PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary


(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2012) — We were all set to post today’s entry on THE PLANET when we learned that the Nilan-Moore Case pretrial conference, originally slated today in District Court, was postponed to 9 a.m., May 2.

A court spokesperson said the postponement was the result of an out-of-court agreement reached yesterday between the office of Worcester County Assistant District Attorney Joseph Qunilan, representing We The People for the prosecution, and Tim Shugrue, Meredith Nilan‘s attorney.

THE PLANET will be trying to get more on the reasons for the delay. Stay tuned.

We will add this interesting bit of information. When we called the office of DA David Capeless for the time of today’s (now canceled) pretrial conference, his spokesman, Fred Lantz, said the office didn’t know and that we should check with the Worcester DA. Lantz explained that Capeless had recused himself and that the special prosecutor was handling the case.

We asked Lantz words to the effect of: “Do you mean your office is out of the loop to such an extent that you can’t even tell me what time the hearing is or even if it is scheduled for today? is that what you’re telling me.”

“Yes,” came reply. That’s how far out of the loop Lantz says the DA’s office is on Nilan-Moore.



It was over in a flash, just like the Monster Mash. If you blinked, you missed it.

The Parks Commission unanimously approved Ken Ramsdell‘s application for the TOBY II Dog Walk (officially named with an alliterative title with a lot of “P”s in it). With THE PLANET sitting in the front row with gaze fixed and notarizing the proceedings with our Beautiful Mind, and with the small hearing room at city hall nearly full, chairman John Herman brought the item to the floor.

Clean Sweep Vote Includes Angelo Stracuzzi’s Best Friend, Clifford Nilan

There was no debate, discussion, or deliberation. No runs, not hits, no errors, and no one left on — The vote passed on unanimous consent, 5-0. Toby II will take place on April 15 at Kirvin Park, which has a dedicated dog area.

Among those saying “aye” was commissioner Clifford Nilan, looking tired and nervous but crisp in a white shirt and green tie (THE PLANET to Nilan: St. Patrick’s Day was four days ago). Nilan exhibited the furtive glances of a bird, twitching its head this way and that to see if it was safe to descend to the suet.

Neither Herman, Nilan, or any member of the commission acknowledged, made eye contact with, thanked, or otherwise gave any indication toward the people sitting in the room. This slight of citizens demonstrates the arrogance of too many elected and appointed officials in the city. We ask: Would it have spoiled some vast, eternal plan if the chair or someone on the panel had at least thanked the public for showing up? Or don’t they want the public to show up? Do they, rather, feel that the public is interfering with THEIR business? It’s a small thing, but the kind of which big things are ultimately composed.

Herman had to get in a little tweak, pulling his “Chairman” act before an after the minute or so it took to approve TOBY II. First, he expressed what sounded like mild surprise. Herman said he expected Ramsdell at the previous meeting. That would have been slightly impossible without a time machine. Then, after the unanimous consent vote, he lectured Ramsdel, pointing out that dogs will not be permitted on any of the playing fields — as if all dog owners are irresponsible louts.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, but you were talking to a man — Ken Ramsdell — who is perhaps the most conscientious citizen we have ever met in our long public and professional life. Ramsdell was not asked to speak, nor was he even thanked for sponsoring what will be a positive, uplifting, and fun event for the bedraggled citizens of Pittsfield.

Well, Ken Ramsdell, on behalf of the good citizens of Pittsfield and Berkshire County, THE PLANET thanks you.

Does anyone wonder why citizen morale is so low in town? It’s not because of a lack of beautiful, generous, good people. It’s because of Barney Fifes of the kind that populate too many boards, offices, and commissions — not because they do well in their posts but because they love to wear the deputy badge and give the Founders of Mayberry Parade Committee a working over.

Tippiecanoe and TOBY II — With or Without The Parks Commission Approval, A DOG WALK Would Have Taken Place on April 15

The perfunctory action of the Parks Commission is simple to fathom, actually — Herman, Nilan & Co., did not want ANY part of Mr. Ramsdell, nor did they envy the certain coverage in the following days thereafter had they given him the business (as Wally and Beaver used to say) or, worse, denied the permit. That coverage would have been in THE PLANET and possibly on, since all the other so-called news organizations in the city failed to attend the meeting.

THE PLANET spoke at length to Ramsdell prior to the meeting. We can say this much — Even if the commission had rejected his permit for TOBY II at Kirvin Park, there would have been a dog walk — unpermitted but allowable, as it were. That dog walk would have taken place on the same day, April 15, on Winesap Avenue in Pittsfield.

We will let be the issue of whether Nilan’s vote should have counted last night, given his relationship to an accused criminal hit-and-run driver, whose callousness or vapidity (is there a third possibility?) on the evening of Dec. 8, 2011, made TOBY II necessary.

Commissioners Chose the Easy Way, and Wisely

In fact, when you boiled down the possibilities to extract the nectar of probability, the commission had only two ways to play TOBY II: the Easy Way or the Hard Way. They chose the first. They knew better to try to run Ramsdell roughly into the boards. It wouldn’t have looked good in the blogs for about the next seven years. Plus, Ramsdell came well equipped and ready to rumble. He is a walking encyclopedia of protocol and procedure, and he carries Jetson-like devices to call up legions of information to do his bidding. He deals from facts, and most officials in the city don’t know how to handle a guy like that. Ask Terry Kinnas.

Not a switchblade was stirring, though, not even a shiv. The TOBY II business was all handled nice and polite — the way we prefer, in Bartleby style — all Kumbaya-like.

Of course, the real story here is that Ramsdell was forced to run the gauntlet of getting the city’s stinking forms filled out and signed by about 258 department heads and assistants. OK, not 258, but when you have to take a day off of work and run around all over the city to get signatures to walk your dog, something’s wrong there, Fido.

Apparently, it’s officially easier to mow down an innocent pedestrian and leave him for dead than it is to walk your dog in the city of Pittsfield. Let me share something with my Right Honorable Good Friends, the esteemed commissioners: No citizen needs a stinking permit to walk his dog.

Speaking of the insane process of conducting an innocent walking of your dog in the city of Pittsfield, we now bring in Ken Ramsdell, for this first hand account. Read this and see why no companies, businesses, enterprises, or firms that do any form of due diligence would ever want to do business with Pittsfield. All this is so a man can walk his dog.

—– 00 —–



Special to PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

Getting permission to have a walk in the park is anything but a walk in the park. That is if you live in the City of Pittsfield.  You would think that the city would encourage the citizens to use and enjoy the parks that the citizens pay for.  The health benefits alone should be enough, but — as with most things in life — the Government has set up a gauntlet to be maneuvered through that is not user friendly and is set up around the needs of the bureaucracy instead of the needs of the citizens the bureaucracy is supposed to and claims to serve.

As I have stated before, for the most part, the processors were nice people who were pleasant and helpful. But the process to use a park for a group of people together is out of line.

First one needs to go to City Hall and get a Special Event Permit Application, which also needs to be posted at the “event.” Remember, were talking about citizens meeting in a taxpayer-supported park to walk dogs. Once the who, whens, and wheres are completed, one must go to eight different offices scattered throughout the city to get sign offs. It’s like being in grammar school and needing your mom, aunt, uncle grandmother and at least one priest to sign the permission slip for the big field trip to the Balance Rock.

“This application must be brought in person to each department in the order listed below for sign-offs. Once all the sign offs have been received, this application will need to be returned to the Licensing Board Clerk in the City Clerk’s office for final approval” Huh? So who approves it, the Parks Commission or the Licensing Clerk?

The health department needs to sign off, but if there is no food, then why? As the health department approver put it — “all set no food”

The department of public works was next. They wrote: “Does not need PW for anything.”

Then it’s across the city to Hawthorne Street to garner the buildings and grounds approval.

Back in the car and up to Columbus Avenue to see the fire department. They explained they were cool, because there would be no food, no cooking, no fires.

Off to the police department. No officers needed for traffic control or security. Approval granted.

So to this point, I had spent some six hours running around the city to get “approvals” to have my dog and your dog walk in a community park. Not all the people with the proper credentials are in the office when you show up, so you need to make multiple trips back and forth.

Please bear in mind these signatures have to be gotten in person during normal business hours. Presumably you work as well to fund the parks. What do you do? Burn a vacation day? Call in sick? I scoured my employee handbook and there is only one way to complete this: take a personal day. A personal day with pay may not be available to everyone; could you afford to lose a day’s pay to get approval to walk your dog in your park?

Then when the above is completed, you submit it at least 45 days in advance so it gets put on the Parks Commission agenda. You must show up at the meeting.

Last night, the commission approved the request, adding yet another signature. No one acknowledge me or asked if I wanted a moment of their precious time to publicize the “Special Event.” Remember — they  are the ones who request you complete this process. Wouldn’t you think it just a plain old fashioned courtesy for them to offer you the time to announce your event to the citizens?

One stop left. Now I must change my travel plans tomorrow to depart after the City Clerk’s office is open, because I need to get the sign-off of the Licensing Board, and they wont be open until 8:30 a.m.

I don’t want to just seem like I am complaining without solutions, so here are a few simple things that could be done to streamline the process.

  1. When you request a “Special Event Permit Application” the in-take worker could ask you a few standard and simple questions — Do you plan on serving food? Will you be cooking the food? Will you have a fire? Will you be setting up a tent or other structure? Depending upon the answers to those questions, the application would print out the Sign-offs needed.
  2. Once we have determined the sign-offs needed, an e-mail could be routed in the order the Licensing Board determines proper to the appropriate department head or signatory. It’s not complicated. At each stage, an e-mail would be generated by the system indicating Bob has signed it is now in Martha’s realm and so on. If business can function like this across continents, I have to think the city can across streets.
  3. Better yet let people use and enjoy the parks they pay for without being hassled.

Thanks to THE PLANET and its readers for all the support both in print and in person. I really did appreciate it, and I look forward to seeing you all at Kirvin Park in April on the 15.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you something was a walk in the park.

—– 00 —–

So there you have it. The long, winding road — a tortuous one at that. None of it is necessary. The parks are paid for by and with taxes. Ramsdell and any other citizen should be able to enjoy the parks freely, without the bad breath of government halitosing over everyone.

Tell you what. Why don’t a bunch of us brings out bats, gloves, and balls, and play a pick up game of ball at Kirvin on April 15 — without a stinking permit. Who’s in?






  1. Concern
    March 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    Great piece Dan. Hope the mayor or Councilors take up this permit process. Thanks. Ref to Nilan deal between DA and her lawyer, hope so this case needs to get over with.

    • danvalenti
      March 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      Thanks, MR. C.

  2. Molly
    March 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    I called it yesterday — a deal has either been made or is in the works. No trial. I even predict that IF she loses her license at all, it will be for a VERY short time. Small fine. Promises to be a good driver. No further problems for six months to a year. And that’s it. Soooo nauseating. And unbelievable! And we wonder why the police get discouraged? They have to live with this B.S. daily.

    Holy permit, Batman!! That is just truly an ubelievable process! I am just stunned. It’s time to hold a “Work-Out” Conference for this city! I have designed and overseen the creation of computer programs to automate these things as Ken describes, and even in a huge, global company, the processes weren’t this bad to start!! And all to walk your dog! Why are people fighting against “the government has gotten too big” mantra? Even our own city government has gotten WAY too big! Then add on the County, the State and the Federal, and Holy Government, Batman!! Unbelievable! This stuff needs to stop!

    Thank you for all you’ve done, Ken!

    • Scott
      March 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      A nobody would get a slap on the wrist for a first offense of this nature the conspiracy was in their efforts to cover it up completely.

      • Molly
        March 21, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

        No Scott – no one else would get a slap on the wrist for hitting someone SO hard that he literally came THROUGH the windshield, and then drive away leaving him in the road to die. This wasn’t a “little accident” by any means, and the fact that she drove away is unbelievable. Anyone else would get severe penalties. And then, there’s also the cover-up!

        • Scott
          March 21, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

          I was in trouble a lot growing up my family wasn’t connected they gave me a lot of breaks. I know a first offense for just about anyone is a continuance with out a finding and probation for a year. I know a lot of people would like to but the courts won’t seek punishment out side the scope of the law especially she has a paid attorney.

          • danvalenti
            March 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

            Perhaps, but that will be a matter for the criminal proceedings in district court. The civil case should be where the real penalties will come down, if they do. That how it usually works, especially when the wronged party feels the criminal courts let the perpetrator off the hook. There there’s the matter of a probable coverup.

    • Joe Pinhead
      March 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

      Molly and All thanks for the kind words of support, I too was amazed at how complex the process has become. It is just as cumbersome for everyone in the City. I spoke with a gentlemen (and a friend) who informed me that the same process had to be followed for a group of citizens to assemble and pick up litter in the park. Yup to perform a spring clean up the same gauntlet has to be run why? Or better yet ask yourself how much would a business have to endure if they desired to adopt a park? Or if they wanted to do business in the City? Not someone connected but someone who wanted to start a business? They might even be told by Deana Ruffer that if they say provided a squad car to the Police they might be viewed in a more favorable fashion.
      The Parks Commission or the Clerk did not even do me the courtesy of e-mailing me a note last week saying that the item would be on the agenda, not that I think I’m special that’s just it is an ordinary common courtesy, it is there application that requests an e-mail address why didn’t they use it? I wonder if they see things in a reverse order, like we are there to sustain there existence and we should feel privileged to do so? Not that they have the privilege and the responsibility to serve in a meaningful and courteous way. Not that people were rude or mean it just seems like customer service has escaped City Hall. In most business’s customers have free choice on how and where to spend their resources and if the process is to time consuming or troublesome will and do spend their resources in a different venue. Because we must use the services of the City is no excuse to not to understand how to deal with the Public.
      It boils down to this, The City offices might deal with a million “Special Event Applications” a day to each of us who submits one it is our only one and using their term “Special” should indicate the significance of the event to the applicant, and the Clerks should treat it as such. If someone is willing to run the maze then the event is meaningful to them and the City should ensure that the significance is not wasted on them.
      I’m in on the ballgame on the 15th as well, can I play 2nd base?
      Please be watching for information regarding the Dog walk as well.

      • Stonegod
        March 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

        You should of said it was going to be a Occupy Wall street dog walk. No permit needed. Following the rules is for suckers!

        • danvalenti
          March 22, 2012 at 6:42 am #

          STONEGOD has a point. Next time, why don’t apply. We occupy!

  3. SaraD
    March 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    You do realize trying to lure the DA’s office into providing information on a case they are recused from is a bit sleazy, even for you? Yes, of course you do.

    • Molly
      March 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

      Oh please – “lure the DA’s office into providing info” – it was an inquiry as to what time the hearing was! And you call that sleazy? Get a grip! Sleazy, SaraD, is Meredeath and Cliff Nilan who left a man to die, bleeding in the road and then went to great efforts to cover that up! THAT is sleaze!

      • Joetaxpayer
        March 21, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

        @Molly-Couldn’t of said it better my self.How dare Dan try to find out the time of the hearing, who does he think he is?

      • danvalenti
        March 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

        Thanks, Molly. Amazing how people like SaraD spin their fantasies instead of applying their intelligence.

  4. your mom b**w me
    March 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    I would like to have seen the look on Cliffy’s face when you walked in,Dan. That must have been priceless.

    • Scott
      March 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

      creative name

  5. Steve wade
    March 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Did you really think they would vote no for the permit?

    • Molly
      March 21, 2012 at 3:37 pm #


    • danvalenti
      March 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

      No. In a conversation earlier in the afternoon with Ken Ramsdell, I predicted the exact way the situation unfolded.

  6. Ray Ovac
    March 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    DV, you went to a public hearing and didn’t take a photograph?

    • danvalenti
      March 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      Correct.Why waste the photons?

      • Ray Ovac
        March 22, 2012 at 8:41 am #

        The more photographs that are published of GOB’s like Cliff Nilan, the better. GOB’s scurry from the light.

        • danvalenti
          March 22, 2012 at 9:50 am #

          Valid point, RAY

  7. Spectator
    March 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    I too correlate Mr Nilan with taint. Somewhere between a **** and an *******.

  8. Molly
    March 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    Well, it looks like the BB came up with a lot of new info! It’s about time. And some of the info. is very interesting!

    • danvalenti
      March 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

      THE PLANET’s been applying the pressure on the BB, and it’s working to some extent!! That’s all we can say.

  9. Molly
    March 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    From the Berkshire Eagle:
    “According to Maddalena’s redetermination request, Meredith Nilan initially told police that after she hit something, she sat in her car for about a minute to gather herself and then got out of the car.”
    I, and any other non-narcissistic person, would’ve flown out of the car immediately!

    “…based on the testimony then given at the hearing,” Meredith Nilan called her boyfriend, Louis Allegrone, following the accident. She got out of the passenger-side door, because the other was frozen shut, and then looked around, found nothing and got back in. She then received a phone call from her boyfriend and drove home.”
    Bull – she likely dragged him off of the hood of her car and then took off! Someone comes through your windshield and you get out of the car and don’t see him laying in the road? Bull.

    “According to Maddalena, Clifford Nilan called attorney Shugrue a half-hour before calling police. And when Clifford Nilan called police, he them told them the accident had occurred “10 minutes” earlier, when it had occurred more than an hour before, according to Maddalena.”
    And there starts Cliffy’s participation in the “cover-up”.

    I thought that the police would’ve had to state that they were appealing right at the “show cause hearing”? And Judge Hadley didn’t want, or request, another hearing – and that WAS his choice, and he chose not to, but instead listened to the tape of the show cause hearing and reviewed all the evidence that was presented at that. Shugrue had his chance at the “bogus” show cause hearing, and Hadley overturned the bogus verdict. No – he should NOT have had a chance to present his case AGAIN because that decision was up to Judge Hadley and he chose to not do that! SOOOO – hopefully, we’ll go to a trial and NO DEALS!

    • Joe Blow
      March 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      What a disgusting person she is!

      • Jwbs
        March 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

        What an absolutely disgusting family they all are. None of them have any remorse for the Moore’s. They truly Believe they did nothing wrong and they’re the victims in all of this. Unbelieveable. We can only hope karma comes quickly.

  10. Ron Kitterman
    March 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm #


    Promise me when you sell the Planet to give Molly the right of first refusal.

    • danvalenti
      March 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

      I shall consult my barrister, the Hon. Charles H. Hungadunga.

  11. your dad touched me
    March 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm #



  12. Ken Ramsdell
    March 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    Parks Commissioners, First I do applaud the time and energy that you dedicate to the City of Pittsfield, with that being said I must say that I am appalled with the setting and environment of your meeting room. I am deeply troubled by the lack of both the American and Commonwealth flags in your meeting room. I do not understand how a governmental body could meet and conduct the Peoples business without them present. I myself have given time and service to my country via enlistments in the USAF, and as a Veteran respectfully request the Commission and all other Commissions meeting in that or any room immediately make arrangements to have both Flags installed and honored appropriately. I am certain that the recital of the pledge and possibly a minute of silent reflection is not too much to ask.
    I do not wish to single out the Parks Commission and I do understand that other Boards and Commissions utilize the meeting room to conduct the Peoples business and a set of flags is in order.

    • Molly
      March 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      Absolutely!!! I can’t believe that this would even need to be pointed out to anyone! This shows a lot – actually what we already know – that they are just too all consumed with themselves and keeping their power and ways to show their power, on and on and on, that this never even occurred to them! Disgusting.

      Ken – this has to be sent to the Mayor as well. Do you plan to do that?

      • Ken Ramsdell
        March 22, 2012 at 4:01 am #

        I plan on sending this request to the Mayor and if need be petitioning the Council, there is no reason that this is allowed to occur.

  13. Ron Kitterman
    March 22, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    somehow barrister and honorable just don’t seem to go together?

    • danvalenti
      March 22, 2012 at 6:41 am #

      What were we thinking?

  14. Ron Kitterman
    March 22, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    Totally agree with Mr. Ramsdell on this one. There was also a time when the parks commission met at the Springside House has anyone seen the deplorable condition of the Springside House ? It could definitely use several coats of paint, truely a shame since the structure was given to the city as a gift by the Miller family to be held in perpetuity, but our city has dropped the ball and hasn’t maintained the structure for years. I’ll take a picture later today to demostrate the blighted property.

    • danvalenti
      March 22, 2012 at 6:41 am #

      I agree as well. Great points about the Springside House. The city can use all the excuses it wants about why they haven’t taken care of that beautiful building, but none of it cuts. Send us the picture, and we will publish.

  15. dusty
    March 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    How much money did they put into that rehab only to sell it for less? How much into North street and the self watering planters? How much spun off to the Colonial, Barrington stage etc. … but no money for the Springside House.

    Bottom line…fixing up the Springside house probably would not spin off enough money to special interests

    • danvalenti
      March 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      That’s how it works in that corrupt city, Dusty, my friend. Sad, eh?

  16. Debbie
    March 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    Cliffy (little man) Nilan represents the Superior Court Probation. Is he so affraid of this system that he represents because he knows its flawed and corrupt! – Is his daughter to good for the system. I don’t see what the big deal is CLIFF maybe you should ask to supervise your daughter like you did for Angelo Stracuzzi . WE all know he never reported anyways so what are you hidding from. Is the system not good enough for your family and friends. If the shoe was on the other foot and it was your child or relative that was the victim – YOU and your cheap friend Lawyer would have made sure that person paid the price alreay. I’m so glad your true colors are shinning through . One more crooked screme for Cliffy to be involved in……………………….Keep on running its going to catch up sooner than later.

  17. Beacon Hill Mob
    March 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Hey dan,


    SHE don’t care A BIT O SHIT

    ABOUT, Mary Jane or ME,

    call her…..

    Martha has BULls TEATS