PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary


(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, SEPT. 12, 2011) — “This is the Third World.”

Thus a friend and Pittsfield resident described the murder of three men, the so-called Hell’s Angels case.  THE PLANET will not comment on the details of the case, because …

… this being Pittsfield, the District Attorney, naturally, sees fit not to release pertinent details — little things like where were the bodies found? How were they killed? What is the evidence against the men in custody? How did you break the case? Did you receive a tip? Is the informant under police protection (apparently, neither the police nor the DA thought that the murdered would-be witness against Hell’s Angels’ sergeant-at-arms was in danger and in need of protection. Oops, mistake. Oh well, get killed and learn). Where were they killed? Are there places in Pittsfield that one should avoid? Is there ANYTHING you can tell the citizens of a town that’s resembling more and more a frontier outpost.

Heading One Way: Down

The larger story here is the sad decline of the city of Pittsfield. A friend of a friend, who has a supervisory position in the schools, has a job that requires him to drive to city schools during the daytime. Those of you who are spared this heart-wrenching scene may not be aware of how bad it is on the streets. All over the city, you see people without jobs. They’re in cars (probably without insurance), they’re on the streets, they’re in the downtown parks. You see the mentally ill and retarded, the single teen-age moms, their tattooed boyfriends. You see the customers of the drug trade. You see bums and the homeless. You might think you’re in a remake of a bad zombie movie — except this is real life.

This is Pittsfield, a once-sweet little city that kept its sidewalks clean, where citizens took pride in the community, where the downtown bustled from business, where there were jobs to support families, where moms and dads married and stayed that way, where there were playgrounds, community recourses, camps, where …

We let one of THE PLANET’s correspondents pick it up from here:

I have been following our City since childhood and love the way it was  post WW II when we grew up in it during the baby boomer years. We were all basically poor in bucks but boy were rich in a community with resources:  21 play grounds, all kinds of sports, YMCA, Boys Club, CYC, Girls Club, parades, camps, theaters, North St., lakes, things to do and fun inexpensive things.  We could go anywhere on our bikes without being intimidated by Hells Angels. The worst besides GE duping us with PCBs was the politics, but we were too young to understand it. Now it is even worse from what I read in blogs and in between the lines in the Eagle.

In any event, your heart is in the community and a voice like yours to keep the politicians on their toes is sorely needed.”



Mayoral candidate Peter Marchetti became the third man in. In a hockey fight, that gets you an all-expenses paid trip to the penalty box. This isn’t hockey. This is Pittsfield politics. No red lines, no blue lines, no goals — just a bunch of pandering, staying out of sight, non-campaigning, and apathy.

THE PLANET had invited the Big Three mayoral candidates for an informal sit-down and discussion. Joe Nichols, first in, accepted. Dan Bianchi, second, was non-committal. Peter Marchetti, third, had this to say:

I have 2 reservations regarding this forum – the first is that not all candidates are involved and the people cannot watch themselves and evaluate candidate responses. – the second is that I have no time this past week and none the week ahead. I will be out of town during the day and have evening commitments for the upcoming week.

You’d think this was Henry Kissinger trying to make peace between the Jews and the Arabs. As to Marchetti’s two objections:

(1) “Not all candidates are involved.” Yeah, right Pete. Like you give a hoot about having Donna Walto and Steve Fillio there. Bianchi mentioned this as well. You know and I know that you’re using this as an excuse. Of course, you want all five there. That gives you less time under the microscope with Dan Valenti. Come on, at least be honest. Tell the truth. Say that you don’t want to engage in any meaningful way during the primary campaign, especially against Nichols. Say that you fear Nichols. Say that your campaign has made a strategic move of not accepting such a matchup because Nichols may knock you out of November. Your No Show may be good political strategy (see “L” for “Larded Lout”) because such an ouster could happen, but it’s lousy for We The People.

(2) No time at all for two weeks? Not even for an activity that should be the prime focus of whatever time you do have? OK. That’s your answer. We don’t believe it, but we accept that.

Three questions: Will you, Peter Marchetti and Dan Bianchi, accept a forum where all five are invited? What is the next available day on your calendar — day or night, Peter Marchetti — that you can sit down in such a forum for an hour? Also, will you, Peter Marchetti, meet one-on-one with THE PLANET, with a video camera there?

Or maybe we’ll give you what you want. We’ll just say, “Why bother”? and let the city shift for itself.



THE PLANET brings to your attention a fund-raising project for the fabulous, hard-carved Berkshire Carousel. Berkshire Memories: A Baby Boomer Looks Back at Growing Up in Pittsfield, a 300-page hardcover book, features photos and stories about the city as it was.

All proceeds from the sale go to support the Berkshire Carousel Project. Readers can preview the book on YouTube: You can also visit  Books can be ordered at that site or by mail at a special pre-publication price of  $32 plus $4 P&H. Massachusetts residents add $2.50 sales tax. Books will be mailed at the end of this month, when full price will be charged of $40.

Mail address is Berkshire Carousel, c/o Jim Shulman, 4050 Sunbury Rd., Galena, OH 43021. Checks payable to “Berkshire Carousel.”






  1. Steve Wade
    September 12, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    Dan Why would Bianchi and Marchetti want to meet with you? You already have made it clear that you love Nichols. How would you ever keep it fair? Just by reading your blogg today shows how much of a little baby you are. When you don’t get what you want you rant and rave like a little girl. Vito Corleone would slap you in the face and tell you to act like a man!

  2. Richard
    September 12, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    All I can say is Marchetti learn well from our present mayor. He is a carbon copy of him.

  3. Steve Wade
    September 12, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Hey Johnny Fontaine, The last time I looked the Hells Angels club house was in Lenox and the dirt bag who has been charged lives in Peru. You just have to get your pleasure by saying how sucky it is in Pittsfield don’t you?

  4. Real Deal 2
    September 12, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    It is sad to drive through Pittsfield. I’m sure as hell not going to walk through Pittsfield, especially at night. I heard a lot of this drug trade, gangs, and lack of caring can be attributed to the two former police chiefs and current mayor. Gerry Lee was in charge of PPD when the crack epidemic started. From what I understand, as long as a crack rock didn’t perch itself on Lee’s bar stool, Lee couldn’t have cared less about drugs….well except alcohol, for his own consumption. Next came Riello and Ruberto. Riello again ignored the continued drug problem and then with that came gangs. Riello tossed dollar after dollar into the biggest failed program of them all: DARE. Gangs came and Riello got his cue from Ruberto. “There are no gangs in Pittsfield,” Ruberto would clamor. Even though a drive down North Street at night and you would see 3-4 black kids dressed in all black and red, with red bandannas around their heads. Were told their not gang members, they were just “expressing themselves.” It’s funny but in every program I have ever watched about gangs, these guys seem to fit the bill. I guess like any other crime scene in Pittsfield, I’m told “there’s nothing here, keep moving along.” Maybe that should be Pittsfield’s new catch phrase, you know like Gerry Doyle’s “It’s Happening!” We could hang banners up on North Street proclaiming “There’s nothing here, keep moving.”

    • danvalenti
      September 12, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

      That’s perfect: The new Gerry Doyle Banner: “There’s nothing here, keep moving.” The chamber and the BB can get on board as well.

  5. Dusty
    September 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    I don’t think Marchetti really ever wanted to be mayor. He knows he is in over his head and will be caught between his puppet masters and the constant criticism and magnifying glass on his life. I think he is being pushed into something the terrifies him. I feel sorry for him but I still think he is lying through his teeth..just like he was taught to on the council.

    • danvalenti
      September 12, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

      Interesting observations. Peter does seem burdened, and the more he steps into the limelight, the heavier the weight seems to become.

  6. Hearse Driver
    September 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Whats the matter Dan, U got no balls to comment on the Hells Angels case? Do you fear that they will find you and kill you and burry you somewhere in the woods…If we could only be so lucky

  7. Baby Baby
    September 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    Dan, do you think that the republicans were correct in leaving real candidates out of the last debate. One were included even though their poll numbers had slipped.

    Marchetti and Bianchi are correct in the boycott unless all are invited, in my opinion.

    You can have your way with the survivors after the primary.

    • danvalenti
      September 12, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

      I can’t speak for the Republicans, because I’m not privy to their inner circle’s thinking. I am privy to THE PLANET’s . I may reconsider an invitation for all. Thanks.

  8. rick
    September 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    its kind of the right thing to do dan… invite all of them…we the people means all….

  9. GEE Whiz
    September 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Dan your comments here about the hells angels case is right to the point. No information, nothing from the DA about this. There’s a lot that stinks here including it seems like the star witness and now murder victim asked for police protection. About the mayors race, MArchetti is hiding taking the no show approach of NOT campaigning. Too funny except this is the city his masters the GOBs have run into the ground.

  10. john doe
    September 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    A little perspective….the Hell’s Angels have always been a bunch of trouble even though you defended them. Just because they do a couple of good deeds every now and then hardly makes up for all the crap they do on the side. Hitler handed chocolates to german chidren while exterminating jewish children…you get the point.

    As for the city, you’ve definitely got some points, but also a strong bias against it. I have lived here my whole life and the downtown has never looked better and is getting better every day with the reconstruction. I had a visitor from out of town comment today on how nice the city looked.

    As for the visible transients etc., I’m not sure that there’s more now than ever or if they’re just more visible now that the population of the city and pedestrian traffic on North Street has declined.

    People tend to look at the past with rose colored glasses but I remember getting punched and robbed on North Street in 1977. I remember at least two shops selling drug paraphernalia, (new wave music and tape city), and I’ll never forget the stench of urine and vomit everytime I cut up the alley by Neweberry’s, so there’s definitely been a lot of improvements.

    As for the drugs, it’s a huge problem, no doubt, as it is for cities across America and ther are no easy answers.

    As for information regarding the murders. It’s an ongoing active murder investigation and information will be released when it is deemed prudent not just because you want to know now.

    At times you have good points, but at other times you have such a one sided view of Pittsfield it’s quite annoying. Particularly coming from someone who doesn’t even live here.

    • danvalenti
      September 12, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

      Thank you for your views.

  11. Joetaxpayer
    September 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Dan, The berkshire county hells angles “club house” in south county.

    • quiet observer
      September 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

      does the grammar used here drive you nuts ???

  12. JahnDoh
    September 12, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Seems pointless to invite 2 candidates to Dan’s discussion who have zero chance of winning. It would be a total waste of time. So anyone who says they won’t attend because of that is just putting forth a lame excuse. “Hmmm, how can I decline but make it look like I have a valid excuse for not attending? I know! I’ll claim it’s because 2 people who could never win this election aren’t invited!” Lame.

    • danvalenti
      September 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

      THE PLANET completely agrees. Two candidates who are not financed, running protest campaigns, and have no chance of winning would only clog up the room. Also, with Donna Walto’s recent run-in with the cops, she went from ZERO CHANCE to NEGATIVE (-) ZERO. It’s clear Marchetti and Bianchi are assuming they’re in. They’re strategy is to avoid THE PLANET until the finals. Question for you: Which is these three options would you recommend for THE PLANET:
      1.) Do the chat only with Joe Nichols?
      2.) Invite all five and see who shows up. Inviting all five removes that lame excuse for M & B.
      3.) Forget the whole thing. We are superbusy at this time of year, you know, and don’t need to do this.
      We would welcome your advice.

      • Dusty
        September 13, 2011 at 1:01 am #

        Tell Marchetti and Walto you will invite all five but that you are going to double the time of the discussion. Ruberto was a master at babbling around a topic and Bianchi can make you dizzy yakking as well. You might want to check and see if Fillio or Walto have any special demands before you book at venue.

    September 12, 2011 at 8:42 pm #


    Invite all five.

  14. Ray Ovac
    September 13, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    DV, Don’t be so quick to write down Pittsfield. There’s a silver lining to Pittsfield morphing into a ghetto. Artist communities flourish in ghettos where real estate and rents are cheap. Who other than artists with no money would want to live amongst street people, drug addicts and the homeless? People wanted ‘culture’ and the ‘arts’ brought to Pittsfield. Now that it’s all here they don’t like dealing with the underbelly of what that all means.

  15. JahnDoh
    September 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    Dan, go ahead and invite all five to remove the lame excuse. But please ask Waldo about her police run in and her alleged drinking problem. That should liven things up.

  16. Scott
    September 15, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    I walk, ride my bike and drive in all areas of Pittsfield. At night, in the morning, when the sun is shinning even when it’s not! If you’re not involved with drugs or the criminal gang culture you’re just as safe here as anywhere else. Of course there is the possability of a random act of violence just like anywhere but those are few and far between. We need to focus on education and substance abuse awareness.