Article

STOOLEY ASKS 10 QUESTIONS AND NAILS THE PLANET TWICE …SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING: WEDNESDAY NIGHT FIGHTS AND KARTOON KARNIVAL ALL IN ONE … MAZZEO’S PROMISE … plus … COUNCIL WANTS STATE REPS TO WALLOP WALMART, BUT SAM’S CLUB HOLDS THE BIG STICK

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, JAN. 13, 2012) — First, we present a guest submission from THE STOOLEY. THE STOOLEY raises a few questions. These are questions, mind you, and we stress. They are not accusations, indictments, claims of fact, or testimonies of circumstance. THE PLANET gets nailed twice here, so we remind everyone: They are merely questions, nothing more, and certainly no indication of certainty presence, the kind that truth exudes:

TEN QUESTIONS FOR A WONDERING COMMUNITY

1. Is Dan Valenti on Mitt Romney‘s payroll? For how much?

2. When will Cliffy Nilan just go away from having worn out his act?

3. When will Chris Speranzo ever put in a full day’s work as Clerk Magistrate?

4. Is the BerkshireWorks employee who hired his daughter, legally made off with a $38,000 check for sick-leave not taken then filing for and receiving unemployment benefits former executive director Michael Herrick?

5. ———————————————– ?

6. ———————————————– ?

7. How “Happy” was the “Happy Hour” hosted by Berkshire Young Professionals on Dec. 8, 2011, at a chi-chi restaurant in Great Barrington? Would some BYPs like to say?

8. How is Cliff Nilan’s son finding LSU these days?

9. Have most of the minutes of certain past and key PEDA meetings disappeared due to “an electronic malfunction”?

10. Does Dan Valenti have an open tab at Blantyre? Does he ever see a bill?

We can’t answer to any of the questions but #1 and #10. ANSWER #1: Yes. $400 a haircut. THE PLANET is Mitt’s hair stylist. #10: No. We don’t drink soda.

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ANIMATED HIJINX AT SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING

THE PLANET present a quick look at Kartoon Kapers, also known as the School Committee meeting from Wednesday, Jan. 11. The animated “highlight” of the meeting came when chairman Alf Barbalunga doled out committee assignments. Herr Chairman bounced Kathleen Amuso off of her coveted School Building Needs Committee. Amuso was not amused so.

A Huff, A Fast Burn, and a Blue Streak, and then, Whoosh!, She Was Gone!

Board members, attendees, and those watching on PCTV couldn’t believe her reaction. She huffed away, doing a fast burn and leaving a blue streak in her wake. The Bluebirds of Paradise watched from the trees, tweeting away. Oh, it was the most interesting tweeting. It was the most captivating moment for the committee since Dr. Darlington ate a Chiquita banana in Panama while Mercury fumed. What’s puzzling about Amuso’s “Markie Maypo” hissy fit is that it didn’t have to happen. Cathy Yon nobly offered to switch committee assignments with Amuso, giving the latter her position on the SBNC. Amuso would have none and refused the grand gesture with all the coldness of a stepmother’s kiss.

One of the three students representative on the committee (non-voting positions) saw the misadventure as his escape and used the  outburst as a reason for quitting. Right, kid, and you’re asking us to believe you did it on principal and not because you just got sick of the responsibility. That kid’s got a future in government. THE PLANET worries about hjigh school kids who would rather sit on the school committee than get in the backseat with a good girl on Lover’s Lane.

There’s some confusion about Amuso’s SBNC post. Both the mayor and the superintendent of schools have appointing power to the SBNC. Was she there as a mayoral appointment or a superintendent’s appointment, and would that make a difference for the chairman. In short, if Amuso was on the SBNC at mayoral request, does Barbalunga have the power to remove her?

Yon, Elilas Ref the Heavyweight Battle; Alf Wins a TKO

Yon and Dan Elias had to referee the Amuso-Barbalunga spat. Alf won in a unanimous decision on a technical KO (Amuso returned to the ring about 10 minutes after storming off, but by then the fight was over). The Kapers took the attention away from the rest of the meeting. Probably just as well. The committee voted 6-1 to approve pay hikes for school custodians, secretaries, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and monitors. Terry Kinnas cast the lone vote of fiscal responsibility, arguing that paperwork submitted in support of the raises was incomplete. Didn’t matter. City-side custodians, secretaries, etc., who already make far less for the same work as their school counterparts, will delighted at the raise they aren’t getting.

We The People did score a small triumph, however, and it’s something that can be attributed to the crusading of THE PLANET. In our recent series of articles on the school department, we have been insisting on transparency from the school department and committee when referring to the department budget. It’s an $82 million budget, not a $52 million budget. The schools have not been counting the $30 million listed on the city side for transportation, health insurance, and other cost goblins that get buried in the municipal budget.

That appears to be changing. According to Kinnas, who chairs the school committee’s finance subcommittee, the group will be looking at and presenting the current budget as an $82 million item. Kinnas says Barbalunga agrees that this is the more honest presentation. THE PLANET applauds this step into reason and transparency.

Letter to the Editor: Another Look at Kartoon Karnival

THE PLANET received this alternate view of Wednesday’s school committee meeting. The author posted it as a commentary to yesterday’s column. We feel it’s noteworthy enough for extended play. Here is the comment, verbatim, with minor editing:

On January 11, 2012, I witnessed one of the most dysfunctional public meetings I have ever seen: the Pittsfield School Committee. The new chair, Alf Barbalunga, dominated the meeting barking directives to his minions, disrespecting a fellow committee member, and pontificating about his personal opinions. He wasted precious time to brag that he read an article about education in Time magazine about South Korea. He then informed us that he intends to make it a regular part of future meetings to educate us about magazine articles he reads.

While allowing Terry Kinnas to ramble on about his seemingly endless string of jobs in the private sector, he lost focus and control of the meeting. He then decreed his subcommittee appointments and seemed to revel in humiliating former chair and long time member Kathy Amuso by placing her on the least important subcommittees.

Mrs. Amuso was the highest vote getter in the last election [CORRECTION: THAT WOULD BE LINDA TYER], ran respectful meetings, and was very responsive to parents and community members. She is dedicated and very involved in the schools and she does not deserve to be relegated to meaningless jobs. When she asked Mr. Barbalunga why he did not appoint her to a more substantive committee that she had requested, he said he based his decision on seniority.

She pointed out she was the second most senior member of the committee. Mr. Barbalunga said that was true and yet did not answer why he had ignored her request to be placed on the policy committee. The blatant disrespect shown to a dedicated member like Mrs. Amuso does not speak well for the leadership abilities of Mr. Barbalunga. The hostility was so apparent that one student member of the committee resigned his position and walked out, saying he could not be a part of such chaos. This student was the most courageous and articulate member of the bunch. He had the grace to praise Dr. Eberwein and thank him for his leadership while others, specifically Mr. Kinnas, had the audacity to obliquely insult Dr. Eberwein. As the parent of two children who have thrived in the Pittsfield public schools, I am very concerned about the dysfunctional direction the school committee is headed. I hope Mr. Barbalunga will learn to lead respectful, collaborative meetings and not act like a dictator.

THE PLANET THANKS “DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION” FOR THIS VIEW. IF YOU WISH TO SEND IN A LETTER TO THE EDITOR, DO SO AT THIS ADDRESS OR TO danvalenti@verizon.net.

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‘BUT I HAVE PROMISES TO KEEP, AND MILES TO GO BEFORE I SLEEP …’

The question isn’t “Does Melissa Mazzeo keep her promises”? The question is:” “Will she keep the biggest one she made during the campaign”? We reminded everyone yesterday that Mazzeo promised to aggressively address the GE Consent Agreement, Silver Lake, and Hill 78.

Yesterday, she contacted THE PLANET. We share her remarks, sent to us electronically:

Hi Dan… I just finished ready your blog and wanted to let you know that I spent over an hour in the Solicitor’s office today outling my ideas for dealing with PEDA and the Consent Decree. I thought it best to start with the new administration.

My idea is to gather a group of people, old GE engineers, and private citizens (like Dave Bubriski), folks interested in the cleanup, lawyers, the Mayor, etc. and get the conversation started on opening this Decree. I have been “trying” to read it and its tough to follow, so i gave it to several lawyers to tackle it. I am told that we may have a shot at getting this opened, since laws and technology change, and if we can make an arguement it may happen. I will keep you updated on this group, which I want to see put together asap. A promise is a promise. Take care, Melissa

Mazzeo’s statement: “I am told that we may have a shot at getting this reopened” is one of the most hopeful statement heard from an official source on this toxic mess in years. We, too, have plodded through the cottony language of the Consent Decreee, which seems to be deliberately written as densely as possible to make understanding as difficult as it can be. We concur. The agreement has mechanisms for reopening. Moreover, there are triggers of possible violation that could put everything on the table again, this time giving We The People a better chance that the first time around, when Mayor Gerry Doyle signed off on a document disastrous for the city of Pittsfield.

We shall be presenting more details on Mazzeo’s action pursuant to the Consent Agreement on Monday’s PLANET.

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WALMART LOOPHOLE DRIVING COUNCIL FOR A LOOP

Sources say city clerk Linda Tyer is putting together a draft of a document for the city council, whereby my Right Honorable Good Friends would, en masse, ask the Berkshire legislative delegation (Sen. Ben Downing, and Reps. Smitty Pignatelli, Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Paul Mark, and Gail Cariddi) to storm Beacon Hill asking for a change in state law requiring Big Box retailers to pay more of a fair share in local taxes.

The move was in response to Ward 6 councilor John Krol‘s petition introduced at the Tuesday council meeting. Krol wanted Walmart exces to “provide an explanation for the significant reduction in its tax obligations to the City of Pittsfield for 2012″ (from the council Agenda).

The council realized that Walmart execs (1) would honor the request (the city council does not have subpoena power) and that (2) it understands why and how Walmart succeeding in getting a whopping tax reduction. Why = To save money. How = By using state corporate law on the books for decades.

The Long Legal Haul: Walmart’s Lawyers Have Attorneys, Who Have Barristers

Walmart is doing to Pittsfield and North Adams what GE did to Pittsfield during the Consent Agreement negotiations: Using the law to get a sweetheart deal. Where GE created new law tilted in its favor, Walmart’s lawyers found a loophole in existing state law and have exploited it. Betcha those Walmart barristers who found this glitch in the law will be in for some mighty big company discounts come Christmas.

“We’re not trying to get in the way of companies that provide opportunities for good jobs,” Krol said about the letter to the state delegation. “We want to see if there’s a way to get Big Box retailers to pay more of a fair share.”

Krol says the state of Maine is involved in a similar attempt. The dicey question will be this: If the state tries to modify with existing law to get the Walmarts of the world to cough up more money, these giant corporations will cry: “Foul play.” They don’t employ a city solicitor. They have buildings full of lawyers.

Instant prognosis: The state delegation will love this, because it will make them look like they are doing something. In reality, Walmart’s legal eagles will begin speaking in dollared tongues, and this will pass into oblivion. Also, remember that the five-person Berkshire consists of two rookies and a interim rep serving the remainder of an abandoned term (thanks to No Show, the Larded Lout). Three back benchers won’t move mountains, and pebbles won’t amount to a hill of beanies, babies.

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DIVE INTO THE WEEKEND GENTLY, EVERYONE, AND AS YOU DO SO, GO IN FEET FIRST BECAUSE THE WATERS MAY BE SHALLOW …

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

83 Responses to “STOOLEY ASKS 10 QUESTIONS AND NAILS THE PLANET TWICE …SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING: WEDNESDAY NIGHT FIGHTS AND KARTOON KARNIVAL ALL IN ONE … MAZZEO’S PROMISE … plus … COUNCIL WANTS STATE REPS TO WALLOP WALMART, BUT SAM’S CLUB HOLDS THE BIG STICK”

  1. Bull Durham
    January 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    I think the question [REDACTED] is just plain sick and uncalled for. It’s called SHOCK, Mr. Stooley. Maybe you’ve never been seriously injured or injured at all, but the body has a protective system in place that for a period of time does shield you from the real effects of your injury. I was hit by an automobile while walking five years ago and sustained, fortunately, much more minor injuries than Peter – but injuries nonetheless. The real impact didn’t catch up with me for two to three hours, when I suddenly felt cold and clammy and lost consciousness.

    I know, Dan, you put the disclaimer in that these are “just questions and not accusations,” but that one is absolutely ridiculous and you should have left it out. Any hint of an implication that the victim is somehow to “blame” for this hit and run is out of line. If you know him, you would know that – and I do know Peter, and if you could see how he’s been affected by this, you would keep your mouth shut, Stooley.

    • danvalenti
      January 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

      THE WEBMASTER has addressed this. We thank you for your comment.

      • Bull Durham
        January 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

        Thank you, Dan. You’re a man of integrity.

  2. route66
    January 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    left over from yesterday-
    route66 January 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm #
    A couple of observations; Is the definition of a GOB anyone who has more power and influence than we do? It seems to change
    as the readers need it to.Melissa Mazzeo means well I think, but
    she should be careful who she aligns herself with. Joe Nichols and Jeff Ferrin are not going to help further her political aspirations.
    What ever happened to presumption of innocence in this country , or doesn’t that apply to those presumed to be GOB’S.
    Molly- you’re free to write as often as you like, unless of course you wish to be taken seriously.

    • danvalenti
      January 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      R66
      * GOB, as we see it, refers to those who obtain a position of power and then not only use but abuse that power.
      * Perhaps Mazzeo doesn’t have “further political aspirations.” Perhaps she is simply trying to do a good job as at-large councilor.
      * The presumption of innocence is still alive and well in the courts. In public opinion, however, it’s gone the way of the typewriter.
      * Frequency of contribution does not necessarily correlate with how seriously one take a commentator. In Molly’s case, most of our readers take her seriously because she usually advances the conversation, as you are doing here, and not trying to derail it or sink it to the gutter.
      Thanks for the thoughts.

      • route66
        January 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

        Dan-I wasn’t disputing the fact that Melissa was a good counselor, only her choice of political “bedfellows”.

        She is young and energetic, and, unless I miss my guess, mayor in waiting.

        • danvalenti
          January 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

          R66
          She is all of that, and I guess I interpreted her choice of political associations as her lack of ambition other than at-large.

    • Molly
      January 14, 2012 at 1:13 am #

      Well thank you very much for “allowing me” to write as often as I’d like — I appreciate that! You are not just a “GOB”, you are one arrogant SOB as well!

      Melissa Mazzeo doesn’t just mean well, she’s doing very well, both in representing us and politically. Wasn’t she the TOP vote getter? It really bugs you, doesn’t it, that she was and without the support of the GOB’s!! And I, for one, love it!!

      There was a great definition of GOB given on yesterday’s discussion – perhaps you need to go back and take a look at it.

      Interesting that I’m suddenly being attacked by you “Good Ol’ Boys”! You don’t like hearing the truth, do you? But isn’t that just too damn bad! I’m “free to write as often as I’d like” and you know what? I always have and always will!

      • Steve Wade
        January 14, 2012 at 6:13 am #

        MEOW Molly has her claws out!

      • Boom
        January 14, 2012 at 11:02 am #

        Wait, how is 66 a GOB? Molly, maybe you should check back on that definition before people start referring to you and your comments as “TOB”.

        • Molly
          January 15, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

          Hmmmm – I’m not familiar with the term “TOB”. I assume that it’s a compliment, though…

    • Joseph Nichols
      January 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      @ route66,

      Melissa and I are very good friends and will continue to be as we have found ourselves to be on the right honorable side of the fence. We didn’t vote 9 to 2 just for fun. It was because we have the same moral beliefs.

      I will tell you this fact, I am not through shaking up this city government and I will continue to fight for what is right by the people.

      One more profound thought for you route66, Did it ever occur to you that people like Melissa and I do not have a need or a liking for political alignments and stratigies? People like us want to realize true leadership and we are working to eliminate the corrupt workings of politics.

      Good Day Route66,

      Joseph Nichols

      • danvalenti
        January 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

        Well express, Joe, by one of the most honest and sincere councilors this city has ever had. We encourage you to stay involved, and join the rest of us who will push for positive change, no matter what cages get rattled.

      • Molly
        January 15, 2012 at 11:57 am #

        Nicely put, Joe! We miss you on the City Council!
        Thank You!!!

      • route66
        January 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

        whenever I watched the council you were busy running your mouth and no one was listening. Like the night John Barrett was addressing the council and made a fool out of you when you asked him for his credentials.

        Sorry to hear you’re not through shaking up the city gov’t,but aren’t you getting the cart before the horse? First you have to get elected again.

        • Jim Gleason
          January 17, 2012 at 8:23 am #

          It’s a shame Joe Nichols wasn’t elected as a write in this time. He never spoke just for the sake of speaking, unlike some including the Ward’s 5 and 6 councilors, and people who didn’t listen to him were bobbleheaded ruberto sycophants who were going to vote in ruberto’s favor if Jesus was asking them not to. You are the one running your mouth under the veil of a pseudonym so until you have the guts to use your name, shut up!

  3. rick
    January 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    i need to find loop holes with my taxes,but i cant afford a good tax guy, amazing that big box pay their people minimum wage, try to skirt their tax obligations all for the bottom line and their stock for share holders. yet people keep going there ,stay away and shop elsewhere , boycott them, they will change their tune. remember we the people .

    • joetaxpayer
      January 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      Typical,lets all hate big business,how dare they try to make as much money as they can.They pay alot of property tax to the city and give alot away.People cannot have it both ways.Molly keep it up,like your insight and contribution to this blog.There will always be haters out there.

      • danvalenti
        January 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

        JOE
        We should point out that Walmart has a responsibility to its owners and board to be as profitable as possible. The company is also using existing law to its advantage. It is doing nothing illegal.

        • Steve Wade
          January 14, 2012 at 6:20 am #

          Yet you take the guy at Berkshire Works to task for getting paid for his sick days. Which is perfectly legal. {by the way I don’t agree with him getting paid for these.} Which is it Dan ? You can’t have it both ways.

          • K-Man
            January 14, 2012 at 10:11 am #

            Wade again missing the point. First the guy was dismissed at BWorks bec he hired his daughter then fixed the rules in his favor. He also hired someone who had a business and worked on the business while supposed to be working on BWorks projects. The city could have prosecuted a friend tells me who works there, but didn’t.

      • rick
        January 14, 2012 at 6:17 am #

        joe, one thing i could never understand about “give away alot” is why wouldnt they pay their staff a good wage and make their staff their charity. people cant make ends meet with minimum wage, you know that… as for ” they pay alot of property tax ” , i guess you havent been paying attention to the loop hole they found!!!!! wake up guy, some one has got to pick up that loss of tax. how about you and the rest that think you pick up the balance of what their skating away with.

        • Steve Wade
          January 14, 2012 at 6:21 am #

          Good Point Rick.

        • joetaxpayer
          January 14, 2012 at 8:06 am #

          @Rick Since 2009 Walmart spends 933 million a year on bonuses and a additional 788 million for profit sharing and 401k plans.Yes full and part time employees.Also since 2005 spent 500 million a year being green.Making there stores and trucks energy efficent.As far as the loop hole goes welcome to the United States dont know what country you used to live in but this has been going on for sometime.I have a novel idea about the lost revunue,instead of raising taxes,like every year,try cutting the budget.

          • rick
            January 14, 2012 at 11:15 am #

            joe, you can stand by your beliefs for walmart, but at the end of the day the workers gotta eat and pay bills.i will bet you 10k that those bonuses didn’t find the way into into the greeters pocket or the floor worker, i think that money went up the corporate ladder. who can get into a 401k at minimum wage, they offer it to look good.

      • rick
        January 14, 2012 at 7:51 am #

        joetaxpayer, with that name you and your statements you are an enigma, are you saying you dont pay enough taxes? have you found a way around taxes? they closed up all the loop holes for individals tax, yet open up holes for wealthy people . im just looking for a level playing ground… give us some legal ways to legally cheat the i.r.s… sounds kind of crazy doesnt it???????? yet its written in tax laws for all big buisness. g.e. payed no tax last year, and recieved money back on no tax….

        • Steve Wade
          January 14, 2012 at 9:10 am #

          Rick Great Point! Although it will fall on deaf ears. They complain about how much they pay in taxes yet say its OK for the Billionairs to get all the tax breaks. Im confused…So they think its ok for all the little guys to pay most of the taxes.

        • joetaxpayer
          January 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

          @Rick, Agree the workers who make more money will benefit more with the bonuses and profit sharing,but this is still offered to all employees.At least walmart does not have there hand out like alot of businesses in this country looking for the bail out, slash hand out and lets not forget the subsidsing.You know who they are Solyndra,Fannie Mae,Freddie Mac,GMC,Chrysler lets not forget that chevy volt that has that little battery problem.There really are too many to mention.Rick I must agree to disagree with you, and I respect your opinion.Steve Wade not so much,you really dont bring much to the table.

    • Steve wade
      January 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      While Sam Walton makes his BILLIONS ! Welcome to Walmart !

      • joetaxpayer
        January 13, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

        @Steve Sam Walton died in 1992.Grew up during the depression and busted his ass for everything that he got.Now Walmart is one of the largest businesses in the united states.I personally don’t like Walmart but apperantly somebody does,considering there success.

        • Molly
          January 14, 2012 at 1:31 am #

          Exactly, Joe! Sam Walton busted his ass to build that business – that’s what this country is based upon – Working hard and succeeding! Along with the freedom to do so and equal opportunity for all.

          Just can’t wait to see what the tax incentives will be for the “Big Box Store” coming soon to PEDA!! ;-)

          • Steve Wade
            January 14, 2012 at 6:15 am #

            Working hard and low balling your employees. The American Dream! Welcome to WalMart!

          • Molly
            January 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

            So Steve – can I assume then that you are AGAINST the “big box store” coming to PEDA?

  4. joetaxpayer
    January 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Dan,loved the school committee piece.The part about the non-voting school member quitting cracked me up,brought back memories of blueberry hill.On a serious note a certain radio host seems to have picked sides.He believes that Barbalunga is the problem and has already formed a negative opinion of Mr Conant and Mr Kinnas who have served for only2 meetings.He also feels there are some underling reasons for this rift.All I know are some facts,Mrs Amuso was the chair woman of the school board for 6 years.Jan 2nd Mr Barbalunga was voted in 6-1 Amuso only dissenting vote.That tells me that the other members wanted to go in a different direction,and possible didnt like Mrs Amuso as the chairwoman.Then the following meeting sub commitee appointments were made.The committee voted 6-0 to approve with Amuso dissenting.Seems to me that Amuso is the one with the problem.Do agree that Mrs Amuso should stay on building committee until the mayor and superintendent tell her different.Agree with Mr Elias the friction now will be short lived,after all they are all on the same team.

    • Merrimack
      January 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      The talk show hist you speak of has disliked Mr. Kinnas since he hung up on him repeatedly and Kinnas stopped calling his show. Sturgeon doesn’t like o be disagreed with, if you do so he hangs up on you. I hope Hodgkins at WBRK shuts him down, he is truly a GOB and caters to their every whim, proof being when he had Barrett, Lee and Ruburto on his show at once and didn’t allow calls to come in. He plays like the peoples’ friend but is a wolf in sheep clothing. Please don’t trust him. He helped get Ruberto elected two years ago and tried to do the same for Peter this time.

      • Merrimack
        January 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

        Remember who brought Strurgeon in, it was Sherman Baldwin, the convicted felon, and let’s not forget that.

  5. danvalenti
    January 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    JOE
    The question of Ms. Amuso’s service on the SBNC is an interesting one. First question: Is the SBNC a free-standing city committee or a sub-committee of the School Committee. Second question: By what authority was(is) Amuso serving. If mayoral, that would seem to supercede the appointing power of the school committee chairman. If by the superintendent, that would seem to mean the chairman could make such a move. Third question: Does the school committee chairman have the power to appoint to SBNC in addition to the superintendent’s power to do so? I’m hoping someone out there can answer. Perhaps Jake Eberwein might care to clarify? Mr. Elias or Mr. Kinnas?

    • Molly
      January 14, 2012 at 1:23 am #

      Dan – the Pittsfield Public Schools website – main page, has a chart showing the members of the SBNC and who appointed them (Mayoral Appointments/Superintendent Appointments) and it shows Kathy Amuso as the first person listed under “Superintendent Appointments”. Take a look:
      http://www.pittsfield.net/index.php/about-the-district/school-building-needs-commission/

      • Steve Wade
        January 14, 2012 at 6:16 am #

        Molly Time to get a life! You Blogged at 3am. How sad.

        • dusty
          January 14, 2012 at 6:37 am #

          I am kind of sad for you Steve that the time someone blogs causes pain for you. As far as we know, no one is forcing you to turn on your computer, go to Dan s site and read what is under Molly s name. But if someone is, you should try to sneak away and report them to the proper authorities.

          • Steve Wade
            January 14, 2012 at 9:13 am #

            I check in just to see what all the Nut Job bloggers are saying.. LOL

          • Dave
            January 14, 2012 at 9:51 am #

            Steve
            If it is your desire to be the “Voice of Reason” you need to try harder, contribute positive comments and drop acting like a kid.

        • Dave
          January 14, 2012 at 7:43 am #

          Who is this Steve Wade?

          • Steve Wade
            January 14, 2012 at 9:20 am #

            Steve Wade is on a mission to be the voice of REASON…. Im the common sense man.. I feel the need to say something when people say such outrageous crazy things. I also find it kind of scary that these people acually beleive the things they write Now Dan I find interesting because we all know that he says things just to get people to blog on his web site. He is intelligent and witty and likes to bust chops.

  6. Tito
    January 14, 2012 at 6:44 am #

    Molly, what kind of mission are you on? You seem to be pathetic at times and your comments are that off a cheerleader.

    • Al
      January 14, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      Totally agree Tito.

    • Molly
      January 14, 2012 at 9:21 am #

      Whoa! Lots more attacks! Keep them coming as it give me great pleasure to know that I seem to be a threat to you! Love it!!! :-) Have a great day!

      • danvalenti
        January 14, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

        MOLLY
        When they need to attack, ad hominum — well, that’s when you know they are taking you seriously. Otherwise, they wouldn’t feel the need to respond in a personal way.

        • Ray Ovac
          January 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

          DV, if any of this is true, isn’t this grounds for impeaching No Show Speranza and for the Probation Dept firing Cliff Nilan?

  7. Mark Smith
    January 14, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    I heard a rumor that the Nilan hearing took place on Thursday. The Eagle reported in yesterday’s (Friday) paper 2 separate, different cases, so it would appear they had a reporter at court. If indeed the Nilan hearing took place, the Eagle had knowledge of it and decided not to report on it. Can anyone confirm Thursday’s hearing?

    • danvalenti
      January 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

      MARK
      We have heard the same. We shall be posting on this for monday’s PLANET. We will likely be the only media outlet to look into what appears to be a coverup.

      • Ray Ovac
        January 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

        DV, if any of this is true, isn’t this grounds for impeaching No Show Speranza and for the Probation Dept firing Cliff Nilan?

  8. Unchy
    January 14, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    Leave Cliffy alone!

    • CONCERNED
      January 14, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      why unchy is he your good gob buddy

  9. Dave Martindale
    January 14, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    I would love to participate on Melissa Mazzeo’s Panel.

    I have what I think are some pretty good ideas for reopening the Consent Decree.

    1. Ground water was never addressed in the Consent Decree. As things stand right now, Pittsfield can never utilize the huge aquifers in the center of Pittsfield due to contamination. Pittsfield’s drinking water comes from surface impoundments in other towns. If for some reason, the surface water in these impoundments became contaminated, what would Pittsfield do for drinking water?

    2. OPCA 71, the huge mound of toxins right next to Hill 78 and Altresco, was designated as a landfill for soils contaminated with unlimited amounts of PCB. OPCA 71 has a liner and and a cap. The one regulation for OPCA 71 was that no other RCRA wastes were to be deposited there.

    From my perspective, this is the chink in that armor so to speak.

    When you have deposits of PCB it is never just PCB. You almost always have cleaning solvents, dioxins and furans. Here in Pittsfield, one could reason that other byproducts of GE”s manufacutring would be blended into the mix. The cleaning solvents are a derivative of the transformer component cleaning process. The dioxins and furans are a biproduct of the manufacturing of PCB by Monsanto and the reality of a transformer failure.

    To determine if these toxins and any other industrial wastes are in OPCA 71, it would be simple to sample the lechate collected in the bottom liner and to do representative cores of the deposit.

    Just because GE and EPA only sample for PCB does not mean any other industrial chemical wastes are not present in this OPCA.

    • danvalenti
      January 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

      DAVE
      You should definitely have a set on the panel. The fact that Melissa Mazzeo responded to the public pressure from We The People, made a promise, and is fulfilling that promise is progress. She has presented her ideas to the mayor, and it will now be up to him to form the panel. You have expertise and sincerity. You should be on the panel.

  10. Dave Martindale
    January 14, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    Silver Lake.

    Silver Lake in itself is a huge reason to reopen the Consent Decree.

    The present plan is to cap the bottom of this 14 arce pond, estimated to be a 5′ thick layer of toxins, with a layer of sand and allow GE to walk away.

    Who in their right mind thinks this is acceptable? This is right up there with their best plan of building a pair of toxic dumps next to a residential neighborhood and within a few yards of an Elementary School.

    How is it that a cap of sand is a defensible plan that will be protective of humans and the environment?

  11. CONCERNED
    January 14, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Het Tito why don’t you and that Steve Wacko get together and live happy ever after

  12. charley
    January 14, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Hearing was closed so reporter was not present but soon it will be open when a certain someone who has actual integrity objects to the finding.

  13. Merrimack
    January 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    I saw that one of the questions from Stooley concerned Nilan’s son. Waht did he do at LSU, Stooley?

  14. PITTSFIELD BELIEVER
    January 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    Ok, question for all of you pathetic followers of Little Napolean, the Planet Piper. Who else do you know gets picked up in an executive jet at Pittsfield airport this a.m., flown to South Carolina, and is flown back not to Pittsfield but to Boston to see the Patriots game, in one of the Stadium boxes no less? Now what’s happening in SC? Oh, is it the primary on Tuesday in which Mitt Romney will get clobbered? Your voice of the Little Guy is a using all you “so called” Planetoids while he hobnobs with the Romneys and Bob Krafts of the world . Anon. source from Pittsfield airport!

    • Molly
      January 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

      And just how is this your business, or anyone else’s business? If true, it is an honor to be helping the next POTUS – it’s not like he’s sleazing around Pittsfield like some of your good buddies.

      IF true, Dan should be very proud! But it’s also no one else’s business if it’s true or not.

      • Boom
        January 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

        Ughh…Molly (TOB) you are so freakin annoying. You’re taking this “defender of the little people” a bit too literal. Dan’s a big boy (just vertically challenged), he can defend himself.

        • Molly
          January 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

          I’m sure Dan can defend himself just fine and has. I just find a bit odd your and Pittsfield Believer’s obsession with him. Who cares where he was or is? No one else cares except you guys… I know that I could not care less! Why are so nosy about it? Pittsfield Believer – you went and talked with (interviewed?) an employee at the Pittsfield Airport to find out where Dan Valenti is? And then went through video’s trying to spot him with Romney in S.C. and at a football game? I think that could very easily be regarded as STALKING! What the hell?

    • Mark Smith
      January 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      and yet he can do it without the airport expansion, amazing…

    • Joe blow
      January 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

      Good for him!! You sound jealous.

    • PITTSFIELD BELIEVER
      January 15, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      Dont believe me? There was a TV shot of the Kraft box, you could see the Krafts, Jon Bon Jovial, Sen. Live Shot Kerry, other Nobility, and Valenti. Not front row there in box. Also video of Romney speech earlier same day Valenti there and at one point whispers something in Romper Room Romney’s ear. With Valentis help, Romney’s getting creamed in SC.

      • Joe Blow
        January 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

        Creamed??? He’s up 21 points in the polls!

  15. Bill Sturgeon
    January 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Merrimack and Joe Taxpayer: I normally do not respond to people who do not use their real names. However, I know Dan V. works very hard to report things factually. So here are my responses to your comments.
    I was at WBRK before Sherman started working there – I believe Dan will attest to that fact.
    I don’t dislike Terry; in fact, I have contributed to his past campaigns and Terry can attest to that fact.
    I did hang-up on Terry when he was repeating what someone had told him that I said something negative about him. Ask me if I said it – don’t tell me what someone told you I said. Whether Terry calls the program or not is his choice. I still consider him a friend.
    I have hung up on others when they started to yell at me, or otherwise have stepped over what I thought was right.
    I have disagreed with some of the people who call-in or have been on my show. That does not mean that I don’t like them.
    As far as being a GOB, you are entitled to your opinion, but I would check with others outside of the GOB group.
    I am going to be 65 yrs. old, and throughout my life I have made many friends I will not let a radio show or political position hurt those friendships.
    As for Mr. Conant I just reported what I observed.
    Any/all of the School Committee members are free to come on the show anytime they want. I made that offer Thursday and Friday.
    As for Mr. Kennedy, the PHS student who resigned his position on the School Committee – I think he is a very courageous
    young man who demonstrated maturity beyond his years.
    Dan, I hope that this response gets the facts out. I hope that you, Melissa and Dave keep up the good work with “Misery Hill – 78″

    • joetaxpayer
      January 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

      Bill big fan of your show and think you are fair and provide a great service to the area.Just think that when dealing with the school committe you got alittle annoyed and choose sides.You are entitled to your opinion as am I.I will agree with you that I hope they can right the ship and start to act like adults and show each other some respect.

    • Jim Gleason
      January 17, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Mr. Sturgeon your credibility is akin to that of a snake oil salesman. Which ones of your guest are not brilliant or a genius, or in your estimation a great asset to the community? They all leave your studio with smooch marks or their butts too. Your descriptions of some of the bozos you host are far from the truth including those of your “best friends” Barrett and Ruberto, both of whom fit the bozo moniker. As I said earlier I hope Hodgkins shuts you down because you are nothing more than A GOB and an enabler of the GOB’s. Someone who fails at everything they try has done everything because they have succeeded at nothing and that fits you to a T.

  16. Amanda Blake
    January 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    PB
    You are one of the GOBs could be one of many. If you are a man (or a woman) of honor, you would use your real name. Besides what does any of this have to do with the issues? You are trying to throw off the discussion by creating dissent. Even if this stuff is true, so what? I would think it great to have someone like Dan trying to fight B——s like you and your kind. And I can’t stand Romney, by the way.

  17. HadToSaySomething
    January 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    At Mitt Romney’s last speech I thought I saw Dan standing behind Mitt whispering in his ear what to say. I think Dan could be the leader of the free world except Mitt has better hair. So Dan let’s Mitt do the talking. VIVA VALENTI..

  18. Bill Sturgeon
    January 15, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    Thanks Joetaxpayer. I do try to be fair to both side, but my feet are made of clay.

  19. joetaxpayer
    January 15, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    @PITTSFIELD BELIEVER Thanks for tipping us off about Dan.I think I might have saw him up in the booth next to Josh McDaniels and he was wearing a head set.Wow Dan you called a awesome game! Good luck next week.

  20. Mark Smith
    January 15, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Conor Berry has pick up Ms. Nilan’s story at

    http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/01/berkshire_superior_court_proba.html

    We need to keep Conor up to date with the latest Berkshire scandals and hopefully The Republican will reinstate a local correspondent.

  21. Shakes His Head
    January 15, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Does anyone think that each business possible DOESN’T use the same practices to reduce their personal property tax liability? I’m sure GE did for all the massive machinery they had in their operations here.

  22. GMHeller
    January 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Plus, Conor Berry links to PlanetValenti in his article entitled:
    ‘Berkshire County probation chief’s car involved in hit-and-run accident’
    http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/01/berkshire_superior_court_proba.html

  23. GMHeller
    January 16, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    Lest people forget the nature of the political hacks in charge.
    The following is excerpted from an article published in The Berkshire Eagle: ‘Massachusetts probation head is suspended’, May 25, 2010:

    “One of the officials named in the Globe’s report on patronage in the Probation Department was Alfred E. “Alf” Barbalunga, South Berkshire District Court’s chief probation officer.

    “The Globe said Barbalunga’s father, the retired judge Alfred A. Barbalunga, is friendly with (Massachusetts Probation Commissioner John) O’Brien, and that the younger Barbalunga went unscathed after a 1999 investigation for poor job performance as a probation officer in North Adams, which included complaints he wasn’t always showing up for work. A judge recommended Barbalunga be fired and another pushed for a reprimand, but in the end he received no discipline.

    “Three years later, in 2002, O’Brien promoted Barbalunga to chief probation officer at the South Berkshire District Court.

    “When contacted by The Berkshire Eagle on Monday, Barbalunga said that, due to a mandate from the Probation Department issued last Thursday, he could not comment without authorization from the department.

    “The Globe reported that Barbalunga said his work ethic as a probation officer in North Adams was not the central part of the investigation. “That was a very unfortunate time,” Barbalunga told The Globe. “I think I’ve done an outstanding job.”

    SEE:
    http://www.thetranscript.com/ci_15155729
    ——————————————————–

    Perhaps this is an ‘unfortunate time’ as well for the school committee.

  24. Concern
    January 16, 2012 at 6:25 am #

    GM Heller. If someone talks to some of the employees at that court you’ll see it was a little more than being late for work. Try talking with the female employees.

    • GMHeller
      January 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

      ‘Concern’,
      Thanks for the tip, but you already are posting anonymously.
      Don’t beat around the bush: Please just tell us to the best of your knowledge that which you already know, or that which you have heard.
      Your being upfront and forthcoming will encourage others to speak out about what they know, plus it may jog memories in people who had otherwise forgotten details.
      Thanks.

  25. CONCERNED
    January 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    GM Heller: Pretty simple alleged “sexual harassment”. Im not beating around the bush. I heard this from person in that court system quite awhile ago. This person will not let their name be used. But like I said this was quire awhile ago and have not heard another word about it.

  26. CONCERNED
    January 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    that “quite”