EXCLUSIVE! NICHOLS FIRST IN WITH FORUM ACCEPTANCE !! … DONNA WALTO: LESS THAN ZERO … plus … THE PLANET SENDS ‘BIG 3′ MAYORAL CANDIDATES AN INVITATION … and … COLONIALS: CONGRATS ON-THE-FIELD, EXCORIATIONS OFF-THE-FIELD
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
ADD ONE, SEPT. 6, 2011
We break into our regular post to inform you that Joe Nichols is the first mayoral candidate to accept our invitation of an informal gathering of The Big Three corner-office hopefuls.
I would be happy to participate in such a forum if the other two candidates are interested as well. I’m flexible on time so we’ll wait and see what the others say.
THE PLANET will go ahead with this chat if only one accepts, if two accept, or if all three will accept. We will invite the press and have a camera to film. It won’t be in a TV studio or a broadcast studio. It will be in a comfortable room, with the idea of having a relaxed discussion of topics.
THE PLANET awaits word from Dan Bianchi and Peter Marchetti.
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, SEPT. 6, 2011) — By law, all who are charged with a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty. By actual process, however, that’s not what they teach you in law school.
A lawyer friend of THE PLANET says in law school, you learn the opposite: Most people (not all) charged with crimes are guilty. With fear of lawsuits, most of the time authorities are pretty darn certain they got the right person or people when they make and arrest and bring formal charges.
While stating we believe in the presumption of innocence, we can say also that my lawyer friend knows what he’s talking about. For instance, THE PLANET thinks of this in the case of former Greylock Federal Credit Union CEO Angelo Stracuzzi, who was accused by Biddeford, Maine, police in connection with his suspicious contact with minor boys on consecutive days in July 2005. We think of this presently in connection with charges lodged against police by mayoral candidate Donna Walto.
Less Than Zero
We will let the Walto case play out in the courts, but it’s safe to say that the zero percent chance she had of becoming mayor now move into negative numbers. Her Less Than Zero candidacy may have a slight affect on the campaign, though.
Let’s crunch some numbers. We shall presume a 15% turnout of the city of Pittsfield’s 29,000 voters in the preliminary election this month. Of the 4,350, say 4,000 vote in the mayoral primary (there are always some who leave their ballots blank).
The campaign’s Big Three — Peter Marchetti, Joe Nichols, and Dan Bianchi — should wrap up 80% of the 4,000 mayoral vote. That leaves 20% divided between Steve Fillio and Walto. Assuming each has an equal claim, that means Walto would get 400 of the 800 remaining votes. Walto’s her 400 votes will have to go somewhere. You would think most would go to Bianchi and Nichols. Those extra 200 votes or so could come into play in a tight race, when The Big Three get whittled down to the Dynamic Duo.
Invitations to Bianchi, Marchetti, and Nichols
THE PLANET has no plans to moderate any debates. We will not initiate any efforts in that respect, but we would be open if a sponsoring organization wants our services. We simnply don’t have time to organize such a show.
As most of you know, THE PLANET’s “debates” are different. We chuck the wooden formality of the “traditional debate.” You know, the one where a Moderator (oooooooooo, capital “M”!!!!!) with a jacket and tie asks canned, predictable questions of candidates in suits and ties standing behind podiums, having 90 seconds to answer. Next to worthless.
In our format, we don’t have a Moderator but THE PLANET, who acts as a “facilitator of discussion.” We aren’t seated behind a desk, and we are dressed casually. We have a hand-held mic and roam the set or stage. Candidates are seated next to each other. No notes are allowed. Nothing is canned. No one is allowed to read what they say. CAndidates don’t know what’s coming.
Such a format becomes a test of seeing who’s best “on the fly” under the TV lights. It has proven wildly popular with radio and TV audiences, and feedback from the electorate is that voters find it helpful.
Here a Copy of the E-Mail THE PLANET sent to The Big Three
While we will not initiate producing a formal debate, we have sent invitations to The Big Three to join THE PLANET for a sit-down discussion. In the interests of transparency with our readers, we share the e-mail we sent yesterday:
PETER, JOE, & DAN
I’d like to propose a different kind of “forum” for the preliminary election.
This wouldn’t be a “debate” per se. It looks like this: The four of us gather in a comfortable room somewhere. We sit around a table. I would then lead and moderate a discussion of issues relevant to the campaign. It wouldn’t be televised or broadcast. We would, though, invite the press (print, broadcast, and electronic) to attend and cover as they wish. I would, of course, do something on THE PLANET.
I envision a couple of hours (maybe 90 minutes, minimum). It will be relaxed, informal, and will provide a great exchange of views. I will clear my calendar to do this anytime. The only time I CAN’T make this would be Wednesday evenings of Sunday mornings. No other mayoral candidates will be invited.
Please let me know if you will be willing to try this, ASAP. Also, give me a list of options for date/time. My preference is end of this week or anytime next. We could do it in Pittsfield or some other place. I’m open to any suggestions. There’s probably questions I haven’t address here, so feel free to ask.
So far no responses. QUESTION TO READERS: Would this type of forum be something you’d want to see happen?
COLONIALS: GOOD PRODUCT ON THE FIELD, ‘THE AMATEUR HOUR’ OFF THE FIELD
On the field, congratulations to Jamie Keefe and the Colonials on the Field. Off the field? Called Out on Strikes.
Congratulations are in order for the Pittsfield Colonials, On-Field Division. Jamie Keefe won Can-Am League honors as manager of the year. Last year, Brian Daubach won the award, earning Dauber a job managing in the Washington Nationals’ system. It wouldn’t surprise THE PLANET to see Keefe’s efforts rewarded in a similar fashion. He’s an ideal field general: Young enough to relate to the players, experienced enough to teach, steady enough to provide guidance, and passionate enough to inspire performance. Keefe is a good baseball man, and if I’m running a major league organization, I sign this guy up immediately as one of my farm system managers.
We also salute Danny Bomback for winning the batting crown; Jerod Edmundson for his fantastic hitting, especially in the second half when he was zoned in as much as a player can be; and Angel Molina, human RBI machine.
Babies Trying to Do Jobs Meant for Adults
We excoriate the Colonials Front Office Division, however, who never “Got It.” Buddy Lewis inexplicably hired a collection of amateurs, well-meaning and otherwise, to man key management, marketing, and community relations positions. They were kids, essentially, with little to no experience who, in many cases, simply lacked the maturity and gravitas that would garner respect, foment competency, and result in achievement.
The team did a lousy job of marketing, especially after the season began. They didn’t advertise. On game day, they didn’t have a large sign at the stadium entrance on Wahconah Street advertising a ball game. As the year went on, the team dropped many of its promised promotions. The cookies-and-milk giveaway went away, the 1791 club fizzled, the dance team disappeared, and so on. The list was endless.
Case in point: “Colonials Corner,” a one-hour radio show, vanished after about four shows. There was no explanation. Even Chad Cooper, the play-by-play guy and host of the show, didn’t know it had been cancelled.
The Colonials kiddie front office adopted the Sgt. Schultz Management Philosophy: No one knew anything: That seemed to be the perpetual state of the front office. From the assistant general manager on down, the staff was peppered with slackers, incompetents, and beginners. That doesn’t work. Assistant general managers, community relations, stadium operations, sales force, communications, and public relations need to be handled by professionals. It’s not an age question but a competency question.
Next Year? Going, Going, Gone
Lewis is coy about the team returning for next year. He says that decision hasn’t been made. Folks, let me tell you otherwise: The decision HAS been made. The Colonials won’t be playing ball at Wahconah Park in 2012.
Perhaps it is fitting, then, that the team’s final operational decision was to have it post-season “home” games on the road. That ultimate slap-in-the-face to the 840 fans who on average supported the team should be answered in the only way the front office will understand: “Thanks, I needed that.”
ONWARD, UPWARD, AND INWARD TO THE REST OF OUR DAY.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.