Farley-Bouvier a part of BIC, PEDA failures
To the editor:
John Krol's radio mini-debate with the candidates for state representative the other day was illuminating. The incumbent, Tricia Farley-Bouvier, while trying to act more qualified and mature than her opponent, Michael Bloomberg, was pretty condescending toward her 26-year-old challenger. Suggesting he get a job and come back later is kind of laughable. The current (retiring) state senator, Ben Downing, was but 24 years old when he ran for the seat he now occupies. Ben has done yeoman's work, and his youth has been an advantage, not a liability.
As I listened further, I had a double-take moment as Ms. Farley-Bouvier suggested we need to get the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) started. We have $6 million in funding and bids totaling $9 million. Is starting a project we don't have all the money to complete responsible? Would you start a home renovation if you were 33 percent short on the known costs? And if you would, should we vote for you to manage our affairs? To claim the state will have to kick in the difference is not only naive, but irresponsible.
The BIC, taken together with the Waterstone proposal for retail on a site we all believed would house industrial development, represents the failure of PEDA and our state rep. to move anything forward on that site. She takes credit for much in the community by telling us she is a "partner" with city government. Well if there is failure, was she a partner in that?
One would think that if the BIC planning process was a quality job, the bids would have pretty much aligned with what PEDA sold to the state. That the bid was off by about 50 percent shows someone really didn't know what was going on and the contractors who bid saw the true costs as they put pencil to paper.
Pittsfield taxpayers should not presume the state will come through with the additional funding. This shortfall may give the state a good reason to ask the question many of us ask: What does PEDA DO anyway?
I say don't dig an inch into that polluted soil until 100 percent of the cost is in hand. If the BIC needs to be built at all, we need to wait. If Walmart is all this site can attract, and businesses in the nanotech industry are fully aware of the site, why have they not come here to build? The answer probably lies in the former use of the property on the one hand and the constant "what have we found now?" nature of the surprises which keep popping up on the other. The place is destined never to be re-used as promised.
He may be young, but how could Bloomberg do any worse for our community than the folks who have brought us this hot mess?
Dave Pill, Pittsfield