CAMPAIGN CAPERS: LENOX CANDIDATES WILT UNDER PRESSURE (AT LEAST SOME DO), MARCHETTI DECLARES, & OTHER NOTES ALONG THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS
BY DAN VALENTI
(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 iBerkshires.com. 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.
NOW IT’s NOSOTROS VAMOS, AS WE VANISH FOR MORE ADVENTURES.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL