PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2012) — Every so often, THE PLANET receives an invitation as a local celebrity to sit in judgment of some contest, drive a bus as a promo stunt, flip pancakes, that sort of thing. Each time, we have to stop, take stock, and realize that no matter how much we dislike it, we are considered a “celebrity” — a status in life that grants everyone familiarity with an aspect of your life which many of them confuse with knowledge of the real thing.

Celebrity status, not to be confused with fame, makes one a circulated coin of the realm minted from devotion’s self. We take on roles that make us symbols of our culture. The roles serve useful cultural purposes, the way court jesters did in their leeway to tell the king he wasn’t wearing any clothes. In our case, our role is to comment of the width, breadth, and depth of mainly local human experience based upon a lifetime of learning, observations, and experiences unique among those of the like of mortal men.

You Don’t Know Us

But you don’t know us. Many THINK they know us.

You don’t know us. You know a caricature based on your “reading” of our public pronunciations. You know one aspect of our public lives.

You don’t know us.

You know a character we play called “Dan Valenti.” He is the larger-than-life persona through which we get to make pronunciations. They are not to be taken as fact but to be used as kindling through which fires and bonfires of public debate can ignite and shed light upon issues of importance to the community.

“Dan Valenti” is the dude that allows us a daily interface over our well-sung celebrations and woes, the guy who has license to tell of tales that may sooth or enrage, that may coax pensive ghosts out of the woodwork, and that may get us to agree and disagree on whatever streaming glories do attempt to shine upon us in this valley of tears.

You don’t know me. You only know “Dan Valenti.” Everything else you might think about him is but an inflation, a swell of the pomp of a noble sacrifice that he is glad to undertake. Give thanks that you have “Dan Valenti,” for he won’t be with  you long.

All things must pass.



The agenda for the school committee’s upcoming meeting (Wednesday 3/28 at 6 p.m. at the PHS library) has a most curious entry. It may mean little or it may be a clue to The Fix. It may mean neither, but can we afford to take that chance? We have a public school system underperforming, overprices, and lying in its claims of highest standards on behalf of the education of children.

We read from the agenda:

—– 00 —–

V. Recommended Actions — Unfinished Business

A. Update in Superintendent Search

1. Overview   2. Consideration of Additional Application    3. Presentation by Glenn Koocher of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.

—– 00 —–

‘Additional Application?’ — Code for ‘The Fix is in?’

THE PLANET has underlined the item that caught our attention: “Consideration of Additional Application.”

Say what?

There were nine applications sent in by the deadline. The public hasn’t seen them yet. Is it a strong pool? A weak one? We don’t know.

Moreover, and more importantly, there was a clear, well-established limit — a foolish one, albeit, but that’s what the committee wanted, two weeks for people to get their applications to the school committee. That in and of itself raised flags that the “nationwide search” was a bogus one and that the Chosen One had been hand-picked well-before the dog-and-pony application process. THE PLANET advised the school committee it wasn’t enough time, that it was the old “hurry-hurry-hurry” and unnecessarily — but they wanted it that way.

Now, it appears they have broken the rules. Now, some questions that we hope will be answered on Wednesday night:

* Who is this late application?

* What were the circumstances of it being sent and then accepted?

* Did the entire school committee agree on this apparent breaking the committee’s own rules or was this another unilateral move by the chairman? If the latter, when will these quixotic odysseys end on the part of the chair?

* What will prevent other candidates who wished to apply but couldn’t by the deadline from now using this late application to demand that their applications be accepted?

* Is this person whose application is being accepted late someone local? Someone known? One of the usual suspects? In other words, is this how the GOB intends to sneak through their bobo for the job? Be clear: We aren’t saying that this is the case, but we are raising this as a reasonable question.

The point is, ladies and gentlemen, the school committee established a two-week deadline. In light of that, how is it possible that “additional applications” be considered?

The public needs answers.



School committee chairman Alf Barbalunga responded to three questions posed by THE PLANET.

1. We asked if the chair had the power to unilaterally decide on advertising the position of superintendent.

2. If so, we asked him to share the enabling legislation that gave him that power.

3. Are the resumes available for public view.

Here is his response, as he sent it to us:

—– 00 —–

1.     i am not sure about ‘uniliateral’, and that is not a term i believe i have ever used.  here is what i can tell you:
a.  the school committee voted unanimously to contract with masc, while authorizing dr. eberwein to coordinate with masc, and ultimately assist in managing the superintendent search & hire process
b.  part of that process is/was to post and advertise the job
c.  this posting was authorized after consultation with dr. ebewein and masc executive director koocher.  also, school committee attorney dupere was consulted, and he proffered a opinion that this posting was legal based on the school committee vote.  however, at the end of the day the buck stops with me, and i take full responsibility for the posting/advertising
d.  finally, at the most recent meeting, the school committee voted by majority (5 yes, 1 no, 1 absent) to support our action, and continue with this process
2.     i’m not sure if there is any mgl section, city charter language or any policies/procedures that specifically authorizes the above actions.  that being said, i’m confident that there is no mgl section, city charter language or any policies/procedures that prohibits the above actions.  if you can cite differently, please forward
3.     those nine resumes are not available for public review.  this question was raised, and diligently researched by myself & school committee attorney dupere.  only final applicant(s) information will be available for public review
i appreciate your continued interest in the pittsfield public school system & have a great spring.
—— 00 ——
We thank the chairman for his time and his considered responses.




  1. Beacon Hill Mob
    March 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Hey Dan,

    What is up with the Nilan/Moore CIRCUS of INJustice?

    The stench from park square covers the whole northeast

    • danvalenti
      March 26, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

      There are some developments roiling, to be sure, but not enough at this point to publish. Unlike what some say of us, we try to vet stories as best we can and do not publish mere whimsy and rumor. There’s lot’s of “stuff” floating around, and we’re looking at everything. We don’t care about scooping anyone on anything (never did, never will, though it happens with astounding regularity). We want first and foremost to publish good, reliable information. Stay tuned, though.

  2. GMHeller
    March 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Mr. Valenti, there’s a poster on Topix who now claims he lives at 131 Winesap Road.
    The only problem with that is that, according to, the highest numerical address on Winesap Road is #126.
    Go figure.

    • Andrew
      March 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

      There is a 131 Winesap Rd. Don’t know what the heck else you’re talking about (topix doesn’t work with my adblocks) but that address exists.

  3. Oh please!
    March 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Oh Alf ! As chairman of the school committee can you make some effort to write in standard English. Your misuse of basic puncuation rules when writing is beyond sad. To start try using a Cap’ I instead of a small i .
    The odd Cap’ for a person’s name is also basic. ( like 1st grade basic) we are all capable of mistakes when writing, but really Alf … All I can say us ‘ oh please’

    • taxmano
      March 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      I agree. Lil’ Alf also misuses the reflexive pronoun “myself.”
      I notice that increasingly being done by people trying to sound intelligent.

      • levitan
        March 27, 2012 at 10:49 am #


        Myself agrees with you completely, but I will stay out of the fight. (joking)

        This misuse of the reflexive is a real pet peeve of mine.

    • Molly
      March 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      Where are you seeing this writing of his? In the email that he sent me, nothing was capped — I agree. But it sounds like you are referring to a comment here that I’m not seeing?

      • Molly
        March 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

        Never mind… Sorry.

    • spectator
      March 27, 2012 at 6:10 am #

      Yeah, this guy’s writing borders on sheer laziness(which is just what we need from a public official), to a lack of intelligence(which is typical of public officials.) Overall, it give off the appearance of someone who is unprofessional and does not care about representing their position with any class or integrity.

  4. Steve wade
    March 26, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    Dan Are you ok? You sound strange. Don’t do anything crazy. Seek help if you need it good luck

    • danvalenti
      March 26, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

      Couldn’t be better, thanks!

  5. Tony Dinsmore
    March 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Good old Dan Valenti, legend in his own mind. Dan is so famous that if you threaten to choke him out you get a rundown baseball field named after you.
    You know I’m joking Danno…….you aren’t dying are you? Do you just need a hug?

    • danvalenti
      March 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

      Everybody needs hugs, Tony. And yeah, I know you’re joking. By the way, it wasn’t “threaten to choke him.” He actually did it. Fortunately, I was too tough for the assailant.

  6. Scott
    March 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I think an individuals take and opinion on society as well as politics does in fact tell a lot about them as a person. At least i myself think so.

  7. Molly
    March 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    Au Contraire, Alf! Eventually, you MUST by law, release ALL of the resume’s… There is no legal question at all about that.

    And by the way, there are still no School Committee Minutes for the Jan. 25th meeting… Your assistance in getting these posted ASAP would be appreciated.

  8. Andrew
    March 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Referring to yourself awkwardly in the third person and calling yourself a celebrity? Nope, no oversized ego here to speak of.

    • danvalenti
      March 26, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

      If you re-read my post, you will see that I am not calling myself a celebrity. That’s what I am called and that’s what I’ve become in the minds of others. I actually think it’s as silly as you apparently do, but that’s the reality. And you’re right: there is no “oversized ego” here.

      • Andrew
        March 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

        Please. Cite where a person, any person has called you a celebrity. You’ve mentioned your celebrity status in the past as well and this ego-stroking of yours while contorting it into a “whoa is me” is impressive to behold.

        You write “books”, you publish your opinions and musings online and check constantly to see who’s responding and whether they agree with you or not, you try to get on the air and plug yourself as much as possible and you refer to yourself as a celebrity. To deny the role your ego plays in this will take some impressive linguistic gymnastics (something I admit you are good at).

        • Dave
          March 27, 2012 at 5:18 am #

          Dan is a celebrity.

        • Judas Priest
          March 27, 2012 at 7:25 am #

          Dans an A-lister in these parts, Andrew

  9. baby baby
    March 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Dan is just looking for attention so don’t worry about him. That or he sold his website to the future owners of the boring broadsheet for it’s current market value, $9,950,000 on godaddy.

    • danvalenti
      March 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

      Well, we would not take the figure you mention. Bids for THE PLANET open at $10 million.

      • Jeff
        March 27, 2012 at 5:28 am #

        Would that be 10 million what? Iranian Rial?

      • Tom Sakshaug
        March 27, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

        Hmmm…last night that comment said $9.95. Who changed it?

        • danvalenti
          March 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

          The Sultans of Swing, good doktor.

  10. Molly
    March 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    How is it that the posting was legal based on a School Committee vote of “NO” to doing a “regional search”? There was no School Committee vote that I know of on doing an immediate job posting and giving a two week notice. So then how is that possible? Because the School Committee voted to contract with MASC? Oh please… That is a very far stretch to say the least.

    What about the overwhelming appearance of everyone else on that School Committee already knowing and agreeing with this, and defending it, except for Terry Kinnas (and supposedly the mayor)? Terry Kinnas wasn’t aware of it prior to Alf posting this position! And he’s a member of the School Committee who was voted into that position by WE THE PEOPLE!

    And now a new late application. Hmmmm I’d say that it’s from someone with some political connections, right? Someone with some clout knows someone who needs a new gravy job… Maybe Meredeath! She’ll be looking for a gravy job soon and won’t be able to get one on her own!

    And I agree – as Chairman of the flipping School Committee, learn how to capitalize words and to correctly use “articles” (parts of speech) – for example, “a opinion” should be “an opinion”. But that’s getting picky, especially in this day and age when the schools don’t teach the kids how to spell, never mind parts of speech. But there’s enough else wrong with far more importance for me to be pointing out, as I’ve been trying to do.

    • danvalenti
      March 26, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      Our intention in printing the response as received is so we could not be accused of editing the remarks. That is now our policy when receiving statements from public figures.

  11. LV
    March 27, 2012 at 6:09 am #

    A celebrity, yes. More importantly a kind, generous man.

  12. Baby Baby
    March 27, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    Editing comments now dan. You know I wrote $9.95.

    • danvalenti
      March 27, 2012 at 7:20 am #

      Yes, but that’s not what you meant!

      • Baby Baby
        March 27, 2012 at 9:44 am #

        no Dan, that is what I meant. Your site is worth the cost of a web domain, in my opinion of course.

        • danvalenti
          March 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

          Nah, that’s not what you meant. I have inherited the gift of looking into souls from members of the city council. You meant $10 million. But you are correct: Something is worth only what someone else is willing to pay for it.