PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, OCT. 21, 2011) — There have been many discussions on the recently concluded Special Election that pushed the “winner” to Boston. The residual feeling is one of anger but not shock, disbelief but not surprise. As THE PLANET pieced together the “plot” yesterday based on several insider discussions and inductively piecing together the evidence. Granted, it’s a piece of detective work that Sherlock Holmes wouldn’t have broken a sweat over. Even Hemlock Holmes would crack this case.

Therein lies the true callousness of the plan. The plotters knew they had a great chance of succeeding based on the combination of anger and apathy that now grips the electorate in the City of Pittsfield. Someday, a candidate might come along and be the spark that ignites a revolution. He or she may come slouching in from Bethlehem and expose the varying levels of fraud. Until then, though, voters can look forward to “more of the same.”

When anger gets bottled up by apathy, nothing good comes out of it.

SORE LOSER — THE PLANET received a couple of scorching e-mails from third-place finisher Pam Malumphy that were headed OFF THE RECORD. Now technically, nothing’s off the record until BOTH parties agree. Her missives are fair game as far as fair play is concerned. However, THE PLANET will keep her messages confidential so that we won’t add to Pummelin’ Pam’s further mortification. We can say that after her message of yesterday, she then blocked THE PLANET’s ability to reply. We will let that be the extent, at present, of our commentary on this fallen asteroid. We wish her well in her future endeavors, we will be open to reconciliation if she wants, and we hope she finds whatever it is she is looking for.

GOING TO BOSTON — Now that Tricia Farley-Bouvier has won a seat in Boston, she has to “hit the ground running,” as Uncle Gerry Lee promised she would. Gerry came out of his coma at the American Legion long enough to offer that Sage of the Elders advice. THE PLANET will drink to that. In actuality, all eyes will be upon her every action for a while, especially those who have been free with the criticism over her campaign. TFB can choose one of two ways: She can be the stooge of her critics’ predictions, of she can surprise everyone by becoming an strong, independent voice for them. THE PLANET thinks TFB has untapped ability in the latter regard. Now or never, we shall find out.

SOUP’S ON — THE PLANET’S food consultant, noted gourmand Chef Ron Kitterman, passes along this Boston Baked Bean recipe for Tricia and her entourage.

Baked beans

Ingredients 5 -16 ounce cans of pre baked beans

1/4 pound of thick cut bacon

1 cup of diced onion

1 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of ketchup

1/4 cup of cider vinegar

1/4 cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup of molasses

4 Tablespoons of prepared mustard


Brown the bacon in the bottom of the 3-4 quart cast iron pot and mix in the onions Mix and simmer rest of the ingredients for about 1 1/2 hours until the liquid is reduced. Then place opposite the hot coals and cover for and additional hour, or until desired doneness

She will be down there in bean town and able to purchase bean pots from Durkin Park which make the best beans in the world, but you hit the nail on the head she has to prove herself now.

Sounds might tasty. We thank Chef Ron K.



For the GOBs, GE, and other assorted Special Interests, the Special Election had the (PICK ONE) (   )Fortuntate   (   )Unfortunate effect of diverting our attention from the toxic mess still infesting Pittsfield and environs and what to do about it.

In that vein, we put Industrial Toxins back on the front burner, Steve Canyon oxygen masks in place, and present this informative letter from Peter Skaller of Housatonic. Skaller, we should note, has a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology.

We can all learn from his expertise. This is the type of in-depth coverage of a VITAL issues that the Boring Broadsheet fails to share — the same way it failed to share many letters from prominent Pittsfield residents advocating the candidacy of Mark Miller. THE PLANET had several complaints along these lines. As we saw yesterday, though, a compliant and toady local daily played a key role in “the plot,” if we read the evidence correctly. Any fat cats who have the proper “blessings” can pull off all sorts of hanky-panky (“Olver Touts EV Worldwide’s 1,000 Jobs for PIttsfield!”) can count on that sad excuse of a newspaper. The BB has but one mission: To roll over and play dead for its political and corporate masters.



BY PETER SKALLER, Ph.D., Forest Ecology
On Wednesday evening, October 12, the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection together with the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, presented their proposal for cleaning the Housatonic River of the PCB contamination which General Electric caused. I would like to outline a number of points that cast serious doubt on both the intentions and scientific validity of the proposal made. Some of what I will say is based upon statements omitted in their presentation but are made in their full proposal which can be read on their website.
POINT 1. — DEP has placed a high priority on protecting so-called “core areas,” which support significant numbers of at-risk flora and fauna species. Based upon their mapping work, they have identified 33.4 floodplain acres which they deem suitable for remediation because they do not conflict with their species-protection agenda.
Their stated concern is that the natural meandering of the river, a process necessary for the creation of appropriate habitat for many at-risk species, not be disrupted by dredging and “armoring” or other bank stabilization approaches that would impede river meandering. The scientific basis for this approach is highly questionable. River meandering is determined by two factors: the river’s descent gradient and the bedrock. Unless the bedrock creates a rock-walled canyon or channel which constrains a slow-moving river’s natural urge to meander, it will meander even if large trees or dense shrubbery are stabilizing the banks. Flood plain forests, including mature ones, are continually being undercut and trees continually topple over into the river creating all sorts of flow diversions that create new channels and foster new deposits of sediment.
The typically poorly-drained soils also encourage shallow-rooted trees far from the bank to uproot in wind or even to die from oxygen-depletion, creating openings where plant succession processes revert to earlier stages. These at-risk species will find ample opportunity for their populations to flourish in an environment where such natural processes occur.
After dredging away contaminated soils, of course, armoring the banks with rip-rap would interrupt this process, but the temporary use of rocks or logs to curtail rapid erosion, together with the strategic planting/moving of trees and shrubs, offers a way to more thoroughly clean the floodplains and allow for natural river behavior. To not dredge contaminated floodplain sites in the name of an erroneous concept of river behavior is simply not based on a true understanding.
POINT 2. — In the DEP’s written proposal one finds the following remark: “…even in these 33.4 acres, we view excavation as a last resort, to be performed if institutional controls and site-wide averaging are not sufficient.” Institutional controls, or “IC,” consist of warning signage and other “educational” tools to alert people to the risks involved in using certain areas. It is hard to believe that an agency purportedly concerned with environmental protection could take IC seriously.
But the other concept is downright frightening, for it means that an area containing a severely contaminated area as well as an area with little contamination could then, through “averaging,” come out to be within their criteria for tolerable levels of toxins. But how will land parcels be bounded so as to include areas to be averaged? Such a process leaves things wide open for skewing data, but even if done with a statistically sound randomized process, it still could result in leaving behind high concentrations of toxins for their eventual release into the larger ecosystem.
POINT 3. — The DEP has clearly stated that their criterion for choosing areas for clean-up is based upon the higher not the lower value for the range of PCB concentrations deemed acceptable from a human-health standpoint by the EPA. What kind of value system resulted in such a choice?
POINT 4. — No data was presented  to show what % of the total contaminated floodplain do these 33.4 acres represent, assuming that this number is even the true target (see point 1). It would be a tiny fraction.
POINT 5. — The DEP states that with the partial dredging of Woods Pond and the limited dredging of appropriate floodplain areas, 25% of the PCBs in the river would be removed. How much of the river is included in this estimate? All the way to Long Island Sound, which should be the so-called “Rest Of The River,” not just the Massachusetts portion? This is like saying to your child after he/she spilled milk on the floor, “Just clean up ¼ of it. We can leave the rest to just rot there.” Not only is that not good for the house, but it is not good for the child! Since GE apparently is unwilling to clean up it own mess out of its own free-will, it seems to require a parent to require it to overcome childish lack of responsibility. 25%? Reversed, it means leaving the river 75% filthy. [EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS IS A POINT THE PLANET HAS MADE, THAT IS, HOW DOES CLEANING 25% AFFECT THE REMAINING 75%? YOU HAVE A RIVER THAT’s 75% TOXIC.]

POINT 6. — The frequent use of the term “the Commonwealth” has turned their approach into a kind of nationalistic “us first” effort. This river flows into Long Island Sound, whose waters and creatures disperse through the entire world! And even locally, the contaminated fish and birds and other creatures carry this toxin so as to infect the world.
POINT 7. — Although the DEP listed known alternative technologies, it seems to have done this with a dismissive attitude and demonstrated no true commitment to researching and encouraging them, in spite of many statements about being open to reviewing new approaches as they become available in the future.

In summary, the Massachusetts proposal for cleaning the Housatonic River was not based on accurate scientific understanding of rivers, and was permeated by a curious interest in keeping the clean-up to a bare minimum. Why is this?

THE PLANET thanks Skaller for this commentary.






  1. Irvin Corey
    October 21, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit

    Irvin Corey Ph.D (piled hip deep)

    • danvalenti
      October 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

      Thank you. Of course, when you DO dazzle them with brilliance, which THE PLANET does on a consistent basis, no BS is necessary. We leave that to our critics.

      • Steve Wade
        October 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

        Dan you kill me with your big ego. Too bad your such an ass.

        • danvalenti
          October 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

          Thanks for proving what I just said about leaving the B.S. to my critics!!!

        • Dee
          October 21, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

          When criticizing it’s best to use proper grammar and spelling. One’s comments are often ignored when ignorance is apparent.

          i.e. Too bad you’re such an ass.

          • danvalenti
            October 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

            Thanks, Dee.

  2. Ron Kitterman
    October 21, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    You nailed it again Dan, like song by the Police says We’ll be watching you, every step you make every breath you take ….TFB so its up to you Tricia…..

    • Concern
      October 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      Ron didn’t see answer yet. How did you vote in Pittsfield if you live in Lee, Mass. Just wondering, if you don’t want to answer,that you right.

  3. Ben
    October 21, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Regarding TFB. There should have been a runoff election. She would not have won. She could follow Ruberto and continue to be his suck ass.

  4. JahnDoh
    October 21, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    TFB’s job is going be nothing more than going to Boston and voting along party lines. That is why she was the chosen one by the GOBs. Other than that, expect zero work from her. Another waste of taxpayer dollars.

  5. Maxwell Edison
    October 21, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Most people don’t notice a difference in their lives when their state rep changes. So why would they waste even ten minutes of their day to vote?

    • Concern
      October 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

      Maxwell. They only change in looks, all their ideas, votes etc must be in line with all the demo,s.

      • ambrose bearse
        October 22, 2011 at 5:38 am #

        Actually the looks won’t change. From the front she looks like Speranzo from the rear.

        • Yaz
          October 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

          Funny funny funny!~!!!!!!! Ambrose. It’s kind of a scary thought. LOL

  6. danvalenti
    October 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Right you are. That is the state of things currently in politics in general and in the Bay State in particular. The finer you go, to Berkshire County then Pittsfield, you find it gets worse. Its worse at the local level because, at least there, there remains the true potential to affect change. The stanglehold the GOD and special interests currently hold in Pittsfield — and have held for 25 years — need not be permanent. Twice, now, an outside renegade candidate from a fringe thrid party has almost pulled off the upset of the century. Are these fissues in the cracks of corruption. We hope so.

    • Dave Bubriski
      October 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      Dan, do you think that Miller’s voters realized that his politics are quite left wing? Are that many Pittsfield citizens in tune with the Green Rainbow party? This is to take nothing away from Miller as a human being. He seems like a decent guy who I would have a beer with. But I don’t believe that his political outlook is shared by most of the folks who darkened his circle.

      I along with a friend stood out at Williams school holding a Mark Jester sign. Pam Malumphy was there along with a few sign holding supporters. I had never met Ms. Mulumphy utill that night. I’m not sure of where she stands on all the issues but I will say she seems to be a very nice woman and I think she has a future in Pittsfield politics.

      Also holding a sign at Williams (for Miller) was Nat Fortune, the Green Rainbow candidate for state auditor last year. Nat is an interesting man and we enjoyed talking with him as well.

      • danvalenti
        October 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

        I don’t characterize politics by labels. I leave that to others.

        • Dave Bubriski
          October 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

          OK, let’s take away the labels. You know Mark Miller’s views. Are they reflective of 30% or so of the voters of Pittssfield?

          • danvalenti
            October 21, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

            Apparently, they are, based on those who voted.

          • Dave Bubriski
            October 22, 2011 at 7:00 am #

            To those who voted for the Green & Rainnbow candidate….I ask you to go tp the G&R of Ma. website and carefully study their positions on the various issues and consider the impact on our lives if the G&R agenda was to be the law of the land.

    • Dusty
      October 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

      Interesting Dan. You say there is a stranglehold of GOB interest in Pittsfield and not long ago you said Mr Ruberto was your good friend.

      One might read between the lines here and become confused as to your own interests. You do seem to straddle the line at times.

      • danvalenti
        October 21, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

        Fair comment. Jimmy is a good friend. I have the ability, though, to totally separate my personal interests from my professional ones. And I must say that in all the years I’ve known him, Jimmy has respected me for that. He’s peeled the paint off the walls telling me how wrong I was about an analysis, and then later that night, we were hoisting brew.

  7. Payroll Patriot
    October 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    The fat lady sings.
    Not Miller Time.
    Jester returns to the Court.
    Pam burns another bridge.

    Dan, be careful of the cliché, “No s**t, Sherlock.”

    • danvalenti
      October 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

      You are ON tonight. This is one of your classics.

  8. Payroll Patriot
    October 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    P.S. Nice job on the 20 Steps.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    SILENCE DOGOOD: I seen the guy that held sign about secret tapes in Baltimore walking near Park Square couple weeks ago. No longer has sign however he looks good.

    • danvalenti
      October 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

      Thank you, CONCERNED, for the update about this man. We wish him well.

    • Silence Dogood
      October 21, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

      good for him

  10. beezer
    October 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Wow, we are out of Iraq. Maybe the President or Congress could find a way to lower gas and oil prices. This would give the American people some hope!

    • danvalenti
      October 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

      George Bush landed on the aircraft carrier in a phony photo-op with a banner that said “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.”
      President Obama promised in the campaign he’s end that phony war. Three years later, he can say, “PROMISE KEPT.” Great job by the president.

  11. beezer
    October 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    ….crude oil is selling for under $90 a barrell..the price of heating oil is 3.50? something isn’t right!

  12. Richard
    October 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    TFB WONT DISAPOINT US SHE WILL COST THE TAX PAYER MONEY. At least she is off the school building and needs.

  13. beezer
    October 22, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    Yeah, exactly what will be TFB mission?

  14. Irwin Corey
    October 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    After carerfully examining Mr. Peter Skallar’s essay I have concluded:

    1) he does not have a Twitter account

    2) he may be related to Casey Stengal

  15. beezer
    October 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    @Dan… Obama also kept the Bush tax cuts, bailded out the waealthy,no cola for social security, no visible new job growth,higher unemployment, housing starts down, more I need to continue?

    • danvalenti
      October 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

      Your making a separate case. All I did was point out that these recent triumphs will make it much easier for him on the campaign trail. He’s good there and this will give him ammo. I’m not saying he SHOULD get re-elected or SHOULDN’t. It’s far too premature for that. We shall see who the GOP puts up, survey any other candidates, follow the campaign closely, weigh track records, and make our recommendation at the proper time (probably a year from now. For the record, I am pulling for Mitt Romney as the GOP rep.

    October 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Like I said time after time RUINING the country in so many ways. One thing should happen, he must be a one term President.

  17. Levitan
    October 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    Dan, Why do you continue to abuse Pam Malumphy? Of the four candidates, the only thing you can focus on is her personality (perhaps). In my opinion, she ran a good and fair campaign. Any negativity that I saw was her pointing out facts that are pertinent to the position of State Rep.