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SOME NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS ON A FRIDAY MORNING & AFTERNOON. YES, STEROIDsGATE IS MENTIONED, and SO is SOMETHING SHOCKING ABOUT MOSQUITOGATE. LEARN THE DEEP, DARK SECRETS OF A PROGRAM THAT COST THE CITY SIX FIGURES, ALL OF IT WASTE

BY DAN VALENTI

The Planet, in the middle of an extremely busy and productive morning picking hundreds off the money tree, offers a few quick though not-so-random thoughts on matters that have come out way in the past 24 hours:

— SURE TO HAPPEN: Before he leaves office in early January, 2012, assuming the world doesn’t end prior to that, Mayor Jimmy Ruberto will appoint Acting Chief Mike Wynn as full-fledged chief. The council will approve, 8-3, as Uncle Gerry gets out his pruned rubber stamp.

— If Lew Markham and Jonathan Lothrop, of Dumb and Dumber fame, REALLY want to “get” The Planet, they would invite him on their show and double-team him. Of course, that would mean they were doing it face to face, man to man, and not behind his back. It would also mean The Planet could, you know, give it back, on a “twofer” basis.

— If the Consent Agreement signed with GE in 1998 is the greatest thing since Wonder Bread Built Strong Boies 12 Ways, why, after 13 years (*) are all of GE’s toxins still in the water, land, and soil of Pittsfield? (*) Why is the Housatonic River still sick? (*) Why are there NO (ZERO) companies on the PEDA site (think pollution and liability is scaring them away)? Also, why are we supposed to believe that when the Consent Decree was being negotiated between the pricipals of GE and the city of Pittsfield, the city’s barroom politics were sharper than the four floors of the sharpest legal minds in the world that GE brought to the table?

— Has Acting Police Chief Wynn and the department provided medical help for officer David Kirchner to supervise his withdraw from steroids, assuming Kirchner was using and not selling? The side effects of withdrawal are potentially lethal, as Joe Pinhead shows in the comments section of yesterday’s post.

— Why is the Pittsfield School Department looking to saddle taxpayers with another school bus purchase, totaling $4.3 million, after just five years ago replacing the fleet. Who’s getting rich off that one? The numbers don’t add up, the move stinks, but watch how fact the school committee and the city council fall in love with it.

— Chief Wynn admitted to The Planet that he had no idea of officer Kirchner’s involvement in illegal steroids. He said he learned about it from another (and ongoing) investigation from a second local law enforcement agency that he would not name. Therefore, how can the chief say that Kirchner is the only one in a force of 120 that is involving in juicing? If he didn’t know about Kirchner, how can he know about anybody else?

— As to the above question, why doesn’t Chief Wynn want to find out, for sure, the answer to the question. Why not institute a policy of random drug testing for the PPD, effective immediately. We know the union will support it because police union head Marc Maddalena himself told The Planet that the union supports such testing. He said the only reason the department doesn’t have such testing is a contractual matter.

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What’s All That Buzzing? or HOW Stupid Can One Get?

How dysfunctional are the politics, policies, and carry-out of same in the city of Pittsfield. Last year, the city committed more than $600,000 to wrap everyone up in a protective bubble to save them from … mosquitoes … as if this is equatorial French Guiana.

Common sense can arm people without stinking government programs, actions such as draining wet spots and standing water, wearing long sleeves and pants, personal insecticide, and avoiving the dawn-dusk periods. Follow those four steps, and you’ve personally taken care of 95% of the problem, without government getting involved. The other 5% we used to be able to put up with as a given in life, something not fun but not debilitating.

A Bad Deal from the Get Go

Nonetheless, the Mosquiters, that is, those who supported this plan (John Krol, Mike Ward, etc. among my Right Honorable Good Friends), convinced a skeptical Mayor Jimmy Ruberto to sign on the buzzing line.

One year later, and the program turned out to be such a colossal failure as to be considered a sham. The city blew six figures on the following. We take this from the March 7, 2011 Mosquito Task Force Meeting. Just the title has to let you know, in case there were any doubts, that you were in Palookaville with a lot of Barney Fifes. Nonetheless, at the meeting:

  • The task force voted in favor (4-0) of a petition to opt-out of the Berkshire Mosquito Control Program (BCMCP). It cited:

* No confidence in Berkshire County Mosquito Control Program to meet needs of the city to promote an integrated pest management system

  • Voted against (3-1) adulticiding (spraying) ) for nuisance (which could have begun as early as mid-June). It did so because of:

* Failure to meet 33 CMR Standard for Application of Pesticides.

* Short-term answer only (2-3 days)

* Difficulty to reach agreement on definition/threshold for nuisance

* Emphasis should be on larviciding, ditch digging, & education

* One in favor qualified vote: “Only in favor with very clear protocols for

spraying.”

  • Voted in favor of the following expected outcomes (what they call in bureaucratese “deliverables”) from the BCMCP for the remainder of FY ’11: (4-0)

* Comprehensive Public Education Campaign enacted by end of April

2011 emphasizing: information for residents on prevention of mosquito

breeding.

(Inclusion of pesticide information i.e. safety/toxicity and related topics

i.e. protection of Honey bees, only if decision made to spray for

nuisance.)

* Emphasis on surveillance (to begin mid-April) and larviciding (to

begin late April/early May) and continued through June 30th.

(throughout summer if decision to continue in BCMCP)

* Designated oversight of BCMCP to ensure

accountability.

WE INTERRUPT TO ASK A QUESTION: IF THE COUNTY MOSQUITO SERVICE IS SO POORLY MANAGED, WHY AND HOW COULD ANYONE BE DECEIVED INTO THINKING IT WAS A GOOD PROGRAM FOR PITTSFIELD. SORRY. THE PLANET REALIZES THAT QUESTIONS, IN PITTSFIELD, ARE CONSIDERED DISLOYAL AND ANARCHISTIC.

IT GETS WORSE. The task force also expressed its “Rationale/Concerns with Mosquito Control Program to date.” They are:

  • History of spraying without notification of city leaders i.e. Mayor, Director of Health Department. This is code for “Spraying of Dr. Phil Adamo’s house without his permission. The city physician wasn’t too happy, and, since he’s not a Little Guy, he got attention right away.
  • History of spraying without knowledge of locations of schools, day care centers (regarding the MGL re the Children and Families’ Protection Act). See above note on Dr. Adamo.
  • No budgetary allocation for public education and no actual plan to do so even though requested repeatedly by the task force and BOH.
  • BCMCP wrote in their September 10,2010 report: “A public education program is in process of being completed with input from the Pittsfield BOH” and outlined in the BCMCP 2010 Annual Report dated 12/14/10 as: “An Educational/Public Outreach Program will be put in place this winter as requested by the Pittsfield BOH”. When asked why nothing to date has been accomplished with the educational campaign, the comments were,  No work done [from Oct- March] because there is nothing to do in mosquito control in the winter.” “Can’t afford to do mass mailings.” and “Waiting for you [Task force] to tell us what you want.”
  • READ THE ABOVE CAREFULLY. THAT IS ACTAUL LANGUAGE FROM THE BCMCP. This sounds like the mosquitos wrote the report. The county mosquito project says it will include “public education” (WHAT, WE DON’T KNOW WHAT A MOSQUITO IS OR HOW TO SLAP ONE INTO NIRVANA?). When asked why it it didn’t fulfill its promise, it said:  No work done [from Oct- March] because there is nothing to do in mosquito control in the winter.” “Can’t afford to do mass mailings.” and “Waiting for you [Task force] to tell us what you want.”
  • No coordination to date with the Pittsfield DPW regarding catch-basin cleaning and larviciding after repeated requests to do so. (Last assessed with Bruce Collingwood on March 7th.)
  • Lack of confidence in knowledge and lack of consistent viewpoints among members of Program in addressing questions/concerns from task force members i.e. wetlands, neighbors’ right to opt out, options when limited road access for truck spraying, regulatory guidelines.
  • General lack of customer service/awareness/follow-through of expected outcomes developed by task force in early December as of this date.

How could Mayor Ruberto Have Fallen For the Mosquito Program?

The report makes us all geniuses with hindsight, even Mayor Ruberto, who at least admitted his mistake. The Planet can honestly report we were against this the first time that pest Matt “Kufflinks” Kerwood fixated on mosquitos. We failed them ,we failed last year, and we certainly fail now to see how a government program can take care of a perceived problem that is no problem in actuality.

In short, WHY DID THE CITY EVER SIGN ON FOR SUCH A STUPID PROGRAM? Don’t we have better ways to spend $650,000? It is state money, you say, and doesn’t come out of our budget?

(a) Guess where the state gets its money (gotta mirror, taxpayers?)

(b) That’s no excuse for waste

(c) It is a sign of government run amok.

What ever happened to self-sufficiency? What ever happened to people dealing with mosquitos (or not, as they see fit) on their own? The sign-on to the mosquito program last year and the lack of communication between the county and the city on the administration of it in 2010 sounds like fiction. An outsider would be justified in saying The Planet made all this up. We didn’t.

Now if we can show that Berkshire County mosquitos are unusually large, bull-headed, and aggressive because they are taking steroids, that’s a different story. In that case, let’s call the County Drug Task Force and the Pittsfield Police Department.

We’re sure the problem will disappear, right quick.

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MORE LATER. GOTTA GO. LOVE TO ALL & OPEN THE WINDOWS, AUNT MILLIE.

36 Responses to “SOME NOT-SO-RANDOM THOUGHTS ON A FRIDAY MORNING & AFTERNOON. YES, STEROIDsGATE IS MENTIONED, and SO is SOMETHING SHOCKING ABOUT MOSQUITOGATE. LEARN THE DEEP, DARK SECRETS OF A PROGRAM THAT COST THE CITY SIX FIGURES, ALL OF IT WASTE”

  1. PCP
    April 8, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    Drug test does not have to be and should not be a contractual matter. It is a condition of employment, not a working condition

  2. GMHeller
    April 8, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Sure would be nice to know just what was so important for Chief Wynn to talk about privately with editors at The Berkshire Eagle such that the Chief intentionally exempted Dan Valenti and anyone else not affiliated with The Eagle from his “press conference”?
    But I guess readers at PlanetValenti are not privy to that which is shared by city officials with The Eagle behind closed doors.

    • danvalenti
      April 8, 2011 at 11:48 am #

      GMH
      You got that right. The GOBs probably told the Boring Broadsheet’s management how it’s going to be. Bing, bang, boom. Also, without betraying any confidences, it’s fair to say that when Chief Wynn and The Planet talked yesterday, there were things shared that didn’t make print.

  3. Cindy Berkman
    April 8, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Dan,
    My husband and I were reading the Boring Broadsheet this morning, when we came across the “man charged with drug offense” story. Not to rehash the entire story, but he made the point of how Officer Kirchner’s actions will hurt in many ways: (1) how can any member of the county’s drug unit be called an “expert in court” (if any are considered that), when they couldn’t even spot a member of their own unit using drugs/steriods? (2) any person who is caught selling or using drugs by the task force should go to trial. If their lawyer were to subpoena each member of the drug task force to (a) question under oath if that person knew Officer Kirchner was doing steriods? (b) what his punishment was, if any at all?

    Not only does this whole issue cause a black eye for PPD, but it could cost a lot of tax payer dollars in trials that were once solid, but are all now questionable.

    • Joe Pinhead
      April 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      Not to mention a crafty lawyer claiming a client was treated badly when brought in. Could have been roid rage. Just as the PPD was unaware of the steroid usage of one Officer it could be unknown of others. Please remember it was in fact 2 officers one a PPD one with the State PD who it appears worked with and socialized with others on the PPD still no one identified their behavior? A million question remain as of yet unanswered, How where the Steroids introduced into the body? injected? where did the Needles etc come from? were they disposed of? if so where? and on and on

  4. danvalenti
    April 8, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    CINDY
    Welcome to The Planet. You’ll point is right on the money. This “rogue cop” who did steroids will cause enormous headaches for the PPD and the taxpayers. And if, as could be the case, it’s not just one rogue cop but personnell on the drug task force and that the county house of correction, we’ll say, “Nellie, bar the door.” That you for sharing this point of view with my readers.

  5. Bonnie
    April 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    I would like to know what the members of The Pittsfield Drug Task Force… 4 to be exact were doing parked behind the Madison Bar around 7ish last night? Rumour and I did say rumour has it that they were undergoing retraining on how to spot a drug dealer/user since they failed in their own tribe. To be honest a few of them just needed to look in the mirror.

    • danvalenti
      April 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

      It would make a good story: Just what of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force? What’s it’s role? How does it operate? How many members? Who are they? What training do they receive? HOw are they screened? How are they supervised? Everyone needs educating.

      • Cindy Berkman
        April 8, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

        Plus Dan, most departments rotate their officers out of the narcotics squad after 3 years on it. It prevents guys/gals from becoming “dirty cops;” you know the ones who steal drug money, or maybe even use drugs/steriods. Here in Pittsfield a person picked to be blessed into the “double-secret probation squad,” headed up by Dean Vernon Wermor, are given a lifetime appointment. It begs the question, can you be effective in a small city doing narcotics work after 3 years?

  6. Scott
    April 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Just what exactly is conspiracy to violate drug laws and is officer Kirchner guilty of this??? If so why isn’t he in a holding cell next to Lawrence W. Posey???

    • danvalenti
      April 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

      EDITOR’S NOTE: Lawrence Posey, 33, of Dartmouth Street in Pittsfield was charged by Pittsfield police with six counts of drug-related offenses. He entered a plea of not guilty on district court. He was charged after an investigation by the Berkshire County Drug Task Force. Folks, do you see any irony here, and no, you don’t have to name names. That will happen, just not now or here, please. We hear that Posey posted his bond, so he’s probably free. Gee, you think there’s a double standard?

  7. GMHeller
    April 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Mr.Valenti,
    Please note that the great American newspaper, The Berkshire Eagle, still has yet to publish a single interview with anyone who is a customer or client of Berkshire Nautilus or of any of the other gyms and fitness centers in Berkshire County asking the simple question: How widespread is anabolic steroids use at these facilities?

    • danvalenti
      April 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

      Yes another example of their timidity. Scared to death of upsetting the GOBs because of already declining ad revenue. Agreed. The way to deliver the death knell is to start boycotting advertisers. Only a small % of the Boring Broadsheet’s revenues are from circulation. Most from ads. I’m working now with a newsroom source (who’s treading carefully in an atmosphere of fear) and hope to have figures on these numbers. It will be an eye-opener. If folks begin to boycott Eagle advertiser and support the Gazette’s the advertisers win, the people win, and the BB gets helped along to the deep end.

      • Dusty
        April 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

        If you don’t get the Eagle how do you know who the advertisers are? Should we start a list somewhere or does everybody have to find a discarded copy?

        • Joe Pinhead
          April 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

          No when you dont get the eagle they send the Flyers to your house. You can tell them you dont want them they dont care. It is unsolicited junk mail but it has all the advertisers in it. If I shop at one of the stores I bring the entire mess to the store and request they dispose of it properly.

        • Fan Dan Go
          April 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

          excellent idea. We could start a list of advertisers and get it going from there via fbook, twitter etc. dusty, you wanna start?

    • Scott
      April 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

      F**k the eagle because they’ve always done and reported how the local cops and gov’t tell them too. If your kid is connected they get off if not they have their life history thrown in the paper it’s disgusting.

      • GMHeller
        April 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

        Hey, why don’t all of us contribute what we know about each of the principals at The Eagle?
        Andrew Mick, Tim Farkas, Kevin Moran, Bill Everhart, Clarence Fanto.
        Maybe some mini-biographies are in order, written the way The Eagle writes them.
        Just what is Andy Mick’s life history?
        And that Bill Everhart, I bet there’s some interesting life history there.

  8. Joe Pinhead
    April 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    How nice it must be to be one of the “special” people of Berkshire County. Mr. Capeless Please tell us how a youth can get 2 years for pot but an officer is only suspended for 5 days?

    http://www.november.org/stayinfo/breaking06/Capeless.html

    • danvalenti
      April 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

      YES, JOE. How is that possible. Kids in Great Barrington are caught with five buck of grass. They get the slammer and the rest of their lives ruined. A city cop gets caught in juicing activity, and, “Oops, never mind.” Where IS the DA? Where IS Sheriff Tom Bowler? Why the silence? Sooner or later, someone is going to come out ON THE RECORD and start singing. Then, OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.

  9. Scott
    April 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I was busted with pot in 97′ I was 17 years old. The pot was not found in my direct possession nor did I have any controlled buys to law enforcement or CI’s. I took it to trial and lost due mainly on poor legal advice for I or my family could not afford a real defense. I served two years and a day from the time i was 17-19 for possession with intent I repeat WITH INTENT the law says you can not speculate a persons frame of mind but they do anyway. This is why as a father, a tax payer and a citizen with money invested in this county as well as a land owner this type of thing bothers me. I paid my debt I was held accountable as I should have been under the law and I expect the same from others.

    • Who cares
      April 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

      Scott. Don’t believe a word you just printed. Your trying to fool us of your real identity ummmmmmmm

      • Scott
        April 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

        What motive would I have to lie??? It’s kind of lame I was sitting there for all that time while certain CO’s let drugs through he gate and profited off it.

    • Dusty
      April 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

      Once heard a story that the jail gets X amount of dollars from the state for every body they have in a cell. Supposedly to cover the costs of housing him/her. Suggestion was that many of those dollars were being siphoned off and going elsewhere. May be a nationwide scam. I even read where they got a judge who was given a percentage to send kids to jail for above reason.

    • GMHeller
      April 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

      What was the name of your legal counsel?
      It’s important that people know who provided your legal representation.
      Just my opinion but it seems to me there is a whole lot of truly lackluster legal talent in Berkshire County, lawyers who just have not been able to make it in Boston or Springfield.

      • Scott
        April 8, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

        Bruce Rumph he is a public pretender nd mine was his first criminal case.

  10. Hmmm
    April 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    This is from the ppd ltc app….would this disqualify Kirchner from owning or carrying a handgun?

    5. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN CONVICTED OF THE UNLAWFUL USE, POSSESSION, OR SALE OF NARCOTIC OR HARMFUL DRUGS
    AS DEFINED IN MGL c. 94C? __________

    • danvalenti
      April 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

      HMMMM
      Woah, that IS an interesting question. The State Trooper caught up in SteroidsGate got assigned to desk duty and was stripped of his weapon.

      • GMHeller
        April 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

        Now THAT is a question Chief Wynn should be answering.
        Juiced guys should not be carrying.

  11. Hmmm
    April 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Tampa Bay Rays slugger Manny Ramirez has notified Major League Baseball that he is retiring after being notified of an issue under MLB’s drug policy.

    Ramirez tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug during spring training and retired rather than face a 100-game suspension, The New York Times reported on its website.

    Major League Baseball announced the move in a statement on Friday. The statement did not say whether Ramirez tested positive for a banned substance. He has previously served a 50-game suspension for violating the drug policy while he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    One would think the punishment for a law officer would be more than a ball player.

  12. Ron Kitterman
    April 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    ” My name if Friday I carry a badge “

    • Brian Gilbert
      April 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

      Ron wern’t you Barney fife with 1 bullett?

  13. Bonnie
    April 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    This is Cagney and that damn Lacey has the steroids) Useing it to heal an old injury)

  14. notho
    April 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    book em Dano

  15. Dusty
    April 9, 2011 at 2:41 am #

    “Andy, can I have my bullet back?” Barney Fife

  16. notho
    April 9, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    ……nine counts