NORTH ADAMS -- The last thing Robert Moulton Jr. said he ever thought he'd do is run for mayor.
"I don't have any ambition to be a career politician," he said during an editorial meeting with The Transcript. "I love North Adams. I have a vested interest in seeing this city become a vibrant community."
Moulton, who spent eight years on the City Council, said he's worried about the community's safety.
"Even before I decided to run for mayor, I was talking to people asking them what they're No. 1 concern was. I thought it was going to be taxes, but it was crime," he said. "It wasn't just the women I was hearing it from. It was men too. People are afraid."
Moulton said the solution isn't simple and will take time.
He pointed to neighborhood watch groups and more police on the streets as solutions.
"You can't depend of the government or city to take care of you," he said. "I was recently invited to the North Street crime watch group's meeting. That neighborhood is constantly watching out for each other. That's the kind of thing that deters crime and doesn't cost a penny."
As for putting more police on the streets, Moulton believes it can be done -- by reducing overtime through added positions and simple managerial changes.
"I have experience with this as president of the North Adams Ambulance Service," he said. "It's a reallocation of resources. You look at your daytime and nighttime coverage. Maybe we need to have a detective on during the evening shifts. Maybe we could move more cops onto the daytime shift."
Moving officers into daytime positions would be beneficial, he said, freeing them up to go into troubled neighborhoods and begin establishing a rapport with residents.
In addition to crime, Moulton wants to revitalize the downtown.
"Just like a mall, you need to have an anchor. That's the Mohawk Theater," he said. "In any community that's redone a theater like this one, there's been growth. We need to think out of the box and get that theater done."
While he's been criticized for wanting to return to the 1995 Hyatt Palma report for growth in the downtown, Moulton said he doesn't believe the city's soon-to-be unveiled master plan is worth it.
"It's a 30-year plan. We need to plan for the here and now. My campaign slogan is 2020 -- I want a six-year plan," he said. "Our best bet to get businesses to come to North Adams is because they want to come here and because the cost of doing business here is much less."
He said the state needs to step up and help draw businesses to the city.
"We're in such dire straits, they can give us something to work with. Any help we can get from the state is something."
Moulton also believes the city can recapture the money its losing to other school districts, by creating a city-run charter school.
"It's something to look at," he said. "I don't know of an example in the state, but it's something we need to explore."
If elected, he'll put together a team to implement and oversee his plans.
"Some people will change at City Hall. That's true during any election," Moulton said.
While he hasn't named anyone to that team yet, he said former Mayor John Barrett III would be someone he would consult with when needed.