Article

BULLETIN!! EXCLUSIVE TO THE PLANET!! EPA FINES INTERPRINT $385,000…!! DOWNTOWN, ACCESS TO INFORMATION, THE NEW JOURNALISM, & “VALENTI, BLOGGER”

BY DAN VALENTI

WE INTERRUPT OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULE POST TO BRING YOU THIS BREAKING STORY. WE WILL HAVE MORE TOMORROW:

THE PLANET has learned that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Pittsfield business Interprint $80,000 and has ordered the company to pay $305,000 to replace old wood stoves in western Massachusetts. The EPA is penalizing Interprint for illegal actions taken in 2004, when it built a new facility in Pittsfield near Richmond. The EPA ruled Interprint was not in compliance with emissions laws and lacked proper permits.

MORE ON THIS DEVELOPING STORY TOMORROW


Holy Man's beard, Mufti's hat, a Prof's tortoise shells: Must be THE PLANET

The continuing discussion of downtown Pittsfield — its health, diagnosis, and prognosis — has prompted a robust exchange from all points of view. Eliminating the dullard few who cannot elevate discourse without lowering their personal profiles, the debate has been productive and worthwhile. It shall continue. The more citizens contribute their ideas, ad the more those ideas are published, the better our chances of reaching workable consent — an action plan — among disparate factions.

JOHN KROL: Playing the simultaneously awkward role of talk show host (walking) & politician (chewing gum).

There are so many avenues and tributaries down which the discussion has meandered that it becomes a task to focus in one one or two elements. It’s obvious, though, that a few factors concern a lot of people:

1. Lack of police presence downtown

2. Presence of too many “zombie people” that drive respectable people away (1 and 2 are related, of course).

3. Lack of foot traffic except for special events (this refers to the buzz that successful downtowns show at most all hours of “ordinary” time).

4. Still looking for the right mix of retail, art/culture, dining, shops, housing, recreation.

5. Too many foo-foo shops for the marketplace. Store openings attest to hope. Closings attest to market reality.

6. Not enough for people who aren’t wealthy, too much for people who are poor by choice.

7. The impact of the economic turndown.

There are others. These first come to mind. Feel free to reply with others.

Power of the press is not just for vested interests. Cyberspace is seeing to that.

Another tributary that THE PLANET shall be exploring in length is a discussion of the role of journalism in cyberspace. Blogging has become the great set of muscular hands that have ripped control over the information flow from the mainstream media. They are big, slow, ponderous, and afraid of change. Journalist bloggers are small, fast, adaptable, and fearless.

Some of the protests, for example, over our coverage of recent downtown closings, events, and status of some businesses mistakenly assumed we had abandoned journalistic protocols because we got a scoop and because a small portion of what we reported wasn’t 100% accurate. It’s as if their misunderstanding of journalism

He's a journalist. But what is that?

places upon us the requirement that not only must we be as timid and slow as bricks-and-mortar media but we have to be prescient to the point of accurately predicting the future. Not even Ambrose Bierce could live up to that.

A footnote to this is THE PLANET’s radio/TV appearance on “Good Morning, Pittsfield” on Tuesday. The broadcast turned into a tag team match, with good friends Clarence Fanto and John Krol double teaming THE PLANET and doing their best to keep up. We tried to slow down to make it a fair fight, but alas, we weren’t completely successful!

Several times, Krol referred to things he claimed we had written, and several times he misstated not only the actual words but also the gist of what we had inscribed. For example, he said as part of my recent postings on downtown Pittsfield I had included a list of the Top 10 Reasons to Stay Away. News to us. We DID post two Top 5 Lists, each with an equal number of items listing the (+) and the (-).

Repeatedly, he misconstrued our comments to make them seen uniformly negative. Clearly, he either forgot or didn’t know that we have repeatedly acknowledged the progress being made under Jim Ruberto downtown. He also ignored the fact that our reporting and commentary has qualified every time we had to point out an obvious negative, such as the creepy “street people” whose world HQ is Persip Park on the corner of North and Columbus. He also repeated a familiar mantra: that I live out of town, that I have little at stake in the downtown, and that what I do I do for mercenary reasons.

THE PLANET has often pointed out our street cred when it comes to downtown Pittsfield: We grew up in Pittsfield, did a lot of shopping “upstreet,” still have many family and friends here, and for 28 years located the offices of my business, The Media Services Group, in center city.

FANTO: Ex-Eagle ME makes many good points in the nature of news.

We enjoyed the back and forth. In the course of discuss and debate, it can’t get too rough-and-tumble with credible people such as Fanto and Krol. After the show, Fanto remarked on the challenge Krol has of playing journalist on the show when at the same time many know he is a Pittsfield city councilor who, presumably, has a vested interest in the perceived health of the city, since he is, as a rep, one of the power holders.

The discussion of journalism ethics with Fanto tells me that we should present something (a panel discussion, a public debate, a TV show, a radio show) on this topic. Good stuff.

THE PLANET loves that the old assumptions of getting “news” to market have been called into question. Questions are good. When change comes upon us this fast, many feel threatened. As I said on the air Tuesday, information is neutral. There’s no need to fear information, under the assumption that ANY information is welcome given that Truth will ultimately win out.

With freedom comes responsibility. Does anyone "get that" anymore?

This, however, presumes an educated and intelligent populace that participates in their own governing. That’s not what we have at the moment. Thus, a disconnect between the mighty power of “the new journalism” and the civic ability of the populace. Into this chasm have slipped many a mainstreamer, who cannot accept that the times, they are a changing. One segment pays close attention: Public officials, politicians, and any who act in a fiduciary role (in the exercise of power and money) for We the People. If it’s one thing that gets their attention, it’s the calls for, and the means to, accountability.

Blog, blog, blog we go, swiftly down the steam. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

16 Responses to “BULLETIN!! EXCLUSIVE TO THE PLANET!! EPA FINES INTERPRINT $385,000…!! DOWNTOWN, ACCESS TO INFORMATION, THE NEW JOURNALISM, & “VALENTI, BLOGGER””

  1. Joe Pinhead
    December 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    I know I’m just a Pinhead but I have now waited 24 hours since the release of the EPA consent Decree regarding Interprint. Still no coverage on the Eagles website. Humm are they checking sources? I don’t know will there be an in depth story tomorrow I don’t know, what I do know is I sat on the press release for 24.
    Why is it important and why should the “old Media” cover it, Well you might recall the building that was built received some generous incentives from the City of Pittsfield, Yes this pinhead and Joe lunchbox footed the bill. They didn’t even apply for the needed permits. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed Consent Decree that will end on January, 5 2011 so time is a ticking yet another reason for information at light speed.

    Here is some reading while your waiting for the Print media to speak on it, I can almost bet it was an honest oversight.

    note the release date

    http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/f7740866e5a3b903852577f20069227d?OpenDocument

  2. Gung Ho for Ruberto
    December 8, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    Mr. Pinhead is aptly named, for implying that the mayor etc. gave the business special treatment. He did but not unfair treatment, added inducements that made much economic sense as you see by the thriving business that Pittsfield still proudly claims as one of its own. What does Mr. P say to that, I wonder.

  3. Art-i-face
    December 8, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    This website is the best thing to happen around here in a long time. Why does Valenti get all this stuff and no one else? I’m converted. I’m also an artist, who works downtown. So there.

  4. Joe Pinhead
    December 8, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    Mr Ho, any relation to Don? I loved his work. Please point out where I stated or implied unfair treatment to Interprint? It’s not there, the comments are centered around the fact that the story has yet to be reported in the daily. Or more aptly I have yet to see it. We did give the company incentives the merits of which we can discuss in the future. I just thought it interesting the company in Question is familiar enough with the local governmental system to navigate through it to apply for and possibly rightfully obtain the incentives, however isn’t sophisticated enough to apply for the proper permits?
    The company was also sophisticated enough to comment to the EPA in writing on the value of the pending consent decree for the former GE plant. I can attach the comments if you wish they are available on the EPA website for your viewing pleasure. However the point I was and am making is where is the local print coverage? In light of yesterdays discussion on the print media why wasn’t it even mentioned?
    All that and I didn’t need to resort to calling names.

  5. danvalenti
    December 8, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    No need to worry about the print media covering this. THE PLANET has scooped again. The full story will be in tomorrow (“tomorrow,” we realize, is a pointless term in cyberspace. We merely include it for those who are still too frightened by the disappearing Old Media).

    • Mayor Valenti
      December 9, 2010 at 7:46 am #

      “No need to worry about the print media covering this. THE PLANET has scooped again. ”

      Yet another example of Valenti wanting to eat his cake and have it to.

      Valenti, do you want your site to be one that spreads rumors for discussion (i.e. a blog site)?

      Or do you want to play reporter?

      You had better pick one; you are rapidly losing whatever credibility you thought that you had.

      • danvalenti
        December 9, 2010 at 11:49 am #

        Nope. I ain’t picking one or the other. This site is both and all. Thanks for your concern over my credibility, but leave that to me.

  6. Dean
    December 9, 2010 at 5:33 am #

    Still refuse to consider you a journalist however i appreciate your willingness to bring up discussion that is not brought up in our local media. i just think you need to do a better job at separating what your hearing from your “sources” and what is factual. there is nothing wrong with reporting sources but dont claim it as news unless your going to release your source name or it is a certain fact.

    • danvalenti
      December 9, 2010 at 11:48 am #

      DEAN
      Thanks. I don’t care for labels much anyway. Am I a journalist? Columnist? Commentator? Entertainer? Comedian? It doesn’t matter. I will let other people make their judgments. Passing along fact as fact is a journalistic cornerstone. I do that. When I pass along opinion, I label it as such with qualifiers. I heavily qualified my info on downtown when I wasn’t sure. At that, the Market closing was factual. “News” is anything that is “new.” News can be fact and it can be opinion, rumor, conjecture. When a credible source passes along information at yet unconfirmed, and traditional methods of confirmation don’t work (usually because the person from whom you’re seeking comment doesn’t answer), that’s different that mere whimsy.

  7. Wondering
    December 9, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    Why did the Mayor give anyone “special Treatment” shouldnt every person, business etc be treated equally and afford the same help? you know a level playing field?

  8. Lawn Boy
    December 9, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Just so I understand, we have an assistant Mayor for Mayorial duties who’s function is to ensure my lawn is of the proper height. All the while allowing noxious chemicals to be spewed into the air? Did it strike them I cant keep my lawn in check because I cant breathe?
    Am I supposed to believe the EPA came into the City unannounced and started looking at permits etc? Or did they notify the Conservation commission or some other agency?
    Meanwhile across the pond kids have enjoyed how many summers at Camp Russell as the fumes pumped out?
    Got to go the grass is getting out of control.

  9. SALTY
    December 9, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Well, what is NOT factual about the EPA/Interprint story. Will any critics of Dan quibble with that. I went to the EPA website. Face it. Valenti however he found out got this story first. That’s journalism of the highest order.

  10. iBerkshires.com
    December 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Dan,

    Credit where credit due, you beat iBerkshires.com (an actual news site) by at least 7-minutes (they posted at 12:07 a.m. on the 9th – I don’t know when you did).

    • danvalenti
      December 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

      Appreciate the nod. I posted last night, 12/8, around 10:30-ish. Glad to see where you guys got on the story too. It’s a significant one for a number of reasons, and it’s informative that it’s taken the local daily so long to react.

  11. Dean
    December 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    My problem is exactly what you claimed you are. You claim to be a reporter when you get snubbed for interviews, you claim to be a blogger when you dont disclose your sources and inject too much personal opinion, you certainly can be both, just dont whine when people doubt your journalistic integrity.

    • danvalenti
      December 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

      I am all of that. A reporter (a person who gathers information to share with the public), journalist (a person who takes the information and processes it to make available through publishing), and a blogger (a person who uses internet-based communication to publish via computers). I won’t whine and never have when people doubt or believe anything about me. I can’t control that. I only expend energy on that which I can control.