THE PAPER CHASE: NILAN DEFENSE TEAM SPRINGS A WHOPPER THAT FEW WILL BUY … TOBY II: SIMPLE DOG WALK HAS ASSUMED GREAT SYMBOLIC IMPORTANCE … BORING BROADSHEET CAN’T BE TRUSTED: ANOTHER EXAMPLE … GUV’s PLAN FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES A TROJAN HORSE … plus … THANKS FOR THE WEATHER
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY MARCH 2, 2012) — When we were in second grade, Luciano Guardanio and THE PLANET conspired on the stairwell leading to his apartment in a house on Fenn Street to alter our report cards. The 70% were both received on deportment, we knew, would make our parents ask too many questions. Thus motivated, we hatched a cartoon-like plan that to our seven-year-old minds seemed foolproof.
This Was Before White Out
The Plan looked like this — We would take the “70,” turn it into a “%” sign with blue ink that matched the blue blood from Sr. Anne‘s fountain pen, and write in “100” before it. This was before white out or lift-off paper. We used an ink eraser. Every school kid of a certain age remembers those slate-blue pieces of grit-rubber erased ink from paper by erasing … the paper. By the time we were done with the meatball surgery, our report cards looked like the shredded half of shredded wheat.
We were doomed.
Our cretinous plan didn’t make it past one glance. Luciano found his fate in the business end of his father’s leather belt. THE PLANET fared slightly better. Slightly. Back then, parents knew the value of a measured tap on the butt. No one ever though of calling DSS.
In retrospect, though, our plan was sagacity and brilliance itself compared the vapid and doltish scheme it seems Grand GOB Dragon Clifford Nilan & Co.has hatched in the never-ending bid to get daughter Meredith Nilan off the hook for what the police charge is a hit and run that nearly took the life of an innocent husband, father, son, and master to the sweetest dog on THE PLANET.
THE STOOLEY: ‘Are You Shittin’ Me?’
According to yesterday’s story by our good friend and colleague Conor Berry at masslive.com, Miss Nilan’s mouthpiece, attorney Tim Shugrue, pitched a humdinging whopper for his client Wednesday when he entered a “not guilty” plea on her behalf. Miss Nilan, a sliver off the old man’s chip, didn’t have the moral integrity to make a personal appearance at her arraignment. Of course.
Who knows why? Maybe she didn’t like the way her bangs came out, or perhaps she’s laughing at all this on the inside, resting in the “knowledge” that Daddy will somehow make everything come out OK in the end while playing everyone else, including Peter Moore and his wonderful family, for suckers.
During the arraignment, Shugrue, according the Berry’s story, “cited the lack of any paperwork associated with the case, including copies of a January show-cause hearing [the infamous Nathan Byrnes ‘no probably cause’ kangaroo hearing].” Berry reports that copies of records stemming from Judge William Hadley‘s appellate overturning of Byrnes’ ruling are also missing. These records magically vanished into the vapors.
To quote our dear friend THE STOOLEY, “Are you shttin’ me?”
The Nilan Shenanigans with this Court Case are Past the Point of Implausible
How could this happen?
THE PLANET can think of many more plausible excuses for dismissing the case than what our good friend, former police officer, and county commissioner Ron Kitterman calls this pathetic “the dog ate my homework” defense. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Regarding the “dog ate my homework defense,” we happen to know that Toby Moore has been nowhere near the Berkshire County Courthouse of late.
We would go to legal battle with a far more believable story than “the papers are missing.” For example, we would choose any of the following four:
— The Bermuda Triangle swallowed the missing papers.
— The court records disappeared into an inter-dimensional time warp.
— They walked out of the courthouse and are now getting wasted over at Patrick’s Pub.
— No Show Speranzo ate them, mistaking them for cream puffs fried in butter.
Is that the Best You Can Do, Clifford? Huh? A Con Man Like You?
Any of these alibis are more believable for the dismissal of the case than the crackpot suggestion that the papers just magically disappeared. C’mon, Clifford. You’re the Berkshire County probation chief. That’s the best you can do? Even Gerry Doyle was more believable when he came up with his “silver bells and cockle shells” excuse in explaining why the certain city health insurance premiums were not paid up and the money went into Ed Caveney‘s mayonaisse jar.
Cfifford: The dog ate my homework? Your losing you touch, boy.
‘Copies’ ‘Appear’ to be Missing? What Kind of Linguistic Game Playing is This?
Let’s now parse a few syllables. Shugrue claims that “copies” are missing. Why should that be a problem? “Copies” implies originals. What, hasn’t Perry Mason heard of a photocopy machine? Copies disappeared? Then make more copies, you morons. The defense also claims that “No one appears to know where [the missing papers] went.” “Appears” offers a lot of wiggle room. Is he saying that someone knows where they went, like maybe, oh, we don’t know … Chris Speranzo?
THE PLANET also wonders: Is there a black hole in the Berkshire County Courts? We ask, because didn’t the county criminal jurisdiction lose a boxes of crucial videotaped testimony in the sham trial and railroading of Bernie Baran, an innocent man framed because he saw too much?
“No one appears to know where they went,” Shugrue said of the papers that, as best we know, were in the possession of the clerk’s office in Central Berkshire District Court. The head of that office is the Larded Lout himself, No Show. Our favorite sentence in Berry’s piece is this: “Central Berkshire District Court Clerk Magistrate Christopher N. Speranzo could not immediately be reached for comment.”
Let us tell you something. No Show hasn’t been available for comment since he pulled a marked card off the bottom of a shaved deck on behalf of the GOBs to doom Jim Bouton‘s plan to restore Waconah Park after it looked like the plan had found smooth sailing. So consider:
(a) It appears the papers were entrusted to Seranzo’s office.
(b) The defense claims the papers are missing.
(c) Isn’t it logical, then, that No Show, the Jabba the Hutt of the county courts, would have more explaining to do than not being available for comment?
Bullspit. We respectfully ask District Attorney David Capeless to launch an investigation of the missing papers. If he doesn’t, then we disrespectfully ask.
One final question: How stupid to people like the Nilans, Angelo Stracuzzi, Carmen Massimiano, and No Show think We the People are? How much more do they expect us to silently swallow after they try to shoot off in our mouths?
Toby II: What We Can Learn From Ken Ramsdell’s Taking One for the Team in Playing it Their Way on the Toby Moore Dog Walk.
Speaking of those community pillars, the Nilans, they were ones that made all of this trouble necessary in the first place. If Meredith Nilan had stopped the car on Winesap Road near the mouth of the East Street intersection, called the police, and waited there for them to arrive, none of this would be happening. The silver lining, though, might make it all worth it in the end for the community.
Through this case, We The People have managed to score a small victory for justice. In the old days, a hit-and-run case involving a child of one of the Anointed Ones would have been covered up better than a squirrel nut under a blanket of loam. No more. The community has some new, powerful tools to keep the creeps in check, including the Internet. As it has done around the world, cyberspace gives We The People a medium in which we can communicate (what they call conspiracy).
Another silver lining was the benefit for Peter Moore and the Toby Moore Dog Walk. That first walk, which the GOB tried to crush with a last-minute demand on the organizer, Ken Ramsdell, for a special permit, proceeded with about 20 brave souls and dog lovers showing up in Kirvin Park to tell the GOB where they could their permit. They came, they walked their dogs, and they left. The GOB figured that would be the end of it, feeling smug and satisfied, we’re sure, over the fact that they greatly limited the attendance at Kirvin. They were wrong.
Meet Ken Ramsdell: Your Best Friend or Your Worst Nightmare, Depending
They don’t know Ken Ramsdell. We do.
Ramsdell has more determination than an ant walking off with a picnic donut and more savvy than a Mississippi card sharp. He has a generous heart but don’t step on his rights as a citizen.
Thanks to the GOB demanded for a permit, there will now be an even greater, much more visible dog walk … providing the Parks Commission does the right thing. And they will. They will.
Ramsdell ran the absurd gauntlet, filled out his form for a permit, and had it duly notarized and signed. He is now on the agenda for the Parks Commission meeting Tuesday night, March 20, on the second floor at City Hall.
It’s imperative that citizens pack the hearing room in support of Ramsdell.
An Avalanch of Bureaucratic Officiousness and Idiocy, all for a Simple Dog Walk
THE PLANET obtained a copy of the application for the permit. What we are calling Toby II (the Official Toby Moore Dog Walk) Ramsdell calls “Pittsfield’s Positive People and Proud Pets.” That’s the event’s name as listed on the Special Event Application.
The application says Toby II will take place on Sunday, April 15, from 9:30 to noon at Kirvin Park. Total attendance expected: Ramsdell writes, “between 35-50.” For his “Rain plan,” Ramsdell, toungue firmly in cheek, puts: “Umbrella[s], galoshes, raincoats, etc.” What’s not to love?
In his description of “the special features of the event,” Ramsdell writes of “educational material being available on spay/neuter as well as pet adoption.” He concludes 10 lines of description with this lovely sentence: “Nothing special [is expected], [but] some walking, skipping, and smiling will most certainly occur.”
The application’s somber looking flip side has a lot of that small print that lawyers love. In it, Ramsdell indemnifies the city should a nuclear attack, an outbreak of anthrax, or other likely pestilence occur.
We see Ramsdell’s John Hancock, as well as signatures from the (take a deep breath so you don’t run out of oxygen) the Health Department, the Department of Public Works, Building Inspections, Building/Ground Maintenance, Fire Depeartment, and Police Department.
There are enough scrawled and illegible signatures to make the document look like the Magna Carta. Even with that, Ramsdells’s work is not done. He must still obtain signoffs from Community Development, the Parks Commission, and, finally, the Licensing Board.
All for a simple dog walk.
To quote the form: “Application must be received no later than 45 days prior to the event.
What Business or Person Who Wants a Job as a Superintendent of Schools Would Want to Come into Such a Laughingstock Land?
Reflect, for a moment, what that says about the city of Pittsfield. The $89 million school department is looking for a new superintendent. In a unilateral decision that defies logic, the school committee chairman is giving candidates for this important job 14 days to apply. When it comes to a dog walk, though, no less than eight city departments require a minimum of 45 days in advance, so they can formulate the contingencies.
We ask: What qualified candidate for school superintendent would want to be part of such a the laughingstock? That tells THE PLANET that after the usual “nationwide search,” the school committee will hire a native son or daughter. At least that’s what appears the plan is now, with signs pointing to a done deal ending in an internal promotion.
The internal hire will likely be someone who will be beholden to Da Boyz for the job and will know enough to play deaf and dumb. The new in-house Super will not begin poking around into what’s REALLY going on in the schools. They won’t go looking for buried skeletons. The only way that will happen is if you bring in new blood.
WANT MORE PROOF YOU CAN’T TRUST THE BORING BROADSHEET?
When THE PLANET told you about the suspension without pay of Pittsfield fire fighter Allan Catalano, we laid out the whole shebang as given to us from our inside sources at Fire HQ. The account included police charges stemming from an alleged break-in and theft at the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club. We identified the most newsworthy aspect of this otherwise routine break-in: That the alleged culprit is employed by Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski as a fireman.
When the Boring Broadsheet reported on the alleged theft, it did not mention Catalano’s special relationship with the city. Do you need any more convincing that the GOB, not the BB editors, run that rag of a paper?
Here are the first two paragraphs of the “staff” written piece (no byline, naturally):
|Berkshire Eagle Staff
Article ID: 010512B02_art_1.xml
Date: January 5, 2012
Publication: Berkshire Eagle, The (Pittsfield, MA)
STOCKBRIDGE – Two Pittsfield residents are facing felony charges for allegedly breaking into the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club and stealing fees paid by members.
Allan S. Catalano, 34, of Dutchess Avenue and Crystal M. Caparrelli of Superior Street, allegedly were videotaped breaking into a cash box at the indoor archery range on Dec. 23, according to a report released on Wednesday by Stockbridge Police Chief Richard “Rick” Wilcox.
You can’t trust them, folks.
That’s why when their circulation continues to plummet, ours continues to establish new highs nearly every day.
GUV’s $10 MILLION PLAN FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES SOUNDS GOOD, BUT IT’S A TROJAN HORSE FOR LOSS OF LOCAL CONTROL
When Gov. Deval Patrick delivered his State of the State speech, many praised his proposals for the state’s community college system, including the BB. Unlike them, we actually read the guv’s speech and examined his proposals for community colleges. We are more than an interested party, having taught for the past two decades in the English Department of Berkshire Community College.
Patrick outlines a strategy that would make campuses “full integrated part[s] of the state’s workforce development plan.” Patrick proposes boosting funding to community colleges by $10 million. Sounds good, except when you examine the specifics. Patrick’s plan would:
— Give the state Board of Higher Education (BHE) sweeping now powers over local campuses.
— Strip the power of local campus trustees to hire and fire. The BHE would take on that duty.
— Limit the trustees of local campuses in their ability to set fees and distribute funds.
— Remove faculty and staff input into the hiring of a campus president.
— Give the governor power of appointment regarding chairs of the local boards of trustees.
— Create a new layer of bureaucracy, a 15-member commission, to create budgets for each campus.
In short, Patrick proposes stripping local campuses of power and relying on the Bureaucrat’s Best Friend: Central Planning.
“My question is, then, why would anyone tie the hands of presidents and their institutions with bureaucratization when the colleges are performing so well?” asks North Shore Community College President Wayne Burton. I point out that we are the strongest link in the educational chain and that the enormous gap in achievement is occurring at the secondary level, not ours.”
We agree with President Burton. We also remind folks of the disaster that is central planning. In theory, it works fine. In practice, historically, it’s been disastrous. Case in point: the Soviet Union.
THE PLANET also agrees with the president of the Massachusetts Council of Community Colleges. President Joe LeBlanc, in a letter published in the Boston Globe, says the language of the governor’s proposal “should be stripped from the [state] budget. … The governor and his education advisers should start from scratch, seek input from all the system’s stakeholders, and file a new bill.”
THANKS FOR THE WEATHER APPRECIATION
We received an outpouring of appreciation and praise for our essay yesterday on the weather. We thank all who contacted us, and perhaps this is a signal from my readers that they would appreciate occasional relief from in the form of a feature such as yesterday’s.
We received this from DA GEN:
Thanks for the break in the action on the Planet with a good
shot of humor coupled with a reality check and some great nostalgia.
When I walked in the door last night after an uneventful ride back to the
Pitts, my wife greeted me with “Joyce called and the office will not be open
until 9AM tomorrow” and that all were sent home at 4.
I had to chuckle to myself at the drama of what used to be a normal
winter day in the Berks.
I was watching WRGB News at 6 and with all the new gear they
have at their disposal today were driving on the dreaded Northway “LIVE”
at the height of this “STORM” trying deperately to make a story out of
I think if we have to give all the little darlings a day off from
school that it should be required that they show up next day with at
least 30 minutes of video on their fancy phones of outdoor play in the
white stuff. Oh. Heaven forbid removing the layers of plastic bubble
wrap to have some real “FUN”!!!
Anyway – Great job on todays Planet-and fun too!!!
THE PLANET loves writing that way, and if you love reading it, we shall do more.
WITH GRATITUDE AND THANKS FOR ALL THE TREMENDOUS CIRCUMSTANCES IN LIFE SENT OUR WAY BY THE SERENDIPITOUS FORCES OF RANDOMNESS AND DESIGN. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, EVERYBODY.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.