Francois Arneau is an investigator and researcher employed by The Planet, though not exclusively. He leads our data and statistics efforts. He sent this reply, c/o the editor, to a couple of critics, who questioned sources in Part 2 of our series on economic development:

FROM: Francois Arneau

TO: Mr. Turner and Mr. Curious

As part of my job, I read through numerous websites in an attempt to learn about redevelopment bonding, TIFS, etc. I did not bookmark every link, article, and study that I read. That was “my bad,” as the Americans say, and I will look for it once I have some time.

Here is my challenge to you two gentlemen. Please do as you are asking me to do. Please provide hard data that “downtown redevelopment” has been a success. I limit it to strictly Pittsfield’s downtown, not the puff pieces done by the local daily. Please do show me the return on investment vs. other city’s of the same size both with and without public dollars spent on redevelopment.

Spice, while still open, has changed hands. It did close its doors and reopened. Is Hudpuckers still open on North Street? No. I ask: How long did it thrive on East street?

Every time someone asks a question about the status of anything, you gentlemen try to slam the questioner. Yes GE poured millions into Pittsfield as part of the Military Industrial complex. It poured much more in services to its private sector plastics and transformer businesses.

But to lump Google, Apple, and Facebook into that category of employer is far fetched. What do you know about the satisfaction level of both the employees and the communities that house those corporations here in the US? Where is your data to back the claim “…and set up shop in states with ‘right to work’ laws to exploit cheap labor…” Where is your study? What do you offer in the form of HARD data to support those claims? Or does railing against those who care enough to question and to read beyond the Eagle automatically become the enemy in your eyes?

If we do not go to The Planet to discuss such things, where do we go? Mr. Turner, please post your blog — the one you post to. Is open for discussion?

If you want to discuss methodology of data collected, OK, lesson learned. I will post a link to every article read. However, please read them and be MAN enough to have a study listed at the time of your post that we can check for every statement you have made as well.

Redevelopment links in addition to those posted

Each of these sites has mountains of data, and I should have linked in the data. I will look for the data about the store, restaurant, and shop closings again when I get back in the pocket. But please do tell me how that study will increase the tax revenues from downtown in your city of Pittsfield?

And I will be awaiting your published data on the success or failure of our current downtown redevelopment, or  at least a progress report?


Francois Arneau



Here is the letter sent by Sherwood Guernsey, L. Lee Harris, and 21 other signatories from the local Democratic Party. We initially had e-gremlins fooling around backstage at the website, but they have been addressed.

Make of this letter what you will. It sure looks like a “hit” letter to us. Oh, it’s all nice and formal and forcibly polite, but this is a shakedown letter, plain and simple. It’s the local Democrats speaking in tongues to Andrea Nuciforo, telling him he would be wise not to run against Congressman John Olver in 2012. The letter is interesting, to say the least. It is published here, in its entirely, for the first time anywhere.

The Planet covered some aspects of what the letter  means in the current issue of the Pittsfield Gazette. Here are additional points:

* Who are “The Concerned Democrats of Berkshire County? Are they a PAC, you know, a “529” organization that the Eagle rails against? Do they contribute money to candidates? From this letter, they are trying to influence an election. So are they registered as a 529 PAC, a voter education group, or anything else? If not, are The Concerned Democrats of Berkshire County one of those behind-the-scenes smoke-filled-room gangs ala Boss Tweed that McCain-Feingold tried to address?

* Do you think the Federal Election Commission would be interested in a letter of this type? It’s certainly food for thought. Anyway, without further delay, glitches and all, here’s THE LETTER THEY DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE. They are published as PDF files, one for each page of the letter. A simple click will open them for viewing.



  1. Joe Pinhead
    January 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    I think you meant to say 527 as defined by Wiki

  2. Joe Pinhead
    January 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    Oops I hit the wrong button I wanted to say it is great to have a place where different opinions can be expressed whether I agree with them or not perspective is good. It is nice to see who the movers and shakers are I did read the Gazette and am curious as to why they felt the need to deny such a letter. That to me says the most.
    Keep up the pressure it will either push things forward or cause an explosion.

  3. Stephen
    January 2, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    JP is right. It’s 527. A most enlightening letter to Mr. Nuciforo. This stuff sounds like an incident from “All The King’s Men” by Richard Penn Warren.

  4. pjmh
    January 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    If I am Andrea and I receive this letter…”Run Forrest! Run!!!”

  5. Foxy Lady
    January 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    I hope Andrea told them what they can do with their letter. Thanks for posting. Tis shows how politics gets done in the pitts.

  6. Jonathan Melle
    January 2, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    My Blog on Andrea Nuciforo shows what a corrupt piece of crap “Luciforo” truly is.
    Vote for John Olver for Congress in 2012.

  7. GPloy
    January 2, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    That french guy didn’t offer anything but a list of open-ended websites. It’s like me rattling off some obscure tax loophole and telling him to go to to check it out.

    Then he cites Bobby Hudpuckers & Spice as some sort of evidence there has been no downtown rejuvenation. 8-10 years ago there was nothing where Spice is (Besse Clarke had closed). And Brule now stand whet Hudpuckers failed to manage through the giant recession. Before Hudpuckers paved the way for a better managed restaurant, the place had been left empty by CVS.

    The French guy seems intent on slamming downtown revitalization, but all he does is support the argument that positive change has been made.

    That French dude then starts rambling on about Google, Apple, & Facebook….do you have a conversation going on in your head that you want to clue the rest of us in on?

  8. Josh
    January 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    The ultimate middle finger that Andy could give to the local Democrats in retaliation would be simple: Switch his party affiliation to Republican or Independent. Not only would he have little to no opposition in getting to the general election in 2012 against Olver, but he could be viewed in a way similar to that of Congressman Silvio Conte, whom I understand was largely viewed as a more liberal Republican.

    I wish Andy well in his bid for Congress and will support him if he indeed does go through with his plan to run. The Berkshires haven’t had representation in Washington since Conte died in the early 1990’s, and our voice must be heard in order to move the region forward.

  9. Dean
    January 3, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Oh no this letter reeks of conspiracy. I bet Sherwood Guernsey and Lee Harrison are secretly using Berkshire Brigades to funnel crack money in Pittsfield and further the drug problems. Not only that but I heard that the current Ruberto administration is encouraging teens to get pregnant and drop out of school in order to line his pockets with federal funding. And the Berkshire Eagle is owned by the Russians. Seriously Dan et al.? At what point can we just consider this a letter from local Dems who enjoy the fact that our current congressman is doing a great job and we don’t need to “fracture” the Democratic party. I’m not drinking your punch Dan, and frankly im concerned with the level of support you’ve given Andrea, it seems as there is quite a bit of bias and a lot less objectivity. Nonetheless Mr. Melle up there isnt helping the Olver cause either. Let’s not forget that it was Sherwood Guernsey who lost out to Mr. Olver back in the 90’s, something like that could cause bitterness to stay with you but instead he is supporting him like a loyal democrat and ANY Berkshire resident SHOULD do because John Olver has done an amazing job for Berkshire County. Good day Dan, can’t wait to hear more babble.

  10. Simon Sez
    January 3, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    @DEAn, good lord when I hear anyone defend a shameful manipulative letter such as this using the justification that hes acting “as a loyal democrat.” Oh boy, that’s all anyone needs to hear. Dean is a loyal Dem, Olver is an “amazing” loyal Dem, Sherwood is a loyal Dem. Dont kid yourself: this is a threat trying to eliminate competition before it happens why? Over and the loyal Dems are scared to death of Andrea.

  11. Dean
    January 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Simon: the only thing im scared to death of are snakes. not clowns like you and Andrea. ya its name-calling time, because apparently actions (those by John Olver for the city of Pittsfield) aren’t enough for you. 90% of the people telling Andrea not to run would vote for him if Olver was not running again. Its nothing against him, we just cant afford to lose all the Olver has gained and what he has done. Plain and simple, but go ahead and start the conspiracy talk, people here will certainly listen. They love to drink that punch.

    • Joe Pinhead
      January 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

      Conspiracy ? who denied the exsistence of the letter? And sorry talk about drinking punch Please read how glowing Olver was when Speaking about Armitage in his own press release. Keep in mind that While Olver is speaking about Armitage he has not filed a tax return in 6 years has a claim against him by the IRS that he is failing to pay. Drink it down

  12. Tim Bartini
    January 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    I was a supporter of Andrea while he was a Senator. But the way he ran for Register of Deeds knowing Sara Hathaway was running was rather slick . Sara worked for him and he then ran against her. That really shows his loyalty to his “Friends”. She didn’t find out that he was running until she read it in the Eagle. How low is that?

  13. GMHeller
    January 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    So where’s the third page of this veiled threat of a letter to Mr. Nuciforo from the oh-so-Concerned Democrats of Berkshire County?
    Where are the rest of those twenty-five signatures, the concerned sensitive ones?
    It’s comforting finally to see the slithery manner in which local Liberal Democrats actually eat their own — just like rats!
    Have not we all heard rumors and innuendo that they do this, but here is prima facie evidence.
    No way would Mr. Nuciforo stand a chance as a Liberal Republican not for the least reason that county Republicans would see him for what he truly is, a Liberal Democrat in Liberal Democrat clothing masquerading as a Liberal Republican, solely in order to win against his own entrenched Liberal Democrats.
    What a mockery that election would be.
    Mr. Nuciforo would get creamed in the primary by both sides.
    Further, the last thing Republicans want or need in the U.S. Congress is another RINO Republican (Republican In Name Only).
    Too bad, Mr. Nuciforo does not have Conservative credentials; it would be far easier to hop to the opposing party from that direction.
    Ah well, maybe it’s all for the best anyway.
    Would it really hurt Mr. Nuciforo so terribly to have to go out and get a real job in the private sector like 99.9% of the rest of the Berkshire County taxpaying citizenry, the ones he’s claimed for years to represent?
    Better a real job than always falling back on the public teat for one’s butter (and bread).
    Let’s be frank: In a Democrat primary contest against John Olver or any other Liberal Democrat the Springfield machine would put up, Mr. Nuciforo would get creamed.
    His only possibility is to announce ASAP that he is changing his stripes, has gotten religion, and is now a Conservative Republican.
    This means embracing fully everything Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity stand for and renouncing all things touchy-feely, and all things Liberal Democrat, including Barack Obama, ObamaCare, and progressive taxation.
    Mr. Nuciforo, to burnish his newly sought-after Conservative Republican credientials, might start by drawing up his own Contract with Berkshire County on just what specifically he will do if elected: to lower taxes, to cut spending, to lower taxes, and to lower taxes.
    Backing total repeal of the state income tax would be a good start.
    Repeal of the state sales tax, too.

    • danvalenti
      January 3, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

      The signatures will be posted son, perhaps as early as tomorrow (1/4/11). Nuciforo would stand a good chance of winning. He will raise as much or more money than Olver and has the ability to put together an organization that would be effective in the chaos of redistricting. The latter makes Nuciforo’s bid a threat to the Established powers that be. As for the “Conservative credentials” you mention, since when has that been a solution for America? Case in point: the Gingrich Joke on America in 1994. They “talked” OK but were phonier than the most phony Democrat when they got their chance (to say nothing of the abominations that were GHW Bush and Bush Light).

      • GMHeller
        January 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

        Dan, Andrea Nuciforo could get every Democrat vote registered in Berkshire County and it would still not be enough to offset the number of votes the Springfield Democrat machine can put out, living and dead.
        Mr. Nuciforo’s only prayer for victory is to discard his Liberal Democrat credentials and become a believeable and convincing Conservative Republican and attempt to appeal to those fed up with what Liberal Democrats have done and are doing to the country, and most especially to Massachusetts.
        If you don’t think Conservatism is the ‘solution for America’, you are misinterpreting the results of the November 2010 election, as well as the real strength of the Tea Party Movement.

  14. Dean
    January 3, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    i could name the dam signatures, they aren’t a secret, and this isnt news. this is merely Andy Nuciforo handing a letter to his buddy Dan hoping to stir up some talk. the signatures are im sure those of the berkshire brigades board. thatll be about 15, the other ten are the other 10 smartes democrats in the county who know that what Nuciforo is doing is stupid for the party.

  15. Joe Pinhead
    January 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    Just wondering are elections and such about the party? or the people who you are supposed to represent? I have heard alot about whats best for the party.

  16. DJ
    January 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    Is it true that Mike Ward got a similar talking to by some of the Ruberto people about not running the next time around?

    • danvalenti
      January 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

      We hadn’t heard that one, so we can’t say one way of the other.

  17. rick
    January 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    pinhead hit it right on the nail head, its about the people not the parties. these parties are killing us,dems vs reps. now teabaggers,and greenparty..libertarians etc.vs reps.and dems. spinoffs of political parties,and they all have an agenda… not one is there to work for all of us, just the money people that make them run. big money in politics today and every snake oil salesman is trying to get a piece of the action. they represent themselves first and the people that fund them next…..we the people fit in down the list somewhere, still trying to figure where though.