PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, MAY16, 2012) — THE PLANET‘s Poet Laureate has again been at work. On commission, he has crafted a response to our enemies. First, though, we present a point of clarification.

THE PLANET has no enemies. We only have friends who remain unconvinced. We bear no animosity in our hearts for any human being, created thing, or living creature. We choose to love. We oppose only some actions, especially those committed by those given by We The People the honor of governance and who abuse that power. We oppose only what certain people do that can be termed “wayward” and “detrimental” to the good of citizens, taxpayers, and Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, our proverbial Little Guys.

A prime example of this has become the Pittsfield School Department, which has been totally politicized to the detriment of educating children. As one of our commentators, Dusty, pointed out yesterday, the school department has become an Empire Unto Itself. It eats up 70% ($90 million) of a $130 million budget. It has been, to date, largely unaccountable. Pay raises are granted, mindlessly, year after year, without being tied to performance. The schools bear the lion’s share of the crushing tax load that We The People, and businesses in the Dreaded Private Sector, must bare in the city of Pittsfield.

The question is: How much longer will people put up with such crud? There: digression over. It is with great aplomb that we present Sir T’s latest epic.

—– 00 —–


By Sir Tiberius Fruitjuice

The blind man’s mark is the fool’s self-chosen snare,

A trap of fond fancy’s scum and dregs of scattered thought.

Band of all evil, cradle of causeless worry and care,

Your web of will is one whose end is never wrought.

Taxpayer! Taxpayer! You have too dearly bought

At dear price these mangled minds, their worthless wares.

Too long, too long asleep have you been brought

By those whose minds should to higher things prepare.

Yet in vain, they have THE PLANET’s ruin sought.

In vain, they tried to make me to vain things aspire.

In vain, they have kindled all their smoky fires,

For virtue has us this better lesson taught:

With ourselves and in our counsel alone  we seek our only hire,

Desiring nothing but how to kill your desires.

—– 00 —–

Submitted without comment, as Rod Serling used to say.



Do you want still more proof that you can’t trust the GOB, aka Establishment, Special Interests, Status Quo, Mucky Mucks, etc.? This little item will recall the civil way Pittsfield fought in 2000-01, when a bunch of GOBs tried to use a baseball stadium as a Trojan Horse to put into effect a Civic Authority. The CA would have broad, undefined powers. It would be a board appointed by the mayor (at the time, Gerry Doyle).

We The People, you remember, rose to the occasion and — in an act of democracy unequalled in city history — took the CA enabling legislation and shoved it down their throats. David bested Goliath. During the debate, the GOB was especially guarded about the finances for the project, which brings us to Minnesota.

From an AP report:

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) The Vikings stadium deal that Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law Monday involves plenty of public participation, but it also prevents the public from getting a look at the team’s finances during their partnership to build the $975 million stadium.

The law commits the state and city of Minneapolis to pay a combined $498 million, while the team will bring in $477 million from private sources.

One provision would shield ”any financial information” from the team from public eyes. Critics say the blanket protection goes beyond current state law, leaving taxpayers in the dark on one of the state’s biggest public works projects. Minnesota law already allows businesses that get state money to avoid disclosing trade secrets, business plans, tax returns and other financial data.

”We now have the largest public commitment in the state’s history in an agreement with the Vikings, and we have an unprecedented lack of disclosure,” said Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, who voted against the stadium bill. ”I just think that sunshine in government is good, and in exchange for nearly half a billion dollars in public commitment, there should be some sunshine on the other side of the ledger.”

The law creates a new Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority -with members to be appointed by Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak – to vet the team’s ability to fulfill its financial commitment to build, operate and repair the stadium over 30 years. (PLANET’s emphasis).

We will stop there. We point out one dissimilarity in the Pittsfield and Minneapolis positions. They would create a Sports Authority, with power limited to the building and operation of the stadium. Pittsfield wanted to create a Civic Authority, with powers city wide.

Moral of the story: Whenever “They” want to take your money, taxpayers, BEWARE!! Ask questions. Be a pain in the ass. Make it difficult. Demand accountability.

To my good friends in the GOB in Pittsfield: The gravy train, admittedly still in town, is being sabotaged from freedom fighters! The Underground has only just begun to fight!



“I’m late.”

Oh, how many a young man has heard these dreaded words from their flings and fled in panic?

“Late” is a work that rarely indicates good. He is “the late Mr. Barnes.” Your boss tell you you’re “late” for work. The Pittsfield School Committee is “late” on the public posting of its minutes. Why? With no good reason to believe otherwise, can we take it to mean the committee doesn’t care? Or worse, does it mean the minutes, having once been ready, are being doctored before being allowed to see the light of day? Don’t laugh: Far stranger things have happened in that department.

School Minutes Can Reveal Telling Insights for Those Who Have Patience

The minutes for the April 11, April 25, and May 9 meetings are still as of today not posted. This makes an aggregate of two months tardy. Try getting away with that kind of service You’d be fired in two shakes in the Dreaded Private Sector. Taxpayers shell out $90 million a year, 70% of the city budget, on schools. Do you think there might be enough in that $90 million to get minutes posted in a timely way?

Minutes can reveal interesting items that might escape notice the first time out. For example, take the curious “Item C” from Sec. VI of the March 28 minutes.

The first thing we need to settle is which “Item C.” There are two, yes, two. Section VI moves from A, to, B, to C, to C. The second “C” should be a “D” as in “Dan,” C The First being “Approval of Change in Objectives and Procedures in Policy SC-53 (School Committee-Staff Communications)” and C The Second being “Approval of PEAA Settlement Agreement.” Doesn’t anyone review the minutes before they are approved? A-B-C-C?

C The First goes into an enlightening area regarding accountability. It begins innocently enough, with a bit of cottony bureaucratic prose: “Deputy Superintendent Malkas reviewed the proposed changes in policy and responded to a question regarding voting procedures.” Of course, the minutes do not detail the “proposed changes” of the “policy.” Readers in some long-ahead age will be assumed to possess ESP.

Then we read this: “Mr. Kinnas asserted that School Committee members should have access to the school without being required to announce their visits beforehand, saying that such access would better enable School Committee members to uphold their fiduciary responsibilities and to maintain due diligence.

“Motion by Katherine Yon, seconded by James Conant, that the School Committee approve the changes in Objectives and Procedures in Revised Policy SC-53 (School Committee-Staff Communications), as outlined in Enclosure No. 5 was by vote unanimously opposed. (See page 52.)

“Mr. Kinnas reiterated his comments above. Other members of the School Committee also shared their opinions about the proposed policy.

“Motion by Katherine Yon, that the School Committee accept the language as amended to say, ‘Individual Committee members interested in visiting schools will make arrangements for visitations through the principals for a mutually agreed upon time and date. Principals will notify the Office of the Superintendent that a school visitation had been scheduled. Such visits shall be regarded as informal expressions of interest in school affairs and not as “inspections” or visits for supervisory or administrative purposes,” seconded by James Conant, was by vote approved: 6 in favor (Amuso, Barbalunga, Bianchi, Conant, Elias, Yon) and 1 opposed (Kinnas). (See page 53).”

A few point, if you please:

* Minutes need to be more carefully composed and more thoroughly proofed.

* The minutes state other members commented on Kinnas’ proposal, but it doesn’t say who spoke or what they said.

* Terry Kinnas, again, and this time alone, stood for freer access. He made a reasonable point about unannounced visits. As a school committee member, he has already been vetted thoroughly. He should be able to visit schools as he sees fit. In addition, as a school member, he is, if we are not mistaken, an employee of the school department with a ranking ahead of the superintendent. In other words, he’s the superintendent’s boss, as if every other committee member.

* Having to make arrangement through the principal’s office (who has to get approval from the superintendent) defeats the purpose and value of surprise visits. We must rely on the professionalism of committeemen and women. Their presence will not cause disruption, and only  unannounced visits offer a truer picture of what is happening in the trenches. Consider that we aren’t talking about secret visits. A school committee person should be able to walk into any school without pre-arrangement, but, of course, when entering the building, he or she would notify the school.

* The other six members of the board did not want unhindered access. They agreed to pre-notice, which gives principals and staff a chance to “tidy up.” It’s telling that the school committee would agree to such a humiliating condition. THEY are boss. They are acting like underlings. Why? Who is running the show here?

* Why the language that such visits shall not be “inspections” or done for a “supervisory or administrative” reason? Why strip any potential visit of any teeth? Why put a school committee person in legal jeopardy if, on such a visit, he or she comes upon a supervisory or administrative situation?

THE PLANET gives Kinnas credit for objecting to his committee’s emasculation. The board chopped off its own balls. Fortunately, Kinnas still has his pair.

Totalitarian Language Par for the School Administration

In the staff-committee communications language, the School Department gets downright totalitarian. All school staff — “principals, supervisors, teachers, and other staff members” — are prohibited from “all communications” to the committee without the superintendent approving first.

When leaders and managers move to curtail the free flow of communication between and among constituent parties in any type of socio-economic political arrangement such as a public school system, it’s a danger sign.

This leads to a question that can be asked for far too many school department intrigues:







  1. Howard
    May 16, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    While I generally disagree with the tone and content of your daily posts, I reserve my comments for clarifying errors of fact. While the school department does spend a huge chunk of money, it’s incorrect to categorize it as 70% of the city’s budget. It is merely an amount EQUAL to 70% of the city’s budget. This is an important distinction.

    The bulk of school funding in Pittsfield comes from state and federal money. And yes, while they are still taxes and paid by your beloved Kapanskis somewhere in the US, they do not come from Pittsfield city funds. This is clearly outlined in the presentation Jake made and to which you linked previously. Unfortunately I didn’t find that post to reference it or the amounts directly here.

    Also, while you assert that Jake is hiding the true cost of the schools in presenting a budget that does not include the “backside” expenses, my understanding is that the city pays those expenses directly. The city, not the school department, owns the buildings and pays other fees. Jake and the school committee do not control those funds, and therefore, they are not included in the budget that they discuss and approve.

    I look forward to your witty reply or weak jab at an error in my grammar.

    • danvalenti
      May 16, 2012 at 10:15 am #

      We thank you for your comment. We withhold even our weakest of jabs for fear of knocking you on your keister. Your quibbling on The Kapanskis’ share of the school department budget is, well, a quibble. You say you appreciate facts. OK: It is factually correct to attribute to the Ks, as taxpayers, 70% of the budget. That share is in city, state, and federal taxes (city being the largest share). As for your statement that Jake and committee do not control the “back costs,” that is in factual error. They most certainly do. They don’t appropriate those funds, but they make the appropriation necessary, for example, by the schools foolishly getting into the transportation business with busses. We shall leave your grammar and syntax, mercifully, untouched.

      • Just a thought !
        May 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

        To Dan

        I need help to understand some of your statements in your piece.

        It says…. And I paraphrase….A ll Employees if the PPS are prohibited from speaking with any School comm’ wiithout prior approval of the Super.

        Is it not the case that school comm members are elected into office by the public.

        If so then , I would have to ask way a citizen of Pittsfield who voted for Alf B but is perhaps a teacher of bus driver and a parent could NOT talk to the elected comm member.

        This makes no sense to me and violates all kinds of rights.

        Is there any place in the document that clarifies in any way the situation above? I mean, the above situation is not at all isolated or far fetched. I would bet a huge majority fall into this type of situation.

        Then again there is one other possibility to consider. Maybe a parent and an employee who voted for Alf would be allowed to speak to him provided if course they did as Alf SAID and closed the door so they could be in private.

        It seems to me to same luxary would not afford to a parent and PPS employees who maybe voted for Mr. Kinnas.

        After all Mr Kinnas just wants to openly walk through a school building with out the planning of an oversees trip.

        Look to me like there are civil rights violations of city voters going on here.

        IfI were a bus driver I might just take my yellow school bus and rear end Alf’s new Blue BMW. Just think , when he would demand my name and badge number I would be obliged to not provide it and would be only following m y obligation as and employment coditions as a city employee whenI just walk a way from Alf.

        Just think… He would probably start yelling after me that This time he WAS giving me permission to speak.

    • Blue man
      May 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm #


      As tax payiftar the city and a parent of three kids in The PPS. I am trying to objectively decide ‘what the h-ll is going on ‘ with our school system in Pittsfield. Currently I feel forced to look at this situation for the best interest of my kids. In essence, I now need to examine if my three kids can remain close to home or if I need to implement school choice.

      Thus, Howard I respectfully ask if you are presenting your case with accurate knowledge of the budgets in the PPS . In trying to weigh my options I need to be sure my information is accurate.

      Are you speaking with true knowledge or just hear say? and if you don’t mind me asking are you Dr. Howard Eberwien who for a long time worked in PPS and therefore have first hand knowledge of
      such fiscial policy?

      If you don’t mind, I respectfully ask for such clarity. As while Dan you or whoever else in waste time sparing jabs over grammar. My three kids future is at stake and their preparedness for an excellent college and earning potential for the rest of their lives. That’s pretty high stakes for possible sparing entertainment Inwould think.

      If you are not Dr Howard E’ if you would mind shooting us all off an email here. If you have Kids you might know where I am coming from.

      Thank You All

      • Out raged
        May 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

        You make a good point to Howard and the outrageous rumors being made in this city about Jake. As some one said all this nonsense will drive the value of our schools to that if ‘stale matzo bread.

        In my opinion this is nothing short of modren day persecution for Jake. People in the city who really know what goes on with running a school need to go on the record here to stop this per suction of Jake and all the good he has done.

        Dan you have a lot to answer for in beating this drum and in time, I believe the truth will be told by those in authority to state the facts accurately.

        • danvalenti
          May 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

          We have answered, and plenty, all our career to WE THE PEOPLE. They are the bosses, and no one else.

    • Just A
      May 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm #


    • Just A
      May 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      Howard Howard … Where and whoever you are…

      I don’t know who you are but the name Howard in this town is grating on all of us. It is the loaded name of a double barrel gun on all of our wallets, patience, and kids education in Pittsfield right now.

      We have lived through The rein of TWO Howard’s trail’s of distraction over a span if 30 years . And have been carting on our back the payroll of TWO Howard’s in this city.. even as we speak. We have paid dearly for both of you in so many ways.


      You speak with such authority and conviction about the inner workings if the PPS budget. That coupled with your shameless defence of Jake would lead us only to conclude that you are In fact Dr. Sheriff Howard Eberwien. While I respect your right to free speech the coy underhand tactic You use is like Swiss cheese and we see through it easily.

      As you are a long standing member of the GOB Royals who think they are so beyond reproch in this town that you greedly dip into our coffers to buy properties from Union street to Westfield and who knows where else in between. We ask you to refrain from such insult ls on our intelligence.

      Please Dr Sheriff Eberwien can you do us a favor before sitting at your throne at the jail AKA the JRC tomorrow give the other Howard a cAll. Ask him to come clean with everything, before he leaves town and spends our money on a new home somewhere in North Carolina.

      We as tax payers of Pittsfield care not to mop up an other once hidden Mess . A mess that for years we will may pay a price for.

      Howard Howard where ever you are come out of hiding abd come clean with this town.

  2. Scott
    May 16, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    A parent of any student has the right to show up at the school any time of the day. Am I wrong in this assumption?

    • Andrew
      May 16, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

      They can’t just walk into classes freely. You can go to the front office to schedule a meeting with the principal, teacher or whoever but you can’t simply barge into the building and open classroom doors. Nor should you.

  3. bobbyd
    May 16, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    THE PLANET gives Kinnas credit for objecting to his committee’s emasculation. The board chopped off its own balls. Fortunately, Kinnas still has his pair.

    If you had paid a little more attention to the meeting, you would have realized that lawyers from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees had already advised Mr. Kinnas that school committee members do not legitimately have the access or authority that he apparently feels they should have.

    School committees are LEGISLATIVE BODIES. First, they are legislative. They have no executive powers and cannot assume them. Second, they are bodies. Individual members have no greater (or less) rights to access or authority than any other individual member of the public.

    The school committee was NOT emasculated. Mr. Kinnas assumed they had balls that they do not and were never intended to have. If truly believes school committees and/or their individual members should have greater authority, perhas he should run for state office and work to change the applicable laws.

    • Home Run
      May 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm #


      With all due respect, I won’t even let my son practice basketball in a gym with his team mates if a coach demanded that I call him in advance to let him knowI would be stopping by at practice.

      We’re talking about vetted members of the school comn having access to our schools. We’re not asking to open the door to every person in the street.

      • bobbyd
        May 16, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

        It’s not that there is a law keeping them out, it’s just that there is absolutely no provision in the law giving school committee members any more access to schools than is afforded to the general public.

        Parents have limited access to the school and always have full access to their children. If your son is in the school gym, you have the right to be there. But you do not have unfettered access to the rest of the building.

        If you walked into your son’s school building on a school day and wanted to see your son’s teacher, you would likely be asked to make an appointment rather than be allowed to interrupt instructional time.

        Certainly I would encourage school committee members to visit schools to support them and take an interest in what is going on, but they need to do so within the limits that govern access to every other member of the community.

        • Just a thought !
          May 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

          That’ s the point of the arguement – they should have greater access than is provided right now. No one is asking for them to disrupt anything. What do you have to hide ? Please stop hiding behind some rule and arguing how it should be interpreted.

          Just tell me in simple English why a vetted school comm member can not go to a school with a provided school badge. Buzz the main door. Sign in the guest book with their name and note the time. Walk around the hall , maybe observe the passing of students in the hall between classes. Read and admire the written work displayed on the bulliten boards. Then go to the office sign out and leave.

          Whith out quoting chapter and verse some heady legal , supreme court verdict…..

          Just tell me what is wrong with a school comm member being allowed to do taw just described?

          Thank you so much.

          • bobbyd
            May 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

            No, the point is that they already have access. I think it would be wonderful for school committee members to be more visible and take a more active role, but they must do so within the overall framework of the organization. What exactly makes this so onerous that it should cause the leap to the conclusion that there is something to hide?

            To my knowledge, neither Mr. Kinnas nor any other member of the school committee has ever been denied access to any school, even if they have shown up unannounced. The only time I think it would ever become an issue is if a member began to take excess liberties or have designs beyond their station.

            What you’re missing is that no one has to answer to Mr. Kinnas or any other individual school committee member. It would be entirely inappropriate for a school committee member to reprimand or demand an accounting from any school personnel. If they witnessed something so egregious that they wish to take it to administration to deal with or, failing in that, to the entire school committe, they are well within the confines of their role.

            If a school committee member wanted to speak to me to learn about my role and find out what would make me more effective, I would love to talk to them. If it went beyond that and they attempted to act in a supervisory role, I would ask them kindly to leave.

            That’s why I am not overly concerned about contrarian school committee members or miscreant bloggers. They are at worst a minor annoyance and at best an amusing diversion when suffering bouts of insomnia.

        • Home Run
          May 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm #


          Yet again you miss the point and go on and on and on as you tie us up in knots with some legal monologue

          Let me simplify for you….

          Point- I paraphrase…. if a coach would not allow me into the gym during practice without a phone call before practice … Even with teammates present . I would not allow him to be on the Team.

          Q1. What is the author saying about the coach in this paragraph?

          Example:, using a reading skill called – inferring/ reading between the lines the answer is as follows.

          Answer – With huge Red Flags BOBBY …he coach is not trust worthy . He/she has something to hide.

          Homework for bobby Due date thursday

          Q2. In three to four simple sentences state TWO things you have to hide if you allowed a school comm member to walk through your school buildings hall way?

          Extra credit….. Creative Free Writing


          Be as creative as you can, describe w hat you would do if you could spend 80 million dollars in secret from you parents.

          Be sure to describe how much fun it would be and how you would keep a secret from your parents.

          ie- would you lock your oom up and never let then in?
          Who would you let in on your secret and why?

          • bobbyd
            May 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

            See my post above for what may be a response.

            As for two things I would want to hide? Hmmmm …

            The meth labs in the science rooms and the secret sweatshop in ISS.

            As for budgetary transparency, I am so with you. I don’t think there is enough understanding of even basic economics within our spend-crazy society. The school committee damn well better be watching the spending.

          • Just a Thought!
            May 17, 2012 at 12:02 am #

            Bobby’s quote

            What you’re missing is that no one has to answer to Mr. Kinnas or any other individual school committee member

            Watch out fellow bloggers bobby talked for so long in long convoluted legal mumbo jumbo that he worked himself up in a psychotic lather. Now he has had a psychotic break with reality . He iis in such psychotic stupor now that he can’t make a rational argument.

            It’s so sad we tried to warn him about going over board on his answers. To just keep it brief and not to work himself up into such a frenzy.

            Now look at him he was last seem standing on the steps if PHS carrying a 1000 page dissertation he wrote about the application of The Law on school committees and how to legally argue any logicail point and avoid common sense with legal mumbo jumbo.

            Last We heard, he was having a philabuster in the PHS library. No from the school comm wanted to hear his monologue as it made no sence so they all went home . Last we heard he was still at it. They had to lock the door and throw away the key.

            So sad really ‘cos one of the miscreants he hated so much has moved into his classroom and is teaching. Mr. Kinnas goes in there too some times and helps the miscreant teacher and with his students.

            Everyone is so happy and bobby has long been forgotten. As for bobby…… He is still in the library quoting his 1000 page dissertation and holding a philabuster with himself.

            Poor guy if only he could listen to logic this could have all been avoided.

        • Home Run
          May 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

          Key Terms- School comm member
          Every other member if the community

          Learn the difference between these two terms and the Role a school comm member plays in running a school versus Every other member if the coMmmunity

          Point out in your answer why they are not inter changeable terms and how a school comm has responsibility to a school system versus another bet of the community. .

          Bobby , I seriously hope knoow the difference between these two key terms and you don’t have to look the answer

          Come on Bobby do your fancy jig somewhere here else…..

          Oh and if you choose to answer remember it can be done in Three sentences or less.

          Three sentences can provide an air tight legal and logicail answer

          Ie -your monalogue bore us , we don’t have time for them, they usually use a lot of verbige but lack any clear and concise logic.

          • bobbyd
            May 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

            School committee members are part of a duly elected governing body, the school committee. Like members of the general public, they have no independent power. In concert, they are the policy making body that governs a local education agency.

            I hope my monologs aren’t too boring.

          • Just a Thought!
            May 17, 2012 at 12:16 am #

            Bobby s quote

            School committee members are part of a duly elected governing body, the school committee. Like members of the general public, they have no independent power. In concert, they are the policy making body that governs a local education agency.

            No bobby….. This time what we can’t believetrust such a smart guy like you, with such a love of your academic mind took the bait.

            I guess good little boys who all their life have been sitting at the top of the class ….Well they just become so afraid of not doing their homework and making teachers mad.

            They even become so academically instutionlized that they ask for feed back on how they did when they answer some one who was poking fun at them.

            With such folks teaching….

            What chance do our kids have to develop free thinking minds?

        • danvalenti
          May 17, 2012 at 7:43 am #

          There’s no provision in the law,as you state, just as there is no provision in the law that gives teachers any more access to school than is afforded to the general public. I use a facetious example to illustrate the point that the law sees no need to create special legislation to give a teacher the right to greater access to schools. Of course the teacher has greater access. He or she works there. In the same way, a member of the school committee — who is every bit a member of the school department as a teacher — has the same greater and freer access than “ordinary” citizens.

  4. danvalenti
    May 16, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    The MASC gave an advisory opinion. That is all. They interpreted the law. Another interpretation would indeed support Mr. Kinnas’ views. We need not quake in wake of an advisory opinion of a group whose true agenda has not been revealed.

    • bobbyd
      May 16, 2012 at 10:59 am #

      Specifically whose interpretation would support Mr. Kinnas’ views?

      The language adopted by the school committee seems to be the norm across the entire Commonwealth.

      • danvalenti
        May 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

        A fine reason for supporting an interpretation: because everyone else agrees with it. That’s making precedence out of a legally non-binding opinion. Seriously, think over what you’ve proposed, and tell me you recommend that as a good idea.

        • bobbyd
          May 16, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

          I am not implying that it is simply the majority opinion, but that it is the only authoritative opinion I have found, and not once, but dozens of times.

          If you have an alternative opinion that is based on something other than the way you think things ought to be, by all means, present it.

          As far as I know, the practice of requiring school committee members to make appointments to visit schools has yet to be questioned in a court of law. I would encourage you and Mr. Kinnas to take up the cause if you truly believe it has merit. If Mr. Kinnas has the balls you credit him for, he should be more than up to the challenge.

          • Just a thought!
            May 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm #


            Where else in business or any other sector would the over seeing body of an agency such as a factory, school, hospital etc not have the right to take a walk through the building s the are legally accountable for over seeing.

            If I understand Dan and Mr. Kinnas he just to have the tools and ability to complete the responsibilities he is charged with.

            Why would he need to put a process with a chain of command involving call to principals and the super

            By the time all those channls are notified mr. Kinnas could have applied and revirved the necessary visas boarded a 18 hour flight and landed in NewZealand.

            Mr. Kinnas just wants to get in his car drive across the city and walk through school building. He is not asking for fanfare or red carpets or disruption to the school day.

            The way the school dept is acting you would think Mr Kinnas was a know. World terriost applying for permission to walk through the White House nd Pentagon.

          • Just a Thought!
            May 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

            Quote from Bobby

            If you have an alternative opinion that is based on something other than the way you think things ought to be, by all means, present it.

            Quote from Just A thought

            I have a alternitive opinion

            …. You make no sense and constantly blabber on…..

            We just want school comm members to have access to our buildings.

            We don’t need your legal blabber to try persuade us that they should not have that right.

          • danvalenti
            May 17, 2012 at 7:45 am #

            See my reply above. The law does not need to regulate common sense situations, such as a teacher or a school committee member having more access and freer access to schools than “ordinary” citizens.

  5. Ron Kitterman
    May 16, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    The only way Valenti and Kinnas are going to get into a classroom is to identify themselves as same sex couple, parents of Joey Kapanski on his next birthday with granola bars ( Not cupcakes) for everyone.

    • Hilly Billy in Ward 4
      May 16, 2012 at 10:17 am #

      Good one Ron! LOL

    • Outfox
      May 16, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      Nice one! Topical, concise AND funny; hope DV can appreciate it even though it reads as a dig!

      • danvalenti
        May 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

        I do indeed appreciate it.

    • danvalenti
      May 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      Outstanding idea!

    • Blue man
      May 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm #


      Your stupid comments are not appricated nor are they appropriate. We as as a city have a lot at stake here. If Dan is just drumming up stuff to just stirring up a pot for fun we have a lot to loose. If its true parents will pull kids out in drives and this city will never recover as people will not relocate here.

      The rumors in the city and reporting here could drive the educational value of our schools to that if a crumbled and stale piece of Matzo bread. Not something I think any of us with to try swallow.

      Lets keep this on track and Hope we get clarity here and hope this Howard does have accurate information.

      • bobbyd
        May 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

        Cheap shots aren’t always cheap!

      • Joe Pinhead
        May 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

        Blue Man, I think Ron’s comments are both appropriate and welcome here on the Planet as everyone is aware all are welcome here as long as they move the discussion along. And while his comments are tongue in cheek they are timely, appropriate and sarcastically spot on. Do you not agree with his comments or how those issues sound devoid of the field of flowers and cute puppy dogs they are so typically brought up in?
        The discussion is long overdue in this City regarding its public education system. The best thing for ANY governmental body in a democracy is open discussion. We the People who foot the bill need to hear all sides of an issue. The School District gets its chance to tell us (at our expense mind you) of all the wonderful things it is doing for our children and our neighbors children in our name. They have a website, newsletters, parents groups etc.
        Your fear that people will remove their children from the schools is not unfounded simply look at the teachers and elected officials who already have, do you think they did this because the sun shines brighter in Lenox or wherever? Or is it because they already know what we are finding out? It stands to reason that being “involved” in the system they are aware of the situation before we are. And while I do not wish to lose value in my property if I do because of the value of the schools or lack thereof I would rather do that than place a generation of kids into a failing system with my head buried in the sand while chanting how wonderful the Emperors clothes are.
        I am thankful Mr. Kinnas ran and is willing to put in the effort and energy that he does, he has started a dialog, the dialog might not be palatable or comfortable for everyone but that’s just to damn bad. If the public officials do not want to be judged and held accountable to the public for the actions that effect the public find employment elsewhere, A private school perhaps.
        I am thankful that Dan via the planet brings this info to us often in a thought provoking way, not to stir the pot but I feel he does it to engage the City’s greatest resource us its citizens if we are to be good stewards of the resources we must be open minded, educated and informed of how it operates where it operates and to whom it serves. And that Blue man my friend takes a lot more effort than gulping the preverbal kool-aide.

        • Blue man
          May 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm #


          Yes people have a right to their own opinion. Of course, we all know that, but I also know both Dr.’s well for a very long time. Jake attends my synogogue and I have a lot if respect for him and his father and his wife and his kids.

          Jake is a good man and I KNOW he will not let his community down by not making a statement to the public. I know he will do that and before you try to damage him any more , please know that Jake WILL go on the record to clear these two issues. It is the right thing to do and he WILL do it.

          I just bet he does not come here to read such horrible things that are going on. As soon as he does this will all be cleared up.

          In fact , I bet people from the synogogue are already calling him about this and once he knows about it he will make a formal statement.

          And a message to the School Comm – you should ALL be ashamed if youselves for hang Jake out to dry like this and not making a statement formally some where pubiicailly to o support him.

          • Joe Pinhead
            May 16, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

            Blue man please point to a post where I damaged him? You can’t because I haven’t I fear that you confuse asking questions with “damaging” I’m not certain where your coming from.

        • GEE Whiz
          May 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

          Hafta to agree with Joe P. As always he makes lotsa sense. I never thought of it that way. The school dept has all those ways to get their message out, how great everything is, how great we are doing how great everything Jake touches is, the taxpayers pay for this line of bull, too. Heaven forbid we have this lone website the planet that to me is sincere in fighting opporession and totalitrianism in public life ie government we have. I too with Joe P, Jim G and lots of others find Terry Kinnas to be the best public official in the entire county.

    • Jim Gleason
      May 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      Not if the granola bars have peanuts in them, and rightfully not.As I wrote on another of Dan’s blog subjects, Terry Kinnas is the best thing to happen to the Pittsfield Schools and school committee in a very long time and if all the committee were like he and Mayor Bianchi we’d all be much better off.I think school committee members, all of them, should have unlimited access to any school at any time it is open. There you have it (gag).

  6. Outfox
    May 16, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    For a good look at how stadiums affect communities— I know, not the real topic today— I suggest sportswriter Dave Zirin’s book Bad Sports.

  7. Ron Kitterman
    May 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    @ Blue Man my comment wasn’t meant to be a cheap shot at anyone. I served two terms on the Pittsfield School Committee in the 80’s and dedicated many hours to public education and always had the students best interest at heart. Back then prior to each meeting we approved the minutes of the prior meeting at the start of the meeting as our first order of business. It would also seem appropriate that anyone could visit the schools we pay for with permission from the admistration, especially a parent or a member of the school committee. Thanks for your imput though.

    • Blue man
      May 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

      Understanding you are presently NOT on the comm’ today and we active at a time, from whalt I hear when our schools were well respected through out or country with very high ACT scores. Can you hazard a guess as to why the has not been no public acknowledgement or disagreement with the statements Dan has made here in the last few day.

      Why have we not heard from any member of the school comm’ make a public statement refuting, denying or demanding an investigation. They should send out some type of statement to the public. In 5 days have a director of The Teen Program with funding from PPS being hauled off in Cuffs by men in suits.

      THe School Comm NEEDs to resond in some form and address the PUBLIC

      The PPS has not responded in any way.

      Now we have a reported violation of a million dollar grant .

      STILL No response from The school Comm’ . We are WAITING but running out if patience.

      Every cornor of this town is talking about the information on this site. From staff in Raymond James to the lady walking her dog in the park picking up cans.

      Can some one please address this from the School Comm? And prove the statements here right or wrong and then either act to investigate the School or haul Dan off with three men in suits and look the nut up after shutting this site down.

      We have Life threatening bleeding of our schools going on here and we can not put this to rest with an officail statement from the school comm on these two issues.

      • Blue man
        May 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

        Sorry for all the typos …. Typed too fast should have reread. Hope you can catch my message though.!

        Thank You All

      • bobbyd
        May 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

        Can you hazard a guess as to why the has not been no public acknowledgement or disagreement with the statements Dan has made here in the last few day.

        I know, right?

        One would almost get the idea they don’t take this site very seriously.

        • Blue Man
          May 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

          All the more reason to come out and defend our schools from total distruction.

          Wheather the school comm likes to believe give credit to this site or not is not the point. Every one has an opinion on the schools and it is a hot topic in town right now.

          Before everyone possibly believes in stuff that is not true and yanks there kids out to go else where on our dime.

          I just don’t understand why they just don’t come out and deny these lies before fools all over the neighborhood are car pooling their kids to Lenox schools.

          Whether the school comm who know Dan is a fruit cake Is not at hand. As they sit on their hand parents have already made up their minds to fill other cities schools.

        • Home Run
          May 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

          Hey Bobby

          I thought they were not responding be cause they really do not know what is going in our schools. The one person who does want to know – Mr. Kinnas and who takes his job seriously ….. Well they won’t allow him in the schools either.

          The school comm still has not given a legit reason as why they won’t let him go. Other than some advice group thinks the comm can keep the regs as they are in place.

          It is also a very strong possibility that the school comn dirs not know what say to people at all.

          If I were them I would be trying to think fast and look over all the mins of the last 3 years to see what I was to agree to.

          OH wait they can’t the mins are not at all up to date. In that case I might just hide under the bed or run away from home.

          • bobbyd
            May 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

            Mr. Kinnas HAS come to schools in the district and has arrived every time with a chip on his shoulder, wagging his finger. The perception is that he is NOT there to help, but to belittle and deride others in the interest of inflating his engorged ego even further.

            I was present at a school council meeting when the FIRST thing he said to a school math interventionist was, “Unfortunately for you, I used to be a math teacher.” Leaving aside the issue of the veracity of that statement, he did not offer himself as a resource, but sought only to point out anything he thought could be possibly wrong.

            He criticizes others with alacrity — even if his premises, facts, or reasoning are weak. Praise comes begrudgingly and in a way that is intended to make the recipient feel as if they have been granted some sort of boon. Worse yet, he is cheered on by a miscreant faction who live to show people who have been given any kind of authority and/or responsibility just who is boss.

            As it stands, Mr. Kinnas has the same access to the schools as any other concerned citizen. His office does not guarantee him any extra, and it is all he needs to carry out his mandated role.

          • GEE Whiz
            May 16, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

            You jealousy of mr. Kinnas is evident bobby. Terry takes the job seriously that’s what gob bobbleheads liek you are afraid of. You made a statement: Terry doesn’t offer himself as a resource, your ignorance is amazing. Taht all mr. Kinnas has done in all his years as a citizend and now as a school official, You are also wrong, as a school committeeman he certainly does have extra powers than any other citisen. So tell me why do you fear Mr Kinnas so much? I tell you why because he speaks and delivers the truth

      • Blue Man
        May 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

        Last sentence should read…. We CAN put this rest with an officail statement from the school comm. sorry I am the worse typed in the wiorld.

        • Just a thought !
          May 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

          What you think of Mr. Kinnas is up to you your are entitled to that opinion.

          However, there lies many flaws with your argument.

          1. Many including myself applaud Mr. Kinnas for asking for a good reason why rules dont allow fir school comm members to walk through schools. Democracy is all about checks and balances. If the rest of the School were willing to live up to their responsibily to the public and not instresred in protecting a screen for major dysfunction we would not be having this discussion.

          Simply put your personal distaste for Mr Kinnas and his so offending attitude to you for seeking transparancy by asking questions after walk through a school.

          This could be balanced out by perhaps Alf’s infectious
          charm and astute bounding knowlage is so many areas.

          Finally , you mis the point, Mr. Kinnas does have the same access as everyone else in his office. Mr. Kinnas , is not selfishly campaigning for his own ego inflation. He is actually lobbying for a change in policy for ALL members if the school comm’

          This flies in the face of your argument tha Mr Kinnas is demanding special personal treatment to boost his ego.

          I dare say, your last sentence should read … He has all the access WE want him to have. As his annoying questions for tax payers and annoying demands for transparency is not good for the ‘ Stupid MisCreants ‘ if this city who are to dumb and uneducated to understand these complex issues.

          Your wish …. My Lord Bobby is very clear to all of us. Simply put It is leave it to us smarter more educated
          SOB’ s sorry I mean GOB ‘s

          Bobby please know there was a reveloution that started some where with the same princely attitudes.

          Some thing about cake….oh yeah It was ‘ let them eat cake’ …. Sad to say people got so mad at her and she and the pastry chief were cleared out ofalastair nice house they lived in called a palace .

          I think something happened to them too something about a ‘ p’ Gill A Teen’ what ever that is I don’t know.

          Any way those little miscreants used that thing and created a whole new way of thinking. It even caught on over here in America and infulanced some thing called the constitution. I think that book became so famous it is still around today.

          And to think it all started cos those silly miscreants made this happen ‘ cos of something about some cake.

          Guess it just goes to show you , you just never can tell what people can get up to if they put their minds to it.

          Those little silly miscreants , what little devels they were.

          • levitan
            May 17, 2012 at 7:37 am #

            Just a thought !:

            This is hard to read.

        • Just a Thought!
          May 17, 2012 at 12:55 am #

          Bobby’s so up set ‘cos….see below

          I was present at a school council meeting when the FIRST thing he said to a school math interventionist was, “Unfortunately for you, I used to be a math teacher.”

          Mr. Kinnas ….
          Can you please write out 1000 times

          ‘I will never again tell an math interventionist that I was once a math teacher’

          In you do doing so Mr. Kinnas bobby may have some hope of recovering from the shock of being questioned and even having to mingle with one who is applauded by ‘miscreants’ in the community.

          Mr. Kinnas

          We had really hoped you would have learned your place in the world by now. Especailly, whAdele mpade you write out 10,000 times….

          I will never speak without having permission from Alfie first.

          Get it together Mr. Kinnas your behavior and nerve to ask for transparency is really a poor reflection of our school system , it makes our school system look like it is run by a bunch of miscreants or something.

          Stop being so annoying to the GOB Mr. Kinnas, you re really beginning to make the public so mad at you.

          You know…

          You keep this transparency nonsense up and there is going to be no one out there who will vote for you next time round. Don’t come crying us when that happens…

          We’re telling you to cut it out now.

          • Just a Thought!
            May 17, 2012 at 1:29 am #

            Bobby tells the teacher he is being bullied by Mr. Kinnas

            Bobby states….

            The only time I think it would ever become an issue is if a member began to take excess liberties or have designs beyond their station.

            Mr. Kinnas

            You have really done it this time . Stop picking on bobby. Once again, Mr. Kinnas you keep threatening bobby ‘when you take excessive liberties and Have designs beyond your station.

            You just don’t know when to stop do you Mr.,Kinnas. Because you threatened Bobby’s ego …. We are now have to send you to the JRC. There is a big man down there named Howard. He will knock some sense into you once a d for all.

            But Mr. Kinnas what ever you do at the RC , don’t go on about that ‘transparency’ thing you are always on about, ‘cos then Howard will get really mad . We will then have to send you to Hillcrest and we will have to Pay a lot if money. Like maybe 60,000 dollars for that.

            There is a really mean man down there who is friends with Jake. His name is mr. Burke. He is even meaner than the man at the JRC.

            Mr Burke is only nice to you until PPS pays him.

            Get it together … Mr Kinnas were running out of options with you.

            Remember your station in life and stop upsetting bobby.

  8. Terry Kinnas
    May 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Points of clarification:

    1. The director and field representative of MASC are not
    lawyers. The director is a registered lobbyist.
    2. I did ask other school committee people, not from Pittsfield,
    before the meeting about their local policy on access to
    schools. Paraphrased: the schools would like a call but stop in
    any time except during MCAS testing.
    3. The school committee must hire the superintendent and
    selected staff, has direct line item control of all line items.
    and up to this point, direct control of all curriculum including
    all texts.
    4. The superintendent did show the 82 million plus in spending
    that the school department is responsible for.
    5. What was not included was 3.2 plus million for school choice
    and charter school fund sent to other communities. Note: we
    do net out to about 2.5 million. We, the taxpayers of Pittsfield
    send 2.5 million to other communities and get no return.

    • skier1
      May 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      Keep up the good work Terry!!

    • Home Run
      May 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      Keep hittin them out of the park Terry!

    • Home Run
      May 16, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

      2.5 million to other communities for our kids to go to school. That’s unreal, what must be happening behind our schools walls that our own kids are willing to commute to another school and be away from their in town friends.

      Then there are the parents who must know that something stinks in our schools to want to plan their lives and work schedules arund driving kids twice or more times a day to pick them up drop them off or drive them to sports etc.

      Yet the school comm does not want to allow transparency. I guess, if we wait long enough all the kids will transfer out and the teachers can get paid for empty classrooms . What the heck !! how would we ever know.

  9. tito
    May 16, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    I think the city council should pick the members for the charter commission, that way, when the committee gets bogged downed ie peda they won’t be able to blame t

  10. tito
    May 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    he mayor. Love Barry Cees suggestion that all the members of the commission
    Be from Pittsfield? Wow!

  11. dusty
    May 17, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    Why is the 2.5 million going to other school systems a bad thing? It is paying for Pittsfield children to get a good presumably that they may not get in Pittsfield. If it has left Pittsfield then it cannot be squandered by the local school committee which has probably 20-30 million more than it needs as it is.

    And the fact that Alfy does not jump on the unpublished minutes issue and get them updated for the public, tells me that he just does not give a rats ass about how the public views his competence or lack thereof. And that speaks volumes.

    • Home Run
      May 17, 2012 at 1:31 am #

      You are so right Dusty!! So well said …

    • levitan
      May 17, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      ” It is paying for Pittsfield children to get a good presumably that they may not get in Pittsfield”

      Good point. School choice is a window of equity to offer options to those less fortunate to live in the wealthiest districts.

  12. Teecha Teecha
    May 17, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    Just a clarification, nothing personal in nature. What is Terry’s position in the PPS right now? I’ve moved from the county and last time I was there he was still a teacher/member of the committee.

    either way I like what I’m hearing on his behalf, so keep it up Terry… er… Mr. Kinnas as I used to call you. 😉

  13. danvalenti
    May 17, 2012 at 7:50 am #

    Terry Kinnas is an elected member of the school committee. He won his seat in the 2011 municipal election.

    • levitan
      May 17, 2012 at 8:17 am #

      And, while Bobbyd writes some very useful points, I disagree with his characterization of him as ‘contrarian.’
      committees need more people like him who can offer sophistication and challenge. I tire of listening to members sit there half asleep and give the same old “yes, but…X” and then do the same damned predictable thing, time after time.

      X: “We will do this plan anyway.” (This plan being a proposal or process up for consideration only because someone slipped it into existence by some confounded means and it survives because the group is too lazy, dumb, or confused to just toss out.

      • levitan
        May 17, 2012 at 8:22 am #

        Damned editing boxes, Dan, it my comment above is garbage. Ignore that post 8:17am.

        This what I actually (thought I) typed:

        While Bobbyd writes some very useful points, I disagree with his characterization of Kinnas as ‘contrarian.’

        Committees need more people like Kinnas who can offer sophistication and challenge. I tire of listening to members sit there half asleep and give the same old “yes, but…X” and then do the same damned predictable thing, time after time.

        X: “We will do this plan(1) anyway.”

        1: This plan being a proposal or process up for consideration only because someone slipped it into existence by some confounded means, and it survives because the group is too lazy, dumb, or confused to just toss out.

        • danvalenti
          May 17, 2012 at 8:56 am #

          No problem, Lev. Thanks for your contributions, which never fail to move the discussion forward.

          • levitan
            May 17, 2012 at 9:40 am #

            Can’t we at least have appointed people to whack committee members if they doze and insult them if they cast a vote without having to persuasively argue why they are voting?

            “Dumbell, dullard, dingbat. You can’t even explain why you’re doing that except to say that we had the discussion last week already??? Go home and sober up.”