Article

DOWNTOWN DESIGN JETTISONS 20 PARKING SPACE, CREATES A SNOW-REMOVAL HEADACHE … IS TWO STATE REPS TOO MANY FOR PITSFIELD? … PLUS MORE COVERAGE ON THE ‘GEPIT’ ISSUE

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI  News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, OCT. 23, 2011) — Supping in hand-made ravioli squares with a chick pea-and-beat balsamic salad and washed down by red and white might take our mind off of the issues of the day, but alas, ’tis Monday, and the world awaits.

First up today is the roadwork in downtown North Street, Pittsfield. The wider sidewalks may look pretty, but they come at a high price (excluding, for the moment, the Massive Gravy Train the cops get in OT pay to stand there, talk on their cell phones, ignore traffic, and chat with workers). The most exacting cost will be on downtown merchants, who will be robbed of 20 parking spaces because of the curved bump-outs. The bump-outs serve an aesthetic purpose, not a functional one. They provide a classic example of what works on the drawing board may not work in real life.

THE CITY’s ANSWER TO THE PARKING PROBLEM: MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT

Parking has FOREVER been an issue, or at least for the past generation. There aren’t enough spaces to satisfy the needs, the parking maids and maidmen act like zealots, and the contemplation of parking keeps more people away from the business hub than any other single factor, except for maybe the walking dead and assorted critters who infest the street.

So what does the city of Pittsfield do? It designs away 20 spaces. The bump-outs eat up that many spaces. Neat, huh? Also note that in designing this, the city ignored the en masse protests of the majority of small business owners directly affected by this move.

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW

The improper design also has created a snow-removal problem. First, the bump-outs round out directly into what used to be the straight plowing lanes, a smooth, straight, curb-aligned path for quick removal. Under the new design, the plows must each up before hitting the bumps. This will pile up snow and require extra maneuvering by the drivers. A supporter made the ridiculous point that the round-outs are like parked cars that plows have to negotiate.

Un no. Illegally parked cars can be towed. Try doing that with a round-out.

THE PLANET had the chance to speak with several plow jockeys recently: Uniformly, they spit on the new design. One plow guy called the bump-outs “a Sun City design.” When we asked him to explain, he said it’s the type of sidewalk enhancement that usually gets reserved for locales with warm climates and little or no snow. In Pittsfield, he said, “This will be a disaster.”

Moreover, the wider sidewalks means more work for the store merchants to keep the paths clean in winter. Apparently, the city feels they don’t have enough to do now trying to stay alive on the mean streets.

Wider sidewalks  translate into narrower vehicle lanes. Snow pileup on curbside, a persistent winter discouragement for downtown foot traffic, will further eat into the traffic lanes. THE PLANET shares some inside knowledge to all and any budding entrepreneurs for a great business to break into before the snows fall: Renting Sherpa guides and pack mules to help people climb the mountainous snowbanks.

A TOWN WITHOUT PITY, A CITY WITHOUT A CLUE

It all adds up to a city without a clue, the implementation of a Master Plan that wasn’t so masterful, and the general sense of ineptness that hangs over official business like a PCB cloud.

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TWO INTO ONE DON’T GO … OR DOES IT?

Another local issue that has emerged is discussion to eliminate one state representative from Pittsfield by combining the two legislative districts, including the Third with 12 of 14 Pittsfield precincts, into one district. The matter will be brought up tomorrow at the city council meeting.

First reaction, which is not always the best, would caution THE PLANET against this move. All things being equal, why is it good to take away a representative? Isn’t is best for the city to have two advocates in Boston instead of one?

Perhaps all things are equal. Perhaps proponents of this measure have a strong case. We keep an open mind, but we have many red flags that will have to be lowered.

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WE’RE NOT AFTER A PULITZER; WE ONLY WANT TO KEEP THE PLAYING FIELD LEVEL FOR WE THE PEOPLE ON THE “GEPIT” ISSUE

We are not after a Pulitzer Prize, which someone said to us this weekend. The comment was tinged with sarcasm over our coverage of the GE-PCB issue, which we contend is the single most important issue facing the city.

In light of the residual toxins that GE has left throughout the city, we do not consider the matter closed. We do not accept the Consent Decree as the last word. As THE PLANET has pointed out, the decree has provisions for re-addressing issues originally NOT addressed at all or satisfactorily. We never said repoeners would be easy, but when is something worthwhile “easy”?

The GE-Pittsfield Industrial Toxin issue (GEPIT)  can be divided into two parts:

(1) Re-addressing Pittsfield, especially Hill 78 and Silver Lake.

(2) Deciding on what to do about the Rest of the River (to Long Island Sound).

No media outlet has provided the in-depth coverage of this website. No media outlet has provided for a full range of public commentary. No media outlet has made sure the GEPIT discussion remains current. THE PLANET serves We The People.

In that vein, we bring you another guest commentary.

‘REST OF VIVER DOESN’T SPEAK FOR ALL OF US IN WARD 4′

By CHARLES CIANFARINI

Special to PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

The meeting at Lenox Town Hall by the state on Oct. 12 about their plan for the Rest of the River offered insight into the thinking of the group named Ward 4 Rest of River Watch. First of all, their name is a misrepresentation of Ward 4 in the City of Pittsfield. Their group should be named People Who Have Homes Next To The River.
They do not represent everyone who lives in Ward 4, since I live there and have a different viewpoint.

During the comment period, some members of that group spoke about watching a beaver chewing on a tree branch, having their grandchildren sled in the winter on a hill near the riverbank and about being inconvenienced by the potential remediation process of removing PCBs from the river.

While no one WANTS to go through this process of remediation if it could be avoided, the fact remains that PCBs are harmful to health and must be removed from the river. Much of the discussion was about the cancer risk of PCBs, but PCBs cause many other health problems.
PCBs are known hormone disrupters and continuing studies are showing they may cause infertility, affect infants in utero which result in learning disabilities and a lowering of IQ abilities and also may offer other diseases an easier pathway into our bodies. Because PCBs alter the main body systems (immune, hormone, enzyme and nervous) they affect a large number of our organs and functions, often at very low exposure levels. Here is a link to learn more: http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/tsd/pcbs/pubs/effects.htm

It was obvious that many from that group in attendance were more concerned about the “bother” of the remediation work than about health effects, even though I am sure that there were people in the audience whose families have suffered from health effects, very possibly from PCB and river toxins exposure.

There was even mention of property values being adversely affected by the work of cleaning the river. This  is one of their major concerns and it is an understandable reaction, although they may be reacting to fear rather than knowledge.
Just look at the hundreds of properties in Pittsfield that have been remediated and you find that their values are as high as other properties in their neighborhoods. Compare that to the low value of the property on Longview Terrace that GE purchased due to the extensive contamination and turned into a fenced off “pocket park” in that residential neighborhood. Wouldn’t these people along the river rather have their property values be protected by being next to a remediated river rather than one that is contaminated with PCBs and other toxins and where they will always be under the threat of flooding and having more PCBs on their property and potentially in their homes?

There were two high water events on the river within 10 days of each other late this summer that resulted in flooding along the river. It was reported that these types of events which previously were termed 100 year events could be expected to be 25-year events instead. So that threat is real.

But let’s take the opposite possibility of extended drought in the area where we could have extremely low water levels in the river. Then the danger to the population of the Berkshires and especially those closest to the river is breathing in the airborne PCBs attached to dust emanating from the dry river banks and riverbeds. Our only real protection is removing these toxins now.

Part of the rationalization of not removing PCBs and other contamination from the river bed and banks, relates to the natural river processes which cause a river to meander, erode and change its course over time. The premise is that you do not want to remove the current banks and restore them with any type of armoring which would prevent the future natural evolution of the river. Yet that process was already answered at the EPA Charette earlier this year in Lenox, where river restoration experts showed how you rebuild the banks without the rip-rap type of armoring that was needed in the first two miles. The remediated river will still be able to evolve as nature intended.

The homeowners and business owners along the river will try to use this argument of “keeping the river natural”, not for the sake of the river but so they will not be inconvenienced. What would they say though if river flooding continued to threaten their homes and businesses – would they say that the river should be left to its natural processes or would they DEMAND that the government (state and federal) change the natural flow of the river to protect their property.

I know that remediation may not be something to look forward to, because from personal experience as a property owner, my property was remediated in 1998. GE paid contractors took a minimum of a foot of soil from the entire property, right up to the foundation of the house and the two houses adjacent had excavation to levels at least 8 feet deep including one section where you could no longer see the top of the dump truck being loaded in the center of the hole. We all survived this process and were better for it. Some houses there have sold for prices that were unimaginable in the past. Remediation works and not only protects property values, but increases them.

While it is obvious the Ward 4 Rest of River Watch are focused only on themselves and their immediate “nuisance” with the river cleanup process, it is sad that they  cannot look past the short term disruption for the greater need to have a clean, remediated and restored river for all.

We thank Charles Cianfarini for this post. THE PLANET encourage comments from all qualified writers on all relevant issues.

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WITH APLOMB AND LEFTOVERS, WE SAY,

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

52 Responses to “DOWNTOWN DESIGN JETTISONS 20 PARKING SPACE, CREATES A SNOW-REMOVAL HEADACHE … IS TWO STATE REPS TOO MANY FOR PITSFIELD? … PLUS MORE COVERAGE ON THE ‘GEPIT’ ISSUE”

  1. Still wondering
    October 24, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    I’ve known Charlie for a really long time and he really knows what he is talking about.

  2. danvalenti
    October 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    STILL WONDERING
    He’s a great example of the type of qualified commentator we are trying to encourage to submit articles to THE PLANET. We want reasonable views, well argued and written, from every political, economic, and social viewpoint. We aim to be The Voice of the Little Guy, and we will even give The Big Guys space in being that, so they wish to take advantage.

  3. CONCERNED
    October 24, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    Yep, just what these merchants need less parking. Hey Dan I talked to a gentlemen yesterday and you will not believe this one. He parked in the lot across from CYC (legally) visiting his sick brother in an apartment on North St. He left to get his brothers medicine and some groceries. Returned 2 hours later and parked in same lot but a different place. When he returned he had a ticket, he seen meter person and asked him why the ticket. He was told that it is illegal to park in the same lot twice in one day. Can you believe this b— sh–

    • danvalenti
      October 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

      CONCERNED
      A sad, pathetic story that goes to the heartlessness that infects much of officials Pittsfield. Parking Nazis have no place there.

  4. Bill Sturgeon
    October 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    My heart goes out to the “Downtown” merchants. Parking spaces are being overtaken by “Bump-Outs”. No “Bike Lane”, but self watering planters. Are we in Miami?

    Dan, good job on the PCB project.
    The Fat Man

    • danvalenti
      October 24, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

      Thanks FAT MAN.
      The “sun City” bump-outs make no sense, aesthetically or functionally. Who signs off on this? Where is the strategic vision? Yes, I like the part about self-watering planters. That’s why they had to basically construct a massively complicated under-structure to accommodate the plumbing, the piping, the controls, and the monitoring equipment. For lousy planters, one would think hand watering would do. Un. Bee. Leave. A. Bull.
      Keep up the good work on the AM dial!

      • LV
        October 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

        I would have readily applied for that job. Full time with fancy watering can in hand…no need for merchants to have to remove the snow from in front of their buildings. if i only knew the need…

  5. rick
    October 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    we can all find something to bitch about with the decisions that are made in this city, but i wish they would try and make it difficult for us to comment on the stupid stuff they do. it seems like their a comedy of errors or even keystone kops. if there is ever a reason to keep the elections every 2 years the roberto administration is proof…………. marchetti wants the elections every 4 years, and hes part of the problem.

  6. CONCERNED
    October 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Just watched debate between Paul C and Jeff F. if had to vote by the debate Jeff F. would win hands up. However one debate should not be only reason.

    • danvalenti
      October 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

      Ferrin woke up a lot of people by what seems to be a strong showing.

  7. CONCERNED
    October 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Watched Chuck V. and Chris C. would have to give it to Chuck V. Had better answers by a little. However neither ones answers were that great

  8. pjmh
    October 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Great post DV. Hey, ton of work going on at the new skateboard park over by PHS. Just. In. Time. For. Winter.

    • danvalenti
      October 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

      You. Mean. They. Can’t. Use. The. Skateboard. Park. In. Winter?
      Thanks, pjmh.

  9. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    October 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Just watched the Ward 3 and 4 debates, gonna skip 5 to watch the Mayoral…Here’s my 2 cents….Jeff Ferrin looked in command and like a poker player holding the winning hand…AS FAR AS Ward 4, where i have lived my whole life I’ll say this, Mike Ward has done a tremendous job for our Ward and I’m sorry to see him go but I understand his reasons. As far as who I’m voting for… Chris Connell couldn’t touch Chuck V with a 20 ft pole. I just viewed the 5 min PCTV spot Connell had that Chuck referenced that he took offense to. Connell basically slandered a highly respected, highly engaged, LONG time member of Pittsfield. What Mr Connell doesn’t seem to get as he keeps calling himself progressive and fresh is this. Just because he is newer to the politcal stage of Pittsfield, his negative, condescending way , nature and tactics are more of the same old same old in Pittsfield and more of what we don’t need. But rather a straight shooter like Chuck V is what this town needs again. I actually voted for Chuck last time he ran. I think the voters of my Ward will see through Mr Connell’s thinly veiled attempt at being genuine. He keeps saying his family has lived in Ward 4 for 40 yrs and what a businessman he is when in reality he hasn’t even lived in our ward for a decade and he owns a bunch of low income housing on The West Side, had to beg Jimmy Ruberto for a spot on the traffic commision and thinks because he lost to Mike last time that he is owed a spot on the City Council and has been called a” foul ball” by many people in the know in Pittsfield…No way I say…Chuck V in Ward 4..Mazzeo, Sherman, Church and Clairmont At Large and Dan B for Mayor!

    • danvalenti
      October 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

      HB in W2
      Thanks for your post. THE PLANET didn’t see any of the ward action, just 50 minutes of the mayoral debate. He heard from several sources about the strong performance of Jeff Ferrin. Yours is the first commentary on Ward 4. Appreciate your views.

  10. Joe Pinhead
    October 24, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Stunned is all I can say regarding the proposal of Lee and Yon to combine the 2 seats into one at this point. Let me understand the population of Berkshire County has contracted to allow for less representation and they want to charge into redistricting?
    Color me crazy but isn’t it their duty to dig into why the population has departed? Is it possibly that people voted with their feet due in part to failed policies of the Mayor, City Council and State Representatives currently and formally in office? Wouldn’t that be the place to start?
    Is it because of failed economic policy?… Social policy?…. The quality of education? Let’s explore these facts first. The fact is we have lost population over the past 10 years it’s no surprise, instead of glossing over failures we need to examine them honestly to ensure we don’t make the same mistakes again.
    I urge Mr. Lee and Ms. Yon to examine what it is we lose in federal funds and programs due to the declining population read policy failures and what must we do to stop then reverse the situation.
    Looking into the boundaries of the districts is nothing short of sending the citizens out for a bucket of steam, a fool’s errand at best.
    Somehow I don’t think the population decline was because we had 2 reps for the city.

    • danvalenti
      October 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

      As always, Joe asks great questions.
      For a pinhead, he’s a genius!
      Just glad he’s on the side of the law.
      We only ask him to slow down, so that instead of his usual 10 steps ahead of everyone else, he’s a mere five steps in front.

  11. Dave Bubriski
    October 24, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Hey Charlie, I’ll have more tp say tommorrow as I am pretty busy tonight. But I will say that before the rest of river is touched in ANY way Silver Lake and other parts of Pittsfield need to be squared away. Then we can talk about rest of river. Woods Pond caan also be dealt with. I make these statements on my own behalf and they may or may not reflect W4RORW.

    P.S. do you still own that excavated property? If not wjy not? And could you use the more accurate terms, shuch as excavated and derdged rather than remediated? Let’s be forthright about terms here.

    Dave B….my best to Barbara

    • danvalenti
      October 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

      THE PLANET agrees with Dave B: Silver Lake and Hill 78 are more urgent. This is not to take away of the need for expediency in dealing with the Rest of the River, but the window of political resolve needs to be open on the lake and 78. The options need to be explored. Then either the city decides to fight for itself and its citizens, or it meekly submits to one of the most egregious con jobs in its history: The actualities (not the theories or the intent) of the Consent Agreement.

  12. Ron Kitterman
    October 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    Well the city currently has 3 advocates, (1) William “ Smitty “ Pignatelli ( 4th Berkshire) represents 5B, Representative elect (2) Tricia Farley Bouvier (3rd Berkshire) currently would represent all of Pittsfield with the exception of 1B and 5B. (3) Paul Mark (2nd Berkshire) current represents Pittsfield 1B. So it wouldn’t be 1 advocate instead of 2, it would be 2 instead of 3. Gee, why not knock Smitty out of Pittsfield he has the most clout and make TFB more powerful. This is purely insane, she isn’t even sworn in yet and the GOB’s are looking for a candidate to replace her from 5B.

    • danvalenti
      October 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

      RONNIE
      It’s enough to make one’s head spin, ala Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” or Jerry Mahoney when he gave Paul Winchell a zinger.

  13. Eric Vincelette
    October 24, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    I attended the debate tonight between my father and Mr Connell and I have viewed the insulting and untrue comments Mr Connell made about my father on his PCTV 5 minute comment. Like my father said tonight I won’t and don’t need to make myself or my family feel big by making Mr Connell feel small. My family has been and is about highlighting our positive traits not insulting others with untrue and disparaging statements. My father has been the cornerstone of my family my whole life. Whenever someone needs a steady hand or a level head they have turned to my dad to help them make an educated and logical decision. Thats why, if elected by Ward 4 voters, the people of Pittsfield will be well served. Since Mr Connell took liberty to slander My Father with comments about him not serving the community of Pittsfield I

  14. Eric Vincelette
    October 24, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    Continued…
    I will take a moment to enlighten him about what my father has done for the community and our family since losing to Mike Ward, just about 8 yrs ago, a year after Mr Connell actually moved back to Ward 4 after many yrs away. First of all anytime Mike Ward emailed or called early on in his term or later on, my dad was always there with a thoughtful, insighful and prompt response for Mike and I’m sure he would say so. So although he lost, he was still serving the voters of Ward 4 , just not seeking or needing the limelight, but just supporting the current councilor. Secondly Sir, My grandmother,my moms mother, who was like a second mother to my dad, had a long and lengthy battle with Alezhimers, during which my father was a rock for my mother, brother, myself and my grandfather as well as our whole family. Soon after my grandfather, again my mothers dad, who was my dad’s hero, suffered a stroke and had a long, tough battle to the end of his life and again, in addition to my fathers seemless command and runing as CEO of The Credit Union of the Berkshires, he was a rock for all of our family, there at every turn, making tough choices and providing wise council for all of us. And finally Mr Connell, my father, during a routine check up, just about 2 yrs ago, discoverd blockages and had a triple bybass, from which, thru dietary changes and commitment to consistent exercise he has recovered more than fully like the stud he is. So in closing Mr Connell, this news of being strong for his family and being a goto individual, is nothing the voters and people of Ward 4 and the City Of Pittsfield don’t already know about my father as he has shown them over his 40 plus yrs, lemme repeat that for you Sir, 40 yrs as in FORTY YEARS, serving them by educating them and their children, helping them start small business that grew to big ones and helping teacher, city workers and others in Ward 4 with his duties at the Credit Union, but it is news to you because you have only just begun to be involved in your community while my father has been doing it for many years. A good analogy might be like the rookie who celebrates his touchdown when his team is getting blown out compared to the grizzled vet who after he scores the TD just tosses the ball to the ref and acts as if he has been there before. I hope that clears up your obvious confusion and ignorance as to who my father, Ozias “Chuck” Vincelette is. He is a man who serves his family, his own health, his job and the City and Voters of Pittsfield and he doesn’ need to nor is he appologizing for that to you or anyone else. Thank You.

    • Mike Ward
      October 25, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      I don’t want to meddle in the ward 4 race but I can confirm that Chuck was very generous with his time and knowledge about existing issues in our district. This shouldn’t be surprising since we had run an issues-oriented campaign, and since helping me was also helping our neighbors whose issues were still “in process”.

  15. danvalenti
    October 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    ERIC
    All I can say is “wow.” I have known Chuck for many years, and I have found him to be all that you say: A strong, decent man who brings a logical and measured approach to issues … and a caring approach to life.

  16. Ron Kitterman
    October 24, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    A pretty heart warming bio for certain Eric. You come from good stock and your Dad did too. We ( the people) need more like you and your father. Sort of like service over self or something that you can’t see from a bunch of signs and slogans. Good luck in November, I’ve been hearing good things from a lot of ward 4 voters.

  17. Dusty
    October 25, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    Regarding the North street fiasco involving bump outs and self watering planters: Seriously, does anyone know who’s idea this was in the first place? And was that idea reviewed by any committee of knowledgeable people? And who did sign off on it? It is not likely that this thing happened without the mayors full involvement from the beginning to the end but in case it did, who drove the project?

    Dan, show me that your spies and insiders truly exist. It should be a simple thing…public information…Surely some genius wants credit for this…who is he or she?

    I am sure the cost figures are out of the question but that would be nice info as well. Especially in a time of fiscal restraint among most sensible city managers.

    • danvalenti
      October 25, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      DUSTY
      They exist, but this job is a matter of public record. Either go to the city clerk’s office and ask for the info, the mayor’s office, or directly to OCD. Let us know what you learn.

  18. beezer
    October 25, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    After the preliminary election why would Mr. Connell go to the depths of defeating himself with disparaging remarks about the OZ. methinks the OZ has regained the lead!

  19. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    October 25, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    @ Eric V…
    and the rookie who scores the TD with his team getting blown out, spikes the ball, does his silly touchdown dance and says “I’m on the traffic commission, I’m on the traffic commission”

  20. Yaz
    October 25, 2011 at 5:48 am #

    The Wizard of OZ, Ozias “Chuck” Vincellete, is the kind of man they don’t seem to be making any more. Chuck’s a true leader. A man of the people, a listener to all, and he deserves the vote of everyone in Ward 4. Shame on Chris Connell for his remarks. Was undecided before that, leaning to Chris, but now it’s Oz Man. And thanks, PLANET for providing this forum, you won’t get THIS discussion in the Boring Sheet.

  21. JahnDoh
    October 25, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    The reason behind the self watering planters and bump outs is simple – they are much more expensive and presented another opportunity to shunt the taxpayer’s money to the special interests. And now, of course, snow plowing around them will cost more money too (time, gas, man-hours), as will maintenance of the planters.
    On another note, has anyone else noticed the ridiculous amount of traffic lighs at many intersections in Pittsfield? Where one light would suffice, there are 2. Where 2 would suffice there are 3. And when 0 would suffice why are there lights at all? When I compare similar intersections in Northhampton (which has a lower tax rate BTW), there are less lights and sometimes none at all without exception.
    These are all good examples of taxpayer dollars being wasted and given to the special interests/GOB network in Pittsfield. The maitenance alone for all this is ridiculously expensive.

    • danvalenti
      October 25, 2011 at 10:42 am #

      JD
      Great points. The planets and bump-outs were designed and approved by committee. NO ONE we’ve heard from likes them. As for traffic lights, how come Stockbridge can get away with NO lights — yes, zero traffic light — in a busy downtown with diagonal parking? Pittsfield blows it again.

      • John Dillison
        October 25, 2011 at 11:54 am #

        Dan you gotta admit that Stockbridge Main St does have the dumbest 3 way stop sign in the world. No one knows when to go.

        • danvalenti
          October 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

          JD
          You’re referring to the corner of Main Street, Soputh Street, and Prospect Hill. For us locals, it’s a piece of cake. For others, it’s confusing … but it works. It actually forces people to stop, pay attention, and communicate with the other drivers. Ask Chief Rick, and he’ll tell you: It’s one of the safest such intersections anywhere.

    • Dusty
      October 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

      Well I sure hope no one thinks the mayor or any of his friends are getting kickbacks for these very expensive traffic lights. I know I don’t.

      Well , maybe a little bit

    • Tony Truran
      October 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

      It”s “Lenoxolgy”

      TH MORONS IN OUR TOWN GOVERNMENT HAD IT FIRST!!!!

  22. Ray Ovac
    October 25, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    DV, you’re right regarding Silver Lake and Hill 78, “either the city decides to fight for itself and its citizens, or it meekly submits”. The facts are these. The city is poisoned. No company wants to set up operations in a city so polluted that employees would be at high risk just working in the area especially given the skyrocketing cost of health insurance premiums. You think any company wants to be on the hook for the cost of brain cancer surgery, a liver transplant, or ovarian tumors because employees were working near Silver Lake? The result of no jobs in the area and people aware of the deadly pollution is a falling population. Only the diehards are sticking around and certainly not the young ones (hence Pittsfield is a mecca for over-55′s, whoop-de-doo.) Total remediation of the toxics is Pittsfield’s only real hope. Otherwise it’s sayonara.

    • danvalenti
      October 25, 2011 at 10:37 am #

      RAY-O
      And this may provide the UNDERLYING explanation of why, after 12 years and counting, only one company has moved there — Mountain One is also indigenous to Berkshire County and has on its board and in its management team “players”for whom these concerns are apparently not deal breakers. Who knows what agreements were reached to get them to move there. Fact is, though, the site has not, to date, succeeded in luring one substantial, or even insubstantial, outside company that’s either expanding or setting up shop. Could it be because of the poisons?

      • Ray Ovac
        October 25, 2011 at 11:51 am #

        DV, note how the BB is trying to make lemonade out of lemons in its report on the US census. That over-55 demographic bulge in the Pittsfield census is NOT the result of the area being so necessarily attractive to seniors. Instead, it’s a clear function of the population of under-55′s leaving and not being replaced. What young person wants to stick around a place without decent-paying jobs and no real possibility for promotion. As discussed above that lack of jobs is a function of the poisoned Pittsfield environment and employers not wishing to expose themselves to long-term medical liabilities that would certainly attach to locating employees within a zone known for toxicity — in this case the entire city.

        • danvalenti
          October 25, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

          RAY-O
          Yes, silly and sad, isn’t it, that the county seat’s only daily prints such toothless fairy tales. Keeps us in business, though!

    • Charlie Cianfarini
      October 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

      Dan, Dave and Ray,

      Welcome to the party!
      As co-founder of Citizens for PCB Removal, I have been involved in the PCB fight since 1997. We have been to just about every meeting before, during and after the Consent Decree. We have stood with Tim Gray and HRI and other groups against many of the decisions made via the Consent Decree but especially Hill 78. Always remember that the Consent Decree was written and signed by the following parties: US EPA, Mass DEP, CT DEP, City of Pittsfield and GE. The lawyers were there, but Pittsfield’s lawyers let us down by allowing Hill 78 and signing away all rights to a clean aquifer under the city. Environmental citizen groups were kept away.
      CPR, a homeowners support group for residents with PCB contaminated properties, has fought against decisions to allow GE to “average” toxic waste levels to avoid cleaning those properties. The testing and remediation of those residential properties were not covered by the Consent Decree so the GE lawyers were able to systematically reduce the amount of cleanup that GE would be responsible for on these properties.
      We are currently objecting to and have been critical of the various proposals by GE concerning capping Silver Lake rather than cleaning it properly. So yes we agree that Pittsfield citizens and politicians must address the lack of a substantial remediation of Silver Lake and should also press for plans on the Unkamet Brook contamination and an ultimate removal of Hill 78 and the additional fill site (read dump) next to the Merrill Road parking lot.
      But here is the challenge if you are up to it: Don’t let the discussion distract you. Saying that you don’t touch the Rest of the River before resolving Hill 78 or Silver Lake, plays into the hands of GE. They have become adept at keeping people off guard and focusing on the distractions while they make agreements behind the scenes.
      There are plenty of workers available to properly clean the Rest of River and Silver Lake at the same time. And yes GE can afford it.

  23. Dave Bubriski
    October 25, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Berkshire Eagle publishes letter from Caius Veoisis:

    Dan, I trust he won’t be contributing any guest essays to the Planet.

    • danvalenti
      October 25, 2011 at 10:40 am #

      BINGO! Although we would give such a missive its routine due diligence.

    • Steve Wade
      October 25, 2011 at 11:57 am #

      Scooped again by The Eagle!

      • danvalenti
        October 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

        SW
        Thanks. Don’t know what story you’re referring to, but in general, anytime we drive the Boring Broadsheet to actually cover the news, we count it as a victory and from our influence. We still have many friends in that newsroom (the ink-stained rank and file). THE PLANET is assigned editorial reading.

  24. boots on the ground
    October 25, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Didn’t Chris Connell state how “proud he was to have served ” on the traffic commision after J Ruberto “put out the call” to the community and it sounds like he essentially had to call the Mayor’s office multiple times to even get the post? Is this the same traffic commision The Pittsfield Gazette just labled “another toothless committee”?…Many are called but few are chosen, huh? Not exactly serving the community like Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta are we? Must have some good donuts or sandwiches….or maybe some jello or pudding for its toothless members

  25. danvalenti
    October 25, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Many of the city commissions and boards do not meet, have a disinterested membership, and include people who simply want their name on the letterhead. Such boards and commissions apparently have appeal to a certain mindset that thinks it makes great copies in obituaries.

  26. tantrum
    October 25, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Knowing Mr. Chuck Vincellette only in the form of having ran into him and spoken with him on a couple occassions, he does seem to be a rather abrasive and arrogant gentleman.

    Two questions regarding Chuck:

    1) What has he done to deserve being so arrogant?

    2) Why did he throw such a childish tantrum instead of acting like a mature representative of the city of Pittsfield?

    • Jenifer Egan
      October 25, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

      Ive dealt with Mr. Vincellette and he was very arrogant. He used to bank at my bank on Elm St and he just didn’t seem nice.

      • CONCERNED
        October 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

        If true people don’t need him. But question is it true???

  27. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    October 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    what tantrum are you referring too? And what strain are you smoking?