Video: Jesse Adams Campaign Kick-Off for City Council – Speeches with Text

Jesse Adams is running for a City Councilor At-Large position in Northampton. Here is a video of the speeches from his campaign kick-off event at the Northampton Country Club on 6/24/09. Mr. Adams is introduced by Rick Gifford and Wendy Foxmyn. This video is 18 minutes long and was recorded by Adam Cohen. For a shorter video with just Mr. Adams’ speech by itself (10min 32sec), please click here.

(Please note: The North Street Neighborhood Association does not endorse candidates for political office. This material is presented to inform the public. That said, we applaud this passage from the speech below: “When we experience residential growth new projects must be appropriately sized; they must be organic and fit the character of the neighborhood and not be forced or unnatural. Infill is important, and we need it. But we can’t destroy our green space and call it infill because we can walk to it from downtown. We must seek a better path to growth.”)

The text of Mr. Adams’ speech:

Thank Wendy so much for that great introduction. I would like to point out that Rick is not my bodyguard–he is my campaign manager.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to speak to you briefly, and after I speak I want to hear from all of you, either directly or by the sheets that are on the table. Throughout the course of this campaign I’d love to sit down with each and every one of you.

I’m Jesse Adams. I hope to have the chance to represent you as City Councilor at Large for the great city of Northampton.

As many of you know, I’ve been a life-long valley resident. My family has run a business on Main Street for 30 years. My father Andy is here tonight; my mother Joya is in Virginia, visiting one of her four grandchildren, my first nephew Andrew Jr. My nieces are also here, Allie, Lindsay, and Sarah.

I live and work in Northampton, and love this city, as we all do here, and that’s why I decided to run two years ago as a Forbes Library Trustee and was elected. And I’d like to thank all of you who supported me in that effort. It is my pleasure to serve, and that office has given me the energy and desire to serve the city in other capacities.

Why do I love Northampton?

I love the vibrancy of it. I love the balance of ideas. I love the Arts and Music. I live on on Main Street and each day I look out on to the heart of our downtown, and when I open my window I hear the music of the street, and people in conversation. I see a city that is home to people who were born and raised here, and also to people who come here to seek a life. And we have a wonderful home. A home that’s bright, warm, and welcoming. We’ve struggled to become this city, and fought the good fight to become who we are. Northampton has some of the most creative minds anywhere: writers, doctors, artists, judges, teachers, business owners, therapists-lots and lots of therapists. They’ve chosen to dwell here because it feeds there minds, and their souls. And people aside from their professions want to raise their family, and be a part of the community.

I have a vision for the future of Northampton. It is one of unity. Our city is a diverse one, with diverse views. A united city has citizens who engage in spirited and respectful debates and know that we will struggle at times but when our goal is to find common ground the result is not acrimony, but unity.

A united Northampton values superior schools and our duty to future generations. We know that we have this responsibility which is why we have to make sacrifices to ensure that our schools are great now, and will be in the future.

My vision of Northampton is one of continued public safety where all people can walk at night without fear no matter who they are. It wasn’t long ago that we held candlelight vigils to protest acts of violence in our community. A united Northampton expects public safety and demands justice.

A united Northampton has an open government that makes decisions by the light of day and listens to the people because we have so many great people with smart voices and sound ideas.

My vision for Northampton is one with a robust local economy. Keeping our dollars close to us is in our best interest, and has helped us fair better than other regions during this recession.

There is a lot to love about Northampton. Even though we have such a great home here, we are in the midst of troubled times.

We are in a storm. Each year we our tax bills go up, and at the same time we face cuts to the services that we rely on. This year we faced an unprecedented budget deficit. And we managed to avoid the worst case scenario and stave off a lot of the pain with the passage of the override last week. But the override was the eye of a hurricane. We can’t rest now because the clouds will roll back in next year unless we start looking for solutions now.

We need to live within our means and watch every cent that we spend. We need the state to give us choices, like the local option meals tax as well as the option to increase in local room occupancy tax. Then we can have the discussion and decide whether we should levy these taxes. We need to seek other new revenues and look to expand the tax base instead of increasing the burden again and again on those who are already sacrificing so much. It’s unfortunate that we have to fix on the local level what has been broken on the state level. We must be open-minded and look for solutions to next year’s grim budget now.

To do this, we need a government that is democratic, open and informed. We need to make intelligent decisions with genuine deliberation. We have a best practices committee that worked hard to deliver a set of recommendations to create an open and informed process that is in clear view of the public. We have to begin adopting those recommendations today.

We need a permanent Best Practices Committee.

We need to utilize our ordinance that allows for a creation of a Citizens Advisory Committee.

We need a local public ethics ordinance that holds us to a higher standard than the minimum state requirements.

We need to review the City Council powers and responsibilities, as well the role of the Mayor in City Council and School Committee meetings. This discussion will enable us to ask ourselves if our charter and ordinances allow for a proper separation of powers and if they do not we must change them. We should review these functions no matter who the Mayor is, or who is on the City Council come next January.

It is through best practices and engagement of the people of Northampton that we can make informed decisions that will lead us as a united city to the safe shore of the future, and provide for our children.

We must honor our duty to the future generations of Northampton by being committed to waste reduction. We need to enforce the recycling ordinance which is already the law. We need to expand the items that can be recycled. We need to establish a re-use center where people can bring things that they no longer need that others can take for free. We must value waste reduction because a greener Northampton is a safer and smarter Northampton.

Northampton must grow. We should increase the tax base both residentially and commercially to spread the tax burden more evenly. When we experience residential growth new projects must be appropriately sized; they must be organic and fit the character of the neighborhood and not be forced or unnatural. Infill is important, and we need it. But we can’t destroy our green space and call it infill because we can walk to it from downtown. We must seek a better path to growth.

Commercial growth is vital as well. We want people to visit our city, and shop in our vibrant local businesses, and enjoy themselves, and we want people to come here from different places, to work and live here and join us, and contribute to our community, and make Northampton even better, but not at the expense of the people who were born and raised here.

We need Northampton to grow and develop in a way that is unified and inclusive.

I can lead us into the future as a councilor at large. I see myself as a city councilor who will walk with anyone, talk to everyone, and engage them. It is because the issues require genuine deliberation, and not alliances based on personalities.

I can be an independent voice with a fresh perspective. I am accessible. I am willing to listen with compassion and I am eager to serve. I’m open to new ideas. I love this city and I understand the people. Democracy won’t always give us what everyone wants, but I believe that Democracy is designed to give us what is fair. I quote Aeschylus, “Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” And “God’s most lordly gift to human beings is decency of mind.” That’s what democracy is. It requires disagreement and means we have to listen to each other especially when we are at odds, not when it’s convenient because one of Northampton’s greatest qualities is diversi
ty of mind. It’s decent to care about your neighbor. It’s fair to have to argue about how to achieve happiness and the right direction for our community.

We are not going to restore ourselves with cynicism; we can’t rejuvenate ourselves by being aloof. It’s only through unity, service, engagement, and participation that Democracy can serve the public. That’s why I’ve asked you to gather here tonight in support of my candidacy because it is a united Northampton that will navigate its course for the future. I am ready to be your city councilor at large. Yet, I cannot do this alone. I need your help. I need your support. I need you to tell your friends and neighbors that you support me and that they should too because I care for the future of our Northampton. And most importantly I need your vote on November 3rd.

Thank you so much for being here, and thank you for your support. God bless you. I love you.

See also:

Mary Serreze: “Photos from Adams Kickoff” (6/25/09)

Mary Serreze: “Jesse Adams Kicks Off Campaign” (6/24/09, with audio recording of Adams’ speech)

Gazette: “Northampton council shuffle: Dostal won’t run; Narkewicz steps into at-large race” (6/26/09)
After 55 years of either working for the city or serving as an elected official, City Councilor James M. Dostal announced Thursday he will not seek re-election to his at-large council seat in November.

Meanwhile, two-term Ward 4 Councilor David J. Narkewicz joined Dostal on the steps of City Hall to announce his intention to seek election to an at-large seat…

At-Large City Councilor Michael R. Bardsley is leaving his longtime council seat to challenge incumbent Mayor Clare Higgins for her office, opening the way for new faces in both at-large council seats.

In addition to Narkewicz, two other city residents, Kathleen Silva of 119 Riverside Drive and Jesse Adams of 187 Main St., Apt. 4, have announced their intention to run for an at-large seat, though more candidates may emerge.

Our Ad in the May 6 Gazette: “How to Avoid Classic Infill Design Mistakes”

Our Guest Article at Northampton Redoubt: “The Kohl condo proposal and the Struggle Over the Meaning of Infill”

Smart Growth vs. “Smart Growth”

Video: Presentation of Final Recommendations of the Best Practices Committee to City Council, 3/5/09