BY DAN VALENTI
The Planet begins a new series today: TO VETS, WITH GRATITUDE. It will be periodic and ongoing. In it, we salute veterans. We will be soliciting JPEGS or hard copies of service commendations (plaques, certificates, honors, letter of merit, and the like) with the intention of posting them on this site.
War can NEVER be justified. Service for others, including that of laying down your life, can NEVER be ignored. We do this as our small part to recognize the time people have spent, interrupting their lives in service to others. The honors of our first post go to Richard Carlotta of Stockbridge.
Richard fought in Korean in the early 1950s. He was a member of the Army’s 29th Infantry Regiment, based in Okinawa. His outfit saw heavy action, including being on the receiving end of a firefight that historians now call a massacre. This summer, Carlotta received this commendation from the President of South Korea. We present it here, and invite others to salute Mr. Carlotta for his service:
Mr. Chartock no doubt asked his mirror this identical question 30 years ago — and no doubt it answered in the affirmative. This is precisely what Mr. Chartock has accomplished vis-a-vis his own lucrative position at WAMC Northeast Public Radio.
For three decades, Mr. Chartock has hand-picked those who would serve on his loyal board of trustees, these same obliging folks who then vote annually to retain Mr. Chartock as the organization’s president and CEO. But that’s not all.
A salary committee composed of these same obliging appointees then grants Mr. Chartock boku salary increases every year.
Mr. Chartock’s personal take from the Albany-based, tax-exempt NPR affiliate — which begs thrice-annually to listeners to please give, give, give to the ‘not-for-profit’ charity — is around $200,000 annually. That figure doesn’t include the five-figures worth of annual executive fringe benefits, aka ‘perks,’ that WAMC’s trustees lavishly provide their out-of-state residing boss.(Mr. Chartock lives in neighboring Gt. Barrington, Mass.).
This is just from the WAMC gig.
These figures do not include the pension New York State already pays Mr. Chartock for his years teaching at SUNY, where lest we forget he simultaneously ‘moonlighted’ at WAMC in blatant violation of SUNY’s strict employment policy that specifically forbids such full-time off-campus employment.
In exchange for all this, these same compliant, hand-picked WAMC trustees conveniently have looked the other way when it comes to WAMC’s choice of auditors (it’s the same firm for the past 30 years), and also when [allegedly] not noticing the various misappropriations of station funds, and also when [allegedly] ignoring WAMC’s continual failure to file accurate Form 990 reports annually with IRS.
So when Alan Chartock asks his readers the leading question, “Wouldn’t you like a job where you could fix the hiring process so that you would be assured of keeping -your job?”, you can bet he already knows from long experience whereof he speaks.
The Economics and Politics of Snow White & Krol
It snowed yesterday. We received a few inches of light, fluffy angel dust, and, again, the supermarkets reported panic buying. The weathermen — oops, excuse me, they are meteorologists and most of them are pretty females — love it when they have a “weather event,” and the media are in cahoots with the ski areas to play up even the mildest of snow with an Armageddon-like doom.
When I did “The Dan Valenti Show” on WBRK from 1992 to 2006, the station had “The WBRS Storm Center.” Each fall, long before the first flake fell, the sales team would sell the Storm Center to local sponsors. The package included live commercials coming in and going out, whenever the weather caused the station to activate the Storm Center. Naturally, the more the station could activate the Storm Center, the better it was for everybody but the listener.
Doppler Radar would pick up three snowflakes hovering over the Lake Michigan, possibly heading east, and WBRK would activate the Storm Center. It came on with a musical theme appropriate for the end of the world. Thus, weather is money, and the more you can panic people into acting irrationally when the weather changes, the more money you can make.
Twenty years ago, the idea that of a 24/7/365 Weather Channel would be laughable. Today, viewers stare mindlessly for hours at a time to watch the same, repeating weather reports that suggest trouble ahead. Even if we are enjoying clear sailing with the sun showing in January, someone like Paul Caiano or Steve Capparizzo will be telling you: “We’ve got our eye on a system now could (COULD, mind you) head out way, if conditions break the right way.” In other words, if you pay attention to weather reports, you will never find peace.
There’s also good politics in weather, as we saw in the latest large storm. The city of Pittsfield declared a state of emergency. That wasn’t enough, though. John Krol and Peter White had to break into their Facebook pages and tell us of the emergency. They did so with pretty mugs shots and their name splattered all over, as if it were a placard placed on a door handle during a campaign.
CEDS: It Ain’t Going Away Because The Planet Won’t Let It
Meanwhile, neither Krol nor White, nor any other city councilor for that matter, has said a word about the disastrous failure authored by the city of Pittsfield in the ongoing Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) process. Qualifying for federal assistance under the CEDS program is what brought more than $3 billion in investment into western South Carolina by such private sector companies as Apple, Microsoft, Google, and WiPro, all in the last three years.
Pittsfield, meanwhile, hasn’t had a successful CEDS since 2001, when Sara Hathway was mayor. Why? Who will answer? Who, that is, beside The Planet. Why has the region put up with a decade of abysmal failure?
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission director Nat Karns was quick to point out on this site that there was no CEDS process in 2009, as if that was a badge of honor. We reported that were was a 2009 effort. Karns was incorrect. The Planet was right.
We quote from the CEDS committee meeting minutes from Nov. 30, 2010: “In 2009, BPRC approached the EDA [Economic Development Administration] with the intent of securing funding for an update to the 2001 CEDS. Due to some logistical and approval issues, this CEDS process hasn’t been able to begin until now.”
This is an interesting statement. It proves The Planet was correct in referring to a 2009 CEDS process. Moreover, it appears Karns covered up in his reply to this site. The statement also suggests that rather than begin afresh, the BRPC tried to dust off the 2001 CEDS. Why? Why go back to a plan that was nearly 10 years old? Wouldn’t that guarantee immediate dismissal? And what, exactly, does “some logistical and approval issues” mean?
We invite Mr. Karns to explain that, for if the region is to go forward with a coherent CEDS plan for 2011, it must know, precisely, the issues in the past that have prevented success.
One thing that will be different this time around is monitoring. Due to the coverage of this website, many people are now aware of the ongoing 2011 CEDS effort. The next meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 12:30 p.m., at the BRPC offices at 1 Fenn Street (same as 100 North St.), Room 201. The meetings are covered by the Open Meeting laws and are open to the public.
Many eyes will be following the 2011 CEDS. This time, failure will be called on the carpet, and head, we hope, will roll.