Article

COLONIALS BACK BIGGER AND BETTER @ BELOVED WAHCONAH PARK, plus, PPD OFFICER KIRCHNER, at $98,429.16 COMPENSATION, 27th in CITY FOR PAY in 2010, and HOW DEEP IS THE STEROIDS PROBLEM? HOW HIGH IS THE SKY?

BY DAN VALENTI

Colonials Lived up to the Promises

This Friday, the Pittsfield Colonials will have their second annual “pep rally” lunch for advertisers and sponsors at Blantyre in Lenox. The Planet shall be there as an invited guest.

Team owner Buddy Lewis, meeting with The Planet yesterday, reports brisk sales of billboards, program ads, and other naming opportunities. He expressed optimism as he leads the team as CEO into Year Two.

“We worked hard all off-season to make Year Two better than last year, and time will tell” Lewis said. He admitted to the problems of last year stemming largely from a late start, but he also mentioned the many positives from the 2010 season upon which he and the team have built. These include the club’s great second half showing, its playoff run, and how much the team learned about its operations, about the city, and about Beloved Wahconah Park (BWP). Also, having the league’s leading hitter (Dan Carte) and Can-Am Manager of the Year in Brian Daubach helped with great PR.

There’s also the fans. Unlike last year, the Colonials begin the year with a solid base of 700 loyal fans, amny of the rabid variety. They exemplify what it means to say that “Pittsfield is a baseball town.” The 700 was the average attendance for 2010. Skeptics who like to take every opportunity to disrespect anything to do with Beloved Wahconah Park (BWP) say the 700 is inflated because of the 4,000+ crowds for opening day and the 4th of July.

It’s a ridiculous objection, of course, because there were plenty more nights when attendance dipped below 700 because of the team’s slow start, the weather, the newness, and other reasons. In short, 700 is a reliable core number.  It is realistic to expect that number to rise this year. By how much? That remains to be seen, but if the club gets out of the gate fast, wins ball games, and delivers a good team, The Planet thinks Pittsfield could double that number.

Making Good, and This Year Will Get Better

The Colonials made good on their promise from last season, when the skpetics (mostly still-bitter losers in the Civic Authority battle and the dreg vestiges of the city’s horrible barroom politics of the 1980s and ’90s) said the team would put in a “one and out.” Well, the Colonials didn’t bail out. They dug in. They didn’t retreat. They redoubled their efforts.

The Colonials also worked hard to keep the core of the roster intact. Returning fan favorites will include ss Matt Nandin, 1b Jarod Edmundson, inf. Jason “JT” Taylor”, of. Angel Molina, of. Quentin “Q” Davis, of.  Rafael Cabrera, the catching tandem of Scott Knazek and Mr. Effervescence Chris Torres, and pitchers Miguel Flores and David Qualben.

The Colonials worked hard on marketing and sales in the off season. They will be introducing many refinements in the operations at BWP, including the 1791 club down the third base side, an expanded Beer Garden, the Wahchonettes dance team, and other non-baseball events. Go to their website at pittsfieldcolonials.com for more information.

The Colonials have, by every measure, lived up to their promises made to the good folks of Pittsfield and Berkshire County. They are led by solid people, people of character and class, people who are civic minded and determined to succeed in the land of Benigno Numine. They offer the best buy in the Berkshires for summer family entertainment. They need your support.

The C’s begin the season at home May 26 against the New Jersey Jackals in a seven-day home stand.

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Not Bad Work If you Can Get It

Pittsfield Police Department officer David Kirchner, the only cop to date named in the internal and the federal probes into illegal use of steroids, had a base pay  last year (FY 2010) of $47,967.87. Gee, you say, that’s not too much for a policeman, who never knows by the day what he will have to face. Ah, but wait. There’s more.

Kirchner’s case illustrates how municipal unions, especially the Big Three of teachers, cops and fire fighters, pad the wad at taxpayers’ expense. They justify it by saying it’s all contracted, and they are correct. The Planet has no quarrel with that, and in fact we admire how the union bosses have leveraged their political clout to carve out unsustainably expensive deals at the expense of taxpayers. It’s Machiavellianism at its worst best.

Weak-Kneed Elected Officials Knee Taxpayers in the Groin

We save our ire for the public officials, namely, the Pittsfield City Council and the Pittsfield School Committee, who have signed in taxpayers names ruinous contracts that over the years have built a pyramid of benefits for Big Three public employees. These elected officials are afraid to stand up to the unions because the unions bring them votes. In the Land of Apathy, too many of our elected Profiles in Courage will sell their souls and cave in to any union demands.

That’s in part why the city now faces an unfunded liability of AT LEAST $331 million (the actual figure is in excess but isn’t known).

In any case, to Kirchner’s base pay, you must add some “adjustments.” The Planet has these figures from city hall records, but, on the chance they may be incomplete, will be rechecking them. These figures reflect our information at time of posting, to the best of our knowledge. We shall readjust the numbers of better data warrant. For now, we believe these to be accurate.

* Night shift differential of $4,792,24

* Overtime scheduled, unclassified of $4,165.76

* OT, drug enforcement (Oh, the irony!), $31,458.21

* OT, court, $415.14

* OT, investigation, $6,160.91

* Special investigation, $94.78

* Holiday, police, $2,021.32

* Uniform allowance, police, $475

* Retro regular, $488.85

* Retro overtime, $369.08

Add that all up, and the next thing you know, Ol’ Jed’s a Millionaire. Kirchner, whom is own department has deemed a criminal, made $98,429.16 in FY 2010. This ranked him 27th in overall compensation for the city of Pittsfield.

The guy got paid $98,429.16 to BREAK THE LAW, as his own captain has found. And you wonder why ordinary people are angry.

The Planet thanks Jonathan Levine of the Pittsfield Gazette for his help in obtaining these figures.

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Steroids: Not Happy Juice but the Road to Ruin

One wrinkle in the saga of SteroidsGate, the federal investigation into steroids use at the Pitsfield Police Department and in other jurisdictions, is how it put the spotlight on the problem of illegal steroids. Far from being the harmless drug that build Big Bodies 12 different ways for muscleheads, this class of drugs has a nasty history of side effects.

The Planet soon will be presenting an article on steroids: what they are, what effects they have, how prevalent. For now, we want to get the word out — Only idiots mess with this stuff.

Disgraced former PPD investigator and now busted patrolman David Kircher, found guilty of criminality and conduct unbecoming an officer by an internal department probe authored by Capt. David Granger, has been the only PPD employee mentioned in connection with illegal steroids use.

The question remains: Was Granger’s report on the level or was it an attempt to make Kirchner a sacrificial lamb to put an end to further probing of what some police sources claim is a problem that goes far beyond one rogue officer.

An Open Question, and Still, Chief Wynn Has Nothing to Say

The Planet has been clear and careful on this question. We do not have sufficient facts to warrant a declaration that there is rampant use of steroids in the PPD or in any case usage that goes beyond one — one — officer.

We do not make that charge. We are open to allegations otherwise, however, especially when they come from internal PPD sources who express anger, outrage, and dismay at what they claim is a situation run amok. We have a duty to listen to these people, who call themselves good cops held hostage by bad ones. Again, The Planet calls upon Police Chief Michael Wynn to conduct a press conference, make a statement, and take questions. It will go a long way to “calm the waters,” which are choppy right now.

The Planet doesn’t know what the truth is in this situation. We can only report on what we learn. We do have more leeway than traditional media outlets, but not that much more. The Boring Broadsheet, for example, has as much opportunity for hard hitting commentary and opinion on SteroidsGate as does the Planet. They  have made the decision not to use that opportunity. Why? That is for the BB to explain. Is is that its management — Andy Mick and Tim Farkas — have determined the issue is “too hot” and touches on too many seats of power. Does it come to close to the GOD Network? We don’t know, but these are fair questions.

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BACK LATER. WE ARE OFF TO BAKE A CAKE. LOVE TO ALL.

39 Responses to “COLONIALS BACK BIGGER AND BETTER @ BELOVED WAHCONAH PARK, plus, PPD OFFICER KIRCHNER, at $98,429.16 COMPENSATION, 27th in CITY FOR PAY in 2010, and HOW DEEP IS THE STEROIDS PROBLEM? HOW HIGH IS THE SKY?”

  1. Still wondering
    March 30, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    I have wondered why some cops think its a good idea to bulk up to be huge bullet-headed gorillas. Who are they trying to impress? I think its the other cops.

  2. danvalenti
    March 30, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    SW
    True, it’s a mentality that is baffling to well-adjusted, “normal” folks.

    • Harper Smith
      March 30, 2011 at 11:34 am #

      Dan I hear Joe Guzzo is running in ward 7? Just what we need another egotistical moron running for city council! Joe we the people still remember how when you would speak to the council president you wood stair at the camera instead!! By the way how do you keep tanned year round?

    • GMHeller
      March 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

      Mr. Valenti,

      It’s not a good idea so quickly to make assumptions especially concerning what is and is not ‘normal’.
      Recommend you interview a bunch of cops and also non-cops (the lawyers, execs and other professionals) who are using anabolic steroids, in order to get answers — without attribution if that’s what it takes — to these questions and to get users’ side of the issue.

  3. GMHeller
    March 30, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    RE: Officer Kirchner’s compensation.
    Mr. Valenti,
    You forgot to mention the cost to Pittsfield’s (and Massachusetts) taxpayers of Mr. Kirchner’s likely health care costs resulting from the maladies he may suffer SPECIFICALLY as a result of his alleged steroid use.
    The list of medical problems associated with anabolic steroids use is easily found in an Internet search.
    SEE:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabolic_steroids#Adverse_effects
    Further, how much will Mass State Police trooper Gale’s future medical expenses attached to his steroids use cost Massachusetts taxpayers?
    And all this guaranteed by the respective public employee unions’ collective bargaining agreements.

  4. GMHeller
    March 30, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    RE: Steroids Not Happy Juice

    Should city and state taxpayers have to pay for the future medical care associated with ANY public employee’s use of illegal anabolic steroids?

  5. PCP
    March 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Mr. Heller, this guestion was asked before and I am asking it again now. Of the $400 million in Social Security annual payments for Pittsfield, do you know how much is dedicated to non seniors? Some of the people receiving benefits have been drug dependent for 30 years plus.

    • GMHeller
      March 30, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

      Great question, but I am not the one to whom such question should be directed; it’s way above my pay grade.

  6. kman
    March 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    GO COLONIALS! Looking forwerd to the season. itwill be nice relief from all the bs pitts. politics. glad to see jerod and matt n. back with the other guys.

    • Joetaxpayer
      March 30, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

      kman, have to agree Colonials and there league is quality base ball.Anyone that has not gone,come out you won’t be disappointed.Why so much overtime with the pittsfield pd.Would be a good idea to hire some part-officers to fill in the gaps and cut down on over-time.I know there are times when over-time cannot be avoided,but think part-timers would not only cut down on ot but also give the officers valubule experience.That way why there is a full time opening on the force they will be better prepared.

  7. PCP
    March 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Just released, how do PCB’s fit in?

  8. GMHeller
    March 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    Don’t you mean to write G-O-B network?
    No way do the sleazy Liberal Democrats who control the City of Pittsfield represent anything approaching a GOD network, though no doubt they would like us to believe that it is in God’s name they act.

    • danvalenti
      March 31, 2011 at 7:15 am #

      definitely, G-O-B.
      “B” as in buffoons.
      Thanks for the catch.

  9. PCP
    March 30, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Sorry, forgot the site.

    http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/massachusetts

  10. Harper Smith
    March 30, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Im sorry I thought I was on Planet Valenti not the GB Heller Blog. Everyone don’t let Heller over take this site! Dan talk to this over bearing sole and tell him to slow down with all the blogs. If I wanted to read about Heller I would go to his blog.!!!

    • GMHeller
      March 30, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      Harper Smith,
      Has anyone here prevented you from putting in your valuable two cents on any of the varied issues about which Dan Valenti writes?
      Let’s hear what you have to say.
      Spit it out, don’t be shy.

  11. Cindy Berkman
    March 30, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Dan,
    I just re-read the article from the Gazette about salaries in the city of Pittsfield. It is an eye-popping amount $31k for city over time, but that doesn’t compare to another Pittsfield drug detetcive. Detetcive Nykorchuck made over $150k last year. If the salary of a Pittsfield Police Officer is around $50-55k, how does one make almost $90,000 in overtime? Dan, this man would have to work 90 hour work weeks-EVERY WEEK OF THE YEAR!! True, his name has not surfaced (and hopefully won’t) in this steriods scandal, but when one looks into the overtime of Pittsfield Police Officers and it seems the narcotics detetcives, all I can say is WOW!! [EDITOR'S NOTE: THE POSTER HAS CHANGED THE NAME OF THE DETECTIVE. SEE HER CORRECTION. CHANGED LAST NAME TO "DECKER"]

  12. Cindy Berkman
    March 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Dan,
    Sorry to Detetcive Nykorchuck, I meant Detective Decker-145k? that’s unreal!!

  13. CONCERNED
    March 30, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Just to change the subject for a second. Obama says we are spending 55 million a day because he doesn’t want innocent people slaughtered in Libya. Well on the average 7000 American are murdered in this country and I don’t hear his( out of his league) Atty General his admin. or himself saying a word about crime. Wouldn’t it be better to spent that 55 million here ????? By the way he didn’t say we are spending 55 million the news dug to get the amount.

    • danvalenti
      March 31, 2011 at 6:51 am #

      Agree. The Libyan enterprise is an exercise in futility and a foreign policy mistake. War? Never the answer.

  14. Jim Gleason
    March 30, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Howc an an organization that hasn’t paid its bills on time in any year they’ve been here (the colonials) get such good press? I think Buddy Lewis is a crook, like the mayor that signed a contract with him, and I hope his team fails miserably. I’d rather watch my nephew’s play High School and LL than watch that supposed baseball any day.

    • Dusty
      March 30, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

      I will probably go to a game and maybe more if i enjoy it. But Mr. Gleason’s concerns are mine as well. I believe there has been dirty politics behind his being here and I would not be surprised to find out the taxpayers are subsidizing the operation. Why? Cuz that’s the way Jimmy works.

      • Joetaxpayer
        March 30, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

        We the taxpayers have put 1 million dollars into Wahconah park, with more on the way.The park is used for youth sports and high school sports and needed the upgrades.Much better investment than dumping 5 million into the common and kicking out alot of the activties that were there for are youth.

    • Joetaxpayer
      March 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

      Sounds like your a little bitter and have a problem with the owner.I never met the man but will tell you it is very good baseball.It is close to AA level ball,and very entertaining.I wanted the new stadium and red sox A team, but it was not in the cards.People have to move on and should this team a chance.

    • danvalenti
      March 31, 2011 at 6:54 am #

      JIM
      We respectfully disagree. The team had lived up to its obligations. My personal experience with the team has been uniformly positive. As the poster says above, the quality of baseball is good. I see a lot of minor league ball (the Bigs? They can keep them. I’m not a MLB fan). I would rank the Can-Am as Double AA standards. Will you join The Planet this year, for one game? Will you let me introduce you to the team? Maybe it will let you see that we’ve got a good thing going for Wahconah Park and hte city of Pittsfield.

      • Dusty
        March 31, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

        Like I said, I will give the team a chance as I love Waconah Park and have fond memories of the place. But I am still bitter about Ruberto and Nilan giving Jim Bouton the bums rush as well as the cherry deal he gave the team that replaced him. I want any new mayor to give this contract a good read (without Nilan and his clown act parks commissions involvement)

        If they can get city politics out of Waconah park you could double the fan base on that alone.

  15. danbeaut
    March 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Johnny Canseco is coming to fight the Punishment, that should be a doozy for the gate draw?

  16. arpaint
    March 30, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    I think it is time for the city and the council to stop treating the teachers and city police, fire dep and all the other city employes like they are untouchable. They all are making a good living or they would leave and go to the privet sector.

    • GMHeller
      March 31, 2011 at 12:27 am #

      Can you imagine if ALL public employees were required to submit to random drug testing?

    • danvalenti
      March 31, 2011 at 6:56 am #

      Yes. The Big Three unions control the politicians, who are afraid to reel them in contractually. Until that is done, taxes will keep rising, the tax base will keep shrinking, and services will suffer.

  17. Josh
    March 30, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    I agree with your characterization of the Colonials’ off-season, and I think the franchise is primed for a great season this summer. I’m excited to see the fruits of what a full winter of promotion in the Berkshires and partnership with local businesses and organizations can bring to the franchise. The team hooked me in once it went on its’ torrid streak in Late July-Early August, but it was disappointing that so many people never came out to see what truly is a fine brand of baseball. The brand of baseball the Can-Am league presents emphasizes offense more so than pitching, and the Colonials boasted the most potent bats of the then six-team league (there will be eight teams this season).

    Furthermore, I’m encouraged to see Buddy, Jamie, and the entire front office spending a significant amount of time in targeting populations and groups who might not ordinarily enjoy a night at the ballpark. Based on recent trends in fan support of local baseball, thinking “outside of the box” is going to be vital in rejuvenating an apathetic fan base. I think the team’s plan to partner with a non-profit for each home game is a great step in the right direction, as well as their plans to work with local school systems as well.

    Furthermore, I think the latest innovation of the dance team is a wonderful idea in order to appeal to women and young girls who might not necessarily be interested in baseball. The in-game entertainment last season was one of the team’s weakest points, and I’m pleased to see that they have elected to make this a high priority this off-season.

    • CONCERNED
      March 30, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

      sounds good Josh nice to get a positive view on something

      • Josh
        March 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

        Hey, somebody has to be! ;)

    • danvalenti
      March 31, 2011 at 6:59 am #

      JOSH
      Yes. There are lots of girls and young women who are talented in gymnastics and cheerleading, the latter of which has become almost a sport unto itself. Adding this dimension will create some fan interest as well as give these girls a chance to perform. It’s a great idea.

      My advice to the team, though, is to make the tryouts legitimate, that is, merit based. They needs girls who have won the auditions by being the best. None of this: “Everyone gets a medal” thing.

  18. danbeaut
    March 31, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    I like your comments Josh. Can you please stop putting my little brothers picture on your blog though?

    • Josh
      March 31, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

      I don’t have a blog?

  19. toto
    April 1, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    Think they meant the smily face on this blog? Josh