NUCIFORO POURS ON THE COAL IN ANSWERING NEAL ATTACKS … SCHOOL BOARD: TRANSPARENCY TAKES A POWDER, and, CLOSE VOTE SEEN IN KINNAS PETITION … ‘BORROWED BUT UNEXPENDED FUNDS’ RAISES $$ QUESTIONS … COUNCIL APPROVES FERRIN APPOINTMENT, 7-4 … plus … SANTORUM WIN IN DEEP SOUTH WON’T STOP MR. MITT
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2012) — Congressional candidate Andrea Nuciforo came out swinging in response to the hatchet job launched against him in a double-barreled shotgun story published on page one Sunday in the Boring Broadsheet.
In an e-mail sent to THE PLANET, Nuciforo mentioned how “over the last couple of days, my opponent has used local media to launch personal attacks against me and our supporters. Reluctant to launch these attacks in his own name, Congressman [Richie] Neal instead used surrogates to bash me personally, distory my record, and try to force me out of this race.”
Nuciforo was just getting warmed up: “Sadly, we have come to expect such a strategy from entrenched, 24-year politicians such as Richie Neal. And it’s more important than ever to tell him loud and clear that voters deserve better than his brand of nasty politics, scuttlebutt, and half-truths.”
Nuciforo called Neal “desperate to avoid a primary against me.” Andy pointed out the following facts about Neal that the BB conveniently has not told its readers:
* Neal raised $5.4 million from Wall Street, big banks, insurers, and other PACS.
* From 1994 to 2000, Neal consistently supported the deregulation of Wall Street and the erosion of consumer protections.
* Neal raised $67,500 from General Electric Co., in the last election cycle alone. At the same time, Neal, according to Nuciforo, says “absollutely nothing about GE’s obligation to restore the Housatonic River and clean up Berkshire neighborhoods.”
* He has voted repeatedly with Republicans on many social issue, including votes against women.
“With that record,” Nuciforo said, “it’s no surprise that … Neal would resort to personal attacks rather than discuss his own record, and our supporters know dirty politics when they see it.”
Nuciforo says Neal’s attacks via the Boring Broadsheet and other surrogates “have galvanized our support.”
BB: Scraping the Dregs and without a Defense
The dynamic Nuciforo outlines establishes again how low the abject BB has sunk. Nuciforo says Neal’s local surrogates (he didn’t name them, but a simple reference to Ned Oliver‘s stories in the Sunday BB will do that for you) have their orders from the Neal campaign to attack him. If that’s true, then it means that local GOBs can simply order — we mean order — the local daily to carry out the orders. What else are we to conclude?
The BB is owned by the local GOB. If anyone from the newspaper wishes to dispute this claim in a public forum, we shall be more than happy to oblige. To date, no member of the Boring Broadsheet has taken up THE PLANET’s offer for a free-wheeling discussion and debate on the role of the press is a besieged city such as Pittsfield. They refuse to address our criticisms on and of substance. They won’t defend themselves because they can’t defend themselves. The once-proud newspaper knows that it’s guilty of journalism’s Cardinal Sin: Selling out to the vested interests.
In truth, the BB’s decline has been manna from heaven for THE PLANET, as our circulation continues to grow daily. From our first edition, we have relied only on the strength of our product and word of mouth to “advertise” our humble site. It’s working, to the point where The Players cannot ignore us. It’s Da Peepul who have made this sight a force to be reckoned with on the local scene, and brother, when Da Peepul begin to sense their power, they also start to flex it.
For once, Da Peepul have the GOB on the defensive.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE I: FOUR MEETINGS, NO MINUTES … or … TRANSPARENCY TAKES A POWDER
Tonight night, the Pittsfield School Committee meets in the PHS library at 6 p.m. If you go to the school committee website, you’ll see each meeting date posted from first (Sept. 7 )to last for this school year (Aug. 22). Each meeting up to March 14 (today) has an online agenda. This being a city of Pittsfield website, though, you can bet the house it’s dated and incomplete.
The school committee has met nine times since Sept. 7. Why, then, are there minutes posted only for the first four? Why are there no minutes for the meetings of Nov. 16, Dec. 14, Jan. 11, Jan. 25, and Feb. 15? This means, of course, that the “new” school board has met now three times without minutes being posted in a reasonable timely fashion … or at all.
THE PLANET calls on our Rt. Hon. Good Friends Alf Barbalunga, school committee chairman, and Mayor Bianchi to rectify this situation immediately. Bianchi as well as most of the school committee ran on a platform of transparency in government. We don’t think keep the minutes secret helps anyone become a better informed citizen. Sheesh, you’d think they’re afraid of people knowing too much, or something. It’s only their government, after all.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE II: BOARD TO HEAR KINNAS PETITION ON SUPT. TONIGHT AT 6 P.M. … CLOSE VOTE EXPECTED … YOUR ATTENDANCE IS NEEDED
Leaving aside for today the matter of the utterly inconvenient starting time of 6 p.m., which ensures, of course, that most of the interested public will not be able to attend in person (outta sight, outta mind is how Pittsfield city government generally feels about Da Peepul), we present the agenda for tonight’s school committee meeting:
You will notice item V-D: “Superintendent Search — 1. Updates 2. Salary 3. Screening Committee 4. Public Participation 5. Timeline Review.” Then, scroll down to item VI-E: “Letter from Mr. Terry Kinnas pertaining to Superintendent Search.” A couple of points to make here:
* He’s not “Mr.” Terry Kinnas. He’s “School Committeeman” Terry Kinnas. The committee’s own agenda ought to identify people properly. “Mr.” makes it sounds like Kinnas still has civilian status, and it does not inform anyone, at a glance, that he is a school board member. We don’t care if there are members of the GOB who wish Terry hadn’t gotten on the school board. “In your dreams,” we tell them.
* Why does the agenda list the discussion of the superintendent search before Kinnas’ letter, which asks that the school committee halt the search in the name of due diligence and transparency? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Wise Guys See Squeaker of a Vote for Kinnas Petition
THE PLANET called Kinnas about this: “I talked to Alf about the placement of my letter on the agenda,” Kinnas said. “It should be before the discussion on the superintendent search for it to mean much. [Alf] said if he has to, he will rearrange the agenda so that we get to my petition first.” That’s a good move by the chairman, and it will give much more impact to discussion of Kinnas’ petition.
We asked Kinnas if he had any predictions on how the committee will take his proposal: “I don’t know how it’s going to play. I hope they are open to my suggestion, because most of them campaigned on transparency.”
We agree. We talked with various “wise guys” who closely follow local politics, and the consensus is “pick ’em” for the Kinnas petition. Most see it 4-3 up or down. THE PLANET sees a surprise tally: 5-2 in support of the Kinnas initiative.
Folks, please do your best to attend the school committee tonight at 6 p.m. in a show of support — not for Terry Kinnas — but for reason and logic in governance.
Herberg, Where Every Kid is Above Average
Oh, and allow us to sneak this one in today’s post. We note with amusement the startling fact that 41% of students at Herberg Middle School (what those of a certain age call “South”) made the honor roll. There are only two scenarios that account for this total: Either Herberg has many boy and girl wunder-scholars OR there’s rampant grade inflation (“Just give the brats some good grades ’cause we don’t know what else to do”). Which do you think it is.
CITY’S ‘BORROWED BUT UNEXPENDED FUNDS’ RAISES SERIOUS ACCOUNTING QUESTION
This little item might have slipped by you. It has to do with budgets.
THE PLANET told you a few weeks ago that Mayor Dan Bianchi is already hard at work on the municipal budget. It will be the biggest, early litmus test for the new mayor. Bianchi’s first budget will reflect how well he puts his philosophy of government into fiscal policy. Or is it the other way around? Certainly, the budget document he submits to the council will give us a lot of clues for the remainder of his term: Is he a fiscal conservative or a spendthrift? Where are his priorities? Can he make the tough cuts that previous mayors have irresponsibly avoided, to the detriment of the commercial and private tax rate?
One tantalizing clue about Bianchi as a fiscal watchdog came in an otherwise routine city council allocation to replace the roof at Mercer School ($40,000) and to purchase two police patrol cars ($60,000). Mayor Jimmy Ruberto has asked for the spending, wanting to pay for it with new borrowing. Bianchi said no. Instead, the requests will be paid for by “borrowed but unexpended funds.” That intriguing quote is from city treasurer Sue Carmel.
It means that the city has in the past borrowed money that wasn’t used for the purpose of the loan. Carmel said that money the Ruberto administration borrowed for a fee collection system in the McKay Street Garage was not used. That money will go to the Mercer roof. The patrol cars will be paid for by money from insurance claims.
The unused McKay Street borrowing raises an alarming accounting question: Why would the city take out a loan for an earmarked project and then not use the money? Hmmmmm … all sorts of interesting possibilities come to mind. Look, THE PLANET isn’t an accountant. We don’t play on on the radio. We do know, however, that borrowing money at interest just to let it sit around — especially when the city has a “free cash” slush fund — is bad practice.
A simple mathematical audit would not flag this. A management audit would, which probably explains one of the many reasons why the city has not permitted a top-to-bottom, independent, forensic audit since Peter Arlos was knee high to Apollo.
FERRIN WINS APPOINTMENT TO AMBULANCE REVIEW COMMISSION
Congratulations to EMT Jeff Ferrin for winning appointment to the Ambulance Review Commission. My Rt. Hon. Good Friends on the city council last night approved Mayor Bianchi’s nomination of Ferrin by a 7-4 tally.
Kevin Morandi, Chris Connell, John Krol, Tony Simonelli, Melissa Mazzeo, Kevin Sherman, and Churchill Cotton voted in favor. Christine Yon, Paul Capitanio, Barry Clairmont, and Jonathan Lothrop voted against. The Gang of Four apparently maintain their psychic abilities to read into the “character” of people. Yon, Cappy, Dancing Barry, and J-Lo remind us Jesus’ dissing of hypocrites in the New Testament.
Noting his the Pharisees were easy to find fault in others without looking at their own indiscretions, he told them to first remove the huge cross beams in their own eyes before carping at the tiny slivers in the peepers of others.
Santorum Wins in ‘Bama and Ole Miss Do Little to Stop Romney Express
Rick Santorum‘s wins in Alabama and Mississippi, as we explained yesterday, changes nothing in the electoral math. Mitt Romney still has a huge delegate lead, and Santorum’s win in the Deep South cracker barrel won’t do much come convention time.
A look ahead shows only four “winner take all” contests. Santorum needs to take all four, most likely, to make a Dent in Romney’s leads in delegates. These are Utah (40 delegates), Delaware (17), New Jersey (50) and Washington, D.C. (17). Santorum has no chance in D.C., because he didn’t qualify for the ballot. Utah, Delaware, and NJ are states friendly to Mr. Mitt.
As for Alabama, we’re not sure anyone would even want to win there or if they did would want anyone to know. After all, Alabama is home to a state lottery that pays $3 million: $3 a year for a million years. It’s a state that criminals love because everyone has the same DNA. It’s the only state in the union where the governor’s mansion is located in a trailer park. And did you hear about the new Alabama divorce law. After a couple divorces, they are still legally brother and sister. Ah, but they sure go for Santorum.
Then there’s this one:
Ah, but they sure like Santorum.
WE NOW PRAISE THE MIGHTY MOTHER WHO BROUGHT TO THE DRAGON’S EARS THE POTENT MUSES THAT SERVICED THE EAR OF KINGS. WE SAY HER INSTRUMENTS ARE GREAT, CALLED TO THIS WORK BY HEAVEN, GRANDMOTHERS, AND FATE.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.