Campaign Capers

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MAY 4, 2011) — With each new year and each new campaign season, The Planet notes more urgency and edge. The electorate bears more anger. Candidates seems more pressed — for time, for money, for differentiation, for a lot of things. The zeitgeist, not to get all “Cabaret” on you, has an unusual flavor this time around: edgy, if we had to pick a word to describe it.

With that, let us go then, you and I, and the clouds spread themselves across the sky, like T.S. Eliot etherized by the Internet:

LENOXOLOGY — Last night The Planet hosted a filmed debate in front of a “studio” audience at the Lenox Library. They filled the reading room, about 70 people, interested in hearing what we would ask the four candidates (for two seats). They are the incumbents, Kim Flynn and John McNinch and the challenges, Dave Roche and Eric Vincelette.

The debate was filmed for CTSB TV (Community Television for Southern Berkshire). Consult their listings for air time. The Planet offers these observations:

* Lenox isn’t used to this style of debate. We used what we call our “beer hall” format, unscripted, no timed responses, no desks or podiums, no notes or cheat sheets. We asked some tough questions and at times pressed with tougher followups. A few times, moans and groans could be heard from the audience — partisan supporters and loyalists who didn’t like when THEIR candidate got grilled but loved it when it happened to the others. We definitely felt the difference between this small town and the more “city” feel of politics in Pittsfield.

* The Planet is not the most reliable person to ask, as moderator, since when we are doing these things, we have a laser focus. However, we do get a sense of performance, and we offer that Vincelette weathered the crucible better than the other three. He showed an enthusiasm the others lacked, struck a more independent (even “outsider”) tone, and seemed to have a better grasp of his facts and information. The Planet can’t imagine why the Town of Lenox would not want him on the Select Board.

* Impressions of the Others: Roche came in second. He looked and acted like a poker player who thinks his hand is strong enough to stand pat. Roche struck us as if he thinks he’s the “favorite.” He came up to us afterwards to say he though we gave him a “cheap shot” on our question over Cranwell’s bankruptcy during his ownership. We countered that he should look at it this way: By raising the issues, which apparently is on the minds of more than a few Lenoxites, he had the chance to address it, which he did. Incumbent Flynn seemed the most overmatched. She had multiple deer in the headlights moments, though her performance improved as the hour-plus forum continued. The unspoken message she exuded: She knows she is deep trouble. McNinch, appearing in a gold shirt and not wearing socks, looked like he was either getting ready for bed or had just awakened five minutes earlier. He came off like the high school football hero who’s still reliving the Big Touchdown scored against Lee High.

The Planet predicts victory for Eric V and Dave R. We also note the great work of Berkshire Green Political Action Committee for organizing and hosting this event, particularly Michael Kaplan, Scott Laugenour, Mark Miller, and Jeffrey Turner. We don’t mean this in any ideological sense when we say The Planet LOVES how they have seized opportunity and taken grassroots democracy at its word.


Now onto the Naked City, Pittsfield, Mass., whose CEDS is wallpaper for a brothel and whose politics are as fascinating as the Monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001.”

PETER MARCHETTI: He formerly launched his campaign before a packed house at the ITAM on Monday. The Planet liked his motif of “One Pittsfield.” It acknowledges the reality that there is a great cultural, civic, political, and economic divide in the city, one that’s been festering and, in some ways, growing since CWAC-CAD: the Civil War Also Know as the Civic Authority Debate. It also hold promise for a more harmonious future. Ah, but how does that happen. How does Marchetti convince voters that he’s not Ruberto Light? How does he convince them that he’s not indecisive and that he can be his own man? Dan Bianchi will use every opportunity to tie Marchetti with the politics of the mayor. To the extent Marchetti can deal with that strategy, he can better control the tenor, tone, and direction of the campaign.

BEST COVERAGE OF MARCHETTI — Tammy Daniels’ story on She had it posted at 2:57 a.m. Tuesday morning, smoking the Boring Broadsheet like it was nickel stogie. The Planet like her note of Marchetti’s “theatricality” of rolling up his sleeves to punctuate his call to action in his finale. We also like the way she mentioned Marchetti’s separation problem from Ruberto: “Marchetti, 42, isn’t calling for radical change but for minor adjustments from the tenure of Ruberto.” Meanwhile, the honesty and reliability of the BB’s coverage of Campaign 2011 will labor under two serious handicaps.

(1) A publisher who’s in league with the GOB Network to hide their flaws, magnify their greatness, and otherwise screw Joe and Mary Jane Kapanski, the ordinary, typical “Little Guys,” who do all the living and dying in the city, who play by the rules, who keep their noses cleans, and pay their taxes.

(2) The bland coverage of Dick Lindsay, who’s playing out the string and fearful for his job. In other words, what greatness Lindsay has in him doesn’t have a chance.

PLANET CRIPPLES THE BB AGAIN — Did we call it. When we came out DAYS AGO with the news that Dan Bianchi was running again for mayor, we said the Boring Broadsheet would be that blind squirrel that find a chestnut and claim it as their own. The BB ran it’s story, stale and days late, pretending they were Seal Team 6 and had just killed Osama. The Planet had this first, before ANYONE, and once again proved that we, unlike the milquetoast BB, will eat bowls of cactus during this campaign. An appeal to Handy Andy Mick: put your campaign coverage out of its misery. Mick, don’t even pretend you are a newspaper. Cover the Women’s League pancake breakfasts and the Chamber of Commerce predicting a “great” tourist season. It’s more your style: light weight and dull heavy.

THE PAPER CHASE & TRAIL — On Monday, city clerk Linda Tyer experienced the stampede, as nomination papers became available. A campaign at this stage, two days after papers come out, is as reliable as a player’s batting average in two days after opening day. This is the time for the wannabe — people who have no chance, who won’t contribute much insight, and who want they 15 minutes of fame. This is their moment. Many will be taking out papers in the days and weeks to come to say they took out papers. In the field, though, are the heavyweights, favorites, and strong contenders. The wannabes are like the once-a-week runners who sign up for the Boston Marathon, so they can be in the same race as the Kenyans.

Some names from “opening day” — Anthony Maffuccio, taking out papers in Ward 7; The Man from Mensa, Chuck Vincelette, Ward 4; Dan Breault, 4; Chris Connell, 4; Jeff Ferrin, 3. So much more will come. There is no truth to the rumor that Mailman to the Stars, Billy Turner, is a candidate for the Corner Office. North Street IS his corner.






  1. Josh
    May 4, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Marchetti did himself no favors of distancing himself from Ruberto when Ruberto was standing right behind him during his stump speech at the fundraiser, as well as other notorious GOBs, including former mayor Evan Dobelle, as well as John Barrett, who doesn’t quite seem to know his way back to North Adams yet. This is going to be difficult for Marchetti to overcome if he really wants to be mayor.

  2. danvalenti
    May 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Agreed. He has the “usual suspects,” as some might call them, out in force for him. Of course, that constituency got Ruberto elected four times, in 2009 barely. The constituency is still there and want Marchetti in to be what Tammy Daniels called Ruberto’s “heir apparent.” Low turnout helps Pete. High turnout doesn’t. Bianchi won practically the entire city but Ward 4, and he was swamped there. Marchetti stands to win those votes again. If Bianchi can drive overall turnout and take a little more of 4 than he did in 2009, he will win this time. This will be Marchetti vs. Bianchi when all is said and done. No one should doubt that. Hope? That’s a different story.

  3. Dusty
    May 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    I imagine the same deep pockets that bought the election for Ruberto will be aiming to buy one for Marchetti. Can he keep all that money if he loses?

    Will Marchetti operate out of Greylock Federal Credit Union like Ruberto did?

    and will the same dirty politics that marked Rubertos run be brought out for this election as well?

    This will truly be an election of the poor man against the rich man….divided, just the way Ruberto divided the city

  4. Jonathan Melle
    May 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Thank goodness Mayor Jimmy Ruberto is stepping down. No one should aline themselves to Pittsfield’s most unethical and dirty politics Good Old Boy Mayor! During Ruberto’s 8 year tenure as Mayor, Pittsfield lost thousands of jobs and population. Taxes increased every year above the rate of inflation. Teen pregnancies and welfare caseloads proliferated. Violent crime and drug activities persist. The problem with Jimmy Ruberto is that if you were not one of his minions under his dictatorial regime, you were an outsider. Jimmy Ruberto represented the wealthy and rich, while neglecting the middle class and poor. Ruberto praised the political machine’s most notorious payroll patriots like Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett. Ruberto was supported by the disgraced Angelo Stracuzzi. Pittsfield’s politics nightmare Mayor is almost over. Pittsfield needs a fresh start. I hope all of the candidates for Mayor of Pittsfield will separate themselves from Jimmy Ruberto!

  5. Matt Noyes
    May 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    SO Dan,
    You decide to ask a candidate for Lenox selectmen about a bankruptcy from 20 years ago BUT no mention of your candidate’s Financial issues? Is it possible that a current situation weighs more than one that is 20 years old??? You took shots at three very respected people who have served Lenox well, all the while pushing your candidate. ” Beer Hall”, “Poker Face”, “Deer n the headlights”, and “high school football hero who’s still reliving the Big Touchdown scored against Lee High” only serve to demean all involved and our town. As a moderator you are supposed to be neutral. Clearly that is not the case.

    • danvalenti
      May 6, 2011 at 8:27 am #

      Thanks for the feedback.

      As moderator, my job is to run the show as I see fit. It sounds rather like “Your” candidates disappointed and didn’t handle the high, inside pitches so well. Could that be it? My job is NOT to be neutral. You want “neutral,” have a machine run the debate, which is what all the rest of them do. In my format, we actually find out about candidates as people, under stress, in the hot seat. “Neutral?” Get real, my good friend.

      • Guy N
        May 6, 2011 at 8:46 am #

        Matt You should know by now that Dan will never give you a straight answer. He is a big fan of Vincelette because he blogs on planet Valenti. This should make anyone who gets invited to a debate that Dam moderates to say no because he incapable of being neutral. Why on earth would anyone do a debate with Dan knowing full well that they will be at a great disadvantage? Unless you kiss Dans ring you will never geta fair shake!

      • Matt Noyes
        May 6, 2011 at 11:27 am #

        Ok ,fair enough but if your going to bring up one candidate’s financial issue from 20 years ago then why wouldn’t you bring up another candidate’s recent issue? Roche handled the issue fine, in fact he was out before the bankruptcy.

        • danvalenti
          May 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

          I wasn’t aware of the other candidate’s recent issue. If I was, it would have been fair game. I agree. Roche handled it with aplomb. Thought it was one of his best moments, in fact. I only brought it up because the issue came up in doing my research and due diligence. He had the chance to address it head one, face to face, and scored major points in my judgment. Roche impressed me. Loved his answer about losing the roof at Aspinwall.

      • scott
        May 6, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

        What relevance does a bankruptcy from 20 years ago have? Just asking as an observer.

  6. rick
    May 4, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    mr.valenti,is there any way once all the mayoral candidates come forward, the planet could have a “meet the candidates” forum on pctv?…

    • Obie
      May 6, 2011 at 7:42 am #

      agreed with rick, hope the planet can do this. Herd that he gave the Lenox candidates the hot seat. Fanto called it ‘intense quetioning.’ Lol. but that’s what politicians need. valentis the only one whose got the big ones to do ti.

  7. Joetaxpayer
    May 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Good luck to the canidates.Give all of you credit for throwing your hat in the ring.Looking forward to hearing how the city is going to balance its budget and keep taxes in check.With Pittsfield commercial rate at almost $30 on a 1,000 how are we going to attract business.With less state and federal dollars and 1 million owed to teachers will you have what it takes to make cuts to the big three.If so you have my vote,if you want to keep buss. as usual raise taxs spend money we dont have you can’t count on my election date.

  8. Dusty
    May 5, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    Ruberto ran in the beginning saying he was going to bring taxes under control…and then went 180 degrees in the opposite direction. So please remember…and do not forget..that Marchetti has said that the wishes to emulate Rubertos vision for the city.

    Personally I do not think Marchetti is anywhere near mayor material and that the behind the scenes plan is for him to simply be the face of the mayor while the wheeling and dealing goes on behind the curtain. He was a puppet as a councilor and will be a puppet as a mayor.

  9. rick
    May 5, 2011 at 3:52 am #

    got that right dusty, but even as years went by and roberto spent more and taxed more the fools kept on electing him back in. only last election vs.bianchi did you see the people wake up and say no more, yet 200 votes shy, but still a great victory for a first time run by mr. bianch. marchettis a spender also, and said he on robertos wave length…. take a look at his voting record…… we cant afford another big spender in office…the whole country is getting rid of spenders and bringing in fiscally sound people (bianchi). if you want more taxes vote marchetti….

  10. scott
    May 5, 2011 at 4:07 am #

    I like to stuff boneless chicken breast with capers, feta, tomatoes and spinach.

  11. John
    May 5, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    @ rick…I feel your pain. If you think your going to get tax relief from any of the mayoral candidates, it ain’t gonna happen, my friend.

    • rick
      May 5, 2011 at 6:13 am #

      john…i think that bianchi can stop the bleeding…when times are tuff we tighten our belts.. not tax relief but fiscal sanity…robertos give aways to north street resaurants is nuts…toughest buissnes to be in a spice goes out… how much went to jae?..

      • Joetaxpayer
        May 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

        I believe Jae got nothing, but the multi-millionare owners of the building the Bernsteins received a sweet tax break.Wheres my tax break diamond Jim.

  12. Guy N
    May 5, 2011 at 5:55 am #

    Dan, Boring Blog today.. Can’t you dig up some dirt on your”Good Friends” so we can Live our sad lives through the blog?

  13. John
    May 5, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    And tax relief? The restaurants and theatres are for the out of towners. These theatre, restaurants ,are the playgrounds for special interests.

  14. John
    May 5, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    What is going on at Jae’s?

    • scott
      May 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      Chung don’t pay his bills apparently.

  15. John
    May 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Hmf. Chung not making change, but changing? Sounds like a ponzi scheme. Did Bernstein get tax incentives for employed workers at Jaes? And does she lose the incentive (tif),or whatever, if they sell? Never did like the caveat phrase when the building was refurbished, all the players kept saying if the business fails the city has a new building. I’m probably wrong.

  16. John
    May 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    …with that being said like the replacement Dragon from West Housatonic St. great vietnamese food, can’t wait.

  17. GMHeller
    May 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Must be a slow news day, the Planet did not publish anything new today (Thursday).

  18. John
    May 6, 2011 at 3:01 am #

    it happens…

  19. John
    May 6, 2011 at 3:10 am #

    ….somethings brewing G M….

  20. danvalenti
    May 6, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Yeah. Some handled to hot pan better than others. Thought Vincelette and Roche were the best two that night.