauty, friendly people and a small-town atmosphere. But, there was one big negative that didn’t take long to recognize: hostile local politics and bickering among the mayor and city officials. This negativity continues to this day, and many citizens in this community seem to thrive on this divisiveness. There is, indeed, a close correlation between Washington, D.C., and small-town politics: nothing gets done, and there is gridlock.

Mayor Alcombright has worked very hard for North Adams and his efforts should be applauded. However, I find his remarks to state officials to be counterproductive to all efforts to project a positive image of the city.

Being more specific, let’s examine the relationship be-
tween Mass. College of Liberal Arts and the city. I was a professor at MCLA for 32 years and retired in 2002. If I were a parent of a son/daughter who was considering attending MCLA, I would say, "No, it’s a poor choice. The mayor of the city compares it to Detroit. It must be dangerous."

In my life, I have never accepted the conduct of defeatism: giving up. In the next mayoral election in North Adams, it might be wise for the citizens of North Adams to elect a candidate who has a new vision for this city and all its undiscovered potential. North Adams and its surrounding communities have their challenges, but I much prefer to quote a long-distant relative from Scotland -- John Paul Jones: "I have not yet begun to fight."

NEIL N. MCLEOD

Clarksburg