STOREFRONT AFFRONTERY or WHY THE BORING BROADSHEET HAS LOST ALL CREDIBILITY … plus … TOWN OF LEE TAXPAYERS HOSED, SAYS THE STOOLEY … PLANET LAUDS MARCHETTI DECISION … and PLANET HAS SCOOP ON ‘THE INCIDENT’ AT MAZZEO’s
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
ADD #1 11/15/11
Sherman Adds to Our Understanding of ‘The Incident at Mazzeo’s’
If you scroll below to the last item, you will see the disclosure of an incident that happened on Election Night at the victory celebrations for Dan Bianchi and Melissa Mazzeo.
John Krol, Barry Clairmont, and one or two others were called to the carpet by Tony Mazzeo, Melissa’s husband, for the “disrespect” they have shown to his wife. Kevin Sherman gave us this addition.
Sherman tells THE PLANET: “I personally did not draw the ‘ire’ [of Tony], as you put it, on Election Night, but my wife and I did see an uncomfortable situation as we made our way into the Bianchi party and another one as we made our way out to say hello and congrats to Melissa.”
We thank Kevin Sherman for this clarification. It appears there were two separate “discussions.” Now that Dan Bianchi is set to become the next mayor, it appears that Tony Mazzeo will be less willing to tolerate the less-than-collegial behavior directed at his wife. Our advice to them is, “Cool it.” We can easily see where Sherman did not draw the “ire,” because he has been unfailingly affable to political friend and foe alike … incidentally, exactly the quality needed in the next council president.
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, Nov. 15, 2011) — We conducted a little experiment. On Wednesday morning, Nov. 11, The Storefront Artists Project sent out its own obituary. We could have run it that morning. We didn’t. We wanted to see when the BB would publish it and what spin they would take. Good thing we didn’t hold our breath, because we would have been breathless until today.
Rip-and-Read at the Boring Broadsheet: A Storefront Stipulation
On page B1 of the Boring Broadsheet, we get the grim (but old, since iBerkshires ran it first) news — only the way the BB presents it, the closing of Storefront is a great event. They lazily quote directly from founder Maggie Mailer’s press release. They obviously didn’t bother to vet the release, and so BB readers learn that Storefront “is cheerfully closing up shop.”
“Cheerfully closing up.” THE PLANET swears this is what the BB printed, quoting Mailer. In the newspaper business, they call this type of laziness “rip and read journalism.”
Mailer’s press release goes on: “Our starting mission was to fill empty storefronts and to forge a community of artists, entrepreneurs, businesses, and residents. It’s incredible to see all the positive changes in Pittsfield over the last ten years: theatre, galleries, restaurants, pop-up stores, coffee shops, artist run projects, and the list goes on.” (Love the British spelling of theater).
Yes, Maggie, the list sure does go on: storefronts still empty, inadequate parking, an ill-advised redesign of North Street that’s put several businesses on the brink of closing, a flourishing drug trade, stabbings, shootings, creepy crawlies roaming the avenue by day and night, too much trash, clogged traffic lanes, out-of-synch traffic light, and an atmosphere of loneliness and angst. As Maggie say, the list goes on.
‘With Flying Colors‘
The Boring Broadsheet then goes on to quote Mailer, lifting straight from the press release, to say, “We have achieved our purpose with flying colors.” THE PLANET does not doubt this, if the purpose was to get the taxpayers to fund Mailer’s quixotic odyssey that had no chance in the free marketplace.
Somehow, the BB failed to ask the pertinent questions:
“Maggie, how much taxpayer money did you receive for being the founding mother and the executive director? What set of circumstances drove you off the project? Why is it that the general public didn’t care enough for your artwork and that of many of the Storefront artists? Why did you need taxpayers to pay the bills? Why the second- and third-rate nature of too many of your displays? You admit in your press release that this began as a vanity promotion of your work alone; from that, did you convince the city to give you backing solely because you’re one of Norman Mailer’s kids? Can you give us any objective measurement of ‘all the positive changes’ engendered by Storefront, other than making the claim?”
Mailer then shares her pride in “put[ting] Pittsfield on the map.” Even THE PLANET can’t claim that, for we acknowledge that long before we arrived in the fair city, Pittsfield had a long and illustrious history, dating back to William Pitt and earlier. Mailer claims that “Downtown is thriving.” Here, she must be referring to the drug traffic and the crazy vehicular traffic that makes traversing Pittsfield in a car or truck a moving frustration.
Somehow, the Boring Broadsheet did a rip-and-read with Mailer’s press release, not seeing a much bigger story here: The community that put so much stock in the arts-and-entertainment-driven economy has another element fail. Storefront Artist Project is closing because it can read the tea leaves. Maggie Mailer knows that Pittsfield is in tough financial shape, and the new administration will not tolerate her freeloading act any longer. The Storefront Artist Project demonstrates, again, that arts and entertainment cannot DRIVE a local economy. They can keep one going, they can add to one, but they can’t create business.
Sad to say, but art doesn’t sell in the free market. Only when a manufacturing-and-services economy gets going will the arts have a chance, on their own.
FROM THE STOOLEY — “Here’s one for you, PLANET, that shows exactly what is wrong with government. The town hall in Lee and the fire station projects went out to bid. Three contractors bid, and the lowest bid was $25,000. The town didn’t accept the lowest bid. They went with a $45,000 bid from an outside company. Why didn’t they take the low bid, especially when it was submitted by a local contractor with experience. This local contractor has painted town hall and done other commercial jobs around the Berkshires. Government spending at all levels is out of control. You can’t tell me that an extra $20,000 couldn’t have gone to better use elesewhere. I think the taxpayers in Lee are getting worked over big time. This is just one example. It’s happening all over.”
THE PLANET agrees with THE STOOLEY’s note. It’s happening in many places, and it happens only because We The People allow it to happen. Government doesn’t think it works for you, because you are too busy trying to keep your head above water to oversee the bums. That’s just what they want, which is why towns and communities need more vigilant involved citizens, to ride herd on the skunks.
MARCHETTI MAKES A GOOD CALL — Congratulations to Peter Marchetti for continuing to show class in defeat. Marchetti demonstrated that his reconciliatory words to the Dan Bianchi camp and its supporters were honest and sincere with his decision not to seek a recount. The recount would have cost taxpayers more money and with all but a technical certainly would not have changed the result. Peter now has two years removed from the stress of public office. He has two years to resume his career at Pittsfield Co-Operative Bank and two years to acclimate to the change in pressure by rising to the surface. We wish him well, and we shall maintain our relationship.
SO WHAT HAPPENED AT THE VICTORY PARTY or WOULD YOU BELEIVE, BARRY CLAIRMONT MAKES THE NEWS AGAIN? — Regulars on THE PLANET know from a couple of commentators that an incident occurred at the victory parties of Dan Bianchi and Melissa Mazzeo, held upstairs and down, respectively, at the old Mazzeo’s location on Winter Street in Pittsfield. We also heard a third version from a public employee who was there, as well as what we know is a more definitive account.
The incident occurred in the parking lot and continued inside. Piecing together four accounts, it appears that Barry Clairmont, Jonathan Lothrop, John Krol, and at least one other, whose identity is uncertain, were in the parking lot, when Melissa’s husband, Tony, ran into the good fellows. From an impeccable source, we get the scoop:
“Tony was heading out to the parking lot on election night and happened to run into John Krol and Jonathon Lothrop coming in. Tony said to the both of them that he has been frustrated over the last two years with them being disrespectful to his wife.“He said that he does not always agree with his wife and did NOT expect them to, but he takes issue with all of the disrespect. He stated that he is constantly hearing from his customers at the Restaurant that they are irritated by the way the councilors talk to and show visual annoyance with Melissa.“He said that if he disrespected any of their wives he would hope that they were man enough to approach him. He asked for it to end and then bought them a drink on the house.“Inside the party he found Barry Clairmont and gave him the same speech, and also spoke with Kevin Sherman. He said that he just wanted to lay it out there that we can agree to disagree but there is only so much he can take of the disrespect.”
Another source said Tony’s chat with Clairmont laid the message out “nice and sparkling clear.” This was before Clairmont decided to cut off communications with THE PLANET. You know what’s happened since. Do you think Clairmont is having buyer’s remorse about winning a seat on the council? We thank all those who contributed to getting the facts of this story, which, initially, were all over the place. We especially thank our Key Source for the input. He or she knows who they are.
We have a call into J-Lo and a query into Sherman. We take Clairmont at his word and won’t try to reach him for comment, although we would welcome one if he takes initiative. John Krol, reached via Facebook, sent back a terse, “No comment.”
WE WRITE ON, “AS MIGHT MAKE A LADY’s CHEEK INDEED MORE THAN A LIVING RISE TO READ.” THUS,
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.