CAMPAIGN ’11 SHOWS LIFE; BIANCHI ISSUES STATEMENT ON DRUG TESTING, NICHOLS WINS BATTLE OF WEBSITE, and ‘THE STOOLEY’ FILES HIS/HER REPORTS … ALL !!EXCLUSIVE!! TO THE PLANET
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, AUG. 26, 2011) — “It’s moving! It’s alive!! Ohhhhh, it’s alive it’s alive!!!”
No. That isn’t Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein watching his Grand Experiment come to life on the Universal laboratory table. It’s Campaign ’11 flicking its little finger in Pittsfield.
Several items have come over the transom, which THE PLANET shares here, exclusively. That means if you don’t read this site, you don’t find out about this information.
BIANCHI BUCKS TREND ON DRUG TESTING
THE PLANET has heard from mayoral candidate Dan Bianchi regarding his position on random drug testing. We had a lengthy, informal, off-the-record phone chat about “this and that.” Bianchi took the initiative by calling us. So much for the ridiculous theory that Bianchi was deliberately shutting out THE PLANET as part of his strategy, something we tried to patiently explain to the few who prefer their fantasies to The School of What IS.
THE PLANET finds these types of informal exchanges with candidates invaluable in trying to wade through the “stuff” that they and their campaigns inevitably produce for public consumption. Publicly, all candidates “do wonders and spit cucumbers.” The private dimension, however, is where the guard comes down and helps fill in the blanks, so to speak. And as ANY — A-N-Y — public or private figure can attest who has confided in THE PLANET in our 37-year career as a journalist, we have NEVER — N-E-V-E-R — betrayed a confidence.
The Question on Drug Testing Was Worth Asking, After All, as THE PLANET Tried to Explain
THE PLANET has been criticized for asking this question (random drug testing) on rhetorical grounds on the unwarranted assumption that ALL candidates would favor random testing. Peter Marchetti, Joe Nichols, and school committee hopeful Terry Kinnas have endorsed such testing. For that matter, so has Mayor Jimmy Ruberto. Bianchi has taken another route. You see, one can never assume the obvious or the hidden. We make this statement for the benefit of those who irrationally insisted such a question was soft-balling the candidates.
We publish Bianchi’s statement in full and unedited:
DAN BIANCHI: I understand your feelings on the drug testing issue. Public safety officers and other city employees shouldn’t be considered “above the law.” I don’t believe they are, and I disagree with the proposal to mandate random drug testing. Of course, any city employee who is caught in the act of using illegal drugs should be disciplined, both by the law and by their department. However, I would not support the policy of random drug testing of public servants who have done nothing wrong. Firefighters in particular have dedicated their careers to risking their lives for us, and treating them like suspects isn’t something I condone. I disagree that that’s the same as holding them to a lower standard than the general public, since after all, there are no city-mandated random drug tests for private citizens.
THE PLANET shall reserve comment on Bianchi’s position so that our readers make take it in and make their own assessments. It will be interesting to hear what Bianchi’s rivals, mainly Nichols and Marchetti, make of this position.
NICHOLS WEBSITE HANDS-DOWN WINNER
Our analysis of the respective websites of Dan Bianchi and Peter Marchetti gave the latter the edge on content (he had a platform versus Bianchi’s “Coming soon”) and timeliness. We reported that we couldn’t find Joe Nichols’ website. Our Google search didn’t spit it out, and deadlines being what they are, we had to go to press.
A couple of commentators, BABY and ITALIAN VOTER, brought Nichols’ website to our attention. We thank them.
Consequently, last night we went to www.joenicholsformayor.com. We were impressed, mainly by the video message from the candidate that welcomes visitors to the site. Nichols delivers a statement to the camera that paints the broad outline of his approach to this race. THE PLANET won’t characterize the content of the speech or rate the candidate’s performance, but we do admire the initiative behind the website.
We can thus declare Joe Nichols as winner of the websites. … for what it’s worth. THE PLANET agrees with our commentators who said they don’t vote for candidates on the basis of the sophistication of their websites.
That, we thought, went without saying, but it evidently needed to be said. We will say, though, that websites are an increasingly important part of campaigning in 2011. It baffles us to go to a “www” site and find it’s up for window dressing and not meant to be a useful tool for visitors.
More and more people are looking to the web for information. A website that’s updated, packed with information, and conveys freshness and life makes a different kind of statement than one that is dated, void of meaningful information, and looks dead in the water. FREE ADVICE TO CANDIDATES: Get on your webmasters (usually young guys in or just out of college). Beat into them the importance of what you’re doing and the need to take advantage of the web’s greatest attribute, which is its timeliness.
TWO MAN-ON-THE-STREET REPORTS FROM THE STOOLEY
As you know, as part of the Secret Squadron employed by THE PLANET from the Fortress of Solitude, we have many spies, operatives, secret agents, and informants that help us in our fight for Truth, Justice, and The American Way.
You would be surprised and in some cases shocked to know who they are and in which offices and departments they reside. We receive much intelligence from these sources, much of it back-grounder. Occasionally, we share some of this with the public. When we do, we publish them under the collective byline of “The Stooley.”
“The Stooley” might be a fireman on the line or a cop patrolling the city. The Stooley might be a secretary in the DPW or an engineer in the IT department of city hall. The Stooley might be a bartender or a restaurant owner. THE PLANET couldn’t operate the way we do and end up knowing as much as we know without the brave efforts of these dedicated public servants and private citizens.
With that, we bring you these two articles by “The Stooley”:
(1) A SLAP IN THE FACE OF PETER WHITE?
I agree Ruberto has every right to endorse whoever he wants. I just thought it was sort of a slap in Peter White’s face. I’d have to think long and hard to think of something Peter voted against Ruberto on, including the chief cook and bottle washer job she [TFB] had. Not too sure I’d want Hiz Honor’s endorsement myself, but the feedback I’ve been getting with my ear to the tracks is TFB wins the primary and if that happens should go on through the final election with little problem. I guess Pam would have to caucus with the Dems anyway, so why not just elect a Democrat? I can’t see the Boring Broadsheet printing anything against TFB or Ruberto, even if he did steal a campaign sign or two.
When the Verizon workers were walking around in circles on Federal Street, the three Democratic candidates for the 3rd got pretty kissy-face with the picketers trying to win over some votes. But yesterday when listening to the national news on the radio. I heard that the numbers of unemployed would be down even more if we didn’t have the Verizon strikers in the figures. Are we giving them (Verizon strikers ) unemployment benefits for striking?
Well, endorsements are interesting to say the least. Sometimes they help and sometimes they hurt. With Mayor Ruberto going full throttle for TFB, will this rally any support for the others from the anti-Ruberto crowd?
Mark C. Miller, Green Rainbow candidate who ran against Speranzo in November and narrowly lost, wins a surprise endorsement.
Green-Rainbow state representative candidate Mark Miller has stolen a traditional Democratic endorsement.
The United Auto Workers is supporting Miller’s candidacy in the special election for the Third Berkshire District seat. The UAW did not release information about its endorsement procedure, but Willie Desnoyer, president of the UAW Massachusetts State CAP Council, is quoted in a release stating: “It is important us that Labor endorses candidates that will respect collective bargaining rights and job creation in Massachusetts. We feel Mark is the best choice for Labor.”
The union support comes days after the three Democrats in the race unsuccessfully wooed support from the Central Berkshire Labor Council, which opted not to endorse a candidate for the Democratic primary.
THE PLANET thanks “The Stooley” for these reports.
WITH THAT, WE BID YOU ADIEU FOR THE MOMENT.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.