Article

$1 BUYS a $17.5 MILLION PROPERTY: ONLY IN PITTSFIELD, plus, MORE ON STEROIDsGATE: ARTICLE REVEALS SHOCKING TRUTH OF STEROIDS USE BY COPS; THERE’s GOLD IN THEN THAR SQUAD CARS, PLUS, WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND: RANDOM DRUG TESTING NOW!

BY DAN VALENTI

FIRST ADD, 4/9/11, 3:44 p.m. (Ted Williams’ lifetime batting average)

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, APRIL 9) — Do you remember Patrick Sheehan, the mysterious owner of the building on outer East Street that the city wanted to purchase for a DPW garage? He of the seemingly countless LLCs and corporations?

Uncovered by sleuths at The Planet is a DEED listed on the website of masslandrecords.com. Here’s the deed:

Not being a lawyer, for which we thank great God in His heaven, we can only point our a few puzzling and tantalizing aspects of this document. Remember, this is the nursing home mogul who almost sold what might prove to be PCB-laden property to the city for an exorbitant price with unanswered quetions on liability and remediation. Uncle Gerry Lee’s rubber stamp almost came out on this, before coverage prompted more scrutiny.

Notice about the deed:

*Quaside, the Massachusetts non-profit, has an Atlanta, Ga., address.

* Sheehan paid one dollar, a buck, for the Lebanon Avenue property with a mortgage of $17.5 million.

* It notes that Quaside “has voluntarily entered into this transaction.” That’s an extremely odd codicile to add. As Raymond Mason, the Planet’s in-house lawyer explains, all contracts contracts properly drawn, signed, and recorded — ALL — are assumed to be voluntary and  not signed under duress. Signing under duress, of course, would invalidate any signature.

* Why would Quaside have to admit, in black and white, it “voluntarily entered into this crazy deal of offering one dollar for a $17.5 million asset. Makes one wonder when Quaside signed on the dotten line, where was the position of its other hand and arm, and are they now in a cast?

* The deed also explains why there are “no deed stamps … affixed hereto,” another peculiar aspect.

* Do you think the city of Pittsfield will be buying a DPW garage at 255 Lebanon Avenue for the remainder of a $17.5 million debt?

* Naw, it couldn’t be. Shows you how sharp The Planet is. With our dollar, we bought a coffee at the Intermodal Transportation Center snack bar and got seven cents back as change. If we were as smart as Sheehan Purchase LLC, we could have bought a palace. Next thing you know, Mayor Ruberto and Uncle Gerry will be issuing a press release that tells us that Sheehan “is a nice guy.” Of that, The Planet has no doubt. We are all “nice guys,” in our own way.

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Illegal Use of Steroids by Cops: “Police Chief” Does what Pittsfield will NOT do: It takes on the issue directly

The Planet presents a reading assignment we highly recommend to every member of the Pittsfield police department, employees of the county house of correction, the county drug task force, District Attorney David Capeless and staff, citizens, and anyone else who wants to learn more about the prevalent use of steroids by cops.

The article will be presented in three parts. “Police Chief” magazine addresses pressing concerns to the command staff at the nation’s police departments. We assume Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn subscribes. If not, The Planet recommends doing so. The following article, written by Commander Kim Humphrey, was published in the March 2011 issue and represents current views. Here is Part 1:

Anabolic Steroid Use and Abuse by Police Officers: Policy & Prevention

By Commander Kim R. Humphrey, Professional Standards Bureau, Phoenix, Arizona, Police Department; Kathleen P. Decker, M.D., U.S. Air Force; Linn Goldberg, M.D., Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon; Harrison G. Pope Jr., M.D., Harvard Medical School; Joseph Gutman, M.D., Practicing Endocrinologist, Tempe, Arizona; and Gary Green, M.D., University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)

Although physical fitness is an essential part of policing, as described in the previous article, some officers go too far to ensure their strength—endangering not only themselves but also the public they are sworn to defend.

n officer crashes a police car and seriously injures an innocent bystander. The investigation reveals that the officer was acting erratically, had bloodshot eyes, and slurred his speech. The officer’s supervisor is called, and the decision is made to test for alcohol consumption. The test results determine that the officer was in fact intoxicated. Disciplinary action is taken, resulting in the officer’s termination for drinking alcohol while driving on duty. Though exposed to liability, the department recognizes the dangers of alcohol abuse and appropriately responds when a dangerous situation presents itself.

Another officer, involved in several shootings and use-of-force incidents, garners significant attention within his agency and the media. Investigations reveal that the unrelated incidents were questionable but lawful and, according to the officer, justified based on perceived threats. The agency’s use-of-force review reluctantly finds the officer within policy but awaits the next incident. How many police leaders would recognize that this officer could have a problem similar to the one in the first example? If the officer’s appearance indicated he was exceptionally muscular, would they consider the possible abuse of anabolic steroids? What would prompt them to believe that excessive use of force could be associated with “’roid rage,” a hyperaggressive, violent state of mind supposedly brought on by steroid use? When and how would they confirm that their suspicions are true? What if a defense or civil attorney proposed that an officer was a steroid abuser based on the officer’s appearance and witnessed behaviors? Compared with alcohol and other illicit drugs, anabolic steroids (also known as anabolic-androgenic steroids, or AASs) are not easily detected. Supervisors typically are trained to look for inappropriate behaviors that might justify a “just cause” drug screen; however, with AASs the behaviors and other indicators might not be as easily recognized.

Recently, accounts of major league baseball’s steroid era have come to light, Olympic athletes have admitted use, and many other major sporting icons have been stripped of their titles after being caught using performance-enhancing drugs such as AASs and human growth hormone (HGH). Unfortunately, growing evidence suggests a similar abuse of AASs and other performance-enhancing drugs by law enforcement professionals. Across the United States, several investigations associated with Internet pharmacies and “antiaging” clinics in association with unscrupulous physicians have revealed officers caught up in this web of illicit drug use.

Although the traditional reason for the use of AASs is to improve athletic performance, AASs also appeal to officers wanting a tactical edge or an intimidating appearance. Unlike with other forms of drug abuse, steroid users do not take their drug recreationally; on the contrary, some state they need these drugs in order to do their job effectively or improve their “job performance.” From street officers who consider themselves vulnerable to bigger, more aggressive criminals to special-assignment officers who are regularly tested for their physical abilities, officers are turning to performance-enhancing drugs such as AASs and HGH as a shortcut to improved performance. This article will not delve into the abuse of HGH, which is not a controlled substance but is obtained by prescription only and has very limited use—none for normal adults.

In addition to the normal health concerns, there is one further issue when discussing abuse of steroids by those in the law enforcement profession. Officers carry weapons, are authorized to use lethal force, and are often involved in physically controlling or restraining people. If the stories of ’roid rage are true, how often are the officers who use anabolic steroids involved in unnecessary use-offorce incidents that could become a major liability for their agencies? Considering the legal issues, health effects, and commensurate costs associated with inappropriate use, agencies should proactively address this issue. Rather than look back on what could be an embarrassing “steroid era” of law enforcement—one in which the profession might be riddled with lawsuits, corruption, and claims of heavy-handedness—it is critical to address the current and future impact of this issue head-on.

Over the past few decades, several stories have surfaced regarding law enforcement personnel involved with anabolic steroids. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently led Operation Raw Deal, considered the largest international steroid investigation to date. The operation discovered several links to current or former law enforcement officers. This was predicted almost 20 years ago by an article in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin that stated, “Anabolic steroid abuse by police officers is a serious problem that merits greater awareness by departments across the country.”1 In addition, a story on the television program 60 Minutes in 1989 titled “Beefing up the Force” featured three police officers who admitted steroid use and claimed that their resulting aggression got them in serious trouble.

In the past year, a book titled Falling Off the Thin Blue Line was written and published by former Texas police officer David Johnson, who describes his addiction to steroids and speaks about the prevalence of steroid abuse in the law enforcement community.2 Recently, investigations into illegal steroid purchases revealed the names of several officers on pharmacy distribution lists, garnering national media attention. Unfortunately, agencies looking for methods to confront steroid abuse find few examples of effective policies and practices. This article summarizes the Phoenix, Arizona, Police Department’s experience in this area over the past several years and suggests policy and testing considerations for anabolic steroids in the law enforcement community.

Problems with Testing

In 2005, the Phoenix Police Department (PPD) investigated several incidents either directly or indirectly involving officers accused of abusing anabolic steroids. As a result, the city formed a committee to determine policy changes and address the issue with public safety agencies (that is, police and fire departments) as well as all other city employees. Due to the demands of the law enforcement profession and the legal precedent supporting random drug testing, policies are naturally more stringent for police than for other city departments. The police department, with support from its labor organization, added anabolic steroids to the random testing process for all officers and the preemployment screen. Research is clear that significant health risks result from nontherapeutic uses of anabolic steroids. 3 For this reason, the PPD’s focus on prevention revolved around a prevention video with questions and answers from a local endocrinologist who specializes in steroid abuse treatment.

Regarding testing, the task seemed simple enough: contact a local laboratory and test officers for performance-enhancing substances. However, implementation proved less than simple. First, adding AASs to the PPD’s random test tripled its drug testing costs. Additionally, local laboratories were able to provide only an initial urine screen that tested for a handful of the growing number of AASs. Furthermore, compounding the difficulty of the task, testing for anabolic steroids goes beyond looking for the specific synthetic AAS; it also needs to detect compounds naturally created by the human body, such as testosterone. This entails an analysis of an individual’s ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone (abbreviated T/E); when this value is found to be out of normal range, it may indicate the use of illegal substances. Additionally, as noted previously, HGH does not fall under the Anabolic Steroid Control Act, and currently there is no reliable test to detect it in the human body.

Testing for performance-enhancing substances presents a myriad of challenges:

How can an agency test for “all” illegal AASs, and what does it do if a T/E ratio is not normal?

How can an agency prove that someone is illegally or inappropriately using anabolic steroids?

What if an officer who tests positive provides a prescription, and the prescribing physician indicates that the officer has a condition that necessitates the use of these drugs? Additionally, what constitutes abuse of prescribed drugs?

Do ’roid rage and other psychiatric disturbances claimed to result from steroid abuse actually exist, and do they present a liability to an abuser’s organization?

Jumping into a testing policy before answering these questions will lead agencies to the realization that testing for these substances is not as straightforward as, say, discovering heroin in a drug screen. Officers might present a prescription or might have ordered something over the Internet in what they believe is a legal transaction. The DEA works regularly to shut down numerous unscrupulous doctors who seek to make money by connecting with pharmacies and engaging in illegal distribution, using the few very specific legitimate uses for AASs as cover for their operation. In these cases, ignorance is a common excuse from officers, who typically state that a doctor prescribed the drug, so it must be “okay.”

The PPD sought out answers to these and other questions. Below is a description of the issue and some policy considerations.

What Are Steroids?

Steroids are a group of chemical substances that have certain structural similarities. AASs constitute a subgroup of this category that includes the physiological (normal) human male hormone testosterone as well as related compounds with similar functions. These compounds have legitimate medical uses but are frequently abused for illegitimate, recreational uses (bodybuilding, weightlifting, or “bulking up,” as well as athletic performance enhancement). AASs should not be confused with other types of “steroids,” such as corticosteroids. This latter group of drugs, including hydrocortisone and prednisone, is prescribed widely for legitimate medical purposes (for example, skin creams to treat rashes, in asthma inhalers, and so on). Corticosteroids do not cause increases in muscle mass, have almost no abuse potential, and are almost never sold on the illicit market. Therefore, for the purposes of this article, references to steroids mean specifically AASs, which are the type of steroids that are used illicitly.

AASs are controlled substances. They are prescribed by physicians for certain specific, legitimate medical reasons, such as treatment of a condition known as hypogonadism (abnormally low testosterone production in men), cancer (to suppress certain kinds of tumors), a rare genetic condition called angioneurotic edema, AIDS wasting syndrome, and some forms of anemia (low red blood cell counts). The U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) lists specific allowable “indications,” or uses, for all regulated drugs. The legitimate uses of AASs are minimal as noted; for example, an officer who states that a physician provided them for “elbow pain” would be using them inappropriately.

Medical investigators also perform research studies on human volunteers to better understand the benefits and risks of AASs. To be considered legitimate, such a study must be approved by an institutional review board operated according to the standards of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office for Human Research Protections, and registered with the FDA and/or the NIH Clinical Trials Registry (clinicaltrials.gov).

Illicit “Benefits” of AASs

AASs can be taken orally, by injection, as a skin patch or cream, or sometimes by placing them between the cheek and gum. When combined with a high-protein diet and vigorous weightlifting, AASs “work.” That means that they stimulate the formation of muscle tissue and are known to cause enlargement of muscle fibers. It is widely understood that testosterone (the major natural male AAS hormone in normal, healthy men) stimulates an increase in fat-free muscle mass while at the same time decreasing fat. Doses of AASs that exceed the normal production rate of testosterone can amplify this effect, resulting in supernormal gains in lean muscle mass and strength.

Patterns of Illegitimate Use

Abusers of AASs often follow a particular pattern of use, as discovered in one study of AAS users:4

Many users reported taking a weekly dose in excess of (the equivalent of) 1,000 mg of testosterone. For comparison, adult human testicles normally produce 5–10 mg of testosterone per day—generally less than 100 mg/week.

Most AAS users reported self-administering by injecting the drug directly into their muscles.

Some studies reveal that approximately 25 percent of those who inject AASs share needles or vials, increasing the risk of HIV infection, viral hepatitis, or other infections.

Over 95 percent of AAS users reported self-administering multiple substances, with 25 percent taking growth hormone and/or insulin in addition to AASs.

Users have been found to move on to illegal drugs other than athletic performance enhancers.

Nearly 100 percent of AAS users reported noticeable side effects—but most users claim that these effects are mild and do not deter them from continuing to use AASs.

Users often become fixated on their muscularity and are reluctant to stop using AASs for fear that they will get smaller again.

THE PLANET WILL PRESENT PART TWO OF THIS ARTICLE ON MONDAY. DON’T MISS IT!

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Food for thought, but there’s gold in them thar squad cars.

Eight of the top nine city salaries for FY2010 are held by members of the Pittsfield Police Department. Here’s the Top Nine, as complied by the Pittsfield Gazette from the city’s payroll records (highlighted in bold):

* (1) GLEN DECKER, police sergeant, $143,106.47

* (2) MICHAEL ORTEGA, police safety officer, $142,315,21

* (3) PATRICK BARRY, police captain, $140,276.33

* (4) HOWARD EBERWEIN, school superintendent, $133,858.98

* (5) MARK LENIHAN, police sergeant, $133,812.53

* (6) MICHAEL WINSTON, police lieutenant, $131,074.31

* (7) JAMES MCINTYRE, police patrol officer, $129,738.35

* (8) MARC STROUT, police sergeant, $126,846.19

* (9) MICHAEL NYKORCHUCK, police patrol officer, $115,945.03.

Payroll records show that 17 other members of the PPD make in excess of $85,000 per year. REMEMBER THAT NONE OF THESE FIGURES INCLUDES THE CITY’S OVERLY GENEROUS BENEFITS PACKAGE, WHICH ADDS ROUGHLY 30 to 33% MORE TO THESE TOTALS. There are a slew of other PPD members who make above $75,000 here.

So yes, the public damn well better be allowed to expect a higher standard for moral and ethical behavior from the very people who are shown to protect citizens and uphold, not break, the law. Police officer David Kirchner, busted after an internal probe by police captain David Granger found him guilty of criminal conduct and conduct unbecoming an officer in connection with illegal steroids, made $98,429.

Now how are these possible, when, for example, Kirchner’s base pay in in the upper $40,000s? Massive amounts of overtime, including suggestions of overtime abuses.

Police Chief Michael Wynn, other members of the force, and the administration should not express wonder at the extent of the outrage SteroidsGate has stirred up in the community. This one his a nerve. It will take a long time before the department gains back the ground it has lost since March, for there are few people convinced that in the PPD, Kirchner is the LONE ROUGE OFFICER who has messed with the juice.

Granted, no evidence has yet emerged to suggest it’s more than Kirchner, but then again, there are two probes ongoing, one local by an unnamed law enforcement agency, and a joint federal probe by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Postal Service. We must also remember that, according to what Chief Wynn has said in press statements, including our exclusive interview with him yesterday, he had no idea, not a clue, that Kirchner was involved with steroids. Thus, how does he know or any member of the public know that AREN’T more PPD personnel juicing?

Immediate institution of random drug testing is the only answer. The police union head told The Planet his members supports that. The PPD command supports that. Mayor Ruberto supports that. The public unanimously supports that. So what’s the hold up.

Who will force this? Who will take a leadership position? Mayor Ruberto? Chief Wynn? DA David Capeless? Sheriff Tom Bowler? Memebers of the vaunted Berkshire County Drug Task Force? PPD union boss Marc Maddalena? How about all of them? The Planet will take one.

So who will it be, gents? Maybe that’s why it’s time for a woman police chief. Women aren’t into the musclehead juicing the way males are.

WE ASK, IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE’s DEMAND:

* MAYOR RUBERTO

* CHEIF WYNN

* UNION HEAD DAVE MADDALENA

to get together and get this done. That’s how you come in and turn around public perception quickly.

Be clear. WE THE PEOPLE demand this. They are not requesting this. As far as that goes, who of my Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council will take a leadership role and join in this demand? How about it, Uncle Gerry Lee? You were police chief in Pittsfield. How ’bout jonathan Lothrop. You are Mr. Law and Order, Mr. Leadership, Mr. I’m So Full of Myself That I Can’t See Straight? Redeem yourself. Opportunity knocks.

There, The Planet has given you the solution. Take note, the naysayers, who falsely claim that this website is about sensationalism and numbers, never offering positive suggestions. We do, with just about every issue we raise. We have just done so here.

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MORE TO COME, INCLUDING THE LATEST ON A WHEELER DEALER (HE BUYS A PROPERTY THAT HAS “a certain mortgage … in the original principal about of $17,500,000″ for the “full consideration of $1″ — That’s right, one lousy buck. Find out where this Pittsfield property is, who is the money man (hint: He made headlines not too long ago when the city tried to buy a new DPW garage!), and what this might mean. Also, we share more on a devastating report in the March 2011 issue of “Police Chief” magazine on “Anabolic Steroid Use and Abuse by Police Officers.” This steroids is a harmless drug. Think again.

That’s it for now, folks. And so we say, OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLE! LOVE TO ALL.

85 Responses to “$1 BUYS a $17.5 MILLION PROPERTY: ONLY IN PITTSFIELD, plus, MORE ON STEROIDsGATE: ARTICLE REVEALS SHOCKING TRUTH OF STEROIDS USE BY COPS; THERE’s GOLD IN THEN THAR SQUAD CARS, PLUS, WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND: RANDOM DRUG TESTING NOW!”

  1. Dusty
    April 9, 2011 at 2:38 am #

    I think that if there is any integrity left in the mayor he would get that testing done. Having said that, I do not expect to see it happen. My guess is that these people are all meeting in their secret command post discussing how to make sure this testing is NOT done. Their silence on the matter is deafening. (Capeless, Bowler, Wynn, Madelena, Ruberto, city council)

    I would like to take a couple of guesses at the wheeler dealer. Could the last name begin with, let’s say, Stanley? Or maybe Pearson?

  2. GMHeller
    April 9, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    Mr,. Valenti:
    Recommend you consider doing an interview with Tom Bowler to find out the new sheriff’s views on random mandatory drug testing of all Berkshire County House of Correction personnel.
    Also, in the same interview, since Sheriff Bowler has intimate knowledge of the workings of the Pittsfield Police Dept., having had long-term service with that force, it would be helpful to know his views on random mandatory drug testing of all Pittsfield Police Dept. personnel.

  3. GMHeller
    April 9, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    Plus, it sure would be helpful to the cause of random mandatory drug tests for all public employees if those highest paid city employees in your list above would each and all volunteer to submit to such testing (with the city, of course, picking up the tab).
    Recommend testing for the following controlled substances: anabolic steroids, cocaine, cannabis, methamphetamines, and heroin.

  4. Brian Gilbert
    April 9, 2011 at 5:19 am #

    Dan it sure does bother you that Lothrop doesn’t give you the time of day. It seems to torture you. Your little nick names for the people that think your a qwack shows how petty and crude you can be!

    • GMHeller
      April 9, 2011 at 9:30 am #

      @Brian Gilbert,
      Funny, of all people, you should write to Mr. Valenti that “Your little nick names for the people that think your (sic) a qwack shows how petty and crude you can be!”
      Upon reading this, no doubt many here are thinking the same thing about the poster calling himself ‘Brian Gilbert’.
      And by the way, Brian Gilbert, “your” in the context of “your a qwack” is a contraction of the words “you” and “are” and is therefore spelled “you’re”; while by now a quack should know how to spell “quack”.

  5. The Knowitall
    April 9, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    Well I think it shows how petty andcrude is Mr, Lothrop for not living up to his obligations to go on the record with any media but the Boringbroadsheet. Keep dishing it out, Dan. Were lovin it.

    • Scott
      April 9, 2011 at 6:39 am #

      Brian Gilbert must be a local politician who wants to keep things hush, hush it’s obvious they read these blogs to see what we know and what people are saying.

      • Brian Gilbert
        April 9, 2011 at 7:01 am #

        wrong again Scott

        • Scott
          April 9, 2011 at 7:08 am #

          By “wrong again” you’re implying I was wrong in the past what about??? Certainly not my understanding of homophones.

          • Brian Gilbert
            April 9, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

            Selling Drugs…

  6. Scott
    April 9, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    so much for being over worked and underpaid I think I chose the wrong line of work.

    • CONCERNED
      April 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

      dispatching ummmmmm

  7. Randy
    April 9, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    I have no issue with police offices making a high salary as they are vital to public safety and have a highly dangerous career. The overly generous benefits packages for public employees (including police) will eventually have to be addressed by the city as they will eventually create a fiscal crisis.
    In regards to steroid use, as a former member of many gyms/fitness centers (not only in Pittsfield), I can tell you it is quite rampant in ALL communties. And it is not just men, I have known of more than one female using them too. So Dan’s suggestion of a female police chief is not the answer.
    One more point. We all tend to complain about taxpayer dollars being wasted by the gov’t and our taxes going up every year. Do you have any idea how expensive drug testing is? If it is implemented, the cost will be coming out of our pockets. Are you all willing to have your taxes go up once again for it?

    • GMHeller
      April 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

      @randy:
      The cost of drug testing is a red herring.
      Those costs for testing PALE in comparison to the ultra expensive medical care associated with treating the ravages of anabolic steroids abuse.
      It is Pittsfield’s taxpayers who are on the hook for the future medical care these public employees are going to require as a result of screwing around today with body chemistry by ‘juicing’ themselves with anabolic steroids.
      The real high costs will be those incurred once these ‘juicers’ retire from public service and then expect taxpayers to foot all their medical expenses, like those for instance associated with the cost of a heart transplant or hip replacements.
      If a thousand dollars spent on testing today saves one million dollars in hospital costs later on (or more depending on the rate of Obama-flation), then it’s a good deal for taxpayers to drum those future liabilities out of public service right now when the opportunity is available.
      ‘Juicers’ are ticking medical time bombs for whom taxpayers are going to be stuck paying.
      Do you doubt me?

  8. notho
    April 9, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    It could be my imagination, but ever since a certain talk show host opened up a can of worms, all hell has broken loose. Sherman Baldwin really opened some wounds, that is for sure. And his new replacement buffer, isn’t helping much at all.

    • Jim Gleason
      April 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      His replacememt pat’s the mayor on the back as he screws the people. He is a big fan of corruption evidently, as he is also a big fan of Speaker of the House Boner.

  9. Bonnie
    April 9, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    I think Sherman certainly did start something but I believe Pittsfield is just sick of all the corruption and double stanards

  10. Scott
    April 9, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    What happened to Sherman Baldwin shows how easily the local politicians can use there power to influence public opinion and discredit anyone like they’re all as white as the driven snow. Look how that dragged the owner of variety truckings name through the mud when he was running for office. (his name eludes me at the moment.)

    • Josh
      April 9, 2011 at 9:44 am #

      Tom Szczepaniak from Dalton

  11. GMHeller
    April 9, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Mr. Valenti, you write:
    “It will take a long time before the department gains back the ground it has lost since March, for there are few people convinced that in the PPD, Kirchner is the LONE ROUGE OFFICER who has messed with the juice.”

    So, in addition to his obvious problems using anabolic steroids to ‘bulk up’, are you also implying that Officer David Kirchner uses Maybelline to ‘pink up’?

  12. GMHeller
    April 9, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    Mr. Valenti,

    IN RE: Chief Michael Wynn’s handling of the anabolic steroids scandal involving at least one officer (so far) in PPD (and who knows how many more at Berkshire County House of Correction and at Mass. State Police).

    It would pay to read Chief Wynn’s book, entitled “Rising Through the Ranks — Leadership Tools and Techniques for Law Enforcement”, published September 2008 by Kaplan Publishing.
    SEE:
    http://books.simonandschuster.com/Rising-Through-the-Ranks/Mike-Wynn/9781427797902 .

    Mr. Valenti,
    Compare Chief Wynn’s ideas regarding the subject of ‘leadership’ to the way in which the Chief has actually led the investigation into steroids use by PPD employees.
    That real life example of leadership extended to Chief Wynn’s intentionally exempting the public and journalists like yourself from his private press conference with Berkshire Eagle editors.
    It would appear there is a great gulf between the type of leadership Chief Wynn espouses and the kind he himself practices in the clinches.

    From Chief Wynn’s book, the Preface, Introduction and first few pages of Chapter One can be viewed online at:
    http://books.simonandschuster.com/Rising-Through-the-Ranks/Mike-Wynn/9781427797902/browse_inside

  13. San Simeon
    April 9, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    All I can say is that no one who has lived around here for more than five years believes it was “one officer and done” with PPD, BCDTF (drug taskforce) and House of correction. While DA Mr Capless is giving out ribbons to schoolchildrn for neat penmanship he ignores this whole thing entrely. He is the key to a lot of stuff including bernie baran .

  14. Jim Gleason
    April 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Dan, a lot of the money these cops make is from overtime, doing road jobs and such, and not eligible for addition to their pension. The city doesn’t pay this money, the contractor on the job does. I say if these guys want to work every waking hour it’s their business, not yours or mine.

    • CONCERNED
      April 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

      great point Thanks Jim

    • Joetaxpayer
      April 10, 2011 at 8:21 am #

      Jim they should not be working so much if they have a job that requires a gun and car.They must be alert and ready to make split decisions that in some cases are life and death.Always wondered why they dont have limits of hours like truck drivers do.

  15. GMHeller
    April 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    An interesting video on Mohawk Valley’s YNN:
    ‘Capeless addresses steroid probe’
    SEE:
    http://mohawkvalley.ynn.com/content/top_stories/538360/capeless-addresses-steroid-probe/

    • Scott
      April 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

      I think it most certainly does discredit his other investigations because he let at least one person slide how many others did he and was there any interest in him taking out rival competition???

  16. danvalenti
    April 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    THE PLANET shall be soon sending another poll to my Right Honorable Good Friends on the Pittsfield City Council. Wonder if Cappy, Uncle Greey, and The Amazing J-Lo will deem to respond. What am I getting for odds, ladies and gentlemen? Hello? Uncle Gerry? Cappy? J-Lo? You guys out of your coma yet?

    Anyways, we shall ask:
    * Do you favor capping Silver Lake or removing the toxins?
    * Do you favor and will you support immediate random drug testing for PPD officers? Should that testing be extended to all city employees?

    We want a third question: Please send in your suggestions.

    • Brian Gilbert
      April 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

      How about… Do you think Dan Valenti is a Howie Carr wanna be? Have you noticed that Dan writes aan awful lot like Howie? Useing cute nick names and such, angry at the world, How about it Dan? Do you imitate Howie on perpose or not???

      • Bonnie
        April 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

        What is your problem dude? He is doing what the Berkshire Eagle should be doing. Informing people.

      • danvalenti
        April 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

        @BG
        Who’s Howie Carr?

        • Brian Gilbert
          April 10, 2011 at 3:36 am #

          Ya right “Howie”

          • Life is But a ...What?
            April 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

            Howie Carr is a Dan Valenti wannabe!

          • Brian Gilbert
            April 11, 2011 at 5:28 am #

            Howie Carr has been a Big A–Hole longer than Dan has!!

  17. Bonnie
    April 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Remove the Toxin and immediate as of last week random drug testing both at PPD (suggestion they start with the drug task force since appear so clueless) BCHC ( suggest you start with the sheriff since he is mum for a reason) Berkshire County Courthouse Employee especially the courts officers ( suggest starting with Capeless since he does not mind putting teenagers in jail and turning his back on his active staff) just saying.

  18. CONCERNED
    April 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    lets drug test all voters while we at it

    • GMHeller
      April 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

      @CONCERNED,
      Hope that ignorant comment was meant in jest.
      Why should the taxpaying public be saddled with the future costs of medical care associated with treating ‘juicers” ailments?

      • CONCERNED
        April 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

        somewhat in jest GM Heller. But the point is can’t drug test everyone as some people are saying. However I believe law enforcement and public safety workers absolutely!!!!!!! Wouldn’t mind testing bloggers either. However as one wrote the cost is quite high to test Also you should talk about “ignorant comments”

  19. GMHeller
    April 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Dan,
    Plugging that address into Google Earth and also into Google Search reveals a large building that also goes by the name of ‘Springside of Pittsfield’, a health care facility the web site for which states:
    “Our Quality Healthcare Units provide skilled nursing, medical and rehabilitative care for patients and residents. Whether you are here for a short stay or for an extended period, our Clinical Care Teams are focused on implementing your personalized care program to facilitate your recovery and improve your well-being. Services Offered: LongTerm Care; ShortStay Care;
    Rehabilitation Therapy.”

    Paying one dollar to assume someone else’s debt likely in the multi-millions is not exactly getting something for nothing.
    Plus, Mr. Sheehan is acquiring an asset in an industry he obviously already well understands.
    If the balance on Quaside, Inc.’s mortgage is below what the buyer feels is market price for such a facility then to the buyer it is a sound investment.
    Further, Mr. Sheehan was probably doing the seller a favor taking that amount of liability off the seller’s books especially if seller was operating at a loss.
    It’s really not much different than when, a few years back, Dean Singleton acquired the publishing assets of the Miller Family in exchange for assuming their debt.
    It still remains to be seen whether Mr. Singleton’s purchase will pan out as a good investment since The Eagle appears still to be losing money as well as circulation.
    The same could be true for Patrick Sheehan’s purchase.
    He may come out ahead if he can cut costs and raise revenues, but then again he may, like Dean Singleton, end up being stuck with a real dog.
    (Pardon me, if I’m giving anyone’s dog a bad name.)
    Mr. Valenti, welcome to Capitalism 101.

    • Scott
      April 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

      Capitalism is all about risk and putting forth monetary gain over the well being of humans and the surrounding communities what happens to all the people anyway if the place goes belly up? No one cares because it has nothing to do with money and I’d be willing to bet no one at the top profiting even knows or cares.

  20. GMHeller
    April 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Springside of Pittsfield:
    http://www.genesishcc.com/index.cfm?facility_id=232&page_id=3

    • Scott
      April 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      What is the relevance to this place and the subject at hand??? (Mr. Heller.)

      • GMHeller
        April 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

        You plainly did not read Mr. Valenti’s post (1st Add) at the top of today’s column.

        • Scott
          April 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

          Oh my.. Sorry i read earlier this morning didn’t check the update. What does this mean for “Pitty” is this all at the tax payers expense?

  21. notho
    April 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    ——-u——-

  22. NFM
    April 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Those are very low salaries. You folks really think that’s a lot of money?

  23. Fan Dan Go
    April 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    Well all I know is if dan doesn’t dig into this stuff, it stays buried. There is a conspiracy of silence here involving the GOBs the local media, especially the BB, the Da, PPD. Maybe the Big Magic Pothole machine ties in, too. but seroisuly, what valenti has done has been amazing

    • Bonnie
      April 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

      I do agree. He has one bang after the other. I get aggravated when he decides to take time off like this Sunday. I willnot waste my time on the Berkshire Rag since leaning of Planet Valenti. many of my friends eagerly awaits his next posting. Your very witty Dan. So glad I found this blog

  24. Life is But a ...What?
    April 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    Lets be honest, I was not fan of valentis when he first started this, only knew him from the radio and teh eagle, but as bonnie says above hes got one after the other after and so on. Valentis won me over by the force of what he writes. No one comes close around here..

  25. just saying
    April 9, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    @ Jim G.

    Yes the contractor pays the salaries of the officers doing the road details.
    Now whom do you suppose pays the contractor?
    That would be the citizen taxpayers.
    And do not think that the contractor includes this cost in his/her bid?
    Certainly they do. So to say the contractor pays them is true. However the citizens pay the contractor who adds this cost to the bid they submit. The contractor is not, and should not take this money away from their profit.
    The majority of states do not use police officers in this capacity. I have not heard of any problems due to this.

    • Joe Pinhead
      April 10, 2011 at 4:31 am #

      The Department of Transportation mandates the number of hours a truck driver can work to ensure that the driver is Alert, Attentive, and able to respond in a rapid manner as situations develop. The drivers are also required a minimum amount of down time. But Officers are not? They should be able to work unlimited amounts if they wish? So the guy delivering a load of laundry soap to Walmart needs to fill out and file with the feds his daily activities and ensure compliance with minimum rest periods etc. But the guy with the gun can work around the clock? Jim I disagree.

      • Ed
        April 10, 2011 at 5:53 am #

        Truck drivers are also subject to not only pre-employment drug screening, but additional random drug and alcohol screening.

        • Joe Pinhead
          April 10, 2011 at 10:15 am #

          Excellent point Ed I guess the big bad private sector has deeper pockets than the government. Or is it because the insurance would go through the roof if they didnt test and there was an accident. And the private sector would have to fork out the dough, ie they couldnt raise taxes to pay the claim.

    • Jim Gleason
      April 10, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      It is State law that police are working on road jobs, so if one doesn’t do it another will. What’s the big deal if they make more money than their base salary? Nobody is complaining that Ton Stracuzzi almost doubles his salary every year with overtime. A bit of a double standard?

      • Joe Pinhead
        April 10, 2011 at 11:17 am #

        So then should a truck driver be able to moonlight in his off hours as say a school bus driver? or a tour bus driver? Laws passed for the “good of the Society” are rarely ever good and are mostly imposed on a selective society. Typically the further you are away from the power structure the more they do for your good, and that of the society. Truck drivers, health care workers, defense contractors etc tested at random to ensure safety and public trust, PPD officers no a double standard you ask?

        • Jim Gleason
          April 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

          There are no laws limiting hours a cop can work, to my knowledge at least, so are they doing anything illegal? No, just making some extra money, maybe to put their kids through college or something normal like that. Just because people are public employees doesn’t mean they should ignore using the system to their advantage. There are a lot of good cops and other public employees who work in Pittsfield, though not too many on here seem to think so.

          • Joetaxpayer
            April 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

            I do agree with you that there are alot of good police men and women,not to mention public employees.The are not doing anything wronge working excessive hours that is the way the system works.But all Im saying is it might be time to change the system,for the safety of the public and the officers.

          • danvalenti
            April 10, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

            Wait until you read in The Planet this week HOW those extra hours are accumulated!! We shall detail the scam.

  26. just saying
    April 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    @ Life Is

    I don’t know DV. Never met the man, probably never will, we most certainly run in different circles.
    However I have been a faithful reader and sometimes poster of his web site since the first day. (Heard about his site when Larry K. Had DV on his show).
    When I first checked it out I liked what I saw; true reporting, uncovering the real issues.
    I told a close friend about the site, this person knows DV and wasn’t impressed at first. Well, this friend checked out the site, is now a faithful reader.
    Mr. V. Puts it out there. I used to read the eagle and write letters to them. No more for me. The eagle is not a newspaper it is a government controlled mouthpiece.
    So welcome aboard Life is….
    You will actually learn quite a bit on this site.

    • Bonnie
      April 10, 2011 at 5:27 am #

      Ezactly

  27. Scott
    April 10, 2011 at 5:29 am #

    Is the doc being censored or is it just not showing up on my screen?

  28. rick
    April 10, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    all the extra work the police, staties,and sheriffs dept. do on roads is high priced and unessesary. last year barker road was done with flag men , dressed in yellow w/radios they kept the traffic safe and flowing. i didnt see any of them with coffee in hand or a cell phone or gabbing with the worker, id like to see more of those guys on projects. the other three have jobs and the flag men jobs can employ others that need work. i think mass. is the last state that the police and staties unions control the construction laws.

  29. rick
    April 10, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    dan i woldnt bother with lee, hes out, and his arogance says i dont owe anyone an answer for anything.,and i cant see lothrop back in, his voting record has us in his ward looking for some new blood, i think he ran his course… that eyesore of an airport should be his outing. and i think you know where cappys loyalties lie, and those people dont think to kindly of nosy news people. and thats why the bb is where they are. you want to see where the city is run, take a trip down newell st. it looks like cappys being groomed to take over for the aging dem. leader. (its an italian thing).

  30. notho
    April 10, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Should anythinhg happen to Cappys re-election bid and for some strange reason an error in the ballot machine should occur or election site be shut down because of a malfunction costing Cappy votes, that I cannot and will not forgive. Otherwise its Cappy in a landslide, in three.

    • Joetaxpayer
      April 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

      He is very likable, but does not bring much to the table.Never speaks up during debate or has much of anything to say.Think ward 3 could use a more outspoken counciler with a little more passion for the job.

  31. rick
    April 10, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    bada bing its cappy by a nose

  32. rick
    April 10, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    this whole city is screwed, instead of these councilors getting in and taking care of the city, they start playing games to further their own agendas(yon). id like to see a clean sweep with a new mayor and that means all appointments roberto made and most councilors. sleazeball politics in pittsfield shows up like a sore thumb, and it dosent take dan v. to show us. at least now with this site more people are expressing their disgust in those who want to go that route.

    • Bonnie
      April 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

      Agree though I feel sorry for Ms. Mazzeo. At least she tries but a clean sweep would be the only way to turn around this mess they made.

      • Joe Pinhead
        April 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

        D.R.I.P.
        Don’t Return Incumbent Politicians

  33. rick
    April 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    i would like to see mazzeo back, and id like to see nichols stay as councilor, theres plenty of time latter on for the mayors slot.. i believe mr. bianchi will run and straighten out this mess roberto has us in. open checbook mayors hurt cities as do rubber stamp councilors. if mazzeo gets back in id like to see her in the presidents chair. she would be the first women council pres. in pittsfield politics and probably the only person there that coul help the others grow a concience.

    • Bonnie
      April 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

      Agree with you on Ms. Mazzeo , would also like to see Joe Nichols in there. not to sure if Joe is ready for a run at the Mayor’s chair. Not liking Bianchi for mayor either. Any who need to get rid of the current clowns with exception of above.

  34. Dusty
    April 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Mazzeo stays….she is a known entity. Why gamble on one of the GOB candidates taking her seat. Vincellete if he runs. I would like to see Arpante back as well. The mayor has to have balls and not the kind that is used for stealing the city blind.

    Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water folks. Remember, the GOB, as we speak, is priming its next group of rubber stampers for a November run. Be suspicious of very candidate. this board can vet them. If they are connected they are probably with the GOB. Consider this when you vote.

    • Bonnie
      April 10, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

      I would like to see Arpante back also. Your right about Mazzeo. Do not know much about Vincellete but will read up on. Whobwould you like to see for mayor?

  35. arpaint
    April 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Possible psychological disturbances include the following:
    • Mood swings (including manic-like symptoms leading to violence)
    • Impaired judgment (stemming from feelings of invincibility)
    • Depression
    • Nervousness
    • Extreme irritability
    • Delusions
    • Hostility and aggression
    Possible physical side effects include the following:
    • High blood cholesterol levels – high blood cholesterol levels may lead to cardiovascular problems
    • Severe acne
    • Thinning of hair and baldness
    • Fluid retention
    • High blood pressure
    • Liver disorders (liver damage and jaundice)
    • Steroids can affect fetal development during pregnancy
    • Risk of contracting HIV and other blood-borne diseases from sharing infected needles
    • Sexual & reproductive disorders:
    Do we want our Police Officers on the job with these kinds of side effects and then half to pay insurance to get them back to a healthy person?

  36. CONCERNED
    April 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    Well they all agree per DV, union, Chief etc. So now lets get it, done, however like everything else in this liberal country it must be done legally or it out the window. I real don’t thinks it up to the City Council to get it done either. Or would I want them to make this policy, again it must be done right or it simply will be no good.

    • danvalenti
      April 10, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

      CONCERNED
      Agreed. LEt’s get it done.
      Let me suggest, then that the City Council take a position on this. If they pass a resolution supporting testing of PPD, it would help the chief, union, mayor etc. do it. The council, in doing so, would shed its toothless image.

  37. CONCERNED
    April 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Also Arpaint some of the things on your list fit you. I better not see you bulking up.

    • arpaint
      April 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

      or what

      • CONCERNED
        April 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

        I’ll run from you!!!!!

  38. rick
    April 10, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    hey dan, if i read between the lines of fantos fluff piece i think he was talking about you. was he calming down the masses of rumor an inuendo? seems to me he isint in step with whats going on with the steroid scandle. are the paper people affraid of sites like these? was the heat on him by the gobs to write something..anything? try again to get him for a debate. he seems like hes itching for something with you and it sure isnt a writting duel.

    • danvalenti
      April 10, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

      RICK
      I did not read Clarence’s piece. Moreover, I can’t speak for his intentions. I do know he’s not comfortable with the police beat. He is not assigned to it, since I learned he is not a staffer. He is a full-time replacement for Derek Gentile until such time as Derek is back on assignment after recovery from his health woes. Clarence is also filling in for the departed Conor Berry, so when Derek returns, and if they don’t hire a cops beat reporter, he may stay for that. The paper, from what I gather, is afraid of this site — management is. There are some in the newsroom and elsewhere at the Boring Broadsheet that love the site because it’s pointing out what they can’t. Morale there is lousy, as you can gather after Media News Group went belly up. When I got my coffee this morning, I noticed how thin the was the Sunday edition. They’ve also made the font size bigger. Less stories. And I did see page one 75% taken up by a feature on Naming Babies!! I did debate Clarence on “Good Morning Pittsfield” a few months ago. It’s archived on the website, I think. I will debate anyone, anytime, anywhere, on anything, all things being equal.

    • Dusty
      April 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      Hah, that piece was hilarious. The Eagle, of all entities, to be giving advice to people about about what to believe or not believe. They must be convinced that all the people in Pittsfield are absolute morons.

      Clarence, have you considered writing for SNL? I am sure they pay more…and you would be allowed to keep your dignity.