PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, ELECTION DAY, NOV. 8, 2011) — As we get to put to bed another municipal election campaign, we present these final items for contemplation and “ommmmmm”-ing while you do your laundry.

BIANCHI WINS! PLANET CALLS IT FIRST — No chance of “Dewey Beats Truman” with this headline, folks. We’ve talked to everyone from Jimmy Ruberto and John Barrett to the retired senior citizens, from firemen to foragers, from cops to call girls. Tonight at 8:00:01 p.m., Dan Bianchi will be mayor-elect by virtue of a double-digit win over Peter Marchetti. All year, we kept telling everyone who asked, including both Bianchi and Marchetti, that THE PLANET would let the campaign itself determine our coverage and our call. We did that. Bianchi ran a smart, measured, and steadily effective campaign. Marchetti spit the bit from his first public comments in March to the final debates in November. We can’t recall a more amateurish campaign, especially given a man of Marchetti’s experience and connections. The drama will be in the council races.

THREE WILL BE A TEA LEAF — The Ward 3 contest between incumbent Paul Capitanio and challenger Jeff Ferrin will be an indication of … something. If Ferrin wins, it will indicate the depth of voter anger with the Establishment, the Vested Interest — in short, The Good Ol’s Boys. A Ferrin victory would be a astunning upset. If Capitanio wins, it will be the expected and that the last-minute lynch mob the Boys sent out to attack Ferrin scared enough people. The race in 3 is not, nor should any race ever be, about “he’s a good guy.” It’s about leadership, commitment to the ward, and determination to be an active representative.

Ferrin has attended nearly every PEDA meeting in two years.  Capitanio has attended one. Ferrin has attended as many council meetings as the incumbent. Ferrin has spoken more at council meetings than his opponent. Ferrin answered every question and provide every relevant document about his previous employment with the city. In a two-hour meeting with THE PLANET, he walked us through and answered all of our questions, many of them hardballs under the chin, to our satisfaction. He is open, transparent, active, engaged, and dynamic — everything the somnolent and sleep Paul Capitanio is not. Ferrin deserves this seat. No one has campaigned harder or with more purpose. Let’s be honest. Cappy has one qualification for office: He owns the East Side Cafe. That might be enough. And by the way, he IS a good guy.

PALMING OFF THE PALM CARDS — The existence of the “slate” palm card has been proven. WHO printed the card, in what quantity, and via what distribution method (if any) are not known. There are two theories floating about. A  Marchetti supporter claims they are the brainchild of Pam Malumphy directing  Melissa Mazzeo — the “Pam’s Revenge Theory.” The other side claims the card was produced by the GOB to promote the Sherman-Clairmont-Caccamo-Cotton, the so-called SC3 slate. Circumstantial evidence includes the fact that the Boring Broadsheet endorsed exactly this slate and rumors — only that — from the press room at the BB that the cards originated there. The cards are cheaply produced, obviously designed as throwaways meant to be used today. If any readers of this website are handed palm cards today, we’d appreciate hearing about it.

LOTS TURNS ON TURNOUT — THE PLANET sees that City Clerk Linda Tyer agrees with our projected turnout of mid-40 percent. If anything, we think turnout will push 50%. Gee, you don’t think city hall monitors this site, do ya? Our final tally for the mayor’s race: Dan Bianchi 7,245 … Peter Marchetti 5,747 … although we will not be surprised to see Bianchi winning by a bigger margin, especially if turnout nears, reaches, or tops the coveted 50% mark (which gives a stamp of legitimacy to any election).

THE PLANET kept it that close for Marchetti because of the work the GOB has done behind the scenes, particularly the efforts of Gerry Doyle and (much deeper out of sight) Angelo Stracuzzi, including the alleged harassment of Bianchi supporters. That being said, the support of Doyle and Stracuzzi likely takes more votes away than it brings in, particularly for those who know of the involvement of the Dynamic Duo in the Marchetti effort. Of course, no one in the Marchetti camp wants its known that the Dynamic Duo are plugging for him. Marchetti prefers to keep that knowledge where sunlight doesn’t shine. The lower the turnout, the more it favors Marchetti. Any number over 40 percent will assure Bianchi’s win.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE UP FOR GRABS, ALSO — The school committee controls 2/3 of Pittsfield $130 million budget. Its members are volunteers. They don’t get paid $8,000 to $10,000 like the city council does, an indication of the odd way Pittsfield thinks about this most important of boards. School committee elections are all but ignored, and it leads THE PLANET to wonder: Upon what basis do people cast votes? The answer: rarely do they vote on issues or policies. They either vote on recommendation, on the familiarity of the last names, on a relationship with a candidate or candidates, or from some other less-than-rational pocket of information. With that, THE PLANET shares our thoughts. The School Committee election is a game of musical chairs. There are six chairs and seven candidates. One will be left standing when the music stops.

The candidates for School Committee are Terry Kinnas, Alf Barbalunga, Kathy Amuso, Kathy Yon, Dan Elias, Jim Conant, and Jon King. THE PLANET endorses Kinnas and everyone else whose name is not Conant. The former is by far the best candidate to emerge for this board in some time. The latter helped the GOBs put the fix in for Jim Bouton and Company to keep them out of Beloved Wahconah Park.

ALso, THE PLANET is tired of hearing “we must fund education,” as if we do not. The Pittsfield School Department has turned into an underperforming budget buster that punishes its best talent and rewards failure, mediocrity, and the burn-outs of tenure. That’s not good enough. The question with the schools is not one of money. It’s one of management.

KROL ON THE PHONE — THE PLANET heard a story from a political consultant and independently confirmed by a political junkie. It seems there were at least four people who had letters to the editor in the BB backing Bianchi who shortly after, usually the next day, were contacted by Ward 6 councilor John Krol, asking questions about the letter and wondering if Bianchi wrote the letters and they were just using their names or if Bianchi has promised them a political favor in return. We will be interested in hearing why our Right Honorable Good Friend Krol made the calls and on whose behalf. In each of the calls, he was evangelizing for Marchetti.

WATCH THE SKIES IN WARD 4 — Probably the key eard tonight will be in 4. Ward 4a and 4b, you’ll recall, unilaterally propelled Jimmy Ruberto to a narrow win over Bianchi in 2009. Bianchi won most everywhere else. This year, Bianchi won 4a in the preliminary election, beating Marchetti there. Bianchi has done a lot of campaigning in the past couple weeks in 4, particularly 4b. If he wins either or both, or if he even comes close in four, Marchetti is toast.

VOTE OR NOT: IT’S STILL YOUR GOVERNMENT — You own yourself. You also own your government. It is not the other way around. The popular saying — If you don’t vote, you can’t complain — is bunk. The electorate has the right and the privilege of voting, but it’s up to people to exercise the franchise or not. If one doesn’t vote out of sheer ignorance or laziness, they should be taken out back behind the barn and given a wood shampoo. If one can’t vote for reasons of employment or illness, that’s a legit reason. It’s also legit to make a conscious and informed choice not to support a corrupt system. Regardless, in the way we’ve set up this version of democracy, citizens always have the right to complain. And Lord knows, the pols give us plenty to complain about. Never, however, let anyone act as if this is NOT your government. Elected officials are nothing but the temporary hired help. You are the Boss.






  1. The Kraken
    November 8, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Headline from today’s ONION:
    “Magical Voting Booth Transforms Clearheaded Americans Into Reactionist Morons”
    That certainly happened here 2 years ago, let’s see what happens today. Will the kraken be released upon the GOB’s, or will they rule once again?

  2. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    November 8, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Pete Marchetti is making a big push to the finish line…will it be enough to overcome a bumbling and lackluster campaign??

  3. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    November 8, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Krol calls people about their letters to the editor?? Are you kidding me? Does this kid not have anounce of self-reflection? How arrogant can one person be and not even see it? Aparently pretty damn arrogant….who the heck is he to be calling people asking about their letters….Boy I wish someone is his Ward would grow a set and knock that punk off his imaginary high horse….Not much honor in honorable when it comes to that kid DV

  4. Dave Bubriski
    November 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    The Planet asys: “If one can’t vote for reasons of employment or illness, that’s a legit reason.”

    Let us not forgrt the absentee ballot

  5. Mrs. FL
    November 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    We agree with Planet on his call in mayoral. Have to think Capitanio holds on in three and Lothrop in 5. Polls seemed busy when I voted wouldn’t bet against 50 per cent. Thanks to the Planet for the best campaign coverage in the region.

  6. Payroll Patriot
    November 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    Krol’s actions are reprehensible. Is mr. krol misusing his power as an elected official? Were anyone’s civil rights and/or contstitutional rights to free speech without retribution violated? Is it ACLU time?

    In Ward 4 the dynamics have changed since the Ruberto/Bianchi election. “Angelo sent me” has different impact, unless you’re a hitcher. The Barrette appointment messed up everyone’s hair.

    Pam is not astute enough to pull off a card trick.

    Interesting point on Conant the Barbarian.

    P.S. sw, did angelo send you? Your phrases and rhythm are very similar.

    • danvalenti
      November 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

      We shall eagerly await John’s explanation. We have no doubt that at least one, and virtually certain that at least four, such calls were made. One could argue that such a call is within the bounds of a free and full discussion of ideas and (differing) views. It doesn’t seem to be anything like last cycle, for example, where Stracuzzi reportedly visited a store owner that had a Bianchi sign out from and threatened financial repercussions if the sign wasn’t removed and replaced with a Ruberto card. The way the story is told, Greylock Federal, which Angelo ran at the time before his disgraceful exit, held the note on the guy’s business.

  7. Ron Kitterman
    November 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    My poll suggest you are right, but Marchetti is closing. Maybe I’m talking to wrong people but we’ll see tonight.

  8. The Kraken
    November 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    I also know a Greylock employee who was pressured and harassed by Angelo until they took their Bianchi sign down and put up a Ruberto one in their yard. And this employee is not one to lie about things like this.
    If anyone ever called me like Krol allegedly did they’d get an earful, probably with some expletives. Typical slimeball tactics if it is indeed true.

  9. Shakes His Head
    November 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm #


    That poll isn’t in wArd 4.

  10. dudty
    November 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Regarding the school committee being all volunteer….why are some people breaking their necks to get elected? How much money did Barbalunga spend to get elected to the school committee?

    They do oversee a multimillion dollar budget as you say and if it is managed the way the city side is (and it seems to be) then they should be audited independently. Lots of dollars could be going every which a way. And when I see people spending a lot of money, to “volunteer” it makes me wonder as to their motives

    • danvalenti
      November 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      Agree completely. The entire operation needs a forensic audit, the kind that turned up a mess in Springfield. You ask a great question. The board is voluntary, yet some would kill to be on it. Hmmm. You and others will love our post tomorrow on the schools!!

  11. scott
    November 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    it was @ 30% in ward 5 when I went down to vote around 5.

  12. scott
    November 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    If I wrote a letter to the editor and someone called me to question me about it I would tell them to go f themselves and hang up.

  13. kevin
    November 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    Yes, if an elected official like JK called, her’s be getting a vist from me the next day, at work. He’s need some of that long-term care.
    I voted in 3a, looked busy, looked like a Bianchi win to me

    • Curious
      November 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

      @Kevin…and you’s end up in jail with one of those long-term sentences. My guess is that you’d ask for a favor, you’d tell him you appreciate the call, then you’d scurry over to you pc and logon to the planet so that you could make up your own version of events. If you put something out there in a public forum you’re opening yourself up to whatever comes your way. That how it works but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the reaction here. I guess the bash first, hope for a response tactic is preferred among the little people.

  14. kevin
    November 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    Curious,, well, it would be bash first if it involved you!! I’d ask questions later. In sign language.

  15. Curious
    November 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Yeah, that’s exactly how it would go down tough guy. Great forum to get some of your “little man” complex out there without suffering the consequences. Keep it up slappy.

    • danvalenti
      November 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

      KEV and CUR
      Gentlemen, gentlemen. Remember, civility and decorum. The world is watching.

  16. Steve Wade
    November 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    Hey Dan You seem to have had a tough day for your candidates!! Bianchi wins by 93 not by 2000 according to King Valenti!!! BYE BYE Mr. Ferrin See ya Terry Nice try men!

    • Steve Wade
      November 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

      Oh yea See you Chuck enjoy retirement!!

      • Steve Wade
        November 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

        My Bad Welcome to the school committee Terry! Believe it or not I did vote for you. Swear to God.

        • Scott
          November 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

          You live in Lanesborough.

          • Steve Wade
            November 9, 2011 at 5:25 am #

            Scott wrong again!

    • Jeff Ferrin
      November 8, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

      Bad news Steve

      I lost the election but assure you that Cappy will be watched even closer and he will be called out publically by me if he continues in the fashion he has as my representative. I expect more independant thinking, communication, and understanding of the issues across the board. You seem to be so wrapped up in being negative and so strong in words why don’t you get out from behind the computer and actually show your face at a meeting and show us what you have to offer beside being an idiot. Oh yea I forgot you live in Lanesboro. My bad By the way I know it was Dicky Neals that informed you of my working for Lee. The Lee Stooly. What that had to do with anything is still beyond me.

      Tell you what Steve Wade. I would like to challenge you to a public debate on any topic facing this city today. Not something from 10 yrs ago like Lee and Marchetti bragged out with Bianchi. Relavent issues. WILL YOU ACCEPT? Lets challenge your knowledge on the issues and see what facts you have on board.

      So yes this is a challenge of put up or shut up.

      Dan Valenti can form the questions and moderate sincehe has vast experience in this type of debating.

      No I am not at all bitter about the loss if that is what anyone is thinking. What I am bitter about are people who hide behind a computer screen and talk trash when they do nothing to get involved and have no clue as to what the hell they are talking about when they open there mouths.

      I anticipate everything and I anticipated a loss in this race. My ego is not big enough to allow myself to believe I am infalible. But keep in mind that 672 people did not think he was such a great councilor and voted against him.
      Sure a win is a win. But it as you can see by Marchetti’s loss can happen to anyone. Bianchois win was a victory foe all ogf us in Pittsfield.

      Out of proper decorum I did reach out to Cappy congradulated him and wished him luck. I reminded him as well that I will be still involved and watching, so I hoped that this was a lesson to be learned by all and anticipated as my representative that he will be more outspoken, observant, and inclusive of the whole ward by involving himself in dialogue on the council and understanding and expressing himself on alll the issues.

      I am also curious as to how a Lanesboro resident could have also voted in Pittsfield as you stated you did for Terry Kinnas?. Who is the liar here? You question my integrety and yet you have been talking behind a shroud of truth. What a coward. Just my opinion Steve Wade.

      Use this two years from now when I run again. At least you will have some dirt on me that you can support..

      So Goodbye, my friend is not in order. It is only the start of a beautiful relationship.

      Jeff Ferrin

      • Steve Wade
        November 9, 2011 at 5:29 am #

        Steve you have to stop rambling.. I don’t know how you people think I live in Lanesborough? Dicky Neals rules!

      • Steve Wade
        November 9, 2011 at 6:36 am #


      • Steve Wade
        November 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

        Jeff Lets debate on how to be a good employee and just do your job without getting in trouble…..

  17. Dee
    November 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Now, let’s see if the 93 votes hold up to the recount (which you know is inevitable). Hopefully Bianchi as well as Marchetti have representatives in the clerk’s office.

    • Dave Bubriski
      November 8, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

      They are both entitled to have reprenentatives present fpr a recount but I trust the fine ladies in the Clerks office, They would not do anything dishonest.

  18. Just Saying
    November 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    103 votes?!

    PM was backed by AS the sex offender and Doyle, yet only lost by 103 votes…………………..

  19. Scott
    November 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Thats because not even half showed up to vote.

  20. Scott
    November 8, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    Oh the Eagle scoops Dan on who won and by how many.

    • danvalenti
      November 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

      Nope, Scoot. We were first, on FB. Whipped they ass, as Smokin’ Joe (may he rest in peace) did to Ali first time out.

      • Scott
        November 8, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

        oh snap! I was just giving you crap I’ll have to friend request you. I wrote on Dan’s wall congratulating him.

  21. Eric Vincelette
    November 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm #


    Classy comments from an secretive blogger who is afraid to use his own name and certainly isn’t brave enough to actually do anything positive….Enjoy your lonely little life you coward!

    • Jeff Ferrin
      November 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

      I agree Eric

      Steve is a coward. I guess when one has no life and lives in a bar this is what we can expect from such an uneducated idiot

      • Steve Wade
        November 9, 2011 at 10:09 am #

        Jeff Don’t you have a civil service hearing to go to?

    • Steve Wade
      November 9, 2011 at 5:31 am #

      Eric Hope your Dad has a nice long healthy retirerment.

      • Congo
        November 9, 2011 at 6:11 am #

        Isn’t Chuck Vincellete still working for his son?

  22. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    November 9, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    Steve Wade is John Krol…Steve Wade should be banned from site as he is taking away from genuine debate and turning this into Topix bs

    • danvalenti
      November 9, 2011 at 7:47 am #

      We will take that suggestion under consideration. That is an option. The privilege of commenting to this site is one that this site grants. There is no RIGHT to do so. Mr. Wade is hereby warned.

    • Steve Wade
      November 9, 2011 at 10:07 am #

      Hilly You Busted me Im John Krol NOT!!!!!!!!

      • Scott
        November 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

        Didn’t your dad work for the Lanesborough town hall why did he resign?

  23. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    November 9, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Maybe your just a punk beaaatch like that smug little Ken doll, yeah, that’s what had me confused…

  24. beezer
    November 10, 2011 at 5:55 am #

    Has anyone seen the explanation on the eighty four blank votes in Ward five? This happens when the registered vote is circled not colored in? Eighty four circled votes. Do the votes count if the cirlce of intent is next to the candidates name? Mr. Breault has an amazing chance to overturn the outcome if this is the case.

    • danvalenti
      November 10, 2011 at 7:57 am #

      The vote should count since the intent is clearly there.

    • Tom Sakshaug
      November 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

      Some ballots are true blanks: Many people only vote for the headline race, such as President or in this case Mayor. Other ballots are improperly marked, with the oval or the candidate’s name circled, or some other miss of the oval.
      The percentage of blanks cast in Ward 5 is along the same lines as the other wards. If the last recount is any indication, most will simply be a non-vote and a few will be “undervotes” or improperly marked. These will be counted if intent is clear, and will not swing a vote from one candidate to another but add to the intended candidate’s total.
      With only a 6 vote difference, it could go either way. However, the machines have proven to count properly marked ballots correctly, so Dan’s assertion (in several places on this blog) of 3 votes changing the election by swinging from one candidate to the other doesn’t really hold.

      • danvalenti
        November 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

        thanks for the info. Actually, my assertion CAN hold up if it’s been determined that a machine has improperly read a ballot. This has occurred, for instance, when someone started to mark one candidate and then switched to the other or if a stray mark (even a fault in the internals of the machine) reads a ballot wrong. It’s rare, but it does happen. All you need is three such cases to have a tie election in 5. You never know. Even if Breault gets one such vote, he only needs four votes to add to his total rather than six.