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, 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.



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)
Page: B02
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.



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.”



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!!!


                                Da Gen

THE PLANET loves writing that way, and if you love reading it, we shall do more.






  1. Terry Kinnas
    March 2, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    I want to thank Dan, and most of the people who post on this blog for the information and a good exchange of ideas.

    Quick observations of the three consultants that were used by the school committee chair: none live in Pittsfield, none pay Pittsfield property tax, but all get paid by the Pittsfield School Department.

    I would like to see in writing where the school committee chair has the authority to advertise for a school superintendent on his own. I was under the impression from the Feb. 15th School Committee meeting that the Massachusetts Association of School Committees was going to come back to the full committee with a time line and game plan to start the process to search for a superintendent. There was an additional question I specifically asked the Superintendent about going into executive session in order to determine how much money we need to pay for the next superintendent. No one knows what this position is going to cost.

    Not only do we not know what we are looking for, but we do not know how much are we going to pay the individual.

    I did suggest at the Feb 15th meeting to look at Springfield’s superintendent search public survey that was online at the Springfield Republican web site.

    Thanks and more to come.

    • Molly aka Nancy
      March 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      Terry – what, in your opinion, can be done about this? To me, this is a horrible situation as the Superintendent of Schools is one of the most important jobs in this city, and especially at a time when the School Department has so many important, and costly, decisions going on. Barbalunga has now twice proved that he is no leader but instead a dictator.

      When is the next School Committee meeting? And where? It used to be held at Taconic, but now you meet at PHS? Are there any opportunities during your meetings to hear public input?

      Any ideas on how to stop this? Springfield seems to be really going about their search for a new Superintendent in exactly the right way. And they have the same timeframe as we do – by June. The difference is that they are just working harder to get everything done in time to find THE RIGHT PERSON, with the input of the people, the business leaders, the teachers, etc. There is no one already pre-picked by the so called “leader” of their School Committee… Their goal is to truly find the best and most qualified candidate. We need to regroup here – get rid of Barbalunga and start over – even if that means there is a delay in finding the right candidate. Dr. Eberwein has offered to stay on as long as necessary, and also we have numerous “Assistant Superintendents” to temporarily fill the position if needed (which also needs to be looked into, but perhaps one thing at a time).

      So what can we do?

      • Terry Kinnas
        March 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

        Next meeting is Wed. March 14th at PHS at 6PM. The public comment period is at the start of the meeting.
        Yes, I have ideas to use the democratic process if the people of the commumity really care about their children’s education.

        • danvalenti
          March 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

          There you go, everybody. Next school committee meeting is March 14, 6 p.m., at PHS. Circle the date.

          • dusty
            March 4, 2012 at 3:29 am #

            do citizens need to go through the permitting process to attend this meeting? and do they need to keep their comments under 3 minutes if they attend?

    March 2, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    DV You are right about the Eagle reporting (or lack of reporting) of the arrest of Fireman Catalano. However the bigger joke to me is Fire Chief comment: ” I can’t comment because its a personal matter” (something like that) Chief this is an employee of Pittsfield arrested for a felony, not a personal matter. You should have giving his name, charges against him, tell citizen who are paying his wages, is he working, not working, getting paid or not getting paid. Now Chief wouldn’t that been EASY.

    • Baby Baby
      March 2, 2012 at 9:33 am #

      But don’t you dare question him if the mayor puts his name up for serving on a city board. That would be ok as long as he talks about it first.

    • Aclu
      March 2, 2012 at 11:13 am #

      We can all sit hear and say Mr. Catalano sounds guilty, but his employer can not take any further action other than suspension due to the fact that he has yet to be convicted of a crime. At this time he is a person with a drug problem who has been accused of theft. We don’t have to like it but if the city (Fire Cheif) fired him an played a version ” go tell it on the mountain” the law suit to follow would cost much more in time and money than due process. I apologize if I inject to much logic into the conversation.

      • Anytime
        March 2, 2012 at 11:44 am #

        I think concerned makes the good point, though, that at least the fire dept chief should say more than ‘can’t comments due to personnel matter.” At least tells us that em ployee has been accused, suspended without pay, name, and what internal actions are pending. They act like we are butting into their business. Chief it’s our business. Ours not your. Tahtnks concerned.

        • Steve wade
          March 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

          Dan I read the article in The Eagle on the fireman and it did say he worked for Pittsfield.. What article did you read?

      • Molly aka Nancy
        March 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

        Although I don’t like it either as it is WE who pays their salaries, I agree that he can’t comment on a Personnel issue or there will be a lawsuit. Anyone representing his employer, “The City of Pittsfield”, can’t comment on it. And I would definitely not like him suing the city and walking away with a bunch of our money because they did…

  3. spectator
    March 2, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Yes, you’re right about the Eagle being complicit to the coverup, and controlled by the GOB’s.

    They have blocked my IP address so I can’t comment on their site, which I equate to the raping of my constitutional right to free speech.

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black Berkshire Eagle.

    • Silence Dogood
      March 2, 2012 at 9:02 am #

      I don’t like the Eagle at all but in no way are they interfering with your 1st amendment rights. They are not the govt. They are a private concern. We know them to be corrupt but they can run their business as they see fit. Maybe we should peacefully assemble near the Eagle and express our discontent with their policies.

      • spectator
        March 2, 2012 at 10:57 am #

        Private yes, but their puppet-master is obviously the gov’t.

      • Diogenes
        March 3, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

        Won’t you need a permit to do that?

    • Berkshire Ex-pat
      March 2, 2012 at 9:50 am #

      We have no constitutional right to free speech in newspapers, etc. Our 1st amendment right to free speech is to prevent the GOVERNMENT (not the Eagle) from infringing on that right. The Eagle, though protected by the 1st amendment, is not bound by it. Thank God for Dan Valenti!

  4. Silence Dogood
    March 2, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    DV asks:
    “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?”

    They got away with it so long they haven’t caught on that in the age of electronic communication they can’t control information like they do with the Beagle.

    They are like a football trying to run the wishbone

  5. Kevin Jennings
    March 2, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Dan you absolutely crushed it today. This whole nilan thing has gone from the absurd to the surreal.

  6. InDaKnow
    March 2, 2012 at 9:22 am #


    In regards to the Al Catalano issue, On January 13, 2012, the Eagle ran an article about Catalano that did mention that he was employed by the Fire Dept. I would post a link but the Eagle would like me to pay a fee to access the archived article. Also, do you think Cliffy will have the Cajones to show up at the Parks dept meeting??

  7. levitan
    March 2, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    There is little to add regarding the attempt to dismiss the Nilan case, except that the flimsy and technical grounds used unfairly reflects on the legal profession. The lawyers that I have engaged in the past would never consider holding secret meetings with magisrates or attempt to befuddle a judge.

    I believe the defendants now have a much deeper hole to dig themselves out of, so the lesson here is for aspiring lawyers and clients. Take note: Just because you can do it doesn’t make it a good idea.

    • Molly aka Nancy
      March 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

      Question — why didn’t the Eagle report on WHY Shugrue filed for charges to be dismissed? They are hiding it — don’t want the potential jury pool to see it? Or the good citizens of Pittsfield in general. It is just so blatant what they do, and what is so scary about that is that they no longer care how blatant it is!!

  8. SarahD
    March 2, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    Does anyone have a problem with a lawyer who witnessed the court proceedings, handled the papers, and is now acting like the case should be dismissed because they might be lost? What a sleezebag.

    • Kevin Jennings
      March 2, 2012 at 10:08 am #

      I was thinking the same thing. Shugrue has been involved in this thing from its firdt hours, every step of the way. Now paperwork, which he should already have copies of, “disappears” and wants it dismissed. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad.

    • levitan
      March 2, 2012 at 10:21 am #


      The request is simply made to impress the clients; I presume Shugrue has no expectation that it will actually work.

      • SarahD
        March 2, 2012 at 10:44 am #

        So telling the client you’ll lie for him or fail to tell the truth is fair play? Moral compass points south here.

      • Four in one
        March 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

        Yes Tim Shurgue is a good attorney and he knows he needs to impress the client. Im sure he’s getting a nice fee for his services here as he should.

  9. tito
    March 2, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    I heard a vote for Sturgeon’s new time slot, 12-1with an hour for lunch…

  10. Ron Kitterman
    March 2, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Let me get this straight Miss Meredith Nilan was driving her Dad’s Subaru Forester on Dec. 8th After a 2 1/2 hour private hearing ( with Att. Shague present ) held on Jan. 12th in Central Berkshire District Court before Westfield Clerk Magistrate Nathan A. Byrnes. Byrnes determined there was no probable cause to charge Miss Nilan with the two misdemeanors sought by police. The Pittsfield Police appeal the decision , before Justice William P. Hadley after considering the allegations and applying the relatively low threshold to establish probable cause, “ I find the complainant is entitled to redetermination, and the application for a criminal complaint is allowed. “ , now the paperwork is missing ?

    • rick
      March 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

      im guessing an inside job with the missing paperwork…..well at the least we know speranzos been at work…….lol

  11. Ray Ovac
    March 2, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    DV, seeing what Ken Ramsdell had to go through just to obtain a simple permit to allow a group of like-minded people to walk their dogs on a Sunday (Federal Tax Return day, no less), is it any wonder that few businessmen are seeking to set up shop in Pittsfield. The lengthy permitting process for the least of activities indicates the stranglehold bureaucrats and their enablers have on Pittsfield. It’s definitely time to throw-out the entire apparatus and create a one-stop process requiring a single signature when seeking a permit FOR ANYTHING. Fat chance of that, eh?

    • danvalenti
      March 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      No wonder at all.

      • Molly aka Nancy
        March 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

        We need to get some kind of on-line forum going with the new mayor — let us ask him questions, tell him that we want this “crap” cleaned up and stopped, and let him respond to us. It would be to his benefit time-wise vs. taking individual calls from everyone. And would allow him to explain his positions on some things. With what we’ve been through with politicians and GOBs in this city, he really needs to do this…

        • danvalenti
          March 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

          Excellent idea. The technology is there, available, and easy. Why not do it? We shall ask our good friend, the mayor. He ran on transparency, remember?

          • Molly aka Nancy
            March 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

            That would be GREAT! Thanks, Dan.

      • Steve wade
        March 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

        Dan your nick names for Speranzo are getting old and very imature. Time to grow up or man up. Your better than this child like behavior!

        • Molly aka Nancy
          March 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

          What’s the matter with “No Show Speranzo”?? It even rhymes!! And it’s true! I think it’s perfect! If he doesn’t like it, oh well — he should try showing up on a consistent basis and maybe he can eventually shed the nickname. And by the way, he’s had this nickname for a VERY long time and as I said, for good reason.

          • Boom
            March 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

            I think Steve was referring to Larded Lout and Jabba the Hutt. Somewhat surprising coming from a guy that’s probably been the butt of a few jokes due to his physical “short”comings.

          • Fan Dan Go
            March 2, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

            Watch out fer them little fellers. They are tenacious and they keep a coming. DVs got the biggest ones in the region an y’awl know it. He’s One feller ye doan wanta scrap with.– LD

          • danvalenti
            March 3, 2012 at 11:13 am #

            Love it.

  12. Gene
    March 2, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    With the level of incompetence, cronyism and outright corruption in just about every level of pittsfield city govt, I’m for blowing the whole thing up and starting over. Bianchi, I want you to start cleaning the temple of the money changers. Thank DV for this site.

  13. Steve wade
    March 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Does anyone know how much money the fundraiser for Mr. Moore made?

    • Joe Blow
      March 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      Gerry…How much did you donate?

      • jimbo
        March 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

        Wait a minute…is Joe Blow Heller too? I thought Gerry was a GOB. Why would he care how much was raised for Mr. Moore?

        • Joe Blow
          March 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

          No…I’m not Heller but I did ask him the same question. I think he wants to know how much so he can report him to the irs or something.

    • danvalenti
      March 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      We will find out. We’ve had other inquiries about that. Thanks.

      • Steve wade
        March 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

        Thank you Dan.

      • DUSTY
        March 3, 2012 at 3:50 am #

        I do not see why this is any ones business. Wade is trying to start trouble again.

        • Molly
          March 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

          I agree, Dusty.

          • Steve wade
            March 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

            Why is this such a big secret? Im just wonder how well they did. No ulterior motive.

    • Molly aka Nancy
      March 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      A million two or close to it.

  14. Molly aka Nancy
    March 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm #


    Duties: Handle matters of discipline; supervise corridors and grounds; monitor student attendance; conduct conferences with students and parents; collaborate with the vice principal and supervisor of detention to maintain accurate records of discipline; attend school-related events as directed by the principal; perform other duties associated with the position of Dean of Students, as required

    Wasn’t this always the job of the Assistant Principal?? And there are two grammar school principal openings? They just can’t keep these principals there – why is that?

    • danvalenti
      March 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

      More bureaucratic layering on the phat cat cake that’s been baking for years in the Pittsfield School Department. “Dean of Students” … at a high school. Right.

    • Joetaxpayer
      March 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

      NEWS FLASH- Education is big business,from day-care to college.It is all about putting fannies in the seats and touting how great a education will make you a instant success.The fact is half of those pieces of paper prove nothing, you have to have a real understanding of your profession.For some, yes you need College but there are alot of kids going through the motions.The one thing that they don’t teach you at College is work ethic.Alot of the kids today do not know what a full days work is or the fact that they are required to show up everyday.Then there are those institutions that give out diploma’s to anyone,keep the line moving,chaching,chaching all the way to the bank.As one old timer told me “alot of schooling,not much learning” that pretty much sums it up.

  15. rick
    March 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    the crazy part of this and thats if this story could get any crazier, is that if the eagle followed it and printed it as it unfolded they would probably have sold every copy of the news stands and became solvent. its not the crime thats going to doom this young lady its going to be the cover up….. and the bad advisers…

    • levitan
      March 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      “its not the crime thats going to doom this young lady its going to be the cover up….. and the bad advisers…”

      Exactly (except it is the hit and run that is at issue.) That is my point about the direction of her legal team.

    • spectator
      March 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      Yep – exactly true about selling copies.

      I wonder how the Corporate Folks at MediaNews Group would feel knowing that the Eagle has forgone an opportunity to sell copies of the paper(that results in higher advertiser demand and revenue) all in the name of protecting someone who makes no contribution to the paper. Especially since MNG is in Chapter 11.

      And isn’t in nice to see how much the Tax-payers of Pittsfield pay Mr Nilan to lie and cheat –

      • danvalenti
        March 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

        Thank you, spec. The taxpayers cough up a $102,970 hairball for Clifford every year, plus about $35,000-40,000 in bennies. No Show gets $110,000 and $40K in bennies. That burns almost $300,000 a year to keep these two jamokes employed.

        • Scott
          March 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

          Why is there a salary amount then an actual amount earned that’s higher?

        • Irvin Corey
          March 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

          That’s an insult to jamokes

          • danvalenti
            March 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

            THE PLANET apologizes to every jamoke.

      • DUSTY
        March 3, 2012 at 3:55 am #

        Perhaps they are paid through the back door not to print the news and therefore do not need to sell copies. I remember Gerry Doyle giving them $50,000 once just to keep using a Pittsfield promotional phrase. I think is was the one before Pittsfield Proud. This is a true story folks. Anyone remember the actual phrase?

        • Nomad
          March 3, 2012 at 9:53 am #

          I remember the phrase…..”It’s Happening”

          • danvalenti
            March 3, 2012 at 11:07 am #

            “It’s happening.” The problem is that the GOB and the BB never defined “it.” Basically, the pronoun, as they used it, meant that the Little Guy and the ordinary citizen would get shafted while they stole the $$ and power.

          • Diogenes
            March 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

            They left off the “Sh” from the beginning of it!

      • Ed Shepardson
        March 3, 2012 at 5:27 am #


        Denver Business Journal
        Friday, March 19, 2010,

        The holding company for Denver’s MediaNews Group Inc. MediaNews Group Inc. Latest from The Business Journals Follow this company — publisher of The Denver Post and more than 50 other U.S. daily newspapers — said Friday it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

        • Scott
          March 3, 2012 at 6:34 am #

          And they’re still laying off an entire billing department in Pittsfield in April.

          • danvalenti
            March 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

            There’s not much left to bill. Craig’s List and other online portals have eaten up most of the classified advertising, which was a gold mine back in the day. The BB: Going, going ….

          • Joetaxpayer
            March 4, 2012 at 8:13 am #

            Thats a good start.We need a new newspaper in this County.

  16. tito
    March 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    Wade and Valenti are talking…please

    • danvalenti
      March 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      We talk to everyone. The only time we don’t, and cut off their ability to talk to us, is when they want to dish ignorance instead of information.

  17. Dave Bubriski
    March 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    lIt looks like Deval just wants to make the community college system more a part of the hacarama. Let you State Rep. and Senator know you oppose this scheme.

    • Joetaxpayer
      March 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

      Mr Patrick take a bow and leave, you have done enough,step away,It is time to go.Hopefully it is not to Washington,where you can bring more of your bullshit.The private sector is more your speed please go there.

  18. Molly aka Nancy
    March 2, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Op-Ed: Superintendent Search Takes a Village

    A short but very revealing article on Melrose Public Schools search for a new Superintendent.

    It appears that other school districts who are looking for a new “Super” know how to do it — it’s called TEAMWORK.

  19. Joetaxpayer
    March 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    I would like to comment on Alf’s ad for the Supt..Give the guy a break,he has very little say in the hiring.My thought is that the sooner Pittsfield got a add out the better person they could land.There is a rush on Supt. in the Ma. region.For some reason there are alot of openings.Really think his reasoning is to try to get the best person before they are gone.There is no more to this story,sorry

    • Molly aka Nancy
      March 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

      Then why not call a special school committee meeting? And you’re saying that he couldn’t wait another week until the regularly scheduled one? They don’t even know what they are looking for! What qualities, what attributes, what experience, what education — they don’t have a clue! He unilaterally did this – as I said, this is NOT a “one man show” — he has an entire ELECTED School Committee TEAM there that also needs to be included. He also has an entire COMMUNITY to get input from and to include in this process. I will not give him a break — instead he needs to learn how to be a leader! And along with that, first learn how to stop being a dictator. This position is way too important to be rushed into on the whim of ALF!

      • danvalenti
        March 2, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

        Go back to what school committeeman Mr. Kinnas said here. (a) The community (yes, because it’s still We the People who are nominally in charge) has yet to define the job description.
        (b) The bosses haven’t figured out how much to pay the new Super.
        I would add a third point: The Community has yet to have a public conversation on this issue. Given that Jake Eberwein stated he would stay on past June if needed, and given that there is a plethora of assistant, associate, and deputy superintendents making $100K a year, there is no need to rush into this. In fact, the made rush we are now witnessing brings to mind a number of possible scenarios of explanation. None of them are good for We the People, the city of Pittsfield, the local economy, or the schools.
        We call upon the school board to introduce a measure that will address this quixotic odyssey of the chairman.

        • DUSTY
          March 3, 2012 at 3:58 am #

          and they did not just find out yesterday that they were going to need a replacement. He could have put the ad in weeks ago and given more time to apply…

        • Molly
          March 3, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

          In thinking more about this, because of the “urgency”, I’m sure they all violated the open meeting laws and had their little emergency telephone conversations and he got enough of the Committee “on board” already. Can’t let their person that they want to push in there get away don’t ya know!

  20. tito
    March 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    Why were the schools closed yesterday?

  21. Joetaxpayer
    March 2, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Because they needed a snow day,to show for all the overtime

  22. Andrew
    March 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    Do you teach your students at BCC to include allusions to the KKK when talking about people you don’t agree with? Or do you simply tell them that when you run out of substance to be sure to include as much misogynistic filler as you can?

    To call anybody in the Nilan case a Grand Dragon is nothing short of shameful. Can you possibly defend that? Or will you delete this comment or say “Thank you for your opinion”.

    “Maybe she didn’t like the way her bangs came out”. Really? That’s what you consider journalism? It must be her hair and not the fact that defendants often don’t appear at arraignment hearings or possibly that there were television stations and a horde of media types waiting outside the district court. But no, it must be because she’s heartlessly “laughing on the inside” while she does her hair. Pathetic.

    It’s a shame people develop their opinions based on what you write as you’ve never once hesitated to portray this entire scenario as “good” vs. “evil”. The heroic dog and tragic victim vs. the heartless blonde and her manipulative father. You’ve sacrificed any attempt at objectivity or journalist integrity with this Nilan case and I predict it will only get worse.

    As a side note (which is honestly the only thing you should delete from this comment): of all the English courses have ever taken, yours at BCC was by far the saddest.

    • Slence Dogood
      March 3, 2012 at 5:33 am #

      The KKK was an organization established by democrats. It’s puppose was to protect the privileges of GOB democrats. A valid allusion if ever there was one.

      • Scott
        March 4, 2012 at 7:22 am #

        Yeah but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore plus all they really were was a bunch of racist bigots who high jacked the democratic party and used it to further it’s own agenda kind of like what the republicans are doing with the tea party now.

        • Silence Dogood
          March 4, 2012 at 8:18 am #

          Scott, you really need to read more hard history

          • Scott
            March 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

            Spoken like a true carpetbagger I read a lot after the issue came up. (just a joke on the carpetbagger thrown your way don’t take it personal.) So the democratic party in he south promoted segregation, racism and violent acts forced by a terrorist group so what that’s politics it could have went either way the left right argument is annoying no one party has all the answers and it certainly isn’t what they stand for now. Now they want redistribution of wealth socialism and bigger gov’t they’re using class warfare to get us there. Can you really see any difference between the current admin and GW’s?

          • danvalenti
            March 4, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

            There’s little difference, actually, between the two parties. The Dems and GOP are two branches of the same ownership, sort of like the AL and the NL as part of MLB. The owners are not the American people but corporations and their lobbyists.

      • Diogenes
        March 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

        Planned Parenthood which seems to be the Golden Child (no pun intended) of the democrats is another way that they try to limit the number of black babies born to the U.S. The democratic party has portrayed itself as the friend of African-Americans, when in reality it has undermined them in an effort to make them dependent on the “generosity” of (democratic) whites.

        • Scott
          March 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

          Yeah in a sense I guess your right but what’s that say about Obama then he’s just one of the elite?

    • Scott
      March 3, 2012 at 6:40 am #

      I think you make some valid points but at the same time you have to realize Valenti is a poet and a writer so sometimes fiction and reality clash in the hopes to keep you on the edge of your seat… You can’t deny he’s not informed when it comes to local politics. Plus he didn’t even break this story he simply picked it up when others looked away the dirty deeds were already done in in the process.

      • danvalenti
        March 3, 2012 at 11:09 am #

        Well put.

    • danvalenti
      March 3, 2012 at 11:13 am #

      Looks like The Professor’s work isn’t done with you. We shall answer your questions.
      * No, we don’t teach that.
      * No, we don’t tell then that.
      * No, we won’t delete the reference nor will we defend it.
      * Yes, that is journalism.
      The remainder of your comment was a set of statements.
      I have a question for you: Are you the Andrew of an unspecified but recent semester who quit halfway through the semester, failed to complete assignments, stopped attending class, didn’t withdraw from the course, and received an F?

      • Andrew
        March 3, 2012 at 11:43 am #

        The answer to your question is no. I graduated BCC in 2006 with a 4.00 GPA.

        It’s incredibly revelatory of your journalistic integrity that you believe such snide remarks about somebody’s hair color rises to the level of quality commentary. It’s neither news, editorializing, nor poetic to equate four city council members to Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen, who were responsible for some of the worst aspects of the Cultural Revolution. For you to believe you’re clever or witty for giving Cliff Nilan the same moniker as the head of the KKK is only a testament to your desperate desire to create needless controversy and draw attention to yourself.

        Whatever amount of news you actually produce on this poorly written blog is lost amidst the endless cavalcade of libelous hearsay, futile grasps at wit, and your consistent appeals to the lowest common denominator of public discourse.

        • Silence Dogood
          March 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

          So Andy, what hack job do you hold?

        • danvalenti
          March 3, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

          Thank you. Congratulations on your success at BCC, although we can attest that a 4.00 isn’t what it used to be!
          Your “arguments” are so flawed that we will not bother to give you a lesson in polemics. You pick and choose the more colorful nuggets and avoid the substance of our persuasions. We hope you will mature out of that and into the realm of adult argumentation and debate.
          When you’re done with graduate school and put in a few years in the Dreaded Private Sector, come back. Maybe you will be ready for the lesson of your life by then.
          You’re green, kid, and wet behind the ears. All you need is seasoning.

          • Andrew
            March 3, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

            You assume much and know very little. You’ve responded to me three times without addressing a single thing I’ve said, which fits the personality you’ve forged on this site. If you care about substance as much as you claim, maybe you could do away with the tabloid sensationalism and ad hominem attacks. Who knows? Maybe you would gain more website hits and influence than you already have. Or you could continue going down the low road, which is of course the easier path to travel.

    • Ray Ovac
      March 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

      Andrew, if you don’t like the caliber of the writing in Planet Valenti, there are only about 10 million other blogs you could spend your valuable time reading. For me, it’s the sheer number of typos which draws me to PV.

      • Andrew
        March 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

        Can’t I take the 10 minutes it takes to read this blog and the five minutes it takes to respond to things even if I don’t like the caliber of writing?

        • Silence Dogood
          March 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

          by all means, while it’s still sort of a free country

          • danvalenti
            March 3, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

            Like the use of “sort of” here.

        • Molly
          March 3, 2012 at 7:51 pm #


          Is it really the caliber of writing that you are having such a problem with or the fact that the writing is against Meredeath Nilan? I don’t recall your complaining about the writing on any other topics…

          • danvalenti
            March 3, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

            True, he’s only complained here. Must be a FOM! The giveaway is his objection to our characterization of the Nilan-Moore Case, to use his words, as good (Moore) vs. (Evil). Obviously, the lad, who is around her age, is a … friend.

          • Andrew
            March 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

            I haven’t seen or spoken to Meredith Nilan in about a decade nor have we ever been friends. Once again, deflection is the norm around here while Valenti fails to muster a defense of his sensationalist tabloid attacks.

          • Steve wade
            March 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

            Go get them Andrew ,They are back peddling. Dan I think youve met your match!

      • danvalenti
        March 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

        We produce 2,000-2,500 words A DAY. No other journalist, columnist, blogger, or scribe comes close to this output, locally. Typos will occur. They are like weeds. We will gladly live with a few if that’s the price to keep Berkshire County informed.

        • Scott
          March 4, 2012 at 7:25 am #

          if you want you can send them to me first and I’ll proof read them 4 u.

      • Molly
        March 3, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

        Ray Ovac:

        hahahahaha Me, too!!

      • Molly
        March 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

        And Dan – me too! It was funny, though.

        • danvalenti
          March 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

          You too what? Ya lost me.

          • Molly
            March 4, 2012 at 12:30 am #

            It is also the sheer number of typos that draws me to this site, and
            I will also gladly live with a few typo’s

          • danvalenti
            March 4, 2012 at 9:54 am #

            Why do typos draw you to this or any site? That baffles me.

    • Diogenes
      March 3, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

      Perhaps Dan should have called him “Grand Poo bah” so as not to offend your tender sensibilities? Would “Drunk, panicked, entitled, spoiled coward” sound better to you than “evil”
      People have developed their opinions of her based on her own actions and her inaction in regard to taking any responsibility, making an apology, etc. Can you deny that the dog, Toby, showed more humanity than she did?
      How are you related to the nilans?

      • Molly
        March 4, 2012 at 12:32 am #

        Good post!!!

      • Scott
        March 4, 2012 at 7:27 am #


      • danvalenti
        March 4, 2012 at 9:55 am #

        Thank you for this mature response. “Tender sensibilities” are the creation of nearing a generation of thought control and political correctness, as certain respondents to THE PLANET illustrate.

        • Andrew
          March 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

          You are certainly talented at spin, despite your other deficiencies as it’s you who are engaging in immature, rude and thoughtless ad hominem attacks and crude attempts at low humor.

          It’s appropriate that you’re defending yourself in this manner considering what’s going on with Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke. You’re defending yourself in just the same manner as he is. Are you sure that’s the company you’d like to keep?

          • Silence Dogood
            March 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

            Fluke is a socialist activist looking for a fight. She wants the state to dominate religion. If she gets called names that is exactly what she’s looking for. She cares not about religion or women’s rights. She is nothing more than a statist. Her religion is worship of the state.

          • danvalenti
            March 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

            That’s pretty much my read of it. She comes off as the Little Flower of St. Contraceptives, asking taxpayers to fund others’ promiscuity. While there are some medical uses of contras, the vast majority are for preventing babies. I don’t want my tax dollars funding that crap, in the same way I don’t want them funding illegal “wars.”

          • Gene
            March 5, 2012 at 7:16 am #

            You’re in over your head, Andy. You have met the master!!

  23. Silence Dogood
    March 3, 2012 at 5:35 am #

    The KKK was an organization established by democrats. It’s puppose was to protect the privileges of GOB democrats. A valid allusion if ever there was one.

  24. Sandy
    March 3, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    I along with many others that I have talked with can not understand why all of a sudden we immediately need to hire a Supt of Schools. In years past, the school committee sent out advertisements to NY Times and beyond and formed a group of Pittsfield citizens that would usually listen to the interviews and discuss their opinions of the top candidates they felt would be the best for Pittsfield. Some would make a trip to the place where the Supt (to be?) was presently working to get a feel as to how the community there felt about the candidate. This local group was a good cross section of our population, PTA Pres., business people, parents from all walks of life,.
    Why the urgentency by the chairman that we have to have a Supt in place almost right away is stunning to say the least. Just because other towns and cities in MA are looking for a Supt should make no difference. There are 49 other states that I am sure may have many people considering leaving due to the horrible cuts in education and the lack of understanding from the school committees in their areas. Let’s hope that the actions taken by our school committee wouldn’t stop the most qualified candidates from applying and then coming to our city and continulng the great education that I know our students are receiving.

    • Silence Dogood
      March 3, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      After a nationwide search a local hack GOB will get the job. Political welfare at work.

    • danvalenti
      March 3, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      Excellent post.

  25. Gene
    March 3, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    I think the superintendent search is a sham. My wife works for the school department. The water cooler talk there is that this is a sone deal (that from the office of an upper level administrator). They will conduct a sham search and then appoint an insider. It’s one thinkg to promote from internally but another to give it to an insider who’s going to see that “the new superintendnet” won’t start exposing how bad things are.

    • danvalenti
      March 3, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      We can’t think of a better word than “sham.”

    • taxmano
      March 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      The appointment of jake was a sham too.

      • Joetaxpayer
        March 4, 2012 at 8:37 am #

        Must disagree,really think Jake got the Pittsfield schools going in the right direction.He brought alot of youth and energy to the job.Got the drop out rate down and graduation rate up.Lets face it Pittsfield is a tough nut to crack,highest teen pregnantsy rate in the state and also a very high transient population.You cannot do miracles.

        • Steve wade
          March 4, 2012 at 9:27 am #

          Joe I dont usually agree But this time I do. I think Jake has done a fine job with what he has to work with.

        • Molly
          March 4, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

          I agree with you as well. I like Dr. Eberwein and have a lot of respect for him. I think he will be sorely missed.

          • taxmano
            March 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

            Keep drinking the kool-aid you three.
            The process of choosing Jake was a sham. I remember Massimiano tossing Jake softballs during the public interview. Everyone knew he’s get it, but they pretended to go through a process. Jake was well connected, and shot up through the ranks solely for this reason.

            Jake’s performance is another matter, but I think if you get a real super in there, Jake’s smoke and mirrors will be exposed. Also, we won’t miss the lawsuits against the Department for sexism, ageism, cronyism, etc.

          • Molly
            March 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

            Lawsuits? What lawsuits are those?

            I honestly don’t know enough about Dr. Eberwein’s appointment to have an opinion if it was a sham or not – but considering that this is Pittsfield, it certainly wouldn’t surprise me one bit. But I do think that he did a decent job.

      • Fan Dan Go
        March 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

        Yes, remember that. Jake got the job because he was a loyal soldier, kept his mouth shut, and had friends in high places. That’s not to say he’s not smart, he is, but he’s a hack when you boil it all down.

        • Steve wade
          March 5, 2012 at 6:14 am #

          So according to you guys anyone who gets a good job with the city is connected? Come on get real!

          • Molly
            March 5, 2012 at 10:27 am #

            Welllllll, since the opposite is true, i.e., if you are not connected you will definitely NOT get a good job with the city, then yes, I’d say that statement is certainly a very true one. AND YOU KNOW IT!!!!

  26. Louie Anchez
    March 3, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    its clear whats happening:

    the shenanigans that went on had nothing to do with Shugrue himself. he merely represents meredith. Cliff is the one who used his connections to get the court to have a closed door hearing. now that this story has blown up, Shugrue doesnt want his reputation dragged through the mud.

    This is his attempt to distance himself from the shenanigans. If the courts records ‘seemed to have disappeared,’ then that is the courts fault, not his. he is leveraging them to release the records of the closed door hearing (which have little to do with the case itself) in order to make the courts look like the bad guys that they are. The Courts have everything to lose if those records are released.

    It is also a successful way to delay the entire hearing process, but that happens in just about any case.

    • Molly
      March 3, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

      Reallly? Seriously?

      • Louie Anchez
        March 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

        yes really. haven’t you ever watched law and order ? =)

  27. Molly
    March 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    As I sit here watching the last School Committee meeting on PCTV, it is very plain to see that they have an “internal” candidate (a current Ass’t Super) that they want to hire. And that will be what it is, with a “token” effort at Community input (let’s face it – it is difficult in Pittsfield to find people who will go along with whatever they’re told to do).

    I think that the sudden urgency is that perhaps this person has put in for one of the other jobs as a Superintendent that are open in MA and they have to give a decision to that School Dept. by a given date. I can hear it now: “Oh No! We thought we had time to make it all look ‘above board’ and to get Community input before we shoved this person down their throat, but now we don’t! We need to move and FAST!” Mayor Bianchi just made a motion to limit the search to Pittsfield Public Schools internal candidate – that motion failed. So now they voted to include the MCSC.

    From watching this meeting, it’s obvious that Terry isn’t a part of this – they haven’t included him in these violations of ‘public meetings’ that they’ve obviously had. They’re letting him talk, but they aren’t even listening to a word that he says.

    Speaking of “open meetings laws”, there haven’t been minutes of the School Committe meetings posted since October 26, 2011 and those minutes didn’t say a single thing – useless.

    • Silence Dogood
      March 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

      A world wide search for a most excellent candidate and low and behold a Pittsfield GOB hack gets the job.

      • danvalenti
        March 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

        That’s going to be it. The eternal search, then, lo and behold, they’ll find a local BM right under their noses — someone who will play D&D.

        • Steve wade
          March 4, 2012 at 9:24 am #

          Dan Don’t you remember the last few times they went for the outsider? We got Lafrankie and Harrington?[ not sure of her last name] How about the real good Superentendents from Pittsfield. Eberwien, Dr Travis Dr Davis and one other I don’t remember his name, He cleaned up Lafrankies mess!

          • Molly
            March 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

            Agree on Lafrankie, but Travis and Davis were good Superintendents? Think again…

  28. Molly
    March 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Why is it that Dan Elias, James Conant and our boy ALF have and advertise on the Pittsfield School Dept. Website, personal email addresses (gmail and road runner). They ALL need to have “” email userid’s with an email retention and retrieval policy…

    I have been so hot under the collar over this Superintendent’s issue but after watching this meeting, I’m now thinking “why bother”? They are going to hire whoever it is that they want regardless of what the Community says or thinks. They all nauseate me.

    • Silence Dogood
      March 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

      The school committee meetings are open to the public, maybe it’s time the public started showing up for the meetings.

      • Silence Dogood
        March 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

        gotta love Alfalfa Barbalunga

        • Ray Ovac
          March 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

          Are you confident Alf is telling all he knows about what he observed at Allium the evening of the BYP networking social, specifically about Meredith Nilan’s condition and how she managed to get back to Pittsfield that night.

        • Steve wade
          March 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

          Yo Ben Franklin Your so funny with the nick names.

      • Terry Kinnas
        March 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

        Yes, it is past time for the Pittsfield public to show up at the meetings. Without YOUR participation the process does not work.

        • Silence Dogood
          March 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

          Truer words have not been spoken

        • danvalenti
          March 3, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

          Slam dunk, Terry. Let’s try to increase attendance at these meetings. When few show up, the skunks start pulling stunts. That’s got to stop.

        • Richard
          March 4, 2012 at 8:35 am #

          I think it should be moved to city hall. More people would come.

    • Steve wade
      March 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      Molly. Time to take.a break visit.some friends and give the computer a rest!

      • danvalenti
        March 3, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

        Careful, Steve. This is borderline close. It’s not contributing anything. Don’t make us push the James Bond ejector seat again.

        • Steve wade
          March 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

          Dan She just seems to need a break. Lots of things seem to bother her lately.

          • Diogenes
            March 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

            And who are YOU?? How dare you presume to say something like that to someone who obviously does her research and has only touched on a small fraction of the “bothersome” issues that afflict this community? This is not the first time that I’ve seen you target Molly/Nancy and frankly, THAT bothers me!! What’s your beef, really? I think you’re jealous.

          • danvalenti
            March 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

            Agreed. Something about Nancy seems to provoke jealously in Mr. Wade.

          • Diogenes
            March 4, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

            I think that his blatant harassment of Molly/Nancy is more than jealousy. It also strikes me as misogynistic and he just can’t deal with an intelligent woman. OR, he’s from the DA’s office or City Hall.

          • danvalenti
            March 4, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

            Everyone, including Wade, are warned again: Keep the action inside the foul lines.

          • Gall Ball
            March 5, 2012 at 7:18 am #

            wade loves this site because its his “15 minutes” of fame. the rest of of love it because of the information and the forum so we can discuss issues. wade is a loser.

    • dusty
      March 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

      How do the teachers feel about this.? They and their union have the clout necessary to upend Alfs one man band.

      and how does the rest of the school committee feel about the whole deal? Are they in Alf pocket as they seem to be? If so, time to vet them here on the Planet.

      • Molly
        March 3, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

        Ehe – I don’t really like the idea of the teacher’s union choosing the next Superintendent, either. The staff shouldn’t be choosing their boss. As for the rest of the School Committee, I’m sure they have the votes that they will need and no more… I do hope that I’m wrong on all of this, although it doesn’t look like it.

        • Steve wade
          March 4, 2012 at 9:19 am #

          Nancy Do you really believe the teachers union will pick the next Superintendent? Please tell us why.

          • Molly
            March 4, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

            No, I don’t think that at all and that’s not what I said. This was in response to someone else’s post saying that the teachers and their union have enough clout to do so. My response was just as I said — the teacher’s union shouldn’t (and I don’t think they will) have any input.

    • Silence Dogood
      March 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

      Whatever you do ignore Steve wade

      • Steve wade
        March 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

        S D ignore me but listen to your asinine KKK comment. Ya right!

        • Silence Dogood
          March 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

          crack a history book

        • Silence Dogood
          March 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

          who started the KKK Steve? if it was not established to protect the privileges of democrat GOBs then what was it’s purpose?

          • acheshirecat
            March 5, 2012 at 10:07 am #

            KKK was established by bigoted white americans. Be it a democrat or rebublican they were americans first and formost. I am sure there were bigots in both parties.

          • danvalenti
            March 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

            There were and ARE bigots in both parties.

      • Molly
        March 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

        We all always ignore Steve Wade…

        • danvalenti
          March 4, 2012 at 9:57 am #

          This is an instructive point. Mr. Wade and those like him (PB and Opie, for example) don’t seem to understand that when he posts nonsense, he destroys people’s tendencies to take him seriously. They lump all of what they write — even the informative and relevant posts — into the category of ignorance.

  29. Sandy
    March 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Thank you, Dan

  30. danvalenti
    March 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    Research shows that there were three versions of the KKK. The name, by the way, is a derivative for the Greek work “circle” (kuklos).
    Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right[4][5][6][7] organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically expressed through terrorism.[8][9] Since the mid-20th century, the KKK has also been anti-communist.[8] The current manifestation is splintered into several chapters and is classified as a hate group.[10]
    The first Klan flourished in the South in the 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. Members adopted white costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be outlandish and terrifying, and to hide their identities.[11] The second KKK flourished nationwide in the early and mid 1920s, and adopted the same costumes and code words as the first Klan, while introducing cross burnings.[12] The third KKK emerged after World War II and was associated with opposing the Civil Rights Movement and progress among minorities. The second and third incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan made frequent reference to the USA’s “Anglo-Saxon” and “Celtic” blood, harking back to 19th-century nativism and claiming descent from the original 18th-century British colonial revolutionaries.[13] The first and third incarnations of the Klan have well-established records of engaging in terrorism and political violence, though historians debate whether or not the tactic was supported by the second KKK.

    • Molly
      March 4, 2012 at 12:55 am #

      Sorry Dan, but you’re wrong. The KKK had everything to do with the Democratic Party and nothing at all to do with “right wing” anything. This link is to a very interesting article on the history of the Democrats — take a look and I think that you will be surprised:

      • danvalenti
        March 4, 2012 at 9:53 am #

        You making a logical error. I didn’t address the political aspect of the KKK’s origins either way. From that, you’re assuming I made a statement that the KKK had nothing to do with a political party. I did not do that. It’s virtually meaningless from a contemporary standpoint to analyze political parties by references to their beginnings. The Democrats and Republicans of the mid-19th century have little bearing on the platforms of those two parties today.

        • Silence Dogood
          March 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

          When is the cutoff date Dan? Or should we take them by an admnstration or a particular congress or senate. Histotically, since Wilson we see democrats favoring socalism/fascism. Republican presidents for the most part favor the free market. Democrats have always favored one or another form of rascism.

    • Molly
      March 4, 2012 at 1:03 am #

      Also, if you had kept reading the Wikipedia article that you quoted verbatim, further down it says:
      “In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party, the planter class, and all those who desired restoration of white supremacy. Its purposes were political, but political in the broadest sense, for it sought to affect power relations, both public and private, throughout Southern society. It aimed to reverse the interlocking changes sweeping over the South during Reconstruction: to destroy the Republican party’s infrastructure, undermine the Reconstruction state, reestablish control of the black labor force, and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern life.[43]”
      “To that end they worked to curb the education, economic advancement, voting rights, and right to keep and bear arms of blacks.[43] The Ku Klux Klan soon spread into nearly every southern state, launching a “reign of terror against Republican leaders both black and white…”.

      • Scott
        March 4, 2012 at 10:56 am #

        you’re forgetting the fact that democrats in the south were different from the ones in the north. Plus I’d have to say I don’t think Obama supports the kkk. The south has always breeds ignorance anyways.

        • danvalenti
          March 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

          I’ve traveled through the South, fairly extensively, and it produces its share of “crackers,” that’s for certain. This country still hasn’t healed, in some ways, from the War Between the States.

        • Slence Dogood
          March 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

          yes, the southern democrats desegregated their schools during the Eisenhower administration while the Boston democrats desegrated in the 1980s with Billy Bulger kicking and screaming all the way.

          • Slence Dogood
            March 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

            Dan, you’re pretty good with baseball and the BoSox….tell us the story of Elijah Jerry “Pumpsie” Green in the peoples republic of Fenway Park.

          • danvalenti
            March 4, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

            The one involving Gene Conley and Israel?

    • Silence Dogood
      March 4, 2012 at 5:20 am #

      So which KKK incarnation did democrats Harry Truman, Hugo Black and Robert “sheets” Byrd belong to?

  31. Scott
    March 4, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    Jesus while were at it which political part were the natives affiliated with who was selling them all the guns?

    • Silence Dogood
      March 4, 2012 at 8:23 am #

      Do you mean the Eric Holder ATF authorizing gun sales to Mexican drug cartels?

      • Scott
        March 4, 2012 at 10:54 am #

        Now there’s a real issue that really pisses me off because they use violence by guns in the hands of criminals to try and put restrictions on law abiding citizens. It’s truly disgusting let’s not forget the border agent that was killed by one of those very guns I believe it was called project “fast and furious.

        • Silence Dogood
          March 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

          Scott, an ssue on which we agree

  32. The Kraken
    March 4, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    Both the Democrat and Republican parties have changed alot over the decades. The KKK platform reminds me much more of the current Republican party than the Democrat.

    • Silence Dogood
      March 4, 2012 at 8:10 am #

      Could you expand on that? What is the current KKK platform and how does it relate to the republican party?

      • Molly
        March 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

        SD – you took the words right out of my mouth (or fingers as the case may be…). Waiting on an answer “The Kraken”…

        • Slence Dogood
          March 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

          Don’t know about you Molly. but I’m still waitin’

          • Molly
            March 4, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

            Me too – still waitin’! Obviously doesn’t have an answer, just likes to throw those unfounded non-factual barbs out there and can’t back them up at all. That’s a coward in my book.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    What the hell is all this KKK all about. Lets get back to issues that count. Blaming either party is stupid. Back to issue that count.

    • Silence Dogood
      March 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

      NEVER forget the rascist past of the democrat’s party

  34. Fan Dan Go
    March 4, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Agree with concerned. Stay on the issues.

    • Scott
      March 4, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      it is the issue, now… blah

  35. Joetaxpayer
    March 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Who cares about the Rep. or the Dems. they are both the problem with are once great country.We need to reform our govt,no lobbists,no earmarks,term limits,and spending limits on elections.We need a true gov’t for the people.#UCK all the kkk bullshit

    • Scott
      March 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

      Joe I agree and def f the kkk bunch of stupid red necks anyways.

    • Slence Dogood
      March 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”\
      George Santayana

      • danvalenti
        March 4, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

        There much truth in this, but it’s also true that it’s a fine line between remembering the past and being stuck in it … or worse, using it as a predictor of the future.

  36. Sandy
    March 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    To get back to hiring a Supt. there is NO WAY that the teacher’s union would play any part in it. It is against what they stand for. Teachers have their own union and now under Massachusetts law even the Principals do not have their own union. They have to negotiate their own contracts, as do Supt’s.

    To answer Jotaxpayer there has always been many openings around Massachusetts and in every state and commonwealth in our country for Supt’s, as well as teachers and principals in many parts of our great country. (Thus that is not a good excuse that Alf all of a sudden thought we needed to move fast to get a new Supt. in Pittsfield before he/she might go to another community,) This is nothing new, if you have been around this world and around education as long as I have been this is common knowledge.

    • Molly
      March 4, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

      I agree – there is no excuse. And many of these Superintendent’s just move around the state from job to job, with a good raise associated with each move. And why not? It’s their right to do. But it could be a “reason” as the person that is slated to move into this opening may be being pursued by one of the other city’s also doing a search. Orrrrrr she’s telling him that…

      The thing is, no matter what Barbalunga does now, the people in this city will not believe that it wasn’t all a sham. I can’t believe the absolute total lack of any leadership ability he has shown thus far – truly pathetic.

  37. Molly
    March 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    DV – have you heard any scuttle-butt on the missing Meredeath District Court paperwork yet?

    • danvalenti
      March 5, 2012 at 7:22 am #

      Not much on that per se, but we do have another development we will be sharing soon, perhaps as early as tomorrow.

  38. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    March 5, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    Any way to color code the comments by day so it is easier to follow what is new and what is old…just suggesting

    • danvalenti
      March 5, 2012 at 7:21 am #

      Probably, but it would add a layer of complexity to the operation that is just not worth it from a cost-benefit standpoint. Thanks for the suggestion.

  39. JenS
    March 5, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    The judge has the papers. Shugrue is trying to make a mountain out of it, but that’s where they are.