BY DAN VALENTI
Ah, so much to say, and so many stories breaking, but what’s a cyberspace for? Please, no comments about ending a sentence with a preposition. As a part of speech, the humble preposition wears camouflage, and it can move unnoticed to several parts of the sentence. Enough of grammar, and onto our topics.
More on The Nuciforo Letters
Andrea Nuciforo, left, and OCD head Deanna Ruffer.
Since we first published the Guernsey-Nuciforo Letters, we have heard the craziest of speculations regarding how The Planet obtained a copy. Though we have an expert’s familiarity with The Divine Egdar, we didn’t get it in the way of “The Purloined Letter.” In fact, we won’t say how we got it.
We only address this to quell and not to inflame the odd fever that only rabid regional politics can induce. Thus, we have the following points to make:
- No, The Planet did not get either letter from Andrea Nuciforo.
- No, The Planet didn’t get either letter from Sara Hathaway.
- No, The Planet hasn’t profited financially from the letters’ release.
- No, The Planet is not on the payroll — as a consultant, writer, or in any other capacity — of the Nuciforo for Congress Committee.
- No, The Planet has no secret “political agenda.” We have one goal: truth.
These are just five of the rumors that have made their way back to us in the Fortress of Solitude. We point out that the the Guernsey letter to Nuciforo was signed by 22 other people. We can report for a fact that not all of them were what you may call “willing” signers.
We are reluctant to disillusion anyone’s view of clean government, but an otherwise honest person’s will often doesn’t matter when dealing with machine politics. In this case, if you’re a local Democrat without a lot of clout but with somewhat of a name, and if you wish to remain politically viable, you sign letters like this when “asked” to do so. It’s good for your health.
"My baby, she wrote me a letter."
Such a signer might not be happy about it. Such a signer could even take the extraordinary step of expressing that unhappiness by letting word get out of the letter. It might even find its way to a media crusader. We’re not saying it happened in this case, but it’s been known to happen.
It’s been observed by several veteran commentators of the local scene how stupid it was of Guernsey and company to put their message to Nuciforo in writing. Writing leaves either a paper or an electronic trail. Typically, this type of message (“Kid, this ain’t your night”) is delivered in person to maintain deniability. Spoken words can be denied. True, so can written words, but much less easily.
So the question is why, then, could people of this caliber of political experience exhibited by the 23 signers, put it in writing?
Since we cannot look into the collective soul of the “Concerned Democrats of Berkshire County” and would not want to, we must speculate and find the cause of this lapse in a bad case of the hubristic haughtiness. In other words, in their arrogance, the signers thought they could dictate terms even at this early stage in Campaign 2012 and get away with it. That wasn’t the case.
The other possibility is that they counted on the letter being released, to serve as a warning to anyone else who might want to run in 2012 or, in view of the 23, be foolish enough to back Nuciforo. This story is far from done.
The latest Rumor on “Tell Them Angelo Sent You.”
ANGELO STRACUZZI: Back in the saddle again with another credit union?
The Planet was going to let this one pass, but it came to us from two sources, independent of each other. We caution you that this is scuttlebutt, but we can say it passed The Planet’s first screen for veracity. Thus, while we can’t report this as factually true, we can say it has risen above the level of mere rumor of our highly unscientific smell test.
You better be sitting down for this.
Word has it that disgraced former CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union, Angelo Stracuzzi, has begun seed work to form a credit union in nearby Northampton, Mass. The Planet further hears that his partner would be Jack Downing, uncle of Sen. Ben Downing and brother of the late former DA Gerry, and head of Soldier On on West Housatonic Street. We stress: This is unconfirmed information.
It would seem both logical and illogical for Stracuzzi to open up a new credit union. It would be logical because he needs a gig, and he knows that business, inside and out. It would be illogical because of how he soiled the bed with criminal activities in Biddeford, Maine, in July 2005. Biddeford police charged him with four crimes: two counts of assault and two counts of soliciting prostitution of a minor.
Police charged Stracuzzi in connection with separate incidents that occurred on consecutive days in late July of that year. The victims were both boys, 13 and 15 years of age at the time. There are likely other incidents stemming from Stracuzzi’s days at Greylock, including an intriguing embezzlement case involved a former loan officer there, that might attract a lot of unwanted attention.
Stracuzzi copped a plea in the Main case, prosecutors dropped three counts, and sentenced him to a suspended jail term, probation, and psychological counseling. There’s no evidence he fulfilled the conditions of the plea bargain. The Planet wonders is defying the court’s conditions in a plea bargain places one in legal jeopardy. We don’t know. We wouldn’t want to personally be on the hook to find out, however.
The anecdote, leaked by sources, also raises numerous other questions. Would Stracuzzi’s opening of another credit union give rise to allegations of widespread child molestation that, according to unverified accounts, goes back 30 years and involves several prominent names. No evidence has emerged, no proof has surfaced, and no changes filed, and maybe nothing like this ever happened. But if Stracuzzi takes a visible role again in any community, it would likely stir the the sediment again in that murky glass.
Finally, some quickie comments for your thinking caps:
* One of the best examples of “reach out” conducted by the City of Pittsfield is its marvelous “Cultural Pittsfield” newsletter. The newsletter, issued on Fridays by the office of cultural affairs commissioner Megan Whilden, combines a beautiful look, excellent readability, and useful content. Today’s newsletter presents detailed information in a dozen events in and around Pittsfield, including tomorrow’s family event at the Berkshire Athenaeum: “Winter Wonderland.” The event is described as “a day full of family fun” in the library’s auditorium. The event is free and runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon. We congratulate Whildren and staff for doing a great job. You can subscribe to the newsletter contacting Whilden at email@example.com.
Is this the land of free speech?
* We read with dismay the CIA’s arrest of Jeffrey Sterling, 43. Sterling, a lawyer, worked for the CIA from 1993 to 2002. The agency arrested him yesterday and charged him with six counts of disclosing secret defense information and one count of unlawful possession of information, mail fraud, and obstructing justice. We will not prejudge this case. Sterling’s alleged crime is that he gave information to a reporter for an article and later a book. Our default position in cases like this falls to the accused, not the accuser. It’s far too easy for governments to browbeat innocent people when embarrassing information comes to the front based on intrepid reporting. If the government’s job is to keep secrets, a reporter’s job is to uncover them. Too often, national security is an excuse to keep secret shameful government activity, conducted in the name of The People but without getting their informed consent.
Snow Big Deal, John and Pete
Finally, everybody, don’t panic! Don’t storm the supermarkets to stock up on dried goods and canned goods. It may snow a bit. It’s The Berkshires. It’s January. It’s SUPPOSED to snow. Oh, what weather wimps we have begun. We wonder if John Krol and Peter White, who love to made politics out of snow but who apparently have nothing to say about important things like CEDS failure, will bust in on Facebook to warn men, women, and children, of “an emergency.” If they do, they shall hear about it. We want councilors to start paying attention to the issues and not the fluff. Is that too much to ask, especially with an election this year?