BORING BROADSHEET BLOWS IT ON ST. STAN’S STORY, plus, THE POSSIBLE RENAMING OF WAHCONAH PARK, or A STUPENDOUSLY STUPID IDEA
BY DAN VALENTI
The Planet did the final hour with The Fat Man and Ronnie this a.m. from noon to 1 p.m. That’s Bill Sturgeon and Ron Lee of WBRK’s “Bill Sturgeon Show.” We covered a lots of ground in a fast moving hour, including the St. Stan’s story, the possible renaming of Wahconah Park, Jim Ruberto’s legacy, and 1Berkshire and GE.
On St. Stan’s we repeated our assertion that the Boring Broadsheet is factually incorrect on this story. Today, they blared its inaccuracies in the headlines. Nowhere in the decree from Rome does it state that St. Stanislaus Kostka in Adams “must reopen,” as the headline blares.
The Vatican decree made three determinations, two of which sided with Bishop McDonnell and the Diocese of Springfield. Here they are, in plain English:
- Rome found that what diocese’s actions at St. Stan’s conformed to canon law, which governs the Church internally. Specifically, the Vatican found that the appeal filed by the 200 protesters who illegally occupied St. Stan’s (SS200) has no basis in Church law.
- On procedure (de procedento, in Latin), Rome found that, again, Bishop McDonnell acted legally and properly.
- As a determination of facts (de decernendo), Rome said the reasons McDonnell cited for his actions did not meet the test of “grave motivation.” In other words, while there may have been cause, the Bishop didn’t show it. Rome didn’t say there was no just cause for shuttering the church, only that the diocese didn’t prove it.
This is hardly the “bells are ringing” coverage the Eagle foisted on a gullible public of the SS200 ringing the bells in what was both a hasty generalization of Rome’s decision and a misreading of the text. It appears the group had better find a new canon lawyer.
Conor Berry’s story didn’t mention 1 and 2, and it misapplied 3. The Planet defies anyone from the Boring Broadsheet or anywhere else to show where the Vatican decree states that St. Stan’s “must reopen.” The church may (or it may not) reopen. That will be a matter for the bishop to decide, presumably in consultation with the SS 200.
Dowdie May Have Been a ‘Good Guy,’ but Fellas, Let’s Keep Our Heads About This
At an emotional Parks Commission Meeting last night, the commissioners took up the matter of renaming Wahconah Park for Paul Dowd. The Planet will present our thoughts in a moment. First, we share this report from Boots on the Ground, one of our secret agents who closely followed the proceedings. We will add that Boots has legal training. We can say no more.
What’s in a Name?
By Boots O.T. Ground
The hot issue was the renaming the Wahconah Park for Paul Dowd. Prior to the hearing of Bill Barry and Jim Boyle’s petition [both are former Pittsfield councilors], commissioners heard another petition regarding the creation of a “Hope Garden” (or something along the lines) at Wahconah Park in honor of Paul. All of the commissioners agreed that it was a great idea, but they’d like to have legal approval from Rich Dohoney, and the parties to the petition agreed to have it tabled until the next meeting.
Then came the fun. Not only did Bill Barry and Jim Boyle speak on behalf of the Dowd petition, but they rolled out none other than Gerry Doyle, who was pretty emotional in describing Paul’s situation and what he’s done for Pittsfield.
The commissioners then also requested for this to go to the city solicitor as well, as they were concerned that the name change could jeopardize the tax credits. This is when things got really hairy, especially between Jimmy Boyle and Cliff Nilan. Boyle interpreted the board’s desire to table this petition as “disrespect” toward Paul, and raised his voice several times. Tension was pretty palpable.
Then, Doyle steps in, and in his true fashion, announces that “my boss controls the tax credits, and I can assure you that it will NOT be a problem with renaming the field.” At this point, it seemed as if the commissioners were going to hold off on approving this petition until they heard legal word from Rich Dohoney and Secretary Galvin.
What really perturbed me was the conscious disregard by these former elected officials, who allegedly knew and should know the legalities behind certain decisions, and yet they ask the board to approve it without it being fully vetted. I understand that Paul is seriously ill, but should not the law be more important than cronyism?
Also, another thing Jim Boyle said irked me a great deal. At one point, Boyle said (paraphrasing): “Come on, Cliff, we’ve named parks for people much less deserving like Marchesi, Hebert, etc. …” Nilan was clearly upset by this comment. I’d have to concur with Nilan.
Here’s why I was upset about this. I am related to Theodore Herberg, who worked in the Pittsfield Public Schools for 63 years, served as Mathematics department head at PHS, and was director of testing and curriculum for many years. He retired in 1992 at the age of 87 (and died six months later).
Ted graduated as the Valedictorian from Columbia in 1924 at age 19, and Ted’s brother Will Herberg was also an authority in the fields of sociology and conservative religious study in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1981, South Junior High was named after Ted. It’s pretty hard to argue that Paul Dowd’s credentials, while good in their own right, would merit an honor on the same plain that Ted received.
This type of issue also came up a few years ago when some officials wanted to rename Stearns School after Stephanie Wilson. What disrespect to the Stearns family and the name to want to rename a building after someone who doesn’t even live here! I’d feel the same way if they tried to strip Ted’s name off the Middle School.
This is not to say that I don’t think Paul Dowd’s contributions aren’t worthy of something. I think that my idea was more practical: Because of his ties to the Jimmy Fund, why not name the North Little League complex after him? Isn’t the Jimmy Fund a major partner of the Berkshire County Little League organization?
Another note: as much as I have a distaste for Cliffy, I have to applaud the position that the commission took to make sure the legal ducks were in a row before we jumped into anything. I didn’t see the final outcome of the vote, but it appeared as if they were going to hold off until it was fully vetted.
The Planet thanks Boots for the report. We add these points:
Bill Barry was a ward councilor in Ward 1. He never gave evidence of being the roundest bowling ball on the lanes, if you get our drift. He was harmless enough, though, and The Planet enjoyed good relations with him. Jim Boyle, though, is another story. He was a terrible councilor: lazy, mean, and lacking integrity. As a public figure, he operated in what appeared to be sleezy fashion. It’s hard to articulate just what we mean, so we refer to Justice Stevens, who said of pornography: “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”
Ashes to Ashes
Boyle coat of arms should contain cigarette butts and ashes. Boyle, who smoked heavily when we knew him and maybe still does, gave off a redolence that reeked in a way that make second hand smoke appear like nectar from the Gods. He had a public style as councilor of a combination bully, lottery addict, and the uncle the family never mentions. This is the Knight in Shiny Armor who wants to advance the case for Paul Dowd? That’s the best they can do? Brother, you’re not doing Dowdie any favors.
Despite Gerry Doyle’s assurances on the tax credits, monkeying with the name of the ballpark could jeopardize the FEDERAL rules under which Wahconah Park received National Historic status. Loss of that designation would cripple the city’s ability to leveral federal assistance for the refurbishing of Wahconah Park.
Aha!!!!!! Is THAT what’s behind this goody-goody, weepy effort to change the name? Are the enemies of Wahconah Park building a Trojan Horse? And didn’t Dowd say, during the Civic Authority battle, that he’s like to dynamite Wahconah Park?
The Planet joins with Boots in applauding the work of Cliff Nilan of the Parks Commission. Nilan showed responsible leadership in taking control of the issue from the chair and not permitting the meeting, as well as the good people of Pittsfield, to be once again railroaded.
As for Dowd meriting an honor of the level of Mr. Ted Herberg, the answer is no. Down was a career minor leaguer pitcher who didn’t make it to the majors. He stayed in Pittsfield, did good work for the Jimmy Fund and cancer patients, and got involved with the unseemly actions of barroom politics that for so long gave this city two decades of hangovers.
For his Jimmy Fund work, for his membership in the AA Pittsfield-Berkshire Red Sox, and for his decision to put down roots in Pittsfield, The Planet would support the naming a flower bed after Dowd. A stadium? No way.
There have been many reasonable suggestions offered as an alternative to renaming beloved Wahconah Park after a former politician and community good guy. The best have been in ancillary naming alternatives. There are many “naming” opportunities at the park: one post suggested naming the bleachers after Paul Dowd. Another said the beer tent. There’s the hospitality area, the concessions stands, the clubhouses, the bullpens, signage in centerfield, the batting cages, and countless others. These could be done without triggering consequences for the ballpark’s National Historical designation.
The Planet recommends leaving Dowd’s name off of any part of Wahconah Park, let along the park itself. It recommends the Parks Commission file this request, and further, that the city council begin to tackle more substantive issues that this piece of angel food cake. Being seriously ill should never be a reason for undeserved honors.