PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

We are pleased to hear that the fundraiser to help Peter White, his mom, and her tenant raised almost $5,000. Thanks to all who helped, contributed, attended, and donated. Joining our roster of special honors from yesterday (organizer Andy Poncherello and Chameleon’s night club), THE PLANET toasts two special people with large hearts and lots of love for the community:

Tanya Condron Mullin and Peter Marchetti — They both worked tirelessly, in a pinch, and organized the 1,001 details regarding an event and a movement of this size and at such haste. Thanks, Tanya and Peter, for a job well done.

Incidentally, Lindsay Erichetto won “Dinner with Dan Valenti,” and Alf Barbalunga took home our package of six Dan Valenti books, each autographed. Here’s the complete list of winners:

3 Twin Hearts Afgans – Melissa Guyer, Chris Grenoble, Sue Geller

Moments House Silver Bracelet – Bill Mickle

Charland Jewelers Citizens Watch – Mike Rock – Mike & his wife Sue gave the watch to Jean White

Jennifer Kimball “Untitled” – Deb Connors

Dinner with Dan Valenti & 99 Gift Card – Lindsay Errichetto

Vermont Moonlight Cookies – Sue Geller

Vermont Moonlight Cookies Gift Certificate – Tanya Mullin (given to Jerome DelSoldato – thanks for helping!)

Tone Bones (Mrs. Svente) Paint Marker on Canvas – Jenny M.

Blue Q Bags – Sue Geller

Kitschy Kollection – Patty Brown-Charland

Bravo Wellness/One Month Health Coaching – Weslea Schmidt

Carrie Snyder Photography Session – Jenn Smith

Patrick’s Pub Gift Certificate and Sweat Shirt – Scott Laugenour

Superbounce – Rebekah Frenkel

Jane Iredale Cosmetics – Sharon Hanson

V Baird Connection Gift Basket – Clair Bosma

4 East Side Cafe Gift Certificates 2 Pizzas each – Tate won two, Steve Mendel, Candace Babor – giving hers to Charlie

Susan Geller Greylock Photo – Sharon Hanson

Arest Rock Painting – Mark Middleton

Autographed Dan Valenti Sports Books – Alf Barbalunga

2 Java Joe’s Cafe Gift Certificates – Brian Walak and Sue Geller

Mission Gift Certificate – Danielle Trumbull

2 Brenda’s Gift Certficates – Kendra Knisley and Colleen Donahue

Howard Baird Bald Eagle photo – Sue Schultheis

2 sets of 2 Berktoberfest tickets – Mike Rock and Marty Mayberry

Y Bar Gift Certificate – Scott Laugenour

International Basket from Mission & Y Bar – Michelle Lillie

Woodbrothers Gift Certifcate and a bottle of wine – Danielle Trumbull

7 Piece Kitchen Set – Sue Geller

BBQ Kitchen Towel set – Bill Mickle

This event showed Pittsfield at its finest.

Skateboards, Parks, and Punks

Last week, a friend and THE PLANET ventured unannounced to the new skateboard park at the corner of East and Appleton, adjacent to Pittsfield High School. The little darlings put on quite a show. First, though, a couple observations on the park itself:

— It looks half-baked. The concrete trick forms have been set into the northeast/west third of the former tennis courts. The other two-thirds has been left empty. There’s nothing in 2/3 of the park. There was no fence work done, no cleaning, and they didn’t even bother to remove the tennis stripes of green paint for the courts. The result looks like an ad hoc improvisation rather than the result of $150,000 of expense and planning, an eyesore, too typical of Pittsfield.

— The park is filthy. It’s already been heavy-laden with trash, which tends to accumulate along the inner fence perimeters. As of yet, the concrete forms had no graffiti.

On the mid-week afternoon that PLANET and guest visited, we counted 10 kids, all male, ranging in age from about 17 down to about eight. Signage on the fence stipulates a long list of rules, including the dire warning that, per Massachusetts General Law, all users must wear helmets. “All” and “must” — THE PLANET cannot find the exceptions to these absolute words. Thus, we were left baffled: Not one kid had a helmet.

We also noted among the rules the requirement that all kids 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult. We saw three maybe four kids who appeared 10 and under. Adults, are you shocked to know, were nowhere in sight.

‘They’re All ‘Good Kids,’ or 99.9% of them, According to John Krol

Of the 10 kids, three were doing tricks, two on bikes and one on a skateboard. It seems the idea is to top the other in recklessness and endangerment. In the 20 minutes of observation, THE PLANET witnessed no cracked skulls, broken limbs, chipped teeth, or protruding femurs.

The other seven boys hung out on the launch platform. The “F” bomb could be heard in what seemed every other word. It made no difference that there were two adults there or that a lady was present. The kids were dressed in what can only be described as “nightmare parachute,” with everything too baggy and slung too low. One of the dearies even pelted a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk with a half-filled soda bottle. Oh, wasn’t that cute?

We stayed for about 20 minutes. In that time, we did not see one adult, one cop, and no indication that the rules of the park mattered. The kids spit all over them. My right honorable good friend Ward 6 city councilor John Krol said on Facebook that 99.9 percent of all the kids who use this park are “good kids.” We wonder, then, how on earth we happened to pick perhaps the ONLY day when all the kids we saw could be reasonably and charitably classified as punks?

Come the good weather and especially this summer, this park is going to draw The Wrong Element. Parents don’t know what to do or don’t care. Adults steer clear, as do the cops. The taxpayers got robbed of $150,000 for a disaster waiting to happen.


Bubba at the Colonial? or It Depends on What the Definition of ‘Are’ Is

THE PLANET got a tip from a usually reliable source, telling us that former President Bill Clinton and actor John Travolta “are coming, together, to the Colonial for a show in the near future. Don’t know exactly when, but I think it’ll be soon.”

We inquired officially with our good friends at the Colonial Theatre. Rebecca Brighenti, director of marketing and public relations, got back to us: “I have absolutely no confirmation that either of these people will be coming to the Colonial, but they are certainly more than welcome!”

THE PLANET hopes this addresses the persistent buzz about Bill and John. And no, we will not ask Becky what the definition of “are” is.


Next Time You’re Pulled Over for Drunk Driving, and They Demand a Sobriety Test, as for the ‘Captain McCarthy Treatment’ 

We all hear there’s two sets of rules: one for Them and the other for us. Check out this story from yesterday’s Boston Herald:

A state police captain tendered a plea in Lynn District Court this morning for failing to stop for police and failing to drive in the right lane in connection with a November chase.

The plea by suspended Capt. Thomas McCarthy was not accepted by Lynn District Court Judge Albert Conlon, who cited a pending application for a criminal complaint against McCarthy for operating under the influence. McCarthy has been cited for operating under the influence of alcohol, said Essex Assistant District Attorney Susan Dolhun

On Nov. 19 at about 10:30 p.m., an armed, off-duty McCarthy led local cops on a chase down Route 1 south in his Crown Victoria — with empty and unopened beer bottles in the cruiser — veering over the center yellow line “numerous times” before resisting arrest near Square One Mall, a Saugus police report said. McCarthy appeared indignant when patrolman James Scott asked him to turn off his engine after smelling alcohol on him, according to the police report.

State police have said Saugus police did not conduct a sobriety test.

McCarthy, 47, of Stoneham, who earned $213,474 last year, has been suspended indefinitely without pay from his post as shift commander for Troop C in central Massachusetts. He failed to show up for his arraignment on Nov. 22, when he was in a “facility” in Florida, the judge was told last month.

A pre-trial and disposition hearing is scheduled for Jan 19.

A coupla-three things:

(1) McCarthy has a pending criminal complaint against him on a charge of drunk driving.

(2) He was allegedly swerving his Crown Vic, adorned inside the cab with empties and full beer bottles.

(3) He smelled of alcohol, according to a police report. When partolman James Scott asked him to run off his engine, McCarthy “appeared indignant.”

(4) Here’s our favorite: The police did not conduct a field sobriety test. Think that would have happened for Mary Jane of Joe Kapanski?

(5) He failed to show for an arraignment on Nov. 22.

What are the odds you would be stopped under similar circumstances and allowed to leave without a sobriety test (4)? Also, substitute this scenario with local law enforcement officials. What are the odds that a city or state police captain being stopped here by a patrolman or patrolwoman would be charged, versus allowing to disappear, right quick, no-harm, no foul — and no police report?

Just asking, as Joe Pinhead might put it.


Fan Mail from Some Flounder? No, e-mail from Someone who’s ‘Been There’

THE PLANET received this e-mail, which we thought would be of interest to this audience. It comes from an entrepreneur who has had experiences dealing with the “business friendly” officials from the city of Pittsfield.


It is interesting that a downtown businessman once told me that the [REDACTED] was a big mistake for downtown when I first proposed it. (His business would not benefit from families coming downtown, I believe.) He said it needed to be on the GE property.  So I inquired about it from someone in the current administration, and they said that clearly there could be nothing vending food or attracting children built on the property.

Is this a ploy to get the new mayor to fight against it then get elements of the community to say he turned away business?

A mall on GE may be better than the “big nothing zone” for somebody, but it will be the final kiss of death to ever bring anything in the form of commerce to the downtown, totally leaving it for tourists two months every summer and street folks the other 12 months. It seems that none of the other new businesses going out there have much to do with major manufacturing.

Why not just seed the place and bring back Bisacca’s Buffalo and  create a prairie. If that doesn’t work, one could flood it an make a swamp.

I just love the politics of Pittsfield.

Best for the New Year,


This e-mail typifies the story of so many, who have talked about trying to do business in and with Pittsfield. It seems that if you’re not a GOB or “connected,” you have little chance.






  1. Scott
    December 29, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    You know I wondered why the other half was left I just figured it was for people to practice on flat ground. As a society in general we tolerate abuse by youth too much if I threw a bottle at someone when I was a kid I would have had my ass kicked and rightfully so I remember being jacked up by a guy for using profanity in front of a lady and though I did not like it then he had every right to do what he did but do that today and you get charged with assault.

  2. Richard
    December 29, 2011 at 10:45 am #


    • Joe Blow
      December 29, 2011 at 11:34 am #

      Blogging 101….. Take off the caps lock,posting in caps is like shouting.

      • Scott
        December 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

        Maybe that was his intention teach.

      • Richard
        December 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

        So sorry

  3. Ray Ovac
    December 29, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    DV, sounds like the kids at the skateboard park are merely taking their cues from the adults running the city — and why not? As you said, the park sports “a long list of rules”, including a “dire warning” and — wink, wink — nobody’s paying attention.
    A quick hop and we’re now over here at Wm. Stanley Business Park. There’s a long list of rules, including a dire warning “Prohibited — Commercial Retail” and — wink, wink — well, you know the rest.

  4. Still wondering
    December 29, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    The Skate Park rules are as good as the cider house rules.

  5. Joe Blow
    December 29, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    The problem is not a skate park…’s society in general. Kid’s these days are brought up to believe they can do no wrong. Parents hold the blame not a park.

  6. Hoppity
    December 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    The skatepark sounds good in theory. I too check it out recently. So much for theory. The kids I saw there were, to put it mildly, out of control. Effing this and effing that. No helmets. Littering all over. Agree this facility was a mistake. an expensive one, too, at $200 Gs.

  7. Ray Ovac
    December 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    DV, in Obama’s 57th state, The Stooley’s letter rings so true, especially the part wherein the Stooley says “totally leaving (downtown Pittsfield ) for tourists two months every summer and street folks the other 12 months”. But, DV, what about the other five months of the year?

  8. Kevin Delaney
    December 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    I love the new skate park. It’s the nicest one I’ve ever been to public of private. I brought my 2.5 y/o son there with his scoot bike a few weeks ago on a Saturday morning. We both had a blast. There were quite a few kids there ranging in age from almost 3 to early 20’s. All kids under 10 were being supervised by adults. All of the kids were very nice. They were also very considerate to this mid-30’s guy and his little boy. I liked it so much I went back the next Saturday.

    I dusted off my old skateboard and tried to remember how to ride it. I’m older and wiser and wear a helmet now. I wish the city had a park like this when I was 16 – 22. I enjoyed watching the kids skate, bike and ride their scooters. The kids in this city have some TALENT! I met a few kids that had small time sponsorships. I saw a few that look like they could go pro someday. It’s great that my city has invested in the kids like this.

    Granted there was almost no helmet usage and some litter that was left behind, but I’d say that’s a small negative compared to the overall large positive of the park. These kids need positive roll models. Next time I go I’m bringing a broom and dust pan to tidy up a bit. These kids need positive roll models and I intend to be one.

    I don’t believe that it is right or fair to call all of the kids that go to the skate park punks just because some of them swear, wear clothes that you don’t like, or don’t pick up after themselves. That simply sounds like the description of a typical teenager to me.

    As for the remaining 2/3 of the old tennis courts, I see it as room to expand!

    As a side note. I never heard this much talk about the city’s old skate park on the common. Now that the park is in a location where you can actually see it everyone suddenly has an opinion. All of the planning meetings for the new park were open to the public for comment. If you don’t like the way the city is spending your tax dollars you need to participate and say something about it.

    • danvalenti
      December 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

      THE PLANET appreciates your perspective. Many thanks.

      • Scott
        December 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

        Dan you come off as a grouchy old timer when you talk about the kids and the skate park. I’m saying that as a friend with the up most respect for you it’s just an observation can’t tell if it’s peppered with sarcasm or not.

        • danvalenti
          December 30, 2011 at 7:27 am #

          Thanks. Your observations are correct. My take on the skate park IS grouchy and IS peppered with sarcasm.

  9. Unchy
    December 29, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    I to love the new skate park and am glad it in that Ward as it reflects the current environment of that area.

  10. Tony Truran
    December 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    Hey Dan, you cover the Pitt pretty good.

    Any chance you will take on the 56K “lenoxolgy” swindle?

    Lots of GOBs at the Lenox clubhouse too.

    • Ray Ovac
      December 29, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

      The Pitt. Works for me!

    • danvalenti
      December 30, 2011 at 7:25 am #

      Perhaps. The Lenoxology “swindle” seems nothing more than a dumb decision by a board that doesn’t have the confidence in its home grown talent. What else is going on in the town? I invite you to send me a private note.

      • Tony Truran
        December 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

        Well gee Dan, there is the OBVIOUS GOB network at Kennedy park Committee/Selectmen.

        Why did a committee member vote on a project, twice, and be allowed TO PROFIT FRIOM IT????

        The Selectmen think this is fine, I have contacted them about this

        I think Martha Coakley should do her job, and prosecute the offenders

        • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
          December 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

          What is the status of the ethics complaint filed against Mr Ackroid Tony?

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      December 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      Can’t think of anyone but the Ad firm from NYC who made out on this one Tony…from what I can see….What is going on with your Belvedere and Wind Turbine Issue? Whose seats are up this coming yr on the Board of Selectman? and whose running?

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      December 30, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

      Tony..It seems as if the only ones who made out on Lenoxology was the Big NYC Ad Firm….How bout wind turbines and Belveder’s? What’s the latest? Who’s seats are up on the Board of Selectman this yr? And who is running for those seats? Hilly B

  11. concerned citizen
    December 29, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    I just happened to be scrolling through the channels and saw the ‘ribbon cutting’ for the skate park where all the kids got on one ramp and lined up and skated over the ribbon. I would imagine 2 or 3 of the kids actually had a helmet on. I won’t lie, I’m not opposed to the park and actually think we needed to do something but at a publicly sponsored event you would think someone would have told the kids without a helmet they couldn’t ride.

    Although not an interest of mine I’m glad the kids got a park once the Common was taken over. Rather than bashing the city politicians, police… it would be nice to find a way for the park to be monitored. I know they do the summer camp programs at all the parks and pay counselors and don’t think that is a large sum of money. I would imagine something part time (without benefits) to someone who is 18 or over would be less expensive than a lawsuit if a kid gets hurt and a parent decides to sue.

    I am a taxpayer in Pittsfield and do not enjoy my taxes have gone up every single year since I’ve lived here but at this point I’d rather see the increases correlated to the hire of new police officers who can be on duty at one time. At any one time there are less than 10 officers for the entire city of Pittsfield on active patrol. I know alot of people always say “If an officer is already out there….” there’s only so much an officer can multi-task while being out. I agree some on the road details could yell at someone to use a crosswalk but their place of duty at that time is to be there with the work crew. Should anything happen to the workers while a cop was doing a spot correction on a jay walker I’d love to hear the responses on this blog.

    I suppose to summarize I’d offer if people would spend less time griping and bitching on a forum like this and reached out to their city councilors, offered solutions and put the pressure on them at that level we could get some real results. For as many bad things happen in Pittsfield with crime, GE POllution… this is where I grew up and where I’ll raise my family. If we can change the tone on how things get done. New year, new mayor, new city council; here’s to a hopeful change.

  12. rick
    December 30, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    i think the helmet issue is no big deal, we of the pre helmet days rode streets, made ramps and jumps, fell got back up and got back on our bikes and skate boards. if the kids fall and dont have on a helmet its their problem… its use the park at their owm risk….. its time to move on to other pressing issues….

  13. rick
    December 30, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    now that 2011 is over and roberto is moving on, i would like to set up an investigation board to review his 8 yrs in office.. was there criminal activity being done out of the mayors office?…. when a guy like roberto sneaks around the way he did, red flags go up in a big way. to much closed door activity breeds wrong doing. his association with the less desirable, brings his morality,and character into question. i would like to know how much tax payer money has gone to the b.b in the 8 yrs of robertos run as mayor>

  14. dusty
    December 30, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    I agree. Can we put this to a referendum? That might help preclude it happening again.

  15. Scott
    January 2, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    I saw them out there yesterday nothing looked out of the ordinary some wore helmets some didn’t if you want to not wear one it’s your problem I took my kid for a ride yesterday on an atv with no helmet so what it’s my choice people should be free to do what they want even if it’s perceived as dangerous by someone else a helmet may prevent head injury but there’s still countless other ways you can get screwed up.

    • joetaxpayer
      January 2, 2012 at 9:32 am #

      Putting your child in danger is nothing to brag about.I’M pretty sure it is not a right.

      • Scott
        January 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

        Like I said it’s my choice and his people need to mind thier own business I could care less what your opinion is and i could care less what you and your kid do that’s my point. We wore helmets today.

  16. mattgenton
    January 2, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    hi to all at i thought i had sent this newyears eve but it didnt send so i have sent it again all best for 2012 to every one
    – matt