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.


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.


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:

  • TTBarry Clairmont

    November 3

    Barry Clairmont

    • Hi Dan,

      I just received a phone call from a friend about today’s story on your website. I would like to go on the record and tell you that if such a slate is being passed out, I had nothing to do with it, had no knowledge of it happening and did not authorize anyone to put my name on such a slate.


      Barry Clairmont

  • Dan Valenti

    November 3

    Dan Valenti

    • BARRY Thanks for the clarification. I will share on THE PLANET tomorrow. Best, DAN

  • Barry Clairmont

    November 3

    Barry Clairmont

    • Dan, I heard tonight that the likely source of this rumor was a caller to the Bill Sturgeon show on Tuesday. I talked to many people this afternoon. No one I talked to had see any such list being passed around. Until someone can produce such a list and say who gave it to them, I’m treating it as rumor.

  • Dan Valenti

    November 3

    Dan Valenti

    • I was told there’s a document circulating. I’m trying to get one, if such exists.

  • Barry Clairmont

    November 7

    Barry Clairmont

    • Disingenuous? Really Dan. You don’t know anything about me. How dare you label me as such. Win or lose, consider our line of communications closed. You also reneged on sharing my communication on November 4th. I think you are the disingenous one.

  • Dan Valenti


    Dan Valenti

    • You are talking like a scorned woman, Barry. OK, vent, get it all out, because I’m not going away. You are a public figure now, and I shall take great interest in how you serve We The People. It had better be on the up and up. When you close the lines of communication, that just forces me to get the story (whatever it is) elsewhere. So please reconsider. For my part, I shall treat you with the respect your office deserves, and that includes my assumption that you will “reopen” the lines of communication. Let me propose a “get-to-know” each other coffee, in Pittsfield. Yes? C’mon. It will be good for both of us.

  • Dan Valenti


    Dan Valenti

    • BARRY Talk to me. You’re a public figure now, and you became one the moment you became a candidate. I invite you to reopen the lines of communication, my good friend. I am reasonable in my request to expect to hear from you tomorrow, before noon. Yes? Take care and I wish you all the best on the council.

  • Barry Clairmont


    Barry Clairmont

    • Hi Dan,

      I wasn’t on facebook Tuesday or Wednesday. I received your message this morning and have thought over your proposal.

      At this point I will respectfully decline, and I’ll tell you why. Dan, you are not a resident of Pittsfield and those are the people I work for. If you move to Pittsfield, I will be glad to open the lines of communication, as you would be one of the people I work for. As far as answering your questions for your blog, based on our first encounter, I’m not sure I can trust you to be responsible in what you write. You were the one who was disingenuous by not following through with what you said you would do.

      Dan, I know my response will not make you happy, and I’m sure I’ll pay for it in the end. However, I hope you will be open minded enough to judge me by my voting record and not by my lack of communications directly with you.

      One last note, you might want to respect people for being human beings, not because of the office they hold.

  • Dan Valenti

    23 hours ago

    Dan Valenti

    • BARRY Thank you for your answer. It’s not a question of making you happy. I would respectfully ask you to reconsider. Here me out: You say you don’t work for me. That’s true. I have my own representatives in the town where I live. However, I am an accredited member of the media. I will be writing and broadcasting content for those that you represent. See? You’re not denying me. You’re denying them. I would prefer to cover the council with a working relationship with you, but whether I have or not won’t matter to me. I will get my information in any case. It’s just that you will have the best chance at fair and accurate treatment if we can work together. It doesn’t mean we have to be friends. I don’t make “friends” with pols. I cover them.

      As to your policy: There are others who cover Pittsfield for TV, radio, print, or internet who do not live in town. Will you also not communicate to them?

      If you are consistent with your policy, and will need proof of Pittsfield residency for any media member, I will accept your decision. If not, though, I will not accept that. You do not have a relationship with me, and you are ready to make a blanket judgment? I would, again in an attempt to establish a relationship with a man that I will be covering, and with respect for you as a human being, ask you to reconsider. Please let me know. Best, DAN

  • Barry Clairmont

    22 hours ago

    Barry Clairmont

    • Dan,

      Your response is part of the problem I have with communicating with you. You admit that you are going to get your information in any case. That is what you did with this slate card. You took information that a card was being distributed with the candidates implied knowledge and called us disingenuous. You had direct contradictory information from me and then chose to ignore it.

      Dan, from my perspective, I lose whether I communicate with you or not. You are going to print what you like, whether you have information to the contrary or not. I feel based on our first encounter, and talking with others, that I have very little chance of fair or accurate treatment, as you put it.

      As far as how I choose to treat the other media outlets, let me ask you a question. Should I treat every blogger with the same open relationship that you demanding? I understand that there is a gentleman in another state that also has a blog concerning Pittsfield. I also understand that he is not the most stable person. Should I open lines of communications with him? What about every other person who decides they want a blog? I would spend all my time responding to bloggers instead of serving the people who elected me.

      If, at some point in the future, you again join the main stream media, I’d be happy to open the lines of communication. Until then, Dan, I choose to treat you like I would every other blogger that is not a Pittsfield resident.

      At this time, until you can understand my level of concern regarding our original communication, I choose not to open the lines of communication.

      I wish you the best of luck and a prosperous future.

  • Dan Valenti

    21 hours ago

    Dan Valenti

    • BARRY Thanks. This conversation, of course, with the councilor-at-large-elect, is fair game. Look for it at a PLANET near you!

      As for your problem with bloggers, I have been a journalist all my professional life, 35 years in the mainstream media and one year as a blogger. If I have to spell it out for you, I shant bother to go further.

      Just remember: This was YOUR choice, councilor-elect.
      Wishing you the best, as well.

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!!


  1. San Simeon
    November 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Am dismayed in the extreme at recent developments but none more than Mr. Clairmont’s “disingenuous” attitude toward the one honest journalist in the whole bunch. One thing is for sure, his company can’t be happy about their boy.

    November 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Taylor: Confused how would this hurt someone in the election. Ruberto block this meth clinic from coming here. The meth clinic appealed to the courts. Don’t understand how this would hurt any candidate. Maybe you could take the Eagle to task for not reporting it but don’t be mad at Ruberto he is fighting this.

    • Banjo
      November 14, 2011 at 8:10 am #

      It would make sense if they were asleep at the wheel (the city that is) or if they actually want the clinic downtown. Think of that possibility. If they want it (to deal with the outof control drug problem in Pittsf. ) they will not bring this up during hte lection. Then after the election, they can pretend to fight it to save face. That would make sense. There might also be unreported incentives that the company is spreading around.

  3. Molly
    November 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    StoreFront Artists Project…CLOSED! Got it from (not the BB).

    • Mark Smith
      November 14, 2011 at 7:03 am #

      Hi Molly,

      Another scoop missed by the Berkshire Eagle…

      Remember EV Worldwide? Made the news last Thursday.

      • Joe Pinhead
        November 14, 2011 at 9:38 am #

        Scoop? This case has been ongoing for years, Dan has discussed it a bunch of times. The BB simply refuses to mention it. They can’t, they went overboard with glowing reports on how Armitage was the second coming. Olver was here handing out monies and the seas parted. There have been links to the feds website showing the office of the inspector general was involved. The BB can’t mention it they have been told to hush and they would now look like fools. But they won’t miss a chance at mentioning the stadium. There is a line of people who want restitution from the 6 million in penalties has the city filed for any of the funds? Not that anyone can track down. Yet again another issue that could have been discussed during the election cycle.

    • dusty
      November 14, 2011 at 9:05 am #

      Oh…that would be Jerry Doyles buddy would it not? The Jerry Doyle who was running Marchettis campaign maybe?

  4. rick
    November 14, 2011 at 4:39 am #

    concerned, its not as much blaming roberto for the clinic, its the secrecy of his administration, everything is cloak and dagger, smoke and mirrors. had this news come out when it should have ,then the peoples out cry would have shut it down just like renaming colombus ave. the people that live off north street are on top of the issues . robertos sneaky little way about him wont be missed in city hall. the eagle should have repoted the news of the clinic, but it seems to me like they have a gag order against telling the news. like ive said before the gobs have done more harm than good to pittsfield.

  5. Steve Wade
    November 14, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    Dan Time to get a better server.

  6. Leona
    November 14, 2011 at 6:15 am #

    Clairmont’s snub has been much more valuable to the Planet than any getting to know you coffee would have been.

  7. Banjo
    November 14, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    Talking to a neighbor who voted for Clairmont. He now regrets his choice. Got a feeling Barry is going to be a one timer one termer.

  8. Ray Ovac
    November 14, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Regarding the proposed Methadone clinic, the Mayor and the Eagle’s editorial writer are both ignoring what is well-known amongst area drug users. One can procure Heroin at any time day or night along the North Street corridor. So what if Spectrum Health gives similar access to Methadone on nearby Summer Street? Is the Mayor actually worried more drug users will be attracted to the downtown area than already are?

  9. Concern
    November 14, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Rick: Would like to know why this wasn’t put out to public. By him standing against this the public would be behind him. Maybe there was a reason and I would like Dan to ask him when he speaks to him. I do give him credit for being against it, holding from the public I want to know why.

  10. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    November 14, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Seems like another Shady story…why was it kept buried is the question to ask..Jimmy could have had the full support of public opinion behind it had it been outed early on that they were against it…something doesn’t add up…
    All I can think of is NOW that the election is over this gives GOB kissups Krol, JLo and the like something to show there worth against, even thou it now seems out of their hands…
    Anyone else see how new Councilor Elect Connell is headed out for a cruise now that he is elected?? Let’s hope your housing tenaments don’t fall apart in your absence… It was posted on iBerkshires….Now no one will see your mug at the City Council Meetings on Candidate Row….Lets hope you get that website going like you continually professed to do during the campaign…What Mike W has done via the web has been a great line of communication..

  11. beezer
    November 14, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    The one thing about Ward was he could respond whether he agreed with you or not.,Clairmont seems to want the e mail also, the difference already, it’s his ball and bat, and don’t think there will be any back and forth unless it’s his way. I like to call it… $ilver $poon $yndrome.

  12. Mark Smith
    November 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I have been following the Armitage trial all along on and snickering at the Eagle’s lack of attention. As with the Stracuzzi story, the Eagle will have to pick up the story now that it has been “outed” by Dan. Good Job!