To the Editor:
I feel like a time traveler. Having recently returned to the Berkshires after 40 years, I see many changes here. When I left, the Berkshires was still a carefree place to live. And this is still true to a degree, but things have changed. The abject poverty and high crime in places like Pittsfield and North Adams are very sad to see. This problem is clearly not being handled well and serious change has to occur.
As we all know, there are three people running for Berkshires district attorney. To my mind, this is the most serious race of the Sept. 4 primary. It shouldn’t be a popularity contest, nor should we accept the status quo. Pittsfield in particular is in desperate need of a district attorney who can deliver substantive leadership and change. Are we taking this race seriously enough? I don’t see it.
I see one candidate who is entrenched in the status quo and is satisfied to simply continue the same old approach to crime; I see a second candidate who clearly is padding her experience to convince voters that she can handle this important job. Neither of these two candidates offer Berkshire County what it deserves: a district attorney whose experience is as impressive as it is extensive, and one who is ready to bring about a more thoughtful and progressive approach to the criminal justice system in Berkshire County. Only Judith Knight offers the security that comes with experience and the change that new ideas for crime reform bring.
The Berkshires might seem “dreamlike,” but we have “big city” problems to be addressed by someone suited for the job. The obvious choice is the Berkshires own Judith Knight, and the other two candidates know this. She has the most experience (30 years); is progressive in her ideals to keep young, first-time offenders out of the legal system; and she is strong on crime. Knight has worked as a prosecutor, a criminal defense attorney and a law school professor, and has run her own firm for 12 years.
Knight also successfully ran Blantyre in Lenox for two years, managing over 70 employees and keeping the multimillion-dollar business on budget until it sold when owner Ann Fitzpatrick Brown became terminally ill. Knight will be a DA who can manage an office with a multimillion-dollar budget. This is a vital skill for this job.
I know we can’t go backward to life of the 1960s and ‘70s, but we shouldn’t accept things as they are. With all of the positives that this area has to offer, the needs of all of our residents are not being dealt with as professionally as they might. It’s time to grow up and to face our real problems head on. Judith Knight is the leadership we need to move the Berkshires’ district attorney’s office into the 21st century!