Robert Cardimino, left, has often been an aggravation to the council and the mayor. Council President Ronald Boucher is now asking residents to submit in writing what they plan to address in open forum.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Those planning to speak during the City Council's open forum will have to put it in writing. Council President Ronald Boucher on Tuesday said that residents planning to speak will have to submit the issue they wish to speak on — and stick to it. He said the new rule would go into effect at the next meeting on March 22 and was prompted by the brouhaha at the end of the last council meeting.
"The disrespect shown to the open forum process, this council body and this administration will not be tolerated or allowed," said Boucher, who added the council chambers were not the place for arguments or allegations between the public and the administration.
Outspoken critic Robert Cardimino had apparently taken Mayor Richard Alcombright to task about several issues and accused him of having city plows clear private driveways. He held up a picture of convicted swindler Bernie Madoff and compared him to the mayor.
Cardimino, a strong supporter of the past administration, has frequently addressed the mayor during council meetings, demanding answers and lobbing allegations on a variety of issues. While Cardimino has stated it's within his First Amendment rights to speak at council, Boucher described it as a privilege.
"It is a privilege to address this council body either on an agenda item or in open forum," he said, "and to voice your opinions in a respectful manner.
"As adults we are all responsible and accountable for our actions."
Cardimino, seated in the front row, whispered loudly, "They're going to do whatever they can to stifle us."
Boucher had recommended changes to Council Rule 11 earlier this year. The change would have moved open forum to the beginning of the meeting from the end, but calls from residents concerned they would not have a chance to respond to issues that arose during the meeting led Boucher to withdraw it.
Instead, open forum speakers would be limited to 2 minutes and required to be respectful.
Mayor Alcombright said Cardimino's actions impugned his integrity and the council's respectability.
Alcombright, reading from a letter to the council, said he had not supported moving open forum but did applaud any changes that would add to the council's decorum, particularly in terms of Cardimino, who once dumped a rock on the council president's desk.
"Last year, he held up cards to the camera that said 'despicable Dick'," said the mayor. "Mr. Cardimino might hide behind the First Amendment and claim to have the right to do this and while I think there are some in the community who think this is funny and entertaining, I think any comments from anyone in attendance at these meetings that cross the line need to be firmly dealt with and people should be held accountable."
Rather than using a broad brush, he urged Boucher to consider that "taking swift or decisive action to remove or ban those who cannot maintain civility might be the way to go."
Councilor Keith Bona suggested that Boucher should "just react quicker with that gavel."
The pugnacious Cardimino had the last word of the night: "Go ahead and challenge me," he said, "and I'll challenge you back."
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Cardimino has valid points an concerns from time to time but has zero respect for public meetings and is viewed as a joke or a disgruntled and ranting lunatic. He was the same way back in the 80s when he was against JB3 but changed his position at some point after JB3 did him a favor when he was a business owner. Hes a smart man. To bad he cant act accordingly and maybe something productive can be done.
Mr. Cardimino would be more effective if he looked at ways to work with the community as a whole - being negative at all Council meetings is a detriment to the process of creating a better North Adams. We need to spend meeting times in advancing the City's agenda and not being constantly critical of everything that comes up. Questioning or disagreeing with the process can be done in a civil manner. Tirades are never in good taste.
congrats to Boucher for changing some of the rule...let clowns like cardimino go to boston, or washington, and claim to have a 'first amendment' right to speak on the state house floor, or the floor of the congress....i'm sure that after a stunt like that, he would end up in jail.
Here's an idea Ron. When Mr. Cardimino stands up for his two minutes of free speech let him have his two minutes. When he is finished simply say " thank you Mr. Cardimino". End of discussion. Don't engage him. Don't argue with a fool lest you become a fool youself.
While I applaud an action intended to make council meetings more polite, is there any course of action for a citizen who may lack the education or ability to submit a written concern? This could include elderly who may be too arthritic to write out their thoughts, illiterate individuals, disabled individuals, etc. There must be something in place for those types of situations, or this would be a seemingly elitist ruling.
Editor: Council President Boucher said anyone who had difficulties in writing could talk to him prior to the meeting beginning. The fact is the same two or three people speak at every meeting; it's extremely rare for citizens to show up and ask to speak. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Cardimino has been a wart in that chambers for decades. Barrett wouldn't attend the meetings until Cardimino was under control. In the past meetings were recessed and police were present because of Cardimino. You will be doing the public a favor by muzzling that dog. The president is given a gavel for a reason. Use it! The people didn't elect Cardimino to represent the city. Why is Boucher allowing him to be a tenth councilor?
What was up with Councilor Harpin at the meeting? She wants more red tape and the planning board to be harder on new and expanding businesses. She said the restaurant RUB, Shima, Shear Madness, I got Goodies and Sumpreme Pizza should of been put through a harder process before they openned. These are good businesses we should be proud to have. They were already in business in another location or they were taking over a space that had similar business. She wants them to go through the enite process again? Sorry honey but your old anti-business boss is gone. Have you been watching the world news. People are sick of governments ruling their lives.
Do they have to allow that cardomino guy at the meetings? For the safety and respect of other people attending he shouldnt be let in. it may be funny now but one day when he brings in a gun and starts shooting it wont be a surprise. He acts like one of those guys thats off his rocker and could do something like that.
Its about time the board set rules. Hopefully this will eliminate the useless rantings of the few that go there just to hear themselves talk or appear lile they know what they are talking about. Hope we now wont have to suffer through Albees' snarled puss or Cardiminos rantings. As for Harpin...she doesnt have a clue whats going on. She needs to finish her term an let younger minds move our city forward.
Wow. Councilor Harpin asked one question ,that the mayor didn't seem to like , now look at all the hate comments she gets. I guess from now on she will have to give a list of anything she would like to speak about to the council presidentg before each meeting for his approval ??
Although I do not attend the City Council meetings of No. Adams I must agree with the Council President on his decision to change open forum . I watch them on television weekly along with Sling Shot . Mr. Cardimino and his buddy Mr. Goodell ( name known from his many rediculous opinions during open forum ) . They are both disrespectful in addressing not only the Council but also Mayor . They want to be heard and argumentive if not agreed with. They think they know all about Goverment and want to run the City . I not only find their behavior disgraceful but also their Laughter. Comments at open forum would be more helpful if they were said in a positive way that showed support for the Community we live in . Maybe Law Enforcement during these meetings would not be a bad thing removing those who are disruptive in a derogatory , threatening way . And let the TAX DOLLARS of both Cardimino and Goodell work for them as they are hauled out of meetings .( THEY WANT MORE FOR THEIR MONEY GIVE IT TOO THEM) The City Council meetings are on TV for informed information to the public not to be misunderstood for Comedy, Sling Shot is A COMMUNITY AIRED program to voice concern but not criticism ,baggering or hate . CARDIMINO IS TURNING BOTH INTO SUCH PROGRAMS.
Dear CITY VIWER ONE THING I DO NOT DO LIKE YOURSELF IS USE A FAKE NAME WHEN I MAKE A COMMENT !!! ALSO WHEN I FEEL THAT WHAT THE CITY IS NOT ACTING IN THE BEST INTREST OF EVERYONE AS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN IT IS MY DUTY TO SPEEK UP NOT SIT AT HOME LIKE A COWARD. NO. I DO NOT WANT THE CITY I LIKE EVERY TAX PAYER WANTED TO BE TREATED FARILY. I AM NOT A PUBLIC SPEAKER AND I EXPRESS MYSELF THE BEST WAY I CAN. LIKE THE MAYOR I DO NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS BUT I A HAPPY TO DEBATE WHITCH IS MY RIGHT TO DO SO. IF YOU ARE HAPPY TO SIT AT HOME AND HIDE THAT IS YOUR RIGHT. IF YOU THINK I AM WRONG PLEASE LETS TALK AND DEBATE OR JUST KEEP SITTING AT HOME AND WRITE LIES ABOUT ME AND ANYONE ELSE WHO STANDS UP . GOD BLESS AMERICAS
Has anyone besides me realized how out of control our city has become since Alcombright has assumed office? Even the commnets on this board against anybody who questions the policies of this administration are attacked by the gang from downtown who now think they are the voices for the community. I have lived in North Adams all my life and the division which now exists here is the worst it has ever been. You never saw these kind of comments on iberkshires before. People from around the country read iberkshires and it certainly is not seeing North Adams in a favorable light.
Editor: First, most of these commenters weren't on our site before and, second, there have been attacks from BOTH sides of which I am heartily sick of reading. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Cardimino just wants to bog down the process and prevent anything from getting done. Whomever incourages him is doing the city a disfavor. He's the last person who should be questioning anyone's integrity! To paraphrase Lou Grant,"We don't have time for mindless drivel, Mr. Cardinmino." Come to think of it, dosn't he remind you an awful lot of Ted Baxter?
If the process seems to be out of control spending someone should bog it down! To raise taxes to the highst rate ever on people who most have suffered layoffs and pay cuts because of the economy only to give it to people that have not suffered anything like it is wrong. On top of that give out raises seems nothing less than unconscionable !! This did not have to be done when so many are suffering. To keep spending and giving money away seems like a plan to fail ! Isn't this what got the whole country in truble ??
Editor: You didn't use your name and you didn't indicate you were responding to Yail. In any case, the commentary now being posted is way off the subject which is open forum - not taxes adopted last year. So I'm closing this thread. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Voting Registration Deadlines
:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18
Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.