!!BULLETIN RECOUNT CONFIRMS LOTHROP WIN IN WARD 5!! … PLANET FORCED BORING BROADSHEET’s HAND ON ARMITAGE … COPS AS THUGS NOT ACCEPTABLE … WARD 5 RECOUNT TODAY … plus … THE TRUE COST OF RUNNING PITTSFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
ADD 1 NOV. 21, 2011
Lothrop Win Holds Up in Recount
This just in from city clerk Linda Tyer: Jonathan Lothrop‘s six-vote win over Joe Breault in the Ward 5 race has stood, as THE PLANET predicted, and J-Lo is now officially re-elected. In the recount, Lothrop picked up one vote to win by seven.
The 5a recount matched perfectly with the city’s records. Lothrop picked up one vote in 5b, where there were four ballots removed from the official total. Tyer explained these were absentee ballots that were counted twice due to a processing error by the electoral warden in Ward 5. When these ballots were removed from the total, Lothrop lost one vote from his initial total, Breault lost two, and writer-ins lost one, for a net gain of one for J-Lo.
Tyer said the process went smoothly (a little over two hours) and described the atmosphere as “collegial.” The two candidates each had two observers, and there were 10 members of the public on hand to watch the recount.
Congratulations to Jonathan Lothrop for his victory.
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, NOV. 21, 2011) — Readers of this website called it. We forced the BB into a semblance of a counterfeit of a facsimile of civic responsibility.
BB’s Coverage of Armitage Sentencing Came Five Days After the Event — An Eternity in the News Cycle
When a federal court judge sentenced Michael “1,000 Jobs” Armitage to five years and a $6 million fine, we had the story. In fact, we had the pre-sentencing story.
We are not a newspaper, let alone the sole daily in the county seat. We do not possess a a bullpen of reporters. We do, however, know when a story MUST be covered because of its local relevance. Thus, we provided coverage of the convicted swindler that Mayor Gerry Doyle brought to town and embraced in the late 90s. Michael Armitage talked the pants off of the city and federal treasury, bilking local taxpayers out of millions.
The Boring Broadsheet couldn’t say enough about Armitage, EV Worldwide, and the “1,000 jobs” that were coming to Pittsfield. When the deal went south, so did the BB’s coverage. The GOBs found it too embarrassing, apparently, and executive editor Tim Farkas declined to let his dwindling number of readers know. Fortunately for We the People, THE PLANET came to the rescue with our coverage. It led to a prediction that we would embarrass the BB — force them — to put in a mention of Armitage.
Sure enough, on Saturday, the BB ran a narrow, one-column, page one story. It did’t reveal anything new. It simply rehashed what THE PLANET and Mass Live websites already covered. We did enjoy, however, that in this case, we kept them if not honest then at least not out-and-out distrustful.
We are a website, run by a an old-fashioned journalist-crusader and maintained by a tiny handful of techies. We have no employees but we do maintain The Secret Squadron — a vast network of connections, spies, gumshoes, Z-Agents, informants, plants, and resistance fighters who want to see Truth, Justice, and The American Way prevail in a town where the game has long been fixed and the dice loaded in the house’s favor.
Ward 5 Recount Today; PLANET Predicts Lothrop Win will Stand
As you read this, the Ward 5 recount is likely under way. THE PLANET repeats our prediction from last week: The recount that will begin at 10 a.m. this morning and last about three to four hours in Ward 5 will not change the result. Challenger Joe Breault will not find seven votes needed to overturn the victory of Jonathan Lothrop. Let’s agree, though, with Breault’s decision to ask for a recount. Seven votes sounds like an easy amount, but with Pittsfield’s electoral process proven to be accurate (see last year’s Ruberto-Bianchi recount), it’s a large amount to find in one ward.
Six votes is close enough to justify the action, however, and we agree with Breault on giving it a go. A reversal is not an impossibility. If the verdict stays the same, it will, for the second time in two election cycles, prove the accuracy and integrity of the city’ voting procedures.
Now if only a mad scientist can figure out a way to boost turnout. The 42% who voted on Nov. 8 are 8%+1 votes short of making the results morally legitimate.
Law Enforcement is One Thing, White-Walled Thuggery is Another
As the Occupy Wall Street movements across the country have shown, all it takes is a few zealots to give a city police force a bad rap. It’s no secret that these para-military outfits draw a disproportionate share of the phony tough and the crazy brave, enough, anyhow, to show that not everyone who qualifies to carry a badge has earned the moral right to do so, based on the white-walled behavior of a few thugs.
Check this example from Albuquerque, N.M., reported by AP:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two Albuquerque police officers were fired Wednesday following the release of unedited video that showed them apparently doing a celebratory belly bump after one officer kicked a suspect in the head more than a dozen times.
Officers John Doyle and Robert Woolever both were issued termination letters, a police department statement said.
Police gave the parking garage surveillance video to the Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/t3hQTu ) on Tuesday in response to a public records request from the newspaper. The release comes amid recent calls for a Justice Department probe of the city’s police department, which has faced criticism for 20 officer-involved shootings and other questionable behavior among officers.
THE PLANET has heard from various sources an interesting melodrama that may be in the making, one that would shake up the county sheriff”s office and the Pittsfield Police Department. We don’t know how much of the powder is dry in this story, but we’ll be poking around.
Also, speaking of the police, my good friends on the Pittsfield Police force had their ball over the weekend, on Saturday. According to our spies, a splendid time was had by most all.
One of the highlights of the event was the announcement of the PPD’s Mark Stroud, who wanted the assembled to make sure that Dan Valenti knows that … Modesty forbids us to complete thought. We will add that many years ago, Stroud took a composition class from Prof. Valenti.
$82 Million: The True Cost to Taxpayers for Running Pittsfield Public Schools
Ah, education: Time and time again throughout this past election season, we heard candidates mindlessly parroting some version of a dead cliche. How many times did you hear a candidate talk about education and pledge his or her support of public education and talk of the “need to fund education adequately” … as if Pittsfield taxpayers aren’t doing their fair share.
It commonly assumed that half the roughly $130 million budget in the city of Pittsfield gets eaten up by the schools. That’s fiction. The total is much higher than that, owning to the fakery of how they present the school budget.
The Pittsfield school budget is submitted separately from the municipal budget. All of the costs taxpayers spend for healthcare for employees in the city’s largest department never show up in the school financial sheets. The city lists them on their side. The school take from the taxpayers’ pockets is further disguised by placing the entire cost of running a bus company — what the schools do, in effect, to transport children — on the city’s ledger sheets.
According to state figures, the true cost of running the failing Pittsfield public schools is $82 million. In other words, more than two-thirds of every dime the taxpayers shell out to run the city goes to the school department, which pays its teachers a compensation of nearly $70,000 a year (salary + benefits for 181 days of work). This is the same school department that in the most recently completed school year lost more than $3 million to school choice.
So the next time anyone wants to tell you taxpayers aren’t spending enough on the schools, tell them the cost is $82 million in Pittsfield — two out of every three dollars in the municipal budget.
PONDER THESE TRUTHS, LADIES AND GENTS, WHILST WE TEND TO OUR BEES.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.