PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary



(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2012) — Having sprung forward into Daylight Savings Time, we still laugh at the concept. By changing the way our human instruments measure the cosmos, we pretend the world has adjusted to us rather than the opposite (“The hubris, to be humankind not elf; yet each does hate his neighbor as he does himself”).

We find Daylight Savings Time an absurdity and have since forever. This tempts THE PLANET to launch into a long segment on our theory of “time,” but we will spare you the lecture. Rather, we will tell the story of the Old Indian, who, when told the reason for DST, said “Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.”

We invent clocks, parcel up the day, and make agendas that have led us … where? The second decade of the 21st century? My, what progress!



School committeeman Terry Kinnas has filed a petition that would, if approved, halt the school board’s mad-dash search for a new superintendent. Kinnas wants the position “better defined” before it is re-advertised. He also calls for public input sessions and a determination of what the position will pay before it is advertised again.

Kinnas’ petition is on the agenda of the school committee meeting slated for Wednesday, March 14, in the PHS library. THE PLANET urges members of the public to attend this important meeting. The petition should draw some interesting discussion that could reveal much about the political loyalties of the seven board members. Key vote to watch will be Kathy Amuso: Does she vote against the petition, as the GOB wants her to do, or does she support the petition as a political slap in the chairman’s kisser?

Here is the full text of what Kinnas has filed:

To the School Committee of the City of Pittsfield:

The undersigned respectfully requests that the present superintendent position search be halted and that all applicants for the Superintendent of School position have their applications and the accompanying materials returned to them with the understanding that the individuals may reapply when the position is better defined and re-advertised.

As a result of the unilateral action of the School Committee Chair, all public input has been blocked out.  The general public, taxpayers, parents, students, educators, businesses and members of this committee were not given the opportunity to provide any input. This must be done at least to give some direction to the applicants as to what the community expects. Public input sessions will help develop valid preferences for the  position.

Before we advertise, we should at least figure out what the position will cost the taxpayers.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry M. Kinnas

School Committee Member

March 7, 2012


A Question for Alf: What Statute or Provision Gives School Board Chairman Authority to Act Unilaterally in Advertising for New Superintendent? 

Kinnas’ petition is a much-needed first step in correcting the misstep taken by chairman Alf Barbalunga in unilaterally authorizing advertisement for the superintendent’s job. Barbalunga claims the chair has the power to do this, but he has not cited verse and chapter for the claim. We call upon the chairman to share the statute that spells this out.

The school department accounts for 70 cents of every dollar the city of Pittsfield spends on its entire budget. The hiring of a new superintendent allows a relatively rare opportunity to have a discussion about to the job. What, exactly, are the general and specific (to the local community) skills this new person must have? Now is the time for that discussion.

THE PLANET urges the school committee to support the Kinnas petition. We also again invite citizens to attend in support of or in opposition to the Kinnas petition. The hiring of a new superintendent is too important for one man, or even seven people, to have in isolation. Ordinary citizens should jump on this chance to have a say.



It would seem, on the surface, to be a simple request. The police in Anytown, USA, charge a driver with two criminal charges related to an alleged hit-and-run. A magistrate conducts a show-cause hearing. The magistrate dismisses the police charges, but the Anytown Police Department appeals. The appellate judge overturns the magistrate’s ruling and sends the case to trial.

Prior to that, however, the APD requests a copy of the audio tape made of the magistrate’s hearing. Why? The police have a vital need for the tape, since — up and prior to the appellate judge’s ruling — the police were the prosecutors in the case. A neutral observer — FRONAB, a superior being from a planet in Galaxy X-417N — would describe the APD request of the clerk magistrate “simple, reasonable, and straightforward.” [ASIDE: Having seen just about every cheese-ball Sci-Fi movie ever made, we know that FRONAB learned how to speak English by “monitoring your primitive earth radio broadcasts” (couldn’t resist that one, folks)].

It suddenly dawns on FRONAB: We are in Pittsfield, Mass.

In a wisdom endowed by his enlarged brain of the future, FRONAB also observes that the courthouse and the APD are physically located within a couple minutes’ walk. It would be so easy to make an attested and notarized copy of the tape and walk it over the the police, especially if the clerk magistrate is in any kind of shape to walk 200 yards without sucking wind. But …

that is when FRONAB realizes this isn’t Anytown. This is Pittsfield, Mass.

* This is Pittsfield, Mass., a once-proud place where members of the GOB revere systemic corruption the way a miser respects gold.

* This is Pittsfield, Mass., where, according to sources within the criminal justice system and the Pittsfield Police Department, clerk magistrate Christopher “No Show” Speranzo has “sontewalled” their request for a copy of the audio tape of ringer Nathan Byrnes‘ hearing in the Nilan-Moore Case.

* This is Pittsfield, Mass., where in this case, the head of probation is Clifford Nilan, best bud of Angelo “Tell ’em Angelo Sent You” Stracuzzi. Nuff ced.

* This is Pittsfield, Mass., where fraudulence mocks honesty, where double-dealers cheat the law-abiding, and where sleaze tries to slime decency.

* This is Pittsfield, where the GOB has of late receded into panic because they no longer control the flow of information, which is the only reason why, ladies and gentlemen, who got to know about ANY of the vomit-inducing action and inaction performed by key individuals since the evening of Dec. 8, 2011, shortly after 8:15 p.m.

Incidentally, THE PLANET is not clear whether the records of  the county courts are covered by the Freedom of Information Act for cases in the process of adjudication. If anyone has definitive information, we would welcome this. The FOI act is a federal statute. We are not sure how it applies to state and local jurisdictions. Also, are active court documents exempted? We do believe, though, that an agency of record in a case — such as the Pittsfield Police Department is in Nilan-Moore — has a right to the information and that if the clerk magistrate’s office stonewalls an official request, it is obstructing justice.

Our good friend and colleague, ace reporter Conor Berry of the Springfield Republican and has told us that he will be checking into the availability of records. That’s good enough for this blues master.

With that, we share a letter on the case:


Comments: Dan,

I have a great suggestion for the Nilans. It’s the New S60R Volvo. This amazing new car” can sense when a pedestrian and/or a deer or dog!  comes in front of the car and, if the driver does not react, can apply the brakes fully to stop car. 

I guess this is what becomes of a corrupt system!  I hope the people can use the same line when standing in front of a judge, that maybe their paperwork can also get lost or eaten by a dog.

What a disgrace! Clifford Nilan and his good ole boys most likely at  work AGAIN! Just keep telling “The people” to call Martha Coakley’s office and get rid of the Dirt in Probation.  Clifford Nilan is no role model for that position and should get tossed! It should have happened in 2010! another BS story with Angelo. Didn’t the police report get lost? But, some had already read it before it got lost!


THE PLANET thanks Debbie for expressing her view. You can have your say on the issues that matter to you by dropping your letter to the editor into THE PLANET mail bag at



“You have to prove your case.”

Mayor Dan Bianchi spoke these words to his fellows members of the PEDA executive board in referring to their desire to erect a $6.5 million “incubator” building on the PEDA campus.

These are good, tough, and sensible words. We’re not use to hearing such words of common sense coming from “official Pittsfield.” In the past, no one would have thought anything out regarding the incubator building, and there would have been a blind rush to blow $6.5 million of taxpayer money without a clue. No marketing plan. No unifying vision. No strategic impulse. No problem.

Not this time. Score one for Bianchi.

‘Somebody’s Got to Be Our Expert’ — That’s as Pathetic as It Gets

The mayor insisted that PEDA produce a “competitive-type proposal.” Fellow board member George Whaling then suggested, according to an article by our good friend and colleague Tony Dobrowolski in the Boring Broadsheet, that “PEDA hire someone who could work to assist the quasi-public agency in crafting an effective proposal.”

What, you mean we don’t have the in-house talent to do that? Isn’t that what the PEDA board is supposed to do, provide the expertise in crafting such directive documents and thrusts?

Whaling, we’re sure, means well, but so did Benedict Arnold. Isn’t this the same old response to an innovative suggestion that has kept PEDA mired in a quicksand of GOB slime, tired thinking, and timid “bureaucratise?” Tony Dobro quotes Whaling as saying, “I know I don’t have time, and I know [PEDA executive director] Cory [Thurston] doesn’t have time. I think this is a great opportunity … Somebody’s got to be our expert.”

Stunning. Read that quote again, ladies and gentlemen, out loud and slowly. Let it sink in.

Whaling’s quote reveals everything about why PEDA has gone nowhere and, despite the progressive influence of Bianchi, will go nowhere. Look at what he’s saying: Whaling is basically admitting what THE PLANET and other observers have pointed out for years: The PEDA board is next to useless and completely toothless. They can gum their oatmeal but they can’t take a bite off a chunk of beef and chew.

Whaling says he doesn’t have time? Then why is he serving on the board? Who else on the PEDA board doesn’t have the time to do the job? Step forward, take a deep breath, and take a dive in Silver Lake. All those who don’t have the time, fine, then get off the board and make way for others who do. More incredibly, Whaling “knows” that Corydon Thurston doesn’t have the time?

What Does Corydon Do to Earn His $100,000 a Year (or Whatever) Big Bux?

Excuse us!?! Corydon doesn’t have the time? Then what in blue blazes does he do to earn his $100,000 a year, or whatever huge amount of taxpayer dollars they pay this useless GOB? What, does Corydon blow his time reading comic books? Playing solitaire on his computer? Listen to Rush Limbaugh on WGY Radio 81? Trying to find Waldo?

Corydon doesn’t have time? Whaling doesn’t have time, and by his other admission, the PEDA board lacks the expertise? Then why even maintain the charade. Why not close the PEDA offices and let the land be overtaken by the pigeons and rabbits, who, by the way, will be much better stewards of the land than human beings have ever been.

“Somebody’s got to be our expert.”

That inadvertent but frank admission explains everything about the failure of PEDA. They lack the talent. Rather than develop a creative strategic plan and pursue it aggressively, they are waiting for the Second Coming, for that savior “expert” out there who’s going to come in, take a huge chunk of money, and leave PEDA with a thick report that can be used as a doorstop or toilet paper.

Here’s a better suggestion: Fire the whole sorry crew and punt.







  1. Molly
    March 12, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    There is not now, nor has there ever been, a Marketing Plan for WSBP either. No one on the board knows anything about Marketing. And we wonder why we’re getting yet another Retail store in Pittsfield and more specifically, on the prime property of WSBP vs companies that provide “real jobs”?

    It’s amazing to me that no one on the board knows how to write a request for grant money from the state. Did you notice how long this money has been sitting there waiting for someone to do this? Years!

    Did anyone notice that any of the questions that were asked of Mr. Thurston at the City Council Meeting that were of any substance and importance, he didn’t know the answer to because he’s only been there a short time? Where were the other board members that have been there for a long time, to answer those hardball questions?

    Typical Pittsfield – that’s all I can say. Good for Mayor Bianchi to be guiding them. But do we really need to HIRE someone for this – I say replace the board members with people who can really contribute. And you’re right, Dan – if Cory Thurston makes $100+K year, he should know how to do this! Doesn’t have the time??

    RE: The Nilan/Moore case — if the Pittsfield Police Department, who participated in the hearing, can’t get a copy of the tape of the hearing and have been waiting for TWO MONTHS, and according to the Standards for Show Cause Hearings written by the courts and for the courts to follow, states that they are to be released to public, then what chance do you think any of us have in getting a copy? I am just amazed that the PPD can’t get this and would love to know if they have asked our DA’s office for help in obtaining it and asked the Worcester Assistant DA who will be handling the case, for help in obtaining it. The police investigation should continue until the actual “trial” and if they need this tape to continue their investigation and can’t get it, that, to me, IS obstruction of justice!!! And again, “typical Pittsfield”.

    However, if all paperwork/tapes, etc., truly are missing, then perhaps that explains it – the court can’t give the police something that they no longer have… And if that is the case, there is no hope for this city – we are so screwed.

    • dusty
      March 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      If the Nilan backers can make the papers disappear then perhaps they can also dampen the enthusiasm of the police to pursue the case…..I am sure they are at least trying if not succeeding

  2. Take the time to read the minutes
    March 12, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Molly, I was able to get back copies of the minutes of the old board meetings, Interesting reading. There was a very comprehensive marketing plan in place that was a work in progress done by a combination of MassDevelopment and Wynstanley Assoc of lenox . It appears that Mayor Ruberto was unhappy with MassDevelopment at the time and he and Mr. Hines took over the project. There is some discussion of hiring a firm from Albany but it appeared it went nowhere from there. This happened in 2007 or 2008 hard to follow in the minutes.

    • Molly
      March 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

      Thanks for this info.! I have not read the minutes — but it is also my understanding that the minutes are severely lacking to say the least. I think it was Mayor Bianchi who couldn’t make head nor tails out of them, was it not? I may be mistaken on that. My statement was coming from Mr. Thurston’s answer to this question from two members of the City Council. I believe when it was asked the second time in a slightly different way, his answer was something along the lines of “it’s been a work in progress type of thing – but no, we have never had a completed Marketing Plan”. I do know that there was not a Marketing Plan on their old website.

      How many years has it been? And still no completed marketing plan… What have we physically done to market this business park — anything? What advertising have we done and where, what incentives have been offered? How can anyone say that we must “settle for” a Big Box Store who’s plans include other retail stores on this property when we couldn’t have done much marketing of it without a completed marketing plan? What happened to the work that MassDevelopment and Wynstanley did — is it just being thrown out and now we’re discussing hiring a firm from Albany? I do see that a person on the board is Christina Barrett who is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at BCC. What does Gary Grunin do? Does he receive a salary? How many people are paid employees – Cory Thurston – anyone else? What, exactly, are the backgrounds/expertise of the remaining board members? Does anyone know? What is Mr. Thurston’s background/expertise?

      It does seem that Mayor Bianchi is working on getting some of the problems resolved or at least improved.

      • Evian
        March 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

        Christina Barrett is eye candy, next to useless in her bcc post and besically unemployable anywhere but in a public employee job. Grunin is one peda board because it looks good for Grunin. Thurston is Don Thurston’s kid. Period. peda board may be the most ineffective board in the city and thats saying a lot.

        • dusty
          March 13, 2012 at 1:39 am #

          Grunin was one of the big pushers of the Civic Authority whose true purpose was to give immense powers to certain people in the city. When that did not work they brought in Ruberto who simply took the power by pushing people out and putting in his soldiers. But Grunin was a Doyle sidekick and that is how he got on the PEDA board along with Hickey. Each of them has collected rich rewards and given the results, apparently given little in return.

          • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
            March 13, 2012 at 5:11 am #

            What specifically “rich rewards” were given?

  3. Shakes His Head
    March 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm #


    Kentucky is my horse in the race. The Orange got off easy in their bracket. I will enjoy my free lunch regardless.

    • danvalenti
      March 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      No faith in Michigan, eh?

      • Shakes His Head
        March 13, 2012 at 11:39 am #

        Although Michigan had the benefit of playing in the strongest conference this year, they are no number one seed. You called your shot, I called mine. If you want to cancel the wager, I won’t be offended.

  4. Judas Priest
    March 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    DV you nailed it again on all of the topics.

    • danvalenti
      March 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      Gratias, amigo.

  5. Jim Gleason
    March 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    It seems to me that young Alfred has a propensity for making moves on his own without consulting other members of the board. I think he needs to be slapped down and put in his place and I hope the rest of the committee do this by supporting Terry’s petition. You know the GOB’s can’t like Kinnas as is evidenced by Sturgeon’s rants against him.

    • dusty
      March 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      It takes a lot of courage to do what Kinnas is doing. I hope he gets support because what he is trying to do will benefit all of us while at the same time showing the GOB that they don’t totally own us. Go Terry.

      • Molly
        March 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

        I agree! Go Terry!!

    • Silence Dogood
      March 13, 2012 at 4:30 am #

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      March 13, 2012 at 5:12 am #

      Is Sturgeon off the Air yet? Did you hear him falling all over Senator Brown the other day? Not exactly impartial….

  6. Sandy
    March 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    I sure hope the citizens of Pittsfield show up at the school committee and back Terry Kinnas and his petition. This is the future of education for the children of Pittsfield we are talking about. We have had enough of the GOB network at work in the courts, PEDA, you name it, they have their finger it. Just when you think they are not interested in a “project” or something going on in our city, you look close enough and one of them shows up and then another till they try to take over. It is amazing. This time the people of Pittsfield via this blog are not going to stand for it any longer. Justice is going to be served.
    We have to make sure our children get the best education possible and that as hard as the GOB’s tried in getting Alf on the school committee and CHAIRMAN, we are not stupid!! We know what they are up to. Fill PHS Wed. night, no excuses! We have to move forward, not be bulied by them any longer. We have to start somewhere. Where better than to stand up for our children and our school system in our city of Pittsfield!

    • danvalenti
      March 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

      We agree that Terry Kinnas has filed a great petition and can’t imagine a majority of the school committee voting it down. People need to show up at the meeting, March 14 at PHS, and show support for logic and reason.

  7. too tall
    March 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    I am not surprised by “missing” tapes and papers. Back sometime around 1985, audio tape of a citizen’s call to the police department and recorded dialogue between the patrol cars and headquarters went “missing”. When they resurfaced about six months later, they were mysteriously erased. Pittsfield politics is very NASTY!!

    • Evian
      March 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

      pittsfield politics is the worst and in my job as a marketing mgr. for a mid-level company Ive been all over the country and lived in the south and out west. Ive never seen any other place come close to the corruption in the Pitts.

      • danvalenti
        March 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

        We’ve been all over as well, and we will say that the corruption in Pittsfield is unique because of its amateurish, provincial, and ignorant nature — perpetuated by Pittsfield Dopes.

    • Judas Priest
      March 13, 2012 at 5:48 am #

      Cliffy hid the “missing tapes” in Baltimore

    March 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    Have heard nothing of this stuff is missing. Just Atty.Tim Screwy making waves. Ms Nilan I have advised you tell him to get this over with for your sake.

  9. your dad touched me
    March 12, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Gleason, i thought u and billy were friends?? u cant even look at him when u throw him under the bus

    • Jim Gleason
      March 13, 2012 at 7:07 am #

      If my Dad touched you it was to slap you in the head you ignorant jackass. Another gutless wonder throwing shit under an assumed name.

      • danvalenti
        March 13, 2012 at 9:56 am #

        We thought long and hard about allowing this comment. If you want, we shall order the removal.

  10. Giacometti
    March 12, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    PEDA needs a fundraiser ?

    1. Daily check the Federal Registry
    2. Subscribe to ” The Chronicle for Philanthropy ”
    3. Write grant proposals that are listed in both

    not difficult work….but it takes time

    I did it for 30 years and raised millions
    It’s not rocket science… it ‘s just a matter of writing
    enough grant proposals to cover the percentages.

    or hire a Professional Fundraising firm like Ketchum Inc.
    and pay them their commission

  11. Ray Ovac
    March 13, 2012 at 1:34 am #

    DV, why isn’t the PPD filing a motion in Judge Wm. Hadley’s Court in Springfield to compel Clerk-Magistrate Speranzo to release the tapes, since it was Judge Hadley’s clerk, once Judge Hadley overturned Magistrate Byrnes’ decision, who forwarded all case-related files, evidence, and materials — including the tape — back to the custody of the Central Berkshire District Court Criminal Clerk.
    If Judge Hadley signs the motion to compel and No-Show Speranzo refuses to comply (or doesn’t show–haha), then Speranzo can be held in contempt of court.
    If Speranzo claims those two-hours of tape recordings are ‘lost’ or ‘missing’, then either AG Coakley or the federal prosecutor in Boston, or the FBI can be brought in on the matter to determine whether charges of obstruction-of-justice should be filed against Chris Speranzo and against whomever else in the Central Berkshire District Court may have aided and abetted Speranzo in hiding/erasing/destroying the tapes.
    There may be a silver lining, though, to this growing cloud — and it may be that Chris Speranzo ends-up holding the record for shortest term as Clerk-Magistrate in Massachusetts history!

  12. Silence Dogood
    March 13, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    A reminder that Commonwealth is full of GOB dems:

  13. Silence Dogood
    March 13, 2012 at 5:24 am #

    From the Howie Carr News Letter:

    Try not to let this destroy your faith in the integrity of the Mass. state Senate, but ex-Sen. Cheryl Jacques of Needham is in another jam. Apparently this “administrative judge” — she works for the Division of Industrial Accidents — tried to get a dentist’s bill reduced for one of her worthless hack siblings. (A brother has a six-figure job at the Pike, or whatever they’re calling it this week. Another brother was stabbed at a rest stop on Route 128 in the pre-dawn hours.) The State Ethics Commission is now after her.

    No indication yet on what words she used in her alleged attempt to muscle the D.D.S. – did she snarl “Do you know who I am?” although at this late date it would be seem more appropriate to say, “Do you know who I was?” This fraud was first elected in 1992 by running against the Corrupt Midget, after which she immediately went into the tank for… the Corrupt Midget, Billy Bulger, Whitey’s brother, the Senate president. She ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2001, took a job running a lobbying group in D.C. and failed miserably at it. Despite her law degree, she was apparently so unemployable that Deval had to give her the hack job which enabled her to toss her not-inconsiderable weight around when dealing with the dentist.

    Since the Globe forgot to mention some of the highlights of Fakes’ squalid career, we’ll fill you in:
    — She’s a lesbian, who lives with a former (female) aide, to whom she gave a number of raises when the woman was working under her at the State House.
    — Her current salary is $95,541 a year.
    — And finally, would you care to guess which party she’s a member of? That’s right, Cheryl Jacques (rhymes with Fakes) is a Democrat. Funny how the Globe couldn’t find room to mention that fact

    • Judas Priest
      March 13, 2012 at 5:54 am #

      Fakes is a democrat lesbian liberal who pulled the old “do you know who I am?” deal? How shocking far different from the angelic behavior of the Pitts GOB Dems eh? As Valenti sez “g.d. phoney bastards”

      • Silence Dogood
        March 13, 2012 at 6:48 am #

        don’t care one way or te other that she is a lesbian. but when you promote a lover isn’t that a hostile work enviroment for those who worked for her but weren’t sleeping with her?

    • Steve wade
      March 13, 2012 at 6:34 am #

      Ben Franklin. So you like Howie Carr. No wonder you like Dan(I want to be Howie Carr) Valenti. Both have egos the size of the Grand Cannon

      • Silence Dogood
        March 13, 2012 at 6:46 am #

        and both have enough readers to fill the grand canyon

    • levitan
      March 13, 2012 at 6:37 am #

      Let’s stay focused on the Nilan case – which is where the corruption in the patronage – ooops – court system affects us directly.

      • Silence Dogood
        March 13, 2012 at 6:44 am #

        i don’t mea to get off topic….just want folks to know about what’s goinging on in the people’s republc of massachusetts

  14. Monitor
    March 13, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    Overall this blog provides a respectful, accessible and poignant forum for the expression of citizen concerns, public issues, and personal opinions. This inherently attracts a diverse and knowledgeable following. Why can’t the opinions and esoteric knowledge often contained within the pages of The Planet be pragmatically manifested into real action ? Take the situation regarding PEDA and the several other quasi public economic development organizations which appear to be tripping over each other like a Three Stooges pie throwing melee. The expertise hereon expressed would lend itself to a citizen’s ad hoc organization to effectvely market the community. Example: Giacometti possesses 30 years grant writing experience ? Invaluable. Evian, a well traveled marketing manager ? Networking. Molly would make an exceptional researcher and recorder. Marketing leads ? Walk through your home or any store. Everything was manufacturered somewhere. Governmental and regulatory where with all ? Found everyday right here. Citizen groups supercede self serving agencies and the real success and power lies in beating them at their own game and then delivering that message aggressively to John Q and the replaceable powers to be.