ADD ONE, 5/6/11


The town of Lenox, in a 4-to-1 vote by the select board, approved the horrendous marketing slogan developed for the town at a reported cost of anywhere between $58,000 and $300,000 by a Big, Important, NYC Agency. How impressive. What a crock. It’s lame, it’s ridiculous, it’s LENOXOLOGY. Rhymes with TOXICOLOGY.

Kim Flynn and John McNinch, the two incumbents up for re-election, may have sealed their doom in supporting the embarrassment. Free advice to David Roche and Eric Vincelette: Remind everyone between now and election day Monday that the incumbents voted to waste $300 grand after claiming in the debate this week (TV replay schedule below) that the town faced large fiscal issues.

Flynn and McNinch should be pressed to defend their support of “Lenoxology.”

The marketing head of the Big NYC Agency defended the vote with a crockpot of bullshit that was both redolent and steamy, blathering to Clarence Fanto of the BB about “a unique healing treatment for vacationers … resulting in a deep refreshment of the spirit and the feeling of being more centered and alive.” Seriously, we aren’t making that up.  Big NYC Agency flack Marty Mitchell actually said that. Mitchell must mean the “deep refreshment of spirit” the Big NYC Agency got when it sucker punched the town for 300 Gs.

McNinch told Fanto, “Lenoxology, just as a word, I didn’t understand it. But reading through it, I loved it. I catches on and starts to flow.” Like the tinkle down the inside of his pants that must of occurred at his excitement of the dynamic word. Flynn offered this brilliant insight: “It makes people ask the question, and isn’t that kind of the point”? She didn’t specify which question. The Planet guesses she means this one: “What kind of shit-shaking operation are you idiots on the board running, anyway”?

Linda Procopio Messana was the lone dissenter in the 4-1 vote. Good for her. Bad for the town.



Let’s not pretend Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s appointment of John Barrett as acting head of Berkshire Creative this is anything other than soft landing to reward a pal. Barrett may work his fanny off or may not. This is nothing more than a make-work job to keep Barrett’s skein at the public trough going. He just finished up a year-and-a-half consultant’s gig for Pittsfield. The beat(ing) of taxpayers goes on.

Did you notice how the Boring Broadsheet stayed away from the story? iBerkshires got the scoop. It went something like this:

(TELEPHONE RINGS IN ANDY MICK’S OFFICE) VOICE FROM CORNER OFFICE: Mick? Here’s the deal. Not a word on the new Barrett gig, understand?

MICK: Y-y-yes. (CLICK)


Tothe best of The Planet’s knowledge, our Right Honorable Good Friends on the Pittsfield city council didn’t say a peep of protest about the slick move. Melissa Mazzeo’s petition on acting appointments was never brought up. Jonathan Lothrop reportedly ducked a meeting on the issue.

Said one political observer, “The whole thing smells here, and it is not just a coincidence that all these things have fallen in to place like they have.”

To them that has, more will be given. To them that doesn’t have, what little they have will be taken away. Think it’s going to get better. Wait till The Planet presents for bedraggled taxpayers the FY2012 budget, to be sung to the tune of “Screwed Again.”


(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, May 6, 2011) — A day away, but still no respite for The Planet, as we were on assignment out Boston way.

Watch for Yourself the Candidates Debate LENOXOLOGY

LENOX TV DEBATE SCHEDULE — Our grilling of Kim Flynn, John McNinch, David Roche, and Eric Vincelette — the four candidates competing for two seats on the five-member selectboard — is as follows:

+     Wed    05/04/11    11:00 PM    Channel 18

+     Thu    05/05/11    12:45 PM    Channel 18

+     Fri    05/06/11    12:00 PM    Channel 18

+     Fri    05/06/11    02:50 PM    Channel 18

+     Sat    05/07/11    05:30 AM    Channel 18

+     Sat    05/07/11    04:45 PM    Channel 18

+     Sun    05/08/11    12:10 AM    Channel 18

+     Sun    05/08/11    11:30 AM    Channel 18

+     Mon    05/09/11    06:50 AM    Channel 18

+     Mon    05/09/11    02:15 PM    Channel 18

The Planet’s trademarked “Beer Hall Chat” style debate, which we have perfected and patented, pits candidates against each other in TRUE debate, with a spontaneous moderator (The Planet) floating in and out. It’s the crucible some candidates have ducked. Chris “No Show” Speranzo, the man who plays at being a state rep but doesn’t actually work as one, refused the challenge last year against Green-Rainbow candidate Mark Miller and almost lost. The format as well as The Planet’s role as moderator has itself caused a debate about the debate. The splits are: Valenti was too rough on then candidates, and who’s he to come into OUR town and do this? and Valenti asked great questions that We The People would have asked if we had the chance, and we thank him for the most relevant and informative debate of the three among these candidates.

Tune in and decide for yourself.


Another One Bites the Dust

THE SPICE ON JAE’S SPICE — The Planet heard about this about a week ago and new Jae’s was closing. There were some late attempts to forestall this move, but events cascaded beyond good keeping. The revolving door that is the former Besse-Clarke’s will be opening next week under a different name and management, the Jae’s part of it. The new hash house will be called Spice Dragon.

If this were our money, The Planet would drop the Spice name. Been there, done that, twice, and both times “Spice” has flopped. The Planet admires spunk as much as anybody, but we don’t care for hanging on to losing investments. To succeed, Spice Dragon will have to realize that, despite all the hokum on the fictitious “renaissance” of downtown Pittsfield, the city is still “blue collar” at the backbone.

The Planet wishes Jae Chung well. He is a great chef. We hope he has learned from this experience and apply the lessons in his new place.

The Shabu part of the building it will remain dark. Since investing untold millions into the building to create an upscale restaurant in the downtown, building co-owner couldn’t make the math work, not even with the generous tax breaks she got from the city … that is, from taxpayers. Brothers Huy and Phang Huynh, who own, at restaurant on toney Railroad Street in Great Barrington, will soon find that downtown Pittsfield is not Railroad Street. They are served well, though, by having at least some Pittsfield experience, with Dragon Streakhouse, practically out of town on outer West Housatonic Street. Hope the brothers Huynh have a lot of bicarbonate of soda on hand.



HORSEHIDE HEAVEN — At last, the sound of bat hitting ball and ball popping glove will be heard tomorrow and Sunday at Beloved Wahconah Park (BWP), as the Pittsfield Colonials welcome ballplayers to their two-day tryout camp.

Manager Jamie Keefe tells The Planet that 90 ballplayers from around the country have pre-registered, most of them with professional or big-time college experience. There will be lots of players who were signed by major league organizations and released, many as high as Double A.

“The nice part of a tryout camp is that you don’t know what you’re going to get,” Keefe said. We’re going to look at everybody and make our evaluations. You always hope to find a diamond in the rough somewhere. That’s what we hope is going to happen. We’ve received lots of information about these guys, from the pre-registration, and there’s going to be what looks like real talent showing up, guys with Double A experience. It’s a great situation.”

Camp both days begins at 10 a.m. The purpose of the camp is to fill the remainder of the Colonials’ 22-man roster. Be sure that there will be spots up for grabs. The pressure will be intense on these hopefuls, the odds against then, but some will be invited to spring training, which begins on Monday. Most of the veteran ballplayers returning this season are in town and some will be on hand for a workout.



Nobody’s Fault … Right.

Out where The Planet teaches at Berkshire Community College, an 18-year-old student, according to the Boring Broadsheet, fell 15 feet down a hole “when the metal grate covering the shaft he was resting on gave way, sending him to the bottom of the concrete hole.”

Christina Barrett, BCC’s PR flack, said “neither the victim nor BCC appears at fault.” She told Dick Lindsay the fall was an accident. Let’s see if we get this straight. The kid’s standing on a metal grate covering a 15-foot pit. The kid doesn’t weigh 900 pounds. The grate breaks. BCC is not at fault. Something doesn’t compute here. Sounds like Barrett was doing early damage control. There are workplace safety rules about the safety and strength of materials guarding or covering hazardous sites. And she says non one is at fault. The grate decided to break itself and forget to ask the kid to step away. Oh, that’s it. Can you say, OSHA investigation?






  1. GMHeller
    May 6, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    That student who fell down BCC’s hole has a negligence claim worth at least $500,000 (if not more), let’s hope he gets a good tort lawyer — meaning none of those inept hacks currently practicing in Berkshire County.

    • danvalenti
      May 6, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      The lawyers can handle the claim, if it goes that far, but BCC’s PR person claiming no one was at fault is preposterous. This was a 15-ft. deep concrete pit, not a 10-inch hole. Thank God the boy wasn’t seriously injured or even killed. Campus maintenance is as important as campus security.

  2. Still wondering
    May 6, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Barrett is a piece of work. All she’s got going for herself is her looks and she uses that to the max. If you are a guy and you have something she wants, she’ll get it. Just ask Tyler F.

    • GMHeller
      May 6, 2011 at 10:23 am #

      @Still wondering:
      Please explain and expand upon your comment.

  3. Josh
    May 6, 2011 at 10:24 am #


    While I can only say that I’ve eaten a meal at Jae’s Spice once (as part of a function involving an organization of which I belong to in the community), I can attest that the food, service, and experience under Jae was superb. It’s disappointing that the establishment is changing hands once again, though from what I understand, the new proprietors have a good reputation from their past on West Housatonic St.

    With the Spice location, I think the fact that it has now changed hands three times in five years is a telling sign that the business model established in 2006 might not be working as planned. The restaurant banked its hopes on the patronage of Colonial Theater and Barrington Stage customers, plus the influx of Memorial Day through Labor Day tourists. While the restaurant has been able to attract these crowds to some degree, the fact is that these populations are NOT YEAR ROUND! The Colonial and the Barrington Stage only put on performances X number of times per year. By all accounts, Barrington draws well, the Colonial not quite as well. There are a lot of open dates throughout the year which Spice can’t draw theater goers from! Third Thursdays provide an influx to many local businesses and eateries, but they only take place six times a year. When you look at their books, you’ll likely see profitable summers, but what about October through April? Is it truly sustainable without these people? Probably not.

    If the business wants to be successful, I suggest altering the business model somewhat in order to appeal to a wider cross-section of LOCAL residents, not just white-collars and tourists. Restaurants like the Highland (opened in 1936) don’t last 75 years by accident. They don’t fix things that aren’t broken. They know who their clientele are. They provide a wide array of affordable choices so ALL people can patronize and develop a loyalty. For a more upscale establishment, Mazzeo’s Ristorante does the same thing. Does this potential exist for Spice? I believe so. Will the owners explore this? We shall see.

    • Joetaxpayer
      May 6, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

      Spice openend before Barrington stage opened

      • Josh
        May 6, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

        No it didn’t; they opened roughly simultaneously. I should know-I was at BSC’s groundbreaking

  4. rick
    May 6, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    josh, i heard the same about great food and service, but expensive.

  5. GMHeller
    May 6, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    What do I know, I eat at Teo’s.

    • scott
      May 6, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

      Man I’m so glad I hit them up for one more round of crab won tons and a couple rolls last week (Does that make me a liberal?) I wouldn’t eat at the new one wasn’t impressed with the one on outer west Housatonic. I guess I’ll have to hit up shiro are they even still there?

    • danvalenti
      May 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

      What do I know. I eat at Blantyre, every day, with Gov. Patrick if you listen to the more fevered speculation of the amalgamation known as PB.

      • Joetaxpayer
        May 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

        Could you get me a nook?

  6. pjmh
    May 6, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Bummed to see Jae’s close. I’ve been throwing down Jae’s since the early 90’s in Back Bay. Jae’s is solid. I think one of the many issues is that Jae’s Spice, any any other market, is a nice spot. But here, damn… they were trying to make it the one and only spot…in an area with zero vibe.

    Anyway, best of luck to Jae and to the new owners.

    DV, what’s up w- Berkshire Living?

    • danvalenti
      May 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

      Berkshire Living, we hear, is on life support, wheezing and coughing. Also hear the reported sale has hit a roadblock.

    • Joetaxpayer
      May 6, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

      Have to agree back bay, Jaes the original is what made him.Unfortunately he over exstended himself.Too bad the Bersteins were not willling to give him another go

  7. Jonathan Melle
    May 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    The only business that would succeed on North Street is red light district with pot parlors. How about a strip club for starters? he ha he ha.

    • Jonathan Melle
      May 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

      I have a Blog page about North Street in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts. It’s a little weird, but it tells stories about the real business district: “Social Services Alley” & the perverse incentives of exploiting the disadvantaged for the city’s profit.
      It’s just my perception and personal experiences.

      • Guy N
        May 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm #


        • Jonathan Melle
          May 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

          I am certifiably 100 times more nuts than Valenti. I have a vision for Pittsfield. Valenti just says it like it is. I respect that about Dan.

      • Jonathan Melle
        May 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

        How about a “Hooters” restaurant & bar? North Street can become sexy!

    • GMHeller
      May 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

      From your mouth to God’s Ear!

    • Joetaxpayer
      May 6, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

      Put down the pipe Jonathan

      • Jonathan Melle
        May 6, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

        What is your vision for North Street? More social services agencies? An outdoor walking mall? An annual porn festival at Beacon Cinema? An adult video store? At least I have a vision for North Street!

  8. John
    May 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Good idea J Mel, that is thinking outside the box. All we need is some dancing poles, good cuisine, and muscular bouncers to keep the rift raft out, a tax break from Lady Di and were good to go. We have the lawyer for any trouble with Carmen and the License Board in Del, lets do it.

  9. John
    May 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    …we’ll call it Planet Cafe.

  10. danvalenti
    May 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Hooters, a strip club like the one Gerry Doyle and Michael Armitage wanted to open in Pittsfield, OTB, and a casino — what a downtown “renaissance” that would be!

    • GMHeller
      May 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      Mr. Valenti,
      You scoff, but a few strip clubs and a casino or two would do a helluva lot more to bring cash and night life to Pittsfield than anything this incompetent Liberal Democrat Mayor Ruberto has thus far accomplished.
      Presence of strip clubs is not going to bring any more of a criminal element into Pittsfield than already exists.

    • Joetaxpayer
      May 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

      DAN! Lets not pick on OTB!

  11. John
    May 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Planet, you are the man, kick a buck to the curb and go for that idea, i’m hip with it. Ange can come back as a pit boss and do the books. Joyce can oversee the Bar and facility operations,The Dragon can run the Restaurant.

    • danvalenti
      May 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

      Kick a buck for that, man!

  12. DJ
    May 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    It was two weeks ago that you heard about Spice, Berkshire Living is dead…the plug was pulled.

  13. Andy
    May 6, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Hey Dan, just a clarification note – Barrett was appointed as the head of Berkshire Works – not Berkshire Creative.

    • danvalenti
      May 6, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks for the correction.

  14. Scott Laugenour
    May 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Hi Dan. Here in Lenox I voted YES, too. I support further development of the ‘Lenoxology’ concept. I voted last week (on the Steering Committee) as did three of my fellow steering committee members, to recommend it to the Select Committee. This marketing company was one of nearly 10 firms that submitted RFP’s to the town in February. I don’t know where you are getting the $300,000 figure. The cost for the marketing campaign is $38,000. Another $18,000 ,is going for event management. This company does some huge events and have contacts that will bring business to Lenox.

    Here in Lenox we voted to increase the lodging tax last year, so it makes sense that the first things we do with our Economic Development budget is to invest in getting more from the lodging sector.

    The ‘Lenoxology’ concept is just being hatched. It arose not from within some Madison Avenue boardroom but from us in Lenox. From our words – spoken on our street, in our taverns, and in brainstorm sessions with community members. The concept is brilliant. I very much like what I have seen. And it’s just the beginning. Everyone on the Steering Committee, which I chair, and everyone on the Select Committee, which has been working very closely with us are dedicated to the concept’s success, regardless of their opinion at the time of the vote.

    Take as many pot shots as you like, they may after all boost readership, but the public meetings have been had, the arguments have been presented, and the decisions – good decisions in my opinion – have been made and the creative team is moving on. Marty is terrific and his team is terrific.

    You, who frequently cites the excitement, possibilities, and new frontiers in cyberspace, are invited to the meeting when the marketing team visits us again to demonstrate how the new web site, videos, Facebook pages, and other online media that will spin off from the Lenoxology concept will go viral. I myself can’t wait to see it.

    Anyone who wishes to review my committee’s work is welcome to visit Town Hall, where all the marketing proposals that we reviewed are available. Anyone is welcome to see the work plans for Bodden Hamilton. They were far from the most expensive of the RFP’s we reviewed, but they were by far the best in terms of quality.

    As I told many members of the public who attended one of the first sessions with Marty Mitchell and his team, when my committee was introducing the team to the town, it is often the visitors whom we invite into our homes who can help us to gain new perspective and insights on who we are, which we can put to use to make us successful.

    Lenoxology is good for locals, too; I’m ready to imbibe.

    • Joetaxpayer
      May 6, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

      What ever the cost the name sucks!

    • Allen
      May 7, 2011 at 6:25 am #

      The select board didn’t fleece the Lenox taxpayers by voting for Lenoxology. They had to choose one of the crappy slogans that were already bought and paid for. This is a fun thing to mock but it’s hardly a campaign issue.

    • T Truran Holmes Rd
      May 7, 2011 at 10:03 am #


      I have lived in Lenox for 5 decades.

      I appreciate your effort in getting the selectmen candidates to have a open debate. Thanks again, and lets have many more.

      However, the “Lenoxology” slogan is aTOTAL waste of taxpayer money. The 2nd grade students at Morris School could have done better, and an ice cream sandwich would have been their reward.

      Such FOOLISH things must be purged from town funding, and all citizens, not just the “squeaky wheels” tourist trap businesses, get equal services from our tax dollars.

      I live on Holmes Rd. Which just had a shabby over-surfacing, after 15 years of neglect. Poor drainage problems were never addressed, and the culverts under the road are STILL crumbling.

      When is the rest, of the Town of Lenox, going to get it’s fair share?


      Tony Truran

      Holmes Rd Lenox

  15. Jonathan Melle
    May 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    What will be better off in a decade?
    (1) Downtown Pittsfield Massachusetts
    (2) PEDA
    (3) None of the Above

  16. arpaint
    May 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    I did not think that Spice would succeed when the Mayor was singing how wonderful it was going to be for North ST and Pittsfield. I still don’t think it will succeed until who ever has owner ship of it has something the local people can support. Too bad they gave those tax breaks it could have helped a business that has been heir for a while.

  17. fan Dan Go
    May 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    a very informative post from scott laugenour on “Lenoxology.” I can see the reasoning but I think its flawed. If as he says the slogas was locally done why the agency? theres an agency in town, winstalney, that could do the job better, for less, with more care, and its local.

  18. John
    May 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Whatever happened between the two Colonial Theatre lovers a few years ago. The big wheel and the mistress, forget her name?

    • Jonathan Melle
      May 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

      I think her name is Susan Sperber. She was a victim of Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s puritanical persecution. She was not part of the Good Old Boy network like Angelo Stracuzzi & Carmen Massimiano.

  19. Randy
    May 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    I told my wife when Jae’s opened that it would fail because it caters to snobbish, old New Yorkers. Even Ruberto’s welfare payment to it (no taxes) couldn’t help it. The Colonial is probably headed in the same direction – Ruberto’s welfare payment to it is probably the only thing that’s kept it alive. When I look at its schedule I say “now if I was 60 years old and came from New York and had my nose stuck in the air I might go to one of these shows”. Hopefully due to the success they had when BOC played there they’ll realize they need to change to fit the city’s population more.

  20. GMHeller
    May 7, 2011 at 3:06 am #







  21. Guy N
    May 7, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    I can’t believe it! I saw a Jeff Ferrin lawn sign on Holmes road today. Isn’t it a tad early to be doing this? Its the first week in May for Gogs sake! The election isn’t until mid September. There should be a law that you can’t put campaign signs up until a month before the election! So now we have to look at these eye sores all summer long..

    • Josh
      May 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

      It may have been Jeff’s house. He lives on Holmes Road. It can’t hurt to get your name out there as early as possible, especially if you are challenging an incumbent.

      • danvalenti
        May 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

        Agree. LAwn signs are an adjunct to campaigns. They may be a nuisance but they serve a purpose. We admire Ferrin’s ambition.

  22. T Truran Holmes Rd
    May 7, 2011 at 9:42 am #


    Thanks for moderating the Lenox selectman debate. Is there a way Lenox citizens can see/hear the contents if you are not cable subscribers?

    I agree with your evaluation of the “lenoxology” slogan, that no Lenox taxpayer knows the ultimate cost of. Why is that selectman/women , and Mr town mis-manager?

    How about this “slogan” for the town officials: “protocology, we are all full of manure”

    I won’t charge $300K for the slogan, it’s free AND accurate!

    • danvalenti
      May 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

      Thank you for the feedback. The only way I can think of getting the debate if you’re not a cable subscriber is to have someone record it for you. Either that, or call or visit CTSB-TV and see if they can burn you a disc. Here’s my slogan, submitted for free.
      “Lenoxcitement”. Took me 15 seconds.

      • Allen
        May 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm #


      • scott
        May 7, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

        How about “Lenox, there’s not that much to do”?

  23. Dusty
    May 8, 2011 at 2:26 am #

    How about “Pittsfield, we drain your community spirit” ?

    • GMHeller
      May 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

      How about “Come to Pittsfield — Your Cancer Isn’t Rare Here!”