MORE ON PPD STEROIDS BUST, a RHETORICAL CLARIFICATION; UNCOVERED: EVIDENCE OF CHEATING IN CITY FLAG COMPETITION, plus THE PLANET AND WBRK — COOKING
BY DAN VALENTI
The Planet has confirmed, through two three independent sources, that at least one Pittsfield police officer was busted in connection with illegal use/possession/reception of anabolic steroids. The latest confirmation, from a PPD source formerly of senior leadership rank, told The Planet:
“It is very true. It’s too bad for the [Department]. We don’t need another black eye. [Chief Wynn] is in over his head and is up Ruberto’s a**. The chief runs over to the mayor’s office for everything, instead of running the department himself. I’ve heard conflicting information that the place of the bust was the fitness place on Summer Street. First I heard it was, then no. The cop who got busted was in the drug unit. He was suspended for five days, taken out of the unit, and is now in uniform on the midnight shift. It’s too bad, because he is really a good cop. He’s a nice person, married, with two kids.”
Mayor Ruberto: ‘Age Catches Up with You’
In a phone call with Mayor Jimmy Ruberto, who’s on his way back to Pittsfield from Florida as we write, the mayor said he had heard of the arrest and that one officer had been charged in connection with steroids. The mayor then made a point that explained why a “good cop … a nice person, married, with two kids,” would do something like this. Speaking hypothetically, generally, and not about this particular case, Ruberto got to the heart of steroid abuse: “Age catches up with you. At 45, you don’t bounce back from a tough call the way you did when you were 25. The little injuries linger. [Steroids] help you recover faster. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.”
Great statement, because what seems a simple case of black and white, following the law versus breaking the law, has underneath it all of the factors and elements that make up a person’s life. Ruberto said that when a guy loves his job, he might be willing to submit to the temptation held out by steroid use.
Case in Point: NY Yankees’ Andy Pettite
We though of former New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettite, who admitted to illegal steroid use. Pettite said he took illegal drugs so he could bounce back from an injury faster, and begin contributing to the team. He talked about the guilt associated with being injured yet still collecting a fat paycheck. What ruined Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds actually helped Andy Pettite. He admitted his mistake, and the public forgave.
The Planet calls upon Chief Wynn to hold a press conference with the busted officer, or at least issue a press release, with the man’s permission, apologizing for the mistake. The city of Pittsfield will forgive and embrace this man. It will demonstrate an honesty and openness from the department that people will respect and love. We know The Planet will. But hiding it and trying to coverup up this type of law breaking, BY LAW ENFORCERS, lowers the morale of everyone who, in a community, lives public life together.
Admittedly, such a public strategy is unusual to say the least, but the symbolism will be enormous. Much good can also come by way of educating people about the dangers of illegal steroids, which are not a “little” drug. Athletics, police work , construction, and most any profession that is demanding physically will draw the steroids temptation in a magnetic way. Pittsfield could use this embarrassing and sad situation and make a lot of good come from it.
Definition of Terms: “Arrested” and “Busted.”
Back later after my hour of radio with Donna Todd Rivers, Bill Sturgeon, and Eric Vincelette on the topic of unfunded liabilities. More on that later. First, let me put in an editorial note on my use of the words “arrest” and “busted” in the case of the two officers, on a PPD man the other a state police trooper.
We do this in response to a comment left on this site by Conor Berry of the Berkshire Eagle, who today penned a piece (front page, above the fold) on the steroids case. The Planet simply means that the two officers have been caught in a compromising situation involving illicit drugs, and their respective units have taken disciplinary action. That is an arrest of two careers and two busts of professional momentum.
We’re Only Releasing What Can Be Officially Confirmed
The Planet has said nothing about legal proceedings via the criminal justice system, through the courts, and we will not, until such time as this happens and can be confirmed. All along in this story, we have been cautious, going with information we have confirmed. We shall continue that policy. Berry is correct in his post when he says The Planet probably has more on the story than he has or has been published, but the information is sketchy and will not be used until officially confirmed. If not, then it’s no harm, no foul.
The Planet repeats its call to Pittsfeld Police Chief Mike Wynn to get the necessary permissions and use this as a teaching moment about illicit drug use and about open government. Call a press conference with the officer affected and tell us exactly what happened and why. Issue a public apology. Do so, and you will find the citizens of Pittsfeld and Berkshire County a forgiving sort.
Planet Network Uncovers Cheating in City Flag Competition
A common thread that weaves together many seemingly unrelated and disparate stories of The Naked City (But Thinks It’s Not) is that for the Little Guy, for Joe and Mary Jane Kapanski, for Joe and Jane Sixpack, and for We The People, the game is rigged. We see this on a scale as large as Pittsfield $331 million ticking time bomb known as unfunded liabilities down to a matter as small as the recent competition for a city flag.
One of The Planet’s most reliable spies, Round Jacket (RJ), has uncovered “smoking gun” evidence of cheating in the flag race. If you recall, the city got on board with this hokey promotion, and — naturally — the Boring Broadsheet promoted it like it was EV Worldwide bringing in 1,000 JOBS!! We you be shocked — shocked — to learn of scandal.
Cheating Matters and is No Small Deal
To head off the the apologists who will get on The Planet for “wasting time” on minutae, we grant the point: A city flag ranks on the PSI — the Planet Scale of Importance — directly above broken toasters. This misses the point, which is: Cheating and ignoring the rules seems to be an infectious disease in the land of Benigno Numine.
RJ, calling upon his vast network among youth and the younger set (BYP, hello), reports:
Members of a facebook event page created to support flag #5 in the contest were given instructions on how to cheat in the contest by the artist who submitted the design. The message given to them reads as follows:
“Hey everyone, tomorrow at noon, the voting stops. SO we need to really step it up today. If you turn off the cookies in your browser (under your preferences), you can vote an unlimited amount of times. So vote people and help me out. We can do this. PS — Thanks to everyone who voted for me.”
RJ concludes: This is proof that rigging was involved in the conteset (to say nothing of the poor quality of the designs submitted).
The Planet called upon all those involved in the judging of the flag contest to confront the artist of flag #5, and if our reports finger the truth, of which we have not the slightest doubt based on the reliability of Agent RJ, the artist should be unceremoniously kicked out of the competition, publicly flogged in Park Square, and be appointed immediately to the Committee to Rename Wahconah Park After The Man Who Wanted to Destroy It.
A New Day is Dawning
As mentioned earlier, The Planet did an hour on WBRK in the morning with Bill Sturgeon and Donna Todd Rivers, joined also by financial advisor Eric Vincelette. Sturgeon took over the yawning void left when the flim-flam man Sherman Baldwin got a hotfoot and skipped town to sunnier climes.
Like we all had to do learning the beast that is daily talk radio, he stumbled at first, then less, before finding his “voice.” Starting a show, one soon realizes that it becomes a living creature, with a mind and soul all its own. It takes a while before these emerge. Sturgeon picked up the baton we left, the one that Baldwin dropped.
The Thrill of Open Air
The Planet wrote, produced, and starred in “The Dan Valenti Show” on WBRK for 14 years, from 1992 to the end of 2006. On our first show, literally our first seconds of flying solo, we forgot to activate the microphone’s “on” switch near the cough button. We started talking, but nothing was going out on the airwaves. Ron Lee, engineering on that fateful day, came rushing into the broadcast studio, Mr. Grumpy as always (but a lovable grump!), and bailed us out with the flick of a switch.
We didn’t look back after that. Thousands of shows later, we still get a thrill of being in front of a hot mike with listeners somewhere at the other end. We have nothing but good memories of our time at WBRK, and with the great people we met: Huck and Chip Hodgkins, Bullet Bob Shade, Michael Bunn, John Campoli, Len Bean, Ron Lee, Rick Beltaire, Cheryl Tripp Wood, and others. Most are still there, veterans to the core and offer more live, local programming than any other station in Berkshire County. That means something.
Donna TR: Queen of the Air in the Making
Donna Todd Rivers will be making herself comfortable in the Com and behind the mic, and the more she does it, the better she will get. After doing the show with her today, we can say: “Born to do it.”
One of the thing Bill, Donna, and I talked about after the show was the exhilarating immediately that’s shared by both radio and cyberspace. In fact, we foresee down the line a partnership of a more-than-informal nature taking place, to be announced sometime during this campaign season, between WBRK Local Talk and Planet Valenti. Together, The Planet believes that, combined, we can change the way media is experienced locally, the way politics are done, the way campaigns are conducted, the way news gets out, and the behavior of elected and appointed officials once they get into office.
Change is Afoot
The old, dark, dank days of drunken barroom politics is over. That’s what came in to fill the political, economic, and leadership gap once GE left town and took 14,000 high-paying jobs with it. Barroom politics let GE skip town without cleaning up the city it poisoned. Instead of wise, caring leadership, the residents of the city got the GOB Network, The Pittsfield 100, the Gay Mafia, and other assorted freaks of nature and of nature’s God. The Little Guy has been paying ever since.
Those days, fortunately, are ending. They better be, because if not, the city is doomed to bankruptcy, morally, politically, and economically.
There is a new light beginning to shine. Its penetration of the darkness is limited right now, but the illumination grows brighter by the day. A teaming of this website, which literally grows by the day, and a re-energized local talk component via WBRK, can perform wonders. We are living in exciting times.
STAY TUNED. WE ARE NOT YET DONE, PLANETITES! MORE LATER. LOVE TO ALL.