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Ward 2 deserves much better from PIttsfield Road Work Program

April 7 ,2022

To the editor: I recently met with five unhappy Pittsfield residents who demand to know when the city will restore their road that no longer can handle plows, directs water 10 feet onto their properties and is wrecking their vehicles.

These residents have been assured for three years and counting by the mayor’s office that their street is on the repair list for the last three years. This story is not unique for Ward 2. I write on behalf of the residents of Ward 2 to object to the 2022 Roadwork Program. In February, each city councilor was solicited by the Department of Public Works to submit seven roads each for repaving. My list included Morningside and Precinct 2B neighborhoods. Further, I met with Commissioner Ricardo Morales in February, and he specifically identified roads in Ward 2 that would be repaved, of which several matched my request.

I greet with surprise, therefore, that Ward 2 receives a scant 3 percent of the city’s proposed Chapter 90-funded resurfacing. The median allotment is 13 percent. This median percentage is the middle share and is close to what most wards received. Wards 1 and 7 receive approximately 11 percent; Wards 3, 4 and 6 each get roughly 15 percent; and Ward 5 receives 30 percent. So, what relief shall Ward 2 residents expect for their neighborhood streets? Nothing. Smith Street is 140 feet and connects Burbank to Tyler. I bet you didn’t even know it exists. It is a minor road barely used with no homes, and it needs no repair. The Woodlawn section runs along the GE wasteland ending at Tyler. The East Street section from Fourth Street to Park Square services countywide traffic. There’s not one dime to be found for our neighborhoods.

Is this how the mayor’s office conducts business with her constituents: broken promises and empty assurances? For Morningside and those economically disadvantaged residents, she first levies an unnecessary hike on water and sewer and now this? I submit to Pittsfield at large: Ward 2 deserves its fair portion of the tax-driven services, and no one in this city should tolerate a spending plan that gives even the appearance of mistreatment.

I made my argument to you, and I call upon the at-large councilors and the mayor to intervene and correct the 2022 Roadwork Program.

Charles Kronick, Pittsfield

“Letter: Pittsfield Needs a Better ARPA Survey” Berkshire Eagle Sept. 1, 2021

I commend Deanna Ruffer’s presentations and courteous engagement of the public in the hearings on Pittsfield’s $40 million American Rescue Plan Act grant. These meetings build awareness of residents’ challenges. The ARPA is a one-time grant for the impact of COVID-19. Pittsfield has until the end of 2024 to give a spending plan to the Federal Government and until 2026 to spend the funds. If the city carefully crafts a plan and holds the funds according to the deadlines, we could earn at least $500,000 interest. That’s good money to permanently fund Westside and Morningside community centers.

The assessment of the City’s needs is a huge project. The City has set up an online survey. Unfortunately, it is fatally flawed. We are neither gathering actionable information nor building a team qualified to design and evaluate its results. On Monday’s 8/23 meeting, I asked Ms. Ruffer whether the survey gathered demographic information such as age, income, etc. She stated that it did but it’s optional. What!? Demographic information is essential to this survey. Imagine a political poll not asking what party you supported. Preposterous. Without demographics we may identify stresses but have no idea who are affected and their circumstances.

There are other serious flaws. It is online which disenfranchises many who either lack or can’t use computers. The questions are too few and too narrow, for instance it ignores the disabled. This survey must be scrapped for a mailed survey which will garner more responses. A low response rate gives the City liberty to allocate our funds without our input- a situation ripe for funnelling funds to specials interests.

The community meetings provide a constructive event for people to brainstorm about what is not working. But these meetings cannot contribute to a successful outcome if the global survey is flawed. We need to get the survey done right, and we need experts in survey development and statistical analysis. Pittsfield lacks the expertise and needs the assistance of a university social sciences department. I urge the City to adopt a paper multi-language survey to be mailed to each resident combined with reminders from the city’s automated phone system to urge participation. Seeking a comprehensive response that excludes no one for lack of means to participate would help ensure that the ARPA Grant will lift the entire community.

iBerkshire Interview Aug.13, 2021 “Charles Ivar Kronick Wants to be Independent Voice for Ward 2”

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Charles Ivar Kronick wants to be the voice for residents of Ward 2 who are living on a fixed income and, as a member of the City Council, make choices based on the fundamental principles of what is good for the community. The Williams College graduate says he has well-rounded experience in the fields of business, finance, and the arts and identifies himself as an independent voice. Kronick has lived in Pittsfield since 2010 and has a long family legacy in the Berkshires.

“There are two kinds of faces in Ward 2, A and B, and one the poorest parts of our city, the Morningside district, and then there’s the other district, which has got a lot of people living on fixed incomes, and I am adamant that the city be respectful and concerned about these people’s ability to enjoy their quality of life in the city,” he explained. “They live on fixed incomes, they have very tight budgets, and because I’m concerned about the cost of living that is rising rather rapidly in terms of property taxes and water and sewer bills, I want to see the city be very mindful of keeping those
costs in containment, I want to see better plans presented to provide long term solutions that are more cost-friendly to our infrastructure needs.”

Out of respect and admiration for the ward he calls home, Kronick wishes to make the area the best that it can be by asking hard questions and ensuring that constituents are reaping the benefits of their taxpayers’ money. “I love this neighborhood, I love the culture, the dynamics here, it’s a beautiful area, but it has a lot of challenges in the area as well, naturally,” he said. as not going to seek another term, I felt it was critical that a person with an independent voice, a strong mind for asking challenging questions, and with a strong interest in defending taxpayers and the residents,
our property and our right and our interest in strong city services, take that position and follow in his footsteps.” Kronick believes that there are many components that contribute to his constituents having a good quality of life within the ward. These include the mitigation of crime, improved city services, and supporting schools to achieve higher retention rates.

Crime is a real source of oppression to people lives in the ward, he said, with the Morningside area getting the full brunt of it and the outlying areas worrying about it, if not encountering it from time to time. “And also keep in mind, as a ward councilor I represent the concerns of my district, but we share everything, everybody, the city shares everything, we all use these resources and when a problem happens in one area, it spills off into another area,” he added. “But the crime is a big issue, we really began to talk about it seriously towards the end of the (former Mayor Daniel
Bianchi’s) term and it’s gotten only worse.”

Kronick also wishes to improve the presence of city services such as pothole repairs and landscaping. He cited tall growing grass at the courthouse on East Street, overgrown medians and sidewalks, and a lack of beautification in the Morningside area. The lack of attention that is paid to the neighborhood, Kronick said, makes him feel that the city doesn’t care about the area which is largely made of renters. “They do pay for that their share in taxes through the rents and they deserve a place that is at least visually attractive,” he added. “And we can do better, we really can, and it’s important for people’s minds, for the welfare of our of the residents.” In addition, Kronick added that the recent changes made to North Street which reconfigure it to one-lane traffic with a separated bike lane are “intolerable to drive through.” He also expressed concern for the problematic Hill 78 and Building 71 behind Allendale Elementary School, citing concerns of cancer and negative health effects for abutters.

Coming out of the pandemic, Kronick believes that the city should spend the $34 million in American Rescue Act money on large-scale projects that benefit the whole city and attract manufacturing companies that will employ a fairly large amount of people at a competitive wage for skilled labor. “I think that the thing that we must never forget is that before COVID-19 hit we were on an upswing, there was a good deal of business on Tyler street and North street, and COVID-19 decimated Pittsfield,” he concluded. “And I’m thinking but the American Rescue Plan, $34 million is coming in, this is money that is a once in a generation event, I think that it’s actually rarer than that, and I am very concerned that that money will be sort of lost to special interest projects, small-scale projects that will not really add up to a plan, so, I would like to see a step back and take a look at all the needs.”
Though this is his first time running for a seat on the council, he has participated in local politics by staying engaged in city meetings, exercising his voice when applicable, and writing emails to representatives, he said. also says he ran his own business for about a decade and currently works as an accountant, making him comfortable with numbers and sensitive to details. “I understand numbers and I also am very attentive to detail,” he said. “So when projects or proposals come through the city, those minutes, there are about 120 pages long on average, I know how to read those documents and I will ask questions, and I will challenge where needs to be challenged.” He asserted that if elected, he will be an independent voice on the council with no outside influence from fellow colleagues or the city. Kronick will face Matthew Kudlate for the open Ward 2 seat in the November election. Incumbent Kevin Morandi is not running for re-election. More information can be found about Kronick’s campaign on his website.

This is part of a series of candidate interviews for the 2021 November elections in Pittsfield that will appear over the next two months.
Interviews will appear in random order as they are completed.

By Brittany Polito
iBerkshires Staff
02:26AM / Friday, August 13, 2021

Letter To Representative Neal. June 30, 2021

Dear Representative Neal:

I write to address your inclusion in the infrastructure bill 2 million dollars for a recreational trail, the North Adams Adventure Trail. A recreational trail is not infrastructure in any shape or form. It is also ridiculous that Pittsfield which has pass through it thousands of vehicles is completely left off your list.

Here is just a few items that are reported in need of funding according to the City of Pittsfield FY2021 – FY2026 Capital Improvement Plan “There were ten (10) projects that were $5 million or more:

  1. Upgrading Pittsfield’s two water treatment plants for $51 million
  2. New police headquarters facility and campus for $50 million
  3. Designing and building the Columbus Ave Parking Garage for $14 million
  4. Ongoing improvements to the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) for 12.67 million
  5. Repaving and reconstructing streets as part of Cha8.pter 90 for $12.5 million
  6. Reducing inflow and infiltration from the City’s sewer collection system for $6.265 million
  7. Realigning and reconstructing a taxiway at the airport for $6 million
  8. Improving water mains for $6 million
  9. Improving the storm water system for 5.25 million; and
  10. New station design and planning for $5 million.”

Please read the whole document here: mass.gov/doc/pittsfield-cip/download. To remind you, Rep. Neal, we in Pittsfield are at our tax limit. Please help our substantial infrastructure needs.

Sincerely,

Charles Ivar Kronick

Pittsfield Police Department

Berkshire Eagle, June, 2020

To the editor:
The Pittsfield City Council has begun a revolt against city residents. At the June 15 City Council budget hearing, Police Chief Wynn explained the need to expand our police force to 110-120. They provide traffic enforcement, well-being visits, roadside assistance, emergency and wildlife response to a city both urban and rural and geographically larger than Springfield. Budgeted for 99 officers, the force is at 84. Ignoring strategies to recruit officers, the Council instead budgeted a radical agenda. They cut $100,000 and replaced two patrol officers with social workers. Nonetheless, they allocated $1,400,000 in overtime to cover the understaffed department.

Wynn answered precisely every question. What he got for his preparation was less than nothing. The Police Department’s Community Outreach program was derided. Addressing the lack of personnel, our councilors propose replacing officers with civil servants who would act as first responders handling 911 crisis calls without officers present. Assuming a civil servant would be willing to risk the encounter without support, no department can afford the liability of sending civilians into a potentially hazardous environment without police presence. Predictably, Chief Wynn explained that the Police Department is not authorized to hire and manage social workers.

For almost four hours, Wynn witnessed extractions from funds, musings about how many bullets they need, and the paring of personnel. He endured withering suggestions that residents calling 911 for hazardous disturbances involving mental illness should not expect an officer trained in mitigation but instead an unsupported counselor. The Council never asked if a fully staffed Police Department could control the drugs, shootings, and crime-based oppression which mostly targets our minority communities and is driving out residents and businesses. This meeting is evidence of a revolt against the residents who expect City Council to allocate taxpayers’ funds responsibly and conscientiously.

Pittsfield residents: is it acceptable to abandon a financially strapped police department lacking funds to attract recruits? Eight members on City Council state that their constituents want an impaired department and are using their power to accomplish that goal. If you oppose their plans, you need to make your voices heard in City Council and in print. In the June 15 public input period, our wealthiest residents echoed each others demands for reductions. No one asked the hard question of what the most endangered communities need from policing, and there seems to be no one standing in their way.

Electro Magnetic Applications (EMA) Comes to Town ISO Cash & a Room at BIC

October, 2019

Dear Councilor:

You have heard my concerns that pertain to the aspects of the EMA proposal in the context of the TIF and $140,000 purchase. I maintain that following information and attachments constitute withdrawal of your support for the project. There is evidence that the company is highly unstable and not in sound financial footing.

  • All assets of EMA are listed as owned by Busey Bank. Is EMA facing bankruptcy? Is Pittsfield bailing out a failing company? (Attachment busey-bank)
  • There is no proof that either Justin McKennon or Greg Wilson (a student apparently enrolled in Utah State) are authorized by any entity to sign contracts and leases on its behalf
  • 7/2019, Dr. Perala transferred ownership of EMA. There is no documentation with the State of Colorado of who the new owners are. (Attachment 2019-change-owner-report.)
  • There are no signs of reputation of the company or the principals, Mr. Mark Miller or Dr. Timothy J. McDonald. Internet searches do not return any results for them. The only results are web pages belonging to EMA
  • It remains unestablished if EMA regularly employs anyone listed on its website. Titles are not referenced on third party sources such as UCC Colorado.
  • Despite Wilson’s description of nuclear material acquisition procedures, it remains uncertain if the NRC/Mass Department of Environmental Protection would grant a license for Strontium 90. Per Greg Wilson in 10/10 Finance Subcommittee, the application depends on the business floor plan and building specifications. With 400-500 square feet in an office building, is that sufficient space for all operations and is there appropriate fire protection infrastructure present?
  • The city holds the thermal chamber (vacuum chamber) as collateral. What would its market value be? Can you assume there are any customers for a custom chamber, and one that may have housed strontium 90?
  • SBIR grant amount awarded in early 2019 is not announced. We do not have the information to conclude it is still awarded.

I urge you to reconsider past approvals and walk away from this proposal until concrete proof of validity is established. These concerns including EMA’s obscurity are warning signs that greater scrutiny is required.

Sincerely,

Charles I Kronick

Source Documents For EMA Critique

City Council Petition For Electro Magnetic Applications (EMA) Grant

I commend Deanna Ruffer’s presentations and courteous engagement of the public in the hearings on Pittsfield’s $40 million American Rescue Plan Act grant. These meetings build awareness of residents’ challenges. The ARPA is a one-time grant for the impact of COVID-19. Pittsfield has until the end of 2024 to give a spending plan to the Federal Government and until 2026 to spend the funds. If the city carefully crafts a plan and holds the funds according to the deadlines, we could earn at least $500,000 interest. That’s good money to permanently fund Westside and Morningside community centers.

The assessment of the City’s needs is a huge project. The City has set up an online survey. Unfortunately, it is fatally flawed. We are neither gathering actionable information nor building a team qualified to design and evaluate its results. On Monday’s 8/23 meeting, I asked Ms. Ruffer whether the survey gathered demographic information such as age, income, etc. She stated that it did but it’s optional. What!? Demographic information is essential to this survey. Imagine a political poll not asking what party you supported. Preposterous. Without demographics we may identify stresses but have no idea who are affected and their circumstances.

There are other serious flaws. It is online which disenfranchises many who either lack or can’t use computers. The questions are too few and too narrow, for instance it ignores the disabled. This survey must be scrapped for a mailed survey which will garner more responses. A low response rate gives the City liberty to allocate our funds without our input- a situation ripe for funnelling funds to specials interests.

The community meetings provide a constructive event for people to brainstorm about what is not working. But these meetings cannot contribute to a successful outcome if the global survey is flawed. We need to get the survey done right, and we need experts in survey development and statistical analysis. Pittsfield lacks the expertise and needs the assistance of a university social sciences department. I urge the City to adopt a paper multi-language survey to be mailed to each resident combined with reminders from the city’s automated phone system to urge participation. Seeking a comprehensive response that excludes no one for lack of means to participate would help ensure that the ARPA Grant will lift the entire community.