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Berkshire Officials Reject Attention to Governor's Supposed Pothole Problem

Deval Patrick

A request from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to local officials to fix potholes near his Berkshire home before a visit from First Lady Michelle Obama has created a media buzz. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief reports that the local officials are left scratching their heads at the attention.

Matt Kerwood, Town Administrator for Richmond Massachusetts is reacting to the media attention he’s received after a report and a scathing opinion article were published in the Boston Herald. The pieces focused on Governor Deval Patrick’s request to fill potholes near his Berkshire home prior to First Lady Michelle Obama’s arrival for a fundraising dinner in August. The story has since been picked up by other news outlets, including the Associated Press. Kerwood said the request came when he reached out to the Governor’s office after learning of the First Lady’s arrival.

Kerwood told WAMC that Governor Patrick inquired about potholes on Cone Hill Road during the conversation. After learning that they were located in the neighboring community on a smaller road leading to Patrick’s home, Kerwood phoned West Stockbridge Town Administrator Mark Webber, who agreed to fix the potholes.

Webber agrees with Kerwood that the media attention has gotten out of hand and that repaving the road was already on the town’s schedule

The opinion piece also published by the Herald is titled “Princess and the Potholes”. Author Howie Carr writes, “These are your tax dollars at work. It’s not for the children, it’s for Mooch-elle Obama, Deval Patrick, James Taylor and the rest of the Beautiful People.”

Fred Bayles, Director of the Statehouse Program at Boston University, said the story has received way more attention than necessary, and that the media should focus on the real issues that matter.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.