AIRHEADS, STREAKERS, SHERIFF ON THE MOVE, STORE MOVING, plus COLONIALS HOMER, LAND DEAL STENCH, AND BORING BROADSHEET SOILS THE BED (AGAIN!)
BY DAN VALENTI
As always on The Planet, a ton of “stuff” is in the works. Let me knock off some of them in rapid fashion.
Oxymoron — We learned today that Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-Airhead) is on the House “Intelligence” committee, another sign that Armageddon is nigh. One of Bach Baby’s GOP colleagues, who spoke on condition of anonymity, replied of this empty pants-suit serving on intelligence: “Oxymoron, like ‘jumbo shrimp.’”
Losing Streak — A streaker provided some unexpected diversion at a rally for President Obama yesterday. The idiot was arrested and charged with having a hole in his birthday suit. Obama got off a great line: “He showed me nothing.” Mrs. Obama couldn’t take her eyes off the, uh, screen.
Bowler Bowling them Over — Two sources, one from within the Berkshire County slammer, say that new sheriff Tom Bowler has requested that assistant deputies turn in their badges. Under the now-defunct emperor, Carman’s Holiday Ranch became a haven for patronage jobs, with deputy badges being given out like candy as political rewards. Bowler doesn’t want any part of that, and The Planet loves it. He has requested that these fake badges be turned in, and anyone wishing to reapply will have to pass testing, including a physical test.
We don’t want to say that some deputies are out of shape, but some of these deps, when they walk around, show up on Doppler radar. When they step on the scale to be weighed, it reads “To be continued.” We know of one such who leaves footprints not in the snow but in old concrete. These fat bodies “don’t need no stinking badges.”
The Planet applauds Sheriff Bowler with our highest award: The coveted Orbit Award. We shall be in touch with the sheriff on how to deliver it. Previous winners include Mike Ward and Peter White, both Pittsfield councilors.
Going and Coming — We hear from one of our commerce spies that Simmons Furniture is closing its shop at the Pittsfield Plaza. This time, our gumshoe says, it looks like the real deal. We hear that the inventory and staff are moving to the Allendale Shopping Center. Under the Simmons name? That we don’t know. The move doesn’t bode well for the limbo-like development of what used to be the thriving Big N plaza. It appears to be more shuffling the deck chairs on the Sheila.
Reaching Out to the Community — The Pittsfield Colonials continue to touch all the bases this off-season. The latest step forward is the recently announced home-game promotion. The Colonials are looking to partner with a different not-for-profit agency or business for each of the team’s 54 home games — 54 games, 54 organizations.
The move is a win-win. The team puts more fannies in the park. The organizations can educate the public about who they are and raise money via 50-50 raffles and the like. The fans win, too. A ball game is always more fun when the stands are packed. We commend Colonials owner Buddy Lewis for this innovation. If you head a non-profit, give the Colonials a call and book your day at beloved Wahconah Park.
The Colonials also plan an extensive reach-out to local schools. Players will be visiting classrooms, and the team will be playing two and maybe three 10:30 a.m. games that will be “kids day at the ballpark.” Pittsfield, Dalton, and Berkshire Hills school districts will be participating.
“We want to do all kinds of stuff and have the city wrap their arms around us,” says Lewis. Let the love flow, everybody.
What’s the Big Secret, J-Lo? — Observers are still shaking their heads at the stunt Ward 5 councilor Jonathan Lothrop pulled at the city council meeting on Jan. 25. As councilors were debating the suspicious land-deal at 1644 Eat St. for possible use as a DPW garage, Lothrop wanted to move the meeting into executive session. No other councilor supported him. In fact, Ward 7 councilor and mayoral candidate Joe Nichols lived up to his promise that he would not participate in secret sessions. The move would have brought a certain legal challenge.
So why did Lothrop want to go behind closed doors? What did he want to tell his colleagues? What did he want to hide from taxpayers? We are hearing ominous reports, nothing hard but worth looking at.
If someone started a recall petition for J-Lo, The Planet would sign our name on it, large, like John Hancock, “So His Majesty might read it without his spectacles.”
Lothrop hasn’t been right since he flip-flopped on the airport expansion, which has eaten up precious woodland, eviscerated the scenic qualities of South Mountain Road, and tossed people out of their homes by eminent domain. Lothrop initially led the informed opposition to the project. Then, he “saw the light.” With what brightness, we wonder, do he go all a-dazzle?Since then, he’s been yes-man for the Pittsfield 100. Hope it has enriched him.
This is the sort of behavior that will be called on the carpet in the upcoming election. The 2011 campaign will be historic. We sense engagement at unusually high levels, not just in terms of the number of candidates but the quality of them. We also see more people getting involved in the political process. Ruinous taxes, a shrinking tax base, a declining and aging population, and the presence of an oligarchy will do one of two things to people: make them apathetic or energize them.
We’ve tried apathy. It doesn’t work. When We The People do not pay attention to the storekeepers, they rob us blind. When we get involved and stay informed, we can assume our rightful place as masters. Elected and appointed officials are the hired help. The bosses are not happy.
Sheehan, Sheehan, and More Sheehan, LLC — Speaking of the land deal that almost came about at 1644 East St., The Planet revealed yesterday that Patrick J. Sheehan is the man behind the realty trust selling the property. As The Planet showed, Sheehan is politically active and a regular and large donor to political campaigns. What influence, if any, does he hold on Pittsfield officials who were willing to buy a leaky, PCB-infected property, in a down market, at 45% more than assessed value?
A search of Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s The Commonwealth of Massachusetts William Francis Galvin – Public Browse and Search shows that “Patrick Sheehan” shows up as the principal (“position held”) behinds no fewer than 97 individual entries, many of them multiple. Are they all the same man? Most of the addresses are the same. The Planet contacted Sheehan yesterday for information, but he did not return our inquiry.
State records suggest that Shehhan is the man behind: Sheehan Brothers Holdings LLC (Dalton), Sheehan Debt Acquisition LLC (Dalton), Sheehan Escrow LLC (Dalton), Sheehan Purchase LLC (Dalton), Sugar Hill LLC (Dalton), 593 Union Street LLC (Dalton), 35-37 Interlaken Road Mortgage Company LLC (Dalton), 1644 East Street LLC (Dalton), 217 Newell Street LLC (45 Main St., Dalton), 765 East Street LLC (Dalton), Berkshire Auto Group LLC (Dalton), Berkshire County ARC Inc. (Dalton), Berkshire Mazda LLC (Dalton), Dalton Health Group LLC (Dalton), Park Place LLC (Dalton), Rockland Health Group LLC (Wareham), Sandisfield Health Group LLC (Dalton), Sheehan Health Group LLC (Dalton), Sugar Hill At Home LLC (Dalton), Westfield Health Group LLC (Dalton), Clay & Associated LLC (Dalton), Easton Health Group LLC (Dalton), Hospice Services of Massachusetts LLC (Dalton), Interlaken Operating Copany LLC (Dalton), Medford Health Group LLC (Dalton), Medisystems LLC (Dalton), and Medisystems Pharmacy LLC.
The Planet isn’t sure if this is the complete list. The ponderous chain of LLCs and corporate names is bizarre, to say the least. We ask: did every elected official who had a vote on the attempted purchase by the Ruberto Administration of 1644 East St. for the DPW know with whom they were doing business? Or was “1644 East St. LLC” enough?
If they didn’t know, why not. If they did know, did they do their homework to reveal the strange network of corporate identities that the records apparently show for “Patrick J.Sheehan.” So what’s up with this guy? Councilors had a responsibility to get the facts. They represents citizens and taxpayers.
If this is all on the up and up, fine. If not … TO BE CONTINUED.
What, you don’t expect to find this type of coverage in the Boring Broadsheet, do you?
Speaking of Which — Did you get a load of the Boring Broadsheet’s embarrasing story that ate up 2/3 of page 1 yesterday. You see a headline: “Building on their legacy” over a gigantic picture of Mayor Ruberto and council president Gerry Lee. That’s bad enough, but then you read this petrified paragraph in Dick Lindsey’s story:
“The Ruberto-Lee tandem resulted in improved relations between the mayor’s office and City Council [Love Those Capital Letters!] that contributed to the city moving forward on its downtown revitalization [what, not a "Renaissance"?], improving the school system [by what measure, Richard], boostong employments [what a whopper!], and making municipal goverment more efficient.”
Oh, did it result in all that? This assertion is presented as an unarguable fact, in what is ostensible a “news” story. Of course, it’s not news at all. It’s pure, unadulterated fluff.
We would dig ditches and clean latrines before having to write crap like that.
There, in a nutshell, is why the Boring Broadsheet has become the butt of so many jokes in Berkshire County. People are buying the Eagle at an ever-shrinking number. The Planet is growing at an ever-rising number.
There are two reasons why people still buy the rag: (1) the coupons and (2) the obits. That’s a plan for doom, and don’t tell anyone, but there are moves afoot. The Denver-based Media News Group has wrung dollars from the BB for 16 years now, a long time for Dean Singleton. We hear Singleton’s looking to dump the paper. Timing? Uncertain. Happening? Inevitable.
TOMORROW’S SUNDAY. THAT’s OUR DAY OF REST. SEE YOU BACK ON THE PLANET WITH FRESH CONTENT ON MONDAY. AS ALWAYS, WE INVITE YOUR COMMENTS, CRITICISMS, COMPLIMENTS, BLASTS, OAK LEAVES, GARLANDS, DISAGREEMENTS, AND AGREEMENTS. LOVE TO ALL.