KROL, MAZZEO FIRE AWAY OVER ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE … PLANET OFFERS DEBATE CHALLENGE TO MM & JK and BOTH ACCEPT … BIANCHI PULLS A NIXON, GETS TRADED FOR HIMSELF … plus … GANG OF 4 in MASSACRE ALL MARCHETTI CONTRIBUTORS
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, FEB. 21, 2012) — As you could see from yesterday’s post, THE PLANET doesn’t stop for President’s Day. We have ceased caring about the White House, in truth, since 1:31 p.m., EST, on Nov. 22, 1963. If we have to explain the significance of that date, congratulations: You fit right in with a generation of culturally and historically clueless young people for whom culture is Lady Gaga and history is the day that Paris Hilton let got out of he backseat of a limo.
We do have some interesting items on the menu today. No, nothing as exotic as shark-fin soup, known NOT to be a favorite of President Barack Obama, but with the bad blood flowing from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the city council’s injurious treatment of mayoral appointee Jeff Ferrin continues to resonate.
AFTERMATH OF FERRIN/COUNCIL ‘ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE’ RESONATES
We won’t recap, since almost everyone knows what happened at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre at the council meeting this past Tuesday. THE PLANET waited until we heard from a good cross-section of councilors and citizens, and we posted our thoughts on Friday. Basically, we thought the council — specifically, the Gang of Four councilors (Lothrop, Clairmont, Yon, and Capitanio) had (1) treated Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s appointee, Jeff Ferrin, shabbily (2) set a dangerous precendent, and (3) aggravated a never-healed political fissure that threatens to erupt like Vesuvius.
Our piece quoted councilor Melissa Mazzeo, thus:
“Jeff is an EMT and a good fir for this board,” Mazzeo said. “J-Lo objected to Ferrin based on Jeff’s civil service record and ‘character.’ He was followed with support from [Barry] Clairmont, [John] Krol, [Paul] Capitanio, and [Chris] Yon, who questioned his work ethic and character. Capitanio actually said [he was objecting to Ferrin because] he ran against him! I strongly encouraged them to be careful going after ‘character,’ since we have a few questionable people sitting on boards right now. I’m sure you can figure that out. This is going to open up a Pandora’s box. Everyone now is open to having their past looked into and their character debated.”
Krol vs. Mazzeo: Dueling Messages
Councilor Krol reacted to Mazzeo’s quote with the following e-mail. Krol addressed the e-mail to Mazzeo and copied in THE PLANET:
On Mr. Valenti’s blog, he writes comments that he attributes to you. In your comments you mention me and my actions Tuesday night as it relates to the appointment of Mr. Ferrin to the Ambulance Review Board. Your comments that pertain to me are at-best misleading, but in reality, a complete misrepresentation of my actions and statements. Perhaps you were misquoted, and in that case, I hope Dan would fix his error. Either way, I will set the record straight.
1. I did not “follow in support” of Councilor Lothrop or the other councilors that you mention in your comments. After hearing the concerns of these four councilors, and then after hearing from Councilor Cotton who said that he, like me, had not seen the civil service report (we also learned during the discussion that the report had not been seen by Councilors Connell and Simonelli), I suggested that the matter be tabled so others could see what our colleagues were alluding to in their comments. I chose not to make the motion to table myself, in order to allow others the opportunity to voice their thoughts and provide input (as you know, our rules do not allow discussion after a motion to table is made). Ultimately, Councilor Connell made the motion to table, agreeing that we all ought to have the opportunity to see the information before making a decision.
2. Your comments may also mislead the reader into believing I “questioned [Mr. Ferrin’s] work ethic and character.” To be clear, I did not question Mr. Ferrin’s work ethic and I did not question Mr. Ferrin’s character.
You certainly are free to voice your thoughts on this issue. However, if you choose to characterize the actions of your colleagues, I suggest that you have your facts straight. I look forward to allocating our time and energy on many of the important issues that will shape our community now and for years to come. I hope you will join me in not letting this issue serve as a wedge to divide this council, which would not be in the best interest of anyone – particularly the people we serve.
I think this is good progress. As you know you’re always welcome on my show, and I’m willing to discuss any city issues in any forum and with any moderator. Let’s do this soon.In regard to the discussion with Lew, I believe it is ironic because we had very similar discussions last year. In fact I do agree with your revised view of the council’s role regarding mayoral appointments and would have voted in favor of Mr. Ferrin’s appointment until information (that not everyone had the opportunity to see) came to light. I’ve always been consistent on my view of mayoral appointments and I believe there is a very high threshold for challenging such an appointment, and my general inclination is to allow the mayor to choose the people who will best reflect his/her administration.
JohnDo you tape the council meetings so you can go back and watch them? I do and its not to look at myself…i do it so i can replay any particular debate and things that were said by councilors, dept heads or even the Mayor are there forever. So when you just said ” In fact I do agree with your revised view of the council’s role regarding mayoral appointments” I am not sure what you are talking about? I will say it again, every appointment that i had an issue with during this last administration was about the procedure or the policy, it was never ABOUT THE PERSON. For example, I had the appointments of the SBNC tabled so the Mayor could re-read the Order that set up this commission and realize he only was allowed 11 appointments, not all of them as he was doing. When i wanted to table( but was not successful) appointments for the Licensing board it was the fact that these members ALL had expired terms, yet the Mayor chose to re-appointment them in July2011 giving them terms that will run through this administration and the next. Now that is an important board…did you not think that the next Mayor would have liked to have been able to place some one on that himself?? I guess not. I challenge you to find even one instance where i revised my view on Mayoral appointments..John, we can all pretend that this “tabling” of Jeff was to give the other councilors a chance to read the documents that where not only talked about for 2 years, the Berkshire Eagle even did a story on these papers when they some how found there way onto peoples door steps during the ward 3 race…did you miss that story? But back to the appointment process…If you go back and watch the meetings from March 2011 you will find yourself saying…..IF we continue to debate Peoples ability or qualifications to do a job…no one will want to come and work for the city of Pittsfield….you were referring to the Director of Admin and the Commissioner of Public Service jobs…so now you seemed to have revised your view on how much involvement should the council have in scrutinizing a Mayoral appointment. You could have made that speach again instead of suggesting to table this so everyone could have a chance to read this ” document”. What will it change? are we going to deny Jeff’s appointment because of his past? Now that is a Slippery slope….To which Krol answered on 2/18/12, 8:04 p.m.
Don’t forget: The REAL Pittsfield Benefit for PEter Moore and Family is this Sunday, 12:30 to 5 p.m. at Chameleon’s Nightclub, 1350 East St., Pittsfield, Mass. Please attend and show everyone the REAL Pittsfield, the one of good, caring, compassionate people.
PETITION’S FOUR-YEAR TURN IN SOLITARY LEADS TO STRAGE CASE: MAYOR BIANCHI GETS COUNCILOR BIANCHI’S REQUEST
Only one time in baseball history has a player been traded for himself. It happened in the early 1960s, when the Boston Red Sox sent catcher Sammy White to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for catcher Russ Nixon. When White retired from baseball rather than report to the Tribe, the commissioner of baseball nixed the deal, which technically meant that Nixon was on the Cleveland roster. The Red Sox, meanwhile, were allowed to keep a space for “Russ Nixon” on their 40-man roster. To square this off, the commissioner ordered Boston to send cash to Cleveland, who would send Boston a player to be named later. That player turned out to be Nixon.
We thought of this when Mayor Dan Bianchi was put in the bizarre position of receiving a referred petition from the city council filed by … Ward 6 councilor Dan Bianchi. It all stems back to February 2008, four years ago. Councilor Bianchi at that time asked DPW’s Bruce Collingwood to prepare a list of “unaccepted or unrecognized roadways” in the city of Pittsfield.
The request sees straightforward enough, but it took Collingwood four years to get around to the request. AtCollingwood’s request (and likely a little thunder from MAYOR Dan Bianchi, the petition, which had been rotting in a cell on the council’s public works subcommittee, was taken off the table. The council referred Councilor Bianchi’s petition to Mayor Bianchi.
We also mention this in light of the tabled appointment of Jeff Ferrin to the ambulance advisory board. THE PLANET somehow doesn’t think the tabled request will languish for four years. Something tells us that the matter will be taken up at the Feb. 28 meeting. By that time, all councilors will have had time to digest whatever information they need to vote on the Ferrin appointment.
Why they hadn’t all read this material PRIOR to the St. Valentine’s Massacre is a good question, one that’s been asked by commentators to this site. Is it too much to expect that councilors will come to meetings prepared and having done all the necessary research and reading in advance? Of course, in Pittsfield, home of the illegal wheeling and dealing out of the public’s view, certain members apparently do not need to research anything or read nuttin’. For them, the GOB issues its orders. End of discussion.
THE PLANET predicts this will come off the table soon, and Ferrin will be approved, 8-3.
Tomorrow, we bring you city council president Kevin Sherman’s take on the Ferrin matter. You won’t want to miss it.
‘GANG OF FOUR’ COUNCILORS IN ST. VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE WERE ALL MARCHETTI CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS
In case you missed it, Bianchi and Peter Marchetti filed their final finance reports recently. During crunch time, defined as the period from Oct. 22 through Dec. 31 (with the bulk, of course, spent prior to the November election), Marchetti outspent Bianchi $18,963 to $17,285. You tell us what this means, if anything.
THE PLANET also shares several of the more interesting individual contributors during this period. For Marchetti: Paul Capitanio, Barry Clairmont, Jonathan Lothrop, and Christine Yon — yes, the Gang of Four that wanted (please, try to refrain your laughter) “character” involved in the assessment of a person’s fitness to serve the city. No, as in not one, sitting councilor contributed to Bianchi’s war chest.
Again, tell us what this means. We do not know. We are Gentiles.
A THRUSH ALIGHTS FROM THE THIN UPPER BRANCH OF A WHITE BIRTH. A SNOWDROP AND DAFFODIL PUSH THEIR EMERALD TIPS THROUGH THE LATE FEBRUARY GROUND. WE CAN FEEL THE SAP BEGIN THE FLOW THROUGH THE FOREST. SPRING IS NEIGH. ALL IS WELL WITH THE WORLD.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.