A reminder that tomorrow is the February CEDS meeting. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m., 2nd floor conference room, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission offices, 1 Fenn St., Pittsfield. The public is technically welcome (The Planet would love to see what they’d do if the public actually started showing up and watching the proceedings).

The Pittsfield 100 has managed to make the CEDS process, in other regions an economic development initiative, into “political development.” Pittsfield hasn’t had the Department of Commerce approve a CEDS project in 10 years. Incidentally, local officials consider CEDS so important that last month — both Berkshire Chamber of Commerce honcho, the soon to be jettisoned Mike Supranowicz, and Pittsfield deputy mayor Deanna Ruffer —skipped it. Missing in action. No show. Mike Hoffman, Bob Wilson, and Brenda Burdick also played hooky.

Wait wait wait then hurry hurry hurry

No problem, though. The city has until April to get its plans in order. That’s eternity especially when at the last second there will be a “hurry hurry hurry” “if-we-don’t-do-this-now-the sky-will-evaporate” “you-ask-too-many-questions” push to send something to the feds, in the usual panic. The city will likely fail again, but all will not be lost, as the CEDS team will have advanced their personal political agendas. Why else do you think they’re serving?

Besides Supranowicz and Ruffer, the other members of BRPC’s CEDS committee, outside of BPRC staff, are Kristine “Dukes of” Hazzard, Roger “and out” Bolton, Kevin “OD” O’Donnell, Keith “Lt.” Girouard, Mike “Old and” Nuvallie, Laury “I’m Not Brian” Epstein, Lauri “I’m Not Brian, Either” Klefos, Christine “Lud” Ludwiszewski, Eleanore “Velvet” Velez, Ann “I’m Not Tony” Dobrowolski, Helena “Fruity” Fruscio, Tim “G-Man” Geller, Andy “Can I Be” Franks, and Mark “The Bee” Berman. Dig them fancy nicknames.

Will Deanna and Mike S show? Who else will be missing in action. Tune in tomorrow, for another episode of, “As the Stomach Turns.”


The 1Berkshire Saga Evolves, or

Never Give a Saga an Even Break

People of Pittsfield and Berkshire County: The EPA won’t come to the rescue. It’s too busy. GE doesn’t give a toot about your health, despite what they may say for the purposes of propaganda. Officials in Pittsfield, the county seat, cower in feat of upsetting GE, so they’re not going to be the 7th Cavalry. 1Berkshires is advocating a “Smart Cleanup Plan” dvoid of science but loaded with $300,000 (and counting) of GE bucks to win hearts and minds on PCBs.

Ultimately, you’re going to have to save yourselves. It can be done. A good place to start is to educate yourself on the issue and begin pressuring office holders for answers.

In addition to the Housatonic River, which is the greatest threat to South County, the city of Pittsfield continues to drown in toxicity from what’s beneath Silver Lake and the discarded transformers, rusted chemical barrels, poisons, and other junk that can be found in countless city acres. We shall be addressing these other topics in future postings.

Pols, We Want to Know, So Don Your Thinking Caps

Over the next few days, The Planet will be e-mailing every Pittsfield city councilor and the mayor to take a yes or no position on GE’s responsibility to Pittsfield. We will ask some version of the question: Are you in favor of forcing GE to make Pittsfield whole again or not? Are you with We the People or are you with They The GE? Are you in favor of cleaning the environment or against it? We shall have to word the question carefully, because we know in advance that most of them will try to parse around taking a position. If they pull this stunt this time, The Planet will know where they stand. So will our readers, who continue to grow by the day.

Today, we will focus on 1Berkshire’s Smart Clean-Up Plan. This will not be an exhaustive treatment, but we shall present enough information, with links elsewhere, so citizens of Pittsfield and the county can begin getting the jump on the upcoming, slick (translate: “expensive”) PR campaign aimed at brainwashing them into silence and compliance.

1 Berkshires, as Seen by The Mick

We turn here to our guest columnist, Mickey Friedman, who posted the following to The Planet. The Mick’s posting contains a link to a recent article he wrote for The Berkshire Record, the Gt. Barrington weekly edited by David Scribner that’s showing feistiness and more of a pulse of late. Scribner broke the news that 1Berkshire is on GE’s payroll. The Bring Broadsheet, of course, hears, sees, and speaks no truth. It refuses to honestly cover the PCB issue. Guaranteed, though, that the BB will allot lots of page 1 real estate to the coverage once 1Berkshire begins to pour out the PR on behalf of its GE masters. Why? 1Berkshire has a lot of “beautiful people.”

With this, we will invite any member of 1Berkshire to write a guest column rebutting Friedman and the many others who remain suspicious of the group’s motives and intents. The Planet, for the record, remains skeptical of the 1Berkshire PCB initiative, but we keep our minds open to reason and irrefutable logic. If they have a case, they can convince us.

1BERKSHIRE: A ‘Plan’ that’s No Plan at All.


Unfortunately, there is no “plan” to the 1Berkshire/Smart Clean-Up Plan. I quote from the Smart Clean-Up Facebook page:
“While the specifics of a low-impact approach have not been decided in detail, the Coalition is asking citizens to encourage the EPA to adopt the Low-Impact approach and avoid a dredging process that would have a devastating impact on the river, businesses, residents, and visitors for generations to come.”!/smartrivercleanup?sk=app_4949752878

The fact is that the 1Berkshire plan is just misdirection and misrepresentation. As a member of the Housatonic River Initiative, I have spent many, many years arguing for a true and thorough low-impact solution. In fact, we sued the EPA and the State to protest some of the most egregious failures of the Consent Decree.

That said, it is untrue to suggest that dredging the Housatonic will destroy it. The Housatonic is already severely damaged. It is GE that has had the most devastating effect on the River. The first section of the river had shockingly high and dangerous levels of PCBs. Dredging reclaimed the river.

I don’t want to take up too much space here. If you want to read more about 1Berkshire and the river, check out the column I wrote for The Berkshire Record:

Luckily, there are now several workable alternative technologies available to give us a low-impact river cleanup and restoration.

Perhaps 1Berkshire will take that $300,000 and invest it in a pilot test along the heavily contaminated but beautiful oxbows in the Rest of the River. I can’t think of a better use for GE’s money.




  1. Paulson
    February 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    OK, so I’ll get it going. Great reporting here and at the Berkshire Record. The Eagle’s ignoring this major developing story. Don’t you journalists say of a story like this that it has legs? Great job Dan and David Scrib. the 2 best journalists in the region

  2. GMHeller
    February 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Dan Valenti,
    You state:
    “The Boring Broadsheet, of course, hears, sees, and speaks no truth. It refuses to honestly cover the PCB issue. Guaranteed, though, that the BB will allot lots of page 1 real estate to the coverage once 1Berkshire begins to pour out the PR on behalf of its GE masters. Why? 1Berkshire has a lot of ‘beautiful people’.”

    Mr. Valenti, now just whom on that list of founders and members of 1Berkshire, Inc. do you actually believe meets your definition of ‘beautiful people’?
    Recommend your readers Google an image search of each name on that list.
    Supermodels these are not.
    So exactly whom are you referring to when you claim 1Berkshire has a lot of ‘beautiful people’?

    • danvalenti
      February 15, 2011 at 8:55 am #

      When we write “beautiful people,” think more figuratively.

  3. rick
    February 15, 2011 at 3:43 am #

    if it was the 1960s we could have boycotted the eagle, and turned the rest of their property into condos!! dan when u send out your poll to the polls. how about sending a bunch to the whole staff at the eagle and see if they respond, and the radio stations.

  4. Son of Samantha
    February 15, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Im wondering about CEDS. If its so important why don’t you see more citycouncilors there or the mayor? And isnt there supposed to be heavy involvement i should say represnation on the committee of the private sector. I look at the list posted here and don’t see that. someone help me understand this. why is it being done this way? I lived for several year in Georgia. Our comunity had this program and did some good through it.

  5. boots on the ground
    February 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    from an inside source who attended the CED meeting today, absent were Heather Boulger, Roger Boulton, Mike Supranowicz, Kevin Odonnell and Helena Fruscio….2 in a row missed by the Chamber CEO…huh?