PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, AUG. 3, 2011) — In Pittsfield, it’s considered bad form to ask to many questions. The rulers who secretly call the shots in their tavern-like kabal call questions “uppity.” The proper behavior for The Little Guy is to keep his mouth shut, pay his taxes, and agree that “everything’s hunky dory.”

Fortunately, The Little Guy — Joe and Mary Jane Kapanski — has The Planet. Our list of questions goes on an on, and here we present a mere few:

* Won’t you at least give Mayor Jimmy Ruberto credit for opposing the contract of hiring Kristen Behnke as new school department budget chief? Taxpayers will be required to present Behnke with a first-year salary of $85,000. There’s a salary “reopener” that kicks in after two years (salary hike all but guaranteed). Ruberto stood alone on the school committee in voting against this phat-cat compensation package. Plus, GET THIS, the school committee is giving Miss Kris 25 vacation days, 20 sick days, and an unspecified number of “personal” and “bereavement” days.

* Which leads to this question: Should the city provide unlimited “bereavement days” to taxpayers, who are perpetually in mourning at being stomped into the ground by the Haves?

* Tricia Farley-Bouvier, a candidate for 3rd Berkshire District representative in the upcoming special election, has taken a leave of absence. Is this a paid or unpaid leave? Taxpayers want to know.

* Who’s excited to be getting a BJ’s club coming to Hubbard Avenue later this year?

* Who thinks a skateboard park is the best possible use for the former tennis courts on East Street and Appleton Avenue, across from PHS? That location has been turned into a drug-riddled trash heap, so how long do you think it will be before the new park will be in the same shape? Thusfar, the denizens of that lot have not called to mind a striking resemblance to a Normal Rockwell painting of the Boy Scouts’ manual.

* Who besides THE PLANET wonders what became of the two investigations into Steroidsgate at the Pittsfield Police Department? Into thin air such dreams do pass.

* Who besides THE PLANET wonder what consequences, if any, came as a result of the boneheaded decisions by the PHS principal and vice-principal that led to Promgate and the theft of $10Gs from a teacher’s desk?

* Isn’t it amazing at how such recklessness, of which these are mere represetatives, bears no consequences in the Land of Benigno Numine?

* This is another way of asking, “Wherefore art thou, accountability?”

* Where are the police foot patrols on North Street? Has there been one since 1958?

* Can the heart of downtown get any less inviting, with empty storefronts, trashy streets, road construction, and — most of all — a daily population of s-c-a-r-y people that seems as if it’s straight out of a zombie movie?

* If the question formulated by 36 registered voters calling for placement of a non-binding, informational question on the November municipal ballot was so poorly worded — “Do you support the school building needs commission’s decision to build a new high school in Pittsfield?” — why didn’t any of the objecting officials (councilors, members of the SBNC) rewrite it rather than simply reject it out of hand?

* When Tricia Farley-Bouvier made a recent appearance on local talk radio, why wasn’t she asked about the fact that two of her children attend Lenox public schools, not Pittsfield public schools?

* Could the maintenance department under the direction of Greg Yon have done a better job at Beloved Wahconah Park this year, keeping the field in the greatest possible shape? This is the only question THE PLANET will answer: “No.” Great job by Vinnie Barbarrotta, Tony Stracuzzi, and company.

* Has Chris “No Show” Speranzo reported yet, even once, for his new job as clerk magistrate in Central Berkshire District Court?

* Did someone leave an upturned tack on No Show’s chair?

* Does No Show honestly think he’s earned or will receive an ounce of professional respect at his new job, given the circumstances surrounding his taking possession of it?

* Does the Pittsfield Public Schools’ food allergy policy include a ban on feeding the taxpaying public a continuing crock of how great the schools are, when $3 million worth of school choice has left the building?

* If the Pittsfield schools are so zippity-do-dah, as officials like to keep reminding the taxpayers, why are parents taking their kids out in droves?

* When it comes to the city’s schools and the $60 to $70 million spent on them each year, don’t you wonder, “That’s all we get for the money”?

* Why is there the sneaking suspicion that school building needs commission’s $200,000, consultant-driven “feasibility study” on possibly building a new high school to replace Taconic High School is window dressing to cover up the decision already made in secret to go forward with the project, regardless of the finances or circumstances?

* Why is there already talk, in the gas-filled back rooms, about which contractors and vendors will be awarded the lucrative building work?

* Why did my right honorable good friends on the Pittsfield city council approve without discussion — WITHOUT DISCUSSION — the Pittsfield Police Department’s rules and regulations? Wouldn’t that have been a good time to discuss the consequences of certain policies, or better yet, inquire as to how well certain rules are enforced? Steroidsgate, anyone?

* Why didn’t the Boring Broadsheet or local radio news and talk make more of the objections of four councilors — Christine Yon, Mike Ward, Kevin Sherman, and Melissa Mazzeo — to the bloated $130 million city budget?

* Didn’t Mazzeo make THE pertinent budget point: “We [the council] didn’t do anything. It’s unacceptable. [The budget] could have been cut by a lot”?

* Wasn’t it also a flicker of wonderment and hope when Sherman asked why the city was using federal grant money to fund salary hikes? Of course, no straight answer would be given by the city.

* Why on earth and how in heaven could the council have passed a budget that included nearly across-the-board pay hikes at the same time taxpayers struggle to find two pennies to rub together at the end of every month?

* Why doesn’t WBRK’s Downtown Diva decide on relevancy over worrying about making everyone “love her” on her radio show? Doesn’t she remember the line from the Ricky Nelson song, “You can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.”

* And doesn’t the Diva’s ownership in a downtown business call into serious question her ability to be honest in here discussions about the “bankability” of Pittsfield?

* How interesting will it be to see mayoral candidates Peter Marchetti and Dan Bianchi set the course of Campaign ’11? Each will be trying to dictate the pace of the game and define the rules of engagement, but only one will be able to pull it off. The one who does becomes the next mayor.

* How many citizens know that, in addition to the nearly $130 million municipal budget approved by my right honorable good friends, city councilors OKd the borrowing of more than $9 million? That’s $9 million more in interest on debt that taxpayers will have to service.

* Does Joe Nichols have a shot of displacing either Bianchi or Marchetti to survive the mayoral primary?

* If the November showdown for the corner office is between Marchetti and Bianchi, how does Marchetti survive the Nichols’ prelim votes, most of which will probably go to Bianchi?

* Yes, she’s lost her last three elections, but isn’t it something to admire in Pam Malumphy taking another shot at office, running as an independent for state rep?

* Can Mark Miller draw on his strong showing against No Show and be a force in the state rep special election? Miller’s party label — Rainbow-Green — will turn some voters off, but if voters actually listen to each of the candidates, they will find him the most knowledgeable and thoughtful about his positions. If this race is about the best qualified to represent 12 of Pittsfield’s 14 precincts in the General Court on Beacon Hill, then the next rep should be Mark Miller.

* How much of a red flag for the city’s economy is it that nearly one third of its workforce is employed either by health care or social service? Welfare does not a renaissance make.

* Why isn’t the Larded Lout No Show being billed for the $40,000 he’s costing Pittsfield taxpayers for bailing out of his job as state rep for the old stab-in-the-back that landed him in a $110,000 a year lifetime post with the courts?

* Who else in Berkshire County dares to raise questions like this but THE PLANET, Voice of The Little Guy?






  1. Mike
    August 3, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    I am not impressed by hot air. Would you like me to make a list of 20 things I don’t like about Pittsfield too? Real journalism uses Real sources to provide Real news. You ask for the leniency of a blogger but the respect of a journalist. Won’t get both from me. Right idea, wrong approach.

  2. Still wondering
    August 3, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Mark Miller is too far to the left for him to actually win an election. He can’t run away from the Green-Rainbow Party.

    • danvalenti
      August 3, 2011 at 11:02 am #

      He scored big against No Show, but there wasn’t anyone else in opposition and No Show soiled the bed. If Miller can make a credible showing, it may show the Greens have something. If he gets swamped, the Greens will recede into lower third-party status, with he Libertarians, the Patriot Party, the Free Party, and the like.

      • Hearse Driver
        August 3, 2011 at 5:46 pm #


        I think the one and only reason Mark Miller did so well last election was because “No Show” ticked off alot of us citizens for the stunt he pulled and the only way we could show him our appreciation was to vote against him. I voted for Miller not because I thought he was a better candidate or more qualified for the job, it was an anti Speranzo vote, thats it, plain and simple.

        • danvalenti
          August 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

          Agreed. Your experience will no doubt be in play here. Most likely, the numbers will catch up with MM this time around, under a radically different set of electoral circumstances.

  3. Richard
    August 3, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Steroid gate will never go anywhere unless the public keeps it coming up. And foot patrols they just don’t want to get out of those police cars. And how about doing shopping while on the clock or vesting friends while on the clock. And how about sitting by a new stop sing just to give out tickets and then never to return after it has been there for a while to get some people who run the sing. Chris he should not even show his face. Tricia confessed that she has a child in Lenox School and 2 in Pittsfield schools but never gave a reason why she has 1 in Lenox.

  4. beezer
    August 3, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    What a City.

  5. Eugene
    August 3, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    “Wherefore art thou” means “why are you…?”

    Therefore, your sentence reads “Why are you, accountability?”

    Carry on!

    • danvalenti
      August 3, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      Exactly. Now, use your noggin’ a bit, or does THE PLANET have to provide instructions to every bit of wordplay?!

  6. Still wondering
    August 3, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Gotta give some credit to the PPD. I saw a bike mounted officer downtown until 8pm. He loaded the bike on the back of his POV and drove away.

    • Maxwell Edison
      August 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

      because the station is so far from downtown?

  7. Baby Baby
    August 3, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    * When Tricia Farley-Bouvier made a recent appearance on local talk radio, why wasn’t she asked about the fact that two of her children attend Lenox public schools, not Pittsfield public schools?

    She was asked. You just don’t listen. Try it sometime. Alot of answers are out there to your “questions” . Now go look.

    • danvalenti
      August 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      Let us rephrase, your honor. “When TFB … why wasn’t she asked by the host about …” The host ignored the question. It was up to the show’s callers to ask. As related below, TFB ducked the first time. Only when Ward 3 council candidate Jeff Ferrin pressed did she respond. She “responded.” She didn’t answer. The answer is “Pittsfield Public Schools are not good enough to meet the needs of this child.”

      • Baby Baby
        August 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

        Now Dan, you call others out for such errors. You shouldn’t get upset when it happens to you.

        You are correct in your interpretation of her answer. I can accept her response. No school system is perfect. She is doing what is she as a parent thinks is the right thing for this child. Keep in mind, she does have children in the Pittsfield system.

        She is trying to do something about our system, which is more than most people can say. How can anyone fault her for that?

  8. Jim Gleason
    August 3, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Tricia was asked by TWO callers why, since she had TWO children in Lenox schools, should we listen to any recommendations from her about Pittsfield schools and why her TWO children go to Lenox schools. She didn’t answer the first time but when Jeff Ferrin called and reiterated the query she answered that she and her husband decided to send them out of town based on their individual needs. No one, however, asked her if she was concerned with the $10,000 it costs Pittsfield taxpayers to send them there.

    • Maxwell Edison
      August 3, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

      I don’t see how she overcomes this Achilles Heel.

      • danvalenti
        August 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

        If this is not in the campaign playbook of every one of her opponents, and if they don’t raise this issue at EVERY opportunity, then they don’t know how to campaign. This issue is more than fair game and should be relentlessly brought before voters. The issue is not what parents decide is best for their children. The issue is one of transparency and integrity.

        • Baby Baby
          August 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

          Dan, this has not been a secret. How is the issue transparency and integrity?

          I agree it is a point for her competition to make over and over. However, it has not been a secret.

          • danvalenti
            August 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

            Yes, it’s not a secret in the sense that practically everyone in town knew about it. It’s been a “secret”, though, in terms of TFB’s reluctance to admit the truth. If she had just come out from and shared her decision as a parent, that would have been fine. But the issue came up, she never addressed it, and yet she still postured as a schools “leader” by virtue of her self-appointment as “spokeswoman” for the SBNC. That’s why it’s a matter of transparency (she didn’t admit to the facts until cornered) and integrity (of she hides this open secret, what else is she hiding?).

          • Baby Baby
            August 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm #


            I disagree with your assessment. Would you, as parent, want to discuss your childs status? Imagine the effect on the child. Have a little empathy.

          • danvalenti
            August 3, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

            Point well taken, but if I am running for public office and looking to secure a public trust, and if I have positioned myself as a spokesperson, self-appointed, for what is best for a public school system, I would admit, up front, where my children went to school. I’m not saying she has to detail anything about her children’s condition. She can, however, tell us what she personally finds lacking in the school system that she touts for most everyone else.

    • Real Deal 2
      August 3, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

      Good Point. MOP ON JimmyG!!

      • Dee
        August 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

        While I respect TFB’s choice to send her chidren elsewhere, I would like to know if it is a course study issue, or an issue of the “type” of kids that are now in the schools. Lenox is quite light. Meanwhile, if it were a course study issue, then what is being offered in Lenox that is not offered in Pittsfield and how does building a new school counter that.

        I once knew someone who went to PHS through junior year and then transferred to Miss Halls’ School for the prestige. Maybe that was what she was trying to do. Give her children a better pedigree.

  9. rick
    August 3, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    dan, lots of good questions to be answered, only wish i can live that long to hear the answers. remember they dont like questions and the people that ask them……. just ask mazzeo and nichols.. be carefull .. they pulled hancock road off the repaving list for joe asking to many questions…….i wonder what they have in stoe for you.

    • danvalenti
      August 3, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

      The question is, “What do I have in store for them”? THE PLANET know where most of the skeletons are buried!! We have our spies in every nook and cranny of that corrupt city.

      • Dee
        August 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

        Do you know about the skeletons buried in community development and any potential corruption? When are you going to start delving into that can of worms. $9,000 for a single planter seems to be either a typo (which it wasn’t) or perhaps some creative accounting.

  10. Concern
    August 3, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    So to punish someone they punish the citizens on Hancock Rd and all citizens that travel that road. Nice!!!!!!

    • rick
      August 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

      thats how the game is played in the pitts.

  11. rick
    August 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    dan gotta like your style… im looking forward to this election cycle and even more to your sponsored debates… how many are you going to have? the eagles are light and fluffy, and i hope yours pack a good punch. we need answers to alot of questions, my big one to marchetti is where are all the good paying jobs that roberto and hines were telling us to look forward to a few years back?… i think he was right on board for that one.

  12. Dusty
    August 3, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    Dan, you say the city is corrupt and I agree. Is it possible for the city to be corrupt and the mayor not be corrupt? Yes or no? Please answer directly.

    • danvalenti
      August 3, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

      Yes, it is possible.

      • Dusty
        August 4, 2011 at 2:02 am #

        So we could have a non corrupt mayor presiding over a corrupt city? One might wonder why he would not clean the place up if this were the case. Maybe no one told him about it huh?

  13. beezer
    August 4, 2011 at 3:56 am #

    One could ask the mayor why he hired someone who has opted out of the school system. WHEN HE HIMSELF is thoroughly against opting out! What a City.

  14. beezer
    August 4, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    A new candidate has to arrive for rep. The current roster leaves zero confidence. I was hoping Mr. Sturgeon would run. Terry Kinnas maybe it’s your time! Someone?

  15. George H Rogers
    August 4, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    Mr. Kinnas is running for state rep. Mr. Sturgeon would be a credible candidate but would be too close to the GOB. I agree that this is a poor slate. TFB lacks integrity. Peter White lacks charisma but is a hard worker. Ms. Malupmphy comes off as an angry person. Mr. Miller is intelligent but not grounded to practicality. On that basis, if the elections was now, I’d vote for Mr. White.

    • Jim Gleason
      August 4, 2011 at 9:21 am #

      Terry Kinnas is running for school committee, not state rep. I don’t think Pam is an angry person, she just realizes the corrupt happenings in Pittsfield and dis-approves of it heartily..

  16. Joeblow
    August 4, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    I wish you all luck but I’m pretty sure things will stay the same here in Pittsfield….People keep voting for these liberals,their policies have not worked! I’m very thankful to be moving next month.

  17. mike
    August 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Just Saying – new school = new taconic, not pittsfield high

    • Just Saying
      August 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

      my impression was that if they build a new school all students would attend the new one.

      • Joetaxpayer
        August 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

        They want to keep both high schools in pittsfield,something we cannot afford and I dont support.But if we must renovate both