PARKS COMMISSION IN (CHEESY) ACTION: IT MAKES YOU WANT TO TAKE A SHOWER … RAMSDELL IDENTIFIES WHAT WAS MISSING FROM ROOM 203 TUESDAY NIGHT … PLUS, THE PLANET GIVES FAIR WARNINGS TO ALL CITY COUNCILS, BOARDS, COMMISSIONS, and COMMITTEES — WE THE PEOPLE ARE WATCHING, AND THE PLANET WILL BE NAMING NAMES
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012) — Yesterday, THE PLANET got a gander at one of the many boards and commissions that serve WE THE PEOPLE in the oft-slovenly but necessary business of city government, in this case, the Pittsfield Parks Commission. We had attended, along with a roomful of other folks, to witness the actions of an agenda that included Ken Ramsdell‘s petition for the TOBY II Dog Walk (Sunday, April 15, Kirvin Park, Pittsfield)
In yesterday’s post on the actions that took place in Room 203 at City Hall beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night, we noted how rude and condescending the commissioners were to those citizens who took the time out of their busy lives to attend the meeting. At 7 p.m., when Herr Doktor, chairman John Herman, gaveled the meeting to order, he launched immediately into the agenda. There was not a word either before or after gaveling to acknowledge anyone in the room. It was ad if the Lord High Commissioners were alone, and for all the way they acted, they might as well have been.
The commissioners had the wily good sense not to call any witnesses in support of Ramsdell’s petition. THE PLANET was ready to give them an earful. They were even wiser not to engage in any rhetorical fisticuffs with Ramsdell, who, in a public debate, would have to have a fronta-lobe lobotomy to make it fair for the other side.
Herr Doktor and The Birdman: A Snake Oil Medicine Show
Granted, such acknowledgment of WE THE PEOPLE is not proscribed by any rules of order manual, but such a gesture can be found inside the more important book from which most of the good people of Pittsfield operate, The Handbook of Common Sense and Human Decency. You can bet Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski have a copy — a Toby-eared one at that.
That book seems to have escaped the libraries of Herr Doktor and the Birdman of Alka-Seltzer, Clifford Nilan. THE PLANET won’t mention the other three commissioners for two reasons: (1) They serve as nothing more than props, window dressing to Herman’s and Nilan’s private fiefdom, and (2) We were too lazy to Google it (such is life when we must microwave our Pop Tarts in the morning due to time starvation).
It’s nothing one could ever isolate on a microscopic slide to be blown up as an exhibit for a courtroom case, but there was something tawdry about the proceedings. “Tawdry?” Look it up in the dictionary, under “shoddy, shabby, chintzy, cheesy, tacky, Mickey Mouse.” After a few minutes, your hands felt sticky, as if you had cut up a pineapple about an hour before and didn’t wash them. What was it, exactly? Was it Herr Doktor‘s dye job on his thinning hair (what, like we’re not supposed to notice?)? Was it the mere presence of the seedy Birdman, which alone would put one off of one’s morning toast? Or was it something more formal than that?
Perhaps it had to to with Ramsdell’s observation on THE PLANET last night, which we share now:
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FROM KEN RAMSDELL — 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.
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The Flags! Of Course! At Minimum, the Room Needed Flags
The flags! Of course.
Now we don’t get all weepy at the unfurling of Old Glory (“Some folks are born to wave the flag, show their red, white, and blue. And when the band plays, ‘Hail to the Chief,’ oh they’ll point their canons at you. Well, it ain’t me.” — John Fogerty, CCR). We do, however, respect what the flag represents in a room that conducts THE PEOPLE’s business. It represents US, not “Them.” It is OUR government, not “Theirs.”
We do honor every veteran, such as Ken Ramsdell and THE PLANET’s dad, who gave years of their life (often risking it, as our father did at the Battle of the Bulge) so that those flags could be displayed. We do honor the precious freedoms purchased under the colors of the banner: Freedom to assemble, freedom of speech, and — with the proper permits and signatures of 100 Barney Fifes, the freedom to walk your dog in a city park.
Herr Doktor, Birdman, and every other person who has the privilege of serving WE THE PEOPLE: You are merely the hired help, meant to follow OUR ORDERS and do OUR BIDDING. It’s time the Barney Fifes such as the members of the Parks Commission get wind of that radical notion, because we aim to press it.
Boards and Commissions: The PLANET Gives Fair Warning — You Are Being Watched, and You May Be Named, Here
Ramsdell’s post was followed by one from the unsinkable MOLLY, house mother here on THE PLANET:
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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?
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Ken replied to Molly that he would be sending the request to the mayor and if need be petition the city council.
Councils, boards, and commission: BE WARNED! THE PLANET’s Secret Squadron will be conducting surprise audits of your conduct and your meetings. We shall not announce our presence in advance. You may not even know we are watching. But …
… We shall be selecting random samples of your behavior and giving it the benefit of full sunshine. At any given meeting, at any given time, an agent from THE PLANET’s Secret Squadron, could be attending.
We will name names.
We will have as our criteria a simple question: “Are they doing the business of WE THE PEOPLE in an honest and sincere way, to the best of their abilities?” We will spare no one the shame nor deny anyone the praise. So look sharp, you public servants … because that’s what you are: Servants. WE are The Masters … and we’re going to start acting like it.
Official Pittsfield: You are now on Notice!
We will look at both policy and procedure. At times, we will focus more on the individual behaviors than on the substance of the action? Were our servants polite to citizens? Were they timid when it came to acting FOR THE PEOPLE? Did they act as stooges for the GOB? Did the room have flags? Did the chairman thank citizens for attending?
It’s not right that good, decent, ordinary folk should be treated like criminals when they have to do business with city hall, appear before a board or commission, or — God forbid — merely want to
FOR NOW, WE LET YOU OFF TO THE REST OF YOUR DAY. BE SURE TO RUN IN LATER TODAY, BECAUSE MORE NEWS IS BREWING — MORE STUFF THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT. WE GOT THEM ON THE RUN, AND IT’S TIME TO INCREASE THE PRESSURE … ALL WITH A KIND HEART, A GENEROUS SOUL, AND A SPIRIT OF LOVE.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.