Article

ADD 1: SPECIAL INTERESTS BULLY TAXPAYERS AGAIN, AT SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING …MOM AND DAD PLANET: CELEBRATING 68 YEARS OF MARRIAGE TODAY … LETTERS ON PLANET’s D-DAY PIECE … NILAN VERDICT: WAS JUSTICE SERVED … NILAN-MOORE CASE WILL LIKELY PLAY OUT IN CIVIL COURT … CIVIL TRIAL COULD BE EXPLOSIVE

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

ADD #1 THURSDAY JUNE 7, 2012

Last night, 150 toadies of the Special Interests attempted to intimidate members of the Pittsfield School Committee regarding the bloated school budget. That budget is not $54 million, as the cowed Boring Broadsheet reports today, but $90+ million.

These 150 apparently didn’t get the message sent from Wisconsin, where We the People overwhelmingly supported the governor in his attempt to deal with the out-of-control costs inflicted on bedraggled taxpayers by public unions, the chief offender of which are the teachers’ unions. Taxpayers are beginning to catch on, but here, in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, we come late to the table of right and righteousness, courtesy of gutless politicians who live inside the pockets of the teacher, fire, and police unions.

Never mind that Mayor Dan Bianchi is actually boosting funding of the department by $1 million. When the union doesn’t get the amount of increase they want, they portray this as a “cut.” Again, they trotted our “The Children” to act as human shields to prevent spineless politicians from backbone implants. Will the school committee, the mayor, and the city council again fall for it? This is Pittsfield. This is not Wisconsin.

Pittsfield day is coming, however, and when the budget can no longer pay up the hundreds of millions of dollars taxpayers owe retirees due to years of tack ons to already fat pensions, the system will come crashing down. Then all bets are off. All municipal contracts will be canceled, and receivership will begin to restore order and fiscal sanity.

Next week, when it comes time for the school committee to vote on the budget, and the night after, when the city council does the same thing, perhaps that would be a good time for 151 ordinary citizens to rally at city hall and demand: “No more.”

Make the cuts. They will not be nearly as painful as the suffering for allowing this financial shell game to continue.

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MOM AND DAD PLANET

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 2012) — Happy 68th anniversary, mom and dad! We won’t go into this much more, except to salute the kind of toughness, stability, and decency people like you brought to bear on an America much on the wane.

Your generation lived through the Great Depression. When you were in your early 20s, you went to war. In your 30s, you brought your values into communities all across this country, giving it what is perhaps its last era of greatness. Enjoy the day, as you have for each of 24,837 that have preceded it.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

‘Touching Piece’

Thanks for the touching piece on your Father on the Planet, be sure to give him your love tomorrow on his anniversary and a hand salute of thanks and pride to him from us.  

Respectfully, 

Ron

—– 00 —–

Mr. Valenti

Your article on D-Day was the best I’ve seen today, and I read many tributes and articles on that great and yet that terrible Day. It was one of the best tributes to our veterans I’ve ever read as a matter of fact.

My father went in to Normandy a few days later after the invasion as part of the second wave. Like most men of that era, he was a silent hero. He didn’t talk much about his experiences, but from what my mom told me, he had some rough times, saw a lot of killing and had to do some. I’m not ashamed to say that your words brought tears to my eyes, remembering my loving dad. Please don’t publish my name. In gratitude, FB

—– 00 —–

THE PLANET touched a chord with our D-Day tribute. It’s interesting that, while we knew we wanted to say something about D-Day, we didn’t know what, until literally on deadline. Then we wrote what you read yesterday in one quick burst. It came out as you read it, fully formed. Sometimes writing works that way, and when it does, all we can do is let the words flow.

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NILAN CASE BRINGS OUTRAGE, RESIGNATION; CRIMINAL CASE CLOSES, CIVIL CASE LOOMING

In Central Berkshire Court yesterday, Meredith Nilan go off as expected: Lightly. The daughter of Clifford Nilan, head of probation for Berkshire Superior Court, pleaded guilty to one charge of misdemeanor negligent operation of a motor vehicle. She admitted she was the driver of her father’s SUV on Dec. 8, the night she struck and almost killed pedestrian Peter Moore, who was out walking his dog Toby. Toby stayed. Nilan drove away.

‘Continued Without Finding’

The Nilan SUV: She thought it was a deer.

As part of the deal struck between her attorney, Tim Shugrue, and Worcester special prosecutor Joe Quinlan, Nilan’s guilty plea became a “continuation without finding of guilt.” A charge of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident was dropped. The verdict brought a combination of outrage from many who have been following this case and resignation from those who pointed out the verdict was about as expected for a first-time offender.

In plain English, the verdict means that if Nilan stays out of trouble for six months, the case disappears, as if it never happened.

Why didn’t Meredith Nilan call the police after the accident? Shugrue repeated the claim that Nilan waited for the police to show up, but they never did. Why? Because the police dispatcher gave officers the wrong address. There was no mention of intervention by either the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. While a mistake like that is possible, given the names and positions of the people involved on the defendant’s side, reason causes this excuse to stick in the throat.

Was Justice Served?

Was justice served? The answer to that will not be in criminal court but in civil proceedings. In a statement issued after the court action, Moore’s attorney, Michael Hinckley, said, “As the victim in this case, Peter was consulted prior to the entry of the defendant’s plea; however, his interests and focus remain on his recovery and his family. At the same time, Peter continues to evaluate his options for full and fair adjudication of the charges within the civil realm.”

This justice of this case will unfold in “the civil realm.” While the Moore’s have made no official move in civil court, it will likely be a matter of time.

In a civil trial, the case is heard again. A judge or jury examines the evidence to decide whether the “preponderance” of that evidence requires that the defendant be held legally responsible for the damages alleged by the plaintiff.

In civil court, Peter Moore will have his best opportunity to argue his case against Meredith Nilan for the pain, shock, trauma, and duress her reckless driving caused in nearly taking and then severely impacting his life.

Criminal Versus Civil Trial

As in criminal court, a civil trial allows attorneys to call witnesses. It would, for example, allow Moore’s attorney to questions Meredith and Clifford Nilan, under oath and penalty of perjury. It could also allow questioning of other witnesses that may have bearing on the actions of the defendant. That’s where the case could get more than interesting. Depending upon who was called to the stand and what questions were asked, any civil trial with Nilan as a defendant could get explosive. We remind our readers of Clifford Nilan’s Siamese-Twin attachment to the innermost seats of power in Pittsfield this past and often disastrous quarter century.

The plaintiff in a civil case can also introduce physical evidence (photographs, documents, medical reports). For example, Moore could introduce the infamous photographs of damage done to her father’s SUV, which clearly show a man-sized hole in the windshield next to the driver. Nilan said she thought she had hit a deer. In a civil case, lawyers could introduce the photos of the SUV as evidence and ask: How is it possible for a young, healthy, 24-year-old with good vision and a bright mind to mistake this damage for a deer? One possible answer: She lied. Another possible answer: She was impaired on the night of the accident, possibly by alcohol.

The judge or jury will have to weight one set of claims versus the other.

Person to Person

Civil suits can be brought in either state or federal court. Unlike the criminal case, there is no prosecutor acting on behalf of We The People. The case is strictly between the two parties. In a criminal case, it’s not the victim’s responsibility to bring the case to court. The government can prosecute. In a civil case, the injured party initiates the case.

Perhaps the key different between a criminal trial and a civil trial is this: In a criminal case, with a prosecutor acting for The People, at issue is whether the action’s of the defendant caused harm to society as a whole. That’s often difficult to show. In a civil case, the question becomes much narrower: Did Defendant A caused harm to Individual B? Did Meredith Nilan harm Peter Moore? That’s a different order of magnitude than: Did Meredith Nilan harm We the People?

When a party wins a civil case, they are awarded damages in the form of money. Depending on the amount awarded, the discovery process examines the defendant’s assets. Bank accounts can be garnished. Wages can be impounded. A guilty finding against a defendant in a civil case can wipe them out financially.

Those are the essential facts of the case. As often happens, the facts don’t begin to present the full picture. That picture still remains to be revealed.

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MORE TO COME. STAY TUNED. WE WILL PRESENT, FOR EXAMPLE, AND INITIAL COMMENT AND COVERAGE OF THE ANNUAL DOG-AND-PONY SHOW KNOWN AS “THE RAPE OF THE TAXPAYERS.” YES, WE’RE TALKING OF THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT BUDGET. THINK OF “THE CHILDREN. THE CHILDREN” AND WHAT TOTAL DEVASTATION WILL COME IF THE MAYOR, SCHOOL COMMITTEE, OR CITY COUNCIL PROPOSES ONE PENNY OF CUTS AND DOES NOT CAVE IN TO MORE MORE MORE MONEY! BACK LATER.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

62 Responses to “ADD 1: SPECIAL INTERESTS BULLY TAXPAYERS AGAIN, AT SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING …MOM AND DAD PLANET: CELEBRATING 68 YEARS OF MARRIAGE TODAY … LETTERS ON PLANET’s D-DAY PIECE … NILAN VERDICT: WAS JUSTICE SERVED … NILAN-MOORE CASE WILL LIKELY PLAY OUT IN CIVIL COURT … CIVIL TRIAL COULD BE EXPLOSIVE”

  1. Bull Durham
    June 7, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    One other point of difference between civil and criminal cases that’s very important here. In a criminal case, you need a unanimous jury verdict (not that Peter had the chance to even see that in this case), and in a civil case, it does not need to be unanimous. A majority of the jury can decide the case and award damages. I would be willing to bet this never sees the inside of a courtroom and if such a suit is filed it’s settled before it ever goes to trial.

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2012 at 8:51 am #

      Good point, Bull.

  2. spectator
    June 7, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    DV
    I believe that a continuation without a finding is granted when a defendant “Admits sufficient Facts.”

    This means that the defendant admits that there are sufficient facts that would result in a guilty finding from a Jury. This is done to avoid a jury trial, and to get the case over with.

    I do not believe that this will disappear off her record once the probation period has expired. If it does, then I have some issues to take up with Central Berkshire District Court for not expunging CWOF I had when I was in my teens.

    If there is a criminal lawyer reading here who can chime in, that would be great.

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      SPEC
      I don’t know the answer to your question. Perhaps, as you suggest, a lawyer out there can help out.

      • Spectator
        June 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

        There is a commenter on the Eagle article about the Nilan case who claims to be with a law firm that states this -

        “Leaving The Scene an Accident of Personal Injury – Penalties
        Under Massachusetts law, if you leave the scene where you caused a personal injury, you face penalties of up to two years in jail, and fines of up to $1000.
        The law calls for a minimum jail sentence of 6 months in jail if convicted, although it can be suspended – meaning you don’t always have to serve the time.
        You are also not eligible for a Continuance without a finding, or CWOF in an accident with injury case. You must plead guilty, and not just accept that the evidence is sufficient to find you guilty, which is the standard for a CWOF. This can be a problem for some people who are concerned with having a guilty plea on their criminal record.
        You will also face a minimum 1 year loss of your driver’s license. You cannot apply for Massachusetts license reinstatement until one year has passed. It is also possible for the Registry to revoke the registration for any vehicle you own after a guilty finding.
        If the injuries are serious enough, the district attorney could also indict you in Superior Court, though this doesn’t happen very often. While the maximum penalties aren’t higher under the statute if the case is heard in Superior Court, judges are much more likely to sentence you at the higher end of the sentencing spectrum.”

        So does this mean that the court itself, broke it’s own rules and laws to protect Meredith and Clifford Nilan?

        There needs to be investigation from the State, and Federal LEO into this case.

        If these statements above are true, then there are far more people in the court system who are guilty of this injustice than just Clifford Nilan.

  3. Richard
    June 7, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    When are people going to treat people with equal justice no matter who they know or who they are related to. I hope that M Nilan and C.Nilan realize that they got away with something that the average Joe & Mary could never puled off.

    • Andrew
      June 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

      A continuation without a finding in these circumstances is what the average Joe and Mary would get as well. Unless of course you can prove something to the contrary, you’re just making hay over some miscarriage of justice that did not happen.

      • danvalenti
        June 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

        As you say, proof is needed. Practically speaking, the confines of this criminal proceeding did not provide for full evidentiary opportunity. A civil action will be a different story. At that point, it will depend on how much the Nilans are willing to pay to keep the matter from trial to suppress evidence.

      • Home Run
        June 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

        Andrew

        Again you stand your ground in defense of the GOB network. Now you speak with such authority in court rulings. Last week you spoke with authority onthe school dept. Let’s see next week you may well be a spoke person for the police dept.
        You amuse me, as you clearly have much to lose if there is any chink in the GOB network. You sure are an amusing character to throw your support behind Cliffy, The school
        Comm and school administrators.

      • Scott
        June 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

        They use the kid who just killed someone while texting to compare. He only got two years for killing someone that’s not equal punishment. As much as I have my own beliefs on what transpired that night I agree she got what anyone else would have. However the real conspiracy is she was wearing shorts I thought that was a no no in court.

  4. teecha teecha
    June 7, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    They know richard, and they’re laughing about it all the way back to Mcintosh

  5. Jonathan Melle
    June 7, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    How come Dan Valenti goes after Cliff Nilan, Angelo Stracuzzi, and other Good Old Boys of Pittsfield politics, but he supports Andrea Nuciforo?

    • Teecha Teecha
      June 7, 2012 at 10:32 am #

      Just so fools like you can ask questions and whine about it. You talk about dan’s agenda’s against the GOB’s. It’s no different than your one man assault on Nuciforo.

    • Just a Thought!
      June 7, 2012 at 11:25 am #

      In fairness, I have yet to read how Andrea has been part of anything equal to that of a almost killing a man / or being inappropriate with teenage boys. Not to mention Cliffy’s implication in both to name a few.

      Let us know right away Jonathan when you find some equally illegal acts in Andrea’s closet. We will be all ears Jonathan.

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      JONATHAN
      We will not air any e-mails that, yet again, bring up the alleged wrongdoings Mr. Nuciforo has done to you and your family. They have become tiresome through repetition. If you want to argue against Mr. Nuciforo on policy questions, fine, but we will not have any further assaults of the kind you are known to make.

      • Jonathan Melle
        June 7, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

        I agree with you, Dan. I won’t post my personal feelings against Nuciforo anymore. We should stick to policy issues. I love reading Dan Valenti’s blog posts.

        • danvalenti
          June 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

          Thank you, Jonathan.

    • Concern
      June 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      Jonathan. Get off the grudge you have with Nuciforo, you have made you point time and time and time again. He is a politician and they are all the same.

      • levitan
        June 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

        Why should the personal behavior of a politician be off limits?

  6. Genifer
    June 7, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    DV, when will you investigate the cover up of Hermann drug bust? There were court officers, BCHC and PPD. Everyone was named except these individuals. I smell another big cover up. One was a captain.

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      I invite you to send me anything you have.

  7. olga 1975
    June 7, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    I wonder if it was the same police dispatcher that gave Hermann’s the heads up on the raid that was about to happen.

    • Dead to Rights
      June 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      Olga, great question!!!!

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      Funny how the police dispatcher figure so centrally into both cases. Funny, not as in ha-ha.

  8. Magic
    June 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Congratualtions Mom & Dad
    And to the Nilans, sorry the punishment does not fit the crime
    Mr. Nilan you should be ashamed of yourself

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      MAGIC
      Thanks for the nod to my P & M!

  9. Bull Durham
    June 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Kudos to iBerkshires for telling it like it is… unlike the BB.

    “Meredith Nilan must apologize to the man she nearly killed … and that’s basically it.”

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      BULL
      Agreed. Honest reporting is to be commended. That’s why sites such as iBerkshires and THE PLANET continue to eat the BB’s lunch. We are growing. They are declining. We have credibility. They have shame. We are believed. They are mocked.

  10. Scott
    June 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    I voted for Bianchi in hopes he would make cut’s and save us money.

  11. danvalenti
    June 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    SCOTT
    The final budget reconciliation has yet to take place. It doesn’t look good for taxpayers. Bianchi is, after all, a politician, looking to get re-elected. The irony is that if he did act in the manner of the Wisconsin governor, he would win overwhelming support from The People. Pittsfield one day will catch up to fiscal reality. It will likely be too to prevent receivership late at that point.

  12. Home Run
    June 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Chet

    I must have missed something. Where does DV tell Jon to stop talking policyarithmetic regards to Andrea?

    On a seperate note can you with your vast insider knowledge you tout, full us in on the final figures of the UEP contract. Is it true everyone gets a 5 percent raise?
    Those UEP goons they sure know how to squeeze the tax payer. Please Chet, fill in the blanks for us if I am wrong and just listening to rumors.

    • Home Run
      June 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      Sorry typo… Should have read ‘Policy with regards to Andrea’ …

      • Scott
        June 7, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

        Was that the work of spell check or your brain that mashed all that together? Either way it’s impressive.

  13. Home Run
    June 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    The school budget is a joke! Why not just close the JRC once and for all and save the 400, 000. Let the kids who attend there full time go to the EOS program in the schools. This JRC racket is a duplication of services and programs. Why do we need two mini Alt’ education systems? One In in the school buildings and one in the JRC. Please, the JRC is a big joke. Shut it down and save a bundle.

    • Home Run
      June 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

      DV.. I love the above cartoon of the ‘Union Pig’. That pig is a dead ringer for a neighbor of mine who is a big union goon in the UEP. They even share the same shaped nose. How ironic!

    • joetaxpayer
      June 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

      School budget is a joke.The real funny one is when they fund programs with grant money then get the City to foot the bill once it runs out.Why the hell do we need full day pre-K.To me that is very expensive day care.Has anyone looked into privatizing the Custodians and transportation.Also should be freeze on all overtime, custodians have almost $90,000 in overtime and have also added $229,000 in subsitute custodians, that was not in last years budget.

  14. chuck garivaltis
    June 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Dan

    Nice piece in todays Eagle written by Brian Sullivan. Check it out folks, I’m sure many will enjoy it..

    I wish the Pittsfield Suns a lot of success. The owners are baseball savy with good reputations and the players are college kids who are good players. We wish them the best. But the turnout will be more of the same, meaning not good, because the main advertising is fireworks, dancing, and other ridiculous nonsense that is more circus related than associated with good baseball.

    What we need here is “Buddy Ball”. Now that would draw baseball starved baseball fans.

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

      Thanks, Chuck. We did see Brian’s column, and we enjoyed it, especially the part about real baseball. Baseball can be a draw. I would much prefer that to the side show stunts.

  15. Swen
    June 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Instead of constantly knocking the teachers’ salaries in Pittsfield why don’t you check the salaries that teachers make in other systems in Berkshire County and in our State. Teachers go to a college/university for four years and usually five to get a masters in order to teach. How much are you getting paid to teach at BCC, Dan? more or less than you would be paid in other parts of our state (although I believe all state colleges pay the same in MA) compared to NY State?

    • Pittsfield Pete
      June 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      Going to college to become a teacher does not give the UEP who represents the teachers to keep asking the public to pay for a failing and top heavy system. One figure given was a 5 to 1 student to staff ratio. If you choose to waste money in your private life that’s fine, but why should tax payers keep supporting this nonsense.

      If you wish to be mad at someone or group, why not place your anger at Jake and Co who used 1.6 million for pay raises from grant. A grant that was known would not be given again this year.

      Your anger is very misplaced Swen. At the very least the public should get good value for their money. In this case, nothing could be further from the truth.

      • Just a Thought!
        June 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

        So true PP. I heard the school is mobilizing the parents of students to come out in droves to put pressure on Bianchi and the city council to get the tax payers to cough up more money.
        I think, the public should come out in droves and demand an audit of the school dept. If cuts need to be made so be it. Let’s start cutting at the top.

  16. Browning
    June 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    Great cartoon lampooning the Unions pigs who are skeletalizing the taxpayers. DV, you rock!

  17. Just a Thought!
    June 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    I agree Browning, the cartoon is great. This picture sure captures it all with regards to the UEP and city tax payers.

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      BROWNING and JAT
      The cartoon says it all, doesn’t it. So when will the citizens start paying attention, get involved, and Take Back Their Government from the skunks and politicians?

  18. confused
    June 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    Taxpayers pay for the school system..
    School system pay the teachers…
    The teachers pay the union thru dues…
    The union lobbies for more taxpayer money and perks for teacher..
    The union makes more money…
    The taxpayer pays higher taxes…

    you call this progress?

  19. Molly
    June 7, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Hi all – long time “no talk to” – I’ve missed all of you.

    I could not resist commenting on today’s topics – both the Nilan case AND the School Committee?! It made me feel better just thinking about posting! :-)

    re: The Nilan Case – my opinion follows: I don’t think that any of us were surprised, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is absolutely outrageous. The blatant corruption is difficult to deal with whether we expected it or not – and at least for me, somewhere down deep I held out hope and belief in our Criminal Justice System that it would come through and do the right thing. But the corrupt and powerful win yet again. I disagree that this “sentence” is typical for a first-time offender – perhaps in a “leaving the scene of an accident” where no one was injured, but certainly not in these circumstances. She left him in the road, bleeding from his head and with very serious injuries, to die! And for that, she can’t drive between 7pm and 7am for a whopping thirty days, has administrative parole (which is meaningless – an Angelo scenario, where she has to do nothing at all), and has to write a letter of apology. Is this Grammar School where she made some other kid scrape his knee during recess? It sure sounds like it! And yes, after six months this totally and completely “goes away” – no record of it at all! Truly amazing, and sickening. And how disappointed I am in myself for holding on to that belief in our Criminal Justice System and hoping that it will come through in the end. How naive.

    As for the civil case, have any of you ever tried to sue anyone else in (especially) Berkshire County or anywhere in Massachusetts? Believe me, after the lawyer gets his cut, there won’t be enough money left to go to dinner at the Red Lion Inn never mind pay for medical expenses or retribution for pain and injury. Also, don’t forget that Cliffy put the “Homestead Act” on his house immediately following this accident – that tells me that he also likely hid any money that he has – likely somewhere like the Cayman Islands. There will be no “taking them to the cleaners” – mark my words. Perhaps Meredeath’s salary could be attached, but how much money do you think she makes at her age and working at a bank? Not much! And with her pay “attached”, what’s to keep her working? Hasn’t she been going with that rich kid for a long while now? The only good that could come from the civil lawsuit is the actual courtroom piece and (as DV said), the cross examination of the Nilan’s under oath.

    re: The School Committee/School Budget. Holy cow was that a sleazy move by Jake upping the number by another cool million. And how insulting he was to the mayor thinking that he wouldn’t notice that? And then the marching in of teachers, parents and students to the School Committee meeting – give me a break! These cuts aren’t even that painful – they are small time cuts and we need big time cuts. The bottom line is that the budget for the schools is still being raised by yet another million dollars – that is not small potatoes. Does anyone know if this budget includes all of the new school busses that they want to (will) purchase this year? My guess is that it does not and that will be a multi-million dollar separate vote but I don’t know that – haven’t been able to follow that – but is my guess. These teachers get to retire with full pay and benefits after what – 20 years? Where in the real world can anyone find a job like that? Especially one that gives so much time off! Only when it’s paid for by the taxpayers. DV is correct – expect to constantly hear, “think of the kids! The poor kids! We need to invest MORE money into our schools and not cut back!” Also if Mayor Bianchi doesn’t stop this, I will be one of many to be very disappointed in him. He was elected to do just that and “we the people” expect him to do it. However, in my opinion, this budget has already been agreed upon between Jake and the Mayor and also by enough of the City Council to get a majority vote and these votes are just a formality – the real vote has already taken place. Again, more corruption and violations of the “Open Meeting Law”. The time is NOW to make major cuts to this budget as the taxpayers are tapped-out and have no more money to pay yet another increase in our taxes. Apparently, our city leaders never got the memo regarding Wisconsin, but then again, this is Massachusetts and not Wisconsin – big difference.

    Interesting but not at all surprising to see that Alfy was involved in the Bill Sturgeon fiasco. Dan – why don’t you think that perhaps it has been Alf all along who put the stop to this new radio show after it was supposedly a “done deal”? Perhaps the timing, I don’t know, but in my opinion, it sure reeks of him and his tactics. I’m not a fan of Bill Sturgeon at all, but that is not the point – this was handled so poorly and it sure has been manipulated by someone powerful and corrupt and also with little or no experience in “how” to handle being corrupt without making major headlines. By the way, regarding the School Committee minutes – they fall under the “open meeting laws” and all that needs to be done is to send Mr. Barbalunga an email formally requesting that the meeting minutes be posted and he has (I believe) 7 days to comply.

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

      MOLLY
      You gave us all a scare. Thanks be, you are back. We all love you (and missed you!).

    • dusty
      June 8, 2012 at 1:15 am #

      Welcome back Molly….you have been missed.

      I have been thinking Alf was the driving force behind the BS debacle as well. At the very least the tool that moved the dirt. He has been exposed as a mover and a shaker in the GOB command and the last thing he needed was another public outlet highlighting his chicanery. Would you want your kid in his school system if you had a choice?

      as far as the Nilan subterfuge…I ask…why in the hell would anyone move to this city if they had any idea of what goes on in the justice system? Or the political arena?

      • Levitan
        June 8, 2012 at 6:09 am #

        Hope all’s well with you Molly.

  20. Michael Hitchcock
    June 7, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    Dan,

    You may have a problem with unions (and by may, I suppose I mean “obviously do because you keep saying so.”) but I want you to remember what it was like before unions. I think your answer of simply doing away with them is a little precious and leaves us with no protections against the abuses of the powerful.

    Have you no compromise position here, or is it just a di-polar issue for you?

    • danvalenti
      June 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      MICHAEL
      I remember far better than you do of the workplace prior to unions. The big “however” is the stranglehold public employee unions have over the political process. Fortunately, as the great Wisconsin verdict shows, that form of political thuggery is on the way out. Unions did it to themselves. Towns like Pittsfield, stuck in the politically incestuous backwaters of Podunk, haven’t caught on yet. The reckoning is coming, though.

    • Wilson
      June 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      Public “unions” are not an example of labor organizing against “the powerful”, they are more like a cartel organizing against the actual productive workers, the taxpayers. What bad memories do you have of government before it was controlled by unions? Did you have to buy new pants because your pockets were bulging with cash from having too little taken in taxes?

      • danvalenti
        June 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

        WILSON
        Well said and played. The application of the word “cartel” applied aptly to the corrupt public employee unions. Appreciate your participation and your logic.

    • Scott
      June 8, 2012 at 4:26 am #

      Unions in the beginning were created for fair treatment of workers due to unfair practices by people with tons of cash putting profits ahead of peoples safety. We’re a far cry from that these days. With the exception of a kid bringing a gun to school a teachers job is not life threatening on a daily basis and the unions are now used to bully people for more money. How many teachers do you know that have side business in the summer and I bet a lot work under the table too.

  21. Swen
    June 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    Welcome back Molly. Just one thing for tonight. Teachers do NOT and can NOT retire with full salary after 20 years and full benefits. I have no idea where you got that from but I know that to be untrue. A teacher retirement goes by their age and number of years teaching. The highest is 80% after I believe 40 years. The teachers pay into their own State Teachers Retirement Plan. Teachers in Massachusetts can not collect Social Security, as they are not covered under it. Teachers in 42 states pay into it and also receive Social Security plus their teacher’s pension.

    • Molly
      June 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

      Swen – thanks for the “welcome”!

      Please look at the following link:
      http://www.mass.gov/mtrs/2members/20active/20overview.htm#question1

      “You will be eligible to receive a regular retirement allowance when you:
      - have 20 years of creditable service, regardless of your age, or
      - are at least age 55 and you have at least 10 years of creditable service.”

      You can also click on the links for “options” which informs of receiving full pay and benefits but nothing paid to survivors or for approx. 9 – 11% of full benefits, your spouse (or others as outlined) who survive you can receive full monthly benefits.

      AND:
      - they can purchase “creditable service” if they don’t have 20 years!!
      - Mass. State Income Taxes are NOT applied to their retirement

      There is also a “RetirementPlus” package that if you participated in this, the benefits are greater.

      Do you really expect that they will receive a retirement package like this, including the same health insurance that they had prior to retirement, AND be allowed to participate in Social Security/Medicare, too?

  22. taxmano
    June 8, 2012 at 3:14 am #

    Homerun:
    The JRC will not close because it is run by Jake’s daddy, a disgraced former school official himself.

    Molly: I agree Jake’s move was sleazy, which is typical for him.
    Jake’s tactic is to threaten a program he knows will cause outcry from invested parents and students. It is a ploy to squeeze the extra million instead of cutting in the central office and the JRC, He’s done this before, threatening to cut the Arts programs in the city schools.
    The union is not the cause of the latest budget debacle , as has been suggested. It is mainly due to a sleazy super, as you suggest, who is mostly interested in his cronies and allies.

  23. Richard
    June 8, 2012 at 5:12 am #

    In the Berkshire Eagle Editorials today[8th] the writer said the Nilan case has been resolved and know it should be put to rest. Are they out of there minds it is one of the worst case of preferential treatment that I have seen in the Pittsfield area.

  24. Teecha Teecha
    June 8, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    It’s unfair to state that teachers go to school for so long and now it’s up to the taxpayers to compensate for their loans. That’s like saying we should pay for health care for someone who eats Mcdonalds everyday and has chronic heart failure and obesity issues.

    Noone forced you into doing it, you made the choice. It’s your responsibility to compensate yourself.

    The salaries of public school teachers, not just Pittsfield, are absurd. The “bully teacher” in East Longmeadow was making upwards of $75k a year and was a horrible, wretch who harassed students and staff alike.

    She will be shielded by the union, you just watch.

    Also, times have changed. We don’t have sweatshops in the U.S. (legally at least). Tenure and the unions were created prior to women’s civil rights and was created to protect THEM from meager wages, firings, etc. etc.

    Is that really a problem when the worst of the worst are making double what the median income is in the entire township?

  25. Susan Moore
    June 8, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    The stars are back in alignment when Molly is writing on the Planet!!

    As for those of you asking how the Moore Family feels about the Criminal Court Case, well it wasn’t exactly what we thought was going to transpire. Peter never did get to speak with a Victim Advocate. His Civil Attorney was left to fill in as best he could. Robin was present in the Court room and there was no opportunity to tell the Judge how the events of that cold bitter night impacted their family. No, it was not what was expected.

    I did see Peter last Saturday and I’m happy to report he is doing well even from a step mother’s critical eye. A little thin maybe but the sparkle is back in his eye. He wants to be back at work providing for his family making up for lost time. We will see what the civil case brings.

    • danvalenti
      June 8, 2012 at 7:09 am #

      SUSAN
      THANK YOU for these words. Any entire city is behind and with Peter. God bless.

    • Molly
      June 8, 2012 at 7:24 am #

      Hi Susan! Good to hear from you! Sooooo, did I put the stars into alignment or did the stars go into alignment and so I felt well enough to do my homework and then post? ;-)

      I’m happy to hear that Peter is doing well! Unbelievable that there was no victim impact statement allowed! But then again, isn’t it always all about Meredeath?

      Back to his work place for me today.