PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, OCT. 4, 2011) — Hello. Thanks for checking in. Today, we present various and sundry items that have landed on THE PLANET. 


Residents of Williams Street have been scratching their heads trying to figure out the city’s game plan for that key arterial stretch. What comes first, painting or paving? Seems like a simple matter, however, we can report that pavement has been dug up and the sub-layer prepared underneath, presumably for a new top coating. See if you want to play Can You Top This:

After grinding down the surface in preparation for repaving, why did the city paint traffic lines on the grouted road? According to cZ, one of the Secret Squadron’s elite Z-agents, the lines will only have to be applied again once workers lay down the new surface. We’ve heard of double dipping, but with a paint job, THE PLANET thinks the term has been carried out far too literally.



Environmentalist Dave Gibbs of Pittsfield sent THE PLANET this item, which we are pleased to share with the public:

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife department will conduct a public meeting in Berkshire County on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 6:30 P.M. at Lenox Town Hall. A public rally will precede the meeting, at 5:30.

“At the meeting,” Gibbs writes, “state officials will present their plan for the PCB-contaminated Housatonic River, which seems to align with General Electric’s inadequate plans. Ignore ecological data! The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has conducted massive sampling and three comprehensive multi-year studies in cooperation with major universities and researchers. They have shared that data. On the other hand, we have never seen river PCB data from the state.”

“We no of no other place in the U.S. where state agencies have asked the EPA to water down a toxic clean up,” Gibbs states. “Two data sets exists: one from EPA and one from GE. Who is the state listening to? The EPA’s Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessments have been referred to as the most damning reports for PCB river contamination ever. The are available at”

Gibbs says the state agencies have stated that they don’t agree with EPA’s position to remove as much of the toxic PCBs as possible. Instead, the state wants to leave “massive amounts of PCBs behind in the name of protecting habitat and sensitive species.” But he notes that sensitive areas such as vernal pools and much of the floodplain are highly contaminated. The habitat is poisoned. For example, a wood duck tested from the Housatonic had 3,700 parts per million. This is one of the highest levels of PCBs ever found in waterfowl. Dave Gibbs can be reached at



THE PLANET has received confirmation of sorts on our reporting of the Kevin Sherman-Council presidency-open meeting controversy.

You’ll recall that yesterday, Sherman branded as a “lie and fabrication” the report by two of his colleagues that he had been lobbying council members returning or likely to return in the new 2012-13 governmental session that he would like their votes for council president. Sherman vigorously denied the report, saying that he is focused solely on winning re-election as an at-large councilor. He admitted “water cooler” type conversations with councilors that he would be interested in the job, but he states he has never lobbied for anyone’s vote.

One of our correspondents, picking up on the story, sent this into THE PLANET yesterday. 

“PLANET: You are 100% correct in your reporting that Kevin Sherman has aspirations to be council president. I talk to a person who will be back next term (for sure) quite regularly, and this person tells me that he has brought it up with [councilors], saying he wants to be council president. This person could probably have the job but doesn’t want it because one can’t debate from the president’s chair. Sherman’s denial is a lie or fabrication, not your posting. Good info, that. Take care and it should be an exciting election season. I think Sherman should be more worried about being re-elected than being president.”

We thank our good friend for this posting. With conflicting versions of the same truth, THE PLANET takes no position in this issue. We are only trying to present the facts in the case. We leave assessment to you, the reader.

Remember, if you wish to post a comment or write a guest commentary, THE PLANET more than welcomes your viewpoint. Guest essays have but one stipulation: You must submit them with your verifiable name and contact information. We will publish that or not, as you wish, but we must have the information when you submit material. 



It’s interesting to see all the hoopla about the Halloween Parade going down Tyler Street, as if the decision was made proactively. In fact, City Hall made that decision because North Street is still too chewed up for hosting anything resembling a parade. This, of course, does not include the bumper-car games held on the street each day of the week, where motorists and pedestrians try to kill each other. It also does not include the daily playing of “Can You Find A Parking Space,” a competition that will get more intense as the city’s remodeling of downtown North Street will rob the avenue of 20 existing parking spaces. Merchants are thrilled about that.

The story of the parade going to Tyler Street was so big that the Boring Broadsheet thought it was Page One news. Guess every day is a slow news day over there on 75 Church Street.

Another reason for Tyler Street being chosen: Officials worried that — given all the critters, zombies, walking dead, druggies, and other creatures of the day and night who by day and night infest downtown Pittsfield — spectators might not be able to tell who was in the parade and who just looks like that in real life. 

Halloween ain’t what it used to be, for sure for certain.



Finally, we present this item, from The Stooley. As you recall, The Stooley is our one-size-fits-all for many in our vast network of correspondents, informants, spies, gumshoes, not to be confused with our elite Z-agents or the Planet Airmen of the Secret Squadron. Our people are everywhere. If we were Big Brother, we would be watching.

Hi Dan,

I caught your reference to Kevin Sherman on THE PLANET today. He seems like one of the good guys and his response seems okay with me.  What’s your take on the Wall Street demonstrators? Seems a little odd, doesn’t it, that not a mention of it from the media till it was almost 3 weeks old, then passing it off as not clear why they were there. Yeah right.


I was born in Boston, the youngest son of my father’s 17 children. As a candlestick maker, my father earned only enough money to sent me to school until age 10. Despite my limited education, I loved to read and write. At 12, I became an apprentice to my brother James, who was a printer. After several disagreements with James, I ran away to (Pittsfield, no) Philadelphia, where I would eventually open up my own (web site) print shop, publish a (web site called Planet Valenti) newspaper and become involved in politics, foreign affairs (local affairs) and science (sports and academia).

Who am I? No not Dan Valenti but Benjamin Franklin. He was an inventor (bifocals and swim fins as among his many inventions), a philosopher, politician, firefighter, soldier, cartoonist, ambassador and more. The common thread among all his endeavors however, is public service and the betterment of society. Look for these qualities when and if you do go to the polls to elect your next State Representative (3rd Berkshire) or Mayor. You won’t find a match, but maybe someone with a few of these qualities is out there pandering for your vote in the next election.

PLANET, keep their feet to the fire, and why not schedule a debate in the middle of the newly remodeled Common between Bianchi and Marchetti on the stage of city’s trailer stage? It could mirror the old days in observation of our city’s 250 anniversary. With an old fashioned debate with lighted torches from supporters.

As always, THE PLANET thanks The Stooley for his contributions. The Stooley is everywhere.






  1. Richard
    October 4, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    Mr. Sherman would not be my choice for president I would like to see someone who has had nothing to do with the present administration. Painting –how about the crosswalks that got warn off within weeks after they were done not to mention that most people won’t use them.

    • Steve Wade
      October 4, 2011 at 8:47 am #

      So if there were no lines on the street while waiting for good weather to put the finish coat onand there was a accident, you would be makeing a issue of why no lines! Minor cost for SAFETY SAKE Always error on the caution side!

      • danvalenti
        October 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

        The answer, as a construction guy told me and as someone mentions below, is the temporarily road-marker tape you put down. It’s inexpensive compared to painting, improves safety, and is easily removed.

      • rick
        October 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

        hey steve , drive around pittsfield and you will see half the major roads are either not lined or faded away…. bad argument guy…….. its tough to drive around guessing where your lanes are, how would you like to be a tourist trying to get around? no wonder why they by pass the pitts.

  2. Dave
    October 4, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Mass Depatment of Contaminated Fish and Wildlife

    Mass Department of GE Protection

    • danvalenti
      October 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

      Agreed. There will be two jobs created as a result of the GE-EPA troika: A con job and a snow job. The river and the health of people, animals, and Mother Nature in Berkshire County? Not as important as saving GE $$$$$$. Now why do you think that’s so? Do you think there’s a chance of funny money being spread around? THE PLANET doesn’t, because we know there aren’t anymore crooked politicians in Boston and because GE (hee hee) has the best interests of Pittsfield and South County paramount in its concerns, before any financial considerations.

      • Irvin Corey
        October 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

        We can’t ruin the river and disrupt neighborhoods on the say so of David Carpenter. I have no love for GE but to make GE spend money on a project that does not make the river fishable and or swimable is crazy. GE will not be punished by making them spend money on turning the Housatoinc into a drainage ditch. Most of the reasearch done on health effects of PCB’s is worthless politicized science. If you look at the literature you see words like probable and suspected…..The envirochondriacs should head for NYC and join the loons who protest Wall St. and have no Idea why. Don’t play with peoples lives.

        • Bruce Winn
          October 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

          If I understand you correctly, Irvin, you don’t want to risk “disrupting” the river because of a chemical that is only suspected of causing cancer. It would seem to me that even the threat of something as serious as cancer would warrant action. It’s interesting that PCBs are a known carcinogen in animals. Why would they be a known carcinogen in animals and only a suspected carcinogen in humans? Part of the answer is that we have laboratory data on animals, but not on people. It’s not difficult to extrapolate from animal studies to humans, but scientists are careful to say only what they know for sure. It’s up to the rest of us to figure out what to do with that information. Also keep in mind that cancer isn’t the only health threat from PCBs. This chemical has been shown to lead to reproductive, behavioral, neurological, and other disorders. Let’s clean up the PCBs and be done with this problem. If we don’t clean up the PCBs now, we will have to do it sometime in the future. And in the future, GE will not be on the hook for paying the bill. We, the taxpayers, will have to pay. (Note: I’m not sure I follow the connection to the Wall Street protesters.)

  3. Shakes His Head
    October 4, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    There is no such thing as traffic accidents- there is always a cause so they are CRASHES. How about milling and repaving within days like most other states at this rate, the HMA overlay goes down in such cool weather it increase its chances for delamination and improper curing.

    The city is only liable up to 4k per crash if their malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance causes the incident, why suddenly would they rush to paint stripes on Williams? I know the answer, but I ain’t sharing.

    • Payroll Patriot
      October 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      Please, this is not national security. Don,t start with I know something that you don’t know. That is how most of the elected officials come across. It is not your style.

      • danvalenti
        October 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

        Agree, PP: Come on, SHH, share. THE PLANET puts it on the line for you everyday, doesn’t he?

  4. Dee
    October 4, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    My take on the painted lines was that the paving would not be done quickly, so put the lines up.

    It does make one wonder however what ever happened to the big red wonder machine that Barrett said Pittsfield had to have. Wasn’t the purpose of this machine to take the scrapped off blacktop, process it and put it down again, thus saving time and money? It’s been so long, I may be muddled in my understanding of the magic machine.

    • danvalenti
      October 4, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

      You win the grand prize. THE PLANET deliberately withheld mention of the Heap Big Magic Red Wonder Machine — the one that cures all ills — to see which of our readers would bring it up. You win. The smart money was going for Payroll Patriot. But yes, that’s precisely why the city shelled out huge bucks, and here, on busy Williams Street, they mill the pavement but leave it dangerously exposed forever before repaving. The Grand Prize? Free lifetime subscription to THE PLANET! and our THANKS!

      • Payroll Patriot
        October 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

        @DEE 10 out of 10

        Mayor lame duck, you never produced any figures that justified Big Wind from North savings to the City of Pittsfield. Is he going to return his salary as Big Wind Barret claimed on the Sherman Baldwin show or the bottom feeder fish show?

      • Steve Wade
        October 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

        Dan that machine is for pot holes not to be used on whole streets.

  5. Irvin Corey
    October 4, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    @Dave Gibbs….in the portion of the river that has been EPAed, can I eat the fish? After the EPA finishes it’s 5 to 50 year project how much will the cancer risk be reduced? Will you guarantee that people won’t get cancer? EPA says PCB’s are a probable carcinogen….translation = a definite maybe. In order to get to the EPA’s definite maybe level one would have to spend 90 days a year for 70 years with very close contact with PCB’s to get to the level that MIGHT harm them….the sky is not falling Dave.

  6. Hearse Driver
    October 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    usually once the road is milled they only paint the lines if the paving is expected to be delayed. they usually use temporary lines that come on rolls. almost like a roll of tape. other contractors use actualy road paint. and 9 times out of 10 that is all included in the price of the job.

    as far as sherman goes, we know who really wants to be council president and thats melissa mazzeo. however because you cant debate from the chair that will be reason why she wont run for it. she likes to hear herself talk to much to be pres. also, she would get to confused by all the rules, and wouldnt be able to be an effective president. I think Sherman is the logical choice for council president, if he wants it.

    • Jim Gleason
      October 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

      OK John Krol. I think you’re jealous cause Melissa makes so much more sense than you when she speaks. Keep those eyes rolling and that smirk on your face, maybe someday that look will be slapped off.

  7. danvalenti
    October 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    I told Sherman this and I say it here, out in the open: He would make an excellent choice for council prez. I’ve known him for a numbers of years, broke bread with him, and have found him to be measured, fair, tolerant, and thorough. These are the kinds of traits it takes to be a good prez. Also, we would want someone flexible enough to bend the rules, for once, on the side of We The People instead of the special interests.

  8. In Da Know
    October 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    In regards to Williams Street, the fact of the matter is that the Lines were painted PRIOR to the street being milled. I live off of Williams street and I was in disbelief when I saw them paint the lines, and then a week later mill the street down…… I hope they pave it soon because all the rain we have had recently has opened up massive pot holes.

    • Irvin Corey
      October 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

      the last time they repaved East New Lenox Rd. it was milled in late Sept. but not paved until Nov AFTER a minor snowstorm.

  9. Amanda Blake
    October 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Miss Kitty can say that her car hit one of them huge pothole on Williams Streert that indaknow atlks about. A fiasco of a mess of a disaster on how Not to refresh a street. What does councilor Ward say about this?

  10. Ray Ovac
    October 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    DV and Dave Gibbs, it sure seems that Deval Patrick has sold out lock, stock, and barrel to GE and Jeff Immelt. Why isn’t anyone calling out the Governor on this critical matter facing Berkshire County? Will it take a ton of PCB contaminated mud dumped unceremoniously in the Governor’s driveway in Richmond to bring home to this governor the dire seriousness of this issue?

    • Irvin Corey
      October 4, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

      because the Governor had nothing to do with it……before you make up your mind hear the state out on the 12th.

      • danvalenti
        October 4, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

        I agree with Prof. Corey. Let’s hear from all sides. No rush to judgment on what to do with the rest of the river.

      • Ray Ovac
        October 5, 2011 at 10:24 am #

        You don’t think the Governor holds sway over the state environmental agency in this matter? Don’t you find it mighty strange that its just in the past few years that the federal EPA and the MA DEP have diverse agendas when it comes to remediating PCBs? Whether you want to admit it or not the buck on this stops with Deval Patrick and his crew — its him and his people who are plainly laying down with GE. How else to explain the glaring disparity between fed and state plans for the rest of the river. Why is Gov Patrick’s DEP so concerned about saving GE a billion dollars that would sure be a boost to the Berkshire economy?

  11. Hearse Driver
    October 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    J Gleason

    This is not J. ohn Krol. I am so sick of you calling the talk shows, and writing about how much you dislike this one or that one. If you think you can do better then run for office. Put your money where your mouth is and do it. Then you can complain all you want. I also wonder why you are supporting Bianchi for mayor? I figured [you’d want] Nichols to be mayor.

    • danvalenti
      October 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

      I would remind my two good friends, Jim G and HD, that to express your views, especially the unpopular ones, does not require a run for office. Monday morning quarterbacking is one thing, but fair comment on public affairs is another. In the marketplace of ideas, the truth will win out. If that no longer applies, then this country is doomed.

      • Richard
        October 4, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

        Thank you Dan

  12. Tired of the BS
    October 4, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    You Have finally lost it, Comparing yourself to one of our founding fathers, maybe one of the greatest men in history.You are not good enough to carry his boots. He actually did real work,whereas you sit on your ass and incite the people of pittsfield to continue this gloom and doom attitude, which does nothing to make us better, Mr. Franklin did everything he could to make Us , America, better. Good luck and Good Bye, I am done with this site, Time to standup and be POSITIVE to try and make Pittsfield a even better place to live.

    • danvalenti
      October 5, 2011 at 5:37 am #

      Have a safe trip … and don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!

    October 4, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    Another one who thinks we the people can’t have are opinions without running for office, where did this thinking come from????

    R/e Nichols, are you kidding me, like Peepe White, you lose and now you want your seat back and will have a write in challenge wow

  14. beezer
    October 5, 2011 at 4:09 am #

    G R A N D E R S O N! M V P!

  15. Aclu
    October 5, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    An now we know, Joe N. who has to much integrity to run a write in campaign for City Council is doing just that. His excuse is I’m running at large not for my old job. I say Joe you are so full of s”&@ I can smell you clear across town. The only call Joe is answering is the call to keep his low cost health insurance. Sorry Joe this just doesn’t pass the stink test.

  16. Gall Ball
    October 5, 2011 at 5:33 am #

    Have to agree on Joe N sticker campaign. Hes such a flip-flopper that I’m going to call him “Flipper”

    • dusty
      October 6, 2011 at 10:26 am #

      Interesting that of all the garbage on the city council you would pick one of the two that seem to care about the taxpayers to dump on. I think you are either Ruberto, Marchetti or Gerry Lee.