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