!!BULLETIN!! PLUS, VALENTI, GROSS TO TALK AT CHAPTERS, CORRECTION FROM CHIEF WYNN, STATEMENTS FROM BIANCHI, RUBERTO, AND BRUCE COLLINGWOOD’s Hand in the INHELDER AFFAIR
BASED ON THE FIRST COMMENT BELOW TO THIS SITE, THE PLANET IS CHECKING THE VERACITY OF THE CLAIM, TO SEE IF IT IS fact, THAT PAM MALUMPHY HAS TAKEN LEGAL ACTION AGAINST MAYOR JIM RUBERTO AND OFFICE OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT HEAD DEANNA RUFFER. WE HAVE CONTACTED the three PARTIES INVOLVED. MAYOR RUBERTO’S RESPONSE FOLLOWS.
Mayor Jim Ruberto was the first to weigh in on the allegation, made in an email and listed as the first post below, that Pam Malumphy is in the midst of legal action against the mayor and OCD director Deanna Ruffer. The mayor emphatically said he had no knowledge of any such action in the courts and that this was the first he had heard of it. He expressed frustration at what he views as harassment-type actions from Malumphy and others, saying it sets back the cause of reform in Pittsfield and hinders, not helps, the cause of making Pittsfield a better, stronger city. Malumphy and Ruffer have not returned our inquiries. We will be checking with the source of the email as well as the courts in determining if this claim is “legit.” We will comment that based on the mayor’s statement of only hearing about this today, from this website, would cause one to believe there is nothing to this. THE PLANET has personally found Ruberto to be reliable and truthful source in matters like this.
Granted, THE PLANET opens itself up for criticism for posting the message below, and we understand that. In fact, we weighed the pros and cons of allowing this post. There is an argument to be made on each side. However, one of the principal tenets of this address is belief in the positive nature of free speech and the marketplace of ideas. We subscribe, in ways that must look naive to some, to the Founding Fathers belief that ALL ideas should be welcome, even unpopular ones, because the truth will ultimately win out. For better or worse, the internet is especially suited to this type of immediacy and speed. In print, captive as it is to physical production processes, a reporter has time to check out most every aspect of a story. The web has changed all that. For an analog scribe such as this one, it’s a whole different way of covering the events of our lives.
NOW BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED POST
We did “Good Morning, Pittsfield” with John Krol this morning, essentially to tell people about an event in downtown Pittsfield tonight, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Chapters Bookstore. THE PLANET shall be there to introduce Planet Media Books, our publishing division, and the author of our first book, the gifted writer Laura Gross. I’ll speak, she’ll read, and we’ll both answer questions and sign books. Free food, wine, beverages, snacks, and great literary chat. YOU are invited. Please stop in to say hello and support this important local business. There is no store or shop more important to a downtown than a bookstore. In a show of support for this important moment for the bookstore, Mayor Ruberto said he expected to be there for at least part of the event. We thank all people and officials, in advance, for supporting this artistic thrust.
* THE PLANET salutes Sen. Ben Downing, and all who showed up, for the Veterans Day memorial parade. 3rd Berkshire Rep Chris “No Show” Speranzo more than lived up to his name by failing to appear. After all, he only represents all but one ward of Pittsfield in the General Court, and it IS too much to expect him to show his face. Thanks, Ben, Mayor Jimmy Ruberto, and everyone who took the time to honor our servicemen and women.
* THE PLANET received this clarifying e-mail from Police Chief (and author) Mike Wynn in connection with out post on the alleged scandal in the water department involving theft of overtime and scrap metal. As I told the chief in response, on any story, the first aim is factual accuracy, and we are always grateful to any source who can help us in that regard. The Chief wrote:
I had the opportunity to view your posting at planetvalenti.com last night. I have one concern … I’m fairly sure that I didn’t attribute the larceny of scrap metal to any one employee, and certainly not to “the employee” as your post indicates. If I did, I need to apologize and clarify. This is where the conflicting witness statements (that I did mention) became important.
While our investigation indicated that some scrap metal was removed and sold, we were not able to determine who specifically removed and sold the scrap. More importantly, we could not determine who ultimately received payment for the scrap. This disconnect was the basis of my decision to recommend that we not proceed with the investigation.
And thank YOU, Chief, for helping us do our job on behalf of our readers. Now, we just called Wynn “author” above. Here’s why. Check out this link:
* Two days ago, both Mayor Ruberto and Dan Bianchi contacted THE PLANET to discuss, mostly off the record, their political intentions for 2011. We have NEVER, in our long career in media going back professionally to 1975, betrayed a trust or understanding of a source regarding on or off the record. We won’t start now.
That being said, we can share this. Both are giving serious thought to the campaign. We visited Bianchi at his office at 100 North St., Room 300. He mentioned the toll a campaign takes on families, and that would be a consideration in his decision to run for mayor. Bianchi said losing by a mere 207 votes made the loss, in a synchronous way, both encouraging and disappointing — encouraging because he said he “knows” now that victory is more than achievable … disappointing because he “worked so hard only to come so close.” Our impression, and it’s strictly that, is this: He giving it hard thought, which suggests a certain amount of reluctance. However, he appears more like to say “yes” than “no.”
Mayor Ruberto said, “As to my plans, it’s still too early. I haven’t made a decision. If I run, I will run hard and start in January. I will not give Bianchi six-month head start like I did in 2009, when Ellen was my entire focus.” Again, sharing an impression, the mayor, like his rival, is conflicted. The sense that we get is that he, too, despite serious concerns, will want to complete one more term and, in
Jimmy’s words, “Finish the job we have started, and that is to keep this city moving along on its back to vitality, health, and prominence.”
Based on our conversations, two things are certain:
(1) There is plenty of animosity and hard feelings left over from 2009, on both sides, in what was a wrenching, emotional campaign.
(2) In these two men should face each other next year, it will be even more heated and nasty. This no doubt has to be a factor as each man wrestles with his decision.
* This just in. Sharing the views of a former state employee about the Inhelder hoedown. The words have not been changed to protect the innocent, the guilty, the good, the bad, the ugly, or Clint Eastood. This person writes to THE PLANET, mainly in response to my article in the Gazette from the issue just made history by today’s new column:
THAT’S IT FOR NOW. TUNE IN LATER FOR MORE.