PITTSFIELD DESERVES A FOR VOICE AT THE PCB TABLE; CANDIDATES, DECLARE YOUR POSITIONS … plus, COLONIALS REFUTE BORING BROADSHEET’S CAMPAIGN OF INNUENDO, PLEDGING TO REMAIN FOR THE 2011 SEASON
By DAN VALENTI
There’s Still Time for Justice on the Industrial Toxins that Still Remain in Pittsfield; Re-open the Consent Agreement. NOW!
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, JUNE 17, 2011, THE DAY AFTER BLOOM’S DAY) — THE PLANET would love to know who out there can tell us what Bloom’s Day is and to whom it mostly refers. Hint: Think Irish and literary. A free subscription rides on your answer.
The more serious and urgent matter of PCBs rears its ugly head again. The EPA, trying to decide how to handle the remainder of the river beyond the already mediated Pittsfield portion down wind from the former GE campus, has to consider and decide IF — IF — Pittsfield will have a seat at the table of those discussions. What the heck? IF!?
Ruberto First in; Bianchi, Marchetti and Others Oh So Quiet
It’s interesting that the first major politician in on this vital issue is someone who won’t won’t have a seat at the table in either the September or November elections. It’s good to see Jimmy Ruberto using his lame-duck status to tell the EPA that Pittsfield must be a part of anything decided on the Housatonic River in Berkshire County.
Pittsfield was left one of the most aggrieved cities in America when GE pulled out and left behind countless tons of industrial poisons. To date, there is still no acconuting of much much pollution remains in the city’s soil, water, and sky or where it is.
We do know hot spots such as Hill 78, situated within feet of an elementary school. Hill 78 has to be one of the most polluted locations on the planet (not THE PLANET), and as one commentator noted on this site, in light of the city’s penchant to name things after people (deserving or not), perhaps the hill should be Christened Mount Doyle. Hill 78 is the perfect monument to our former mayor. The Mount is four-stories high at the summit and growing, with all of it being composed of the most toxic industrial wastes ever brewed.
Doyle “led” the city’s undermanned negotiations against a phalanx of GE’s top legal guns. The result, the 1998 Consent Agreement ratified by the courts in 2000, let GE off the hook for its poisoning of the city. GE left town pretty much free. In turn, it left the city with a set of Madonna iron ons, a bag of broken bats, and a year of free coffee.
The Planet asks: Where are the candidates on this crucial issue? Where’s Dan Bianchi? Where’s Peter Marchetti? Where ate the at-large, council, and school committee hopefuls? The GE issue represents a platinum opportunity to any campaign with the sagacity and the testosterone to address it.
Who Among the Candidates Will Be First to Follow Ruberto’s Lead? Forget Politics for a Second. Candidates: Think of the Good of the City.
Who will be the first to step up to the plate for the city and demand that the Consent Decree be reopened and that the city begin, 13 years too late, to remedy the toxic state of affairs? The Planet understands that not all of the toxicity can be removed, but we do know that certain spots must be IMMEDIATELY addressed. The Top Two are Silver Lake and Mount Doyle. After that, the lawyers need to hammer out a financial remuneration for the remains poison.
That can be done by finally revealing, as best as investigation and estimates allow, where the poison is and how much of it lurks in Shire City’s ecosystem. Then, a per pound fee should be assessed. Pittsfield deserved FAR FAR MORE than the paltry $10 million over 10 years that it got when the disastrous Consent Decree was signed by the various parties.
THE PLANET calls upon Bianchi, Marchetti, and the other candidates to take a position on this issue: If they think a re-opener is the way to go, call a press conference or issue a statement. If you don’t, tell us now, but don’t hedge. If you think Pittsfield got a good deal from the Consent Decree and that the remainder of GE’s toxic legacy should remain untouched, you owe it to the electorate to share this view early.
Phoney Bastards beware. This will not be the election to pull your blather. We will see to that, on behalf of We the People.
Pittsfield Colonials Refute Boring Broadsheet: ‘We’re here to stay’
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, June 17, 2011) — It’s as THE PLANET said: The Pittsfield Colonials are staying put for the 2011 season. Despite the sandbagging of the Boring Broadsheet to create the other impression — an early pullout — the team in a press conference yesterday at Beloved Wahconah Park pledged to stay the course for 2011.
The team has met an early season confluence of events that have kept attendance below 800 per game. That includes schools being in session, the High Tourist Season in the Berkshires not arriving until the end of this month, some early rain outs, some promotional lapses, and the performance on the field (not last year’s 7-20 disaster but struggling to get to .500). Still, what other venue in town will draw 800 people to downtown Pittsfield more than 50 times by Labor Day?
The Season Has Only Just Begun
At the press conference yesterday, owner Buddy Lewis and director of community relations Heather Cachet addressed some of these factors. THE PLANET points out that schools will be on summer break in a blink, The Tourists (like locusts) will soon arrive in plague-like numbers, and that the team has a lot of promotional nights planned at BWP. The weather is out of our hands (so it is rumored), and we expect the team to find itself and begin to win on a consistent basis. Is that the formula of 1,500 a game? Why not?
Lewis and Cachet addressed the misperception about the quality of play. Fact of the matter is, even when Pittsfield had affiliated baseball following the exit of the Double A Cubs, the Mets and Astros fed us short-season Single A ball — rosters filled with newly signed collegiate talent, mid-level prospects, and a bunch of guys who were minor-league filler (no chance of making it but there to provide warm bodies).
On the other hand, the Pittsfield Colonials feature players with years of high-level experience in Major League organizations, top college programs, and even Big League experience. These guys aren’t learning to play. They KNOW how to play. The Can Am League isn’t a developmental league. They play to win and for a second chance in affiliated baseball to make the Major Leagues. Many independent league players have been signed by Big League ball clubs. What does this boil down to? The best brand of baseball Pittsfield has seen since the Cubs left in 1989.
To present a third party look at the press conference, we republish Andy McKeever’s piece that ran yesterday on the iBerkshires website:
|Buddy Lewis and Heather Cachat said there is an array of promotions scheduled for the rest of the season to help draw more attendance.|
Colonials Promise To Stay In Pittsfield All Season
By Andy McKeever
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Colonials Owner Leslie “Buddy” Lewis guaranteed the community Thursday that the team will be at Wahconah park all summer.
“We are confident that things will turn around,” Lewis said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. “I’m going to do everything in my power to keep [the team] here.”
The Can-Am league team has been rumored to be closing up shop before the season ends because of financial difficulties. While the organization is facing troubles because of poor attendance, the team is not going anywhere this year, Lewis said.
“Things have not been easy for us. It’s hard to run a business when you don’t have customers,” Lewis said. “People thought we were threatening to leave.”
Lewis previously said the club is on pace to lose $600,000 at the end of the season and that the team had fallen behind in paying its bills.
As for next season, Lewis could not promise the team would be back, but he hopes it can. Lewis said poor attendance early in the season could have been just because of other events happening – such as Little League and softball seasons. Once those end, the team expects to see the stands fill up.
“Baseball in the Berkshires is so important,” Lewis said. “It’s all about getting people here.”
Another factor keeping people from the ballpark is a misconception of the quality of games being played, he said. While city residents have seen affiliated baseball at the historic stadium in the past, they often think the Colonials are “bush league.” However, those naysayers must “not have seen a game here,” he said, because the Can-Am league is equivalent to Double A teams.
The Colonials have recently bumped up their marketing and sought out additional investors. Since the news broke that the team was facing financial troubles, Lewis said sponsors have backed off because of the uncertainty surrounding the team.
“The tone has changed. Some people are afraid that they will set up an event coming up and we’re not going to be here,” Director of Community Relations Heather Cachat said. “We want them to know that we will be here. Don’t be afraid to set up events with me or to bring a group.”
Cachat said there are many promotions upcoming to help bring crowds to the park – including Saint Patrick’s Night on Friday, when the players will dress in green and the stadium will serve green beer and corned beef. A full list of promotions has been posted and the organization also has a lot scheduled for the Fourth of July, she said.
We thank iBerkshires.com for allowing us to reprint McKeever’s piece.
MORE TO COME. THE PLANET IS JUST GETTING GOING.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL