PLANET HAD IT WEEKS BEFORE: 4th PERSON NAMED IN TRIPLE MURDER … DEMS SHOW OF UNITY FOR BLT NOT MUCH OF ONE … KINNAS ROCKS SCHOOL BOARD … and TEACHERS’ 3% PAY HIKE BOOSTS AVERAGE PAY TO NEARLY $72,000 A YEAR!!
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, SATURDAY, SEPT. 24, 2011) — So much to get to and so little time. Ah, the Sophie Tucker lament. You remember Sophie Tucker? She was the Beatles’ favorite group.
PLANET HAS THE STORY — We were in weeks ago wit hthe solid information that the police were eyeing other suspects in the triple murder, and we were correct. The fourth suspect was corralled today as an accessory. THE PLANET was pleased to render a service to the community by lighting a fire under the Boring Broadsheet and get them to do some actual reporting, instead of just printing press releases from the police and the DA. Let’s hope it continues.
Still, we wonder. With some of the new talent at the BB, part of the interchangeable bylines that come and go, is there not a true news man or woman in the bunch? Is there not a Jack Dew? Is there not a Connor Berry? Is there not someone with enterprise and nerve ready to go after the many stories to this case that are dying (no pun) to be told?
‘IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS.’ OH, REALLY? — If you read the huge Page One piece today in the BB about the Democrats’ unity gathering in support for the Sandwich Lady in the special election for state rep, you had to cringe. This Junior Achievement article was so blatantly biased, they might as well have run a TRICIA FOR STATE REP sign in its place. The pimpled reporter noted that TFB (kinda like BLT, isn’t it?) made it clear “in no uncertain terms” that she stood proud to be a Democrat.
Let me ask the Horace Greeleys in the audience: What self respecting reporter puts a phrase like that — “in no uncertain terms” — in a news piece. Worse still, what editor, self respecting or not, lets it go through the desk?
The article notes that a grand total of 30 Dems showed up in the unity chow down. We dust off the annals of history to report the last time Pittsfield had to go through a $40,000 special election because of a deadbeat Dem, Peter Larkin, 130 showed up at the unity breakfast to support Larded. Larded, otherwise known as No Show Speranzo, faced off against the Republican nominee, Terry Kinnas.
So someone tell us: Where did 100 Democrats disappear to in the intervention? Or could it be that BLT doesn’t have the support of the party? Maybe the party is embarrassed — and it takes a lot for that to happen around here — to admit that they have had to scrape the bottom of the sandwich board to come up with this cycle’s Special Election Candidate.
Now BLT faces off against independent Pam Malumphy, who’s so out for the kill that she wants to shrink BLT a couple of cup sizes, and Green Party nominee Mark Miller.
Malumphy — who no longer talks to THE PLANET because … actually, we don’t remember, though she apparently does … — has many redeeming qualities. Unfortunately, they are too well modified by an uncontrollable temper and fits of emotionalism that bring to mind the unfair stereotypes of women politicians.
Miller, go gave Larded the run for his money in 2009, returns to the fray a lot smarter and more savvy. He has quietly organized and mapped out a strategy that relies of resolve as much as resources.
The special election is Oct. 18.
KINNAS ROCKS SCHOOL BOARD MEETING — We won’t bore you with the issue, and we won’t tax your time with other details, but we will remind the curious to check out Terry Kinnas’ appearance before the school committee in its last session. It’s available at PCTV.
Kinnas, as always armed with data, facts, and plenty of pointed comments and questions, made Jake Eberwein’s eyes pop like Eddie Cantor’s. We’re going back a ways with that metaphor, so let’s just say for the younguns’ that it means Jake had Maraino Joke Shop half ping-pong balls in his eye sockets.
Kinnas is running for a seat on the school committee, and he is exactly what the moribund bureaucrats need to wake themselves up. Pity is that they want to stay asleep.
Kinnas is that rare citizen who actually pays attention to what government is doing in his name. As a member of the school committee, he will have access to the inner chambers, and it’s precisely what We The People need at this dire point in time, when, more than ever, those who act in our name must be held ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS.
Accountability goes hand-in-glove with public office. For too long, for too many, on behalf of too few, public officials in Pittsfield have been allowed to “make it up as they go along.” Violations of law and procedure are the norm. Public access to information is seen as a threat. “They” view questions as bad. As we have previously outlined, this strategy is deliberate on the part of the Special Interests to drive down interest and therefore participation in government. THE PLANET endorses the candidacy of Kinnas without reservation.
THREE % PAY HIKE FOR TEACHERS — The teachers’ union of Pittsfield signed on to a one-year pact that pays them three percent more than last year, just for showing up and doing their job.
The Pittsfield school district lost more than $3 million last year from students opting other local districts. Forget MCAS and other rigged ways of creating a mirage of performance. The sure measure of the district’s quality is in the mass exodus of parents who want no part of what’s going down in Pittsfield schools.
THEY GET HOW MUCH??? $71,913.70 a year — According to the state Department of Education, 508.8 total teachers made $27,326,016 in Pittsfield, for an average salary of $53,707 in 2010. A more accurate measure looks at average compensation, which includes the dollar amount of the average benefits package. With that included, the average teacher, for a 181-day work year, makes $69,819.10 a year.
With the 3% hike, the average compensation for a Pittsfield teacher is $71,913.70. Ask yourself: Are taxpayers getting their money’s worth, let alone pupils and students?
It’s also shocking in one way and all too ho-hum in another to consider that 6 in every 10 Pittsfield students is in a special needs category. The Pittsfield School District will not begin to improve in a substantial way until taxpayers force the schools to sing for their supper. Electing Kinnas is a start.
Also, the federal government and the state government need to get out of education. If the localities cannot run their own school, then we need to privatize the public education system, where success, and not failure, is rewarded. Today with public education as we know it, the opposite is true.
DON’T LOOK FOR US TOMORROW, BECAUSE IT’S SUNDAY, A DAY OF REST. UNTIL THEN …
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLE.”
LOVE TO ALL