PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2012) —   “The taxpayers lost big time last night.”

That’s how school committeeman Terry Kinnas characterized the action of his colleagues last night in a 5-1 shooting down of his petition to halt the search for a new superintendent until the job could be better defined and a proper salary determined. The vote is one for extinguishing a dash of reason and logic into a $83 million department that runs too much on the fuzzy-wuzzies of self-esteem, feelings, and objective testing (notably MCAS) that has robotized the curriculum.

THE PLANET has previously posted the school department’s ad for the position. Most agreed with us: The specifications come off as generic. You could take the city of Pittsfield name off the specs, substitute most any other community in the state, and the formulaic document works as imperfectly well.

Fact is, Pittsfield doesn’t know what it wants or needs for this position. For example, does it want an academic or a businessperson? We would prefer the latter. It doesn’t know what it wants, yet the pell-mell search will go ahead, with the process now closed to any applicants, who has a scant 14 days to apply. The window for accepting applications closed last night at 5 p.m.

A Cooked, Crooked Process? Sorry, but It Would Seem to be, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski

Kinnas told THE PLANET, “If this isn’t a done deal, I’d be stunned.”

We agree. Consider:

* “They” give applicants 14 days. Even teaching positions must by contract be posted for 30 days.

* “They” shut off the process at 5 p.m. exactly one hour before the school committee meeting.

* “They” pass out related material to school committee members last night literally two minutes before the meeting, assuring that no one will have time to study, digest, and research.

* “They” unilaterally advertise the position without any discussion of what the public schools, and the taxpayers who fund them, actually need.

* They will not be naming any Kapanskis to the search committee.

Bottom line leads many to believe they have their stooge picked out.

Don’t Tell Anyone, but Is the New Stooge Supt. Barbara Malkas?

Don’t tell anyone, but THE STOOLEY tells THE PLANET it will be Barbara Malkas (though THE STOOLEY [NOT Kinnas, by the way] did lightly qualify that prognostication)Presently, Malkas is one of the multitude of deputy, associate, assistant superintendents who phatten up the top-heavy administration. Deputy Supt. Malkas makes $100,425 plus bennies. Tough to get buy on money like that. She’s in for a raise.

We hear Malkas also has a great qualification for the job: She’s been promoted over her head, and, as most who are treading water, she needs to find other ways to stay afloat. In her case, it’s probably means looking the other way, playing ball, and kissing the right keisters … or perhaps the “right” people aren’t talking to us about her.

Alf Barbalunga Lawyers Up, But Lawyer Contradicts Alf on Key Point

There was an interesting exchange between Kinnas the the school committee lawyer, Mr. Dupere, on whether or not the barrister gave school committee chairman Alf Barbalunga the OK to make a unilateral decision to advertise for the superintendent’s job. The lawyer said he did not give Barbalunga that advice, testimony that, if we heard it correctly, would seem to contradict what Barbalunga has previously claimed.

Dupuis also admitted that in the school committee meeting minutes, there is no motion made to advertise the post. Thus, we still don’t know the answer to a key question: What is the enabling document or legislation that gives a school committee chairman the right to unilaterally proceed on a key personnel matter such as this?

Search Committee Doesn’t Include Any Kapanskis

“I did get the sense that this was pretty much already orchestrated out,” Kinnas said. “Dan Elias was very open minded. Even though [JimConant doesn’t say anything, he’s a bit more open as well. He did vote to increase the size of the search committee.

Speaking of which, the taxpayers got the shaft again. There will be 17 people on the committee. They do not include one taxpayer of the Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski pedigree. Such people have only one useful function: Give the schools $83 million a year to waste and shut the heck up.

Each one of the 17 represents a special interest. Dig this: three from the teachers union, two school principals, two high school student (one from PHS, one from Taconic), three parents, and five at-large position coming from the private sector, social service agencies, etc. This recipe supports a done deal, does it not? Why two students? Do they have legal standing? You can be sure that the three parents will be the “right” parents, who will think Malkas (or any other stooge in place of her) is peach delight.

One cold, hard fact seems to be emerging: The school committee wants to perpetuate the three-card monty game that masquerades as the Pittsfield Public School system. They want a superintendent who ideally doesn’t know where all the bodies are buried and won’t want or dare to ask … OR … if they do know about previous secret killings and things that go bump in the night, will play deaf and dumb. They will want a cheerleader, who will tell us everything is great, on the up and up, and that orange juice comes, fresh squeezed, from lemon trees.

Don’t buy it, folks.

In all, the school committee received nine applications, which are in the hands of the Massachusetts Association for School Committees, the agency assisting Pittsfield in its search.

Give Us A Business Leader First, Above All Other Qualities

There are assistant, associate, deputy, and third-alternate-substitute superintendents, each hauling down salaries at, near, or over $100 grand a year. They got the fancy sheepskins in education. Give taxpayers a man or woman who has successfully run an $83 million plus business. THE PLANET won’t advise the school committee to think outside the box, because before anyone can do that, they first have to be in the box. Their vote last night means that they have to first find the box.

To use a favorite analogy, let’s say we are jobbing out for an employee to make chicken soup. If you simply put in a generic ad that asks for a qualified person who can make chicken soup, you’re going to get a lot of responses from chefs, cooks, and home ec types. Each will have their own way of doing it.

That’s not good enough for taxpayers, though. Taxpayers like lots of carrots, onions, and other veggies. They  like the broth clear and golden, with a lot of free-range chicken. It must be on the spicy side, and with a medium texture. For pasta, only fusili will do.

Pittsfield Must First Decide What Kind of ‘Chicken Soup’ It Wants Before It Hires a Cook

You get the point. Pittsfield has to specify the recipe it wants. What kind of “superintendent soup” will best serve the community? We as a community have not had that discussion, and the school committee has disallowed it. As Molly, one of our most insightful posters, commented, you don’t advertise for the position, cut the search off last night at 5 p.m., and then have the discussion about the recipe. You do it the other way around. First, you qualify the position. Then, you advertise. You will get responses that better fill your specific requirements.

Kinnas’ petition represents one of those rare occasions where someone with insight, courage, and common sense tried to prevail against the tired, old accepted “wisdom.” Naturally, this being Pittsfield, insight and courage lost to the empty suits.



At the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, we took a seminar course titled “Theories of the Press.” It was one of our all-time favorites. The year would be 1975, when vibrant, healthy newspapers still roamed the face of the earth.

Our instructor, Prof. Burt Marvin, made a comment we never forgot. In discussing American’s so-called Freedom of the Press, he said, “Of course we have a free press. Anyone with $50 million can start their own daily newspaper.”

We Have Started Our Own Daily News’Paper’

How things have changed. Cyberspace has literally put the power of the press into the hands of those willing enough and big enough to grab it. THE PLANET has been successful in our little online editorial experiment because we have, in effect, started our own daily news’paper’. That’s what this site has become.

Unlike all of our other work in print and broadcast journalism, we do not have a boss or a set of sponsors to please. We don’t rely on THE PLANET as our cost center. We do not make, and do not want to make, a cent of revenue here. We have to please a creator of one and an audience of thousands. That is how we like it.

This site has grown in popularity, by word of mouth only, because readers know we will not shy away from any story that peaks out interest. They know we will base stories on fact and due diligence and drive them with opinion, hence, our “News and Commentary” tag line. They know when they come here, they will get Truth. That keeps our fans here and our critics checking in because they know that can’t NOT know what we are reporting.

THE PLANET’s Product has a Proprietary Edge Over Any Other Regional Media Source Even Remotely Similar

This site also has grown because unlike most other blogs of this sort, we bring an impeccable journalistic pedigree to the stories we feature. We are also the only regional site that we know of that produces, creates, and disseminates 2,000+ words of content on a daily basis covering mostly local issues. Today, we had 2,741 words. Granted, a word count means nothing, but we have confidence that our words contain little to no fat. We have something to say, and we aren’t afraid to say it.

Of course, leading from out on a limb the way we do draws a lot of attention and critics. We love all of them, as long as they advance the discussion. When they cross a line, we push the James Bond ejector seat, whose button we employ solely at our discretion. We need no reason, other than: “We know when to pull it when we see it.” We don’t ban people from the sight. Rather, we delete what we judge to be inappropriate comments, deriving a kind of tactile thrill in protecting our website’s intelligence by taking a comment some jerk took the time to scrawl and sending it into cyber-oblivion.

One form of well-meaning carping that DOES NOT CROSS THE LINE is the, “Dan, how come you have written about       INSERST ISSUE ‘X’ HERE    .  We understand where that is coming from, and, granted, Issue “x” usually is a good one — but we have only so many hours in the day, and as many people forget, THE PLANET has many other duties.

We can’t be everything to everybody. We can’t cover every issue. We can’t be a savior for every cause. We will do what we can, as we can, at our discretion, alone. We have created a unique online marketplace of ideas. That is enough.



As parents by greater number abandon their responsibilities to be mother and father, as children gain more and more control over the “boss” remote (as they have in the classrooms, for example), and as adults grow in fear of daring to discipline children,  a growing number of restaurants, theaters, airlines, and other private/public venues are striking back. They’re instituting a Brat Ban.

Get a babysitter first, mom and dad, otherwise, stay out!

THE PLANET loves it, having had more than one meal, flight, play, and movie wrecked by a snot-nosed brat who hasn’t been taught how to behave in public.

That being said, let us also say words that our critics will deliberately ignore: We are not a Monster. We love children. There are lots of good parents out there.

What’s a good parent: Good parents don’t take their children anywhere unless the kids know how to behave. Simple. Any questions. The growing Brat Ban movement is directed to an increasing number of selfish parents who do not want to sacrifice for their children by putting in the hard work of socializing them … for, as every mature adult knows and respects, the Discipline of Society is one that begins in the home and nowhere else.

With that, we present a guest column by Piper Weiss. Enjoy:


Banning the Kids: The Next Frontier in Destination and Leisure-Product Marketing’

by Piper Weiss / Special to PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

What’s the matter with kids today and why doesn’t anyone want them around? In June, Malaysia Airlines banned babies from many of their first class cabins, prompting other major airlines to consider similar policies.

Lately, complaints about screaming kids are being taken seriously, not only by airlines, but by hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, and even grocery stores.

Read more about restaurants around the country banning kids.

Last year, McDain’s, a Pittsburgh area restaurant that banned kids under 6 became a mascot for the no-kids-zone movement.

According to a Pittsburgh local news poll, more than half of area residents were in favor of the ban. And now big business is paying attention. The restaurant says customers were in favor, 11-to-1.

“Brat bans could well be the next frontier in destination and leisure-product marketing,” writes Robert Klara in an article on the child-free trend in AdWeek.

Klara points to, a travel website for kid-free vacations, with a massive list of yoga retreats, luxury resorts and bargain hotels around the world that ban children.

‘Screaming children/Infant Banshees’ — Put a Rag in Them
“Call me a grinch, a misanthrope, a DINK (dual-income-no-kids), or the anti-cute-police, but I hate (hate a thousand times over) ill-behaved children/infants/screaming banshees in upscale restaurants (ok, anywhere, really, but I don’t want any death threats),” writes Charlotte Savino on Travel and Leisure’s blog. She lists a slew of a popular destination restaurants with kid-free areas and policies for travelers looking for quiet vacation dining.

Traveling is one thing, but what about in kids’ own hometowns? Should kids been banned from local movie theaters, like they were at a recent adults-only Harry Potter screening? In Texas, one cinema chain has even flipped the model, banning kids under six altogether, except on specified “baby days”.

Even running errands with toddlers may be changing. This summer Whole Foods stores in Missouriare offering child-free shopping hours. Kids are allowed inside but childcare service is available for parents who want to shop kid-free. (Whole Foods contacted Shine to clarify that the company does not have a kid’s ban. The store’s child-free shopping hours are “about giving parents a break, not about clearing out the kids for those who want a child-free zone,” says a spokesperson for the grocery chain.)

Actually, ‘the Public Isn’t as Child-Friendly as it Used To Be’
Meanwhile in Florida, a controversy brews over whether kids can be banned from a condominium’s outdoor area. That’s right, some people don’t even want kids outdoors.

When did kids become the equivalent of second-hand smoke? Blame a wave of childless adults with money to spare. “Empty nesters continue to wield a huge swath of discretionary spending dollars, and population dips in first-world countries mean more childless couples than ever,” writes AdWeek‘s Klara.

Catering to the child-free community may be good for business but is it good for parents? It could help narrow choices and make kid-friendly environments even kid-friendlier. And let’s be honest, babies won’t miss flying first class. They won’t even remember it. But their moms and dads will.

Most parents with young children have self-imposed limits on spending and leisure. This new movement imposes limits set by the public. And the public isn’t as child-friendly as it used to be. As businesses respond to their new breed of ‘first-class’ clientele, are parents in danger of becoming second-class citizens?


What do you think? Is this the wave of the future for the Berkshires Recreation and Resort Economy? We pass the suggestion along to our good friend Mike Supranowicz, head of the Chamber of Commerce.






  1. taxmano
    March 15, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    “They want a superintendent who ideally doesn’t know where all the bodies are buried and won’t want or dare to ask … OR … if they do know about previous secret killings and things that go bump in the night, will play deaf and dumb.”

    You’ re not suggesting the outgoing Super is hiding anything, are you?

    • danvalenti
      March 15, 2012 at 10:35 am #

      Psahw!!! Far be it from us to suggest anything of the sort.

  2. Scott
    March 15, 2012 at 7:23 am #

    Alf was quoted today in the Eagle as saying $125K isn’t enough money for the job interesting, hey I didn’t vote for him.

    It’s funny I have a 10 year old and a one year old and still other peoples kids screaming annoys me because I wouldn’t allow that. Just to give you an idea we have went to Trattoria on McKay st with no issues and enjoyed a movie at the Beacon in the same night. The bottom line is just that people have no idea on how to discipline and socialize their children appropriately. These are the same people who’s dogs are left out side all day long barking.

    • danvalenti
      March 15, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      Yes, making do on $125K plus bennies is tough.
      Parents and others who read today’s post on BAN THE BRATS agree with our position, 10-to-1.

  3. spectator
    March 15, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    Dan, a few days ago you mentioned you’d be discussing the embezzlement event at GFCU. When will we hear about that?

    • danvalenti
      March 15, 2012 at 10:33 am #

      Not enough info yet and we haven’t tried to track it down.

  4. smh
    March 15, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    “The lawyer said he did not give Barbalunga that advice, testimony that, if we heard it correctly, would seem to contradict what Barbalunga has previously claimed.”

    My recollection is the lawyer didn’t advise Mr. B. to actually proceed with advertising, but DID inform him it would not be inappropriate if chose to do so.

    • danvalenti
      March 15, 2012 at 10:31 am #

      smh, perhaps. It sounds, then, like one of those wishy-washy findings that allows the action that is sought. Still, no one, including the lawyer, has stated from where the chairman derives this authority. We aren’t saying the provision isn’t there. We haven’t seen it, though. If this is legit, there must be a statute, provision, of enabling legislation of some sort that explicitly grants this power to the chair.

  5. ambrose
    March 15, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    free newspapers and free advise are worth exactly what you pay them

    • danvalenti
      March 15, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Just like I don’t mind anything that is written about me, as long as it is not true.

    • Molly
      March 15, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

      Oh I highly doubt that this lawyer, who sat there for the entire 4 hour meeting, was doing this for “free” – I’m sure that WE all paid a pretty penny for him to be there!

  6. Richard
    March 15, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    There are enough questionable things about the way this board is handling the process for a new superintendent. I think they should start all over. They act like the world will come to an end if they don’t get some one before school starts in the fall. Slow down and get it right. I don’t understand why the present superintendent should be a part of getting his replacement. We have a Deputy Superintendent and that person should be able to take over if we don’t have a new superintendent by fall.

  7. Steve wade
    March 15, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Dan The Lawyers name is Dupere not Dupuis. You better get a better editor.

    • danvalenti
      March 15, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      Thanks, Steve. We made the change.

  8. tito
    March 15, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    I’ll be happy to take the 120g… and will take WearyTerries scrutiny to boot.

    • danvalenti
      March 15, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      Not bad dough for not being accountable to anyone but an occasional sling and arrow from THE PLANET.

  9. tito
    March 15, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    What we should all strive for is either a no show or career that includes a felony severance package.

  10. Andrew
    March 15, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    The fad of putting businessmen with no prior experience in pedagogy, school administration, or education in general in charge of educational systems has been played out with little to no positive effects. Treating the educational system like a business is an awful way to approach this whole thing. Just stick uniforms on ’em, put a businessperson in charge and we’ll be fine? Please.

    I’m not sure if Dan has ever been a teacher or had kids in the Pittsfield educational system. If he hasn’t, it’s odd that a guy with literally no experience with education at the k-12 level has so many unfounded, unspecified and random “solutions” to a problem he knows so little about.

    • danvalenti
      March 15, 2012 at 11:44 am #

      Still trying to hit major league pitching, Andy? Kid, I hate to tell ya, but they optioned you back to Tulsa.

      Now a smart rookie would address the content of our remarks about the school committee search. Not having done so, we can only assume you were up there taking pitches and hoping for a walk when you got called out on strikes.

      • jimbo
        March 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

        I don’t know Dan, that sounds like some chin music to me. I think this Andy cat has got you rattled.

        • danvalenti
          March 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

          Thank you, Andy.

          • Andrew
            March 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

            First of all, I don’t play games like having multiple identities on a website. You’re not worth it. Secondly, since you never actually counter anything I say with substance but instead reply with snarky, patronizing fluff, you’d be better off not replying at all. I’m sorry I’m not one of the five other people that comment here who sycophantically gobble up your opinions as containing merit but you genuinely don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to education reform.

          • Yaz
            March 16, 2012 at 6:07 am #

            You don’t need no education, no dark sarcasm in the classroom, and no thought control but you need The Teacher if you want to eat at the adults table, as Dan would say.

    • Dawn
      March 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      If you don’t eat your meat you can’t have any pudding!

      • danvalenti
        March 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

        “How can ye have yur pudding, if you don’t eat yur meat?”
        “We don’t need no education …”

        • Scott
          March 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

          or thought control…

    • Molly
      March 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

      In Massachusetts, you have to be licensed to be a School District Superintendent and to get that license, you have to have had “x” amount of years teaching school (can’t remember the exact number of years). However, also having business experience would, in my mind, be a HUGE bonus as there is a LOT of business experience that is also needed! The most important of which is efficiently managing an $83 million dollar budget! As well as being able to look at “the big picture” and seeing where the problems are and the vision enough to know how to fix them — those things are basically “business experience” that not too many teachers have had.

    • Scott
      March 15, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

      Andy you’re reaching I think the miss management of funds on all levels of gov’t is obvious to anyone even auto mechanics. So I’ll verify it for you he’s right I wouldn’t even send my kid to a Pittsfield school and I live here and pay tax. What do you think is a $125k plus benefits adequate enough? Also I don’t see what gives Alf the right I mean there’s a reason there’s more then one person on the board after all. I personally think it’s idiotic what they’re doing but it’s not my kids that are gonna suffer.

  11. Still wondering
    March 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    Swing and a miss, strike three!

    • danvalenti
      March 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

      At least this time the kid swung when he whiffed!

  12. Payroll Patriot
    March 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Welcome Back, Welcome Back.

    Flew north with the geese, could not afford the Obama high gas prices.

    Nice to see the Big Red Pothole machine droppings all over town.

    fat head radio shew still on. WBEC must be funding it to drive listeners to them. Rush is on from Albany. Funny, Baldwin completed the circle. Think about it.

    GOBs or SOBs are trying to keep the problems in the school department buried.

    Does Big Wind from North ride the Bus to Foxwoods with Chairman Mao ?

    Thanks for the Big Welcome Back party.

  13. spectator
    March 15, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Let us know how it goes tonight at Kelly’s with the hit and runner’s!

  14. danvalenti
    March 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Yeah, the hit-and-run has the be Nilan’s favorite baseball play.

  15. echo
    March 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    The public school system is broken. The union’s have taken a page out of the teamsters play book and the tax payers are taking a beating. It’s time for accountibility from the bottom this rate city and towns will face bankruptcy making all these contracts null&void.We need to privatise education and make the system accountable..excellent teachers and administrators would still have a job, better working environment and better pay.! ..

    • Steve wade
      March 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

      Echo. You are right. Good teachers and administrators will get jobs…… at half the pay. God forbid they can get a pension to retire on

      • echo
        March 16, 2012 at 4:29 am #

        Interesting observation steve, I’m not sure of the your math. I notice you mention pensions. I’m not against pensions but in New York State the yearly state pension cost is more then the entire budget for every city and town in the state. I’m one of the lucky ones that pay taxes in both new york and mass and sorry to say ” I receive “no pension”from either. My concern is accountabilty and government waste..compliancy on everyones part will not solve this calling,slick barbs and name calling does even less.

        • Molly
          March 16, 2012 at 11:17 am #

          You don’t pay taxes to both NY State and Massachusetts – MA and NY have an agreement and you only pay taxes in the state that you reside. Granted that if you live in MA and work in NY that you have NY State taxes deducted from your paycheck, but when you file your taxes, you file both a MA and NY state return but pay the taxes only to MA.

          • echo
            March 17, 2012 at 5:58 am #

            correct molly..we own a house in each state, I guess my real estate taxes don’t count ?

  16. Jim Gleason
    March 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Sturgeon bashed Kinnas for 10 minutes on his show today. When I called to try to defend Kinnas he hung up on me and said he didn’t want to hear it today ’cause he didn’t feel good. He didn’t want to hear it on something he brought up. He keeps asking to see Kinnas’ credentials but where are his? As I wrote Sturgeon in an email today, he’d have to be 200 years old and 10 feet tall to do all he claims he’s done.He can bash someone at will but doesn’t want to hear another view. I think he’s trying to be like Rush.

    • dusty
      March 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

      I happened to hear that. It is his way or the highway. Kind of like Ruberto. Are they related?

      I believe what he does not like about Terry is that he talks too much and he can’t follow him. That is kind of the way I feel listening to the Sturgeon show.

    • Steve wade
      March 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm #


      • Steve wade
        March 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

        What did I ask that was not revelant to the context ? All I asked where has Mr Kinnas worked in the last 15 years ?

    • Molly
      March 15, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      What are Katherine Yon’s credentials? If you want to talk about a really stupid person, she would take the cake, hands down! What are “Alfy’s” credentials? How about Dan Elias and Conant? Kathy Amuso has degrees in Education AND business experience. Terry Kinnas taught in the Pittsfield schools for years. Why is he asking about Terry’s credentials? Because God forbid, he had the balls to stand up to the likes of Alfy? Really? And you wonder why I can’t stand listening to Sturgeon? He has THE absolute WORST talk radio show that I have EVER in my life heard. I have tried and tried to listen to it but it is just so bad that I have to turn it off every time.

      So let me get this straight – he has a talk radio show, he brings up a topic wanting to know what Terry’s credentials are and when someone calls in to tell him, then he doesn’t want to hear it? And he gets away with this? Why do any of you listen to it?

      • Andrew
        March 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

        Katherine Yon, if you didn’t know, spent her entire career teaching English at Pittsfield High School. She was considered for decades as one of the toughest and most thorough high school teachers you could get. She is neither stupid nor inexperienced. I’d be willing to bet that she has seen more principals and superintendents pass through Pittsfield than any of the other candidates.

        • taxmano
          March 16, 2012 at 3:32 am #

          But unfortunately, she became a sell-out once on the board. Also, VERY pro-Jake, cannot be objective. Kind of a lackey. She did a lot of work behind the scenes for him when he was PHS principal.

          • Andrew
            March 16, 2012 at 4:58 am #

            “Work behind the scenes”

            Unless you can be more clear that is demonstrably false.

        • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
          March 16, 2012 at 5:14 am #

          Spot on Andrew

          • taxmano
            March 18, 2012 at 8:24 am #


            “Demonstrably” is not the word you want here. It means you can prove me wrong, which you cannot, as you don’t know what behind the scenes work I mean. Surely, Mrs. Yon taught you proper word usage!

        • levitan
          March 16, 2012 at 6:28 am #

          I was not pleased by Yon’s statements at the last meeting, but thank you for expanding on her credentials. It is important to keep sight on the totality of the person, even when critical.

      • Steve wade
        March 16, 2012 at 3:41 am #

        Nancy I know thier credentials. I DON”T know Mr Kinnas! Just answer my question with a answer please not just your usual drabble.

        • Molly
          March 16, 2012 at 11:32 am #

          Why are you addressing this to ME? I don’t even know what question you asked! Nor did I even post anything that you asked a question about. Sooooooo – not sure what you want me to answer — let me know and if I know the answer, I’ll be happy to respond. If it’s about Mr. Kinnas, why not ask Mr. Kinnas?

          As for Ms. Yon – The mere fact of being an English teacher all of her life in NO WAY qualifies her to be making decisions for the entire School District, nor managing a huge budget, on and on. If she did independent research on various things that the board is voting on to become knowledgeable in whatever that vote entails, talk to various experts to get more than one opinion, etc., then fine. As it is, she does nothing other than follow along with whatever Alfy says. To the point that there’s really something “wrong” there…

        • Molly
          March 16, 2012 at 11:56 am #

          Ahhh – got it – my post WAY back! Although your post asking me a question is not there. Why don’t you answer my questions of what are “Alfy’s” qualifications? And Yon’s? And Conant’s? And Elias? Someone answered that Yon was an English teacher. OK. Terry Kinnas was also a teacher. And that, alone, does not qualify either of them to a large extent, to be voting on the things they are voting on. I’d like to see some business experience there, or at least have been a school principal or some other administrative position in the schools.

          My question was why was Sturgeon ranting about Terry Kinnas’s credentials when most of these people on the School Committee don’t really have great credentials (although a few do). Is it because he had the balls to stand up to Alfy, God forbid? Too damn bad!!! What gives Alfy the credentials, and the “power” to unilaterily be making decisions when he has an entire School Committee there?? The system is designed to have the entire Committee vote on ALL things and for very good reason! THAT, Steve, is the question!!!

      • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
        March 16, 2012 at 5:12 am #

        Boycott Sturgeon

      • Wally Ballou
        March 16, 2012 at 6:10 am #

        Chip Hodgkins and WBRK, we are boycotting anyone who advertises on B.S.’s show, because thats all it is BS.

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      March 16, 2012 at 5:02 am #

      Sturgeon’s time has come and gone…don’t you dare question anything he says or have a different opinion..if you do, you are an outcast

  17. J.R. Fein
    March 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    Only time I listen the the bill Gifiltefish Show is when the planet is on. Sturgeon, or haddock, or whatever his name is he’s painfully embarrassing to hear. All full of ums, and uhs, and uhhhh. I think he’s afraid of having Terry Kinnas on the show. Plain afraid. Kinnas the only one making sense on the school committee.

  18. your dad touched me
    March 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    we need to get rid of everyone on the school board in the next election…lets put a group of people in there that will be willing to work together. terry kinnas is a joke…he is like the melissa mazzeo of the school board. he just likes to hear him self talk… he thinks it makes him look smart but all he does is prove how stupid he is. I voted for Amuso and Yon.. all the others are a bunch of little brats that dont want to play nice in the sandbox

    • Molly
      March 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      Yon??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Thanks for the laugh!

      • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
        March 16, 2012 at 5:14 am #

        Yon, as in Kathy Yon, who was an excellent English teacher for many years and knows the schools inside and out…She has got the creds needed

        • levitan
          March 16, 2012 at 6:31 am #

          Maybe, but her statements attesting to transparency and public input at the school meeting 3/14 left me wanting for more than credentials.

          • danvalenti
            March 16, 2012 at 7:21 am #

            Good point, LEV. Credentials are fine, but they are just the ante-up.

          • Molly
            March 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

            She gave two little “speeches” in response to my laughing out loud (mistakenly too loud!) when Alfy was spewing this at the beginning of the meeting. Either she is really very, very, stupid or she is just too mesmerized by whatever Alfy says. Alfy said it and so it just MUST be true!!! “The School Committee is NOT trying to preclude public participation and HAVE NOT done so!!!!” and “I would hate to have even one member of the public feel that they were left out of this process as it just IS NOT TRUE!” (as in there just can’t be more than I who feels that way but she still hates to think that I could feel that way as it just isn’t true!). Oh OK Yon! As I said, she is either really very stupid or is just way too mesmerized by Alfy – either way it doesn’t bode well for her!!!

          • dusty
            March 17, 2012 at 1:54 am #

            Both Yons seem to be GOB affiliated to me. They seem very loyal to the Chiefs and do not seem to be working for the taxpayer who are paying their salaries.
            that is immoral in my opinion

    • your mom b**w me
      March 16, 2012 at 9:45 am #

      Melissa Mazzeo makes a lot of sense, as does Terry Kinnas. You, on the other hand, make none whatsoever.

    March 15, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    JiM: Agreed Sturgeon blows his own horn way to much. But please he is no Rush. I enjoyed Rush’s show once in awhile. But Sturgeon show is awful. First 3 hours is a joke. But Bill has always been a bullshiter for years.

    March 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    As long as it is restricted to private business, I’m all for it. The Constitution is written so that private entities are allowed to discriminate as to who they allow as patrons.
    However, private business beware. Under our liberal/socialist rules, age discrimination may get you sued. I would believe its only a matter of time before some self important liberal snob attacks a private business for banning their out of control, entitlement minded little brat.
    I say, ban anyone you want to from your business. Just don’t leave your self unaware that some fool may attack you for some type of perceived discrimination.

  21. Emeritus
    March 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Continue to love this site. I like Molly more and more, keep posting. Sturgeon is a good example of why there are 20M+ satellite subscribers. Yon = yawn, big time.

    Pittsfield… “they” sure keep us entertained.

  22. Sandy
    March 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    FYI the teachers retirement does NOT come out of the city in anyway. They have their own separate Massachusetts Teachers Retirement Fund. They pay into it themselves, no city or town in the Commonwealth pays any part of the teacher’s retirement.

    Teachers are not part of the municipal employees retirement plans.

    • danvalenti
      March 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

      Yes, but do they fund it 100%? Also, teachers do not have sizable chunks of their paycheck seized for Social Security.

  23. Joe Durwin
    March 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Meanwhile, it’s been reported that Barbara Malkas is already one of four finalists for Superintendent in Ashfield: