(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, APRIL 28, ADD 1) — Beware of folks who have no sense of humor, who constantly rail in anger, who sees darkness lurking in the words and actions of everyone that disagrees with them. They think they’re wearing hair shirts but to the rest of us they look like clown suits. Let those with ears hear. Let those with eyes see.


The Retreads of CEDS

The Planet was first on the scandal that has been the failure of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission’s Community Economic Development Strategy for 10 years. CEDS is a program administered by the Department of Commerce that makes seed funding available by application to communities with plans that are realistic and promising.

Go back to The Planet’s archives for the history of CEDS and how CEDS has fared in Pittsfield. Particularly read our series on how one state in the rural south managed to lure multi-billion dollar investments from private sector giants like Apple, Microsoft, and others. The CEDS program there made the difference.

Not since Sara Hathaway was mayor has Pittsfield successfully applied for a CEDs grant. CEDS is one of the few, and we mean few, federal economic jump-start programs with a good history. The Pittsfield CEDS committee, who work under the aegis of the BRPC headed by Nat Karns, has been working since late last year. They have met monthly. The meetings are characterized by no shows, including a Seattle Slew of absences by Berkshire Chamber poo-bah ike Supranowicz and the equally invisible Deanna Ruffer, head of community development in Pittsfield and First Vice Associate Mayor.

CEDS, Rhymes with Dead

The CEDS team issued its draft report. It has apparently whiffed again. The Planet has followed the CEDS low lights, its wasting of time, its flopping around like a blue gill on the shores of Pontoosuc. The mayor has read the draft of the document that BRPC plans to send to Uncle Sam. The mayor is not happy. We hear through our spies of a call-on-the-carpet meeting between Mayor Jimmy Ruberto and Karns. The paint was peeling off the walls by the time the mayor was done.

Ruberto is in for criticism on the document. If the efforts were so poor, why didn’t he intervene much sooner? Was he riding herd or did he let it slip? Why didn’t he insist that Ruffer attend more meetings? Why wait for now, especially when The Planet was spelling it out for him in January and February? The defense will be that the mayor is a delegator, not a micro-manager. He relied on the committee and on the BRPC. They dropped the ball. If he did get involved, critics would have then pounce on him for interfering.

The Planet thinks that’s a weak argument, by the way. We wanted the mayor to turn over the tables at BRPC sooner, and he didn’t. When a head coach delegates, he better be sure his deputies can deliver. If they don’t, the coach looks bad. That’s cause for heads to roll in the NFL, NBA, and NHL.

Ruberto, according to spies, blasted BRPC’s work in guiding the CEDS committee. We hear that Ruberto has been on the phones since last week, complaining to BRPC about the poor quality and shoddy effort of the report. Sources say the mayor thought it to be an embarrassing, amateurish effort. The Planet’s gumshoes report the mayor tore Karns a new one, saying the process employed by BRPC in CEDS was a poor one and that the result was equally poor.

Our attempts to get comment from Ruberto were unsuccessful, but we know the information is good.

My, but It’s Getting Drafty in There

The Planet notes that the mayor has put the heat on BRPC during the public input period, one that is under way now. Remember, this is a draft document. To be fair to all, The Planet has not read it yet, but we will. If the document is way short of the mark, it may be what one members of the CEDS committee calls “irredeemable.” You’ll rcall The Planet reported on the inside grumbling from CEDS committee members over the actions and inactions of Karns and his BRPC team. Pittsfield appears to be receiving the bitter fruit of this inrtasquad squabbling once again.

Whiter the Council? It Withered. So did Its Ally, The Boring Broadsheet

And where has been the city council in all of this? Why didn’t councilors attend meetings? Why didn’t they express interest? They certainly knew about the CEDS folly-in-the-making, since The Planet is now must reading for all of My Right Honorable Good Friends (you know you have an avid reader when you hear, “I don’t follow The Planet!). Once again, the council dropped the ball. We won’t invoke the phrase “PHONY BASTARDS.” We promise.

The Planet also notes how the Boring Broadsheet, under McPublisher Andy Mick, hasn’t covered a letter’s worth on CEDS or what it means. Mick, who as Conor Berry revealed has imposed a newsroom muzzle on any story that might be an embarrassment to the GOB network (whose upper tier is male, white, rich, and fatcatted), probably told them to back off of the CEDS story as soon as The Planet began to expose the cracks. It might not look good. When you have people like Ruffer and Supranowicz on the committee responsible for a folly, you can be sure the BB will turn away.

“All the news that’s ignored.”

The Planet has learned also that prior to the CEDS draft document being released (you can read it at the BRPC website), Ruberto had a number of conversations with BRPC.

Will the mayor take action and demand a rewrite or an overhaul of the document? The Planet says no, based on our discussions with sources. To engage in a last-second revision of a document that has been committeed to death for six months is to push the panic button. That button doesn’t work anymore from overuse. We say this, again, intending to read the document ourselves to either confirm or revise this judgment.

The Planet will not say “WE TOLD YOU SO” about CEDS.


Four on the Floor in 4?

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, APRIL 28, 2011) — With nomination papers (available at City Clerk Linda Tyer’s office at city hall on Monday) come candidates.

Ward 4 councilor and our Right Honorable Good Friend Mike Ward, who has apparently stopped talking to The Planet for our sin of calling the work of the city council during the days of barroom politics the work of “phony bastards,” is giving up the ghost. Petulance does not fit Ward well, but it could well be the pressures of a new job, a young family, etc. Our heart is large and full of forgiveness. It’s also made of stone when it must be.

The seat in Ward 4 as wide open as the mouth of the Mississippi.

Enter, Stage Left: The Man from Mensa

One man to dive into what will be familiar waters will be Chuck Vincelette, The Man from Mensa. Vincelette is confirmed for 4, not officially, of course, but via The Planet’s sources. We had envisioned him in an at-large bid, but The Man has decided to re-up for a seat he held and for constituents he represented so well for a number of years. Vincelette brings intelligence, sincerity, experience, and an excellent understanding of the issues to what may be a crowded table.

Chris Connell, Jody Phillips, and Alf Barbalunga: A Race for the Ages?

Besides Vincelette, the race could and probably will feature Chris Connell, Ward’s opponent in the previous election; former city clerk Jody Philipps, and probation officer Alf Barbalunga. That would be a race for which to pay: four experienced candidates with strong resumes and not a shrinking violet in the bunch.



We’re burying the lead here, we realize, but we look at it as a way to get folks to read further. Cutting to a long chase, let The Planet be the first to declare Dan Bianchi a candidate for mayor in the 2011 campaign. He’s made no official announcement. He’s hemmed and hawed. He’s played it closer to the vest than a riverboat gambler, but at the end of the day, Bianchi is in.

The Wise Guys at The Planet have immediately installed Bianchi as a 5:2 favorite over Peter Marchetti and 10:1 over Joe Nichols. As you recall, Bianchi lost a photo finish to Mayor Jimmy Ruberto in 2009.

The Planet will not reveal how we know that Bianchi is “in,” except to say we didn’t get it from Bianchi. Our sources, however, would have reason to know.

He likely will not take out nomination papers for a while, to watch as the mayoral field grows and then makes an official announcement the Big News for that time in the campaign. The Planet thinks it will be well into the summer before he makes it official. Meanwhile, work will be done. When Bianchi DOES announce, the Boring Broadsheet will act like it’s news and will conveniently “forget” where it first broke.

If Lee Harvey Oswald had taken out the president today and turned himself into BB publisher Andy Mick with a signed confession, Mick would spike the story.So don’t look for any dynamic coverage of Campaign 2011. The Planet looks forward to giving the BB a red head from the flames of our jet exhaust.




  1. GMHeller
    April 28, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    Mr. Valenti, you write:
    “Besides Vincelette, the race could and probably will feature Chris Connell, Ward’s opponent in the previous election; former city clerk Jody Philipps, and probation officer Alf Barbalunga. That would be a race for which to pay: four experienced candidates with strong resumes and not a shrinking violet in the bunch.”

    Isn’t Alfred Barbalunga the probation department employee who was mentioned in the Boston Globe Spotlight report that broke wide open the Mass. Probation Dept. scandal run by now disgraced ex-State Probation Commissioner John J. O’Brien?
    And isn’t Mr. Barbaunga the gentlermen who was originally assigned to the North Adams probation office, and whose claim to fame was that his work received complaints even from judges for Mr. Barbalunga’s general ineptitude as well as for his failing even to show up for work?
    And wasn’t Mr. Barbalunga then transferred by then Comm. O’Brien to the Great Barrington probation office with a doubling of his taxpayer-paid state salary?

    And now you Mr. Valenti are calling Mr. Barbalunga an “experienced” candidate with a “strong” resume.
    Are you serious, or is this an example of how Greens will revolutionize local politics?

    • danvalenti
      April 28, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      Your slip is showing again.
      Ask Judge Jim McElroy, recently retired, about Mr. Barbalunga’s work ethic in Southern Berkshire District Court. Judge McElroy, as fine a jurist as there is anywhere, has a glowing report to give. Experienced and strong resume. Fits. You remain so blinded by whatever hatreds are fueling your contributions that you see this as an endorsement. That’s twisting the words and the meaning. Stick to what you know. Not what you imagine to be.

      • GMHeller
        April 28, 2011 at 10:57 am #

        Mr. Valenti,
        You are again attacking the messenger because you don’t like the message. (A inking of things to come if Greens ever get into power?)
        My quotes regarding Mr. Barbalunga’s work history ALL come from the Boston Globe Spotlight series.
        Judge McElroy may be giving Mr. Barbalunga a passing grade right now that the heat has been on the man since last May 2010 when The Globe ran its investigative reports, but does that one satisfactory grade offset those other umpteen judges who gave Mr. Barbalunga failing grades at a time when nobody was looking and Mr. Barbalunga did not have the spotlight of that unflattering Globe portrait focused on his neck?
        Get real, Mr. Valenti, and call a spade a spade.

      • GMHeller
        April 28, 2011 at 11:09 am #

        Mr. Valenti,
        One can be in favor of reform, but you appear to want to put back in charge of the chicken coop the same foxes who’ve been raiding it all along.
        Based on The Boston Globe Spotlight Team report, how can you claim that Alfred Barbalunga is anything more than a patronage appointee who has been living life large at the public trough?

        • danvalenti
          April 28, 2011 at 11:58 am #

          I’m just reporting what Judge McElroy, Alf’s immediate supervisor in Southern Berkshire Court, told me about his (Alf’s) performance since his transfer from North Adams, what, a couple years ago. Barbalunga is a patronage appointee, no question. He’s been living life at the public trough, no question. Has he been doing a good job in probation in the South? Judge M says yes. Will he make a good councilor? He would not be my choice in four, but he will likely be the choice of the GOBs. See, I’m not disputing that.

  2. rick
    April 28, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    gotta side with you gmh, alfs got some shaddy connections, at least the councilor job is part time so maybe he will show to the meetings.

    • danvalenti
      April 28, 2011 at 10:36 am #

      I’m not saying Alf’s an altar boy. See note above, on what his most immediate boss, Judge McElroy, reports about AB.

      • rick
        April 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

        he should have been fired in n. a. dan, and for mcelroy, they potect their own. of course he was going to get an” a” in gb,or else he would be running a car wash in siberia,

  3. rick
    April 28, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    im glad to see mr. bianchi in the race, i would like to see nichols stay on as councilor with mazzeo and the new council, we need strong peronalities to work with mayor bianchi, and straighten out the gobs mess.

    • Dee
      April 28, 2011 at 10:20 am #

      I agree wholeheartedly. The council meetings have become more and more of a joke on every vote. Mayor could present an ordinance to change the name of the city to Rubertoville, change all major roadways to Jim’s Way, Jimmy Lane, West of James Blvd, etc. and you know the count automatically would be 8 for, 3 against. There needs to be strong leadership in the corner office with accountability presented in council chambers. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change. Here’s hoping the people of Pittsfield rally around their new Mayor, Mr. Bianchi and show the strong voice of city council where they can best serve the city.

      • danvalenti
        April 28, 2011 at 10:50 am #

        Jimmy Lake, Jimmy Terrace, Jimmy Field, etc. etc. City’s name changes to Jimmyfield. If the mayor wanted it, this council would agree, minimum of 7-4.

  4. rick
    April 28, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    rumor has it that gov.patrick might have a slot opening up for jimmy,so maybe a street named mlk at this point would open the door a little faster……………………………..

    • danvalenti
      April 28, 2011 at 10:39 am #

      I asked the mayor about that. He denied it. Jimmy said it’s been something he’s wanted to do for years, even prior to Deval Patrick. Also, both the mayor and the governor say that nothing is in the works right now about a job for the mayor. Of course, it’s been known in the course of human events that politicians would not admit to such a thing being IN the works. All we can do at the moment is take their word and work the sources. There’s nothing “there” yet.

      • Concern
        April 28, 2011 at 11:59 am #

        Why can’t politicians just ride into the Sunset??

      • Dusty
        April 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

        I don’t believe Jimmy. The Boston GOB will take care of the Pittsfield GOB just like it did with loser in life Doyle. Jimmy will get a no show job with big pay, probably something he can work from a computer or phone in Florida.

  5. scott
    April 28, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    I agree Alf got where he is through patronage because of who his daddy is he should be fired and not allowed any tax payer funded jobs.

  6. danvalenti
    April 28, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    If that’s the only reason why Barbalunga got hired, agree, Scott. If he’s doing the job well, disagree. I am in no position to judge. I can only go by what people say. There are many complaints floating “out there” about his performance in Northern Berkshire District. From the South, there are an equal number of attaboys. Is is what it is, as Coach Belichick says, but as The Planet adds, it ain’t what you think.

    • scott
      April 28, 2011 at 10:47 am #

      I don’t think your add read as an endorsement to anyone and at the same time I think glen was just being Glen he loves the juicy stuff.

      • GMHeller
        April 28, 2011 at 11:20 am #

        Recommend that you read The Boston Globe Spotlight Team’s report.
        Mr. Valenti should do the same.
        That report has spawned a whole series of state investigations and so far has led to the resignation of the now ex-Probation Commissioner O’Brien.

        It pays to be suspicious of any patronage appointee in Massachusetts who makes a living off the public teat, who is likely the target of a state investigation, and who suddenly gets an interest in elective office.
        Could this smell any worse?

        • GMHeller
          April 28, 2011 at 11:47 am #

          @Scott and Dan Valenti,
          By the way, little if any of the news reportage on those various state investigations into the Mass. Probation Department has made it into the pages of The Berkshire Eagle.
          Read all about those investigations on The Boston Globe or Boston Herald websites.

          • danvalenti
            April 28, 2011 at 11:51 am #

            True. The Boston paper knocked it out of the park. The Planet, in fact, helped the Globe Spotlight team with some things. The Boring Broadsheet, again, had to get dragged into the story, kicking and screaming. We should also remind folks that there are state investigations still under way.

        • danvalenti
          April 28, 2011 at 11:54 am #

          We read the Spotlight report and worked with the editor and one of the reporters on the team, helping them with coverage here.

        • scott
          April 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

          I know I read it not only was Cliff Nilan irresponsible in his position in the probation department but he also was irresponsible in his position on the Greylock board.

  7. Ed
    April 28, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    10 to 1 odds on Joe Nichols ? Dan, as part of the elite media intelligentsia, I believe you are underestimating the changing demographics in Pittsfield. The city is generally blue collar and the voters are going to mandate a clean slate and fresh start. Joe Nichols is a blue collar candidate who doesn’t bring years of city government baggage to the polls. Joe’s legacy and family are deeply ingrained in the history and business community of Pittsfield. His very detailed web site exemplifies this and is example of Joe’s openess and transparency. Check it out:


    10 to 1 ? Care to wager ?

    • danvalenti
      April 28, 2011 at 11:54 am #

      Blame The Planet’s Wise Guys. We stay away from gambling, whiskey, and wild, wild women.

      • rick
        April 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

        the blue collars are pissed and will energize the vote. i say 60% hit the voting booths in nov. bad news for the gobs,

          April 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

          The blue collars are pissed? Why? They have The Messiah, The SAvior, VAlenti to die for there sins. Valenti has a Christ hang up. The blue collars, god bless em, did not build Pittsfield and they don’t have the smarts to keep it going. What you people knock as the GOBs these are the people who care about hte community and see that things get done. Blue collars are smart enough to govern themselves.

          • rick
            April 29, 2011 at 3:39 am #

            dead wrong pb, they built this city with their sweat and taxes,only to be silenced by the gobs.look at the voter turn out….they say to hell with it, their going to do what they want any way! if you dont believe me..look into the 3min. rule at the councils meeting…it used to be called open mike…

          • danvalenti
            April 29, 2011 at 6:46 am #

            The city council should get rid of Demeter’s Rules of Order and move to the most people-friendly Roberts Rules. Under Roberts, members of the audience can directly petition the chair for recognition and be given the floor. As for PB, “he” displays the ignorant arrogance of many of the rich and powerful: they think the Little Guy is stupid and can’t self-govern. Pittsfield is a blue-collar town, still, whose citizens by and large still have a great work ethic, sense of responsibility, and concern for their homes, jobs, kids and the like.

    • Dusty
      April 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

      I also think Joe Nichols stands a good chance. Obama got elected because people were sick of the the crap. Pittsfield is infested with corruption and the best way to make sure you get rid of it is to start with fresh blood in the top position.

      He will have to overcome the desperation of the GOB and the dirty filthy politics they are famous for. Ask Pam Malumphy about that in case you were not paying attention last election.

      And speaking of Pam I wish she would run for something. Her and Mazzeo would make a great female tandem on the council.

    • Guy N
      April 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

      Yes I say 20 to 1.

  8. Jonathan Melle
    April 28, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    I am just relieved that Jimmy Ruberto is stepping down from his 8-year post as Mayor. Ruberto was unethical, a mocking bully, and failed miserably on economic development. Ruberto was a hack for the Good Old Boy network, including Angelo Stracuzzi, Carmen Massimiano, & Andrea “Luciforo”.

  9. GMHeller
    April 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    It would be helpful if you posted party affiliation for all these people being listed as candidates.
    The fact that you have not differentiated, should that be taken to mean these are all Liberal Democrats?
    Are there any Conservative Republicans running, any Independents, any Greens?

  10. Concern
    April 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    R/e to Alf. Heard the two Judges were female, one wanted him fired, the other wanted him seriously punished. The reason was sexual harassment At least that’s what is the gossip around Northern court system

    • danvalenti
      April 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

      We have heard these stories as well. We will inquire.

      • GMHeller
        April 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

        @Dan Valenti,
        You write:
        “We have heard these stories as well. We will inquire.”

        Why bother?
        Sexually harassing, raping, even killing women is grounds for promotion and admiration amongst Liberal Democrats.
        Bill Clinton/Juanita Broaddrick; Ted Kennedy/Mary Jo Kopechne; etc., etc.

        • danvalenti
          April 29, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

          You embarrass yourself, my friend, when you spout such foamy blather.
          By such laughingstock remarks, you discredit the good points you make.
          You know, on the Sunday in question, I had a private, lovely, intimate dinner with …
          ( ) MRS. PLANET Check the correct answer. Hint: There’s only one choice!

          • GMHeller
            April 30, 2011 at 1:10 am #

            Mr. Valenti, in re my observation above that sexually harassing, raping, even killing women is grounds for promotion and admiration amongst Liberal Democrats, you write,
            “GMH. You embarrass yourself, my friend, when you spout such foamy blather. By such laughingstock remarks, you discredit the good points you make.”

            Foamy blather?
            Laughingstock remarks?
            Do you deny that Liberal Democrats and their lobbying organizations repeatedly ignore grievous behavior when done by the party’s leading lights?
            For example, when Juanita Broaddrick came forward and alleged she was raped and beaten-up by Bill Clinton, did anyone hear a single peep out of National Organization for Women?
            Similarly, when woman after woman claimed to have been accosted by Clinton, and when Clinton was even found in contempt of a federal court for lying, and when he lost his law license, did you hear any voice of condemnation from any Liberal women’s groups — from ANY Liberal organization?
            Same with ol’ Teddy: Did you ever hear one Liberal organization denounce Mr. Kennedy for his contemptible criminal negligence that caused the death of Mary Jo Kopechne?

            What’s more, Mr. Valenti, it’s not much different here in Berkshire County.
            When Liberal Democrat politico Angelo Stracuzzi was exposed as a sexual predator and pedophile, did any of Pittsfield’s Liberal Democrat-controlled political, commercial, or social organizations say ANYTHING?
            Did the Liberal Democrat-controlled City Council, of which Mr. Stracuzzi was president for many terms, issue any statement of condemnation?
            Did any sound of disgust utter publicly from the mouth of the Liberal Democrat Mayor whose reelection campaign was managed by Mr. Stracuzzi?
            Or how about when Liberal Democrat Alfred Barbalunga, head of Great Barrington’s Probation Dept., was written up in the Boston Globe as being involved up to his eyeballs in the Mass. Probation Department’s patronage scandal, did any of the various Liberal Democrat-controlled political or social organizations in the county issue any statement of disgust or disapproval?
            Did Mr. Barbalunga himself bother publicly even to apologize?

          • danvalenti
            April 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

            The cases you cite, sad as they are, do not have a partisan political cause. They are effects of character. If you wish, you can drag our a number of scandals on the other side of the aisle, where in-party biggies looked the other way. That’s my point. I condemn all predatory behavior of the kind you suggest, Glenn, but I don’t trace the cause of every human ill to “Liberal Democrats.” I wish I could. I wish it were that simple. It’s not. Both major political parties are equally corrupt and bankrupt. I play no favorites in that. I would urge you to watch the show I taped with the County Republican Association. Taped it Thursday. PCTV should have it online.

          • GMHeller
            April 30, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

            Mr. Valenti,
            You write:
            “The cases you cite, sad as they are, do not have a partisan political cause. They are effects of character. If you wish, you can drag our a number of scandals on the other side of the aisle, where in-party biggies looked the other way.”

            Wrong, Mr. Valenti.
            Republicans, when they misbehave, are always forced to cleanse their ranks, and the offenders are driven from office by the zealous self-righteous breast-beating Liberal press, whereas when Liberal Democrats misbehave, the offenders are allowed not only to stay in office but are given dispensation by a suddenly oh-so-quiet Liberal press.
            Cases in point Bill Clinton, Teddy Kennedy, Angelo Stracuzzi, and Alfred Barbalunga.
            You claim it was their character without explaining then why these people continued to be feted by Liberal Democrats and Liberal organizations?
            You also fail to explain why Liberal organizations issue no condemnation of these people.
            Locally, for example, why aren’t YOU calling Mr. Barbalunga out for his years of being a no-show at the North Adams probation office?
            Does years of not showing up for work offset the time he now actually shows up in Great Barrington?
            It’s all public monies, Mr. Valenti, that were paid for no value received.
            If Mr. Barbalunga had been working for private business, he would long ago have been fired for that kind of misbehavior.
            What’s more, he certainly would NOT have been given a salary increase, as happened when Mr. Barbalunga was moved to the Great Barrington office.
            Why aren’t you demanding Mr. Barbalunga return every dollar of state salary received for all those days he failed to make it into the N.A. probation office?
            Mr. Valenti, it’s the Democrat machine which allows these people “with effects of character” to stay an active part of that machine.
            Even rape (Clinton), criminal negligence leading to death (Kennedy), pedophilia (Stracuzzi), and, outright stealing from taxpayers by not showing up for work (Barbalunga) are not “effects of character” bad enough for that Democrat machine to make any effort to cleanse itself of the bad ‘actors’.
            Meantime, guys like you continue to make lame excuses for those bad actors and for the machine which condones their bad behavior.

          • danvalenti
            May 1, 2011 at 8:59 am #

            The Planet cannot investigate everything, everyone, from every portion of the past. Not possible. There are still investigations extant into Probation. The Ware Report produced its findings, the AG, and the IG are looking. The Globe Spotlight Team, which The Planet assisted, investigated. They will find what there is to find. As far as that goes, as a citizen “journalist,” Glenn, why don’t YOU investigate and report on these matters? Is it that they have been done to death? If not, then get in there and start digging. You are more than welcome to do so, my friend.

  11. Jonathan Melle
    April 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Pittsfield’s CEDs document:
    #1 – Job loss! GE is gone. KB Toys bankrupt. Hundreds of lost jobs during the Ruberto regime. (& they aint comin’ back).
    #2 – Teen pregnancies! Super high per capita welfare caseloads. Poverty for generations after generations.
    #3 – Violent crimes! Shootings, murders, drug dealers, domestic violence, bullying.
    #4 – Insider politics! The Good Old Boy network running the political machine of corrupt politicians. If you don’t follow the Ruberto regime, you are an outsider.
    #5 – Declining public schools! Public education with high per capital truancy & drop-out rates. Pittsfield schools in the bottom 10% in statewide performance results.
    Pittsfield is NOT an attractive place for residential and business investments. There are diminishing jobs in a depressed economy. The only real growth is in welfare caseloads with kids having babies at a rate that doubles the statewide average. Pittsfield’s streets are ridden with violent crimes and drug activities. One cannot make a difference in Pittsfield politics because the system is rigged by corrupt insider politicians known as the Good Old Boy network who run a political machine that makes most citizens into outsiders. Pittsfield’s public school system is in decline with poor performance results that put it into the bottom 10% statewide.
    The CEDs draft makes Mayor Jimmy Ruberto because the truth of the Ruberto Regime is that it failed on every level of governance. The truth hurts Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s false pride.

    • Guy N
      April 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

      Thank god you moved away! 0ne less statistic…….

      • Jonathan Melle
        April 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

        I am not a statistic, nor a reflection of the sad realities facing Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Instead of contributing to job loss, I worked every and any job given to me throughout my life. I served our nation Honorably in the U.S. Army and am a Disabled Veteran. As a young adult, I went to college for 6 straight years instead of being part of the teenage pregnancy welfare complex that is Pittsfield & North Adams. I only have 2 misdemeanors for a criminal record and served my time, fines and fees. I don’t abuse alcohol and I don’t do drugs. I am averse to violence of any kind. While I have been a victim of bullies, I refuse to live at any of their low levels of behaviors. I speak out against insider politics and the corrupt politicians who use the Good Old Boy network’s political machine for their own gain at the expense of many. I blog about politics, politicians and the system to try to understand, analyze and speak for changes. I email my political thoughts and personal struggles so people would understand my good conscience and well meaning for our World. I support quality public education and dissent against all of the politics that have taken away from teachers educating students to think critically and be good citizens. No one wants Pittsfield to change more than me. It is my native hometown and I get angry to see its downward spiral into job loss, teen pregnancies & welfare caseloads, violent crimes and drug use, corrupt & insider politics, and poorly performing schools. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, used to speak out about the real Pittsfield back in 2003 – 2005 era, too. Rinaldo was not listened to because The Berkshire Eagle, the Good Old Boy network & political machine, & WHEN voiced many falsehoods and propaganda that has neglected the need for economic growth, family values, community, public schools, and stopping violent crimes. I don’t know what happened to Rinaldo’s voice for Pittsfield. Maybe he got discouraged, but Rinaldo was right about everything he spoke out about. Rinaldo is intelligent and should run for political office once again. I like the work Dan Valenti is doing on his blog. Maybe Valenti will make a difference in Pittsfield.

        • scott
          April 28, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

          So are you “adverse” to violence since you almost ran down that cop and the old ladies with their grandchildren on an Easter walk?

          • Jonathan Melle
            April 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

            I never intended to hit Manchester NH police officer John Cunningham with my car. I turned my steering wheel to the right to drive around him. For my actions, I was found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor “Reckless Conduct” for driving around Cunningham and knocking over a cone with my car. Cunningham had no injuries whatsoever. No one was harmed by my actions. I am sorry for my actions. I did my time, paid my fines and fees, and now I am a free man again.

        • Hearse Driver
          April 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

          Melle– if u truly cared about pittsfield, then u should’ve stayed and gotten involved instead of heading north to New Hampshire. i wish you people that post on here would stop complaining. Put your money where your mouth is, run for office, get on a commission or committee..and lastly stop bashing those that put their name in the ring for office. atleast they are trying to make this city better…

          also, the mayor cannot prevent violent crimes like murders and shootings, and he does not decide which kids stay home from school and which ones go and get suspended, etc. he also does not dictate the higher cost of doing business here. look at everything you buy, milk, gas, electricity… Do u go to the store and complain about the cost of milk?? no u buy it and u keep your mouth shut. so why not about the spending of tax dollars???

          • Kim
            May 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

            Keeping our mouths shut has gotten us in this situation. The complaining is a bit much, and maybe instead of bashing eachother, a solution could be found.

        • CONCERNED
          April 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

          Jonathan I disagree with you on many issues, I agree with you on a few. However I respect your right to voice your opinions. And thanks for serving our right country. We that you are a true American my friend.

          • CONCERNED
            April 28, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

            Sorry meant to say “thanks for serving our GREAT country” “For that you are a true American my friend”

          • danvalenti
            April 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

            Well said, Concerned. We share your sentiments, and we salute YOU for YOUR great service to America. We know that you answered the call. We love you for that and much more.

    • Scott
      April 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

      Notice how quick the eagle took the most recent violent assaults and kidnapping off it’s front page online.

  12. Josh
    April 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    As a Ward 4 voter, if the choice is between the four mentioned, my vote is for Chuck Vincelette by a long-shot. Not only does he have a strong background in finance (though his years with the school credit union on Williams Street), but he would be hitting the ground running in January 2012. He’s been on the council before and has the experience needed to provide a smooth transition. Of course, this is very early in the process, so we’ll have to wait and see what develops in the next few months.

    As for the mayoral race, I am pleased to see Dan Bianchi run again. A mayoral race truly isn’t a race unless you have strong, qualified candidates, which Bianchi is both (as well as Marchetti and Nichols, the two high profile candidates who have already declared). I envision the general election (as it stands now) coming down to him and Marchetti, with the vote broken down fairly similarly to how it was in 2009, with Marchetti winning the well-to-do and voter rich areas of Pittsfield in Wards 3 and 4 (which swung the pendulum towards Ruberto), and Bianchi controlling the more blue-collar areas of 1, 2, 5, 6 (his home ward), and 7. I don’t see Nichols playing a huge factor at this time, as his experience in local government is much less compared to Marchetti and Bianchi.

    The way the tide turns depends on A) How hard Bianchi chooses to work wards 3 and 4; or B) The temperature of the voters in 3 and 4 (generally the wards with the highest turnouts). Any bad economic news which may occur will help Bianchi, as he is not currently in office, and certainly not viewed as in concert with the ideas of the Ruberto administration. Marchetti’s fate will also decide on how he chooses to develop his platform. My main criticism of his performance on the council is that he tends to be indecisive and waffle on certain issues. If he wants to be mayor, he’s going to need to demonstrate that he will take a strong stand on the key issues and not flip-flop.

    Right now, I see the race as Bianchi’s to lose, but again, the elections are months away. Anything can change.

    • Dusty
      April 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

      It might be a waste of time for Bianchi to “work ward 4”. They seem to vote in a block for GOB candidates. They might even be given a written list to take with them to the polls. Not whole lot of independent thinkers there.

      • Josh
        April 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

        How could it be a waste if he already has the other areas of the city sewn up in the bag? Dan isn’t going to have to worry about areas like Wards 6 and 7. Besides, Wards 3 and 4 are unique in the fact that they have higher voter turnout percentages. The socioeconomic demographics certainly play a role in this as well. People in Wards 3 and 4 tend to be people who are more well-off and are pleased with the status quo. Whereas in other blue collar areas of the city, there are more working-class people trying to make ends meet and more unemployed people who are eager to hear a different voice. If Dan truly wants to win, he needs to work his areas of weakness in order to shift the tables in case the vote is as close as it was in 2009.

        And if Marchetti wants to win, he needs to reverse his focus and look towards the working-class wards. The sentiment echoed by many that the Ruberto administration has not worked enough for the neighborhoods must change if Peter wants a chance with this population. While he may not necessarily win these wards, it could build him a stronger cushion if he wins 3 and 4 by a lower margin than anticipated.

      • Scott
        April 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm #


  13. John
    April 28, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    That’s correct Bill. How do you seperate yourself from restaurants for instance, and decide that Mazzeo’s is your favorite?

  14. Joetaxpayer
    April 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Welcome back Chuck,wish you never left.Nichols 30-1

  15. DJ
    April 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    I have to defend Mike Ward, the guy is a good guy, worked hard and done a lot. He’s now moving into a new job with much different responsibilities. He is not running again and doesn’t actually have to answer to you. You claim to be unbiased and I like that you stir the pot but when the pot is closer to home or includes one of your friends or someone who strokes you ego, you go all “Berkshire Eagle” on them and bury or ignore the story.
    Buddy Lewis, what about the lawsuits and what seems to be a grand jury investigating his alleged involvement of defrauding his company buy using corporate funds to buy personal items for himself and his family?
    You ignore the REAL reason Scribby got let go, it has more to do with sex then it does with who owns the company.

    • Guy N
      April 29, 2011 at 5:11 am #

      Great Blog!! Dan where is your comeback to this? Are you afraid of the truth? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH !

    • GMHeller
      April 29, 2011 at 6:43 am #

      Concerning David Scribner, you write:
      “You (referring to Dan Valenti) ignore the REAL reason Scribby got let go, it has more to do with sex then it does with who owns the company.”

      ‘DJ’, since Mr. Valenti refuses, for whatever reason, to play investigative journalist in the matter of David Scribner’s strange and hasty exit from The Berkshire Eagle, please expand upon that which you know about the subject.
      If Mr. Valenti decides to delete your information here, then please post it to Topix-Pittsfield onto the Scribner thread already started, or email it directly to me at
      Many thanks.

    April 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    VAlenti ate at Patrick’s Pub last night, wathing the Boston Bruins game with Peter Marchetti and Matt KErwood. Strange but true. Our spies on his tail.

      April 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

      more like stalking, Pittsfield non Believer get a life. Oh and congras to the Bruins

    • Jim Gleasen
      April 28, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

      Was it the late Peter Arlos, who called Matt Kerwood “Eddie Munster” during a city council meeting?

      • danvalenti
        April 28, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

        Yes. One of the greatest nicknames of all time, even better than The Planet’s moniker for Matthew, Kufflinks.

      • danvalenti
        April 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

        Actually, Jim, The Aging Greek God’s name for Kerwood was “Little Eddie Munster.” He emphasized the “little” when pronoucing it. Drove Kufflinks up the creek! So of course, Peter kept needling.

  17. Hearse Driver
    April 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    i wouldnt vote for joe nichols if he gave me a million dollars. he has no clue what hes doing and the only way he can show people he does is to vote against anything and everything he can. its easy to sit there and know that something will pass and he votes no… he must’ve had Peter Arlos as a mentor.

    • Dusty
      April 29, 2011 at 12:52 am #

      Something tells me you will be one of the GOB hired guns slinging mud at the GOB rivals. Do you get free lunch at Spice for that or has someone promised you a cushy patronage job for your efforts?

    • Guy N
      April 29, 2011 at 5:15 am #


  18. rick
    April 29, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    keep mazzeo and sherman…. get rid of the rest…we need to purge the city council… the bath water is slimy…… get mazzeo in as pres. and let the people speak. she is the darling of pittsfield…. the people are sick and tired of spend,spend,spend…and then raise our taxes.if they havent got it yet…they never will……so out with the old and in with the new. and if they dont get it, keep outing them till we get it right…. the democratic way………

    • Dusty
      April 30, 2011 at 3:22 am #

      and be careful of new candidates because some are handpicked to run by the GOB. They are puppet agents who get on the council simply to vote the way they are told.

      And make sure you get a decent mayor because some ignore the citizens AND the council and do what the rich folk want.

  19. John
    April 29, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    Anyone see the Royal Wedding?

    • Guy N
      April 29, 2011 at 5:13 am #

      Yes I saw Jimmy Gleason in the crowd. I think I saw Heller there too!

      • GMHeller
        April 29, 2011 at 7:37 am #

        Not so yesterday, but regarding the day of Prince Charles’ Royal Wedding to Lady Di, there is a story to tell involving a young lady met that day in the Boston Public Garden with whom a honeymoon was indeed shared that night simultaneous with Charles and Di.

  20. John
    April 29, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    @ Guy..I said the Royal Wedding, not the Royal Rumble.