THE ASSAULT ON WAHCONAH PARK, plus, “BERKSHIRE LIVING” FEDORAS, MORE CITY PARKING WOES, & WELFARE CHEATS EXPOSED
BY DAN VALENTI
Here are some of the bits and pieces taken from the floating flotsam and jetsam orbiting The Planet (“Meet George Jetsam …”).
More on (God Help Us) ‘Paul Dowd Stadium’
Naming Names — Another reason not to rename Wahconah Park in honor of Paul Dowd, Paul Nixon, Paul McCartney, Paul Harvey, John Paul II, or Paul Small is that it already has a name. Taking a name down from a facility and giving it a new nom de plume is not at all the same as assigning a first name to a new structure. It’s as serious as going to court to legally change one’s name. That’s a much different and formal process than when your parents identified you to the world and gave you a moniker (especially if your name is Brick).
This applies in triplicate when a building earns National Historic Register Status, as Wahconah Park has done. Although it isn’t certain, it is reasonable to view this renaming business as another effort to destroy the park. Changing the name of a National Historic site is almost as lengthy and involved as getting approval in the first place. Who out there would trust the company of Jim Boyle, Bill Barry, and Gerry Doyle to see oversee that the process is done right?
If it’s not done right, the park could lose its designation and the city would be out the economic advantages that can stem from it National Historic designation. Or is that the point here? Is the renaming of Wahconah Park a Trojan Horse containing the dynamite Paul Dowd, as a city councilor, wanted to throw in the park to destroy it?
Barry, Boyle, and Doyle had their day in Pittsfield politics, and a dark day it was. They tried to destroy Wahconah Park in a shameless power grab known as the Civic Authority. They lost that war. Is the renaming business, then, their play for revenge? The Pittsfield Colonials had better pay attention to this, because their fate is on the line here, too, more than they realize.
‘Berkshire Having’ Magazine on the Blocks?
Who Gives a Twit? — The Boring Broadsheet published word today of the purported sale to “Berkshire Living” magazine to Today Media, a company based in Delaware and New York state. How does the Eagle know this?
Michael Zivyak, “Berkshire Having” founder and publisher, “revealed the sale to the Eagle Thursday night.” So reads Tim Farkas’ story. “We still have a period of time until [the deal closes],” Farkas quotes Zivyak. “It’s a pending acquisition.”
In other words, in terms of a purchase, nothing has happened! So why is this news, other than to get The Fedora’s picture in the front page once more? Even that’s not newsworthy, since the BB ran The Fedora’s picture after he tweeted while on a Superior Court jury of a child molestation case. You don’t think the announcement of a pending purchase and the Twit’s twits are related, do you?
Meanwhile, The Planet’s sources at and about “Berkshire Foo Foo” magazine tell us a few things Zivyak apparently didn’t tell the BB, such as:
- Of the 20,000-circulation, only 5,000 is paid.
- Advertising is way off, as one can judge by a content analysis.
- Zivyak wants to give writers to whom he owes money 40 cents on the dollar.
- Staffers have been, or are about to be, terminated.
The Planet doubts the “pending sale” will go through, because, according to our sources, Today Media has offered Zivyak less than the magazine’s current liabilities.
If the magazine died of PCBs tomorrow, few would mourn. From the start, the magazine glorified a lifestyle of greed and excess, with values that are not just faux-Berkshires but anti-Berkshires. True Berkshirites mock the magazine at every siting. Only the ones who are desperate to be photographed at a cocktail party would care a twit about this waste of trees.
We will be getting more from our spies within the magazine’s offices. Meanwhile, we invite Ziv to share the financials of the magazine with our readers. He tells Farkas, [“The magazine’s] going to be in great shape going forward.” Translation: “Our shape sucks right now.”
Farkas, born newspaperman that he is, apparently didn’t ask Ziv the tough questions for which a non-story like this begs. Ah, but what’s a Planet for?
Parking’s Got the Blues
Not long ago, The Planet ran a story on the parking woes of one of downtown Pittsfield’s best little enterprises, Joe’s Lunchbox. We told of the catering company’s problems with the roustabout action of city parking czar Frank Annello and his crack crew.
Now we hear that one of Annello’s employees has been arrested and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct after an incident at the Home Plate, an East Street bar. Pitsfield police allege that city meter maid Shaun Courtney, 24, tried to pick a fight with one of their officers outside the HP.
City attorney Rich Dohoney, who confirmed that Courtney works for the city, speaking with Conor Berry of the Eagle, would not tell Berry of Courtney would face disciplinary action. He told Berry, “Employees have privacy rights that we have to protect.”
A couple of comments at this point in the story: (1) You can see Conor Berry is the type of newsman who could land on The Planet and find work in two seconds. He thought of asking relevant questions, unlike the ones his boss didn’t ask of the “Berkshire Dying” publisher. (2) It’s interesting that taxpayers can pay the salaries and hefty benefits for city employees, but when they screw up (and we should remind all that Courtney has only been charged with a crime and has not yet been tried and is therefore by law presumed to be innocent), we can’t learn what’s going to be done about it. They hide the misfits, cheats, and the Gomer Pyles. Something’s wrong with this picture.
Back to the fight. The record shows that police officers Christopher Whitney and Michael Murphy responded to a report that a patron at Home Plate wouldn’t leave the bar. The call came in just after 2 a.m. Sunday morning — Two *&$#@!^ a.m. Sunday morning! Pray, tell, what good can come of anything at that hour? Boy Scouts and altar servers do not refuse to leave barrooms at 2 a.m. Sunday. And why would a public servant be refusing to leave a bar at that time?
According to the police, Courtney wouldn’t give his real name. The cops claimed Courtney called himself “Mike,” then “Robert Horne.” From Berry: “Police said the latter is the name of a dispatcher for the Pittsfield Police Department.” Uh, can this get any weirder? Read on.
At that point police offered Courtney a ride home. The owner of the Home Plate offered to pay for a cab to take Courtney home. How did Courtney respond to this generous chance at a break? Whitney quoted him as saying that he was “going back into the bar to finish drinking.” After some tense moments, police say Courtney took a boxer’s stance [like the Great John L.?]. That became the straw not to stir the drink but to break the courtney’s back. They hauled him in.
One last tidbit from Berry’s story: “Courtney blew a kiss at Whitney as officers attempted to take Courtney’s mugshot, police said.”
Well, at least that shows the lad didn’t have any hard feelings about it.
Welfare Recipients Puke All Over Taxpayers
We’d like to bring the spotlight on a story that one of our colleagues at the Boston Herald recently ran: Hilary Chabot’s piece on the wasteful spending in the state. I know, your all Claude Raines and “shocked” to hear there’s still money being blown by our public servants and that there are welfare cheats, this being a time of fiscal crisis and all.
A search on the Herald’s website will give you more grim details, but The Planet would like to share a few. You’ll get the drift of where the piece goes. Chabot’s story details the fraud committed by welfare recipients who — courtesy us the sucker taxpayers — receive a free Electronic Benefit Transfer card. The cards are only to be used to essentials, but this is Massachusetts. From Chabot’s story:
“Welfare families used their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) debit cards to squander $191,000 on a host of non-essentials, according to records obtained by the Herald, including:
• $175,000 on liquor stores, including a $102 tab at a Dracut bar;
• $827 at Victoria’s Secret stores across the state, including $208 at a Hyannis outlet;
• $644 at beauty supply stores, salons, and even a tanning booth in Fall River.
• $664 at PETCOs and other pet supply stores; $127 on jewelry stores; $3,427 at AT&T mobile phone stores; and about $100 at Chuck E. Cheese.
“ ‘This is a system that’s leaking like a sieve. I expect to see grocery stores. I expect to see pharmacies. When you see spending on something like Chuck E. Cheese it gets ridiculous,’” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones (R-North Reading).
The state Department of Transitional Assistance program has handed out EBT cards to the 70,000 households it services.”
Ah, but you knew it all along, didn’t you?
THAT’S ALL FOLKS. NOW THE WEEKEND, AND MILES TO SLEEP. LOVE TO ALL.