Article

STRATEGIC RESPONSE TEAM: NECESSARY OR NEEDLESS? POLITICIANS, DECIDE! plus, Red Crosswalks, Fishy Jail House Audits, Sherman’s Misstep on Charter Review, and KK: Call a Press Conference

BY DAN VALENTI

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Do We Need the Strategic Response Team, or Is is an OT Scam of Guys Playing Rambo? That’s Just a Question, by the Way.

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MAY 14, 2011 ) — The question will be among the top this campaign season, so candidates had better begin doing research now: Does Pittsfield need a Strategic Response Team, a.k.a., a SWAT team? There are sources within Pittsfield Police Department who claim that the SRT is simple the vehicle through which some officers can feed at the public trough with massive amounts of OT, being paid for members to train and even to sit around and do nothing but wait for the calls that never come.

How much does this team cost? Where does the money come from? Where does the money go? What is the demonstrated need, specifically, for this team in the bucolic town of Pittsfield? How many crises have the SRT handled? What would be the effects if the city does not have such a team.

Candidates for political office need to have a position and convince us of their view based on the facts. Of course, one would expect law enforcement brass to say yes to this, even if SRt is a toy and an excuse for guys to play Rambo. Therefore, we can’t take their word that it’s needed. Anyone who advocates for the SRT, given the boatloads of money this is costing, need to demonstrate on the facts, not on the what ifs or the speculative.

History is the science and study of events that only happen once and are never repeated. Politics is the science and study of events that happen over and over again. Does this explain why the city has such a team? The Planet will let you work through the logic on your own.

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Crosswalks are Red, My Love, Violets are Blue

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MAY 14, 2001) — Don’t you love the snazzy new burnt-red crosswalks in Pittsfield? The Planet doesn’t. Crosswalks need to be visible in a prominent way, which is why they are painted. The shade of red might look good in daylight, but under artificial lighting, they all but wash out and become invisible — a combination of the shallow angle of the driver’s line of vision with respect to the plane of the road, the nature of artificial light, AND the steep angle the light beams travel to the paving.

Light behaves in a predictable way, and in fact is one of the few physical constants of the quantum world.  You don’t have to be Einstein, though, to see that under the lights, the red of the crosswalk turns purt-near invisible.

Only in Pittsfield

In the Boring Broadsheet, Tony Dobrowolski reported that the mayor in consultation (of course) with Der Wunderbarrett decided on red essentially because it was a pretty color. By some form of anti-pedestrian logic, Mayor Jimmy Ruberto also decided that this shade of red fit the city’s 250th anniversary? Huh? Is that any way to run an airline or a DPW department. The Planet had to laugh at the way the newly hired DPW chief thought the mayor picked the most fabulous, terrific, colossal color in the History of Mankind. Right. And it couldn’t be that the guy was kissing up to his new boss, could it? The color’s A LOUSY ONE!!

Only the city of Pittsfield would choose the color of its sidewalks for such silly reasons. Other towns go for safety first, and the #1 safety color for this type of public use is the shade of green Stockbridge uses for their just-painted walks. The color is a specially formulated shade meant to work in day and especially at night.

Only in Benigno Numine. That is why, friends, I shall remain a Pedestrian.

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Two Days After The Planet Questions the Jail House Audit, the Boring Broadsheet Comes to the Rescue. “Why, Everything’s Hunky Dory,” the Establishment Claims. “Just Trust Us!”

And did you notice how fast it took for the Boring Broadsheet to get out the “news” that, by golly Suzie Bump, state auditor, completed her exhaustive weeks-long audit of the county lockup, known for 30 years as Carmen’s Holiday Ranch. It came in record time just two days after The Planet reported on questions being raised by staffers at the jail.

We called upon Sheriff Tom Bowler to conduct a management audit (a.k.a., a forensic audit) to determine how bad or good Carmen left the joint. We tried to contact Bowler five times, and received not one hint of interest. But Sheriff Tom runs right to the BB to “leak” the good news. In other words, he gave the BB a golden shower.

The Jail Needs a Forensic Audit from an Independent Source. A Math Audit from Suzie Bump Doesn’t Satisfy Us

From Bump’s statements and from sources at the jail who say they participated in the methodology, Bump did an accounting audit. THAT’S NOT THE KIND OF HONEST AUDIT BERKSHIRE COUNTY NEEDS. WE NEED A MANAGEMENT AUDIT.

Here’s the difference. An accounting audit simple checks the math. If the books show you spent $250,000 for ping pong balls, and the math adds up, they it says everything’s great. A management audit will check the math, but then it asks: “Hmmmm, why would the sheriff’s department spend a quarter million bucks on ping-pong balls?” So it checks, and it finds that, in this hypothetical, the ping-pong ball supplier is best friends with the sheriff. If then asks, “Gosh, did the sheriff get a kickback”?

UNTIL SHERIFF TOM BOWLER CONDUCTS HIS OWN INDEPENDENT MANAGEMENT AUDIT AND MAKES THOSE RECORDS PUBLIC, THE PLANET SHALL CONSIDER THAT HE’S SHORT ONE ON FULFILLMENT OF HIS CAMPAIGN PROMISES.

We also call upon the sheriff to release every page of the Bump audit, online.

Tom Bowler ran on a platform of transparency. Now is the time to prove it.

The story in the BB shows how quick the Newspaper Formerly Known As The Berkshire Eagle will please its GOB masters. The Planet was the sole reason for the page one story, with huge picture. We raised questions. The word got out: “Run a story saying all is great.” Bingo. Done. Corruption as a way of life in the public institutions of Berkshire County and Pittsfield are such a way of life, We The People will not believe anyone’s word. We want the documents so we can check the facts ourselves. Then again, that would mean we have to trust there are only one set of books.

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Call for Charter Review is a Misstep for Kevin Sherman and Not Good for We The People

Melissa Mazzeo submitted one of the best petitions of the council’s term when she sought to cub the mayor’s ability to name “acting” appointments as a way of circumventing council oversight. Ward 2 councilor Peter White had an excellent amendment, which would cub the mayor’s power but give him or her the ability to make 180-day one-time “acting” appointments. But no. My Right Honorable Good Friends could listen to common sense and reason. Instead of getting this on the books, councilor-at-large Kevin Sherman wants to fold the “acting” legislation into a charter review.

Wrong idea. The review will take months if not years to complete. It’s not to say a review should not be done. In the abstract, Pittsfield citizens should examine its constitutional charter and see if it’s dated or if it can be improved. Of course, the catch is: This is Pittsfield. The Planet can tell you right now: The charter commission will be stacked with political hacks and GOBs. They will write new legislation that would make the Civic Authority look like springtime.

Sherman’s move is a rare misstep for the man. He read the tea leaves, but incorrectly. Rather than support Mazzeo’s common sense approach, for some reason he decided to go procedural on us. The move doesn’t add up, politically, that Sherman would be the one to propose this. The matter needs to be closely watched during the campaign. What and who are truly behind Sherman’s march to a charter review?

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Planet Urges Kris Knutson to Call a Press Conference. If He’s Got Something to Say, Say it Then, and There

A poster by the name of Kris Knutson has made on this site and other online sites sensational charges relating to this time as a law enforcement officer in Berkshire County, including time as an employee at the county jail. He says he used steroids and implicates others as well.

The Planet  calls upon Knutson to take his information public via a press conference to which all area media — print, radio, TV, cyberspace, smoke signals, etc. — are invited. He can make his statements publicly. We can then ask questions. Until he takes such a step, he will continue to be marginalized by others. Knutson can send The Planet an e-mail with his decision.

We have made the decision to remove Knutson’s posts. The Planet will not become the “throwaway forum” for charges that are this serious. If Mr. K calls such a press conference, we will attend and we will cover it thoroughly. We will not allow further posts of the nature of Mr. K’s Topix posts. The Planet will rest. If Mr. K wants to continue in that vein, we know there are other such forums. Ours will no longer be one that this particular matter (and only this matter).

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THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES. NOW ONTO NEW ONES.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE”

LOVE TO ALL.

71 Responses to “STRATEGIC RESPONSE TEAM: NECESSARY OR NEEDLESS? POLITICIANS, DECIDE! plus, Red Crosswalks, Fishy Jail House Audits, Sherman’s Misstep on Charter Review, and KK: Call a Press Conference”

  1. GMHeller
    May 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    You write:
    “The Planet calls upon (Kris) Knutson to take his information public via a press conference to which all area media — print, radio, TV, cyberspace, smoke signals, etc. — are invited. He can make his statements publicly. We can then ask questions.”

    What good is a press conference where it’s likely the only local media showing up will be a Berkshire Eagle reporter and a BE photographer?
    (Remember the press conference held by Carmen Massimiano’s accuser early last year where only an Eagle reporter and photographer bothered to show. The result in typical Berkshire Eagle fashion was that Mr. Massimiano’s accuser was made to look foolish. In fact, the main reason the fellow’s accusations got serious notice was because he wisely phoned into Sherman Baldwin’s radio show and repeated what he had said at the press conference. That is when the sh*t hit the fan — and it pays to note what happened to Mr. Baldwin in the wake of that.)
    What advantage is gained by a formal press conference that Kris Knutson does not already enjoy by posting his observations on PlanetVanenti and on Topix?
    Plus, you know damn well The Eagle will splash Mr. Knutson’s picture all over the front page, and then Mr. Knutson’s personal privacy is lost — a serious consideration.
    It’s not worth it.
    If you want to ask Mr. Knutson specific questions, ask him on these threads.
    Based on all his postings thus far, he will no doubt provide you a complete response and follow-up — more complete than anything which would be provided at a presser.

    • Jeff
      May 15, 2011 at 7:12 am #

      Yes I am afraid I too agree with Mr. Heller. It is well know the GOB network will destroy anything said and done Mr. Baldwin. And Jim are indeed prime examples

  2. John
    May 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Again Heller wins a cookie, gotta agree!

  3. John
    May 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Agree with the Planet…The crosswalk colors are gnawdy.

  4. danvalenti
    May 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Mr. Knutson gains added credibility by stepping forward, formally, and making his comments in a general forum. If planned right, a press conference can get heavy attendance. There is nothing more “out in the open” than appearing in an “availability” for the media. This forum will not do anything more for Mr. Knutson than what he achieved on Topix. The Planet would have to consider not allowing this. A press conference enables us (the media, including The Planet) to handle all the exchanges in an open and transparent way. This serves the cause that Mr. K says he’s interested in far better than posting attached to a blog, however popular it may be. He gains added credibility by stepping forward. The rationale for not conducting a press conference should not be what the Boring Broadsheet or any other media outlet, for that matter, might or might not do with the story.

    That being said, we respect his decision and realize there may be compelling reasons for him not to do this. But again, The Planet will have to reassess whether or not if will allow this site to be the forum for his information.

    • Kris Knutson
      May 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

      That’s what I thought Dan. That’s exactly what I thought. GOBs got you too.

      • Luxor Rex
        May 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

        Mr. Knutsen says “GOb boys” got to the planet, too. Does that mean they got to HIM? but I don’t believe anyone “got” to valenti. i actually think hes right, valenti. Kris should call a press conference for all the reasons dan says. glad he protecting this site from sinking into Topix land.

      • danvalenti
        May 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

        @KK: Believe what you wish. Your assertion isn’t true, of course. Kris, if it’s so important for you to tell this story, step up front, into the spotlight, and tell it. Otherwise, don’t. Take your case elsewhere, to another forum. If you wish credibility, you must step forward publicly. That is the best way for you. Consider that free communications counsel.
        @LR Thanks. Appreciate it. You are correct. No one “got” to The Planet. KK “got” to himself. We have given him his best course of action in terms of advancing the claims he is making. In a press conference, he can make his statements. OF course, he will also be open to questioning. Is that why he won’t come forward? Is this simply a case of his word against another’s? We can’t answer.

        • Kris Knutson
          May 15, 2011 at 5:41 am #

          Dan,

          I would like to tell my story, “officially”. I will not do a “press conference”. I will make myself available on a radio broadcast where my personal privacy can be maintained as much as possible. Of course, I will take callers questions after I have had a brief amount of time to tell the gist of my story.
          I would need some sort of resonable assurance that the callers I talk with are absolutely unscreened (live call ins from the citizens).
          Can you do this, yes or no?

          • danvalenti
            May 15, 2011 at 9:52 am #

            KRIS
            Fair enough. Let me check this out, and if I can make this happen, I will.
            I respect this position, and agree that it makes a reasonable compromise.
            I will be in touch with you on this. Thank you.
            DAN

          • Allen
            May 15, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

            Why does this feel like another Al Capone’s Vault story?

          • danvalenti
            May 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

            ALLEN
            Perfect analogy! KK is asking us to be Geraldo standing in front of an empty locker. Nope. No will do.

  5. danvalenti
    May 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    @JOHN The choice of color is THE WRONG CHOICE. It still seems mind boggling that this hideous red was selected on aesthetics and politics (to fit in with the city’s 250th) rather than public safety. Wondering if there’s a vehicle-pedestrian accident if the color has liability mixed into it.

  6. John
    May 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Planet.. if you get a chance, check out the Linden Street crosswalks without the white outline….whew!

  7. John
    May 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    …..must have had a sale on red paint….wait until some knuckleheads tag them with graffiti.

  8. danvalenti
    May 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    All of the crosswalks painted red that we saw OFF North Street, taking the back way to BCC today, did not have the white borders painted on them. This will likely be addressed, but every day the walks do not have these “visibility borders” is a another day of risk. As we said, the red is hard enough to see at night. Without the “VB”s they might as well not be there.

  9. Kris Knutson
    May 14, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Everyone has to make their choices in life, right Dan?

    • danvalenti
      May 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

      Yes. We agree on this, 100%

  10. Kim
    May 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    I have to admit that I, sadly, never paid attention to the process in which the cities changes happened. I simply swore at the traffic delays, and figured the people “in charge” had their reasons. I have been becoming more aware. I am saddened. I feel disappointed. I feel that Pittsfield’s Peeps, lol, are okay with saying, “figures, it’s Pittsfield”. How sad? Why are people happy to settle? I don’t care what part of this city you live in, there are basic standards people should want to live by. I know this is off the subject, but when I went to a gas station on “the west side”, and saw the pile of trash some volunteers pulled out of the Housatonic River, I actually had tears in my eyes. Not because of the amount of trash, but that because I realized some people on the West Side DO care. A man with a bike and a dog ran the volunteer project. What a fabulous and extraordinary person! I wish I knew about the event. Funny how the Eagle writes about crap, but things that matter, DON’T matter.

    I just want to mention that a majority of the trash consisted of tires, plastic bins, and furniture. Items a lot of people just can’t afford to have removed properly.

    In saying that, I also offer a solution. On my facebook page I posted links about the misquito issue. Basically, spending all this money on poison is a waste. Make bat houses, remove stagnant water, and keep your lawn mowed. Also, the elimination of SO MANY pests would decrease food for fish and other wildlife.Bats are as important for pollination as bees. Didn’t anyone research the cause and effect of wiping out such an important part nature? No, of course not, because some of us want to walk bug free across our RED CROSSWALKS!!! ummm..hello? How about yellow? maybe even add reflectors? What do I know, I am just a girl in town with no say!

    So, teach people how to build bat houses. Have places for materials to be donated. Contractors throw aways great bat house making supplies. Take the money saved from NOT spraying, and help people get rid of tires, tv’s, things that cost money to get rid of.. And I know the city help once a year, but people need this help more than once a year. Why is Pittsfield allowed to throw our tax dollars away? Why don’t we live by helping our neighbors, instead of judging them, and worrying about things that don’t matter. Like changing street names and crosswalk colors??? Just sayin’!

    • danvalenti
      May 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

      KIM
      Excellent suggestions here, particularly with mosquitos. We don’t need a $650,000 government program to control a nuisance. Common sense measures such as the ones you outline will take care of the problem. Those who advocate for The Program want Big Government to solve This Problem. The Planet says drop the initial capital letter and let people become responsible for themselves … or not.

      • Mike
        May 14, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

        FUN FACT: People who support the mosquito program depict the cost as $3/year for the average household. Dan prefers to frame the cost as $650K with no context. (The context is “cost to the city over a five year contract period”.) The actual value is in the eye of the beholder.

        • Kim
          May 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

          @Mike,

          Without the money issue, it’s still not a good idea. Bugs are a part of summer. If people don’t like it, stay inside!

      • Kim
        May 14, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

        And by the way, other states fine their residents for having stagnant water on their property! Wow! Clean up the city and make some money!

    • Allen
      May 14, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

      So what kind of house does a moonbat live in?

    • GMHeller
      May 15, 2011 at 7:38 am #

      Kim,
      It is utterly laughable that Pittsfield should pay to spray poisons into the air when the city is already sitting squarely in the midst of one of the largest toxic chemical waste dumps in the U.S. with its air, ground, and water already brimming with poisons.

      • Kim
        May 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

        GMHeller,

        I know! They should just spray water from Silver Lake all over us! Chemicals are the easy, expensive, LAZY solution.

        • danvalenti
          May 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

          Great idea. Market Silver Lake water as a pesticide!! It has killed people. Let’s see what it can do to skeeters!

          • GMHeller
            May 16, 2011 at 6:36 am #

            @Kim and DV,
            In Re: Spraying Silver Lake’s waters into the air around Pittsfield to kill mosquitoes.

            Now THIS shows real promise!
            PEDA take note:The answer to what heretofore and what otherwise has been a PR nightmare:
            Turning Pittsfield’s big lemon into lemonade!

  11. Jonathan Melle
    May 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Is Der Wunderbarrett on the OT payroll, too?

    • danvalenti
      May 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

      We haven’t seen any evidence that he is, Jonathan. However, the SRT OT and other cases of OT need to be examined closely. The council should demand an investigation into ALL municipal OT. That’s how we could save bedraggled taxpayers millions.

  12. scott
    May 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    The cross walk colors suck and so doesn’t your decision to sensor KK. At the same time I wish the FBI would show some interest and hold an open press conference to air these dirty secrets. Also Pittsfield bucolic? I don’t think so not anymore with all the bums, gangs, prostitutes and crack heads. Didn’t you hear about the last “biting”? I hope that lady got checked for std’s.

  13. Dusty
    May 14, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Maybe the red sidewalks are symbolic of the whorey way the city is being run

  14. John
    May 14, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    I think it the water.

  15. ShirleyKnutz
    May 14, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Sherman is the nephew to the grand old GOB Del Gallo!! That is where he gets his marching orders from. I,m suprised the mayor didn’t pick pink for the crosswalks color. That goes better with the artsy community.

    • danvalenti
      May 14, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

      Love your suggestion, Shirley. Hot Pink, right? That would be perfect for the downtown.

      • Guy N
        May 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

        Town of Lee has red cross walks.

  16. GMHeller
    May 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    You write:
    “A press conference enables us (the media, including The Planet) to handle all the exchanges in an open and transparent way.”

    Open and transparent, are you kidding?
    After PlanetValenti edits a reader’s comments to reflect the opposite of what the reader was saying?
    After PlanetValenti’s editor can’t even bring himself to acknowledge publicly and transparently whether or not he broke bread with the local Mayor and Governor, two political hacks about whom the editor gives rave reviews in PlanetValenti?
    After PlanetValenti’s editor can’t be transparent enough to post an interview with former Berkshire Eagle editor David Scribner, an editor about whom PV gives rave reviews, to find out the actual grounds upon which Mr. Scribner was canned by his former employer?
    And now, because Kris Knutson (a former corrections officer with first-hand knowledge of illegalities about which you extensively write) appears not to want to subject himself to a press conference (which would not only subject him to the ridicule of the sleazy editors at The Berkshire Eagle but also would destroy his personal privacy), you flat out deny Mr. Knutson posting privileges on PV saying “We have made the decision to remove Knutson’s posts” — from the forum you, Dan Valenti, claim is open and transparent.

    • danvalenti
      May 14, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

      Come come sire. This from a man who can’t even answer a simple question about his relation to another man? You raise a bunch of non sequiturs and red herrings. As for Kris K, he either is serious about his “story” and his allegations or he isn’t. Posting on Topix and in “comment” sections of The Planet suggest he isn’t. You are right: he “appears” not to want to subject himself to loss of privacy. “Appears” — only he knows. But it could be what we can guess is his wish for privacy is rather his desire to take pot shots at individuals without being asked rebuttal.

      The Planet shall remain transparent and open by not providing a platform for one-way allegations to be made by someone not willing to come forward, publicly, and make the same charges.

      • GMHeller
        May 14, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

        Mr. Valenti,
        You write:
        “This from a man who can’t even answer a simple question about his relation to another man? You raise a bunch of non sequiturs and red herrings.”

        Why should anyone have to do your research for you?
        You were recommended to phone Lenox lawyer Phil Heller’s law firm since it is you and your readers who are alleging lawyer Heller’s involvement, but you fail to report on what you found out.
        You claim the matters raised above are non-sequiturs and red herrings.
        Now you sound like Alan Chartock when he wants to avoid answering pesky questions about taxable fringe benefits he gets from WAMC Northeast Public Radio.
        Funny, how you Liberal media people circle the wagons when the focus is on you.

  17. just saying
    May 14, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    DV,
    Let KK continue his posts. He is not saying anything that should not be heard. It would be great if he had a press conference. However maybe there are reasons of which we are unaware that prohibit him from doing so at this time.

    • danvalenti
      May 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

      JS
      We wanted to continue his posts, but if what he is saying should be heard, he needs to step into the light of day in a press conference that would be heavily attended. If there are reasons that prohibit him from doing so, that is another matter. Only he knows. If there are such reasons, then all the more reason why The Planet will not supply him (or anyone else) such a one-way shoot-and-hide forum. We thank you for your views.

      • GMHeller
        May 14, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

        Mr. Valenti,
        You write:
        “We wanted to continue his posts, but if what he is saying should be heard, he needs to step into the light of day in a press conference that would be heavily attended.”

        Mr. Valenti,
        This is hogwash.
        If you wanted to continue Kris Knutson’s posts, you would.
        For someone who claims the mantle of openness and transparency, you are fast falling off your high horse.

      • Dusty
        May 15, 2011 at 3:31 am #

        I wish Ruberto and Capeless would step into the light of day regarding the water dept scandal. I wish Nilan would step into the light regarding the probation scandal. I wish Stracuzzi would step into the light of day…and Massimiano.

        Dan is there any light left to step into in Pittsfield?

  18. just saying
    May 14, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    @ Dusty-

    Yeah, red paint district. Fitting. I would like to know how much that paint job cost. I suppose that was more important than filling pot holes and fixing frost heaves. Who painted them and where did the paint come from?

  19. Josh
    May 14, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    I love how the BB runs the crosswalk story above the fold, but buries a serious matter like the kid getting drilled in the crosswalk in front of the museum which was ALLEGEDLY supposed to be made safe by “Streetscape”. Earth to Pittsfield: ditch the “cages” in the center island.

  20. rick
    May 15, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    the red paint reminds me of an eastwood movie…. he paints the buidings red and puts up a banner…” welcome to hell”… this is a lame duck at his best. we should have kicked his ass to the curb when he announced he wasnt running………………………………… time for a town manager .

    • Kim
      May 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

      The red paint reminds me of the symbolism of the color red in the movie The Sixth Sense! Represented pending death. Poor Pittsfield!

  21. Joetaxpayer
    May 15, 2011 at 3:56 am #

    I could care what color the cross walks are.It was the way it was decided that bugs me.Mayor Ruberto pick the color of red and pick the shade out of the 3 he had to chose from.I would think he as Mayor would have more pressing issues with all the budget cuts that need to be made.Although I dont believe he has cut to much in his tenure as Mayor.

  22. John
    May 15, 2011 at 4:42 am #

    Why do I have the feeling that the crosswalks were painted this color just to have the public outcry for another color. The new paint will cost $ and who will benefit from the cost? Reminds me of the fencing around Pontoosic Lake years ago, you couldn’t see the Lake from the road and the taxpayer had to foot the bill for another fence. And look at the mosquito contract with the State, more money flushed down the drain, what a mismanaged community.

  23. P. Alfonso
    May 15, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Mr Valenti is correct about his decision on Kris Knutsen. Mr. Heller is fast becoming a crank. The planet should consider the same fate for him. We recommend that. As for the red crosswalks, we agree with the posters here, that it is a horrible colod and chosen for stupid reasons. This website is the only honest thing going in the city of Pittsfield rightnow.

    • Kris Knutson
      May 15, 2011 at 11:55 am #

      So Mr. Valenti is correct to censor me and it’s because Heller is fast becoming a crank?

    • Kris Knutson
      May 15, 2011 at 11:58 am #

      And since Heller is fast becoming a crank, that means that I too am becoming a crank? What’s your evidence that I’m cranky? You don’t like something that I’ve said? What was it?

      • danvalenti
        May 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

        KRIS
        I’ve answered post about your willingness to do a live radio broadcast. If you are serious about doing such a broadcast, I can try to make arrangements. To answer your first question: No. That also answers questions 2,3, & 4, above.

  24. John
    May 15, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    I’m looking up and all I see are clouds…(*)(*)

  25. Obie
    May 15, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    If valenti did a live show with kris knutsen, it would be the highest rated show in city radio history. Whose going to jump on this opp? wbrk, wbec, or wtbr? Which station cares about the city of pittsfield? whic are owned by the GOB? heres where we gind out!!

  26. Jeff Ferrin
    May 15, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    I will start with the cross walks. Here once again we have yet another situation where common sense does not ring true with these individuals you speak of. We the people are not a matter of input or care for that matter. I agree the color is terrible and I am very familiar with the green in Stockbridge and also agree that it is and was a better choice for Clint Sneyer (hope I spelled his name right) to use. In the streets. When working we are supposed to use ANSE certified green for reflective colors regarding safety. Who was asked what colors to use. I still think Bill Sturgeons idea of using the same flashing lights like those at the ever loveable Colnial to warn people of pedestrians in the crosswalks is one of the better ones. I would not change the color at this time since North Street up to Columbus Ave will be done over anyways having wasted the paint. The color should be changed next year when the lines and crosswalks are redone.

    A little off topic Dan. Who has addressed the mayor about addressing the rumor that has run rampid that the mayor is going to resign for July 1st for a post offered by the Governor, leaving the mayors seat open to Gerry Lee who will then turn it down to give to Pete Marchetti so he can get an early start to the seat. True or not true I am wondering why we have heard nothing from the mayor or any media outlets covering it to confirm or deny the rumor? Sometimes the rumors are more dangerous than the truth.

    Back to the story at hand. As for Melissa Mazzeo’s petition. I submutted an email to J Lothrup asking to have it read as a matter of record on the petition. I even informed Melissa I would be suggesting to push out the timeline. At Pete Marchetti’s fundraiser I spoke to Mr. Lothrup and asked him to read it but he failed to do so. My feeling is that the mayor had a huge role in this since it would essentially effect the acting jobs crushing what he has put in place. Mr. Marchetti felt it would take away to much power from the mayor. I disagree. it would encompass a checks and balance system for the mayor. I think a charter review is in order. I also think as I stated at the council meeting it could take 4-6 yrs to go through the process. the changes if any would have to be codified, ratified, and then brought before the legilature for approval. I would prefer to see an elected body of 9 to do this review if so approved. However we would be hard pressd to get a volunteer elected body to perform a time and labor of love intensive process to achieve this. An appointed commission would without question be stacked with select chosen whch would set the charter off in a not so good direction. This is where the tax payers should step up to decide how they want to procede since this would be the set of laws effecting how their government would operate. The petition Melissa filed addresses the issue the very much needed change to acting positions immediatley and can still be part of the Charter change.
    It is obvious to me that these boys are affraid of this woman because she is smart and does her research that has at some point embarsassed every one of them with her inteligence and research. She is not affraid to go after the issues even if unpopular. So why not squash the good things she has tried to do.

    When I was out yesterday getting signatures the big complaint from people, was the fact that in there opinion Pittsfields politics has remained a club of good ole boys who have self interests and patronage to provide by being in office. I was in all honesty surprised to hear as many people as I did state that they stopped voting because the people they elect do not really care about the problems with the city, or the wasted money and patronage, or them as constituents.
    (HENCE THE LOW VOTER TURNOUTS) They only care when they want the votes. Once the election is over the promises are forgotten, phone calls not returned and the caring out the door. I had someone challenge me to show that I do care about the people and what is happening in this city. I was able to sight some cases where I did just that.
    I welcomed the challenge. I extend the challenge to all current councilors and candidates to show by consistancy and action that they care by removing the popularity of opinion and persuasion by a fellow councilor or mayor to one of unpopularity that benefits the citizens of this city as a whole. Not just the select few. I challenge them to find a way to give the trust back to the people by your actions and unpopular against your fellow councilor and mayor votes. Actually ask the constituents what they think. Don’t wait for your phone to ring. You are the leaders. You reach out to those you represent and inform them, place a call to them, intrigue and involve them in what is happening.

    I used to pick on Pete white for his food postings on facebook. But I will give him credit for one thing. He reaches out all the time to his constituents. Even if I disagree with him he is reaching out. Maybe we can all learn soemthing from that.

  27. danvalenti
    May 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    JEFF
    Thank you for sharing your views to this extent.
    As for the color, yes, the ASNE certified green is what Stockbridge uses. It is reflective at night and highly visible. The red does not appear to be reflective and disappears at night. It’s an accident waiting to happen.

    As to the rumors that the mayor is leaving, we put the question to the mayor point blank on April 15, in person, after we got wind of it. We did a post on The Planet (go to archives and look for the title). The mayor flatly denied he would be leaving before his term expired. That was then. This is now. I shall ask him again.

    Agree with your assessment of Peter White. He reaches out, constantly. He is growing into his role as a public servant. Once Mayor Ruberto gets out of office, I think Peter White and Peter Marchetti will show more independence. Marchetti has a huge strategic choice to make: Does he separate himself from Ruberto or does he embrace the notion that he is Jimmy’s “heir apparent,” as the webiste iBerkshires called him. He can’t be both. He must choose and decide by asking him: Which of these positions will win for him against Dan Bianchi?

    • Mike
      May 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

      Apparently crosswalks are unsafe at any color:

      http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/04100/

      “The study results revealed that on two-lane roads, the presence of a marked crosswalk alone at an uncontrolled location was associated with no difference in pedestrian crash rate, compared to an unmarked crosswalk. Further, on multilane roads with traffic volumes above about 12,000 vehicles per day, having a marked crosswalk alone (without other substantial improvements) was associated with a higher pedestrian crash rate (after controlling for other site factors) compared to an unmarked crosswalk.”

      • danvalenti
        May 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

        Most interesting. Thanks!

  28. John
    May 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Are you serious about Peter White, Planet. He was on the Bill Sturgeon show and Mr. Sturgeon ate him up and spit him out on several issues. And talk about heir apparent, all of the councilors save Melissa, have consistenly voted this Mayors agenda.

    • P. Alfonso
      May 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

      Maybe o but I think the point made by dan is a good one. When Ruberto leaves office and if White retirns, he might be a different guy. Same with Marchetti.

  29. rick
    May 15, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    jeffs right, i think white is doing what the job is and thats a community activist, kind of the spokesperson for his district…we call it a ward councilor. its to bad that the regular person who wants to do something for his or her community, in any compacity and finds out that politics rears its ugly head . i think its tuff for that person who just wants to help his/hers community. jeff i hope you get in and help your neighborhood and keep out of the foolish politics that are going on. mazzeo needs the help now with nichols leaving. and i agree that people are not voting for the reasons jeff stated and more. just watch a city council meeting.

    • scott
      May 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

      We all know what happens to community activists.

  30. John
    May 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    @ rick..I guess you would also include Paul Capatanio doing the job for his ward, as he has always been a community activist. Jeff should be running at-Large.

  31. John
    May 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Heller is doing sumthing….he is relentless.

  32. Sheriff Dawg
    May 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    The jailhouse audit is an exercise in 2+2 = 4.5, plus it says nothing about 30 years of The Evil Empire. There’s stuff missing, inclulding a vehicle, but its not considered missing and sh wouldn’t show up in the facititious audit conducted by bump and run for the state

  33. Dee
    May 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    Re: The allegation the Mayor is leaving, Lee is stepping down/aside for Marchetti.

    Perhaps it would be prudent, if anything comes of this, for people to review the charter to see what/how the succesion would be.

    Does the job of Mayor go to the Council President?
    Can Gerry Lee resign the role of president but still stay on the council?
    Does the Council need 11 members to operate?
    Since there is nothing (that I’m aware of) in the charter about a “vice president” of the council would the whole council have to vote on a new president i.e. Mayor?

    Just curious in case this ever comes to past.

  34. rick
    May 16, 2011 at 2:30 am #

    if that did happen, people shouldnt vote for marchetti for that reaon of cheap political moves….marchettis complaining on how expensive it is to run for office… then dont run pete…. it doesnt have to be that way….. have a debate a week on pctv, go door to door, and hit the homes that vote…that will take a day or so , and leave plenty of time for free radio forums. look at what bianchi spent compared to roberto, and then ask yourself if it makes sense…. take the nonsense out of running for office and maybe people will return to vote…. roberto kind of sullied the process…. as did the gobs….. so your parade theme of pittsfield one may come true… one voter!

  35. Joe
    May 16, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Dan
    In total agreement on Red sidewalks, they are a copy of the sidewalks in Fitchburg Ma. which went red in 2007. They looked ugly in Fitchburg and they look ugly in Pittsfield.
    Also agree on Charter Commission, any Charter Commission must be free as much as possible from Mayoral and political
    connections and include people from across the city who represent the different neighborhoods and segments of our city.

  36. just saying
    May 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    DV,
    Its your site. Run it as you see fit. I think banning KK is wrong. Perhaps I’m wrong. I’m on the outside looking in.

  37. just saying
    May 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    It was stated in an earlier post that Mazzeo is the only one doing right, I agree that she has done very well for the citizens of Pittsfield. However Joe Nichols has been outstanding in his positions on the issues and his questioning of reckless spending.

    About Mr. White, known him since he was in high school, I believe his heart is in the right place and he is trying to help Pittsfield. I believe his intentions are good. Though I disagree with him on most of his votes on the council, I respect his service.
    His devotion to service in the public sector is a noble endeavor.
    Pete needs some real world knowledge, his ideals won’t carry him far.