Too Far? Sir, You Must be in Jest! ‘Tis Not Gone Far Enough
In the past week, The Planet has heard from a couple Establishment pols who are basically saying we’ve gone overboard in our criticisms of the corrupt Speranzo campaign. This tells us, of course, that we are having an effect. We are no hiding our intention: to cost him this election on the basis of snubbing We The People. We will do it with words and wits. The pen is mightier than …
Our aim at THE PLANET is to hold public officials ACCOUNTABLE. If they act honorably, they’ll get no quarrell. If they do stuff like pull a larkin, as Spurs is evidently scheming, they will be held to their actions (and in his case, inactions).
As for those who say the attacks went too far, see my response below to State Rep. Denis Guyer. This is cyberspace, people. This isn’t hippity-hop-to-the-barber shop. Freedom is not license, and The Planet is the first to agree. Freedom, however, means that opinion and commentary based on fact (as ours is), must hit hard, hit fairly, his truly, and hit often.
We invoke the great journalistic tradition of Ambrose Biece and H.L. Mencken, as well as the sharpest wits of political satire, in bringing some transparency to any and all skunkery.
Too far? Good heavens, Sir. We have yet begun to move! Our goal: Nothing less than to reclaim help reclaim participatory democracy for the good people of Pittsfield.
SPURS HAS NOT YET HIT BOTTOM, THIS TIME THANKS TO HIS WIFE
Conor Berry, the Eagle’s best enterprise scribe, reported today that 3rd Berkshire District Rep. Chris “No Show” Speranzo has yet another ethical problem on his hand. The Planet has lost count.
This one involves Spurs’ wife, who belongs to a law firm that also employs an attorney who just happens to sit on the board that approves the next clerk magistrate. Spurs, as you know, is, according to insiders, a candidate for the position.
Don’t you love the nature of this beast? Clerk magisrate, a leftover position from the time of Paul Revere and before that Demosthenes, is a no-work job that pays $150K per year (counting bennies). The appointment is for L-I-F-E. However, despite the fact that it’s a public job, everything about the nominating and approval process is, by law, entirely S-E-C-R-E-T. You have no right, by law, to know who applied or how and why the winner is selected. Consequently, the shadowy process is rife with corrupt politics. This, apparently, is an area in which Spurs feel comfortable. You might say he’s in his element there.
Because the secrecy is not only protected by law, it allows everyone to hide behind “no comment.” Again, Spurs must like that part of it.
A reply to The Planet’s previous entry suggested that Spurs should resign his seat in the legislature and withdraw his name from consideration for clerk mag. The Planet thinks this is the only honorable course left for our Right Honorable Good Friend.
Denis Guyer Weighs in on Spurs Problems
We asked our good friend Denis Guyer, 2nd Berkshire District rep, for his take on Speranzo’s difficulties. We had this Facebook exchange, which we share with our readers in the name of openness and transparency. First, his criticisms of The Planet, then, our reply. Draw your own conclusions:
I have not looked, but in my nearly decade in office; six in the legislature and three years on Dalton Select Board, I do not think I have ever said “no comment” to a reporter. I have commented on stories that were poltically touchy, I have commented on stories that were personally hard, I even commented on stories that I knew were going to cause me problems in my district- but I always communicated to the press and I always did so out of respect for the press/elected official relationship and becuase I felt that the reporter was being professional, just doing their job.
Is it possible that you were/are personally offended that Chris did not attend your debate? Is it possible that your acidic personal attack on him was about that?
SO no, I am not going to comment to you other than to say I am not privy to any of the information. Under the confidentiality of the JNC process, Chris could not even comment to me or confirm he applied anyway. I do not live in Pittsfield, I am not a Pittsfield voter. I have no comment about Chris and his district anymore than I would for any other legislator.
I have spoken with Chris about once a week, but our conversations are mostly about personal matters and other legislative related topics. We do not discuss this issue. Like, I imagine I will call him today -as a friend- trying to make him feel a little better after your bullshit -personal attack-blog post.
Get it together Dan, I think you are better than this.
THE PLANET’S RESPONSE:
Thanks. Obviously, we have a difference of opinion here, which is OK. I am not in the least personally offended by what Chris has done or not done, because this is not about me. This is about the election, the electorate, and owning up to his responsibilities as an elected official. He has failed miserably in these areas. He has not even said, “no comment.” That, at least, is saying something.
Shocked and disturbed at what you saw there? Mission accomplished, because I would argue that it is far more shocking and disturbing for a representative in the general court to totally ignore the electorate and play the cynical “four-corner offense” against Mark Miller.
The anger comes from the electorate, not me, and Chris picked a bad time to become a poster boy for dysfunctional politics. As for the bringing physical appearance into it, that is a long-standing tradition of hard-hitting political commentary. It once was fair-use for such scribes as Ambrose Bierce, became reserved for editorial cartoonists in the hey day of modern print journalism, and now has become, again, fair use in cyberspace.
I never dispute how someone chooses to react to something I say or write. That’s not my job. My job is to provoke with words and ideas. It’s clear, since you say so, that you took it personally, the same thing you suspected I was doing with Chris. I wasn’t. You did.
I assure you, my attack wasn’t about not attending my debate but about not attending two forums that would have allowed people to ask questions about his surreptitious behavior in connection with running for re-election and not making clear his intentions should he be named clerk mag.
When you talk to Chris, tell him he can still make an appearance with me and Clarence Fanto. All he has to do is tell us when and where, and well take care of the how.
Thanks for your honest upbraiding. I can respect that,
TODAY’S TOP FIVE
Getting a break from swamp politics, we present The Planet’s Top 5 Halloween costumes:
1. Going as a vampire. The undead have long-standing appeal. It’s the immortality thing, still resonating deeply in our collective unconscious as seen in “Twilight”
2. For women, Sexy Cop. For men, Bank Robber. For once, she gets the bust. Handcuffs not optional.
3. Skeleton, going back to The Planet’s fabulous skeleton’s outfit, worn over many treat-r-treat nights past.
4. Pirate, way cool way before Johnny Depp. My brother Pete was a pirate.
5. Philosopher, so you can debate whether trick or treat exists only in relation to a teleological imperative or if an underlying dynamism predicates itself on Necco wafers more than Mars bars. See?