Article

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.

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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.

32 Responses to “AIRHEADS, STREAKERS, SHERIFF ON THE MOVE, STORE MOVING, plus COLONIALS HOMER, LAND DEAL STENCH, AND BORING BROADSHEET SOILS THE BED (AGAIN!)”

  1. Jonathan Melle
    January 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    The Ruberto-Lee tenure saw what? The Boring Broadsheet is out of touch with reality!

  2. San Simeon
    January 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    Love this post. Lots of variety. JLO has sold out completely. No wonder he’s dragging his sorry carcass out of the ring He has embarrassed himself and let down all the people in Ward 5. As for the Boring broadsheet, I too read that lame story. Wasn’t lindsey a radio guy? He still can’t write.

  3. rick
    January 30, 2011 at 5:41 am #

    dan, you forgot the 3rd reason why people buy the rag, makes a great liner for bird cages,oh yea the 4th reason… if u run out of toilet paper . you should do the top 10 reasons why or why not to buy the rag.

  4. GMHeller
    January 30, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Mr. Beasely,
    Dan Valenti is able to ferret out facts which help explain the actions taken by local politicos and then is able publish that information on his web site to inform the public at no cost to his readers.
    Yet, The Berkshire Eagle appears to have a great deal of difficulty doing the exact same thing even while being subsidized at great expense by advertisers and by paid subscribers.
    Why do you think that is?

    • James Beasely
      January 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

      Because Dan has lax standards in “reporting” rumor, innuendo, and vitriol.

      • danvalenti
        January 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

        It’s apparent, Mr. B, that you, of the people who are putting you up to these posts, are in some way threatened by the emergence of a totally independent and fearless media crusader. Tough. Get used to the discomfort. We have only just begun.

        • James Beasely
          January 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

          Please don’t give yourself so much credit.

          It’s just rude of you to be so insulting. These other rubes just don’t get the insults.

  5. No Reply
    January 30, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    @ mr beasley
    You’re kidding, right?
    valenti’s coverage os the PDW garage land heist saved the city millions $4 million and more if PCB remediation required. The eagle ignored this story and many others. They are a timid scared shell of a newspaper. Also, I know from blogging that first the number of comments this site generates is remarkable and that it probably represents a fraction of those who are visiting the site and reading it
    Try again

    • James Beasely
      January 30, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      a fraction? I used 10%. 1/10th is a fraction.

      Wanna use 5%? That’s 25 posts, or 500 readers.

      The math works.

      Try again, cupcake.

      • Joe Pinhead
        January 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

        Mr. Beasley,
        What’s sad about the entire situation is a once proper part of democracy the press, has become nothing more than a cheerleader; with neither a conscience or a compass. I can cite a number of examples.
        1 EV worldwide, the Eagle lead the charge for bringing them here and all will be right in the world.
        Did they ever investigate? Had they we the people might have learned that for at least 4 years prior to Pittsfield Armitage had not filed any taxes and had been brought before the IRS to explain why he hadn’t. Not a mention in the paper? Why hadn’t the Eagle done a follow up to the cheerleading with at the very least an editorial urging the Mayor and or the City Council to follow up with the courts for repayment? The Feds have, Mr. Armitage is to make restitution to the PVTA why not the city?
        2. We the Citizens of the City of Pittsfield put an innocent man in jail for some 20 years. Based upon innuendo hear say etc much of it coming from the mouths of the powerful, yet the Eagle is mum on the entire affair why?
        Is it any wonder the people of the community have little to no respect for the paper? What do you suggest we do believe what is said based upon circulation numbers? What must the circulation or viewership be in order to make a story true? If all 26,000 subscribers read the moon is made of cheese I assure you I’m in the question that camp. Whether or not you or anyone else likes it the condition of the city is in part the responsibility of the paper. Please Mr Beasley I urge you to go back and read any of the newspapers from the newspaper heydays and see what was reported and INVESTIGATED then please give us some examples of it locally.

      • Joe Pinhead
        January 31, 2011 at 4:54 am #

        Using your numbers and rationale then we would be lead to believe the Eagle only has about 100 readers. Approx 10 letters to the “editor” on any given day.
        So try again, “cupcake”

      • GMHeller
        February 3, 2011 at 3:49 am #

        James Beasely:
        DrudgeReport.com has 31 million visitors on an average day.
        Yes, you read that number right: 31 MILLION!
        A blog entry on Berkshire Blog about U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid posted on February 1st and linked by Drudge that same evening has gotten over 300 comments posted (so far).
        So using your formula, how many readers have actually read that article?
        SEE:
        http://berkshireeagle.blogspot.com/2011/01/obamacare-repeal-harry-reid-confronted.html

  6. Joe Nichols
    January 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    You are right about the eagle not reporting the facts. I sit on the Public buildings and maintenance subcommittee. When this issue first began being debated at subcommittee level, I was the first to bring up concerns about PCB contamination and Dick Lyndsey was sitting 20 feet away from me while I expressed those concerns in depth. I also was the first to bring up the possibility of leasing the property temporarily while the city found a better permanent solution.

    Not one word from the Eagle. Its all there to view on PCTV.

    Let the facts speak for themselves!

    Joe

    • James Beasely
      January 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

      You were the first? Wait, Dan Valenti says he was the first….

      Who was really first?

      • M Wood
        January 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

        Mr Beasley,
        You may need to argue about who was first, we all know whos last. Havent seen it in the Eagle yet.

  7. danvalenti
    January 30, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    Mr. Beasley
    Time for you to be educated. The Eagle’s last reported circulation audit showed circulation to be approximately 22,000, not the 26,000 you claimed. The Gazette has a circulation almost double the 2,000 of which you spoke. It is a weekly paper, alive for seven days. The Eagle dies a new death every day. Given 4,000 copies of the Gazette, alive for a week to be read by multiple readers, the gap is not all that great. As for the numbers on this sight, an earlier poster got at the truth. What you see in the way of comments after stories is a tiny fraction of the readership. The beauty of cyberjournalism is that you can see exact number of hits online, daily, even hourly. This site is generating a phenomenal amount of traffic. As of now, we choose to remain commercial free. If at some point that policy changes, be sure that The Planet’s independence will NEVER be for sale. This gives The People hope and the sacred cows fits, and the thing is, we are just beginning the entree.

    • James Beasely
      January 30, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

      26,000 is the number the advertising group provides. So you can quibble over 4,000 (which is nothing) or you can call the advertising group liars.

      Nobody cares either way. The point is that you are insuling a lot of people.

      That’s o.k., if that’s how your mother raised you then that’s all you know.

      • Joe Pinhead
        January 30, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

        Two statements into what could have been a decent discussion and it’s time to call names? The problem seems to be the paper hasn’t provided you with differing view points, and your now unable to discuss issues without resorting to name calling. And the numbers are important are you saying we can all send in our tax payments 20% light? I bet the ad rates are different depending upon circulation numbers.

    • Nichols for mayor
      January 31, 2011 at 9:31 am #

      “site is generating a phenomenal amount of traffic.”

      What do you consider a “phenomenal amount of traffic”?

      100 hits per day? 1,000 total hits?

      A lot of sites have counters right on the page. Just curious why you chose to hide the counter for this site…

  8. Paige
    January 30, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    I am one of those veiwers of this site who never writes and I am a fan of Joe Nichols. I decided to verify Joe’s claim on PCTV. I found it to be precisely accurate pertaining to Joe’s claim as he states it in his earlier post. I beleive Dan Valenti should give credit where credit is due and veiw the subcommittee meeting at the link I have provided below.

    http://www.pittsfieldtv.net/Cablecast/Public/Main.aspx?ChannelID=3

  9. Tom Verizer
    January 30, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    Mr. Nichols pointed out the PCBs on the property in subcommittee. Valenti was the first in the media to report on it. As Mr. Nichols said, the Eagle reporter was there at the subcommittee meeting and said not a peep. Laziness, most likely, but maybe he’s also afraid of rocking the boat. What a shame.

    In fact, nothing was said until this web site dug behind the city hall press releases and fodder, which the Eagle was afraid to do. It’s been amusing to me how Planet Valenti web site has consistently embarrassed the Eagle with its coverage. It’s essentially a one-man band going up against a “mighty.” newspaper chain that’s put the muzzle on its newsroom to appease city hall and the advertisers. I know this for a fact, since one of our best friends is associated with the newspaper in a managerial position and he hates the paper, his job, and the people who run it.

    My friend said Valenti resigned his columnist’s gig with the Eagle at the end of November, as this site was beginning to take off. He did the honorable thing.

    The Eagle doesn’t know how to compete with this. There is an internal discussion now of buying this website, but I don’t think it’s for sale.

    • GMHeller
      January 31, 2011 at 10:26 am #

      Tom Verizer, you write: “There is an internal discussion now of buying this website, but I don’t think it’s for sale.”
      If true, how ironic that anyone at The Berkshire Eagle would be contemplating investing in a competing web site (in order obviously to shut it down) rather than just to allow the people whom the newspaper already employs to do that which they are being paid to do.
      Thank you, Andrew Mick and Dean Singleton for a great business plan!

  10. rick
    January 31, 2011 at 4:07 am #

    its crazy that the eagle,in this day and age with the internet, televised meetings etc. would not report something as as concerning as the east street site.i dont care what their circ. is. i know that if i was runnuing it ,if my circ was 200000 i would want 200001 and more. they seem to think that this story wasnt going to get out,its nuts it was on pctv, joe brought it to our attn. theres something in the water their drinking!! come on eagle act like a newspaper, report the news…all the news… and nothing but the news……………

    • GMHeller
      January 31, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      Now here’s an idea that would make national news and put Pittsfield on the map for something other than being home to the most PCB-contaminated body of water in the nation.
      (What else should anyone call Silver Lake?)
      What if a large group of local folks were to picket The Berkshire Eagle for failing to report the news?
      Holding pictures of Dean Singleton and Andrew Mick and walking up and down the sidewalk in front of The Clocktower Building.
      The Albany and Boston media could be notified in advance.
      Now THAT would be a real hoot!

  11. Joetaxpayer
    January 31, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    Great job Dan!Next stop putting the brakes on the school dept. purchase of another building.What should happen is the closing of one of the 8 elementary schools in the city.It was not that long ago we renovated and expanded 5 of the 8 schools,yet the school pop. dropped over 700 students since 2000,with a projected drop of 3.4% by 2015 according to the NESDC study done in Feb 2010.Move the public day program into the closed school and since they only need 9,000 sq.ft.maybe move the Admn. from the Mercer building into the closed school.They need to consildate to help pay for the 1 million they owe the teachers and keep lay-offs down.

  12. Joe Nichols
    January 31, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    GMHeller,

    I’ve actually thought of doing that. I think its a great idea. What they are doing to the people of this city by twisting, omitting the news is criminal in my opinion. Thats why I like to call the eagle a tabloid.

    Lets organize it. I’ll be there for sure!

    Joe

    • Tim
      January 31, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

      Joe this is not something a person running for Mayor should do. It will only make you seem like a nut job.

      • Joe Nichols
        January 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

        Tim,

        You are correct. I’ll leave it be. The Eagle will fall on its own soon anyway.

        Joe

    • Nichols for mayor
      January 31, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

      Public picketing of the Berkshire Eagle?

      hmmm….

      1) it gets this site MASSIVE attention,
      2) it puts Joe Nichols out there as an activist (which I would like to see; feel as if he hasn’t done enough yet for campaigning),

      Alas, it will never happen. There are too many folks that are scared of the Eagle and what they can do (i.e. tear apart and embarrass Dan Valenti and endorse another mayoral candidate).

      My bet is that no one has the cajones to get this done. It won’t be me, I enjoy reading the Eagle.

      • Joe Nichols
        January 31, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

        Nichols for Mayor,

        Why don’t you stop hiding behind my name and show you have cajones by putting your name on what you write.

        Joe

  13. JLO BLOWS
    January 31, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    That’s hilarious and serious at the same time. A protest against the town daily for failing to cover the news. Its also funny that this big newspaper chain with all its money would want to buy a rival website when they have their own website What they should do is compete to cover the news. A third thing thats funny is how valenti has with a little bit or a lotta bit of effort whown the Eagle up for what it is a paper that has abandoned the city. Not funny is that valenti has proven himeslef to be the top journalist in the region

  14. rick
    January 31, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    as of todays paper,1/31/11,and the article with roberto, there is no mention of pcbs at all in that piece of crap interview. some thing strange is going on. roberto is almost smug in that article,saying that the east street site issue has taking on a life of its own… if roberto thinks wasting taxpayer money is funny,then he should leave now. dan,joe keep on this and get statements from him,hes one slippery s.o.b…. dan can you get an interview with him… the people can write the questions on this issue and others. maybe we can get some truth from him. it cant hurt him now….maybe he will grow some balls and sit down with you for an interview,i think its the least he can do for the taxpayers…………………………………