Four our of five dentists recommend sugarless gum to their patients who chew gum, and FOUR OUT OF FIVE BERKSHIRE STATE REPS (ALL EXCEPT SCHOOLMARM CARIDDI) CARE ABOUT WE THE PEOPLE ENOUGH TO COMMENT ON THE NILAN-MOORE CASE … HEY, CHARLEY: LET’S TALK FREE SPEECH, BABE! … plus … IS PETER MOORE NOT THE VICTIM, AND SHOULD THE STATE’S VICTIM FUND ASSIST HIM?
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, JAN. 27, 2012) — After a not-so-restful night out of state, and driving through rain, snow, and ice on a couple of scary Interstates, THE PLANET returns afresh to bring you more of the news and commentary that matters.
STATE REPS WEIGHT IN … ALL BUT ONE
Yesterday, we asked the Berkshire County delegation (the four reps and our state senator) for their view of the incendiary Nilan-Moore hit-and-run case. We gave them a deadline of 11 a.m. Rep. Tricia-Farley Bouvier, Rep. Paul Mark, Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, and Sen. Ben Downing answered the call. Schoolmarm Gail Cariddi took a powder. If you look up “Cariddi” in the New Unabridged Oxford Dictionary, you find: “A frigid politician in the worst sense of that word, who cares little for constituents but who has fallen in love with His or Her Importance; also see: ‘One-Termer’ and ‘Back-Bencher.'”
Schoolmarm Cariddi is now 2-for-2 in not responding to media inquiries from this address as she continues her road to one-term irrelevancy as the “backest” of the House back benchers. We shall continue to send requests as they come up to the Schoolmarm, and hope for the best. FULL DISCLOSURE: The Schoolmarm still carries a bilious bulge of sourdough when it comes to THE PLANET. When she ran for her office, we hosted a radio debate at WNAW in North Adams, and we had the audacity to, you know, actually ask QUESTIONS and not solicit candidates’ stump speeches. The Schoolmarn is not used to hard ball, apparently, and since then, her underwear has been in a not and a knot (front and back wedgies).
That aside, here is what our four reps had to say:
TRICIA FARLEY-BOUVIER — What I know about this case is limited to what I have read in the daily paper. I have not gotten involved as I believe strongly that this is a judicial matter and needs to be played out in the courts, without political interference. There are avenues of appeal that are set up so that if any party feels they are being treated unjustly they have a place to go.
PAUL MARK — (1) Do you agree with the finding of a Westfield first assistant clerk magistrate that there was insufficient evidence to allow a criminal complaint lodged by (and appealed by) the Pittsfield Police Department to proceed? That is, do you have 100% confidence that the decision was impartial, with Lady Justice’s blindfold squarely in place, and with NO OUTSIDE INFLUENCE OR PRESSURE to reach an “insufficient evidence to proceed” verdict?
I have no evidence to suggest that the Clerk Magistrate from Westfield came to his decision through any outside influence or pressure. It needs to be recognized that the Clerk Magistrate’s decision is not the final word on this matter. The Pittsfield Police have appealed the decision, which is their right and means to me they were not satisfied with the Clerk’s decision. I am hopeful that the Judge who decides the next stage of this case will act impartially and will come to the correct decision based on the evidence presented.
(2) If you do not agree, can you tell us why, and what you intend to do about it?
(3) Will you initiate a petition for an independent state authority to be brought in and examine all facets of this case?If not, will you support such a petition that one or more of your constituents might file, and fight hard in your respective chambers to see the petition enacted?
I think the best thing to do for now is to allow the judicial process to continue through the required stages. I do believe strongly in both our American judicial system and the Constitutionally mandated separation of powers between the three branches of government. After this case is closed by the judicial branch, if there is any evidence of undue influence, criminal interference, destruction of evidence, or anything else that has prevented justice, I would support any legally appropriate remedy to see that justice is served and equally applied to all citizens.
(4) Do you personally know Clifford Nilan? If so, what is your opinion of him as a public servant?
I do not know Clifford Nilan, Ms. Nilan, or Mr. Moore.
BEN DOWNING — First & foremost, my prayers are with Mr. Moore & his family. The accident that lead to his injuries, no matter how it happened, is tragic. That being the case, this is an ongoing legal matter, with the finding of the Clerk Magistrate being appealed by the Pittsfield PD. No matter what my personal opinion may be, I have long standing policy of not commenting on or inserting myself in ongoing legal matters. That is a policy that I believe is important for the separation of powers. Beyond the current appeal, the judicial system has avenues for those who may disagree with the Magistrate, through their superiors and the Attorney General’s Office. To your final question, I have met Mr. Nilan before, but do not know him well enough to comment on his job performance.
SMITTY PIGNATELLI — I believe this is a matter best left up to the judicial system. There is a reason why we have such strong protections for separation of power in our constitution, and as member of the Legislature, I do not believe it is appropriate to get involved in a pending legal matter.
Why Nilan-Moore Matters: It Has Destroyed People’s Confidence in Equality of Justice
THE PLANET thanks our Right Honorable Good Friends for their responses. We cannot say the Cariddi, who again has whiffed on behalf of We The People in an important case. This case is one in which the very bedrock of democracy — that is, the fair and reasonable assumption of certainly We the People must expect when it comes to the impartiality of the courts and equality before the law— has been placed in such question.
Harken back to a point President Obama made in his most recent State of the Union address: We The People must expect a fair shot at opportunity, we must pull our fair share, and there cannot be two sets of rules, one for the privileged and one for the rest of us. Do these words mean anything in Berkshire County?
That’s all critics of the handling of Nilan-Moore are saying: The evidence suggests that justice may not have been impartial, given that the driver in the hit-and-run case has a powerful, high-profile father. A full and impartial investigation by state attorney general Martha Coakley is warranted. THE PLANET, and We the People, will accept the results of such a review.
Until that time: Based on the evidence, the people involved, and the manner in which this case has been handled, THE PLANET’s conclusion is that The Fix is in. Many others share this view, which we think is reasonable and to which the facts of the case point out with a screaming, neon directional arrow.
!Bulletin! Courtesy of the Boring Broadsheet: Downtown Restaurant to Hold Knitting Bee
Meanwhile, unlike other local media, we invite readers’ comments, as always. We, unlike the Boring Broadsheet, care about you more than our advertisers (we have none; we remain unbought and unbossed).
While THE PLANET continues to hit hard at stories that matter, today, for example, the BB brought you such vital, page one news as
* How a downtown restaurant is holding knitting bees, and
* The Tanglewood jazz schedule for 2012.
I have many good friends in that newsroom who are tremendous journalists, fear for their jobs, do not want to rock the tilting boat … and who loathe the people who sign their paychecks. They have my support and sympathy.
A CHALLENGE TO FREE SPEECH? BRING IT ON, BABE!
THE PLANET received this comment yesterday from CHARLEY:
Opinions and discussion are generally a good thing, but the paper may not be publishing letters because they are defamatory. This means the paper can be held accountable for libel for running them. Bloggers and commenters can be held responsible too so everyone ought to watch for the reckless disregard for the truth.
Can we say that? Does this opinion show a “reckless disregard for the truth?”
Many of our readers and commentators saw this as a veiled threat against speaking out. Here’s what we say: We did not read it that way, but if it is, then it’s a toothless threat against speaking out. Another of our correspondents mentioned We the People’s First Amendment right of free speech, so we won’t conduct a Civics 101 class. Let’s get deeper.
Deliberation, discussion, and debate depend on freedom, and upon freedom rests the validity of our communities and institutions. An old clipping from The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 17, 1995 issue, still remains in our fodder file, because it so eloquently establishes this point:
If we are to have conversation, people must be free, and must feel free, to say things that are controversial and to say things that are wrong, to have the opportunity to correct their statements, to assert views and to change their views. They must feel free to say things that offend, both intentionally and unintentionally: to understand the impact of the offense and to regret it; to agree and disagree. They must feel free to wrestle with language — to be angry, moving, ironic, kind, and bitter; to be both elegant and inelegant; to grunt and to pontificate; and to use words of however many letters in a vigorous engagement on the battlefield of meaning and understanding.
Our ears hearts, and minds must be toughened up to hear it all [THE PLANET’s underline]. We must be prepared to receive strange sounds before we can have a conversatiojn. We must permit our tongues and those of others to be unruly.
We thank you for raising the point Charley, but if you meant it as a threat, we’re calling you out. Give us an example of any “reckless disregard of the truth” on this website, in connection with the Nilan-Moore case. Please. Then, we invite you to take remedy in the court. Go after us. Go after anyone who has posted what you call a “reckless” comment. Why the invitation? Because you will lose, my friend.
The Muzzle doesn’t fit this pure bred. As Paul Newman said in The Hustler to some thugs who tried to intimidate him at the pool table, “We don’t rattle, kid.”
WHY FREEDOM OF DISCOURSE IS HELPFUL TO A COMMUNITY
By allowing a free and open exchange in this case and on other issues, THE PLANET contributes to the strength of the Berkshire community. Case in point:
Yesterday, Joe Pinhead offered this helpful comment:
Just asking a few questions here and wondering out loud. First I hope Mr. Moore has a speedy recovery and I wish him and his family the best.
1. Will Mr. Moore, or his family be able to use or access any of the services from the state victim fund? http://mova.state.ma.us/
2. Has the County Victim advocate contacted Mr. Moore or his family?
3. Is it unreasonable to think that Mr. Nilan has both the knowledge of and the resources to get these advocates into contact with Mr. Moore? Or does his knowledge of the system stop at magistrates?
4. IF he is able to use these services than he is a victim does it then a reasonable conclusion that a crime did in fact occur?
I am aware of asking these type questions puts one in an unfavorable light but I suspect they are fair and I would hope the elected and appointed reps in Berkshire County can give us an answer or two. And in conjunction with another post I agree if the law does not let victims of hit and run driver access funds and services of the Commonwealth then the law needs to be changed and Which Rep is willing to start the ball rolling on that one
First, we didn’t know such a fund existed, and likely not too many others did. We learned something. If you have $20 and I have $20, and we exchange twenties, we’re both in the same place. However, if you have one idea and I have one idea, and we exchange ideas, we have doubled our intellectual wealth.
Second, Joe P. raises a fair point: How can Peter Moore NOT be seen as the victim, A victim, here. Isn’t this what the fund of for, to assist those who have been unfairly victimized”
If you go to the site, it says this:
Providing help and healing for crime victims in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) is an independent state agency devoted to upholding and advancing the rights of crime victims in this state. We provide innovative victim advocacy through outreach and education, policy and program development, direct services to crime victims, legislative advocacy, and grant management.
Our commitment lies in reaching all victims, while ensuring access and equity of rights and services to underserved communities. By bridging public, private and community organizations, we work to serve crime victims, their families, and witnesses to violence, while promoting healing and justice.
Please read our Privacy Statement before using this site.
Are you a victim of crime? Click here for help.
For current funding opportunities, click here.
To subscribe to the Victim Services Bulletin, please click here.
MUCH MORE, SO MUCH MORE TO SAY, AND WE SHALL BE BACK TO SAY IT. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, FREEDOM OF SPEECH HAS FINALLY ARRIVED IN BERKSHIRE COUNTY VIA THE PLANET. TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, LOVED ONES, COLLEAGUES, AND ANYONE ELSE ABOUT WWW.PLANETVALENTI.COM. SEND THEM THE LINK. SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD. WE HAVE RESISTED MANY OVERTURES FROM POSSIBLE ADVERTISERS. WE WANT TO STAY UNFETTERED. WE WANT TO BE THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS A SAY IN WHAT WE SAY, WRITE, SPEAK, OR THINK. WE DEPEND ON WORD OF MOUTH, AND IT’S WORKING. THE BIGGER WE GET, THE STRONGER WE CAN FIGHT.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.