FUNDRAISER TO HELP PETER WHITE, MOM SET FOR TUESDAY, DEC. 27, 2011; PLEASE CHIP IN … DRY HYDRANT PROBLEMATIC; PLANET URGES IMMEDIATE CITY AUDIT OF ALL HYDRANTS … plus … ‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’ ‘DAZZLES, DELIGHTS’
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, DEC. 21, 2011) — By now, you’ve likely heard of the fire that struck the house at 25 Plunkett Street. Two people were displaced, one of them Claudia Jean White. Claudia is the mother of outgoing Ward 2 councilor Peter White.
She and her tenant, Charles Ellsworth, are now left homeless right before Christmas. It’s a tough blow for them and also to our Right Honorable Good Friend, councilor White. No one needs this kind of stress in their lives, but especially at this time of year.
Fundraiser for the Whites will take place 7-10 p.m. at Chameleon’s, Tuesday, Dec. 27
True to the best instincts of the many good people who live in Pittsfield or grew up there, we are not going to let Pete or his mom face the situation alone.
No one died in the blaze, but Mrs. White’s house was rendered inhabitable due to water, smoke, and fire damage. Sadly, she lost her pets in the blaze. She will be living with her son, who lives close by. Jenn Smith, in her coverage of the fire for the Boring Broadsheet, reported that Ellsworth would be moving in with family members.
In Flash time, a fund-raiser is being planned from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at Chameleon’s night club, located in the former building on outer East Street that used to house Bobby Hudpucker’s restaurant. There will be bands and other entertainment, including an auction of many interesting items. Funds will be used to help Mrs. White and those affected by the blaze.
THE PLANET is contributing two items for the auction:
— The first lot consists of several of our titles, including the best-selling Clout!, TJ: Many 26 Years in Baseball (with Yankees star Tommy John), Talking on Air, Under a Grapefruit Sun, and Spring’s Third Day (published by Planer Media Books). Each book is autographed.
— Life on The Planet: Dinner with Dan: Your chance to buy at auction dinner with THE PLANET! We shall be your captive audience, designed to entertain, captivate, and otherwise suffice for your amusement at one of the city’s fine hash houses. You can harangue us, humor us, and generally get to enjoy a great thrill Mrs. Planet “enjoys” most every night of the week! Who knows? Maybe even James Taylor and/or Deval Patrick will join us? Or, should we get extremely lucky, Mrs. Planet herself. We guarantee, though, that Pittsfield Believer will not be at the table (though one of his many personas will likely be spying).
Time for the Best “It’s a Wonderful Life” Ending (or Reasonable Facsimile Thereof) for Peter White and His Mom
We urge everyone who can to support this benefit for the Whites. We consider Peter a good friend, and we are more than happy to be there for him in this time of need. Now it’s time to cast Peter in the role of Jimmy Stewart in Pittsfield’s version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” — We mean the ending, when the town comes to the aid of battered and beaten George Bailey.
One last word about Pete White. In Pittsfield politics, the obligatory qualifier before anyone can say anything remotely critical is the same sentence that gets pronounced when someone gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar — “But he’s a nice guy.”
THE PLANET has no patience for this lame declaration. Everyone’s a nice guy. Adolph Hitler loved children and animals. Hitler was a “nice guy.” When someone tell me that “X is a nice guy,” it’s usually the same as admitting their guilt.
So we won’t tell you that Peter White is a “nice guy.” We will say, though, that he is a gentle man, through and through. We’ve covered politics for a bunch of publications and places going back to the mid-70s. We can’t recall meeting a more polite, gentle, mannerly, courteous, and deferential man than Pete. Even when we had to criticize him, he never wavered in this demeanor toward us. THE PLANET doesn’t mind telling the world how much we appreciate this.
Pittsfield has been better off because of Peter White’s service. After he lost his first bid for office, he started doing serious homework. He attended every meeting. He studied issues. He helped out as a volunteer. He finally got elected. When baseball came back to Wahconah Park, Pete White became the leading booster among public officials.
Well done, Pete, and godspeed. The people of Pittsfield will not let you down.
Pittsfield still has that kind of stock. That’s who the city is.
Thanks you for all who can help out.
Dry Hydrant a Warning Sign: An Audit of All City Hydrants Must be Done
One ominous development from the fire that scorched Mrs. White’s home had to do with an inoperable fire hydrant. A nearby hydrant at Plunkett and Kellogg streets could not be used. It was not hooked into the city water lines.
How could this be? Was this a planned disconnection or an oversight? More importantly, what are the assurances that there are no other dry hydrants. Surely, fire hydrants need to be more than props on a movie set.
THE PLANET urges an immediate investigation into the status of all Pittsfield fire hydrants, with a report to be as soon as possible. We The People want to know why this particular hydrant was dry, and, moreoever, a certification that there are no other such dry hydrants in the city. Lives hang in the balance.
A Christmas Carol: Now ‘Dazzling, Delighting’ Pittsfield and Berkshire County
Mrs. Planet and Guest enjoyed the brilliant Eric Hill-Gray Simons’ production of Dickens‘ classic, “A Christmas Carol.” The Berkshire Theatre Group has amped up the production to fit the gem-like nature of its new setting, The Colonial Theatre.
Playing before a packed house that included many friends, “A Christmas Carol,” according to Mrs. Planet, “dazzled and delighted.”
Kudos to Kate Maguire and the entire company for establishing, maintaining, and enhancing this delightful community tradition. The play’s move from the intimate Unicorn Theater on the BTG campus in lovely Stockbridge — still one of our all-time favorite venues — to the grand setting in the Colonial located at the heart of the county seat is fitting. Moreover, it gives Pittsfield, now, claim to this annual injection of light, love, and joy. The city can certainly use it.
Certainly, a tale of redemption is something everyone can appreciate.
A BUSY MORNING, WITH ERRANDS, A RADIO SHOW (10-30 to NOON, LIVE, ON WBRK, WITH BILL STURGEON), AND A FINAL EXAM TO GIVE.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.