YON CONFIRMS PLANET REPORT OF RESIGNATION … PLANET IN UPPER 1 PERCENTILE OF WORLDWIDE WEBSITES (or WHY WE RULE PITTSFIELD) … DONUT WARS MAY DEMOLISH HISTORICAL PLUNKETT SCHOOL … THE STOOLEY ON GREEN … plus … DEBT, THE SILENT KILLER
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
YON CONFIRMS PLANET’S REPORT OF RESIGNATION
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2012) — We had it before anyone else did. Greg Yon is out as maintenance head.
In a terse statement last night, acting director of maintenance for the city of Pittsfield, Yon, confirmed his resignation from the post.
“Because of personal and professional reasons, I tendered my resignation to Mayor Bianchi today (Monday, March 5). My last day of service to the City of Pittsfield will be March 16, 2012.”
THE PLANET broke the news first yesterday. This means another key player has resigned (with the superintendent of schools on the way out). As we said yesterday, this will be Bianchi’s opportunity to reshape government in his own image and according to his own philosophy … or not.
THE PLANET: IN THE UPPER CRUST OF THE WORLD WIDE WEB
According to Alexa Traffic Rankings, as of the end of last year, there were 366,848,493 websites in the world. According to Alexa three-month tracking for the final quarter of 2011, THE PLANET ranked 2,397,097 of all of those sites.
That put is in the upper one percentile of all worldwide web sites. Expressed as a number, as of Dec. 31, 2011, THE PLANET ranked in ratings ahead of 99.346% of every other website in the world. The reporting period, includes Dec. 8, 2011, when a hit-and-run driver smashed into a pedestrian then, according to police, took off and left him for dead. You may have heard about the case.
Since that time, of course, that story and others (St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, PEDA, Pittsfield superintendent search, for example) have only strengthened our ratings. As we continue to rise, other media remain stagnant of continue to decline. Plus, we are making the mainstream media in Pittsfield nervous and potential advertisers worried, since we do not take ads.
BB Makes Lame Attempt to Purchase THE PLANET
Today, believe it or not, a senior member of the Boring Broadsheet approached THE PLANET making jesting inquiries into buying our site! As Freud said, there’s no such thing as a joke. We did not agree that this information was proprietary, and thus — in our tradition of transparency and openness — you now know about it.
We told our good friend from the BB that the starting price was $1 million (not a jest, and not to be confused with our asking price). In other words, we have no desire at this point in selling, let alone sell out, to anybody.
We will note is passing this related item. MediaNews Group, the newspaper chain that used to own the Boring Broadsheet, is now in the control of John Paton, CEO of the Journal Register Company.
According to the New York Times, Paton’s MO consists of “outsourcing most operations other than sales and editorial, focusing on the cost side that might include further layoffs, stressing digital sales over print sales with incentives, and using relationships with the community to provide some of the content in their newspapers.”
What this means for the BB remains to be seen, but the scuttlebutt is that whole departments will be deep-sixed. You can imagine what the morale is like there.
Since Paton took over, the Journal Register has doubled online traffic and reduced the chains staff by 16.5 percent. From Media Jobs Daily: “Now it looks like the same tactics might be coming to MediaNews.” He will begin slashing costs, for sure, pushing the digital business model. If the physical newspaper formerly known as the Berkshire Eagle exists a year from today, it will be considered a miracle.
Paton’s incentive for shuttering the BB is that in doing so, he will have to make less painful cuts at his other acquired properties, such flagship papers as those in the San Francisco Bay area. One analyst said a newspaper of the BB’s size could be published online with only a “tiny fraction” of the staff it takes to produce a physical newspaper. BBers, get those resumes ready.
John Paton, Newspapers’ Leading Expert in Transition to Online, May be Eyeing Us
Paton is considered in the newspaper business as one of the top experts in handling to painful transition from print to the web. Paton takes over as boss of all of MediaNews holdings, including most of the daily circulation in California. Industry analysts expect Paton will have no interest in retaining an aging dinosaur such as the BB.
The BB has gone from the emergency room to the ICU. Paton’s interest in the online sector, combined with the inefficacious and unprofitable online operation of the BB, may explain the sudden interest in THE PLANET. He would do better investing in this brand name than that of the BB, which, locally, cannot be mentioned in public without derision and scorn.
Paton, a brilliant businessman, obviously has examined Pittsfield because of his saggy holding in the BB. He has no doubt become aware of this website and its skyrocketing growth.
Paton may be sending feelers out. We will take his call, Marge.
OWNERS LOOKING TO DEMOLISH HISTORICAL BUILDING FOR A LARGER DONUT SHOP … JUST WHAT PITTSFIELD NEEDS, A BIGGER DONUT JOINT
We’ll spare you the long gray list of historical buildings and architectural gems the city of Pittsfield, in its blindness, has torn down since the late 1960s. We would start with all of old West Street near city center, including the train station. Guess what. It may be happening again, but this time, the city can stand as a guardian for a historical structure in a way it didn’t for the Palace Theater on North Street.
The culprit this time is Cafua Management, an outfit that owns the grand old Plunkett School Building. Behind the folly is money, of course, and those fat-saturated grease cakes known the world over as donuts.
“… they paved Paradise and put up a parking lot.”
Now the old Plunkett School at Fenn and First is not Paradise, but it’s a handsome brick structure that would be tragic to take down. The historical commission stepped up to the plate on behalf of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, slapping Plunkett with a “historically significant” label. That throws a monkey wrench into the owner’s plans to tear the building down so Dunkin Donuts on First Street can get larger and avoid the eternal controversy of cars clogging First Street for their owners’ morning fixes.
Donut Wars: Let the Deep Fryer Will Out
The intrigue deepens when you learn that the current Dunkin Donuts property is owned by a person who owns a Donut Man franchise. According to a story in The Pittsfield Gazette, This person wants to boot Dunkin and install a Donut Man. Not since Mr. Goodwrench gave the Shell Answer Man a jump start has a local market civil war seemed as appetizing. THE PLANET suggests that the Dunkin Man and the Donut Man duke it out in the deep fryers on high. Let taste rule!
Anyway, the action of the historical commission puts a temporary stay on the wrecking ball (NOTE: a listing for the historical commission shows the following names — Jean Nudd, Heather Williamson, Joe Guertin, Martha Fickling, Will Garrison, Kathleen Reilly, and Rebecca Smith; only Fickling [appointed June 14, 2011, expires July 1, 2014] is current, according to the city website … all the other members had terms that expired on Sept. 11, 2007. Are they still on the board or not? This is another example of how infuriating the city web site can be).
The action of the historical commission throws the ball in Cafua’s court. They must file a demolition review application with the community development board (Alf Barbalunga, Sheil Irvin, Remo Delgallo, Judy Katz, Floriana Fitzgerald, and Lou Costi, associate member). As best as we understand, Cafua’s application to the community development board is due by the end of this month.
The community development board will review the information and make a decision, up or down. If the board disallow’s the historical commission’s objection, demolition can begin immediately. If it upholds the historical commission, a six-month moritorium on the razing takes effect, pending further review.
THE PLANET, in the strongest terms possible, urges our good friends on the community development board to protect an important part of the city’s heritage.
Penultimately, we present this delightful piece by THE STOOLEY. In it, the STOOLEY shares a recent experience he had in a local supermarket. We find it instructive:
BAG IT, LITTLE DARLING. WE WERE GREEN BFORE GREEN WAS BLUE
By THE STOOLEY
Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” the clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
She was right about one thing–our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then?
After some reflection and soul-searching on “our” day, here’s what I remembered we did have ….
- Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day. We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
- Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 240 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
- Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the country of Wales. In the kitchen, we blended & stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
- Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.
- Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we older folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then? Please post this on your Facebook profile so another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smarty-pants young person can read it.
THE PLANET thanks THE STOOLEY for this piece.
DEBT, THE WAY OF LIFE THAT WILL DESTROY OUR WAY OF LIFE
Once upon a time, the world could handle money. Today, it handles debt. Internationally, nationally, regionally, statewide, locally, and individually, the industrial west went nuts, spending money it did not have to manufacture and buy items it did not need.
Infusions of cash from central banks may postpone the inevitable economic China Syndrome for a while, but sooner or later, the world will be in for a fiscal day of reckoning.
We leave you with this item for thought:
The major industrialized nations of the world must roll over trillions upon trillions of dollars in debt during 2012. At a time when credit is becoming much tighter, this is going to be quite a challenge. The following list compiled by Bloomberg shows the amount of debt that some large nations must roll over in 2012….
Japan: 3,000 billion
U.S.: 2,783 billion
Italy: 428 billion
France: 367 billion
Germany: 285 billion
Canada: 221 billion
Brazil: 169 billion
U.K.: 165 billion
China: 121 billion
India: 57 billion
Russia: 13 billion
Keep in mind that those numbers do not include any new borrowing. Those are just old debts that must be refinanced.
It’s over. Raise the white flag. It’s over.
COMING TOMORROW: WHAT’S GOING ON AT GREYLOCK FEDERAL CRRDIT UNION? PLUS, MORE INTRIGUE IN THE NILAN-MOORE CASE. WE LEAVE YOU WITH A CIPHER. NO ONE TO DATE HAS BEEN ABLE TO CRACK OUR SKULL BUSTERS:
SNUFFY WUFFIT, DE BREENA BOMB, TO DOFF A LOFFIT ‘A GLINNY BRON // DIN ARROWROOT TA LUFFA DOAN, AL LAFFA GINT DER MISANTHRONE.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.