PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

ADD 1 (MARCH 17, 2012, 2:20 p.m.)


We break into our regular weekened coverage to report that, according to sources, the woman wanted for a string of robberies in the Elm Street area was arrested and charged this afternoon in Pittsfield. Police said Danielle Kenyon, 49, was arrested at her home, saying they had obtained and used a search warrant.

Police filed four counts of armed robbery against Kenyon. Bail was set for her at $50,000. Her arraignment is scheduled for Monday morning in Central Berkshire District Court.

Pittsfield police credited Egremont Police Chief Reena Bucknell for contacting them with a tip. Monday night, Bucknell apparently obtained information from a source concerning an alleged upcoming robbery. Egremont police had stopped Kenyon Tuesday on a motor vehicle infraction. Police said she was driving her mother’s SUV.

Pittsfield Police Det. Patrick Barry said police have that SUV “on film” in connection with a robbery at Lipton Mart on Elm Street in Pittsfield.

AMBROSE, a commentator to this website, posted news of the arrest at 5:17 p.m. THE PLANET first heard about it from a source at around 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.


(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2012) — The Policy Handbook for Parents and Students for the 2011-2012 School Year is written in English and three foreign languages (naturally, because we can’t have fluency in English as a requirement of any public school in AMERICA, now, can we?). For authorship, it bears the names of members of the former Pittsfield School Committee (Kathleen Amuso, Mayor Jimmy Ruberto, Alf Barbalunga, Churchill Cotton, Dan Elias, Erin Sullivan, and Kathy Yon) and, signing for the Pittsfield Public Schools, Dr. Howard “Jake” Eberwein III, superintendent; Barbara Malkas, deputy superintendent, and Kristen Behnke, school business administrator.

Ruberto is now working on his tan in Florida. Cotton, with no need for that, serves at large on the city council. Sullivan has gone daisy picking. Jake Eberwein is on his way out under mysterious circumstances (Don’t tell anyone, but “They” are not letting you in on half of what’s going on, folks!). Unfortunately, Malkas and Behnke are still among the politically living.

The report is full of lies, lies, and more lies. This would make the signatories to the report liars, liars, and more liars. You have to remember a couple of things. In Pittsfield, everything is politics, especially education. Why? Because the public school eat up $83 of a $130 million budget, or 63.8% of every cent it takes to run the moth-eaten city. Thus, one can never read an otherwise innocuous document from the Pittsfield Public Schools as anything other than political communication, meant, as George Orwell famously put it, to make murder seem respectable and to give solidity to pure wind.

A Dressing Down: Public Schools’ Dress Code is Worse than a Lie; It is a Joke

We won’t bore you with details. The report can be read in its entirety online. We won’t include the link as an act of mercy, because, my dear friends, the only way you come out of reading of this piece of bad fiction without permanent brain damage is to go into your session already in a medically induced coma.

Lies and liars.

We will bring up just one egregious examples: The “Code of Conduct Violation,” Section N, as in, No Matter. It addresses the matter of student attire. It reads:



Personal appearance is an individual matter. No one, however, has the privilege of disregarding the norms of reasonable dress. Attire that could interfere with the learning process is not allowed. Students will be counseled on an individual basis if their attire is improper. Parents will be contacted if there is a question regarding a student’s attire. Clothing must always conform to safety standards of the particular class. The following dress code was drawn up by a committee of parents, teachers, administrators, and students:

• Hooded jackets or sweatshirts with drawstrings cannot be worn on or around play or work equipment. • Clothing is to be clean and neat without holes or tears. • The bottom of the top overlaps the top of the bottoms. • Spandex and Lycra are acceptable only when worn over or under less revealing garments.

• Obscene, vulgar, racist, sexist or other offensive pictures, words, or slogans are prohibited. • Hemlines of skirts or shorts must fall below fingertips when arms are relaxed at sides. • Shoes/sandals must be worn at all times. • Hats (caps, berets, scarves) of a non-religious nature may not be worn in the school.

• Undergarments should not be visible. • Any other dress that distracts, disrupts, intimidates or provokes can be deemed inappropriate by the

principal or designee.

Coats/jackets should be kept in student lockers unless conditions warrant otherwise.


Let’s parse these brave sounding words.

Since practically every other student violates “the norms of reasonable dress” with impugnity, this section is a lie. That makes Eberwein, Malkas, etc. liars. Attire in middle schools and both high schools routinely “interferes with the learning process” and is allowed.

* Clothing is routinely  worn with holes and tears.

* Bottoms of tops too often do not overlap tops of bottoms.

* Spandex and Lycra are worn with other revealing garments. This refers to girls, who think it appropriate to show their jiggling tits on chest billboards rather than dress modestly, thereby conveying the notion that they are to be taken with a bit more weight than Snooki.

* Hats are routinely worn in school. Perhaps you’ve seen them: Boys with the gangsta-lid baseball caps attached to heads that are screwed onto necks backwards.

* Undergarments are often visible.

Lies and liars.

Of course, the answer here is school uniforms, a reform that

(a) Is long overdue in Pittsfield public schools

(b) Instantly removes the issues associated with teens and their clothes

(c) Puts all families from all income levels on equal footing

(d) Saves parents money

(e) Improves classroom behavior

(f) Boosts morale of students and staff

(g) Raises a student’s self-esteem

(h) Builds a sense of school identity, and

(h) Results generally in improved academic performance. This last point has been demonstrated repeatedly in public school districts that have adopted school uniforms. Currently, there are about 14 million public school pupils in America that wear uniforms, a number that is growing. The time for school uniforms is long overdue in the Pittsfield Public Schools.

THE PLANET intends a full discussion of this issue in a future edition.

More Public School Lies by Public School Liars

The section on bullying, which is three words longer than Moby Dick, is also a gigantic lie signed by Malkas and the other liars. We don’t have space for that today, but we hope to be putting verse and chapter on that one in the near future.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We mention Malkas because we have insiders saying she has the job as Jake’s successor. In the bag. Sewn Up. The Fix is in. We don’t know that for sure, but the drumbeat is persistent and undeniable. Don’t tell anyone, though. You’re not supposed to know that. THE PLANET presents this persistent hearsay on the reasoning that, if true, the sunlight we bring to it may cause the undead to turn to sand. To spell it out for those who can’t read political Braille, by spilling the beans, perhaps we can shame Da Boyz into abandoning the plan, because you — the dumb-ass taxpayers who fund the Pittsfield public school cesspool — are supposed to think the current search for a new superintendent is too legit to quit.]

We also share this tidbit about the “arrangement” between the Pittsfield Public Schools and the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department, found on p. 39 of the document:



The Pittsfield Public Schools have an agreement with the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department to operate a program alternative to out-of-school suspension. The program places students suspended for a 3-9 day period in a full-day educational setting where classroom assignments can be completed and tutorial and case management services provided. The JRC also offers long-term tutoring, dropout prevention programming, and court mandated counseling. The Juvenile Resource Center program is operated in the educational suite of the former House of Correction on Second Street. Students assigned to the JRC must arrive with a parent/guardian on the first day for a conference and orientation. Upon successful completion of assignments at the JRC, students receive full credit for assignments and school attendance.


File that away for future reference. The key points to keep in mind:

* The arrangement between the schools and the JRC

* Another man who has the same name as Jake Eberwein III

* Barbara Malkas, former personnel head for the Pittsfield Public Schools, who was the officer in charge of Criminal Offender Records Information (CORI) checks.

The information might having bearing on Malkas’ fitness not only to serve as superintendent, not only in her current position, but also generally in the employ of taxpayers in the local schools.

When Public Officials Screw You Over, Taxpayers, You Will Have THE PLANET Pitching for Your Side

You see, ladies and gentlemen, if the School Committee save for Terry Kinnas and Dan Bianchi do not intend to give you a legitimate process in their search for a new superintendent or on anything else, THE PLANET will try our best to fill the breach. If Malkas is the Chosen One, she needs to be vetted for her suitability. If she is not the Chosen One, she is still deputy superintendent, and she needs to be vetted for her suitability.

We freely admit: Malkas may be a the greatest educator/administrator in the history of man- and woman-kind. If that’s the case, there shouldn’t be a problem in getting to know her a little bit better. But what if she isn’t? What if she, like all of us, have warts and blemishes? They should be revealed, shouldn’t they, particularly if — and we only say if — they turn out to be unusual, especially as it pertains to that all important issue of character.

Short of having Jonathan Lothrop, Paul Capitanio, Christine Yon, and Dancing Barry Clairmont perform a Vulcan Mind Meld on Malkas and other contenders for the Super’s job — you know, the Superpower that lets them see into the souls of others, as they did with Jeff Ferrin — we intend to let We The People have their look.

Anyone with an objection to that: Squeak up now or forever hold your wagger.

The search for a new superintendent is meant to be a public process. It’s also supposed to be on the level. THE PLANET intends to do what we can to see that it is, on both accounts.



In Lenox, bedraggled taxpayers were presented a preliminary school budget request. It calls for an 8.1 percent increase over FY ’12 (from the current $8,148,069 to $8,808,179). Who else besides public schools has the balls to ask for increases like that in an economy like this?

When Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski budget for the household, they first look at income. After estimating how much money they have, they plan their expenditures. If the income takes a hit, they tighten the belt. When Government budgets, it first looks at how much money it wants to spend on all the unnecessary wish-list toys. Then it turns the taxpayers upside down to raise the funds. Whenever anyone proposes an actual cut, especially in the dreadful boondoggle of public education, the Vested Interest scream, “Oh, no, The Children, The Children,” using to lads and lassies as human budgetary shields.

Lenox Super Presents a ‘Needs’ Budget — That’s When a Bureaucratic Porker Holds Up Taxpayers with a Bloated Laundry List of ‘Gimmes’

The Lenox Schools’ Mob Boss, that is, Superintendent — Dr. Edward J. Costa III — told the Millionaires School Committee that his budget was a “needs budget” which hasn’t been reduced yet.

“It’s not a final budget,” he told the committee. “It’s just a raw budget.” Yeah, it’s also a swift boot in the rear end for taxpayers, who, even in Lenox, are having a hard time meeting their own expenses. (AN ASIDE: Notice how both Costa and Jake are Thirds, as in “III” — people so important they have to be counted in Roman numerals, like Super Bowls).

To show you how buffaloed the Lenox School Committee is by Mob boss Costa  consider this: The bozos on the committee told Costa to present a FY ’13 budget that included everything on his wish list. That’s rather like giving a blank check to your life savings to a robber. They are accomplices to rape.

The Lenox School Committee chair woman is Marybeth Mitts (no, we don’t make these names up, folks). She is the Alf Barbalunga of that panel. Does that give you a clearer picture?

“We’re going to try moving forward on some of [Mob Boss’] needs,” Mitts said. TRANSLATION: “He can’t keep his Mitts off of the money, and we ain’t going to try to stop him.”

Taxpayers, everywhere, unite, because you have nothing to lose except being royally screwed.



If you are following the Republican presidential nomination process, you probably thought that Rick Santorum revived his flagging campaign winning Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi. If you thought that, it means you were reading national press accounts, which want to make the primary campaign a horse race, and you didn’t read THE PLANET.

We explained earlier this week how the math and the momentum were all Mitt’s, even eerily predicting how Santorum would win the two redneck states but lose the delegate battle.

Guess what: THE PLANET was right again (Gosh, this is getting boring).

Romney Gained Once Again, Pushing Santorum and GRinch Closer to Mathematical Elimination

By the time all the voting finished on Tuesday, Mr. Mitt had won 41 delegates to Santorum’s 35. Gingrich and Santorum are moving closer to mathematical elimination, and the Republicans will have their best shot at unseating President Barack O’Bama in the fall in Mitt Romney.


  • Newt Gingrich is 373 delegates behind Mitt Romney. And Rick Santorum is 255 delegates behind Mitt Romney. That means both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich will have to start netting an impossible number of delegates to catch up and overtake Mitt’s lead.
  • Of the remaining delegates, Rick Santorum must win 69% to reach 1,144 delegates. Those prospects look nearly impossible when you consider he has only won 26% of the delegates awarded to date.
  • Mitt has received more votes and more delegates in the Southern states than any other candidate. And that’s without including Virginia, where both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich failed to qualify for the ballot.

It’s inevitable, barring the unforseen. Mitt Romney will take on the President in November. He has a good shot at winning.

Romney is winning by focusing on the pressing issues of the election and not the side-show stunts.

For Romney, the issues are

JOBS — Reviving the economy through “free enterprise, hard work, and innovation.”

TAXES — “Fairer, flatter, and simpler.”

REGULATION — “Cutting the red tape.”

TRADE — “Open markets on terms that work for America.”

ENERGY — “Pro-jobs, Pro-markets, Pro-America

LABOR — “Free enterprise, free choice, free speech.”

HUMAN CAPITAL — “A 21st Century workforce.”

SPENDING — “Smaller, simpler, smarter government.”

What a platform. Gee, it sounds as if we wrote it ourselves!






  1. Berkshire Ex-pat
    March 16, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Hey DV–

    Dead-on about the media coverage of Romney’s hugely successful campaign. It reminds me of the media coverage of the 1968 Tet Offensive– an overwhelming US military victory that was portrayed as a humiliating defeat by the anti-war press. Do you think that the mainstream (i.e., left-leaning) media is simply trying to screw Romney on Obama’s behalf, or are they trying to stir up and maintain interest in a contest that is essentially over?

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      March 16, 2012 at 8:07 am #

      They are trying to maintanin interest for sure Berk Ex Pat, but the facts show Mittens is outspending 4 0r 5 to 1 and can’t attract the base , he has no political spine or at least is not showing it…The ONLY reason he is in the lead is that they are well organized,well funded and have been running for president for the better part of 6 or 7 years…Come on man, there needs to be a credible alternative to both the President and Mr Mitt..

  2. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    March 16, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    DV, Why doesn’t Mitt push his message then, instead of singing “America the Beautiful, Davey Crocket, talking about his wife’s Caddy’s and the like?” Its ridiculous. He is either the most socially akward politicain ever or he has the wrong people advising him. If you are writing his stuff Dan, tell him to drive home a message instead of fluff. He inspires no one. People are supposed to vote for him because of Math?? Come on , man…where’s the BEEF???
    BTW Dan , Do YOU have any idea what Mitten’s tax policy will actually ADD to the Defecit??

    • danvalenti
      March 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      Because on the campaign trail, these appearances are nothing more than pep rallies. As for inspiration, Mitt is inspiring enough Republican voters to all but wrap up the nomination. As for the math, you’re reading that backward. The math reflects the RESULTS of voting. It says nothing about WHY people voted the way they did. On the deficit question, the answer is, “No, I don’t.”

      • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
        March 19, 2012 at 7:11 am #

        Here is a link to compare Revenues, spending and the deficit comparing the budget proposals fro President Obama vs. Romney/Santorum from the Congressional Budget Office…deficit hawks beware, it ain’t purty!

        Also DV, Mitt seems to me to be making the argument for yet to be voters in the primary to vote for him BECAUSE of the MATH not the MESSAGE, was my point

        • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
          March 19, 2012 at 7:12 am #

          Correction the info is from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

        • danvalenti
          March 19, 2012 at 8:26 am #

          Thanks for the link!
          Mitt’s not making that argument as much as his handlers are. One could argue “same thing,” but if you’ve seen Mitt on the stump and heard as many of his public statement as we have, you would see it’s not quite the same. “Quite” is our qualifier, because we must allow Mitt the same leeway that all other candidates, including The President, have in the campaign, which is to direct their mouthpieces.

  3. Dave
    March 16, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    The concept of school uniforms makes a lot of sense to me. Uniforms are usually modest and should be affordable.

    Children from families that cannot afford the latest fashions are all equal with their affluent peers if a uniform is required.

    As the parent of a budding teenager, I often am put off balance by not only what my daughter thinks is appropriate school attire but also that of her friends.

    I understand that school age children are all seeking their own identity and want to be accepted at the same time. School uniforms would take away one challenge and promote individuality expressed in other forms.

    • ambrose
      March 16, 2012 at 10:46 am #

      I have to agree with the uniform concept. When I was young, back in the ’30’s Hitler had started his youth movement. The children from all classes age ten to eighteen participated. They all had uniforms and starting at age 11 they learned the art of riflery (very handy at the time of school invasions). There was great pride in their groups. The concept was brilliant. Disciplin was never a problem. I think the Planet’s got something here and I hope it will keep up the pressure.

      • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
        March 16, 2012 at 11:14 am #

        Using Hitler as evidence to support your arguement might not help your cause

        • danvalenti
          March 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

          Mussolini made the trains run on time, too. He wore a uniform. But Hilly, you’re right — I wouldn’t use him or Schicklegruber to make my argument.

          • Beacon Hill Mob
            March 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

            Hiler patteren the SS uniforoms after,

            THE MSP, Mass State Police

            Sieg Hiel!!!

          • Beacon Hill Mob
            March 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

            Yes that is correct, MSP Before the NAZI SS

          • Beacon Hill Mob
            March 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

            That being said,

            Almost all MSP are upstanding persons, the few BAD I have encounterted, stain the rest

          • ambrose
            March 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

            they are the same person

    • danvalenti
      March 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

      Great point. Individuality comes from who a person is, not from what they wear.

  4. Steve wade
    March 16, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    Dan. Calling these people liars is totally wrong even by your low writing standards I know your faithful will love today’s column but I think you’ve hit a new low in journalism.

    • Molly
      March 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

      Alfy sat there at the last meeting spewing lies with saying that the general public has had, and will have, lots of input into choosing the next Superintendent. These weren’t out and out lies? They absolutely were!!! Even the rest of the School Committee didn’t have a say, never mind the “general public”!!!

      • danvalenti
        March 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

        Lies, lies, and more lies.

        • Steve wade
          March 16, 2012 at 6:07 pm #


      • ambrose
        March 17, 2012 at 7:03 am #

        Molly, can you tell me what the general public knows about choosing a superintendent of schools? Alf end the other night with, “most importantly, two high school students.” They sure will be knowledgeable. That is what we elect a school committee for. They have Terry who knows everything, but the rest don’t happen to agree with him. We have The Planet. The Planet has never taught nor had any affiliation with publicschools and its unlikely its even been in one since its high school graduation. All of its input comes from disgruntled employees so that makes it an expert. In the Planet’s mind there is nothing good going on in the public schools. I do agree, there must be a conspiracy. In Pittsfield everything from sweeping the streets to the timing of the trafic lights is a conspiracy orchestrated by the GOB. Believe it.

        • Molly
          March 17, 2012 at 10:37 am #

          Number one is that the general public pays the $83 MILLION DOLLARS annually that they spend. That little fact always seems to be easily overlooked. Beyond that, we’re talking about the “general public” which means that there is a range of people from little to no education and/or work experience to those with PhD’s and extensive business experience who have brought up their own children, and everything in between. Out of the 40,000+ people in this city, I’m sure there are MANY highly intelligent and qualified individuals to participate on a “Screening Committee” to screen only the 9 applicants (since Alfy took away even his own School Committee’s opportunity to do a SEARCH and decide what it is we want in our new Superintendent. There should have been a Search Committee and that Committee should have also included the general public) but again, Alfy has shown is lack of leadership skills and his penchant for acting on his own.

          • ambrose
            March 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

            i guess using that logic, the general public should be in on selecting the secretary of state or supreme court justices. I pay thousands more in state taxes and tens of thousands more in federal taxes than i do in local taxes. I spent 10 years in industry (GE), that’s more than TK, 30 years teaching public in school (that’s more than TK), and 34 years as an independant businessman (that’s more than TK). (the jobs overlapped, i’m not 100 yet)
            However, I don’t feel anymore qualified to pick a school superintendent than I do a district court magistrate. I think i said something wrong.

          • danvalenti
            March 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

            Actually, the closer an issue is to home, the more the public has a say, whether they are qualified or not. AMBY, you’re picking a bone with democracy itself, having identified its fatal flaw. A misinformed, apathetic public still retains all the rights under democracy (demos = people … krasis = power … literally, power to the people). We all understand how at the international, national, state, and regional levels, government can move without our direct participation. When we allow that to happen locally, we get what we have in Pittsfield: Mob rule. The best form of government is probably an authoritarian mode (totalitarian without the military), if, that is, you can round up a benevolent dictator.

  5. The Kraken
    March 16, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Dan, your boy Mitt (my tribute to Pat Buchanan) is only winning because Gingrich is too stubborn to drop out and is taking votes away from Santorum. Same with Ron Paul (who I would vote for but will never make it as he’s too radical).
    Regardless, if all the Republican party can put up against Obama is flip-flop-every-15-minutes Romney then we are probably in for another 4 years of Obama.

  6. Beacon Hill Mob
    March 16, 2012 at 9:20 am #


    It’s just LENOXOLGY!!!

    We have board members voting on things they PROFIT from (Hackroyd)

    No sense of ETHICs on the Selectmen



    and yes I’ve tried to VOTE THEM OUT, tourista $$$$ always wins

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      March 16, 2012 at 9:30 am #

      Hey BHM, who ya got in the upcoming Lenox Select Race? My $ on Ed Lane and Dave Berkyl

      • Beacon Hill Mob
        March 16, 2012 at 10:32 am #

        I won’t trust ANY INCUMBENTS.

        Dave Sr, is an HONEST man

        • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
          March 16, 2012 at 10:46 am #

          No incumbents are running

          • Beacon Hill Mob
            March 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

            thank jeus

        • Jeff
          March 18, 2012 at 9:10 am #

          Both Dave Berkel and Ed Lane will make great selectman. Very good candidates not connected to any special interest groups. We are extremely fortunate here in Lenox to have these two very qualified individuals step up and take the bullshit that will inevitably arise down the road!

    • danvalenti
      March 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      Your one word explanation — LENOXOLOGY — serves well to answer how and why that town has descended into its own tank.

      • Beacon Hill Mob
        March 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

        Dear Dan,

        After 52 years of life, I am con founded with the STENCH comoming from LENOX TOWN HALL.

        First of all, THE TOWN MIS-MANAGER

        • danvalenti
          March 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

          If you care to share more substantive comments about the town manager, in private if you wish, please feel free to drop me a line.

        • Steve wade
          March 16, 2012 at 6:09 pm #


        • Jeff
          March 18, 2012 at 9:34 am #

          Not sure exactly what Greg has done or not done that deserves all the negativity he recieves. I would like to be enlightened as to why. I would have to say know one in the town managers position is going to satisfy everyone. I believe Joe Kellogg (sp?) did a great job here and we’ve seen him in several other local towns since to back up his credentials. Yet, he was practically driven out of Lenox during his tenure as TM.

          One more thing….. Not everyone in Lenox was thrilled with the Lenoxology branding of the town. I believe the local chamber should be a stand alone entity here and not get subsidized by the local tax dollar. If local Innkeepers and restaurants wish to advertise thier businesses it should be done at thier expense not the taxpayers.

  7. Beacon Hill Mob
    March 16, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    I lived through years of Romney LIES.

    Friend of 2nd ammendment? NO NO NO unless he is trying to get elected.,

    A RINO of the worst sort

  8. levitan
    March 16, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    The only candidate who has my attention is the Republican Buddy Roemer, and his focus is not just on policy but the state of the Voter who currently has zero influence over who makes it to the ballot.

    Really, with Obama aiming to raise $1 biliion and a Republican official slate that has been vetted by the big donors, how can anyone get excited?

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      March 16, 2012 at 10:17 am #

      I agree Levitan. I have liked what I have heard from Roemer, although he has no shot…

      • levitan
        March 16, 2012 at 10:21 am #

        He may have no shot, but if he were to be the Republican opponent to Obama, he would win by a wide margin.

        I doubt independents – a fast growing and large group – can get excited over a choice between Romney and Santorum

        • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
          March 16, 2012 at 10:46 am #

          Agree with both points

        • Molly
          March 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

          I also agree – I know that I’m not real excited about Romney. But I also think that ANYONE will be better than Obama and that another almost 5 years of Obama and this country won’t even be here. That being said, the Republicans really screwed up – this is the best they could do when there was a real chance of getting rid of Obama? It’s SO infuriating! Santorum is way too far right extremist. Paul is just whacko. And Gingrich has more baggage than anyone can count – there’s no way that any of these 3 will get elected over Obama. So with what we have, Romney has the best chance (which is why the Dems want Santorum!).

  9. Richard
    March 16, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    School dress –It has been a long time since either the student or teachers have dressed in a professional manner. Just lessen to the excuses -Teachers we can’t have them dress better because the parents will holler. School Board- the parents will holler and kind won’t want to come to our schools. Parents we can’purchase modest clothing because it cost too much and the stores won’t sell them. Kids but I won’t look good. There is always reason why something can’t be done and no effort trying to put a better dress code in effect. The one they have is a joke. But the school authority doses have the power to make teachers dress like they are not one of the students. In short it won’t change because no one has the guts to change it.

    • danvalenti
      March 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      You got that right, Richard. The current “dress code” is a joke. This should be the next substantive issue for the school committee. A growing number of public school districts are turning to uniforms with uniformly great results. It’s time for the Pitts.

      • Steve wade
        March 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

        Dan Not that Im against dress codes but please show where the “growing number of public school districts are turning to uniforms with uniformily great results” what facts do you have or is it a Valenti fact “Made Up”

      • ambrose
        March 17, 2012 at 7:13 am #

        Planet, can you name just a couple of those districts who have turned to uniforms and some evidence of their results. I’m neither for nor against uniforms or better dress but a blanket statement issued from a responsible news source should be backed up with some facts. That should be easy with such a growing number.

        • danvalenti
          March 17, 2012 at 8:20 am #

          There are numerous districts using uniforms. Los Angeles/Long Beach, Calif., is one. Since adopting uniforms in 1995, overall crime rate dropped by 91%. School suspensions dropped by 90%. Sex offenses were reduced 96%. Vandalism dropped 69%. Similar results have been seen in NYC, Houston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Atlanta, etc. Big cities are leading the move to uniforms, because of the tremendous positive benefits. It’s time for smaller districts such as Pittsfield to follow. The positive benefits are indisputable.

          • ambrose
            March 17, 2012 at 11:22 am #

            •A case study of the effects of adopting school uniforms in Long Beach, CA which appeared in Psychology Today in September, 1999, reported the following effects from the switch to uniforms in 1995:

            ◦Overall, the crime rate dropped by 91%
            ◦School suspensions dropped by 90%
            ◦Sex offenses were reduced by 96%
            ◦Incidents of vandalism went down 69%

  10. Molly
    March 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Wellllll, don’t forget Dan, that it’s not a “Search Committee” that Alfy dreamt up, but instead it’s a “SCREENING Committee” – Alfy made that very clear. And since there would’ve been 3 parents on this screening committee and they are also taxpayers, there was no need to include any “general public” on this screening committee. Except that because the Mayor left the mtg at 7:20, the vote on this resulted in a tie. Alfy didn’t know how to handle that! First he had to ask the lawyer what this means (it means that it didn’t pass!!) and he sat there really not knowing what to do – he was so flustered it was like watching a fish out of water flopping around!! I’d like to see PCTV put that footage into a “loop” and just keep playing it over and over — that would be priceless!! It was Kathy Amuso who bailed him out at that point – she took control and said that she would make a new motion – that there needed to be more public input and so if he ups the total count to 17 people by adding in 2 “general public” people to this screening committee, then she will vote for it. And that’s what happened. I, for one, appreciated what she did as it IS important to have input from the general public, the actual taxpayers. However, since at this point it is all just a joke and they are going to be “screening” the nine applicants that have already applied (and I’m sure they will have to go by Alfy’s screening guidelines which will skew it toward Malkas), I would’ve preferred that she left him there flopping around not knowing what to do!!! 🙂

    Also, this screening committee was made up of 6 city employees (the Mayor, 3 teachers, 2 school principals), 2 students, 3 parents (who must be on the Parent/Teacher committees), 2 School Committee members, and 2 “at large” community leaders. Can’t you just hear the 3 teachers saying, “YAY! We get a big say in picking our next boss who will have a Huge say in our contract negotiations! AND, she used to be a teacher and a member of our union to boot!” According to “Alfy’s dictate”, the 2 students had to be Juniors and YES, THEY HAVE FULL VOTING RIGHTS! Which means that we have a School Committee who not only thinks it’s a good thing to have union employees play a big role in picking their boss, but also thinks that 16-year old kids know anything about managing an $83 million dollar budget and actually PAYING FOR THAT WITH THEIR TAXES. And can see the bigger picture of what’s best for our schools and children beyond what they are interested in as 16-year olds or even have a clue as to what qualifications to look for in a School Leader making over $125K/year plus bennies!!!! OMG – I could NOT beeeeeelieve that one!!!

    And what was with Terry Kinnas fighting to also have Middle School kids AND Grammar School kids AND kids in Vocational also represented??? Did he know that these kids have FULL VOTING RIGHTS? OMG! I also could NOT beeeeeeelieve that one, either!!!

    • danvalenti
      March 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

      Thank you for the important distinction. The search is over. The screening committee’s job will be to make the process look legit. They’ve got the new stooge picked out, and it will be a hand-selected, GOB Grade A-approved lackey. It will be someone way over her head who will be so grateful for making $125,000 clams plus bennies that she will never utter a discouraging word.

      • Molly
        March 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

        Yep – I agree. Also, the BB had it wrong – the range was $120K to $145K and that was Alfy from the start! Now, why would that be? Because Malkas right now makes a little over 100K and they’re not going to be giving her a $45 or $50K raise (which would be about a 50% raise!). So he needed the range to start lower, even though Terry Kinnas said the salary should be $170K and Kathy Amuso stated that she thought $120K was too low – he stuck to the range he dictated, and it was voted in. And so he will be able to say, “we have a very highly qualified Superintendent and I’ve saved the city a bunch of money in annual salary – look at the what other districts are paying!”

        Terry really screwed up, I thought. He initially blew Alfy away with challenging him on where he got his info on what other districts are paying their Superintendents and then “why are we even talking about salaries without ever having a discussion on what we want in our next Superintendent?” He had Alfy physically pouting like a spoiled rotten brat! (Hence I call him Alfy). Until Alfy asked Terry a question which was, “what do you think the salary should be?” I sat there saying over and over again to myself (trying to send it telepathically to Terry? LOL!!!) do NOT answer that question! Send it back at him and ask what is it that we want in a Superintendent?!! But he didn’t – he answered and he answered very high, too – $170K. He blew away his own point that he had successfully made and totally got Alfy off the hook.

        I am willing to bet a LOTTTT that the other 8 candidates aren’t very qualified at all!

        So in the end, Alfy will boast how much money he saved and I will answer “yeah, Alfy, and we have crap for a Superintendent, too! And we will never know now what we could have had! And no – the general public had NO input at all! Even his own School Committee had no input!”

        My bet is that they will offer her $125 – $128K.

        • Wally Ballou
          March 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

          great anaylsis molly. Terry had alf nailed and then let Alf, of all people, outfox him. Terry also way out of line on salary but he never should have fallen for alfs trick. But it’s true, no matter what they say on the committee the general public did not get any say at all. It will not get any say. Shut out again.

          • ambrose
            March 17, 2012 at 8:08 am #

            The general public had a say election day and these are the people they chose. If you know a better way to have the citizens represented perhaps you shoud suggest it. Seven peole ran for six positions. do you think maybe he ‘general public’ doesn’t give a hoot. There is a public input time before the meetings and rarely do you see anyone from the general public there. Never, the Planet nor Molly, the two who seemed best informed.

          • danvalenti
            March 17, 2012 at 8:14 am #

            Of course we are among the best informed. We follow the issues. No magic to it. For Molly, it’s informed citizenship. For the PLANET, it’s journalism. Agree with you that the general public doesn’t give a hoot.

          • Molly
            March 17, 2012 at 11:09 am #

            Ambrose – I did attend the last School Committee Meeting and did plan to use the “Public Session” at the beginning, but that went on for SOOOO long with others, that I just wanted the meeting to start. I’d be interested to know why you seem so against the general public having any input in choosing our next School Superintendent? What do you find wrong in that concept? He/she will be leading our schools, which takes up by far the largest chunk of our tax money. Every other school district in Mass. who is searching for a new Superintendent has implemented a SEARCH Committee consisting of members of the general public, school committee members, teachers, community leaders, etc. In this way, there is a cross section of interested and invested people choosing such an important leader and not just ONE individual unilaterally deciding this.

        • Debbie
          March 17, 2012 at 6:13 am #

          your bet is soooooo right! Molly you are spot on! way to go- keep on telling it like it is. Maybe Alfy to be voted out next term. Lets start the motion!

      • Steve wade
        March 16, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

        Dan Have you ever met this person that you say has no qualifacations for this job?

        • danvalenti
          March 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

          Point out where I said this person “has no qualifications for the job.” This is the sort of illogic that has you on thin ice. Either read what we write more carefully or visit another planet, preferably one with a lot of methane.

          • steve wade
            March 17, 2012 at 7:44 am #

            Dan Im so sorry to have offended you I meant to ask if you had ever met the “New Stooge” before?

      • Debbie
        March 17, 2012 at 5:44 am #

        Oh yes it is already a done deal!

        question- Does Alf get paid for the school committee position along with his salary from the State?

    • levitan
      March 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      I’d trust my grammar school daughter over the 16 year old and the union interests.

    • levitan
      March 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

      I’m surprised by your take on Kinnas’ proposal, given the material issues. It wasn’t about whether 11 year olds are qualified to vote but the methodology for the search and the scope of public participation.

      All Kinnas asked was “why?”

      Additionally, I believe your description has a good deal of embellishment, but good for you for attending!

      • Molly
        March 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

        No, it really wasn’t – he felt that the kids, more than anyone, are the biggest stake holders in their schools and they should be included in the make-up of this screening committee. And since these kids have full voting rights, it IS about if they are at all qualified to cast a vote! Even when Kathy Amuso made a new motion to include 2 general public people, Terry tried to interrupt and get the kids added as well and he was unsuccessful in doing that. But I question if he knew they had full voting rights – would like to hear from him on that. He never talked about the methodology for the search and the scope of public participation except when he asked “why are we talking about salaries when we haven’t talked about what we are looking for in a Superintendent”? Other than that, Alfy was mostly successful in keeping Terry quiet as he basically ignored him when he had his hand raised.

        I will tell you that I left at 9pm, prior to Terry talking about his petition so I don’t know what he had to say then – I will try to catch it on PCTV this weekend. But up until 9pm, he did not say anything of the kind.

        • levitan
          March 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

          Molly, here’s my response,

          “…he felt that the kids…are the biggest stake holders in their schools and they should be included ….”

          You are focusing on the pimple on the molehill. The discusion, which inlcuded Barbulunga, Amuso, and Elias, about children’s voting opportunities occupied about 10 min out of an hour. Kinnas was not trying to include grammar school students, he was arguing for public participation.

          “He never talked about the methodology for the search and the scope of public participation except [when asked about salaries]…. Alfy was mostly successful in keeping Terry quiet.”

          My observation was that Kinnas spoke a lot and forcefully. Barbulunga even recognized his “passion” and acknowledged his heartfelt arguments. Kinnas’ whole argument was about methodolgy. In fact he thought it was so flawed that he did not talk about methodology because the question was whether to proceed and interview or start fresh with a methodology. Molly, Kinnas proposed tabling the current applicants with notice they could resubmit after definition of the position was made clear.

          I understood Kinnas, like the others present, was defending in good conscience his position as were the other members.

          • levitan
            March 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm #



            As to your saying “Alfy” succeeded in ‘shutting’ Kinnas up, Al made no attempt to silence anyone in that meeting.

            Let’s not wander into the dark forests of character assassination and focus on the arguments.

          • Molly
            March 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

            You are talking about Terry’s petition – I told you that I did not hear that as after 3 hours, at 9pm, I left – prior to that being discussed or voted on — even though that was my main reason for attending! I will, however, watch that this weekend on PCTV. The first 90 minutes was taken up by things that are important in many ways, but not the reason that I attended and it was painful to listen to for 90 minutes! The following 90 minutes was taken up by a myriad of things — it seems Alfy can’t put together an agenda that groups topics together, thus we went from salary ranges for the new Superintendent to the 2012 budget and something else on the agenda and then on to the timeline for hiring a new Superintendent. During this 90 minutes, Terry did NOT speak very much – he’d raise his hand in response to “any comments or discussion?” and he would be ignored. He did get to talk somewhat on the notion of providing iPads to our students.

            As I said, what I heard was that he was arguing for the kids being included as they are the biggest stakeholders – I will listen again this weekend. Perhaps by then I was falling asleep (very possible). And I’m SURE he was very passionate regarding his petition and I wish I could’ve heard it while there — but Alfy refused to move it up on the agenda, and 3 hours was more than enough for me.

  11. dusty
    March 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I wonder how far back in time, and in what dark smoky room, the plans were laid to get Alf as head of the 83 million dollar budget and then work Malkas in as superintendent with a hefty raise.

    Alf probably would have taken the job himself but that job requires at least a pretense of work. And is anyone really surprised? Did anyone really think Alf was a man of the people?
    There is a lot of pork in an 83 million dollar budget and they are going to slice it up and party.

    • Debbie
      March 17, 2012 at 6:04 am #

      How does Alf find the time to put into the School Committee? Is it all done on the tax payers money? I only know of two Chiefs who both work in the Probation Department who make a great salary of $110,000 a year and will collect 80% pension. One is on the Parks Committee and the other is on the School Committee BOTH very friendly with each other! and BOTH spend a great deal of STATE time dealing with non related work! But then again who really is watching! They should not be able to do both!

      • Molly
        March 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

        Alfy is on another city board as well – can’t right now remember which one.

        • danvalenti
          March 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

          Community Development Board, we think.

          • Debbie
            March 18, 2012 at 5:39 am #

            I guess he has plenty of time to do his committee work on STATE time along with Mr. Nilan! Probation Officer’s don’t have a case load so they have plenty of time to do unrelated work for the committee. How do Chief Probation Officer’s get their position. Is it a voted position or elected? Or just given as a favor, Like the Sheriff who gave Cliff his job as a Chief and Alf got his job from his father. Its the good ole boy net work ABOVE the law. Do as they tell you not as they do! There are no rules that apply to them, Just Vote one out next election! And hopefully the other one leaves on his own after his disrace of behavior with his daughter. You wanna talk about Liars! Lets go!

  12. Molly
    March 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    I also think that the 3 teachers and 2 school principals should not be high school teachers/principals as they can and will influence the 2 students. As well, the teachers should not come from the same school as the principals or the parents and the parents should come from different schools as well.

    All Alfy has to do is to make sure that when they whittle this down to 3 people for the School Committee to vote on, that Malkas is one of the 3. Which should be very easy to do with 5 school teachers/principals, 2 students, 2 School Committee people and 2 GOB buddies from “the community”! AND, we have no idea of who the other 8 people who applied are – from what I’ve seen of Alfy, they are likely “ringers” who aren’t even qualified! He obviously wasn’t comfortable that Malkas would have a chance standing against an unbiased SEARCH COMMITTEE who would be looking at applicants from around the country! He nauseates me that he can sit up there thinking he’s a God when he actually makes a complete ass out of himself continually, spewing out and out false statements.

    March 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    DAN: Couldn’t agree with you more on school uniforms. Even most students would want them I believe. However with this liberal government around Mass. and in charge of our nation at this time, will never happen.

    • danvalenti
      March 16, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

      Thanks, CONCERNED. As you know, THE PLANET never says “never” unless he means it.

  14. taxmano
    March 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    Again, Iask. Why did no one challenge when Jake was obviously a GOB appointment like Malkas is now?

    • J.R. Fein
      March 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

      The answer to that is the Internet, I believe, J.R. THE PLANET didn’t exist back them. There were concerns, I know because I had some and others as well. And trust me, I am familiar with school operations and administration.

      • taxmano
        March 17, 2012 at 3:16 am #

        Well, can you tell us why Jake is really leaving?

        • Molly
          March 17, 2012 at 11:19 am #

          Perhaps you can enlighten us…

  15. J.R. Fein
    March 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    Still waiting to see if Valenti or any of his hound dogs solves the mystery of the $9000 theft of prom money last year at PHs. All I can say if follow up. Follow up.

  16. gadfly
    March 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm #


    I am really quite surprised at your failure to mention the major complaint that Kinnas had and that was that the entire scope of the search was very limited by the advertisement. It had absolutely no focus on the high school’s needs. In fact, he was saying that it was not just the ad that was wrong but the fact the the committee has not discussed exactly what they want in a superintendent.

    As for your complaint about the tie vote, that is a complete red herring. That vote made no difference. And by the way, Bianchi came back to the meeting at 9:15. He had another meeting to attend. He is the mayor and has a number of duties. His vote would have been immaterial to any of the votes that night.

    Kinnas is to be lauded for his staunch and accurate critique of the process. The real failure was on the part of the citizens of Pittsfield who failed to make any attempt to attend this important meeting.

    • Molly
      March 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

      I didn’t mention it because, I’ll say it again, I left at 9:00pm – after THREE HOURS of listening to the School Committee – and PRIOR to Terry’s petition being discussed, which was the main reason that I went to the meeting! But Alfy refused to move it up on the agenda and can’t seem to create an agenda that groups like items together. I did not know that Bianchi came back at 9:15 — good for him! And yes, I agree – I’m sure he has MANY meetings to attend to and that was certainly a long day for him a well. I didn’t know that because, as I said, I LEFT AT 9:00PM!!!! I DID NOT HEAR THE DISCUSSION ABOUT TERRY’S PETITION! I ATTENDED THE MEETING FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF SUPPORTING THAT, but it wasn’t presented while I was there. And again – I WILL watch it on PCTV this weekend and let you know my comments about it then.

      • ambrose
        March 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

        molly, if you can’t stay out later than 9 o’clock you should stay home.

        • danvalenti
          March 17, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

          Disagree. Showing up for any portion of those brain twisters is better than not showing up at all.

        • Molly
          March 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

          That’s pretty rich coming from you who didn’t attend at all, nor did anyone else! I attended from 6pm to 9pm and didn’t see anyone else sitting in those seats other than the paid lawyer!

          • levitan
            March 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

            Molly, how can you state that no one from the public attended?

            I was there, and I saw about 6 others as well. Presumably, one was you. Two others were from the public. And a handful I do not know if they were press or public.

          • Molly
            March 18, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

            Not while I was there, there wasn’t. Initially there were people there that participated in the Public Session but then they left after that. Shortly before I left there was another man on the other side of the room, but assumed he was a reporter (although the Eagle doesn’t report on School Comm. meetings). The seats were all empty, except for the lawyer and myself.

    • Molly
      March 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

      By the way, were you in attendance?

      • gadfly
        March 17, 2012 at 7:46 am #


        Yes, I was there.

        But, you made disparaging remarks about Bianchi leaving the meeting and lead people to think that he blew it off. Alf clearly announced that Bianchi had to attend another meeting.

        Facts are fundamental, and by the way – your keycaps seemed to have gotten stuck.

        • Molly
          March 17, 2012 at 11:23 am #

          I did not make disparaging remarks about Bianchi leaving the meeting early – if it came across that way to you, it wasn’t intentional on my part. I was merely explaining how it came to be that the vote was a tie.

        • Molly
          March 17, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

          re: keycaps – you are correct and please accept my apologies. This was the third time that I was stating that I was not there to hear Terry Kinnas’ proposal, but would try to watch it today. For some reason, people just weren’t seeing that and continued with the “surprised that I’m not lauding Terry Kinnas” and I was trying to have it be seen. Once I finally saw the rest of the School Committee Meeting today, I do laud Terry Kinnas — he did an excellent job, made excellent points, and had the guts to stand on his own and do what he knew was right for both the children in our schools and the taxpayers. He was absolutely excellent! I wish more people came to support him. But I, for one, thank him very much for what he tried so hard to do. It is very much appreciated, Terry. And thank you for all of your work and your passion as well.

          What wasn’t excellent is that not one other School Committee member agreed that this Superintendent “Search” should’ve, at minimum, been discussed and voted on at a School Committee meeting. And that speaks volumes…

          So now we have nine applicants, all from either Pittsfield or North Adams, and 17 people screening those nine, even though the regional search was voted down at the last meeting. Again – that speaks volumes. You’re right – facts are fundamental.

      • ambrose
        March 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

        yes i was, but i didn’t see you there – i’m beginning to think you are not a real person but someone else talking to themself

        • Molly
          March 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

          Ohhhhh ok! Whatever.

        • Molly
          March 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

          Oh hey! – were you the very first speaker at the Open Mic, there when I walked in? If you were there, that HAD to have been YOU!!! Otherwise, no way were you there! That said, I am not arguing any longer if I was there or not — enough stupid things!!

  17. tito
    March 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    Fein is talking to himself.

    • danvalenti
      March 16, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

      Must mean he has money in the bank. Fein is right about one thing: The Internet, plus a site like this that isn’t afraid to use its power, has changed everything. It has taken control of the information away from the crooks and given it to us. Fein’s comments about the prom money theft have us intrigued, we must say. We may have to put one of out Z Agents on that one.

      • dusty
        March 17, 2012 at 2:21 am #

        HUH? maybe it was an inside job…..usually when someone does not get punished or see their name in the paper for a crime in Pittsfield it is because they are connected

        dun ta dun taa

      • Molly
        March 17, 2012 at 11:24 am #

        I’ve heard a LOT of rumors regarding this.

        • danvalenti
          March 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

          “Where’s there’s smoke …”

  18. Sandy
    March 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    What happened to in house suspensions? Why are students who get into trouble for whatever reasons are being sent to the old jail on second street for their days of suspensions? What effect does this have on the students to be in that building with the bars still on the windows etc.?
    What kind of offenses do the students commit in their schools to be sent to second street? Is this for middle and high school students?
    I am all for discipline, but sending to a building that used to be a jail (and everyone in the city KNOWS that!) with bars still on the windows hardly seems like the right place to me. (I do believe the bars are still on the windows)
    How long has this program been part of the publc school system?

    • danvalenti
      March 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

      The answer, SAndy, is that — like almost everything in the Pittsfield Public Schools, the old jail has nothing to do with helping kids. It has everything to do with maintaining political empires and seeing that convicted criminals in the GOB suffer no consequences for their Roman hands and Russian fingers.

      • dusty
        March 17, 2012 at 2:24 am #

        I seem to recall when they were crying about the need for a new jail that one of the reasons was because the old one was not structurally safe and cost a fortune to heat. It needed to be torn down they said.

        so why is it cheaper to heat now and what made it safe for kids?

        that building has to be sucking up tax payer money

      • taxmano
        March 17, 2012 at 3:19 am #

        You’ re so right. Only in Pittsfield could an administrator be forced to resign because he couldn’t keep it in his pants, only to re-emerge in another six-figure post. Oh, and his son gets elevated to run the system!

    • ambrose
      March 17, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      for those of you too young to remember the city of pittsfield entered into a covenant with the federal government promising to tear down the jail and give the land to the community school . in return the feds would pay for the school. the vacant land would become playground for morningside community school. the city and county welshed on their part of the agreement. butch massimiano took over the clink and the rest is history. butch got his new pokey in the 90’s, kept the old jail, expanded his empire, keeping second street and then moving into the lakefront property on 4th street. the kids at morningside got screwed by the elders of palookaville, some of who, are still around. butchy got his tho.

      • danvalenti
        March 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

        Excellent information, spot on.

      • taxmano
        March 18, 2012 at 5:49 am #

        One addition to Ambrose’s history:

        Butch got his horny pal Howard Eberwein (forced to resign as SPED director because of sexual harrassment charges) to run the JRC (and put the son on the fast track to Super to ensure its existence).

      • Scott
        March 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

        I wonder if the Sheriff is around the children kids with problems make easy targets. Of course I’m speculating but just an observation.

  19. Sandy
    March 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    I agree Dan,and our children’s education suffers.

  20. Molly
    March 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Free condoms for Springfield students 12 and over gets initial approval by School Committee

    This also made “Greta Van Susteren” show tonight.

    • ambrose
      March 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

      nobody around greta vancistern ever need a rubber

    March 17, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    On a happier note “HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY” to all.

  22. Molly
    March 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Terry Kinnas did an excellent job and big kudos to him for having the guts to stand up for the taxpayers of this city. It is very disappointing that this was voted down and by such a large majority – that just amazes me! Actually, it tells me that Alfy must’ve talked about his move to post the job to the other members of the school committee prior to doing so (also got this impression from Yon as well). Otherwise, why didn’t they feel slighted not having any input to that? If he “really” went off on his own and did this, they all would’ve been livid. And that, ladies and gentlemen, goes against the Open Meeting Laws! Not one other School Committee member agreed with Terry that they (the School Committee) should have had discussions and votes about this, and that the public should’ve had input. What else can this mean other than Alfy had the others all lined up? I can’t think of one other possibility.

    That’s it – I’m “done”. These slimeballs aren’t worth the energy that they take up — they’re going to do what they want to do regardless of rules, regulations or laws. Period. One other thought — they are allowed to get away with this slime because the public allows them to, and they know it. No one else attended that meeting to support Terry. No one pays attention to who they are voting for on the School Committee. It’s the people who allow this corruption to occur. As good as this site is, really it comes down to people bitching about what’s wrong with this city and all of the corruption, but when it comes to do anything constructive to stop it, they don’t. It needs to be both!

    Thank you, Terry – you did an excellent job and your efforts are very much appreciated. I wish you had more support.

    • dusty
      March 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

      Unfortuneately you are right on all acounts.

      From the beginning my feeling has been that with the exception of Terry Kinnas, the rest of the school committee is operating with one brain…Alfs…and that is the way it was set up to be before the election even took place. Somehow things went slightly awry and Terry got elected or the public would still be asleep while the whole done deal got done.

      I suspect this whole plan was laid out behind the scenes the minute Jake let on that he was leaving. What makes me think so is that none of them had the slightest objection.

  23. ambrose
    March 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    BTW, they caught the chick who was doing all the armed robberies around elum st. she lives on newell st. i thought all newell st. robbers got a pass

    • Ray Ovac
      March 18, 2012 at 2:36 am #

      No, Ambrose, you got it all wrong: It’s all Winesap Road drivers who get a pass.

  24. Molly
    March 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    OPENING MONOLOGUE: New school committee chairman Alf Barbalunga has added an ongoing item to the board’s agendas. He delivered his first “communication by the chair” during Wednesday’s meeting. He vowed a “spirt of transparency.” Top priorities for the committee, he reported, will be a superintendent search process; developing a budget; and moving forward with contract negotiations. Barbalunga is urging committee members to attend a training program to learn about interest-based bargaining procedures.

    SUPER SEARCH: The school committee on Wednesday delayed action to start a superintendent search process.
    The committee voted to change its rules, eliminating requirements to take certain action within 15 days.
    Chairman Alf Barbalunga designated members to “run point” on a range of topics such as a mission statement and compensation survey.
    Terry Kinnas stressed a need to figure out what is needed in the next superintendent and to “get complete community involvement.”
    Katherine Yon discussed the pluses and minuses of hiring consultants.
    Dan Elias noted that pay is key. “The dollar amount is going to decide the quality and number of candidates we will receive,” he said.
    Mayor Dan Bianchi said identifying stakeholders is important. “We can’t rush…but we have to set some sort of reasonable timeline.” He prefers to look locally and regionally for candidates, adding that “I don’t think a nationwide search makes a great deal of sense.”

  25. Molly
    March 17, 2012 at 8:13 pm #


    School committee will not limit Super Search

    Employees of the Pittsfield Public Schools will not receive an advance chance to apply for the position of superintendent. The school committee on Wednesday rejected a proposal to conduct an “internal search” to fill the position Howard “Jake” Eberwein III will vacate this summer.

    Kathleen Amuso, Alf Barbalunga and Dan Elias voted in favor of holding an internal search limited to Pittsfield employees. The other four members voted in opposition.
    The definition of a local search proved the deciding factor.

    Mayor Dan Bianchi would favor a search limited to educators working in the Berkshires but did not want to limit the search only to Pittsfield employees. “If we’re going to engage in this, it makes sense if everyone in Berkshire County is eligible,” he said. “We need to define our community.” The mayor said that the city should not limit itself if there are qualified individuals working in adjacent school districts.

    Elias said that he could see opening a search to educators living in nearby towns but would prefer to first give a chance to current employees of the Pittsfield Public Schools.
    “We owe it to the people who have worked in our schools, done the work, they’ve been here,” he said. Elias indicated he would support a countywide search over a larger search, but would prefer a Pittsfield-only search.

    Katherine Yon feels “there’s high quality candidates within the area.” She too indicated she might support a focus on Pittsfield and nearby communities.

    Terry Kinnas opposes any limits on a search, saying the district should seek the best possible candidate.

    Bianchi unsuccessfully lobbied to get a regional search. “I would not want to pass up an outstanding candidate because they happen to be in a different school district nearby,” he said.

    Kathleen Amuso favored an internal search but said if that’s not the choice, the city should be fully open to outside candidates. “Either we have a Pittsfield Public Schools internal search or we have a search,” she said.

    Barbalunga concurred saying, “Either we proceed down the route for internal Pittsfield Public Schools employees or we have a [full] search.”

  26. Molly
    March 17, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Reference the above article from The Pittsfield Gazette 2/16/12

    So, from Feb. 15th when the School Committee voted down a motion to limit the search to Berkshire County, until Feb. 29th when Alf announced that he is advertising for the Superintendent’s position, that an email with the job posting will immediately go out to all Pittsfield School Employees, and all resumes are due by March 14th, what happened to reverse the failed motion for just a local search? According to Alfy at Wednesday night’s meeting, he advertised in the Berkshire Eagle, The Pittsfield Gazette, the North Adams Transcript and was unable to advertise in South County (for some reason he didn’t share).

    So obviously, meetings were held and votes were taken that were not made public and violated the Open Meeting Law, and that did not include Terry Kinnas! School Committee meeting dates were Feb. 15th and March 14th.

    I think we should look into filing a complaint with the State Attorney General. Anyone else?

  27. dusty
    March 18, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    Alf has not been in long and things are out of control already. Why is it when we see these things coming we seem unable to stop them?

    and speaking of probation folk, what is the progress or non progress on the Nilan situation? Or has that drifted off into obscurity?

  28. Molly
    March 18, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Obscurity. For “some reason”, NO ONE is reporting a thing on the “missing papers”. Conor Berry promised to do so but it’s been a loooong time and NADA. Either they are there and anyone can go in and get a copy, or they are missing – it is not that hard to find out. Yet somehow, even Conor Berry has been silenced on this. What was the ruling of the judge on Shugrue’s motion to dismiss? Nothing reported. Off to oblivion and everyone “forgets”. The last I knew, she goes to court on Wednesday for a pre-trial conference.

    Soooo – anyone else interested in filing a complaint for violations of the open meeting law? They didn’t even include Terry Kinnas into these “meetings” – he got nothing until shortly before the last meeting, with no time to even look into anything. Did you hear anyone else complaining about that? Or complaining that they had no say or discussion about this? No, because they all already did and knew, and participated, and gave their “yes” vote.

    Did even ONE other School Committee member vote to throw out the applications and start over because this Committee did not do a proper search,did not even decide NOR discuss what they are looking for in a new Superintendent, and did not discuss or vote to overturn the “No Vote” of the previous meeting to NOT do a regional search? Nooooo – not one other Committee Member! So then how did that vote get overturned and Alfy did a “regional search” and advertised for the position and NOT ONE OF THEM was upset by this other than Terry??!!

    This was blatant violations of the Open Meeting Laws – there needs to be complaints filed.

    • dusty
      March 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

      I know the mayor has a lot on his plate but this seems like an area he should intervene in. In the interest of public confidence in his mayor-ship at the least because it sure seems the school committee cannot be trusted. Looks like a self serving little fiefdom they got there with the powerful head honcho able to deflect criticism at the source.

  29. Molly
    March 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    Alf announced at the last meeting that there were 9 applications/resumes submitted for the “Super” job and they have been sealed and sent to MASC. That, however, is against the MA Open Meeting Laws – we have a right to be able to view all of these resumes. So I have sent him two separate emails – one requesting that he post these resumes on the School Dept. website, and one requesting that he post the Minutes to the Meetings from October until now. He has 10 days to comply with those requests – let’s see what happens.

    I sure hope that Mayor Bianchi isn’t and wasn’t involved in this. They didn’t need him to get a majority vote, so we’ll never know and for now, I’ll sure give him the benefit of the doubt. But I also expect that he, as well, will look into this — it was HIS motion to do a “regional search” and the School Committee turned it down – voted against it, as they wanted either “just a local search” or a major search. And “somehow” that vote got changed ‘all on its own’. Give me a break!

    I am just SOOOOOOOO sick and tired of the sleazy people who run our government and the various Committees and Boards – I’m not putting up with it anymore. Follow the damn rules and laws like everyone else has to, or get out! This stuff has got to STOP!

    • ambrose
      March 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

      no you’re not sick and tired of the sleaziness. you love it. if it were to be cleaned up tomorrow you would have to invent it you shoud get a direct line to terry and the two of you could sit and stew over how unjust this world is

      • levitan
        March 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm #


        Let’s leave Terry G. out of this argument, please!

        Molly is having no problem here making fact out of conjecture as evidenced by the 3:51 post on 3/18.

        • Molly
          March 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

          Name one thing in that post that is conjecture and not fact!

          • levitan
            March 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

            Sorry – typo. I meant Terry K.


            “I sure hope that Mayor Bianchi isn’t and wasn’t involved in this. They didn’t need him to get a majority vote, so we’ll never know and for now, I’ll sure give him the benefit of the doubt. “

            That language leans towards insinuating that Bianchi may be up to some nefarious undertaking. In that manner, your conjecture is asking to be accepted as fact.

            I am also wondering about the Nilan case and what did become of CB’s follow up?

          • Molly
            March 18, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

            That is not “conjecture” – that is my stating that I hope he wasn’t involved and that I am sure giving him the benefit of the doubt — meaning that as of now, I don’t think that he was!

            The definition of conjector is as follows:
            An opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.

            Synonyms would be guess, assumption, assume.

            So if anything, I am “assuming” that he wasn’t!

            Geeeee – any time that I mention Mayor Bianchi, someone is jumping all over me – “disparaging remarks against him” when I stated why the vote was a tie (because he left the meeting) and now this. I must say, you ARE putting up some red flags here! “He who doth protest too much”! He’s our mayor. He’s on the School Committee. I can mention his name and with those two ‘positions’, it is very likely that his name will come up. But even at the mention of it, someone is jumping all over me. Hmmmmmm

        • Molly
          March 18, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

          Who’s Terry G?

          • levitan
            March 19, 2012 at 6:45 am #

            In response to your explanation. Try telling your neighbor “Don’t think about a big fuzzy bear.” Or rather, “Don’t think that the Mayor is ….”

            Perhaps you didn’t yet manufacture a conclusion regarding the Mayor’s role, but pardon me if I wonder if you are leaning there.

          • Molly
            March 19, 2012 at 9:58 am #

            My statements were in reply to dusty’s, in which she basically stated that she hopes Mayor Bianchi looks into this. So get over it! And no, I haven’t “yet” manufactured anything, nor do I ever – I don’t need to as there’s enough sleaze in this city to last a lifetime! And as for the Mayor’s role, I honestly never even thought of him as having any role in this sleaze that is going on, but again – you sure are making me wonder when twice I merely bring up his name, not in any way related to his involvement, and there are people jumping all over it!! So keep waving that red flag! It is you and “gadfly” that are talking about him, not me!!!

      • J.R. Fein
        March 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

        Your answer to Molly is brutish and uncalled for. We should be applauded her, as I do, for taking an interest in the running of government. You have become so cynical that you think every legitimate question about govt. is out of line. Grow up ambrose

        • dusty
          March 19, 2012 at 12:38 am #

          I am a Molly fan. I f there were more citizens with her passion the city would not be run by what looks a lot like organized crime…or at least to a lesser degree.

  30. Giacometti
    March 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    The Juvenile Resource Center in the old jail on Second Street is the one factor that is keeping a majority of our best students in our public schools and not moving to other school districts that with ” school choice ” costs Pittsfield taxpayers thousands of dollars every year…Remember there is no longer an alternate school to send problem students to so the JRC fills the needs of no having an alternate school. The majority of students without learning disabilities get slowed down by fellow students who have learning disabilities and thus want to transfer to other school districts outside of Pittsfield…costing tax payers money every year. Don’t bash the JRC for doing the work that is saving taxpayers money. It’s a really great program that builds self esteem in students who need self esteem in this crazy world. Get your facts straight.

    • Molly
      March 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

      I have to mostly agree with you, Giacometti. But it also sure does sound expensive to be using the old jail for it – is this the only thing that the old jail is used for? And, therefore, we’re paying to heat the place and maintain it, etc., etc., etc., just for that? That would be a problem and there must be some other place for the JRC. But perhaps there’s other things “housed” there — do you know?

      Also, isn’t the JRC used mostly for disciplinary reasons for the kids and not for students with learning disabilities? I’ve been told that is the case, but don’t have any personal knowledge of it. But if that is the case and it builds self esteem in them and sets them on the right path, then I’m for it – but perhaps housed in one of the other hundreds of buildings that the city owns.

      • dusty
        March 19, 2012 at 12:42 am #

        good questions…..this is a huge building…who does oversee it? What is this programs budget? Is it cost effective? Who transports these kids back and forth? Is 90 percent of the building just sitting and decaying? Perhaps the Eagle will do a puff piece on this subject and let the public know the details of its operation.

        Does Nilan have anything to do with it?

    • taxmano
      March 19, 2012 at 3:25 am #

      The JRC is ostensibly for discipline, not learning disabilities. The program is a joke. It is a HUGE waste of money. It is mostly to keep certain GOBs in jobs, like the deposed Howie II, who runs the place.
      Ask any objective person who works in the PPS.

  31. Wally Ballou
    March 19, 2012 at 6:19 am #

    As far as I know the JRC costs taxpayers between 400,000 and half a million a year. Its a waste of the money. Taxmano you are right, the place is open only because it gives a landing place to GOBs and those the GOB finds useful such as Howie II.

    • danvalenti
      March 19, 2012 at 8:27 am #

      Good point. Thank you for your contributions to THE PLANET. The JRC make warrant a closer look at some point.

  32. Sandy
    March 19, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Students are sent to the jail for 2 or 3 days or whatever the vice principals deem is necessary for the student to serve time for suspension. This is the wrong setting for any child to be sent to instead of staying in their OWN school for their days of suspensions!!
    The city should insist that building be torn down as it was supposed to have been as soon as MSCS was built so the children at Morningside School could have it for a playground.

    Molly keep up the great work and expressing your thoughts in here. Your thoughts are well taken and appreciated by many.

    Someone asked the other day how much Alf gets paid being on the school committee. The last I knew no one that serves on the school committee gets paid. Perhaps the Commonwealth has changed that in recent years. I have not kept up with it.

    • Molly
      March 19, 2012 at 10:07 am #

      Thanks for your encouragement! It’s appreciated.

      I started to look into if they get paid but didn’t have the time. IF anything, it is a small stipend. They do get reimbursed for expenses. So perhaps it’s “just” the payment of power?? And for people like Terry, it’s the payment of “making a difference” and helping to improve this city.

  33. too tall
    March 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    I’ d be just how many “normal.Kids” have taken advantage of school choice since.the JRC has been operating as opposed to before JRC. Also how much in tax dollars has been saved while heating that old building with little.or no insulation I do not believe that special.needs.Kids.hold.the rest of Th Kids back at all. Perhaps the reason so many parents move theory kids to other schools in the county is the quality of teaching. I remember when a child.graduated, He or she could look up something in a dictionary, Now I.have come.across graduates who don’ even know how to look up.something in a telephone book. Any.way you look at it,.JRC is still.a.jail.with bars on the Windows.and.locked front door.that you have to be let in and then it clangs.shut and locks behind you. One instance of disruptive behavior Does not warrant being locked up. Parents.should be given the option of schooling their child at home during.a.suspension.

  34. Giacometti
    March 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    The State / Sheriff’s Dept. pays for the heat, lighting, security of the JRC building because it owns the building not the City of Pittsfield…

    The students are sent to the JRC because they cannot be disciplined in the normal school setting…that is their disability…
    It’s a social disability..getting these students out of the school allows students who want to learn the opportunity to learn. If schools have no place to send students with social disabilities
    school systems suffer…students suffer…taxpayers suffer

    There is no longer an Alternate School in Pittsfield…get it ?

    The jail building is a symbol of discipline…students cannot leave till school is over…in a regular school a student can leave school just by walking out the door…cell phones are not allowed at JRC…proper school dress is enforced…all meals are eaten in house. Doesn’t sound like other schools does it ?

    • too tall
      March 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

      Perhaps if Kids were not allowed to just walk out the door???? Maybe they should not be slowed to have cell phones. If you cannot wear.a hat in school.and it is enforced, why let them have cell phones. What are the policemen being paid to do in the schools? This is a no win argument and unless you have children in school, there is no point in discussing this any further. Your mind is already Made up about who and what should be at the JRC.

    • taxmano
      March 20, 2012 at 3:45 am #


      When the JRC lost its grant funding, Eberwein and Co. took the half million right out of the regular school budget, securing daddy a do -nothing job.
      And the kids who go there do not meet the legal definition (Under IDEA) of having a learning disability.

      • danvalenti
        March 20, 2012 at 7:42 am #

        Yes, the funding for the JRC now comes from the school department budget. Think about what that means: It means that Jake III makes the allocation request of $400,000 so that his father, Jake II, can have a high-pay, do nothing job.

    • levitan
      March 20, 2012 at 6:38 am #

      “students cannot leave till school is over…cell phones are not allowed at JRC…proper school dress is enforced…all meals are eaten in house”

      Reminds me of my childhood school. The most outrageous things we did was ask for a soda fountain (denied) and torment the Latin teacher (foolish.)

      How far we have come.

  35. Giacometti
    March 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    I have nothing more to say on this subject