PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2012) — Should Third Thursday continue? No, THE PLANET says.

The riot on May 17 provided a tipping point, adding now a tangible element of risk to TT that wipes out its benefits that, though considerable, have diminshed in proportion to the unsavory element that has been noticed, now, at these communal gatherings. Once again, good, honest, decent citizens must pay for the crimes of the deadbeat few … except they aren’t so few, any longer.

Pittsfield Can No Longer Ignore the Rapid and Growing Social Decay

The influx of what once could be ignored — a frightening influx of an array of human repugnance who on a daily basis make North Street look like a Tim Burton film and on TT pile on the effect even more — must now be the dominant factor in deciding the fate of TT.

This increasing mass of human scum, bred in ignorance and proliferating in stupidity (and on the young side to boot), has taken over the downtown, keeping decent, respectable people away. One pattern noticed in recent TTs going back to last year is how, beginning around 7 p.m.-ish, the unsavory begin to stalk and gather in large numbers.

Face it: TT has become a draw for the degenerate generation. It is no longer a safe event.

Maybe you’ve seen them: tattoo covering flesh like paisley wall-to-wall carpeting, pants below ass-cracks, cleavage enough to provide spawning ground for a nest of bats, skinheads and rainbow hair, the single moms pushing babies from different deadbeat dads, the druggies and alkies, and the Dreaded Others — a catch-all category of everyone and everything that is unpleasant, undesirable, disagreeable, nasty, mean, rough, immoral, dishonorable, dishonest, unprincipled, low, shady, and crooked.

That, increasingly, is the face of downtown Pittsfield, one the entire Northeast came to know about courtesy of the headlines, stories, and film of the ridiculous riot on May 17. Ask yourself: If you had the opportunity to move to Pittsfield or locate a business here, would you, given the choice of many other communities doing so much better with civic life and at cheaper cost (communities like Syracuse, N.Y. and Newburyport, Mass., for example)?

The melee involving more than 100 crazed youths and young adults — 18 and 19-year-olds have, unfortunately for them, graduated chronologically into the “adult” realm — gave not only the event a black eye, but it generated negative publicity throughout the Northeast. Pittsfield? Oh yeah, that’s the PCB-infested Pitt where gang violence is out-of-control and where honest citizens can no longer venture downtown without fear of their safety.

On a Cost-Benefit Basis, What is the Cost of TT to Taxpayers?

Financially, does the event provide value for the expense taxpayers must deliver? Even before the May 17 impromptu playing of the Jets-Sharks rumble from West Side Story that flopped at the corner of Melville and North, many citizens and merchants had complained that the event was turning into a money sucker, replete with tacky food, amateur entertainment, and a growing carnival-sideshow feel.

With the added and real threat of violence, we need to seriously question whether the city, which in the upcoming budget sessions will claim to be in tough economic times, can afford to provide this monthly diversion meant to titillate those in the cheap seats. Store owners complain that TT is now drawing a freakish, side-show type of crowd. We all know what that means. People with discretionary income are staying away from TT, and the creeps, who take rather than give or spend, are infesting the event in growing numbers.

In some respect, it’s “no one’s” fault … and “everyone’s.” TT might reflect the inevitable decay now being seen in society as a whole, but the worst thing the city could do is to continue the pretense of the downtown “Renaissance.” Rather than stand by helplessly in the face of the oncoming Mongolian horde, Pittsfield can take assertive action by canceling TT.

One of our correspondents asked: What would we propose in its place? Our answer: Why does anything have to be proposed in its place? Are people so unimaginative and not curious to be able to fill a Thursday summer’s evening?

Getting back to the money, Pittsfield Cultural Affairs Director Meghan Whilden should provide Mayor Dan Bianchi and my right honorable good friends on the City Council with the Third Thursday books. What do they show? How much do the direct and indirect costs amount to? Those books should then be independently examined. Do the findings — that is, the hard data — make the economic cost-vs.-benefit case FOR or AGAINST Third Thursday?

Pittsfield Doesn’t Operate in the Abstract

In the abstract, TT sounds harmless and even beneficial. For most of its history, TT has provided a good measure of fun and enjoyment. In the city of Pittsfield, however, events do not unfold in the abstract. They unfold in gritty reality. The city is  reeling from nearly a generation of GOB destruction that have run the public schools into the ground, destroyed the economy, driven out respectability, left in tact one of the largest caches of industrial pollution in the world, and installed a cancerous political structure based on nepotism, favoritism, and corruption.

The corrosion now coming to flower is a generation of “newcomers” to town who are drug dependent, drug dealing, with criminal backgrounds, on welfare, mentally retarded, high maintenance, sponging off the public good, and sucking civic life away with their own irresponsibility.

As one of our correspondents asked, where were the parents of the 100+ Little Darlings who turned North Street in a battle zone? They are missing in action, too addled with crack, drinking their welfare checks, too selfish about their own fun, to be responsible parents. And that’s Element X in this discussion.

Element X: Changing Everything

We are seeing the first wave of a breakdown in society, one that is working its way through the Pittsfield Public School system and finding its unemployed, uneducated, ignorant young self on the streets with nothing to do and nowhere to go. There it litters, it loiters, and it sponges off taxpayers. That’s part of Element X.

Another aspect of Element X is the insane pace of life in 2012. Ask an honest teacher or educational adminstrator if smart phones are helping or hurting education. Are kids in the middle school more or less disciplined than they were even six years ago? Are they more or less respectful of rules and authority figures?

Cheap and sophisticated technology , which has the capacity for great good, has added an unrelentless, instant pace to life that wasn’t there even a scant few years ago. It has put capabilities into the hands of the young far beyond their ability to use intelligently (unless you think that pornography, video-game violence, desensitization to sex, etc. are good things).

Consequently, what no one else has addressed — which THE PLANET does here — finally must be confronted. Sure, it’s not 1958, when the city had nearly 60,000 people and 20,000 high-paying manufacturing jobs. But you know what? It’s not even 2006, six years ago, when Third Thursday could be conducted in safety.

In those six years, the seven and eight year old turned 13 and 14 years old. Add the lethal combination of bad parenting, easy access to drugs and weapons, too much technology, and not enough social guidance or direction, and guess what? Third Thursday is too dangerous to allow to continue.

Sure, we can make the June TT “safe” by installing metal detectors all over the place, frisking people, and putting every cop in Berkshire County on North Street, but that will just prove our point. TT cannot be held safely without heroic efforts and enormous expense to taxpayers.

Mayor Dan Bianchi: Pull the plug on TT, or risk one of two certainties: Either you (that is, taxpayers) have to pay through the nose for added security, or there will be continued trouble, perhaps with one or more people dying. Please, don’t force THE PLANET to be eerily prophetic once again. Pull TT, or there will be loss and mourning. 

It’s not 1958, but Element X tells us that we no longer even have “the good old days” of 2006. We are a city, and a society, out of control.



Our good friend Bill Sturgeon announced that beginning Tuesday, he will be hosting a  radio show on WTBR 89.7 FM. The as-yet unnamed show will air from 8:30 to 10 a.m. immediately following “Good Morning Pittsfield” hosted by our right honorable good friend, John Krol.

Sturgeon says the show will feature “straight interviews” with guests “but will NOT be taking phone calls.” The emphasis is Sturgeon’s, a sly reference and dig to his troubles at WBRK AM 1340.

While it’s good to see more local talk, we have concerns about WTBR. The radio station was founded for the students of Taconic High School. It has gradually morphed, however, into a a sort of “last chance saloon” for adults who want to be on the air but, for whatever reason, are not on commercial AM radio or public broadcasting.

High School Radio Should be Run by High Schoolers, Not Adults

Either the adult programming is robbing students of the chance to do their own shows, or there is not enough student interest in WTBR to fill out the programming day. It has to be one or the other. There is no third possibility. If it’s the first, shame on station manager and student advisor Larry Kratka. If it’s the second, shame on taxpayers for funding a club students don’t care about. The $6,000 or so might be put to better use, say, as scholarships to BCC or restoring one of the city’s fading civic murals.

High school radio should be by, about, and for high schoolers. With all due respect to my good friends, WTBR should not be a landing place for adults who are frustrated air jockeys. If the kids don’t care enough to keep WBTR going, especially with an adviser as technically capable as Kratka, then it’s time for the station to sign off.



Pittsfield newest baseball team, the Pittsfield Suns, open the season at Beloved Wahconah Park (BWP) on June 7. The Suns are part of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. They are managed by Jamie Keefe, who last season managed the Pittsfield Colonials at BWP. Keefe was named Can-Am manager of the year in 2011. He will also serve as Suns GM.

With the roster more-or-less in place (see team website, below) THE PLANET shares these announcements:

* Tickets for Opening Night and all home games go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Suns office at BWP.

* The team is still looking for host homes for many of its players. Host families will received an honorarium of $300 and season’s tickets to all Suns home game.

* The Suns also need entertainers for the season.“Whether you are an established band or act, or a newbie looking for exposure for you and your group, we want to hear from you,”said Kevin McGuire, Suns assistant general manager and talent coordinator. “Clowns, jugglers, fire eaters, stilt walkers, bands, and dance troupes should get in touch with us right away—we want the Suns and Wahconah Park to be your launching pad to fame.”  Interested parties may email Kevin McGuire at

* The Suns announced that tickets can be purchaded in person at the ballpark, by phone at 413-445-7867, or online at

* THE PLANET is looking for a baseball writer to cover Suns home games. Interested parties should send their qualifications to Europolis Management, PO Box 1268, Stockbridge, MA 01262.

It’s great to be welcoming another season of baseball to Wahconah Park. The Futures League will feature some of the nation’s top collegiate talent, some of whom will go on to be drafted by major league teams and graduate from the minors to the big leagues.



Here Comes the Sun — Speaking of Sun, does anyone other than the developer, CTC Electric, think a solar panel farm is the best possible use for the once-Edenic Ponterril recreation facility? Right, the Community Development Board thinks so. The board has approved the sun farm. THE PLANET thinks it’s another example of Pittsfield “settling” for the first thing that comes along. In this case, it’s the second. The huge condo development planned for the site never came to pass, even though it received the proper permits.

What ‘Leftover’ Funds? —With the federal wet kiss known as community block grant funds being reduced by Uncle Sam by about one-third compared to two years ago, the city will be in for “only” $1.1 million. Community Development Czarina Deanna Ruffer says the fund will be supplemented by $550,000 in “leftover funds.” Leftover from what? She didn’t say. Think anyone cares? Not one member of the public showed up for the hearing required by the feds. Even my Right Honorable Good Friends on the economic and community development subcommittee didn’t care. Two were missing, and one recused himself. That means that the five-member subcommittee had a grand total of two voting members present (Christine Yon and Kevin Morandi). They couldn’t even get a quorum. So exactly, Czarina, how important is this program? Not very, apparently. Apathy, apathy, apathy. And where in the heck did the Czarina gets more than a half a mill in “leftover” funds. We love that. She must have taken them home in a doggie bag from one of the downtown restaurants.

* Spelling “C-A-T” Easy for our Young Middle School Geniuses — In the city school spelling bee, won by Herberg, incidentally, young scholars had to spell “cow, pig, red, and black” in the practice round. We kid you not. The toughies were words like “neon, thirtieth, and pheasant.” It reminds of the Florida Department of Education, dismayed that only 27% of its fourth graders passed its version of MCAS. The Florida DOE decided to lower the passing grade by a third. With no added ability in reading, writing, or math, the students magically got “smarter.” Under the lower standards, 81% passed. Good Lord, what have we dun … er … done?






  1. Joe blow
    May 23, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    I’m tattooed and have a very short haircut,does that make me a bad person? I don’t drink or do drugs and have never been arrested. My last speeding ticket was 20 years ago. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover!

    • levitan
      May 23, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      Hair is fun. You really can’t judge a person by hair. Next on my list of complaints, from my limited observation in North Adams, the mentally ill and disabled were vocal in their fear of drug dealers and thugs with whom they had to share apartments (by the good graces of our friends on Beacon Hill.)

      Let’s not lump that group in with the undesirable pro/amateur crook.

    • Matthew
      May 24, 2012 at 4:57 am #

      Dan said tatooed flesh like “wall-to-wall carpeting.” If you can fit that description, then yes, you will be a judged a little differently than the typical person. That’s just perception, and perception is reality. Sorry, you might need to accept that. Maybe you should read Dan’s column a little more “perceptively.” I remember when people used to say long hair was a possible sign of problematic youth, and now look at how that has changed. On you not drinking, doing drugs, or ever being arrested before, that’s awesome. Wish more people could follow that example.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:50 am #

      JB- Me too. That was an ignorant statement that DV made.

      • danvalenti
        May 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

        You mean having every inch of your skin “adorned” with tattoos would not be fair cause for assumptions? Seriously? I’m not talking about a few, but the “full ink monty,” which usually comes with multiple body piercings and clothes 10 sizes too big.

        • JUST SAYING
          May 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

          You know I am a Libertarian/Conservative. I believe in a traditional life style. But if someone else doesn’t, whatever. Don’t care.
          I have a great job.
          I shave my hair because I started to lose it young. I have a 3/4 sleeve and a half sleeve.
          That makes me a bad guy?

          • danvalenti
            May 24, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

            No, it does not. I would never assert that, and I have not done so. You do not fit the profile of the general type of street scum to which we referred. We would provide a reference for you any day!

  2. Jim Gleason
    May 23, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    WTBR should not be closed. It has kids on every afternoon and some evenings and is the BEST radio in the Berkshires.I think people pushing personal political agendas should be removed though.Krol is a propagandist and nothing more. He pushes the failed ruberto agenda and I’m sure Sturgeon will do the same. Let the kids run the talk shows and keep those two off the air.

    • taxmano
      May 23, 2012 at 8:28 am #

      I agree with you Jim. I notice the Eagle gave has been taking letters agreeing with their postion, as well as giving Krol himself the opportunity.
      What a sham.

  3. Ed Shepardson
    May 23, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    The point you are missing is that the city is underwriting a station that is competing with commercial stations in the area for audience. These commercial stations pay taxes, hire and pay employees, donate to local charities, etc. What happens to these stations if WTBR captures all of the area’s listeners? I’m kind of a John Krol fan, but I think I’d be a lot happier listening to a student deliver the news. The experience might launch a few careers and keep some talented young people in the area.

    • Bull Durham
      May 23, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      WTBR is the least of any local commercial station’s financial worries. They are not competitors and don’t drain from the audience of BEC or BRK or any other stations. The demographic for commercial radio, especially in a small market, is now highly skewed to the ‘adult’ audience, 30 and over. They listen primarily to national talk radio shows, like Hannity and others.

      I was a student at Taconic in the late 70’s and a member of then WTHS when it was only broadcast in the school through the speaker system, and was there when it became a ‘real’ station with a small transmitter (had to change its call sign to TBR because WTHS was already taken). Back then it was a feeder station that helped several students to eventually go on to real radio jobs. Unfortunately, with the way the radio employment market works today, that isn’t true anymore. It’s very difficult to get an on-air job in ‘local’ radio, because there are very few slots.

      Satellite radio is what’s hurting commercial radio the most.

      All that being said, it’s also very difficult for a station like TBR to fill all of its on-air slots, which is why they allow adults to do shows at times when the students can’t. Same is true in college radio – the MCLA station has several non-students doing shows, because without them there would be several blank spaces in the schedule… and dead air is worse than having adults do shows.

      • Ed Shepardson
        May 23, 2012 at 11:04 am #

        You’re kind of right except when you are dealing with morning drive time and competing local programming as we are here. This time period garners the highest advertising rates.

        • Bull Durham
          May 23, 2012 at 11:56 am #

          I used to work in the business… for man years… the locals do not lose ad revenue in morning drive to WTBR listenership. Rates are not based on an actual audience number, because they no longer do Arbitron books for this market, haven’t for decades, it’s too small. You pay more for morning drive because it’s morning drive and ‘generally’ has the highest listening audience, but there is no way to quantify that any more unless you’re in a large rated market.

          • danvalenti
            May 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

            The way I used to qualify “The Dan Valenti Show” was by the ease or difficulty in selling ads. It took about a year to get the show cooking, and then and thereafter, the demand outstripped the supply of air time in my one-hour slot. Result: The show made money. I would also gauge by the mail, by word-of-mouth, water-cooler chat, and other anecdotal forms.

          • Ed Shepardson
            May 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

            I’m aware that the county is not rated. That’s why I specifically asked what would happen if WTBR captured ALL the area’s listeners.. Again, with city assistance. I’d be willing to bet that, when selling their morning drive, local sales reps have already heard “nobody listens to you guys anymore, they listen to the Krol Show.”

    • Silent Majority
      May 23, 2012 at 10:07 am #

      Good point Ed. Let the students do the news and the shows, like you say, it might lead to not just a job but a career and a life. Don’t always agree with DV but he’s right, let the kids in kick the adults out.

  4. Teecha Teecha
    May 23, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    Speaking of the typical citizen in the downtown area. Has ANYONE look at the family watchdog site for registered sex offenders? Dear God man there’s a plethora of rapists and child molesters in the north street/tyler street downtown areas. Unbelievable!

    • danvalenti
      May 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

      We hadn’t thought of that troubling aspect. Good addition. Thanks. That, my friends, is a classic case of “moving the story forward.”

    • Scott
      May 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

      there is typically more sex crimes and offenders in more rural areas.

  5. Shakes His Head
    May 23, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Hopefully the festivities at BWP will execute more proficiently this year with an organization that has experience running a baseball team.

    • danvalenti
      May 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

      I have a feeling that this will be the case. The Goldklang Group seems to know what it’s doing. It has a good track record. It will face a huge challenge in pulling off a successful season at BWP, but I still believe it can be done.

  6. nero played while rome burned
    May 23, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Let the downtown businesses determine the fate of TT.

    Get the adults off the school radio station..

    Privatize the school system and administer the GED exam to all teachers-supervisors- and commiteeman-the results would scare you..

    • danvalenti
      May 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      1. Good idea. The businesses would have a lot to say.
      2. Agreed. Let the kids play at radio, with an adult adviser.
      3. We have long been an advocate of privatization of schools.

    • GMHeller
      May 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      And perform spot drug tests on those who rely upon taxpayers for their paycheck.

  7. GMHeller
    May 23, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Mr. Valenti, if the Mayor and the City Council are so collectively spineless as to give-in to a rowdy mob by abandoning a monthly street festival, then flash mobs are the least of Pittsfield’s problems.

    • GMHeller
      May 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      It also seems to me that if Pittsfield city officials are going to allow violent mobs to dictate downtown cultural life, then the city is not just dying — it’s dead, and the punks are just picking over the corpse.

      • levitan
        May 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm #


        Pittsfield isn’t dead. Neither was NYC in the bad old days of the ’70’s or Philadelphia in the ’80’s though it sure seemed so. It isn’t as bad as New Orleans with the Mayor taking orders from Washington and everyone screwing each other.

        It’s just in a bad state. I blame asphalt projects. Stop the asphalt projects, cut the gov. in half, bring in a charter school, and you’d be amazed.

  8. GMHeller
    May 23, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    In Re: Bill Sturgeon’s new gig on high school radio.
    It sure doesn’t say much for the state of broadcasting in Pittsfield that a daily call-in talk show that honestly addresses the issues-of-the-day is anathema.
    Why are so many in the local power structure (Liberal Democrats, aren’t they?) so afraid of open public discussion?

    • Jim Gleason
      May 23, 2012 at 10:53 am #

      Sturgeon won’t be taking calls on his new show, just as he wanted to not take calls at WBRK. He will spout the same nonsense Krol does every day, that all is good in Pittsfield except the Mayor and all was great under the phony ruberto. No accountability to anyone, just nonsense spouting.

      • Chet Murphy
        May 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

        Yet you will listen to him Jim

        • Jim Gleason
          May 24, 2012 at 4:39 am #

          No, I didn’t listen for the last 4 months he was on and won’t now.

  9. teecha teecha
    May 23, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    GM – Because the liberal democrats can’t have a logical argument due to the fact that most of what they argue is illogical. When someone steps up to ‘debate’ an issue, they cannot rebute without attacking and whining about being victimized

    • Andrew
      May 23, 2012 at 11:32 am #

      It’s funny because you can’t go on Fox News without hearing Republicans whining about being victimized as well.

      • GMHeller
        May 23, 2012 at 11:47 am #

        Is this ‘Andrew’ aka ‘Andrew Stevens’ aka ‘Praxis33’ again, the guy who lied about being a branch manager at Greylock Federal Credit Union and then spread misformation about GFCU?

        • Andrew
          May 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

          No. I was Andrew on this site before all that nonsense. I don’t have other aliases and I don’t troll people. Let it go.

    • levitan
      May 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

      I doubt few these days qualify as Liberal or Conservative. We have parties now.

  10. bobbyd
    May 23, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I totally understand the concerns about TT. One of my children was recently on a field trip to see the manufacture of the Berkshire Carousel. He tells me they were told that concerns about susceptibility to vandalism has made it likely that it will not be located in Pittsfield, but that it will be housed permanently in the mall in Lanesboro.

    If someone had a disease that was causing the loss of body parts, what would we say about a doctor who said the only recourse was to amputate before losing parts to the disease process? If there was no other choice and the procedure would eliminate the disease, putting the patient back on the road to health, great. If not, wouldn’t we expect the physician to treat the underlying disease and save as much function as possible?

    • Dawn
      May 23, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      This town needs an enema.

    • danvalenti
      May 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      In conversation when I went to visit Jim Schulman at the Berkshire Mall workshop, I learned that he got no help from Pittsfield whatsoever in finding a home for his project. The security concerns are real. While the wheel will merrily spin at the mall, the wheels in downtown Pittsfield are flying off.

  11. Andy
    May 23, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    HEY! I resemble that remark Dan! This washed up adult enjoys his Tuesday night time slot every week (if the school isn’t locked!)! It’s a nice roster of student and adult volunteers that take to the airwaves each and every week at WTBR to keep the station vibrant. Granted, some of the songs get played have been beat to death since the Carter administration, but in the end, it’s great alternative to the other local offerings. The days of commercial stations featuring almost all local on-air talent are gone, which is a shame. Sometimes WTBR is difficult to listen to, but for the most part it’s better than nothing. Satellite, ipods and on-line streaming are all killing commercial radio, it’s not just one thing.

    • Andy
      May 23, 2012 at 11:41 am #


      Granted, some of the songs THAT get played have been beat to death since the Carter administration, but in the end, it’s great alternative to the other local offerings.

    • danvalenti
      May 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      YOUR show is the exception to my objection, of course. At least you play new and interesting.

      • Andy
        May 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

        Thanks, Jonathan Hanson and I try to make it fun and interesting. The “witty” banter, the music under the banter, Rappin’ Rodney, Rick Springfield along side some great underground music. It’s fun to do, that’s for sure.

  12. Maxwell Edison
    May 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    I used to think Mary and Joe Kapanski meant “regular folks”. The kind of people who might enjoy the affordable fun of Third Thursday. But this post reveals that Mary and Joe Kapanski are really just a couple crabby old GE retirees who would bitch about not being able to park their Buick right in front of The Lantern during Third Thursday.

    • Chet Murphy
      May 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Max Good call!

  13. Dee
    May 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    As much as I avoid North Street like a plague, I don’t feel that cancelling future TT’s would be the answer. I think it would be better to go back to the original design (intent) and perhaps scale back some of the carnivale-type attractions. If it were to return to a more family-friendly environment then perhaps the slags would stay to the side streets until the respectable element scurries away at 8:00 p.m. That being said, I also think more than two bicycle cops should be patrolling the street. I know the days of beat cops is gone, but maybe it’s time to reinstate it.

    Now onto the adults raiding the radio station. This just seems so desperate to me. Obviously local radio has no interest in the format that Bill Sturgeon wants to promote. Perhaps it’s time for him to hang up his microphone rather than forcing his way into a student station.

    • danvalenti
      May 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

      Great suggestions re: TT. Change it. Bring it back to its roots. Make it simpler, more family-friendly, and get rid of the carnival food and attractions. It must be restored to “classy.” As for cops pounding the beat, why not? Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Of course it can. Just do it. That what Mayor Bianchi’s message to Acting chief Wynn should be: Get’er done. Agree with your comments on the high school radio station. After we walked away from our show on WBRK after 14 years, we had the offer to go to WTBR. It would be “voluntary,” but that’s not why we declined. We didn’t feel right broadcasting from high school. Sturgeon must make up his own mind, and he did, the way John Krol did. We respect their decision but can’t agree with it. yes, it ha a “desperate” quality to it.

  14. Scott
    May 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Face it: TT has become a draw for the degenerate generation. It is no longer a safe event.

    No it hasn’t you seem to not like anything downtown you even scoffed at the skate park which gives young people an outlet.

    gang violence is out-of-control and where honest citizens can no longer venture downtown without fear of their safety.

    stop it just be careful at night.

    • Dawn
      May 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

      Dan suffers from acute old-man-itis.

      • GEE Whiz
        May 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

        DAWN suffers from acute too-scared-to-face-facts-itis. Must be PMS. Keep rocking the boat, DV. Your army stands ready.

        • danvalenti
          May 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

          The army has a weekend pass, but please, tell the troops not to go near downtown Pittsfield, for fear of not coming back.

      • Ed
        May 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

        The best part of suffering from acute old-man-itis is that the old man can accurately and truthfully say that he made it to old age. Can you even guarantee that you’ll make it to your next birthday ? You may never suffer from old-person-itis. Think about it. maybe he did something you’ll never see.

      • Scott
        May 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

        Dawn I was going to say the same thing! Dan, your age is showing.

        • danvalenti
          May 23, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

          I’m 60, but I will never grow old. I define old age this way: “The moment your regrets begin to outnumber your dreams.” Regrets, I’ve had a few, but the again, too few to mention. The dreams, though, remain large and numerous.

  15. chuck garivaltis
    May 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Here’s a trip down memory lane with an eye toward the future.

    The return of “upstreet” as a name to define a geographical area just dosen’t feel right. Upstreet is the area from Park Square to Madison Avenue. For a century it was a retail, financial, recreational street. It’s where parades and victory celebrations were held. There was community pride. Upstreet is the place where it all came together for adults and children. It was safe. There was a cop on the beat around the clock. It was a fun place. It’s when the Yankees had the Babe, Mickey and Yogi. Remember what happened when they departed? The Yankeees came in on the bottom. Times do change.

    Upstreet was where one could meet O.B.Joyful, Charley the Runner, Danbury Dan, Bollicky Balls. O.B.Joyful was Pittsfields first long haired,, bearded/hippie. Charley the Runner carried his entire worldly possesions in the pockets of his oversized overcoat every day of the year. He was in his 60’s, always ran, and never gave up his dream of running the 25 mile Boston Marathon.How can any community replace these characters? Contemporary nicknames were Dudy, Bonzo, Meat Hooks, Sleepy, Poncho, Buff, Bug Eye, Tiger, Moose, Potatoes, Mouse, Beaver, Dill, Bones, Buddy, Rags, Peanut, Chico, Dangles, Toot, Spits, Brickhead, Scoop, Bourbon Joe, Potato man, Spec, Radar, Kracky, Baldy, Butch, Kirby. These names had nothing to do with ethnicity or physical characteristics, It was an era when boys, for whatever reason were given nicknames in childhood that stuck for a lifetime. Nicknames are also a relic of the past.Do you know any of these guys? I bet Jim McCaffrey is the only one who can identify 90% of them.

    It was a time when the central meeting place for almost everything was upstreet. For youngsters the exception was sukmmer school vacation where the meeting place was your neighborhood park. Upstreet wasn’t just retail, movies and
    recreation centers. It was an interesting, exciting place to visit. For all age groups it was where the action took place. To the horror of parents O.B. Joyful would give youngsters peanuts – the shell kind. The peanuts were tasty and fresh. Best hamgurgs and pie ever was at the Bridge Lunch and best priced dinners were at the Rosa. Frankenstein and the Muffy would scare you at the Kameo and Strand for a dime. But it wasn’t inflation that killed Upstreet. It was time marching on.

    There’s no harm in trying to resurrect the feeling of community that existed when upstreet/downtown/North Street (whatever you wanted to call it) was the beating heart of Pittsfield. City officials are to be commended for their vision on cultural attractions. But without major retail anchors upstreet is never going to attract crowds with money to spend that is necessary to make the area a shoppers destination. The automobile, cheap gas,(compare us with Canada or Europe per gallon) ,and suburbia, have forever changed old downtown/upstreet centers.The new “upstreet” is Coltsville where thousands of shoppers from numerous communities spend time and money.

    Maybe we should celebrate Coltsville as the new upstreet for Berkshire County. It has highway access, parking, breathing room, restaurants, retail destinations, and railroad access. And lots of shoppers.

    What’s not to like about Coltsville? There are people who are spending, parking, and all the amenities that made our “upstreet” a long ago nostalgic North Street destination. Let’s face it. Even without O.B.Joyful, Meat Hooks, and Bug Eye, Coltaville is where the action is and will be for the foreseeable future.

    • danvalenti
      May 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

      What a beautiful piece. You wanna job on THE PLANET as a writer?!
      Your idea about Coltsville is intriguing. It has all the parking one would need, as an added bonus.
      Other nicknames: Itch, Stretch, Porky, Scare, and Leggy.

      • Maxwell Edison
        May 24, 2012 at 5:31 am #

        Coltsville is an agoraphobia causing geography of nowhere. It’s like Florida but without the warm weather.

    • Jim Gleason
      May 24, 2012 at 5:01 am #

      Great piece, Chuck. I know who some of those guys are from my Dad. I’m old enough to remember upstreet as you describe it, in part.I was young in the 60’s and early 70’s and remember some of the things you describe.I remember going to Besse Clarke on Saturday, looking at the new baseball gloves and the latest basketball sneakers, wishing you had the money to buy the best ones.Having enough to go to Sub-N-Beef for a Big Beef sandwich and a soda, then going to the CYC or Club and playing ball the rest of the day. Good times that kids today will never know. The older I get the more I miss them.

      • Silent Majority
        May 24, 2012 at 6:53 am #

        Nice piece by Chuck and good memories by Jim. I remember “upstgreet” it’s a place that today seems like a fairy tale. Remembering back.

  16. taxmano
    May 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    Just finished watching the school committee meeting for a few good laughs, and I wasn’t disappointed. What a bunch of morons! The committee (except Terry), not the candidates.
    What makes Alfie an expert at hiring people? Didn’t he almost get fired for never showing up for work? Except for his connections, he’d be out on his ass.
    Also, the wear and tear is obvious on Jake the third now. He came across as surly and he looked ragged. Let’s be merciful and let him get out of town early.

    • danvalenti
      May 23, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

      You should qualify for combat pay, having to endure that! Terry K and Pray for Rain.

    • levitan
      May 24, 2012 at 7:11 am #

      What a bunch of morons!

      I noticed that too.

  17. chuck garivaltis
    May 24, 2012 at 6:36 am #


    What an oversight! How did I ever forget Itch? My old teammate and one of our great shortstops.

    Coltsville traffic patterns can be improved. During my time on the city council I served with ward one councillor Art Dugas. Art was a GE engineer and he presented an improved traffic pattern to address the increased flow of cars. Of course, it was denied without a second look. Art was one of our better city councilors.You won’t be surprised to hear he was voted out of office.