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THE PLANET ISSUES ITS ENDORSEMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Endorsements are like chicken soup when you have a cold. They may not do any good (which is, of course, to say “they MAY”), but they certainly can’t do any harm. Note that these are THE PLANET’s endorsement, not our predictions. That’s another story. Nostradamus, we ain’t.

What makes us dare to speak out? THE PLANET is always amused at this line of questioning. The response is: Why would anyone not think to do likewise. Moreover, we have been as inside these various campaigns as anyone can get other than staffers. If we were any more closer to the inside, we’d be outside and behind.

We have worked the phones, sent and received a flurry of e-mails, moderated more debates and forums that we can count, and have devoted much thought to the various races. Consequently, we present ourselves, my dear friends, as qualified observers. “Objectivity” has never been an honest journalist’s goal. Rather, the goal is openness and an unshakeable desire for Truth.

With that, here are THE PLANET’s picks. These rather brief summations may be expanded upon later:

FOR GOVERNOR: JILL STEIN

Jill Stein: Don't fall for "She's only a spoiler." Stein is the best candidate in the governor's race.

THE SKINNY: Stein has been the only one in this campaign dedicated to ending “insider politics” that have devastated our cities, our towns, and the lives of so many people who live in them. She has presented a practical, achievable game plan under which that could realistically come about. The insiders vehemently disagree, natch. Of course, that’s what makes the insiders.

FOR AUDITOR: MARY CONNAUGHTON

Connaughton made a convincing case that, as the only CPA in the race, she possessed the best overall skill set to tackle an underperforming though crucial office. The auditor CAN but hasn’t made a huge difference in fighting the enormous corruption and waste on Beacon Hill.

MARY Z: The only CPA in a CPA kind of job.

Every candidate in this race said that, and they are all correct. Connaughton demonstrated the best grasp of problem. As we know, the first step to a solution is to correctly understand and frame the problem. Smith Physics Prof. Nat Fortune would agree. Will Connaughton be tough enough? If she becomes the most unpopular person on Beacon Hill, the answer will be “yes.” If not, “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

FOR FIRST BERKSHIRE REP: Gail Carriddi will vote for herself, guaranteeing victory in a race for an open seat that, shamefully, the Republicans wouldn’t enter.

FOR SECOND BERKSHIRE REP: MIKE CASE

The Case has been made, off the Mark. You should like Mike in the 2nd.

A tough call, almost too close, between Case and Racz. The nod went to Case because he’s a Republican. Trust me, THE PLANET has as much love for the GOP as for the Dems (which is to say, little) but right now, the reality of one-party monopoly means thestate will be better served by a stronger, more credible opposition. Case will provide that. As a veteran, he’s seen combat. As a cop, he’s handled tough guys. He’s a fiscal, small-government conservative.

FOR THIRD BERKSHIRE REP: MARK MILLER

Mark Miller (left) and Scott Laugenour — THE PLANET's choices in the 3rd and 4th Berkshire District races, respectively.

Do I have to draw you a map? Miller has run a brilliant campaign (measured not by money but by fervor-coupled-with-strategic thrust). Miller has done everything but raise a goober of $$, and that’s good, because unlike his Quaking Opponent in Hiding, he hasn’t made like Faustus selling his soul to that big, bad Mephisto dude. Combine Miller’s integrity with Quaker No Show’s lack thereof, and you have The Perfect Electoral storm. Miller may in fact pull off what will be the biggest upset in the modern and post-modern history of Western Massachusetts politics. History in the making.

FOURTH BERKSHIRE DISTRICT: SCOTT LAUGENOUR

Before settling in the Berkshires, Laugenour traveled the world and managed a $1 billion business unit of the Marriott Hotel Chain. He knows budgets. He knows economics. He had the more credible answer in this race on the question of the enormous budget deficit that will be facing the Commonwealth. Laugenour also had a winning issue with his stance on single-payer health care. His opponent says the two candidates both believe in single payer, but Laugenour pointed out the gap between talk and action. That being said, of the incumbents, William “Smitty” Pignatelli has run most honorably. He’s a good man (though that’s not [and never should be] the issue). But at least he had the decency to face his opponent in a live, unscripted debate.

QUICKLY, THE QUESTIONS:

Q1, Sales Tax Exemption on Alcoholic Beverages: NO

Booze is a choice not a necessity. It doesn't rate a tax exemption. NO ON Q1

THE PLANET hates taxes, but we will concede that, however regressive a tax on alcohol might be, booze is not a necessity but a choice and therefore doesn’t warrant a special tax exemption.

Q2 Permits for Low- or Moderate-Income Housing: YES

A “yes” vote on this confusing question will restore local control on the zoning and approval of low-income housing units. Currently, state law permits developers to build pretty much anywhere without local control. Voting YES will repeal a law the state inspector general calls “a pig fest” and “one of the biggest abuses in state history.

Q3, LOWERING STATE SALES AND USE TAX: YES

A YES vote will reduce sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent as of Jan. 1. It will put an extra $700 in your pocket. It will create nearly 40,000 jobs. It will attract shoppers from nearby states. It will reduce government waste and bureaucracy. A no-brainer. Don’t listen to the fear

Your back is breaking. Vote YES on Q3 to lower your taxes.

tactics of the special interests (almost all of them public sector, Big Government types). With a YES vote, the odds are likelier for politicians to finally begin to seriously address the structural deficit in the state. No essential services will be cut with a YES vote. Don’t vote for fear. Vote for your own pocketbook. Vote YES.

6 Responses to “THE PLANET ISSUES ITS ENDORSEMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS”

  1. Swinson
    November 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    I’m with you on the last two, not with you on the first.
    Considering there are already ample excise/sin taxes on alcohol…it doesn’t need a third tax.

    • danvalenti
      November 1, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

      Yes, Swinson. I agree: that is the most compelling reason for arguing against a third tax. My concern is, though, that if they don’t get THIS tax, they will come after something that is necessary. At least if you decide not to drink or to moderate your drinking, you don’t have to pay this tax. Not realistic in all cases, true, but if this passes, the bums will go gunning for more taxes they can load onto the breakting backs of the Little Guy and the bedraggled middle class.

  2. Zach
    November 1, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    What about the chick who wants more topless chicks in the Berkshires?

    • danvalenti
      November 1, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

      I have seen her. I am all for her petition. I am borrowing a Jugs gun from my friends at the Red Sox in case this passes.

  3. Jack C
    November 1, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    Since having discovered this site, it’s become my staple for local political news. Haven’t agree with everything with Dan Valenti (especially endoresement of Mike Case over Stephan Rocz and Questions 1-3) but I believe this information is helpful maybe in the extreme because no other media outlet will tall the truth like this. Or opinion offered as truth so people can at least judge. Vote tomorrow everyone.

  4. H Heine
    November 2, 2010 at 7:59 am #

    Voted this morning in Gt. B. Seemed like a lot of action. Hope so for a good turnout. Found this website helpful for the 4th Berkshire, we vote here but don’t live in Berkshires full time and I haven’t found the Eagle too helpful.