PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary


JUST IN: CITIZEN ALERT (10/26/11, 11:34 a.m.)

Armed Robbery The Pittsfield Police Department is investigating a reported armed robbery that occurred at the Convenience Plus at First and Tyler at 10:18 AM. The suspect is described as a black male, 5-5″ to 5-7″, wearing white shorts and a grey hoodie. A handgun was displayed. A possible vehicle is a blue Dodge Durango with an unknown registration, operated by a white male. Units remain on scene. Contact Information Contact Name: PPD Contact Name: Detective Bureau Contact Phone: 413-448-9700 Contact Phone: 413-448-9705

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, OCT. 27, 2011) — Moderating debates is not an easy task, for upon you falls most everything. Traditional debates, with artificial time restraints and other protocols, tend to make the job as picayune as it is difficult. THE PLANET has moderated too many debates to count, mostly for radio and TV but some without cameras of mics. It took awhile, but we finally broke the mold and crafted our own format. Everytime we moderated in this fashion, the debate rocked.

The format is simple: two or three candidates, seated close to each other, facing half way each other and half way the moderator. Candidates aren’t behind podiums or desks. They have no notes. They are lapel mic’d. The moderator has no fixed station. He has a hand held, wireless mic and roams in and out, asking questions and moving the discussion between the candidates. There is no time clock except for the one the moderator has in his head.

This format frees all the participants to focus not on protocols but on debate, discussion, and deliberation. The format also exploits the built-in emotions, always running high, when two or more opposing politicians face off. Most importantly, the electorate actually learns something about the candidates that will be of great practical use come election day. THE PLANET is the only one who has produced debates of this sort. Granted, they put much more pressure on the moderator, but if the moderator can cut it, the format provides a much greater service to voters.

All that being said, THE PLANET liked the way Brandon Walker moderated the Marchetti-Bianchi debate Monday at BCC. He had some missteps and did appear reluctant to make the candidates uncomfortable, but he had great elocution and you could see a sharpness and wit. He was “TV smooth,” but not to an inordinate degree. Plus, he was stuck with the format. Having been in that position many times, and given his relative newness to the Berkshires, we thought he did a fine job.


With that, we present this post-debate story. It borders on fiction, especially given Peter Marchetti’s self-righteous defense of his hard-working staff, but it actually happened. WE WERE THERE.


A dear family friend of THE PLANET — who also has been like an older sister to Peter Marchetti since the two were kids — has been attacked by one of Marchetti’s supporters, whose name we will withhold out of respect for the candidate.

This person sent a nasty message to the third party for the crime of attending the mayoral debate between Peter and Dan Bianchi Monday at BCC. THE PLANET’s companion is a dear friend of yours truly and MRS. PLANET. She is “family.” This person is also dear to Pete … at least we thought so. She attended the debate to show her support for Peter. Little did she or THE PLANET realize this would be a reason to draw fire.

Let us say that we arrived shortly after Brandon Walker introduced the evening. We probably knew 198 or the 200 people in the auditorium. Taking note of that, THE PLANET and friend made out way, quietly and unobtrusively, to a side-seat, out of the way, and for the hour remained quiet and respectful.

In the supporter’s view, however, being seen with THE PLANET was reason enough for a blanket condemnation of the mutual friend of Peter and THE PLANET. We don’t for a moment think Marchetti knows about the renegade actions of this staffer, but he does now. We don’t blame him if he feels betrayed, especially after Marchetti pointed to the section where this “supporter” was sitting and telling the audience what great people he had working for him on his campaign.

THE PLANET doesn’t dispute that. Pete does have some fine people. We met many of them this summer. He does have, however, some rotten eggs in the dozen.

It Comes with the Turf, Except When Your Not Part of the Grounds

When barbs are directed at us — as they often are by critics, detractors, and the near-sighted — THE PLANET shrugs off at such attacks as a price of doing business. In this business, you have to have what htye call “a hard bark” on the exterior.

Actually, we accept and welcome most crtics as an occupational hazard-cum-help for the way they keep us sharp and ready for action and debate. We have long been in love with argumentation, and, as a public figure for so many years, we have taken shots from the best of them, most, but not all, rhetorical. If someone wants to debate on the merits, we love that. If someone, though, wants to fire off nastiness for the simple reason of being in our company, we have no patience.

THE PLANET decries — in the strongest terms — the cowardly attack of an innocent third party when that person — a dear friend of the candidate she  supports, mind you — does her job as citizen and attends an event like this. She was there to show her support for Peter. She gives him authentic support, the kind that comes from love. As for the staffer, we can’t and won’t hazard a guess — it appears as if she gives her support for what she can get out of him. In other words, it looks like this dizzy gal is using Peter as a patsy.

We won’t call on Marchetti to publicly address this or to fire this staffer, as we initially thought of doing, because this issue is a matter internal to his campaign. It’s not a Bianchi-Marchetti issue. It’s not even a “Peter Marchetti” issue. Rather, it’s a “Marchetti Campaign” issue. We can only say the action of this Marchetti staffer supports Bianchi’s comments about the nature of some — we stress some — of Peter’s supporters.

We will add that as much as we respect Peter as a person and treasure him as a friend, he will pay a steep price for his associations with such “supporters.” This one probably cost him the election. With “support” like that, Bianchi could mail it in at this point.

Somehow, we doubt that he will. We sense that Bianchi smells victory. Based on knowing Dan’l for so many years, we sense he will play it as if he’s protecting a one-run lead in the ninth inning.



In response to our coverage of Bumpgate — that is, the problematic redesign of North Street to include bumpouts and self-watering planters — THE PLANET and WBRK talkmeister Bill Sturgeon received a forwarded message from Pittsfield Mayor Jimmy Ruberto.

The mayor forwarded an e-mail he received from Office of Community Development Director Deanna Ruffer. She writes to Ruberto (Oct. 25, 3:18 p.m.):

Jim, in the two[-]block section of North St[reet] from Park Square to Columbus Ave[nue] there were 44 parking spaces.  After completion of this phase of streetscape[,] there will be 52 spaces.  This increase in parking spaces was accomplished through such considerations as aligning fire hydrants within the pedestrian bump out areas, eliminating unused bus stops, and consolidating loading areas.

Deanna L. Ruffer


Department of Community Development

70 Allen Street

Pittsfield, MA 01201

413 499-9449

We thank the mayor for passing this information along. Of course, all we have here is Ruffer’s unsupported assertion. Some might say, “Well, PLANET, isn’t that what you did claiming 20 parking spaces would be lost.” We would say no, since we were reporting based on an actual, physical count of parking spaces on both sides of the street. We talked to construction workers doing the work.

We don’t see how the re-design adds eight spaces, unless Ruffer assumes everyone will be parking tricycles and the truncated Smart cars.

A Claim Without Evidence Must Be Considered Unsupported

She makes the claim, which is fine, but where’s the supporting evidence? Nothing will convince us of the accuracy of her number until we physically count parking spaces after the work is done. Diligence requires this of us. THE PLANET has worked far too long, with far too many public officials, to take a claim like this at face value.

According to logic, assertions (the street will gain eight spaces) must be considered unsupported unless accompanied by evidence. We see no evidence in Ruffer’s statement. In pointing this out, THE PLANET merely notes that in Ruffer’s claim, logic cannot apply. That is, we don’t have enough information to judge the truth, let alone the validity, of her claim. It may be true, but we are not willing to accept her claim as it stands. That’s not to say it’s not true; it merely says we can’t judge this. Until then, we are from Missouri: “Show me.”

For the sake of argument, though, let’s for a moment accept it as true. Ruffer does not address the many other objections we have raised in the past two days on the bumpouts (snow removal problems, dangerous turns for busses, etc.) and the ridiculous self-watering planters. We have talked with plow guys, engineers, plumbers, and pedestrians to get a view from the trenches.

Yesterday, we talked to a plumber and an engineer about the self-watering system. Both said self-watering planters are inappropriate for New England winter.

The planters’ will require high maintenance, and if just once the pipes are not properly bled during a hard freeze, you’ll have pipes bursting and not from joy. If Pittsfield was Miami Beach, self-watering albatrosses would work. We don’t think, however, that the temperatures this Berkshire winter will approach those in Florida.






  1. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    October 27, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    Did the sitdown of The Planet with both Mayoral candidates in an undisclosed location happen yet? If so, what transpired?

    • Baby Baby
      October 27, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      Hilly Billy,

      Dan didn’t show up. Go figure.

    • steve wade
      October 27, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      Hilly No answer yet from Dan? Hmm I wonder why?

  2. steve wade
    October 27, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Dan I didn’t know you are a reporter for the Enquirer.

  3. Ray Ovac
    October 27, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Check this out: The BB is soliciting suggestions “for improving” itself. In order to be included in a proposed “focus group”, BB editor Tim Farkas writes:
    “If you’d like to participate in a focus group, please email me at with the following information: Name, age, gender, race, occupation (if applicable), city or town, phone number. Level of education (college graduate, high school grad, current student, etc.). Readership tendencies (print, digital or both). Readership frequency (every day, often, sometimes, rarely).”

    Why is providing information concerning one’s race necessary for participation in a BB focus group?

    • scott
      October 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      Because they want to know exactly the group of people that is pleased with them and who is not.

      • Joe Pinhead
        October 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

        so then are they profiling?

        • scott
          October 28, 2011 at 3:54 am #

          in a way they want to know who is buying their garbage and who is not. Look at the comments on their site now mostly negative.

    • Dave Bubriski
      October 28, 2011 at 6:41 am #

      If you apply to be part of the focus group and the phone doesn’t ring it’s probably the Berkshire Eagle.

  4. Baby Baby
    October 27, 2011 at 10:34 am #


    You claim to be an investigaive reporter, correct?

    If I have this right, the word of a construction worker, who may not know the configuration of the parking on the street prior to the work is more reliable than the word of the department head in charge of the project? Why is that?

    Shouldn’t you go to city hall and look at the plan for the new project, count the spaces, then do the same for the layout prior to the construction? Isn’t that investigating at its best? Or is that too much work for you?

  5. Shakes His Head
    October 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Why didn’t they attach the existing conditions/topo sheet and the revised pavement striping plan? This is either pure laziness (typical of jimmy and Deanna) or a blatant “move along nothing to see here”. It’s comforting to know that Peter Marchetti is comfortable maintaining obfuscation of the facts out of City Hall.

    • Joe Pinhead
      October 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

      why isnt the entire project highlighted on the city website? Pictures of the progress, the concept drawings, the design and review process? Milestones, completion dates? The total cost etc? Other cities who have overhauled the downtown do this. It keeps people aware opps now I know why it isn’t there.

  6. Layla Lady Lay
    October 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    I feel sorry for Peter Marchetti. Hes got a scared look on his face all the time because of whose behind his campaign (guys like Angelo S nuff said) and in his campaign such as the one who caused this latest embarrassmant for Peter. He looks like a little boy lost not like a mayor.

    October 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Well Dan still don’t understand what this campaign worker did. Can you spell it out better.

    • danvalenti
      October 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

      The Marchetti campaign staffer sent the person with whom I attended the debate a nasty, poisonous set of messages. Why? For attending the debate with me!! It was someone on the Marchetti campaign who apparently wanted to give me far more power over the outcome than I deserve. The person that was with me is a close friend to me and Mrs. Planet (also to Marchetti, ironically). To attack my companion at the debate simply because she was with me, well that went over the top, especially immediately after Marchetti had looked into the audience to where the campaign workers were and boasted of how great they all were, great people, etc. etc. This incident proved that to be a hollow boast. Thus, his own campaign staffer stabbed Peter in the back. She betrayed the very words he had spoken only moments before. In doing so, at the least, she gave Marchetti a body blow he doesn’t need. At worst (and maybe best for Pittsfield), she might have singlehandedly assured Marchetti’s loss on Election Day.

        October 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm #


      • steve wade
        October 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

        Dan looks like to me your trying to rigg the election. You call your self a journalist yet you write a article with out names only accusations You went to college for this? I thought better of you.

      • steve wade
        October 27, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

        SPELL IT OUT !!! What was sent, Who sent it?, Who received it? The waiting is killing me.

      • Ray Ovac
        October 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

        Sounds like one too many people there exposed to one part per million too many PCBs resulting in one point too little in net IQ. Welcome to Pittsfieldland.

        • Dave
          October 28, 2011 at 5:06 am #


          Ray has a very good point. Steve tell us what neighborhood you live in so we can add you to the stastics for that neighborhood and look around from a toxic pocket.

  8. Joe Pinhead
    October 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    Couple of thoughts here, at what point does one become responsible for the company they keep? Doyle, Stracuzzi, the unnamed women? I bet if it was advantageous to Peter he would use the names, either in or out no middle ground. Either admit there with you or throw them overboard as dead weight.
    Parking; the way to measure would be to determine spaces based upon a 9 x 20 foot space. (City ordinance 10.108 I believe) half spaces don’t count. Didn’t we squash a planned pharmacy in Coatsville due to lack of parking? Wasn’t the office that slammed that one down one in the same North Street parking space counters?
    Note to the cut out fondler; DO NOT fold, bend, spindle mutilate or grope under penalty of law its printed on the sign and they mean it

    • dusty
      October 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

      It boggles the mind that anyone who was serious about being mayor would drag along the campaign baggage of Doyle and Stracuzzi. Only an idiot would gamble that these people could get them more votes than cost them. Who in their right mind would vote for a guy whose’ chief supporters are the cities biggest mayoral failure in history and a guy who has been arrested in Maine, charged with chasing young boys? Can they look themselves in the mirror and say that this is the group I want leading my city??/

      will promised special favors win out over all that is wrong with this campaign?

    October 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Its still amazes me how these people never go away in the sunset like they should. And they have no shame to boot. Angelo should go with PeeWee and Doyle with Jack Daniels.

  10. J.R. Fein
    October 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Planet, don’t listen to the idiots like SW here. You didn’t name the person out of respect for Marchetti, as you said, and I believe it and I also think best not to name the name here. Those involved know who they are. This does it for me. I honestly didn’t know where my vote was going, now I do. I was at the debate and came out leaning slightly not by much for DB. Now my mind made up I’m going for Dan and telling everyone I know. Marchetti is a wreck beig used as a pawn and he is too sacred to know it

    • steve wade
      October 27, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

      Dan all your Blogg heads that live in Pittsfield are voteing for Bianchi anyway so what you write won’t change peoples minds.

      • Joe Pinhead
        October 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

        Steve, didn’t I read in your post just yesterday about making claims and not proving them? How is it you know how were all voting? Please reread your post from yesterday….

  11. Steve Wade
    October 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    JP Just by reading all of the post I can tell 99% of all Blogg Heads will vote for Mr. Bianchi

  12. Marcus A.
    October 27, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    Gawsh, what an imbecile you are, Mr. Wade. Dan Valenti has done more good on this site that any other media person around. Thats why he has a follwiong. What bothers you obvious is that unlike you, valenti has facts analysis and information. You think the Eagle is (i mean the BB) is going to let us know whats going on. News bulletin, this just in: BB WIll Endore Marcheti.

  13. Concern
    October 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    Steve Wade. Could you tell us why you don’t like DV. There must be a reason, so why don’t you tell us. If you have in the past I’m sorry but I missed it.

    • steve Wade
      October 27, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

      Because he is a egocentric manic depressive Napolian mean spirited jerk. Thats why.

      • Ray Ovac
        October 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

        SW, to which Berkshire County egocentric manic depressive Napoleon mean-spirited jerk are you referring? There are so damn many.

        • LV
          October 28, 2011 at 12:29 am #

          Are we sure Steve’s not a third grader?

        • Steve Wade
          October 28, 2011 at 5:20 am #

          Battery man DAN VALENTI !

          • Dave
            October 28, 2011 at 6:13 am #


            Please tell us: Who is Steve Wade?

            Please tell us what neighborhood you live in. We want to investigate that area for toxic pockets. We want to try and understand the cause for your rage and abnormal behavior.

            Please tell us what school you go to so we can point out to the Principal that you are playing online when you should be studying.

  14. Luxor Rex
    October 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    I’m with you. It’s odd isn’t it Mr Wade fixation on DV.
    As for Pete Marchetti, I’m OK with that people do in private, but this man wants to be the mayor of Pittsfield representing all of us. Let me be honest: I don’t want a gay man whos married to another man as my mayor. Its the last thing Pittsfield needs. Do ywhat you want in private but as a man married to a man, its goingto turn a lot of stomachs.

    • steve Wade
      October 27, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

      Good call Rex! As long as them Qweer folk stay in the closet than Im ok with it.

    • Curious
      October 27, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

      The last thing Pittsfield needs are homophobes like you, Luxor. Wake up buddy, it’s not 1950 anymore. Shocking that no companies want to open shop in such a diverse and welcoming city.

      • LV
        October 28, 2011 at 12:31 am #

        I’m stunned. I thought I lived in a more open-minded world. Oh yeah, I live in Pittsfield.

  15. Concern
    October 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Steve I think the paint fumes are getting to you!!!!!

    • LV
      October 28, 2011 at 2:41 am #

      Guys like Steve are Dan’s best free advertisers. It’s always a curiousity to see what the next idiot’s going to say, and ALWAYS makes Dan look like genius that he is.

      • Steve Wade
        October 28, 2011 at 5:19 am #

        LV What kind of kool aide did you drink today? Jim Jones , I mean Dan has you under his cult .

        • LV
          October 28, 2011 at 7:38 am #

          My point exactly.

  16. Layla Lady Lay
    October 28, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    SAYwhat you want but just read the comments here. Read what Mr Wade says versus the other commenters, such as joe pinhead or concerned. Steve thwors personal insults, his best response to.Valenti is to call him a manicdepressive, Napolionic figure etc. The others have kept the discussion on a much higher order. Thats obvious

  17. Tony Truran
    October 28, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    Hi Dan,

    The Lenoxologists, who decry the lack of parking for more touri$t $$$, put the same bumpout curbing in the downtown hysterical district.

    I agree not appropriate for new england winters and wastes space that could be used for parking.

    In addition the Lenox work needed to be corrected several times and the brick crosswalks are another inappropriate waste of $$$, that will cost additional $$$ down the road, pun intended