Letter: Bring fresh perspective, independence to Ward 3

To the editor:

Diversity (noun) The state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness; diversity of opinion. My name is Jim Gleason, I'm running to be elected in the city of Pittsfield to the seat of Ward 3 city councilor. The word diversity has been used more than any other in this election season as the aim of many people looking to be elected to various positions in our city government.

When most people use the word diversity their meaning is toward diversity in hiring as far as people of color are concerned, and how they'd like the children of diverse ethnic or religious backgrounds to be taught by people who look and sound like them, thus making their educational or life experiences more fulfilling by having role models as teachers and leaders. Some are sincere in these wishes and statements, others use their words to attempt to curry favor with all possible voting groups. It's easy for me to discern which are which.

Very few of those running, however, are thinking, or speaking, of people who are disabled as being part of said diversity. I'm disabled, differently abled, whichever you'd prefer. I'd think city and school leaders and this newspaper would be advocating for, my election to the seat for which I'm running. I'm wheelchair-bound, having had both legs amputated below the knee, from diabetes, which I've suffered from since age five, 51-plus years in all.

I haven't heard one word of support from any of the aforementioned entities, I haven't been contacted by the newspaper to ask what the concerns of or the issues faced by a disabled person are locally, or how I plan to represent disabled or fully-abled people in my ward and in the city. I haven't been contacted by the city or school administration to ask if I could help with questions raised by citizens or students who are disabled about how to best address these issues.

Is it because I've disagreed with the direction being taken by this city administration and with things printed by this newspaper? Is diversity wanted but only by people who are diverse and agree with the direction being taken by both entities?

I want to be the new Ward 3 city councilor. I see things from a different height level presently but I've also seen things as a fully-abled person. I feel I'm the only person who can look at things from the view of having seen both points of the story. I've lived here for 56 years and speak from experience and from my heart.

At the forum Monday night at BCC, unlike my opponent I used no script. I don't need to read how I feel or my solutions to issues faced here. I know how I feel and what I believe in.

I'd appreciate the votes of people in Ward 3 on Nov. 7. I think for myself and listen to all points of view. Please vote on Election Day..

James Gleason,


The writer is a candidate for Ward 3 city councilor.


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