We said we’d be back before the day was through. As always, The Planet is true to our word.
This interesting note emerged today when discussing the Chris Speranzo boondoggle among my media colleagues. Speranzo has the worst track record among all Berkshire reps in terms of press relations. He simply doesn’t communicate. He has no web site to speak of, issues no press releases, and is generally unresponsive to inquiries. What difference, then, has he made to the people of the 3rd Berkshire District? You’d be hard pressed to say. What else has he been doing in Boston except carrying water for his masters, whomever they are? Ya got us.
Has Speranzo been incommunicado. Judge for yourself. The Planet has tried everything but sending a pack of St. Bernard dogs with flagons of brandy to hunt Spurs down so we could get his side of the fast one he got caught trying to pull on the electorate (the old Peter Larkin Switcheroo), but he ducked and dodged. We tried to play it fair, but he didn’t want any part of it.
At a certain point, The Planet takes people’s behavior at face value. We’re not going to be Spurs’ Mommy or Daddy and keep nagging him to contact us. He chose not to. We accept (but do not respect) that action. He, however, has to take the medicine brought on by his recalcitrance. In snubbing us, he’s actually snubbing Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski and their neighbors, Joe and Jane Sixpack — in other words, the little guys on whom he is so ardently trampling.
In getting caught in the midst of the clerk magistrate scheme, Speranzo has soiled the bed. Now he must sleep in it. The panel in Boston that decides on the next clerk magistrate for Central Berkshire Court (a position that pays $140,000+ in a lifetime appointment) is getting nervous when it comes to Speranzo. Sources in Boston say two things may have botched Speranzo’s once all-but-given appointment to the mag’s job: (1) the pending probe into the State Probation Department, led by Paul Ware, independent investigator, which may implicate Speranzo in some way; and (2) the bad publicity that’s resulted from his ducking out of the BCC debate Tuesday night against challenger Mark Miller. The Planet will take some credit for this.
If Mark Miller presses the gas pedal and keeps gaining speed, he may pass the quickly fading Speranzo and bring home the bacon in the 3rd Berkshire District race. Miller has been in this campaign everything Speranzo hasn’t: available, honest, up front about his intentions, and ready to explain his positions. In doing the media rounds today in Pittsfield, The Planet managed to talk to a number of potential voters. Several told us that they would be switching their votes from Speranzo to Miller. Speranzo has given Miller a boatload of free publicity and Miller has been cashing in with his educated, erudite style.
Speranzo has one last chance to even attempt to undo the damage he has done to himself: He must show up to debate Miller on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 11-noon, at the Vox Studios on Jason Street (WBEC/WUPE). The mics will be live and the questions will be tough. Clarence Fanto and Yours Truly will be there to grill him. If he DOESN’T show, The Planet predicts it will cost him the election … and the magistrate’s position, which he may have already coughed up.
Another Blow Against Doomed Democracy
The Supreme Court’s recent decision in the landmark Citizens United case, a 5-4 verdict that freed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of dough on campaigns as protected free speech, has unleashed hundreds of millions of untraceable dollars in campaign spending nationally. For example, shadowy, hastily put together organizations such as American Crossroads and Americans for Job Security are raising huge amounts of campaign cash and spending it like drunken sailors.
These groups are exploiting a loophole in federal tax law, according the The Week magazine, to “organize themselves as nonprofits with nonpolitical actitivites, so they don’t have to disclose contributors.” The result of the Citizens United decision has been to further erode our imperiled democracy. “Clandestine cash” is overwhelming the system. The Little Guy has no chance against all this big money that’s being spent by unidentified partisan backers in blatantly partisan ways.
Nonetheless, The Planet advides President Obama to stop whining about this on the campaign trail. As Steve Kornacki noted at www.salon.com, this isn’t the sort of issue that plays well to voters. It’s too “complicated and abstract,” as Bob Dole found out when he complained agasint all the foreign cash Bill Clinton was raising in 1996. Railing about “the shady ways the opposition raises money is the tactic of last resort for candidates in doomed elections.”