PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2012) — At tonight’s city council meeting, my Right Honorable Good Friends will witness a citizens protest from folks who don’t want a methadone clinic located in a residential neighborhood. THE PLANET plans on being there, either in person or through our representatives.


THE PLANET has learned Councilors Chris Yon and Barry Clairmont have submitted a petition that the council go into executive session to discuss the “confidentiality agreement” and the fact that the council has not been given any information pertaining to either the clinic or to Spectrum Health Systems.

THE PLANET has also learned that prior to the council meeting, at 3:15 p.m., Mayor Dan Bianchi will be meeting with representatives of Dwyer Funeral Home as well as a private citizen who lives near the proposed methadone clinic on Stoddard Avenue. The citizen works at the Berkshire County House of Correction, and he is concerned that “clients” of the clinic  may learn that he lives nearby and that this will compromise the safety of his family.

Yes, questions of public safety come into question when we’re talking methadone. Meth is not some innocuous drug, as we have seen in previous posts on THE PLANET. It is Heroin Light, a highly addictive, dangerous substance that plays havoc on one’s health and well being. Problem is, once someone takes heroin or meth, their actions become unpredictable. There’s good reason to be worried about the safety of good, decent, law-abiding citizens.


The neighborhood in question in in Morningside, North Street and Stoddard Avenue, where the city has reached (or is near reaching) an out-of-court settlement with Spectrum Health Systems. Suspiciously, the terms of the agreement, including the selection of a site co-owned by the city physician, have been ordered sealed per agreement of both parties. It’s the confidentiality agreement that pains THE PLANET the most.

Condition of Secrecy, Presence of Adamo Look ‘Funny’ to Most Neutral Observers; That Question Needs Answers

We’ve covered a lot of courtroom melodrama over the years, and almost invariably, when terms of a real estate deal involving a municipality and a private party are sealed, the purpose is to hide something that, of known, would otherwise rile We The People. When THE PLANET’s digging uncovered the proposed location of the clinic, we probably found out why the secrecy: That would be the presence of one of the GOB Grand High Exalted Mystic Dragons, Dr. Phil Adamo, a man who is on so many boards that he belongs in a lumber yard.

We hope that someone — preferably several of my Right Honorable Good Friends — will tonight ask the question that begs asking: Why the Adamo site? When did Adamo’s property figure into the discussion? It had to be sometime after the Summer Street location surfaced as the clinic site.

Spectrum isn’t just another private-sector business. Spectrum dispenses methadone, a hard drug meant to replace heroin for users who are otherwise beyond helping … or are they? This prequel brings us to one of the most important testimonials this site has ever published.

It is a cautionary tale.

The Human Cost of Methadone: A Sister’s Tale

This is a tale of methadone. It’s not about policy making, confidentiality agreements, insider trading in real estate, or anything like that. This is a personal tale, a cautionary one, whereby those with ears to hear and eyes to read can profit from it … or not.

We share part of the story of Deborah Carderella, who courageously told of a personal situation that reflects on the dangers of methadone. It gets at the heart of the current debate now raging in Pittsfield and that is sure to surface tomorrow night in council chambers. Deborah wanted her name to be used for a couple of reasons: first, it adds gravitas to the story. Second, it perhaps allows some healing to occur for the hole that gets left in the heart after tragic, senseless death.

‘I have more than a personal stake in this’

“I have been reading about the methadone clinic,” Deborah says. “Is it a done deal? I have more than a personal stake in this, aside from the fact that I live on Grove [Street], right down the street from the proposed clinic. I e-mailed [Ward 1 city councilor Christine] Yon about this, but I never received a response — disappointing, to say the least.”

Deborah continues:

In 1997, my brother died from a meth overdose. He was not a heroin user, but he liked his wine and pills. The overdose led to his death at the age of 42. He ODd on pills brought on the street from someone who got the pills from the meth clinic at Hillcrest Hospital. My brother was not the only person to die that year from a meth overdose with pills sold from ‘supposed recovering addicts’ who got their pills from Hillcrest and sold them. [NAME REDACTED, THAT OF A WELL-KNOWN LOCAL LOCAL MUSICIAN] also died this way.

“[REDACTED’S] sister, ——-, and I met with then-Pittsfield Chief of Police Tony Riello. We gave names [of the pushers]. Some of these same people travel to Springfield and Northampton to get their pills. They are still selling them!

“So now, [with this proposed clinic], we are going to make it easier for them to do it [again]. I was elated when the [meth] clinic at Hillcrest closed. Now this. To have kept this from the public is shameful, just shameful. Everyone knew [REDACTED] did heroin back in the day, but his wife tried to hide that he replaced it with meth. Louie, my brother, and [REDACTED] were very good friends, and the same group supplied them both.

“Unfortunately for that group, I am a pit bull. When my brother died, I went after everyone, and I gave names to the chief, not that the police could do much. But I like to think that ——- and I helped in some small way.

“I’m still angry after all these years. Louis was a well-known musician, also. He played with Cold Duck for years (and the Monarchs drum corps when he was younger). It was stupid of him [to take drugs], but those pills are sold too easily. Meth is nothing more than legal heroin.Why does one continue using it for 20 years? If the methadone clinic is allowed to come into Pittsfield, this will be a nightmare for Pittsfield.”

—– 00 —–

We thank Deborah for her courageous testimony. We hope some good will come from it.

She brings up one of the sad realities of having a methadone clinic in a community. The pills find their way onto the streets. Somehow, they manage to be diverted from their proper use, and the “users” sell them for profit. It’s mind-boggling that the police have the names of known pushers, and nothing is done. THE PLANET can only wonder how lax was the security and oversight at Hillcrest when it ran its meth clinic, based on this story. The even more important question is this: How secure will the supply of methadone be at Spectrum Health Systems’ facility in Pittsfield? Lives depend on the answer.



Real Housewives of Berkshire County


Special to PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

Dear Executives at Bravo,

How does this sound: Real Housewives of Berkshire County.


That’s right. Let it sink in. Like anyone in their right mind, I’m a huge, huge, huge, huge, huge fan of your Real Housewives franchise, particularly Real Housewives of New Jersey — season two — when Ashley pulls out Danielle’s extensions. And the shopping spree in Italy and how Caroline should have just stayed home. And when Gia fails her audition and hires a dialect coach. And Danielle: Jeez, find your birth mother already, will ya!

With that in mind, the possibilities for a reality show here in Berkshire County are self-evident. Without further adieu allow me to acquaint you with your potential new cast. (I spoke with all of them; they are totally on board, though Bobbi is going hiking in Peru for most of the fall, just so you know):

Bobbi: Hiker/canoer/camper and English-as-a-second language teacher. Her husband, Tricky, plays in a David Bromberg cover band. Her vindictive neighbors make it known they buy only processed foods now following that embarrassing stunt Bobbi pulled at the farm share.

Selena: Sells raw milk out of her garage and lives with a terrible secret: Her twin boys hate the outdoors. Her husband, Scott, disappeared two years ago during a trip to Boston to lobby lawmakers for cell service in the hilltowns.

Helga: The goat raiser, cheesemaker, poisonously jealous of her sister Marybeth, a goat raiser and cheesemaker whose Castel Branco cheese is a knock-off of Helga’s Castel Branco cheese knock-off.

Leanne: The part-time co-op cashier and single mother with a lonely heart. She dreams of finding a handsome, young farmer with a masters degree in soil science and settling down and growing mesclun (and maybe fingerling potatoes).

I know you guys don’t “plan” storylines for each episode (wink-wink). I know it’s all about allowing events to unfold naturally (wink-wink), but, to get you started, here are some “potential” episodes that “could happen” under the “right circumstances” (wink-wink).

Episode 1: “Prairie Home Composters”

Bobbi wins an Eton Microlink FR160 hand-cranked weather radio at the fire department’s pig roast. Since she thinks she knows everything, she refuses to read the manual and stupidly mistakes a forecast of scattered showers in Greene County for 70 percent chance of severe thunderstorms in Berkshire County. The weather turns out to be perfect, but it’s too late now for a hike. Meanwhile, Leanne gets into a knock-down drag-out with Helga at the Tanglewood ticket office (Main Gate), accusing Helga of misleading her to “Prairie Home Companion.” “You told me it was James Taylor with Carole King, you rotten liar!” Helga apologizes. “Come on, let’s go in. Please. Garrison Keillor is a national treasure, and I brought some rosé.” Meanwhile, Selena is convinced the USDA has her home under surveillance.

Episode 2: “Uppity-Up with Muckety-Muckboots”

Meeting at the coffee shop after zumba, the girls talk style. Bobbi “just so happens” to have the latest Cabela catalog in her purse. “Oooo, look at that,” says Selena, flipping through the pages. “Formfitting, two-tone mini-mesh. How practical.” Leanne leans in. “Yeah, ok, but why would anyone buy a base layer top with no insect-blocker treatment?” Bobbi gives her a look. (If you could get inside her brain, you’d hear tick-tick-tick-KA-BOOM!) Leanne then announces she’s going to get a pumpkin muffin. She makes a fuss about it, walking to the counter with a clomp-clomp-clomp. No wonder: She’s wearing a chic pair of Sorel muck boots with the rubber buckles and micro fleece lining — and she wants everyone to know it. Helga whispers, “She paid a fortune for them — like 85 bucks!” Bobbi loses it. “It’s not even going to rain today. We’re expecting clear skies with a high near 81.”

Episode 3: “You Say Brattish, I Say ‘Where’s the Radish?’”

Leanne announces she has met a cute guy who owns an auger. Meanwhile, her angry 16-year-old daughter Jenni pulls up her mother’s potted heirloom tomato plants, replacing them with a Brandywine hybrid that has lackluster disease resistance. Meanwhile, Helga and Selma’s feud reignites after Helga returns from a two-day yogurt-making workshop only to discover that all her radishes have been stolen from her root cellar. She wrongly accuses Selena who had spent the entire two days working out a new water containment system on her property. Helga snaps at her: “Yeah, God forbid a drop of rain falls on your house and makes a clear getaway down the driveway!” Meanwhile, Bobbi and Tricky are invited to a soiree hosted by the second-homeowners’ lake association. The hosts had hoped Bobbi and Tricky would add local color to the gathering, but are upset that the two don’t smell like cow manure.

Episode 4: “Bring on the Bling”

Leanne’s cute guy arrives at her house unannounced and surprises her with a food dehydrator. “It was my mother’s,” he says. Meanwhile, Helga decides to settle the score with her sister Marybeth once and for all by hiring a hitman to filch Marybeth’s goat stanchion. Meanwhile, Selena has finally taken her New England thriftiness way too far when she invites the ladies over and soft boils a dozen eggs in the dishwasher.

Well, my friends at Bravo — what do you think? We can’t wait to show you what a real egg yoke looks like. You’ve never seen such yellow!

Felix Carroll lives in Monterey, Mass. He’s a columnist for the Albany Times-Union. Visit his blog at



Today we introduce a new little feature, the PLANET Definition. The definition will present the meaning of a familiar term in a way that you may find amusing and informative. If you have a word for the PLANET Definition, send it to us — complete with the definition, of course.

Lottery — A regressive form of self-taxation engaged in by those who cannot do math.







  1. tito
    June 26, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    Executive session is another term for excluding the public opinion, while not making a fool out of themselves.

  2. danvalenti
    June 26, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    I am not a fan of “executive session” for most any purpose, even those covered by the law. The People’s Business should be conducted in open session whenever possible. Executive session should be used only in extreme cases. People should know when the city, in their name, agrees to confidentiality. Who agreed to confidentiality in this case? Why? When? Who vetted it? As always with the business of this foul town, there are a million unanswered questions.

    • rick
      June 27, 2012 at 2:20 am #

      it seems to me that they want to go behind closed doors to find out what was agreed to behind closed doors and ordered to stay behind closed doors…..oh what a tangled web we weave………………. if roberto didn’t think spectrum was dipping its toe into the waters with the summer st. site to find out public opinion than roberto is a bigger fool than i thought he is….and that is hard to top….i would take it to court and break the confidentiality agreement so the people around this town can find out what both spectrum and roberto are hiding. a lot of secret stuff done around this town…. and none of it good.

  3. Scott
    June 26, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    It seems to me people already know the dangers of a meth clinic and don’t care the board already voted it was needed. Seems inevitable it’s really sad I wish there was a way to keep it out of here completely. The undesirable people are already here take a walk down north st it’s really too bad.

    The guest piece was a joke right? I didn’t laugh or take it seriously.

    • Maxwell Edison
      June 26, 2012 at 10:15 am #

      The guest piece is funny but it should have been titled ‘Real Housewives of Great Barrington’.

      • Scott
        June 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

        I get annoyed at attempted humor aimed at real issues that the general public is ignorant on. Like south park and their skit with
        Al Gore and is outrageous fear of “manbearpig” and his urge to stop this fictional beast but they’re clearly knocking global warming as if it doesn’t exist. Man made or not climate and agriculture are two major issues if we want to continue to stay alive here. Everything is a cycle and we’re not balancing the books right.

        • joetaxpayer
          June 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

          Global Warming is so last year,don’t you mean Climate Change.

          • Scott
            June 27, 2012 at 5:15 am #


          • levitan
            June 27, 2012 at 6:34 am #

            Actually, the evidence points to global warming with that driving climate change.

  4. Debbie Dwyer
    June 26, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    If in fact the “confidentiality agreement” could not be made public, the Council will be able to learn (hopefully) how it came to be and what we can do. Executive session may be the only way do do that. Lets give them a chance and see what happens.

    • danvalenti
      June 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      Yes, but where is the assurance that the confidentiality agreement cannot be made public. The assumption says so, but who will share in open session that this is the case. Such agreement, a layer friend of mine, can be worded in all sorts of ways. If the parties in this case assumed this would never be asked about in a public session, which seems to be the case, they could have failed to write in such “safeguards.” This is a crucial question and should be fully vetted before the vote to go into secret deliberation. Simply put, government can’t be trusted because it hasn’t earned the trust.

  5. chuck garivaltis
    June 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    First do no harm.

    In this era of materialism and drug abuse this ancient oath may yet save a neighborhood and a city.

  6. Ron Kitterman
    June 26, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    going into exective session to discuss a confidentiality agreement ? After a public input session with citizens packing the chamber to the rafters. At least it will be a roll call vote to go into executive session.

    • danvalenti
      June 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

      Citizens should DEMAND that this discussion be held in public. If the council insists on “No,” then citizens need to hear, TONIGHT, from the city solicitor explaining the LEGAL NEED to keep this secret. THE PLANET has reason to believe the confidentiality agreement DOES NOT HAVE language that would prohibit a robust public discussion. We would urged Ms. Dwyer and all concerned citizens to press on this point. Don’t take anyone’s word that executive session is “required.” Demand proof. If there is such a requirement, “They” should be able to produce it.

  7. Scott
    June 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    I think the issue should be talked about openly with the public there listening. You’re right they can not be trusted.

  8. Jonathan Melle
    June 26, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    What did Jonathan Levine say about the meth clinic in his weekly publication of The Pittsfield Gazette? It will be interesting to read his coverage of the issue on Thursday. But I don’t subscribe to the newspaper because I live in New Hampshire.

  9. Tom Sakshaug
    June 26, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Robert Dwyer posted on facebook that the owners of the Stoddard building will NOT be renting to Spectrum, and that the City will help Spectrum find another location.

  10. Tom Sakshaug
    June 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    Verbatim from Bob Dwyer:
    Just back from a meeting with Mayor Dan Bianchi. The methadone clinic WILL NOT be going into the proposed spot on Stoddard Ave. The landlords at the proposed site have decided not to rent to Spectrum. The city is planning on working with Spectrum to find a new site.

  11. tito
    June 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Now that sounds real fishy!

    • levitan
      June 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

      Tito, it’s those conniving GOB’s. They are up to something. No way, no how does anything good or reasonable happen here.

  12. Chet Hunter
    June 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Mr Shaksuag. Thanks for your heads up. Don’t listen to these people. They don’t want the truth

  13. tito
    June 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    Shakhog for mayor!

  14. Shakes His Head
    June 27, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    The reason the session can be closed is that statements made during the session, particularly by the elected leaders, would become public record. I do not have confidence that someone on this Council would not say something so boneheaded that would tip unconstitutionality claims towards Spectrum, potentially giving a Federal judge authority over the location of a clinic instead of preserving the modicum of Pittsfield’s self-determination that may remain. Then again, it appears between the lines, that Ruberto was more interested in steering the clinic and its lucrative rent payments towards someone ‘connected’ than actually engaging the City for a site that was appropriate.

  15. Shakes His Head
    June 27, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    Why not put the Spectrum facility at William Stanley? Are the solar panels going to complain? The fish in Silver Lake?

  16. GoodSide/BadSide
    June 29, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    We need to have a clinic but in the right place….what about the hospital?…looking at it like this:

    -leavin on vaction with my children n heading down MassPike…
    -at same time, citizen of BC leaving home “SICK” to head to Methadone clinic down Mass Pike…
    -at same time, citizen of BC leavin clinic “HIGH” to head home down Mass Pike…

    -what are the chances that they cause an accident at 75 mph and my kids n I are in the Middle?

    -VERY HIGH!!!

    We are all not perfect, we all try, we all have faults, WE ALL HAVE ADDICTIONS…