PLANET LEARNS IDENTITY OF OFFICER BEHIND ORCHARD STREET CRASH … POLICE CRUISER CRASH HAS AN ODD FEEL TO IT … PLANET’s REQUEST TO CHIEF WYNN FOR COMMENT UNANSWERED … BBs SULLIVAN RIGHT-ON RE: TT, BUT COPY DESK LETS HIM DOWN … FED LAWYER CALLS CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT ‘STUPID’ … ROMNEY SCORES ON EDUCATION … plus … LT. AMUSO PROVIDES INFO ON PFD NYC TRIP
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2012, HOLIDAY WEEKEND EDITION) — THE PLANET has learned the identity of the police officer who crashed his cruiser on Orchard and Second streets, hitting two parked cars and ramming into the back end of a pickup truck. According to our sources, the officer’s name is Rob Najimy.
Our sources provided the information on condition of anonymity. THE PLANET received no answer to a call placed to the office of acting police chief Mike Wynn seeking official comment on the incident. Sources say this is Najimy third incident due to blackouts.
Frequent Blackouts, and He’s Still Allowed to Drive?
“Well, three strikes and you’re out, no matter where the ball park is,” says Source A, “but thank God he didn’t kill a child or innocent JRC student or something. [Ex-Mayor Jimmy] Ruberto must of been covering for him through the years or whatever. One of my [friends] had an unfortunate incident where he blacked out and is still without the privilege to drive to and from work for years. I looked at the damage. [Najimy] sheared off the telephone pole by Orchard Street pretty good. I heard this on the local radio in the AM, and then the story sort of disappeared, so that set off a sort of alarm that something was up.” (PLANET’S emphasis)
If this information is accurate, and we have no reason to believe it is not, we wonder why Najimy still retains his driver’s license? Why was a ticking time bomb like this allowed to be on duty, driving a ton and a half of metal on city streets at road speeds? Where is the oversight that would allow such a dangerous situation to continue unchecked?
We again ask Chief Wynn for comment, confirming or denying what we have. If the information is correct, please confirm and amplify. If and of the information is incorrect, unlikely given the proximity of our sources to the case, then get on board and give us the goods.
Step back and think about it:
A driver heads eastbound on Orchard Street, at 1 p.m., in good weather. There’s no snow, ice, rain, wind, or other environmental factors that could reasonably be considered a problem for motorists.
The driver sits behind the wheel of a well-maintained vehicle, when, for some reason, the car bumps into two parked vehicles before rear-ending a pickup truck making a left turn onto Second Street. The car and pickup receive heavy damage, with the car coming to a halt in front of the old Second Street jail, now the Juvenile Resource Center. Both drivers are taken to BMC, with the one who caused the accident held overnight.
Would the Names Have Been Withheld If the Driver Who Caused the Crash Wasn’t a Cop?
The crash gets reported the next day in the Boring Broadsheet, but it has no details on what caused the crash and it withholds the names of the two persons involved.
The driver is the out-of-control car is a Pittsfield Police Officer.
We ask you, my dear friends, would anyone else receive such treatment. BB scribe Trevor Jones writes: “The cause of the crash remains under investigation, and police did not release the names of the individuals involved.” This sentence prompts a few questions:
* Why didn’t police issue the name of the officer who caused this crash?
* Why didn’t police provide any information, other than stating that “the crash was not the result of police action, and the officer involved is not suspected of any wrongdoing”? Since the officer wasn’t responding to a call, we must assume that he was on routine patrol. Cruisers don’t suddenly lost control for no reason. Something caused the officer to drive erratically, which leads to the odd admission, hastily volunteered, that “the officer involved is not suspected of any wrongdoing.” Why say that, after the cops just got done saying the crash is now being investigated?
What are They Holding Back, and Why?
We learned that the cruiser had major front-end damage. Jones writes, “The city is expected to be held at fault for the accident, according to police. The department declined to comment further.” Strange. THE PLANET would think, based on our experience, that in a “routine” case like this, with no extenuating circumstances and everything innocent and above board, the police would have no problem giving out the info.
We make one final point: A respectable newspaper in a small city such as Pittsfield would have a dedicated reporter assigned to the police beat. That reporter, if he or she knew his or her stuff, would have cultivated a relationship with the department and would have had sources that could provide information about an event like this. Jones apparently does not have such sources, or he does, and the BB did not allow him to use them.
In our inquiry, we contacted the police, looking for an official, on-the-record statement. We gave the department that professional courtesy. Since we did not hear from the PPD officially, we attempt to find the information another way, and we did.
The unusual situation of this case — an officer subject to sudden blackouts — needs a full investigation and a public report. Mayor Dan Bianchi, you need to be more proactive in cases like this. The secrecy and the attempt to keep vital information from the public leads to the cancer we see now eating away at official Pittsfield. Mayor Bianchi, call a press conference with Chief Wynn and take our questions, live and in public.
BRIAN SULLIVAN FOLLOWS THE PLANET IN ON THE DISSECTION OF THE NOW-DANGEROUS THIRD THURSDAY
in his regular column today in the BB, our longtime friend and colleague Brian Sullivan had a personal reaction the the Third Thursday Riot. Sully’s take on the TTR is notable and would be worth reading.
Essentially, he laments that people of this city can no longer get out for an event like this without fear for their safety. It’s a point we made yesterday. A seedy element has infected and infiltrated TTR, an unavoidable adjunct to the cheapening of the event itself, with the cheesy food, the carnival-like atmosphere and attractions, and the trappings that attract lowlifes.
As we did, Sullivan says the only way TT can be conducted in the future with a reasonable chance of success is a beefed up police presence, but, as he points out, that defeats the purpose. Short of that, he offers the option we explored more pointedly: for Mayor Bianchi to cancel the event.
One of our correspondents, Dee, has a promising alternative to the two options of installation of a police state on the one hand and cancellation on the other. She advises that the TT organizers go back to its roots, with a simpler, scaled-back, and family oriented event. Get rid of the cheese and bring back the class. Without that, TT shall remain a ticking time bomb. It can be considered a minor astonishment that no one was maimed or killed in Pittsfield in the May 15 TTR.
Sully’s editors managed to soil the bed by putting this headline on the jump page of his column: “Sullivan on unruley crowds.”
Ouch. How in the name of Spellcheck and the most minimal amount of editorial attention is a mistake like this possible. The correct spelling is “unruly.” Moreover, the correct usage of the plural collective noun in this instance is “crowd.” That’s the type of headline that’s unconscionable for a daily newspaper. If they can’t even get spelling and usage right in a simple jump headline, what other errors slip by the copy desk?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: THERE’S STUPID, AND THEN THERE’s STOOOPIT
“Most employers aren’t that stupid, but this one [the City of Pittsfield Fire Department and the office of mayor]. We call it a slam dunk.” — Samuel Wright, for attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor, referring the the City of Pittsfield and the acting fire chief.
In 1994, Wright helped draft the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act. This law prohibits employers from retaliating against soldiers who miss work because of their deployment. The Feds fined the city of Pittsfield on the actions of acting fire chief Bob Czerwinski and former mayor Jimmy Ruberto taken against Pittsfield fire fighter Jeff Rawson. Rawson spent a year serving with the Navy in Iraq.
For Czerwinski’s goof, taxpayers had to cough up $22,000 in back pay for Rawson for the promotion the chief denied him. Czerwinski is the live-in boyfriend of Registrar of Deeds candidate and former city clerk Jody Phillips.
ONE REASON WHY ROMNEY IS THE BEST CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT
President Barack Obama has done some good things in office, but one of his biggest domestic failures is in education. The presumptive GOP nominee, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, sees vulnerability in the President record with public schools.
This report from Reuters gives one food for thought. We especially like Romney’s spot-on analysis of the negative influence the big teachers’ unions have had on the political process and on keeping American schoolchildren lagging far behind the rest of the industrialized world.
ROMNEY: Big Teachers’ Unions Have Stranglehold on Education and Democratic Party
By Sam Youngman and Laura MacInnis
WASHINGTON/REDWOOD CITY, California (Reuters) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney opened a new front on Wednesday in his fight against President Barack Obama, accusing him of presiding over a failing U.S. education system in the grip of union bosses who refuse to accept reforms.
In a rare diversion from his campaign focus on the weak economy, Romney laid out an education plan in a speech that represented his most overt appeal to date to Hispanic voters who have largely sided with the Democratic incumbent.
Although he trails Obama by a huge margin among Hispanics, Romney’s address to a Hispanic business group avoided mentioning a top priority for them: how to overhaul the country’s immigration system.
Romney said millions of American children are getting a “third-world education” and offered proposals that he said would reward teachers for their results instead of their seniority. And he would give parents greater choice of where to send their children to school and take other steps to reduce the influence of powerful teachers’ unions.
“I believe the president must be troubled by the lack of progress since he took office. Most likely, he would have liked to do more. But the teachers unions are one of the Democrats’ biggest donors – and one of the president’s biggest campaign supporters. So,President Obama has been unable to stand up to union bosses – and unwilling to stand up for kids,” Romney said.
The article confirms what most objective observers say about public schools in America: Public education is not about educating children but about politics and money. Public education, as it stands now, especially in the city of Pittsfield, is a giant financial scam perpetuated by special interests against children, parents, and taxpayers.
Oh, what power and money will do to people.
SOME FIGURES FROM FIRE FIGHTERS ON TRIP TP NYC
We present this information as received, to place on THE PLANET record. It comes from Pittsfield Fire Fighter Dan Amuso:
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Comments: Hi Dan, I am the firefighter, Lieutenant actually who planned the trip to the 911 Memorial in NYC. I started the planning last December. I went to my Union and our Association for the funds. A vote was taken and the funds approved. ALL of the funds came from the members Dues, not monies raised for our charitable causes.
$1,600.00 total $800.00 from union, $800.00 from assoc,
The bus (King Ward Coach lines) $1,550.00. that left me with $50.00 to spend on coffee and donuts for the ride down, We left @ 7:00am
Morningside bakery: $38.50
Dunkin donuts (coffee) $24.00
Dan Amuso put in the $12.50
This trip was for us to pay our respects to our 343 F.D.N.Y brothers. Yes after the memorial we had lunch, raised a few pints and enjoyed each others company. I had my son,an Air Force trained Firefighter with me. Another had his father with him. My retired uncles had their grandsons with them.
WE payed for everything!! Tax Payers Payed ZERO. Your source is not wrong, he or she is a lier.
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We thank Lt. Amuso for this information. Our source within the department insists that the bus contained six cases of beer and that there was excessive drinking afterward. THE PLANET makes no judgment here. We present both sets of claimed “facts” and will let our readers decide.