NICHOLS AND MARCHETTI HAVE COME CLEAN ON DRUG-TESTING Q; NOW IT’s BIANCHI’s TURN, plus, OTHER RANDOM OBSERVATIONS ON AN AUGUST PAST-THE-MID-TURN DAY
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, AUG. 18, 2011) — On the road, here and there, hither and yon, pursuing our craft, THE PLANET returns to our den in the FORTRESS to share these observations, which have accumulated during our two-day hegira:
· THE PLANET has asked presumed mayoral candidate Dan Bianchi to respond to our candidates’ question on drug testing. We want to know his position on the unconditional implementation of random drug testing in the city of Pittsfield for members of the fire department, first, and then for all municipal public employees. To date, three candidates for city office have responded to this question: school committee candidate Terry Kinnas and mayoral candidates Joe Nichols and Peter Marchetti. Each supports such testing.
* It’s clear that the public overwhelmingly favors such testing. As one responder to THE PLANET said, it would be “political suicide” for a candidate for city office to oppose this measure. Of course, candidates can and do say anything to get elected. The test will be after they take office. Will they live up to their word or flush We The People down the porcelain commode, as they usually do?
· The red paint on the crosswalks of Pittsfield was a horrendous and unsafe color, the literal portrait of a huge mistake. The city also evidently used the cheapest brand of paint available, considering how fast the paint has worn off. THE PLANET predicted this months ago, when the work crews applied the odd hue. Just when you think the state of downtown Pittsfield couldn’t get any more tenuous …
· … Speaking of which, we talked to an artist whose studio is downtown in Pittsfield. She requeted that we not use her name, and we shall honor that request. She says she “has had it.” Leaving aside the question of rent, she says she’s sick of “the horrible noise, hearing the ‘f” word constantly throughout the day, the dirt and dust coming through the screen, the creepy people, the druggies, and the empty storefronts, and general mood. It’s awful.” Third Thursdays are fun and well worthwhile, but a handful of festive days during summer do not a Petula-Clark-Downtown make. THE PLANET knows. We went “upstreet” as a kid during downtown’s Golden Era. As an adult, we had offices in the heart of downtown for 28 years (June 4, 1980 to Sept. 1, 2008). We saw the gradual loss of glory into its present derelict fate.
· On a related downtown note, we ask: Is downtown’s “present derelict fate” the locale’s ultimate fate or not?With the economy tanking again, with the radioactive generation of municipal politics having beaten down decent people, with the scarcity of decent jobs, with chunk-thick corruption, and with too many of the Bad Element (“Just one took, that’s all it look, yeah, just one took” — [no, it's not a typo ... use your head, THE PLANET's Babe Ruth coach used to say]). We hear of several establishments, most new some not, in serious financial trouble. These include a barbershop, at least two restaurants, a clothing store, a variety/sundries store … we will stop there. Why are these stores in jeopardy? The business simply isn’t there. The occasional bright spots — Dotties on North and Meadowview, for example — provide a ray of hope, but how can these islands of relative prosperity hold out?
· Where are the downtown foot patrols? A few days ago, a responder to one of this website’s posts asked THE PLANET why WE didn’t single-handedly clean up the low-lifes that infect downtown like the plague, like we are Marshall Dillon and that it’s our job to clean up Dodge. We answered with the truth: It’s not the crusading journalist’s job to lift one finger to do the work for which Joe and Mary Jane Kapanski — your quintessential Pittsfield taxpayers — already handsomely pay. It’s the job of the cops. The city needs to start patrolling, policing, and punishing the lay-abouts, druggies, bums, and others of the not-so-exclusive club. Chief Wynn, you mean to say you can’t free up six officers, two for each shift, from desk duty and paper shuffling? With all due respect, we don’t buy it. One place to get immediate help without a loss of coverage: pull all the D.A.R.E. officers from the schools. D.A.R.E. is a waste of money. The D.A.R.E. officers front a rah-rah, feel-good, “ooooooh-the-city-is-doing-something-about-rampant-teen-drug-abuse” organization. Put these good people to better use pounding the downtown beat and pounding the heads of the white and dark trash, the scum, and the riff-raff.
· As the Pittsfield Colonials wind down the season, three pertinent questions remain: (1) Will they make the playoffs and possibly bring the Can-Am League crown to Pittsfield, (2) Will the team be back for 2012, and (3) Will the vendors and contractors be paid 100 cents on the dollar? We will press for answers.
· LATER. FOR NOW, WE SAY, “OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.” LOVE TO ALL.