!!UPDATE ON PLANET !EXCLUSIVE!, COMING MONDAY … RECOUNT ISSUES BRINGS TO MIND KEY QUESTION: SHOULD VOTER PREFERENCE COUNT THOUGH THE MACHINE SAYS NO … and … MEET BARRY CLAIRMONT, AT-LARGE ELECT AND INCOMMUNICADO WITH WE THE PEOPLE
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, SATURDAY, NOV. 12, 2011) — We take this break from a most enjoyable weekend to let you know THE PLANET has been hard at work. On Monday, we shall share contents of a letter the city of Pittsfield received from the state. Here are some clues as to what you will read:
* It was sent weeks ago.
* The state’s letter makes painfully honest points and asks questions that should make every citizen wonder.
* Wonder about what? The School Building Needs Commission.
* This letter involves councilor-at-large-elect Barry Clairmont, since he’s a member of said commission (we doubt, though, that Clairmont will pay much attention to the state’s message, because the officials who are signatory to this letter don’t live in Pittsfield. They live in or near Boston.
‘Bean Counter for the GOB,’ Barry Clairmont, Has Much to Explain to We The People
As you recall, Clairmont made a unilateral declaration to close the lines of communication with THE PLANET because we don’t live in Pittsfield. We’re not making this up, as the transcript of our conversation (posted yesterday) shows.
Assuming that Clairmont is acting logically and not on orders from Anyone In The GOB, because we all certainly know he is his own man, we can only reasonably assume that Barry will neither talk to, listen to, do business with, nor have any other interactions with anyone except Pittsfield citizens. The grand irony of such a position, which THE PLANET advises that he revise, is in doing so, he already guarantees failure in his job as an at-large representative for everyone in the city.
This is what Clairmont apparently doesn’t get. When he doesn’t talk to the press, he robs his constituents. When he doesn’t talk to one of the few independent, unbought, and unbossed journalists, he’s all but advertising that he will carry the GOB’s water while the average citizens of Pittsfield die of thirst.
LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON MONDAY, IN ANOTHER PLANET EXCLUSIVE! NOW BACK TO THE WEEKEND WITH LOVE TO ALL.
Mechanics of a Recount: Should they or Shouldn’t They?
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, 11/11/11) — All those ones are supposed to bring good luck. Maybe that’s the day Peter Marchetti should announce his decision to seek a recount in the mayoral election. Regarding which, an interesting question comes up. Yesterday, we stated our belief that if a voter circles the voting bubble on the ballot instead of filling in as instructions tell you and the scanner requires, those votes should count.
THE PLANET understands the thoughts of those who say if a voter for whatever reason doesn’t know how to fill in the ballot properly, and the machine can’t read the ballot, the vote should be considered at the scanner “declares” — They should be considered “blank,” even though they are not blank at all and in fact clearly indicate an electoral preference. That latter fact, that a “blank” should indicate a preference, should outweigh a machine’s unfeeling and sterile logic.
Thus, if the 84 “blank” ballots are recounted in Ward 5, where Jonathan Lothrop topped Joe Breault by six votes, the question becomes: How many blanks were there in the mayoral race where the voter improperly cast a vote? If the votes counts in 5, they should count in the mayoral race. Perhaps that is what Team Marchetti is looking at.
THE PLANET tried earlier this morning to get in touch with Linda Tyer at the City Clerk’s office for a clarification of a vital question: Can a circled ballot or a ballot improperly marked in any other way that clearly indicated a voter’s preference for one candidate versus the other be counted, or is the scanner’s ability to register a vote considered definitive? Ward 5 and the corner office races could hang in the balance of that question.
BARRY CLAIRMONT TO PLANET: ‘OUR LINE OF COMMUNICATIONS [IS] CLOSED’
Meet councilor-at-large-elect Barry Clairmont, CPA. The initials after his name have a dual meaning: Certified Public Accountant and, as he has revealed this week to THE PLANET, Certified Political Amateur.
What rookie who has just won an election and has six weeks before he begins his tenure begins a relationship with a media member by shutting off communications, even before they begin? Our career of covering politics in print, on the air, and in cyberspace, traces back to our newspapering days in New York. Beginning then and up to this election, we had never had the experience … but we have now. It’s am amazing story.
THE PLANET will give you the incredible backgrounder and then provide the evidence. We will say that Clairmont has already proven what his many critics suspected him to be: a plant for the GOBs and a councilor not to be trusted with The People’s business. Here’s the skinny:
Late in the campaign, THE PLANET got wind of a cheaply produced palm-card that pushed four candidates among those who ran at-large. The “slate” being promoted listed Clairmont as one of the four. You can return to THE PLANET archives to read what we wrote about this “November surprise.” Was the push card an 11th hour “dirty trick” from the GOB or a clever example of counterinsurgency from Friend of The People?
Clairmont, who has been lurking behind the scenes in local GOB politics for years and who only now has been set-up to be the front man himself, obviously is new at the game. He’s already bristling at coverage, even though he has weeks before he actually begins to govern. Apparently, he didn’t attend Press Relations 101.
Clairmont got upset with our coverage of the palm card issue, why we still don’t know. His rash reaction, which you can read for yourself in a moment, calls to mind Shakespeare’s line, “He doth protest too loudly,” meant to indicate guilt. It would appear that THE PLANET’s coverage of the palm card hit a nerve with Barry Clairmont, which would suggest — though only he knows for sure and we can’t ask him [remember, he's already stopped talking to us!] — that he DID know of the card and he DID allow his name to be used. Again, we can’t be sure because he took his football and went home.
We share a conversation THE PLANET — a journalist — had with candidate Clairmont and then winner-elect Clairmont on Facebook. Since we are the media covering the campaign, and since he never requested that our talk be off the record, we let you decide for yourself. Note in this exchange how THE PLANET tried, without success, to remain open to a professional, working relationship (an offer that still stands, by the way). He simply refuses out polite attempts. Here’s the conversation. Not a word or letter has been edited or altered. We shall be back with a concluding comment:
So there it is. We will do as Barry asks: we shall judge him on his performance on the council, which we hope will be a good one for We The People in the city of Pittsfield. We shall mean that and hold to it. We shall give Clairmont and everyone else a fair shot. But the main thing that Barry misses is that THE PLANET, as every media member, does his or her work on behalf of not only the electorate but EVERY citizen in the community. He’s didn’t shut us out. Personally, we don’t care. As we told him, we will get our comments elsewhere. He DID shut out WE THE PEOPLE. That’s who he’s robbing.
We will, thus, re-extend our invitation to Barry Clairmont to talk to We The People via the most independent, most vibrant, and most closely followed media outlet in the area. Barry, baby, talk to them!!