WHO IS PATRICK SHEEHAN? MAYOR RUBERTO RESPONDS TO THE PLANET, plus, ANIMAL LOVERS: MEET RILEY, A GREAT LITTLE GUY. A HEARTBREAKING STORY with a WARM ENDING
BY DAN VALENTI
The Mayor Responds
The Planet heeds Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s call to let the DPW land deal “cool down,” since the project has “taken on a life of its own.” First, though, we share the mayor’s comments on Patrick Sheehan, sent to The Planet this afternoon.
“Sorry for the delay. (1) It is my understanding that Sheehan is one of the property owners. I did not meet with or negotiate with him. (2) I have no relationship with him. (3) I don’t believe he has contributed to my campaign. (4) I don’t know him but I may have met him. (5) There is no relationship between my contribution to Nuciforo and Sheenan’s. This is untoward speculation, without foundation.”
The mayor then went on to say that the purchase was conditioned upon evidence of a contaminate free, environmentally clean site and a thorough inspection of the property for structural and other defects, (like the condition of the roof, etc.).
We now back off (until later!!) with the heart warming story of Riley, a four-legged little guy who had a horrible go of it, until someone with a kind heart and infinite patience gave him a second chance at life.
The Heartwarming Tale of Riley
We heard the story from Brian Hebel, and we let Brian tell it in his owns words:
“Well here goes the tale. In the fall of 2006, in a conversation with Laurie, I was told that her husband had taken away from his niece a dog who she had almost starved to death. He had been asked to care of the unfortunate pooch.
“When the uncle went over to his niece’s house, he saw Riley. To his horror, poor Riley was stuffed in a cage that was way too small with no food or water. He endured this for many days. Now this is a man who really has no love for small dogs, but this was more than he could stand. The uncle was heartbroken. The dog had grown from what was a ‘Paris Hilton pocketbook creature’ to a larger one that his niece no longer favored, and she heartlessly sentenced him to die an awful death.
“Riley, he learned, had been abused, left outside in rain and snow, hit by cars twice (from which he had a broken, free-floating rib that hadn’t healed), and he was finally stuffed in a cage to wither away and die a slow death.
“This was more than Uncle Darren could stand. Taking Riley home, he found the dog weighed just 11 pounds and was infested with mites and fleas. His fur a scraggly mess, loaded with knots and clumps. A trip to the vets was in order. Shaving Riley down revealed skin lesions and the broken rib. This started his rehabilation and the part where I come in.
“Uncle Darren had agreed to help the dog back to health but didn’t not want to keep him. He likes large dogs, and that is the way he felt. In talking with Laurie, she mentioned Riley’s hard life. They didn’t know what they were going to do with him. I heard this and said to Laurie, ‘You are going to give me that dog.’
“Not thinking I was serious, she laughed and said sure. I told my wife this story, and she relented. First we had to have our current dog meet Riley to see if this was going to work. Neutral ground was chosen and the meeting went well. Riley was submissive and that was what was needed for this to work. This was an untrained dog with no house manners or skills at all. We kept the two dogs separate until Riley was neutered. Then we let them see and smell each other but not have contact. Baby gates are awesome!
“This has been a long road for everyone involved. Riley’s coming along. He’s starting to warm up to people, learn to trust them, and realize that most people are monsters like the woman who so abused him. Riley has figured out how to take care of his “duty,” showing how remarkably intelligent he is.
“When Riley has to do his duty, he does what I call ‘the poop loop’ when it is time. A couple of laps around the table and a look at me is the signal. I have to go outside!
“Riley is still a streetwise dog and defends his right to be. He needs respect and we give him this and all the love he can take. It’s amazing what love can do. What was once a discarded animal is now loved and truly living the life of Riley.”
The Planet thanks Brian for telling us his story. The Planet has adopted Riley as our mascot. We shall be consulting this wise and loving creature from hence forward. We also wish to share this, one of our favorite quotes on animals (we don’t know who wrote it):
“We need another and wiser and perhaps more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronage [animals] for their incompleteness, for their ragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves.
“And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.”
Inspired by this quote, we wrote “ANIMALS,” which we dedicate to Brian and Riley:
“ANIMALS” BY DAN VALENTI
Artifice removes us from universal nature.
We live by the complications of of civilization.
The gods of greed and hatred rule us.
We see animals through the lens of false knowledge.
We distort the actual image and lose its wholeness.
We condescend to call them incomplete. YET…
… Their world is older than ours. Their world is more complete than ours. They live more wholly than we live. They exhibit more grace than we do. Their senses dwarf ours. They share our prison of grandeur and sorrow but with more innocence and goodness than our greatest saints have managed.
“This Thing is Taking on a Life of Its Own”
Finally, The Planet presents this comment, submitted under condition that the name be withheld, relating to Patrick J. Sheehan, the man behind 1644 East St. LLC, the realty trust that owns the property the city considered for the DPW Garage. The source is a former elected official from Pittsfield. We pass along with comment of our own, in the spirit of transparency and free-flow of ideas:
“I guess the word is he [Sheehan] wants to possibly dump the nursing home ( Craneville Place) and put his efforts into the Desisto project. Sugar Hill, though, is his baby, so I’d be surprised if he sold that. In a lot of these things [his corporate holdings and numerous LLCs] he has partners, too, so it might be tough to figure out what the hell he’s up too. The quote of the day from the Eagle though was ‘this thing is taking on a life of it’s own.’ That stood out in bold print. Huh? Guess we’re just suppose to let the city buy PCB polluted land in a flood plain and shut up and clap for the good job they are doing wasting our money. Not a government of by and for the people, but a government from, for, and about the elite for the elite. Keep up the pressure though. It cracks me up how the Eagle took a week to mention a word about it and then ran the story they did.”
Alternate Sites for the DPW Garage
The Planet has received numerous suggestions for the DPW site. We present a few here:
(1) The current location on West Housatonic Street. The second floor of the building is condemned and can’t be used. Well, why not fix it. Renovate the present garage. The city owns the land and can get away with a relatively inexpensive solution. The garage is meant to house equipment. It doesn’t have to rival Canyon Ranch in luxury.
(2) Work out a deal with PEDA for a site on the former GE campus. We keep hearing of the “shovel ready” parcels. Let Pittsfield taxpayers, through PEDA, deed land over to Pittsfield taxpayers for $1 and build a garage there.
(3) The former Grossman’s building on East Street. It has plenty of parking and 44,000 sq. ft. The land could be acquired from the delinquent owner, again, at little cost to taxpayers.
THAT’S IT FOR NOW. ON TO THE SNOWS OF TODAY, AND LOVE TO ALL.