To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Something very good for the residents of Pittsfield almost didn’t happen at the last City Council meeting. The mayor’s request for $10,000 to join five other Berkshire communities and negotiate a settlement with General Electric was narrowly approved by a 6 to 5 vote. The mayor presented an argument for the communities to hire an environmental law firm in preparation for negotiations with GE. Ultimately, the goal is a financial settlement for the costs we will incur when a Housatonic River clean-up starts.
Boston radio stations and the Boston Herald were reporting on the significance of several Western Massachusetts communities banding together to fight one of the largest corporations in the world. For only $10,000, Pittsfield would get a seat at the negotiating table. Combining six communities meant strength in numbers, along with our state and federal representatives.
However, the opposition party did not care about Pittsfield, it only cared to shoot down a popular initiative proposed by the mayor. Councilor Clairmont picked apart language that for all intents and purposes was completely non-binding. With the thrill of victory in the air, Councilor Krol made a motion to table the request. Fortunately, the opposition party is not the majority, and unlike our Congress, cannot hold the rest of us hostage to get their way.
If the City Council voted this request down we would have lost out on the opportunity to join forces in a fight against GE. We would looked foolish to the rest of the state and lost our leadership role in the county. This is the concern I have with our opposition party.
I sincerely urge the people of Pittsfield to think twice about casting ballots for Councilors Clairmont, Krol and Yon. Tuesday night’s council meeting proved that they do not have our best interests in mind. While Councilors Capitanio and Lothrop also participated in this charade, the voters will not have a say in their future on Nov. 5.