Article

YANKS SWALLOW BITTER PILL AS BOSTON REMAINS ‘TITLETOWN’ … MONEYMAN HARRIS AS DEBATE MODERATOR PUTS AN ETHICAL AND LEGAL CAN OF WORMS ON WBRK PLATE … and … ‘REST OF RIVER’ MEETING AS BIG AS IT GETS, WITH STAKES AS HIGH AS THEY GO

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, OCT. 7, 2011) — Now we can say the baseball season is truly over. ‘Tis much worse to fail in the first round of the playoffs than not to qualify for post-season, especially when you take a team into competition that just led the league in wins. And when you have to throw a deer-in-the-headlights rookie to start the MUST win, loser-goes-home game, your plucking the strings of desperation.

YANKS COUGH UP A HAIR BALL

Alas, poor Yorick, the New York Yankees coughed up a hairball in the deciding game of the first round A.L. playoffs. It wasn’t so much THAT they lost but HOW they lost that brings delight to all but rabid Yankee fans, who today are in sackcloth and ashes, mourning, robbed of all swagger. Consider:

— For what is only THE BIGGEST GAME OF THE YEAR, they start a rookie. He gives up back-to-back home runs in the top of the first inning to fall behind, 2-0. He fails to get out of the second inning.

— For the rest of the game, the Yankees actually score more runs, 2 to the Detroit Tigers’ 1. Thus, they blow the game with their choice of starting pitchers. C.C. Sabathia has enough in him to pitch two innings. So does Soriano. So does Rivera? There were alternatives for manager Joe Girardi, but he elected the worst possible choice to take the pill to start the game. That’s a fireable offense when your boss is named Steinbrenner.

— In the 7th, the Yankees load the bases. A walk forces in a run. The home crowd goes nuts. Then Swisher chokes in the clutch. Score, 3-2, Tigers. In the eighth, Derek Jeter launches a drive with a man on that looks like it’s “going, going, gone.” He staples a Tiger outfielder to the wall to end the inning. The crowds gasps in shock. In the ninth, A-Rod ends the game by fanning for the third time. Mr. Post-Season Clutch  hits .111 in five games.

So be strong, Yankees fans, and rest in the knowledge that in this decade, the Boston Red Sox have, as the only team to win multiple World Series, won twice as many world titles as your team. You will point out the Yanks’ superior numbers going back all-time, and Sox fans will patiently smile, remembering that in life, it’s “what have you done for me lately”?

In the last decade, the Red Sox (2-2), Patriots (3-4), Celtics (1-1) and Bruins (1-1) have been to nine world championship rounds. Boston has brought back seven world titles. This is an unprecedented run, the greatest decade for one city in sports history. TITLETOWN IS BOSTON!

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WBRK OPENING A CAN OF WORMS WITH HARRIS AS DEBATE HOST

My former radio haunts, WUPE (two years in the mid-1908s) and WBRK (14 years doing “The Dan Valenti Show” each morning from 1992 to 2006), have either had or will have debates. In one that is upcoming, WBRK will host a state rep’s debate: Democrat Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Independent Pam Malumphy, Green Mark Miller, and Republican Mark Jester.

To moderate the debate, the station has tapped Allen Harris of Berkshire Money Management, a bizarre choice. Harris, according to our sources, has funded the entire debate series on WBRK. In other words, this man who is not a journalist and not even a talk show host literally bought his way into the host’s seat. He is the same man who faced serious charges regarding millions of dollars of business taken from his previous employer in Williamstown.

The dicey issue is the way Harris has been throwing money around, in front of the scenery and behind the scenes, in Pittsfield politics. He’s pushing for Peter Marchetti as mayor, Chris Connell for Ward 4, and, according to most of the Wise Guys with whom THE PLANET has spoken, TFB.

This, of course, raises serious ethical issues and should have the other three campaigns peeling the paint off the wall. We heard unofficially that one campaign, which asked not to be identified, may decide to force Harris out of the moderator’s role. The headlines would be ugly for all concerned, particularly a station that I still love because I have many good friends there.

Another question is legal. Unlike PCTV, which is cable, commercial radio stations broadcast over air waves. The air waves are regulated by the federal government. The FCC has rules about what is an is not allowable  in a station’s political coverage. We don’t know of a precedent for a case like this: A major (in this case, sole) advertiser who has shown political leanings (in this case for the GOB status quo, which characterized the TFB candidacy) moderating a debate with three of his candidate’s “opponents.”

We know from experience that the station in the past tried to err on the side of caution when it came to the FCC and election coverage. THE PLANET, therefore, was as surprised as anyone that WBRK allowed this. We would only urge our good friends there to pull Harris from the host’s seat as a way of taking the ethical high ground and perhaps avoiding a lawsuit.

We add one final note: THE PLANET, unlike a rumor that’s going around, has not been approached by the station to sit in to moderate should a change be made. We have not been asked, and we would not be interested in doing so. We do intend to cover the debate as a media blogger.

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‘REST OF RIVER’ MEETING OCT. 12 IN LENOX AS BIG AS IT GETS, WITH STAKES AS HIGH AS THEY GO

With the huge “Rest of the River” meeting set for Lenox Town Hall, 6:30 p.m., Oct. 12 on the fate of the Housatonic — and likely the economic future of Pittsfield and Berkshire County in the balance — THE PLANET continues its coverage of perhaps the most vital issue of this campaign, certainly the state rep’s campaign.

Yesterday, we wanted a question put to all office holders and candidates, particularly the state reps and those who are running in District 3, which covers 12 of Pittsfield’s 14 precincts: Do you favor a reopener of the Consent Agreement that would require GE to provide Pittsfield (and other affected towns) fair monetary compensation for leaving uncounted tons of industrial toxins in the Berkshire air, soil, and water?

We add a guest piece now, this one from citizen activist Terry Kinnas. TOMORROW THE PLANET SHALL PUBLISH A COMMENTARY FROM ENVIRONMENTALIST DAVE MARTINDALE ON THE PCB ISSUE.

BY TERRY KINNAS
I support the removal of Hill 78. To the best of my knowledge, only former State Senator Andrea Nuciforo supported the removal of Hill 78 from the Allendale School area. I have always been told by officials that the toxic waste is too expensive to move safely. What is “too expensive”? I started looking into taxing the hill at the value of its removal. For example, if it costs 10 million to move it safely, then tax it at the commercial property tax rate for that value. If the decision is made not to move Hill 78, then tax it and add a health- risk penalty. I have found out that tax laws do not allow this to happen as written per City of Pittsfield assessor. Will any of the people running for the 3rd Berkshire State Representative position, or any other legislator, be willing to submit a petition to the General Court to rewrite the tax law to allow this to happen

THE PLANET  agrees a vigorous exploration of this  novel — no, brilliant — solution. Why can’t the assessment laws be re-written under “home rule” so that all toxic consolidation points (Hill 78 being the mountainous prime example) be taxed at the commercial rate for the cost of removal? Hill 78 would stay in place, but Pittsfield would then earn huge tax windfalls from GE for the inconvenience and dangers to human life of its poisons.
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ON AND ON AND ON WE GO. WHO SAYS LOVE IS AN EASY ROAD?
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.

36 Responses to “YANKS SWALLOW BITTER PILL AS BOSTON REMAINS ‘TITLETOWN’ … MONEYMAN HARRIS AS DEBATE MODERATOR PUTS AN ETHICAL AND LEGAL CAN OF WORMS ON WBRK PLATE … and … ‘REST OF RIVER’ MEETING AS BIG AS IT GETS, WITH STAKES AS HIGH AS THEY GO”

  1. Dave Bubriski
    October 7, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    It’s my understanding that the rest of the river refers to the river from the confluence to Woods pond in Lenox. I don’t think Silver lake or Hill 78, the former GEproperty or Lakewood will be part of the discussion. The other locations should be talked about but this meeting is likely not the place.

    • danvalenti
      October 7, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      You are correct, but on THE PLANET, it’s part of the same issue: Silver Lake and Pittsfield can still be remediated via repoeners. ‘The Rest of the River’ has yet to be done. The point I’m trying to make: It’s all still up for grabs. Berkshire County will be better off if people think about “the rest” upstream of “The Rest of the River” (i.e., Pittsfield) as unfinished business. My research concludes that with enough popular support and political will, a reopener could address Pittsfield again.

      • Dave Bubriski
        October 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

        On that we can agree Dan. Let’s focus on Silver Lake and Pittsfield north of the confluence. Do you have more information on where the Army Corps of Engineers “improved” the river? The history of the Housatonic is very interesting.

  2. Ron Kitterman
    October 7, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    You hit a walk off home run on today’s column Dan. Whatever Dave Bubriski is for and who ever he is for gets my vote. No questioned asked. Keep up the good work in bring a tried to be rigged election and the PCB issue.

    • danvalenti
      October 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      RON
      Thanks. PCB — Gigantic issue … Harris moderating a debate: Raises enormous ethical and legal issues.

  3. Ron Kitterman
    October 7, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    well a typo there in bring

  4. beezer
    October 7, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    @Ron…right on for Deacon Dan. Without question a fine reporter, interviewer, and most of all, author. I knew when Kenny Coleman chose Dan.

  5. Aclu
    October 7, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    If the most important thing is what you’ve done lately the the Yankees 2009 win trumps the red sox again.

  6. Aclu
    October 7, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Playoff births all time. NY 51. Rs 20
    World series titles all time. NY 27. Rs 7
    Playoffs 2000-2011. NY 10. Rs. 6
    World series titles 2000-2011. NY. 2. Rs. 2

    The numbers don’t lie yesterday, today, and tomorrow the Yankees are just better.

    • Matthew
      October 8, 2011 at 5:32 am #

      The Yankees are better? Not today, the Sox and Yanks are both home crying now. Sox won the season series. So, who is better in the “what have you done for me LATELY” claim? Sox also won the last meeting of the year between the two teams. Therefore, I guess one could say the Sox are better, but if you really think losing in the first round of playoffs is better than not making it, we’ll call it a draw for your sake, and that must just eat you up inside.
      By the way, the decade really starts 2001, not 2000. Do you think someone really said the first year of time was year 0? So, Sox 2 and Yanks 1 in the last decade.
      Lastly, yes, numbers don’t lie, they are just manipulated to fit your opinion.
      Sorry, one more. When the Yankees outspend every other team by at least 40-50 million a year, they better make it to the playoffs every year. Oh yeah, keep the change.

      • Gall Ball
        October 8, 2011 at 9:44 am #

        PErfect!!!!, Matthew

  7. beezer
    October 7, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    @aclu..don’t forget Sox got the wild card also..asterik!

  8. Shakes His Head
    October 7, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Cheer up Sox fans, next year they may add wild card spaces, then the bums will get another home game before they are swept out. Nice job of pointing out the Yankees’ negatives rather than the unheralded Detroit performance.

    • danvalenti
      October 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

      SHH
      You’re right. Detroit has a better team and did a great job in the playoffs. Leyland out-managed Girardi. Joe panicked with the pitching staff in Game 7.

  9. beezer
    October 7, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    I plan on making a pitch to be the moderator for the WBRK debates. If it means dragging Harris out of his chair, I’ll do it.

    • danvalenti
      October 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

      BEEZ
      Go for it. Toss him outta that chair. You can bring “Todd the Punisher” in for muscle if you need it.

  10. Dusty
    October 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    If the gob was able to purchase the rights tot he content of the Berkshire Eagle why could they not purchase the rights to the content of WBRK. It only seems fair and consistent.

    • ambrose
      October 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

      where does huck hodgkins have lunch EVERY day?

  11. beezer
    October 7, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    @Dusty… very nice!

  12. scott
    October 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Maybe Harris can have Sherman Baldwin on the sidelines to cheer him on. Anyways I always wonder why the EPA GE and the local politicians didn’t start in silver lake and work their way from there out to the housatonic river. Hill 78 needs to go no question there is technology to clean that soil that they will not use.

  13. scott
    October 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    There’s other Superfund sites listed they should have to clean them all one by one.

  14. scott
    October 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    This it’s what wrong with corporations you allow a a business to assume the role as a person and detach yourself of any moral obligation. It’s all legal political bs.

  15. Dusty
    October 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    At least one dump truck load of those PCBs should be dumped in Gerry Doyle’s back yard. He was the guy who signed off on having hill 78 right next to an elementary school. Who in their right mind would do such a thing????

  16. JahnDoh
    October 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Dan, Boston is not Titletown, right now they are TheBiggestSeptemberCollapseInMLBhistory Town.

    • Joetaxpayer
      October 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

      Time will tell

    • Amanda Blake
      October 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

      @ jd typical yankess fan can’t take it!! LOL. planet’s pointthat its far worse to choke in FIRSt Round of playoffs, which yanks have done now two striaght years. And that Boston has greatest run of world titles over four sports in any decade in sports history. Choke on that one!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh yeah and A-Hole struck out to end the first round choke last year and this for final owt! Love it, meanwhile Bruins raise champ stanley cup flag at Garden on same night.

  17. beezer
    October 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    @Dusty…who ever said Gerry Was in his right mind?

  18. scott
    October 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    ACCOUNTABILITY!

  19. boots on the ground
    October 7, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    Lets face it.. Allen Harris is an arrogant, smug GOB wannabee, who was accused and settled out of court, by his former employer in Williamstown for taking the employers clients and their multi-million dollars in assets with him once he no longer was employed there and any candidate who is allowing their campaign to be funded by this yellow Mustang driving jerk, not only ought to have their head exaimened but their ethics as well. For Pete’s sake, no reference to candidate intended, even the Berkshire Rag covered this guys checkered past and at the time he was their biggest advertiser and still seems to be, that should tell you something…I’m surprised candidates Connell, Clairmont, TFB and the rest even want to be associated with this guy, they must need the money! Lets hope Harris and his money don’t infect Pittsfield Politics any more than it already is.

  20. Ron Kitterman
    October 8, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    The media is powerful. WBRK has an obligation and responsibility to be fair and balanced. Any abuse of this power and responsibility, even in a small way threatens and jeopardizes the unfettered election process. I will not listen to the debates. Huge mistake by having Allan Harris from Berkshire Money Management as a moderator. .

    • Dave Bubriski
      October 8, 2011 at 6:42 am #

      In most of these types of debates we find out what’s on the moderators mind. I favor citizen submitted questions. Then we get at what’s important to voters.

  21. Richard
    October 8, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    AS FAR AS DEBATES GO THERE ARE VERY FEW HOSTS OF DEBATES WHO DO THE REACURCH NEEDED TO ASK PEOPLE WHO ARE RUNNING THE TUFF QUESTIONS MOST OF THE TIME THEY ARE POLITE QUESTIONS DISINED NOT TO GET ANYONE MADE.
    AS FAR AS THE PERSON WHO IS BEHAIND THE W B R K DEBATE IF HE IS GOING TO BE THE MONERATOR AND IT IS PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE THAR HE IS BACKING A CERTIN CANIDATE THEN HE SHOULD DISQUALIFY HIMSELF.

  22. CONCERNED
    October 8, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    Why isn’t one of the candidate who knows he isn’t backing him/her asking this questions. Dan maybe you could ask each candidate that question straight out ” is he backing you, and has he giving anything to your camp”

  23. Wally Ballou
    October 8, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    Why do I suspect that if Mr. Harris does indeed host the debate, Bob Elliot and the ghost of Ray Goulding will be taking notes?

  24. Ron Kitterman
    October 8, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Maybe Chris Speranzo can monitor the debate, since the format is going to be the candidates going for a job interview and it was his old job. No that wouldn’t work Trish would swallow the microphone. Pam and Trish would get into a feline fight. And the wrong people would come out on top.