PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 2012) — We begin today with this News Flash. Sources report that Sherriff Tom Bowler has fired Howard Eberwein II, Father of Jake, from his position at the Juvenile Resource Center (JRC, aka Carmen’s Harem). While we have not officially confirmed this, we have it from a trusted source who has been accurate in the past.

Howard II had been scheduled to step down at the end of the year, but Sheriff Bowler said “enough.” He gave Old Man Jake bum’s rush. Boy Jake, maybe for Father’s Day, you can give your dad a package of Trojans.

This move may have been done to ward off an investigation into the incestuousness of having School Supt. Howard III fund his daddy’s salary and budget, a ludicrous situation that eats up $400,000 of taxpayer money in a redundant program that has contributed little to the overall communal good.

Fair Warning: Be good. That’s all we can say, or we shall convene an Inquisition. We have our Spies Everywhere!!



Susan Moore, sweet and caring stepmom of Peter Moore, says the family isn’t happy with the shabby way Peter was treated in the courtroom proceeding that essentially told Meredith Nilan, “Hey, no sweat little girl. You almost killed a man with your negligence, honey, but it’s OK because your Cliffy‘s daughter.”

Susan writes, exclusive the THE PLANET:

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.

Susan, the entire city stands with your family against the poison that has infected the system in Pittsfield.



Yes. Some 150 teachers, unionists, and children forced to be human shields decried the “cuts” planned by Mayor Dan Bianchi and the school committee in the FY 2013 school department budget. Oh, the horror, the horror. Some were well intentioned, falling for one of Jake’s ploys, whereby he cuts a popular program to get parents and kids worked up, so they will storm the politicians and officials with cries of, “Think of THE CHILDREN.”

Too bad none of these people bothered to look at the actual numbers. Or maybe they did, and they don’t want you to know that …

The ‘Decreases’ Are Actually Huge Increases in Spending. Read the Budget, People!

LINE ITEM 14, page one, of the Pittsfield School Department Budget (available online), Account # 2000 — A personnel increase of 11.3 positions, adding $2,051,466 to the cost of the school department (a 5.30% increase in spending).

LINE ITEM 105, page three, account # 62014 — An increase in personnel of 15 positions, adding $2,003,466 to the budget, a 9.6% increase in spending.

LINE ITEM 104, PAGE 3, account # 62013 — Adds one position at an additional cost to taxpayers of $81,591, for a 13.6% budget increase. That’s an addition of an administrator.

Jake’s Budget Full of Fat, Overhead, Blubber, and Bluster

This budget represents Jake’s submission to the mayor. Boy Jake, lame duck that he is, wants to make sure he leaves on a high note, both sticking it to taxpayers and taking care of his buddies. In this budget, there are NO CUTS in administrative positions. How in bloody heck can this be allowed to stand? Mayor Bianchi, School Committee, and City Council. Do your job. Make some real cuts in this bloated school department budget. Insist on performance and accountability. Do the job We The People elected you to do.

Who’s up for storming the Bastille when the school committee and council take this matter up? Who will speak out against these ridiculous increases for an under-performing, snake nest of a department with no accountability for raping taxpayers? Who wants to help THE PLANET in organizing a march next week on City Hall? Any thoughts?

This too shall pass, one way or the other. Either Pittsfield politicians forget about sucking up to unions and get some backbone, or the city, within 10 years, shall be in receivership.

We leave you with a quote: “You cannot run a school system [this] way. The three principles that govern our system are lockstep compensation, seniority, and tenure. All three are not right for our children.” — Joel Klein, former assistant attorney general, Clinton Administration, chancellor, NYC school system.

Lockstep compensation: Raises are built in, regardless of performance.

Seniority: Old teachers are protected, regardless of how burnt out or incompetent they are.

Tenure: Protects the worst teachers.



Who else got a horselaugh at the horse’s ass editorial in the Boring Broadsheet today, saying justice was served in the Meredith Nilan case? Naturally, the editorial was unsigned. What, you think any of the editor’s there actually want to put their names to that crud? The BB‘s online readers disagree. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:

“So the consequence for this is a Letter of Apology? Really? No Community Service? No order to cover Mr. Moore’s medical expenses? The judges, DA, and Probation Department are a joke in Berkshire Country.”

“This is not going to help the old stereotype about blondes being dumb.”

“This is just stupid. The only reason she got away with it so easily is because she was the daughter of the chief of probation. Must be nice to have people in high places.”

“Nilan and her father are criminals, pure and simple. Anyone who has been raised properly would never been driving while impaired. In the event of an accident, a properly raised person would stay with the victim until the police and EMTs arrive.”

“This just makes me sick! It’s all about who you know, and any other person would have had the book thrown at them.”

“Driving across lanes and hitting someone who is walking on the opposite side of the street is not an accident, and then leaving a man with critical injuries to lay in the snow on the side of the road … is a travesty.”

“Go Peter Moore!”

“All’s I can say is go for it, Mr. Moore. Get better and sue the living crap out of her.”

“Justice is supposed to be blind and not look the other way.”

“Did anyone expect anything else?”

Civil War Will Be the Battleground in Nilan-Moore

As THE PLANET remarked yesterday, what happens in civil court will be where justice finally emerges in this case of The Rich, Powerful, and Connected vomiting all over The Little Guy. You can be sure that Peter Moore will seek damages in a civil case.

It will be interesting to see how much the Nilans are willing to pay to keep this case out of the courtroom, where people will be called to testify, under oath. Clifford Nilan may be busy trying to protect the family jewels, but would you like to be him right now? Would you like to have a daughter like that? Would you like that your pension might be attached? Would you like hanging over your head the fact that many if not most if not all of your assets are face a potential serious threat?

Sleep well, Cliff.



As the municipal budget gets ready for rubber stamping, THE PLANET presents a relevant story from National Right to Work Committee (“No one should be forced to pay tribute to a union in order to get a job.”) at

The Fiscal TimesLiz Peeks investigates how union budgets have busted state budgets and asks “Is it possible that the real divide in the United States today is between unions and… everybody else?.” The answer, unfortunately for taxpayers, is yes.

From Bloated Union Contracts Have Busted State Budgets:

Consider the issues making headlines: education reform, busted state budgets, the battle to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, free trade agreements,Occupy Wall Street, the fight to make Indiana a right-to-work state. What these stories have in common is the waning influence of organized labor and the all-out battle by union leaders to hold on.

Take the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top initiative. Education Secretary Duncan recently warned that several states, including New York, might not receive monies earlier awarded through that program because they have not followed through on required reforms. The stumbling block? Teacher evaluations.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg laid out new education initiatives in his recent State of the City address, among them a proposal to give $20,000 raises to the best teachers, in return for changing the way educators are evaluated. Today, teachers are rated either satisfactory or unsatisfactory; 97 percent fall in the former category. UFT President Michael Mulgrew immediately denounced the plan, describing Mr. Bloomberg as “lost in his own fantasy world of education.”

Mr. Mulgrew may be the one living in a fantasy world. Pressure to boost our country’s public schools is one of the rare priorities on both Republicans’ and Democrats’ to-do lists. Americans are appalled by our plummeting world education rankings, and by our graduates’ lack of preparedness for today’s job market. While the decline in our schools stems from a number of sources, most reformers – including Secretary Duncan – see the intransigence of unions on the “job for life” rules that perpetuate mediocre teaching as a major roadblock to progress.

Likewise, the recession has forced politicians to confront bloated public employee contracts that have torpedoed many states’ budgets. Estimated at over $3 trillion, the underfunding of state and local pension plans has been described as one of our most serious fiscal problems. Voters now understand that unless elected officials overhaul pay and benefits packages they will face soaring taxes or reduced services.

Governor Walker’s efforts to rein in unsustainable public employee costs in Wisconsin (and to reduce a sizeable budget deficit) became the rallying point for terrified union leaders who see their only growth opportunity – public employees – under attack. Though Walker proposed terms that were still more generous than the national averages… Union leaders struck back, rallying workers from across the country to their cause; they are now trying to force the governor from office.

These confrontations have left Big Labor bruised but unbowed, and eager to turn public anger elsewhere. They have nurtured and funded the Occupy Wall Street protests for just that reason, ginning up resentment against the “one percent” and especially against banks and bankers. Better to raise taxes on the wealthy than to cut government payrolls. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which has over one million members and much to lose from widespread government reform efforts, has been especially eager to support the protests. Stephen Lerner, a highly regarded union organizer and former SEIU official, spoke to students at Pace University last March about his plan to “destabilize” the country through civil disobedience, strikes and large-scale protests. Acknowledging that labor was under pressure and needed to stay out of the spotlight, he insisted that students and community groups take the lead. Welcome to OWS.

Happily, the public is not so gullible. On many fronts, Americans see unions as part of the problem, not part of the solution.  Voters can connect the dots, between the interests of the nation…..and defeating the interests of organized labor.



THE PLANET had our man, Andy Leeco, at Beloved Wahconah Park last night for the inaugural opener of the Pittsfield Suns of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. Here’s his story:



“Here Comes the Sun.”

The Sun's rays filter in on the Suns successful debut. (Photo by Craig Swinson)

As the newest baseball team took the field at historic Wahconah Park to the well-known Beatles tune, you knew immediately that the Goldklang Group has a clue when it comes to running a minor league ballclub. The tune brought chuckles and smiles to the faces of the 2,261 fans that attended the game on Thursday night.

The Suns group, for one night at least, pulled out all the stops to make sure that people got a good first impression. They began the night by having the high-energy Country Rock band Whiskey City to welcome fans back to the ballpark. Then it was a dog and pony show. Literally. The opening game ball was brought out by a horse, which had the game ball in a little bucket attached to its harness. Then they announced the pet of the game, which was a cute little dog from the local humane society.

As the public address announcer repeatedly reminded the fans, the Suns want us to have a fun experience at the ballpark. They had a number of games, including “Dancing with the Suns” where several of the ballplayers come out and dance with fans, the “Pittsfield Derby” while “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy” was played over the sound system, and Beat the Pizza Race where a little fan chases after a poor intern dressed in a pizza outfit.

“People love it when little kids beat on mascots,” the PA announcer said.

They had something fun between every inning, which is what minor league baseball is all about. They also had a bouncy house behind the right-field fence for the young fans and the beer tent for the older ones. They even put on a nice fireworks show for those who were able to endure the 3½ hour game.

Unfortunately, two of the things that made the ballpark really enjoyable — the PA announcer and the Dave, the beer vendor, who alternately screamed “Who is thirsty for some beeeeah,” danced with young fans, and started chants and cheers — were only there for opening night. They actually work for the Goldklang’s Hudson Valley team. So it will be interesting to see if the team can recreate the same energy without those two individuals. But it is also another sign that this group  wanted to make a good first impression.

This Futures League team, who won the opener 8-6, is about what you’d expect them to be. The first pitch, as the crowd stood and cheered, bounced five feet in front of the plate. It was not exactly the auspicious starting pitcher Tom Darby was probably hoping for, but it was just a moment of trying too hard. And that’s what I’m going to like about this team. They are young men who are going to try, maybe too hard sometimes, and I’ll take that over the spoiled, entitled athletes that some pro ball players have become.

We’ll get the good: Eight runs, including a nice four-run rally in the sixth that was filled with timely singles and doubles; we’ll get the bad: a total of five errors between the teams; the Suns running themselves out of an inning with not one, but two mistakes on the base paths; and we’ll get the wild:  A couple wild pitches, a whole lot of walks and the Suns closer giving up two runs before finishing the game off.

No, it wasn’t perfect. The scoreboard did not work, which isn’t much of a downgrade from what it was when the Colonials were here.  THE PLANET was told that the city is coming out today to fix the wiring issues and the scoreboard will be working on Saturday. The new sound system consisted of temporary speakers in the last row of the stands. THE PLANET was told that at some point there will be a permanent upgrade, but no timetable was given on when that will happen. All and all it was a good first showing.

To start the game, Suns owner Jeff Goldklang told the crowd, “Pittsfield, put your trust in us. We won’t let you down. Play ball!” Later he told THE PLANET that he was pleased with the way the fans have responded and that the Suns plan to be here in Pittsfield for a long, long time. THE PLANET has heard this before from other owners, but we will remain optimistic. To paraphrase the Fab Four, “Here comes the Suns, and I say it’s all right.”



The Arts scene has come alive and is in full swing. In our continuing coverage of what’s happening, THE PLANET presents writer Andy Poncherello‘s review of …



Special to PLANET VALENTI Arts and Entertainment

(Saturday June 2, 2012-Chameleon’s Nightclub-Pittsfield MA) — From what can be gathered from various sources on the web, Steampunk is basically a fantasy genre that combines the costumes and ethos of Blade Runner, The Road Warrior, Around the World in 80 Days, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and other similarly minded works of literature/film in pop culture.  Darkwave is another name for the more danceable music of the Gothic counterculture. When it was announced there would be a local night celebration of both darkwave and steampunk, it was added to the calendar as a “must do.”

The scene here in the Berkshires is on the small side and while the numbers weren’t what organizers had hoped, the event proved to be a success for their first event here.  Dae Nocturn of the band Era Noctura assembled three bands in addition to her own, showcasing the fact that steampunk has yet to find a common musical identity and common look.  No one is defining the rules and that’s a good thing, because it’s still fresh and pure.  There weren’t enough costumed people for the costume contest, but the few who got into the spirit of the event were sporting some cool outfits.

Abbot and Costello Meet Steampunk? Not quite, but three bands showed eclectic stamina at Chameleon's. (Photo by Andy Poncherello)

Local purveyors of “acoustic doom”, Forever Autumn, starting things off on an eerie and mellow note. The only thing missing from their set was a cue for fog to roll in.  Forever Autumn’s music could be the perfect soundtrack to the imperfect nightmare: Unassuming and then when you think it’s safe, the melodic growl or shriek of sole vocalist Autumn is accompanied by  her mysterious, silent band mate. Similar acts such as Dead Can Dance, Current 93, and Death in June come to mind when experiencing a Forever Autumn set.  Percussion was kept to a minimum.  Sometimes it was a single kick drum, tambourine, or hands tapping a cello while vocals and guitar wailed.  Forever Autumn are one of the finest and more unique bands in the region.

VI made their Berkshire County debut, and the duo’s current incarnation has only been together for a few weeks, but you wouldn’t know it based on the theatrical elements they had in their set.  The duo of VI and Lottie has a look indicative of the steampunk movement — part sci-fi, part Victorian era channeling Lou Reed/Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol/The Factory, and part Blade Runner. The music is electronic and gothic, with all of it flowing effortlessly out of an iPod through the PA.  Like some of Forever Autumn’s more haunting moments, VI also offered some interesting vocal techniques including chilling and nightmarish arrangements in parts of their songs.  Can’t wait to see more!

Streak hit the stage after a short break and turned Chameleon’s into what could’ve been a club set in the movie The Road Warrior.  The music is intense, like more recent Ministry, Skinny Puppy or early Nine Inch Nails.  What’s most impressive about Streak is that they’re able to maintain such an impressive stage act while all three members are spread throughout Massachusetts. Technology must make it possible for them to write songs together, but the stage show is so intricate that they must be in the same room from time to time to sync it all together.  This band has come quite a long way since they first started making noise in the Berkshires a few years ago.

Closing out the night was Era Nocturna.  The zombie prom queen sang, the Star Wars stormtrooper played, the bass, and a maniac sat behind the drum kit.  Era Nocturna has put a tremendous amount of work into their set over the course of the past year and it shows.  The band’s core of Dae and Shaun are complimented by the solid bass playing of newest member, Mark.  The music is mellow, almost in a Portishead sort of way or in the quietest moments of Siouxsie & the Banshees or Jarboe of SWANS. Era Noctura are not a one trick pony by any definition.  The music has depth and emotion, which makes for the perfect ending to the very first darkwave/steampunk-themed event in the Berkshires.  Hopefully the organizers will be able to build on their success at the next scheduled event for early August.



  1. taxmano
    June 8, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    Alfie should be forced to resign from the school committee immediately. He proved once again he cannot be impartial, tossing Jake softball questions and trying to rush through any examination of the budget at the last schol committee meeting.

    • Debbie
      June 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Your right he should resign! He should have never been voted in. Maybe we should recount the votes. Isn’t he related to the corrupt old Perv Sheriff? what was his name anyways ( Chester the Male-ster). Really how can anyone watch Alf without laughing at him with his 70’s porn star stash and shrek attitude!

      I am sure we have all heard of “Smoke and Mirrors” also known as Alf Barbalunga!

  2. Dead to Rights
    June 8, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    The performance of the school committee chairman was pathetic. He let Jake skate. Planet, I’m ready to march on city gall. Yes, city gall. Where and when?

    • Home Run
      June 8, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      DTR- count me in, just tell me when and where.

      Enough is Enough!

      • levitan
        June 9, 2012 at 6:20 am #

        I’m in!

        • Ed Shepardson
          June 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

          WOW! People who don’t have the courage to use their real names are going to show their faces marching at City Hall? Or will you all wear disguises? Let me know when this is happening. Wouldn’t miss it.

          • Chet Hunter
            June 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

            Great point Ed!

          • danvalenti
            June 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

            Care to reveal your real name here? You are a woman. Your first name begins with D. Right?

          • danvalenti
            June 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

            Stranger things have happened. People demonstrated in Tianamen Square, in Egypt against Mubarek, and in Libya against Khadaffi. Is City Hall next?

          • chet hunter
            June 11, 2012 at 5:41 am #

            Dan How did you know? You busted me!

  3. taxmano
    June 8, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    Why condoms for Father of Jake? Was he fired because he was up to his old tricks again?

    • danvalenti
      June 8, 2012 at 9:50 am #

      Not that we know of. We mention Trojans as a tribute to USC, a reference to Greek mythology, and a way to keep pencils dry when your doing long-hand arithmetic outside and it begins to rain. No other meanings are intended.

      • AMBROSE
        June 8, 2012 at 10:19 am #

        he was working for the sheriff’s dept. and i thought he had to retire at 70.

        • Pittsfield Pete
          June 8, 2012 at 10:53 am #

          Ambrose – you miss the point, it seems according to Dan’s reporting he was fired and he was not given the opportunity to retire some 7 days before the end of the school year.
          If all this turns out to be fact it just begs the question as to Why? the Real Sheriff needed to fire him.

          • Four in one
            June 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

            If it’s fact. Dan himself said he hadn’t officially confirmed it. Also I don’t think Dad Jakes contract runs out at end of school year, he’s an employee of the county jail. I think he was on til the end of the year.

    • Shout Out
      June 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

      A very big Shout Out to Sheriff B for firing Howie at the JRC. Only a little over a week if school left and the guy was fired even though he was not coming back next year anyway. Sounds to me like some major illegal acts were found on Howie Sr, if the Sheriff had to fire him while he was in the verge if leaving anyway.

      Humm! There are so many possible things it could be. Could it be that the DOE discovered all the kids who go there full time and never get taught by a real teacher. Only tutors abound at the JRC. Could it be that both Howie’s were reported to the ethics board. The list goes on…. as there are so many possibilities.

      Either way , good luck Howie Sr don’t let the door hit you on the way out. You are lucky ( for now) that you are not behind the bars if your jail on second st. Who knows perhaps soon you can share a room at the grey bar grill with your son soon.
      The son who misspent some 1.6 million in grant money.
      If course, all just my opinion. Well done Sheriff B’ well done!

  4. Shakes His Head
    June 8, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    If PSD could represent that it didn’t behave without cronyism and acted consistently, I would agree that the unions are a waste of time, but PSD does not, and the employees that are there do need protection from an oft abusive management. Aside from negotiating fair pay and benefits, the union-management relationship is helpful for resolving conflicts.

    • Home Run
      June 8, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      SHH- the problem is the UEP has themselves become a little network of cronies operating within the teachers of our school system.

    • Just a Thought!
      June 9, 2012 at 4:20 am #

      Shakes His Head- I would be interested in hearing more details that could expand on your statement when referring to the UEP…

      ”Aside from negotiating fair pay and benefits,’. … You seem to imply that it is the UEP, on behalf the teachers, who are responsible for the continued pay raises for teachers and their generous benifits. Both of which are supported by the city tax payers.

      I wonder why as yet we have not heard from an official member of the UEP to date? We have heard from the school dept, the school dept, and we hear on The Planet voices of some of the Public. One would think the UEP should at least defend themselves or justify their position for recent pay raises.If such pay raises are much needed then come forth UEP and explain why. It seems it would be the decent thing to do to the public of Pittsfield. The same public who provide you with the luxury of your job. Rather than hiding behind a nameless and faceless UEP speak up, name yourself, state your case. We will sit up and be all ears , I assure you.

      • danvalenti
        June 9, 2012 at 7:08 am #

        We would welcome any member of the UEP, but especially an official, to contribute to this discussion.

      • Molly
        June 9, 2012 at 8:32 am #

        That isn’t going to happen – they’ve already won their raises and they aren’t about to jeopardize that, either.

  5. Teecha Teecha
    June 8, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    And to quote the BB:

    “Controversy surrounding the circumstances of the accident, combined with a magistrate’s decision inviting speculation that Ms. Nilan was accorded favorable treatment because of her father’s influential position, led to an Internet firestorm, and a Las Vegas man with Berkshire ties has been charged with making phone calls threatening Ms. Nilan’s life. We assume justice will emerge in this case, as it has in the Meredith Nilan case.”

    I love the last sentence. They are assuming the man will get a slap on the wrist too! Hell, not even. More like a spanking after letting the kid stuff his pants with toilet paper

  6. Pittsfield Pete
    June 8, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    So true Teach’. Can threatening someone’s life be equated to running some one down and by G-d!s grace the man not being killed.

    The BB is a true joke!

  7. Kevin
    June 8, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    “Las Vegas man with Berkshire ties has been charged with making phone calls threatening Ms. Nilan’s life” Anyone want to bet this Las Vegas man gets a stiffer sentence then Meredith? Although literally slapping the man on the writs would be a stiffer sentence.

    • Shout Out
      June 9, 2012 at 4:42 am #

      A teen in MA gets up to 4 years in jail, for texting while driving and causing an accident that killis a man. He also looses his licence 15 years.

      Meredith Nilian almost kills a man, after crossing the midline on the road, leaves the scene, runs home to have dad call his attorney and could she probably coulf have been charged with a DUI if the cops had been called in time.

      Well She gets a whopping sentence of an apology letter and looses her right to drive only when it is dark out.

      The benifit of havIng a GOB Dad in the court system in Pittsfield. PRICELESS!

      I hope Mr. Moore goes after all the priceless jewels at the Nilian house.

    • Debbie
      June 9, 2012 at 5:59 am #

      Maybe the “Las Vegas Man is just a creative scam by Attorney Shrudy” To make Little Cliffy’s daughter look like the poor victim! …………….The only friends little Cliffy’s has are the was he can buy. I wound not put it past him to pay someone to call and make threats to his own daughter. We already know Cliffy has sold his soul to the devil many years ago to get his position in Probation, I think the road to Hershey Highway needs a new do over. Lets stop filling in the pot holes with the “good ole boy BS” and mix some new gravel.

      • Molly
        June 9, 2012 at 11:47 am #

        I can’t disagree with you on this, although we have no evidence to prove it at all. But it is troubling to me that at the time, the BB made her sound like the victim, and it was also odd that someone as far away as Vegas would do this and be stupid enough to not use a throw-away phone, and also troubling that this person has the same last name as the real victim but no relationship to Peter (although Moore is a very common last name, stillllll – that troubled me). It almost seems like it was architected to get sympathy for Meredeath from the general public. I hope that the PPD did a very thorough investigation on this and hope that they take a good 2nd and 3rd look at it, too.

  8. Shout Out
    June 8, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Sheriff Bowler needs to interview ever kid that spends time at the JRC. From what I hear from my friends who are teachers the JRC isa huge joke . The kids play ping pong all day and sit in
    front of a computer doing some math program to earn credit not to mention that work sent over by teachers to their students is rarely completed by students.

    Can anyone tell us what really took place under Howard Sr’s watch at the JRC?

    • Debbie
      June 9, 2012 at 6:05 am #

      Nothing! just a big fat pay check by you, the tax payers! That’s our system lets keep the kids in the system to fail so they keep paying and the “Joker”. Who keeps getting richer.

      • Molly
        June 9, 2012 at 11:53 am #

        From what I hear, the kids play pool, ping pong, and basketball all day long. And carry out their gang activities, too. It’s a huge joke to the kids.

  9. Molly
    June 8, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    There has been much speculation (although I personally have not heard of anything specific) regarding why Jake was stepping down. I have always thought that it had something to do with his father and since Jake is the “man in charge” of the schools, he likely knew about it and allowed it to continue. Then I speculated that a few members of the School Committee found out about it and allowed him to step down on his own. He was SO revered by that School Committee, yet I never heard a single word about their trying to talk him out of it or WHY he was stepping down. But that was just my speculating – I had no credible basis for this hypothesis. But now that “Daddy” has been fired, just a week before school ends for the summer and even though he stated that he was stepping down before the end of the year — Hmmmmmmmm. Has anyone heard that Jake’s resignation and Daddy’s firing are related in any way? It all just seems too coincidental — something is going on there!

    • Just a Thought!
      June 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      Agreed Molly! There seems to be a lot more questions surrounding the two Howard’s then there are clear answers. One wonders if any one will ever get to the bottom if it all.

      • Ed Shepardson
        June 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

        Did you, who hides behind the name “just a thought,” refer to someone on this blog as a coward? That’s interesting.

        • danvalenti
          June 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

          We thank you for using your name, but at the same time, we respect the choice that many make to post anonymously. We appreciate your contributions.

    • Chet Murphy
      June 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      Nancy Yet again just rumors on the web. Whats wrong with getting the truth first before people blog about rumors?

      • danvalenti
        June 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

        We’re outing you at least this far: “CHET MURPHY” and “CHET HUNTER” are the same person, posting under these two names. We share that with out readers, because we thinks they should know truths such as this. Keep your comments on topic, please. This is both a warning and an advanced thanks.

        • Chet Hunter
          June 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm #


          • Home Run
            June 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

            Chet – it does sound like you are bringing this to an all time low with such comments to
            Dan. . Since you have had a few drinks stay away from the keyboard, so you won’t write something you regret in the AM. Just trying to help you out Chet!

          • Pittsfield Pete
            June 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

            I vote for Dan to out Chet! He/she has been given fair warning, but continues to bullyothers on the forum. ( such as Molky to nane a few)

            Hey Chet, unlike other forums you are used to operating in WE don’t care for your bullying. Were not kids in a classroom without a voice or some fools you chose to bully with strong legal backing behind you. Not to mention deep pockets. Unlike other forums YOU feel you operate and operate in , on the Planet, people can indeed agree to disagree and speak their mind without fear of reprisail.

            It seems to me Chet that you must have a lot to lose if you act this way. Man up / Woman up Chet , let your brain argue the points you may disagree with not your brawn or the brawn of those you hide behind while you bully others.

      • Molly
        June 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

        Chet – if you’ll take notice, I did not state anything as fact and instead stated very clearly that there was no basis but just “made me wonder” and then asked if anyone has any “real” information about this. That’s a lot different than just posting “I heard this rumor” and “I heard that rumor” and stating them as facts. Big difference! I like to deal with facts and asked if anyone has any facts.

        And again I’ll state that it is a bit odd to have both son and Daddy leaving at the same time — one resigned and one fired. Where there is smoke, there is fire and “something” is going on there! Since it is “we the people” who have paid these huge sums of money for their salary and they, in fact, work for us – we have a right to know! Like it or not, that’s the way it is. This information will come out and then it will make the School Committee look very bad, too.

        • Pittsfield Pete
          June 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

          Molly – what you say is so true. It is not a welcomed fact by any in the system, when it is pointed out that the school dept are operating on the city’s payroll. From Admin on down to teachers and their UEP they like to ignore this fact.

          From my point of view, I even feel that they get so arrogant and indignant when the public even dares to ask such questions.

          The people of Pittsfield need to be heard and have every right to ask questions. Even if the head mucky mucks get annoyed… questions need to keep coming. The school comm are not in my book acting in the interest of the public( except 2) Instead they seem only to be worried about protecting themselves and the present members of the Adminstation.

          Perhaps the city council will be more receptive to the pleas of the public . Every tax payer in the city should write to the city council to stop this GOB spending and back scratching madness. After all, it is the city council who have the final vote of approving/ denying the school budget. While the city council is at it they should demand an audit of the school dept books too.

        • Chet Hunter
          June 8, 2012 at 7:42 pm #


          • Molly
            June 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

            You know my name is Nancy because I told you and everyone that! But I like Molly better and am also more known as Molly. Is that ok with you? Do I have your permission? Why do you write as Chet Hunter? Why do you write as Chet Murphy? Afraid to let us know who you really are? Many (but not me) call that being a coward. But I will say that it’s pretty ballsy to not use your real name and then condemn me. Why not be productive and add to the current discussion instead of just condemning everyone else? So let’s hear it – what do you have?

          • Just a Thought!
            June 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

            Molly- right on! Chet clearly is a coward and a bully. Plus by the sounds if it can not keep something told to her in confidence. How low !

  10. Chet Hunter
    June 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    All you rumor mongers are worse than a bunch of old ladies sitting around gossiping ! Get a Life people!

    • Home Run
      June 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      Were trying to get our life back Chet! But our taxes are so high supporting the UEP and top heavy school dept we can’t even afford to buy a beer on a Friday after work. We are reduced to looking at all those who seem to ‘Have’ on our account and we are left to chat on our computer.

      Enjoy your night out Chet with all your cronies !

      • Chet Murphy
        June 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

        Home Run You need to get out of your basement and get a life! The world does not revolve around The Planet!

        • Molly
          June 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

          Ya know, you are right! I agree. The world revolves around the sun – which is a star and not a planet. I’d also suggest to you that you take your own advice — you seem to post more than anyone.

          • Just a Thought!
            June 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

            Molly- how true, it seems Chet’s star may not shine too bright. Chet may not even know her A-s from her elbow. Or her stars from her planets. Either way you cut it , Chet does not light up a room with her shining light or great knowledge of our universe.

          • Molly
            June 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

            Is Chet a “she”?

    • Home Run
      June 8, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      Our town is being fleeced by the GOB’s in the school system. The school budget is a joke. The School Dept and UEP are like lice living and our pockets are the hosts

      Any one remember the days when the teachers would march on park square carrying signs for a new raise and new contract? It happened a few years in a row about 3-4 years ago.

      I for one say ‘We the Public’ have our own march on Park Square and carry our own signs.

      I am willingly carry one saying….

      ‘Stop being a Host! Kill the UEP ‘ or how about…

      ‘ Time to Take Our City Coffers Back’

      All other suggestions welcome, please add.

    • Just a Thought!
      June 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

      Chet- in fairness old lady gossip is usually harmless. What is being discussed here on a daily basis with regards to our city’s school budget is far from harmless.

      In fact , the majority of the tax payers stand to lose much. While others stand to reap much without having to put in a decent and honest amount of work. While some, such as yourself, cast such discussions as idle gossip the majority of us town folk are far from wilIing to keep paying through the nose for ‘ a top heavy and bloated school system. ‘

      Your willingness, Chet to be so glib as to cast these discussions as ‘old lady gossip’ only identifies you as one of the many who benifit from this system and live rather nicely off of city taxpayers backs. Chet, I assure you, this is far from ‘old lady gossip’.

    • skier1
      June 8, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      It’s simple. If you don’t like what’s written, don’t read. If you don’t like what’s on tv, change the channel. Common sense would say that you shouldn’t read what you don’t like.

      • levitan
        June 8, 2012 at 7:16 pm #


        You can try all you like, but you really cannot get citizens to keep their mouths and minds shut.

        Keep trying, and don’t hold your breath (or better, do!)

  11. Ray Ovac
    June 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    DV, it seems to me that your column today is all about incompetence and corruption.
    Corruption and incompetence in the judiciary which in the Nilan hit-and-run case first gave us the Asst. Magistrate Nathan Byrnes decision and now has provided us with the Judge Michael Mulcahy decision. Both verdicts, of course, are utter travesties of justice.
    Corruption and incompetence in the executive branch in rendering a Pittsfield school budget that offers broad spending increases in the middle of the Great Obama Depression.
    It all begs the question just who are the people responsible for giving us so much corruption and incompetence at so many differing levels of state and local government?

  12. Molly
    June 8, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    I was wrong — teachers DO get Medicare AND GIC Medicare plans which pays for everything that Medicare doesn’t pay for. Nice! Very nice! Wish I could get that!

    Page Numbered 9, or Page 11 of Adobe entitled, “Medicare and your GIC Benefits”.

    • Pittsfield Pete
      June 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      Did I read correctly? Retired teachers get subsidized health benefits? Please don’t tell me that the city of Pittsfield pays for that too. I hope I am reading this wrong.

      Molly or anyone else – Can you clarify for me?

      • Molly
        June 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

        The state of Mass pays. They are eligible for Medicare, and then they have a separate plan to pay for anything that Medicare doesn’t pay for. And for their spouse and dependents, too. The unfunded liability on state employees pensions for FY2010 was 20 BILLION dollars! Although they are somewhat considered state employees, the Mass Teachers have a separate pension plan and health benefits than other state employees.

        Teachers can retire after 20 years of service, or after 10 years of service if they are 55 years old, with full pension and health benefits. If they don’t have 20 years of service (or 10 years if 55), they can purchase service if they want to.

        I don’t know if Pittsfield receives an annual bill from the state to pay for this or not…

        • Pittsfield Pete
          June 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

          Thanks Molly. A very clear and to the point answer. It’s nice to have the Pete’s presented void of a personal insult and attack.

          • Pittsfield Pete
            June 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

            Sorry – no pun intended …Pete’s should read Points.

        • Debbie
          June 9, 2012 at 6:31 am #

          How do the tax payers feel about Nilan and Barbalunga getting 80% of their pension that would be about $88,000 a year for retirement. How corrupt is that? Both do nothing! both should not still have their jobs! I think Barbalunga should get off the school committee ASAP! That’s a conflict of interest with his state job. He uses the Probation Office to do all his school committee work on tax payers money. Cliffy does all his parks department work on state time. The tax people of Pittsfield don’t want this corruption anymore!

          • danvalenti
            June 9, 2012 at 7:11 am #

            Both the city of Pittsfield and the state are in urgent need of pension reform. The unfunded liabilities of Pittsfield taxpayers to city retirees is now near $400,000,000. That will only climb. There will come a point when, short of pension reform, the taxpayers obligations will send the city into bankruptcy. People don’t remember the little publicized move back in the 80s, when the city council, doing the bidding of its masters, uncapped municipal pensions. That silent move will prove Pittsfield’s undoing. The only remedy is radical pension overhaul, but our politicians don’t have the guts.

    • Chet Hunter
      June 8, 2012 at 7:45 pm #


      • Pittsfield Pete
        June 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

        Chet- yet again you reduce yourself to personal attacks. Let your strength come from the strong base and logic of the arguments you wish to make. Don’t base them on personal attacks. People only need to make attacks personal when they defend a very very weak position or argument.

        State your case Chet. Take a stand, no need for personal attacks. (Of course, I do assume you do have a strong case to make here based in solid logic and not on some skewed sense of entitlement. )

      • Molly
        June 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

        You don’t know what you’re talking about — no welfare here! I did work my entire life, though, paying for all the lowlife’s in Pittsfield who are on Welfare. And for all of the teacher’s retirement plans and I think likely your salary, too, with all of the taxes that I have paid. Geeeesh – I must be a real threat to you with all of these attacks! I agree with Pittsfield Pete – state your opinion. All you do is attack me. Don’t be too afraid – it’s just little Molly, stating her opinion!

        • Scott
          June 9, 2012 at 4:19 am #

          Molly informed citizens are the biggest threats. You are as informed as every parent with kids in Pittsfield school should be. There’s a whole lot more to it then just dropping them off in the morning I wish it was that simple and I was personally that naive at one point.

  13. joetaxpayer
    June 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Why would the Supt. add a Dean of students job to a elementary school because they have had a enrollment bumb that could change.Please stop being so top heavy and start thinking outside the box.I really think the school budget and the 100% share the city carries are seperate in the Supt. mind.He does not relealize the repairing of buildings and benefits that he keeps adding are crushing our city.It is time to privatize as many position as possible and yes maybe close a elementary school.No more full day pre-K and find a way to get out of Mercir and Hibbard.

    • bobbyd
      June 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

      Dude, Hibbard has been closed to students for like 2 or 3 years now. It’s just used as a warehouse now.

      • joetaxpayer
        June 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

        Dude, it is being used by the school dept. for a warehouse that we as taxpayer our paying for.The building should be put up for sale and put back on the tax roles.The City of Pittsfield owns hundreds of properties and should merge as many as possible Same goes for Mercer, this building is costing the taxpayers, it is time to get out.If anyone had any balls they would close one of are many elementary schools and merge both operations into the closed school.Now Dude that would be cool!

      • Home Run
        June 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

        Yeah bobby is right. Hibbard was closed and is used as a warehouse. All/ most of the kids who went to Hibbard were sent to the JRC.

        Humm , close Hibbard and fill the JRC with the students from Hibbard. The same JRC that had Howard Sr at the healm. Did I mention Howard Sr son is Jake the super’ of our schools.

        I agree with Joe- close Mercer and while you are at it put all personnel who work at Mercer to work at the Hibbard warehouse. At least if they are just moving boxes, there is less ofa chance they will be taking our tax dollars.

    • Just a Thought!
      June 8, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      I just read the Gazette. It states, Pittsfield Taxes are likely to go up 2.4 percent in the near future to support the city budget. I guess the UEP gets a raise, we fail to have lay offs in the school system that start at the top and the school dept parades folks to cry how ‘Our Children’ will suffer if the school budget is not increased.

      Please, school comm’ UEP, School Dept staff get a grip and stop squeezing us all to death. I know, I can’t take a 2.4 percent tax hike as unlike the UEP I have not gotten a pay raise.

      Mayor Bianchi and City Council- hear our crys. Do not pass the school budget. Enough is enough!

      • Molly
        June 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

        I watched the School Committee meeting on PCTV today. Numerous times our mayor stated that he’s trying to keep the increase in property taxes down to 2.5% this year! WHAT? Yet another increase?! We just cannot afford yet another tax increase or at least I know that I can’t! They just don’t “get it” — enough is enough and we can’t be squeezed any further.

        This meeting was horrendous! Jake was just giving presentations that don’t show the “real thing” but just cause confusion – it’s all very sleazy. Kathy Amuso wanted to end the meeting and schedule an additional meeting for early next week as it was 10pm and they had “an explosive Executive Session” (as quoted from Alf) to do yet (what is that about?) and it was obvious, at least to me, that she wanted time to look through the actual budget. Alf, on the other hand, was ready to vote right then and there as he feels very comfortable with the proposed budget. (surprise, surprise). I know that I’m confused – they’re talking about a $1 million cut with mayor’s budget or a $600,000 cut with Jake’s budget. What? What about the $1 million that the mayor added to last year’s budget? In the end, there will be an additional meeting on Tuesday evening, but Alf is “too busy” to attend it and so Dan Elias will chair it. Which is what happened at the beginning of this meeting – Alf wasn’t there and Dan Elias chaired that portion. During which time, Terry Kinnas was asking a question and Elias cut him off saying that there’s not time right then for that kind of discussion and then Kathy Amuso chimed in and he allowed her to talk for a very long time! I couldn’t believe it – it was blatant!

        Then I heard that the school budget is being raised this year by $722,000 from last year. What? Where did THAT figure come from? It was a total mess and I think intentionally, too. So we’re raising the budget amount by $722,000, PLUS the $1 million that the Mayor agreed to raise it by, AND having cuts? I couldn’t make head nor tails out of this. Yet Alf was comfortable and so he wanted to just end the discussion but warned everyone that the vote will be taken at next week’s meeting and so “be ready to vote” as there will be no further discussions next week. Nice.

        Then the mayor stated numerous times that the Latin program will NOT be cut! With what – 4 students wanting to take Latin we’re going to do that?

        And I can’t end this without commenting on Katherine Yon. She will go along with WHATEVER Alf says! It doesn’t matter what it is – she just goes along with whatever he wants! It’s truly amazing to watch. And very sad, too. I do respect her as she was a teacher in our schools for years on end and I think that she is very committed to them and she truly cares about the schools. But she really doesn’t belong on a School Committee as it appears that she can’t think for herself. I also think that Conant sleeps through every meeting! And the lack of respect for Terry Kinnas is just awful and comes through loud and clear.

        I was glad when the meeting ended, I’ll say that!

        • Pittsfield Pete
          June 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

          Molly.. This summary of the events as I too saw them last week was short of a three ring circus. It is just maddening to see these fools you mention act like bafoons playing on a jungle gym. They act with such indefference to the gravity of the situation. Not to mention taking the public for fools. It seems they have no idea how transparent they all are with their own agenda and cronie loyalty.

          The majority on the comm’ are a sad bunch of pathetic fools, who regurally insult our intelligence with their sheer incompetence. They act like they are playing with monopoly money when they start adding a million here and a million there.

          These fools should not even be given their own debit card to try manage let alone a muti- million dollar school budget.

          Get a grip School Comm members!! If you are not up to the task step down now- if you feel you are up to the task then act like it.

        • dusty
          June 10, 2012 at 3:27 am #

          The school committee has been stacked with the lemming types. They would not be on the board if they had not agreed ahead of time to do as they were told. They are the same brotherhood as Rubertos city council. The Yons? What do you expect from a Yon? Elias has been training to be the next Alf. And Conant is a died in the wool GOB from way back. Do not expect any help from him.

          That is how I see it.

          • danvalenti
            June 10, 2012 at 8:57 am #

            The proof is in the votes, and except for Kinnas and the mayor, I don’t see much eagerness to reform a system badly in need of it.

        • Levitan
          June 11, 2012 at 9:04 am #

          2.5% increase accounts for inflation. Not raising taxes for inflation would likely result in a huge hit years later as payment for artificially suppressing the tax revenues.

          That said, the school committee asks for 4.5% increase in budget. That is where anger should be directed, Molly.

          • Molly
            June 11, 2012 at 10:41 am #

            Actually, the way that Prop. 2 1/2 is structured, a no increase would not need to result in a huge hit years later; but you’re right – it likely would. However, considering the amount of increases that the taxpayers have endured every single year of the Ruberto Administration, should make this a year that there are NO increases – the “averaging out” of increases should’ve hit their limit by now and perhaps that’s why our Mayor wants to keep it at 2 1/2% – maybe he HAS to! I’ll have to look into that – perhaps that’s all he legally can raise it!

            As for directing my anger, I’m angry at the School Committee, I’m angry at our mayor, I’m angry at the former mayor for inputing automatic flower waterers and “street scrape” that didn’t produce anything worthwhile, and for the Berkshire Common, I’m angry at Deanna Rufer (and our mayor for keeping her on) for wasting SO much money re-doing a house that no one wants!, on and on and on — I’m angry at all of the waste and there is lots! It’s so maddening that I don’t have any extra money at the end of the month to “waste” or to “splurge” on a nice dinner out yet they go through my tax money like water and waste it all over the place. It needs to stop…I’m more than willing to pay for what is needed (like more police if they name a different and good permanent chief), Or to lower the commercial rate to attract businesses (and jobs) here, etc. But just adding more wasteful money to the PPS is definitely NOT one of the ways that I’d choose to spend our money — the waste there is already unbelievable!

          • Levitan
            June 11, 2012 at 11:18 am #

            I just don’t get why you are angry at the current Mayor when he is going to bat against the School Committee and the Council.

            He isn’t playing “go along to get along”, he is taking a big risk of losing union votes next time.

            I see an appropriate adjustment of the budget. The excesses are a product of bad management prior to Bianchi.

            Go ahead, and shoot everyone who is in the corner office, but you’ll have yourself to thank when Krol or whoever comes next.

  14. Just a Thought
    June 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Joe- can you enlighten me as to what a Dean of Students does! I have never heard of such a thing at a school level. College yes ! But at an elementary level- Come on!

    Perhaps it is just another way of giving a title to a position that duplicates services. Still I have no clue what a Dean of Students would do at a secondary or elementary school level.

    • Shell Game
      June 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      Basically, it is a title that allows the person to be paid whatever he/she negotiates in their individual contract…..there is NO Massachusetts Dept. of Education Certification for Dean of Students. Everyone else: teachers, principals, assistant principals have to be certified, but there is no certification for Dean of Students. It is any easy way to “slip” someone (who usually is connected) into the Administrators’s pay bracket, who does not yet have the course work to be a certified administrator….At the elementary level I think there is a Dean of Students at CT Plunkett in Adams, MA not sure about the rest of the county.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    What is unbelievable is how did Jake Sr. ever got the job in the first place with his past. This is fact Chet.

    I read how the new clown on the council (Barry) has on the agenda Tuesday a no turn on red at Lebanon Ave. coming out to West Housatonic St. Iam I wrong or shouldn’t that be the ward councilors job?? Plus why do we need that anyway. Barry worry about some more serious issues.

    • Molly
      June 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      OMG – we have Gang Members shooting (and killing) each other on the streets of Pittsfield, punks attacking elderly men in the daylight and beating them almost to death and literally running others down with their car and getting away with it, drug dealing everywhere you look, schools that we pay a fortune for and that suck and with a total lack of control with the students, an overwhelming amount of people in this city on welfare and food stamps, etc., mostly due to the total lack of jobs here, “something major” going on with the Superintendent of schools and his Daddy who makes mega-bucks at the JRC, in my opinion a totally corrupt chairman of the School Committee, a tax rate that is preventing any new companies from coming here and that is now being raised yet again, a PEDA board that does nada and is refusing to report to the City Council and is thus far getting away with that, in my opinion a totally corrupt city newspaper, an “acting” fire chief that after the lawsuit over the Lieutenant position we find out just what an idiot he is and an “acting” police chief that was only on the force for what – 7 years? when he was named acting chief and he obviously has quite a few “bad apples” that are tainting the entire force and he just covers it up, a bunch of “left-over personnel” from the Ruberto ‘regime’ that should’ve been gone long ago but that the new mayor obviously plans to keep for whatever unknown reason – on and on and on, and an “At Large” Councilman is worried about turning right on red at Lebanon Avenue???

      I keep having “hope” and belief in our city but am now realizing that I am again being very naive. We are “toast”!

      • Ed
        June 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

        Amen. It’s a shame Mayor Bianchi, “doesn’t read blogs”. Isn’t this his sixth month in office or 25% of his term. Interesting on where he currently is on his campaign promises.

        • danvalenti
          June 10, 2012 at 9:01 am #

          To say the mayor has been cautious is like calling a heckler impolite. The next six months will tell all. He has taken a far too enabling attitude to the snakes that have the school department (and its spending) wrapped up. We need a mayor who is going to throw a few foot stool and overturn a few tables in the locker room. This polite and civil bit won’t work, not with the degree of corruption in Pittsfield.

          • Levitan
            June 11, 2012 at 9:08 am #

            I disagree. We have witnessed the Mayor take his place on boards that did not welcome him, accept appointments that they opposed, accomodate struggling businesses by moving street work to after-hours, dismiss non-perperforming members of licensing boards, and now he is sticking to his guns on the school budget.

            And that is just the stuff that got printed in the Eagle. Not bad for just 25% of first term of coming in as an outsider to that rat’s nest.

          • Molly
            June 11, 2012 at 10:54 am #

            Levitan – I disagree with that. I’ve witnessed him backing down to Alf and the School Committee on numerous occasions and now again, with the school budget AND things like the Latin Class (we’re going to hold that for 4 kids?), I’ve witnessed him allowing the “Acting” Chief to cover things up thereby tainting the entire force, he has taken his place on boards and nothing has happened since. He has left people like Colliingwood and Rufer on his staff that are more corrupt than anyone and very good at wasting our money. I keep waiting, trying to be patient, but it’s just not there from him!

          • Levitan
            June 11, 2012 at 11:21 am #

            Molly, if you disagree with what I wrote, how come you don’t show what elements are not arguable.

            Saying “I disagree with your list” and coming up with some other list completely irrelevant to my point is not persuasive.

      • Debbie
        June 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

        Right again Molly, every word! I think its time to send a message to the people outside of this corrupt City- every taxpayer who owns a home or property in Pittsfield should post a FOR SALE sign in there front yards. It will send a message that “WE THE PEOPLE ” have had enough of paying high taxes for a broken school system and a corrupt court system. Call the TV stations and let them come to Pittsfield and tell the story! ITS TIME TO GO GREEN AND TAKE OUR MONEY BACK FROM THESE THIEVES WHO LEGALLY STEAL FROM THE TAX PAYERS. How would it look if someone drove through Pittsfield and looked at Thousands of for sale signs. Not good! Sure would get some attention!

        • danvalenti
          June 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

          Great idea, Debbie. What the city needs is more fire from the ordinary folks. You could be their Joan of Arc. The city is lucky to have such passion.

          • Levitan
            June 12, 2012 at 5:57 am #


            Fire misdirected and not well focused burns out fast. Hate to beat the metaphor to death.

  16. Scott
    June 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    I usually stay out of the School dept stuff but hey I have an interest in seeing budget cuts. I’ll go.

  17. Ron Kitterman
    June 9, 2012 at 4:55 am #

    ” led to an Internet firestorm, and a Las Vegas man with Berkshire ties has been charged with making phone calls threatening Ms. Nilan’s life. We assume justice will emerge in this case, as it has in the Meredith Nilan case. ” I guess this proves the sticks and stones theory wrong.

  18. Four in one
    June 9, 2012 at 5:51 am #

    “Internet firestoprm.” They are afraid of saying “on Planet Valenti” becaues PV has beaten the BB to a pulp and no doubt speeded up the BBs inevitable decline into folding!!

  19. Browning
    June 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    The Suns game Saturday night was dead. Games take forever, too much non-baseball stuff, too many drunks.
    Enjoyed Andy P’s review. Not my kind of music but glad Planet is featuring the unusual.
    Finally, the school depaertment is a corrupt outfit that has the politicians in a stranglehold and the heck with the taxpayers. How disgusting. Thanks for the honest coverage, DV.

  20. Molly
    June 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    OMG! I forgot all about the “School Building Needs Commission” – I haven’t heard anything about it for a long while now. I would’ve expected to during these “negotiations” with the current budget but heard nada. You really need to read at least the last 3 meeting minutes (they are short) – they are talking like this is a “done deal”, and I’m sure it is! So in addition to well over a million dollar increase in the school budget this year causing at minimum a 2.5% increase in our taxes yet again, there will also be all new school busses at a cost of millions of dollars, AND a brand new Taconic High School which will likely require this city to get a HUGE loan to pay for its portion and our taxes will continue to increase every single year (although I don’t think anyone has any idea of what this will cost, yet they’re talking like it’s a ‘done deal’). Here’s the link to the meeting minutes:

    And then I looked at who our Mayor has appointed to this commission. Carmen Massimiano?? (Hasn’t attended at least the last 3 meetings), Tricia Farley-Bouvier?? (Who seems to have taken over everything), Barry Clairmont??, Jon Krol??, Peter Marchetti??, Warren Dews (VP Circulation, Berkshire Eagle)??? And on and on it goes! Here’s the link to the members of this commission:

    I thought that this new mayor was suppose to be so different than Ruberto and his regime? Look at who he has appointed to this commission! Why wasn’t the cost of this being discussed during these budget negotiations? Why haven’t these things been headlines in the BB? They just keep spending and spending and spending! They don’t get that we are all ‘tapped out’ and can’t afford another penny in increased taxes never mind these multi-million dollar projects! I just can’t believe it — we are SO screwed!

    • danvalenti
      June 10, 2012 at 8:59 am #

      Your “truthing” provides a dose of reality for those who claim government in Pittsfield is on the up and up.

      • Levitan
        June 11, 2012 at 9:11 am #

        A bit shrill if you ask me, Dan.

        • Molly
          June 11, 2012 at 11:01 am #

          Which is it, Dan – shrill or a dose of reality? You really need to make up your mind…

          • Levitan
            June 11, 2012 at 11:22 am #

            It’s shrill, but I’m not Dan. I’m Levitan. Dan and I are completely unrelated. I would have thought your hiatus would have resolved that issue.

          • danvalenti
            June 11, 2012 at 11:56 am #

            I’m not following you here.

    • Ed Shepardson
      June 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

      Yes Molly, we are so screwed unless we start to speak up. And I don’t think that’s gonna happen. We are not the Greatest Generation.

    • Debbie
      June 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

      Post those for sale signs in your front yard! Let’s send a message. It takes an army to win the war. ” For Sale can’t afford the taxes” then list the Mayor’s phone number!

  21. Tim
    June 10, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    I’m confused, and think Moores mom is offbase a little bit here… I’m no legal expert, but have worked in/with the system before… I thought Nilan pleaded out… If that’s the case, then Moore shouldn’t have had an opportunity to speak in court, so his mom shouldn’t be dissappointed with that… Maybe she can still FEEL dissappointment, but that aspect of the system is what it is and has nothing to do with Pittsfield politics, gob’s, rotten system, etc.

    However a victim witness advocate should definitely have been assigned. I’ve seen them busting their humps in court, so they arent the type to blow off a major victim like this. my only thoughts are that since capeless had to back off due to conflict of interest, his entire office did too. Still an outside advocate should have been appointed.

    • danvalenti
      June 10, 2012 at 8:56 am #

      Excellent post, well measured, reasoned. THE PLANEt thanks you.

    • Susan Moore
      June 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      Tim, I was a Victim Advocate back in the day in CT before there were any laws on the books for Crime Victims. But thankfully now all Victims of Crime have the Right to make an Impact Statement. You get to stand up and speak for a few minutes about how the crime changed your life. Usually the Victim is aware of a plea deal and has agreed to it –and that is the actual one that occurs in court and not changed at the last minute— But after all it is called the Criminal Justice System for a reason and you are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt— even with photos of where your head went through their windshield. If you would like to learn more about your rights as a Victim in MA go to this site which will explain:

      I’m proud to say that I have testified and helped to get laws on the books for crime victims as part of my life long career in criminal justice. I was a presenter, program developer and law enforcement trainer in the field after years of working with hundreds of crime victims and their families. I am just appalled that a member of my family was treated this way by that very system I worked so hard to improve.

      • Pittsfield Pete
        June 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

        Agreeded Mrs. Moore you have had to carry the burden of much in justice as a victim. Not to mention the suffering Peter has had to endure and continues to recover from. I do hope you will get your day in court and an opportunity to speak to the unimaginable impact these events have had on you as a family. After all one is entitled to take their dog for a walk which out assuming such acts by nilians would occur. The accident was in itself a misjustice but the cover up has been a true and gross manipulation of the ‘ justice’ system which each of you have had to carry.

        I know it is if little solice but please know that in the court of moral standing and public opinion the nilians are grossly guilty and hugely negligent.

        On a separate note, thank you for your work in the courts on behalf of victims. I do hope you will be heard soon and have a day in court.

      • danvalenti
        June 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

        You are an honorable woman, a beautiful woman, and a person who deserves all the respect and support the entire community is giving you. You have overwhelming support from the good people of Pittsfield, ordinary people, who have been victimized for too long by corruption beyond belief. Please continue to advocate on behalf of Peter.

    • Molly
      June 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

      Number one, Meredeath Nilan pleaded “guilty” and, therefore, there’s nothing left to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. She’s guilty and she said so herself. Then comes the sentencing and at that point, prior to handing down the sentence, the judge should’ve heard a victim’s impact statement! And that impact statement should have also played into the sentence that the judge gave her! What makes you think that he had no right to give that victim impact statement? Good people, like Mrs. Moore herself, have fought for years for the victims of crimes to have that right and they have been victorious in that battle.

      I found your comments to be very condescending to say the least. “MAYBE she can still FEEL disappointment…”. Geee – how generous of you! With what Peter Moore has been through and with the less than a slap on the wrist that Meredeath received, perhaps she would’ve been given a more reasonable sentence if the victim were allowed to state just what this has done to his life and he had EVERY RIGHT to do so!

      • Debbie
        June 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

        Believe in Karma! The Nilan’s haven’t slept in months. Cliffy looks like an old lady. I can’t even say the word man because he isn’t. The Moore’s deserve to have justice and they will get it! It just won’t be here in ” JOKESFIELD” I think everyone who reports to Superior Court Probation and pays $65.00 a month for Probation fees should ask Nilan how is Mr. Moore doing? My bet is he doesn’t even know Mr. Moore’s name. Please print the letter of apology in the paper. I would like to read how she thought Mr. Moore was a deer/dog when he was looking at her through the wind shield! Remember the Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

        • Levitan
          June 12, 2012 at 5:54 am #

          When planning for revenge, remember to dig two graves.


  22. The Kraken
    June 10, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Different mayor, same results. Nothing changes around here. I think Bianchi has caved to pressure already.

    • Levitan
      June 11, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      I take exception to the causality implied by “mayor…results.”

      I pity anyone who tries to step up and make a difference with a baseline of support such as that. If Bianchi is reading this blog, I hope he takes some comfort that I appreciate the good effort in promoting good governance.

  23. Browning
    June 10, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Heard some interesting rumbles regarding Daddy Jake and Boy Jake. Anyone heard anything?

    • dusty
      June 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      The Berkshire Eagle will not diss a bona fide GOB soldier. If you do not see a story then you know why.

      • Home Run
        June 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

        Agree Dusty

        The story lies in what is not printed by the BB. Ironic statement about a Newspaper indeed.

        • danvalenti
          June 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

          What is NOT printed in the BB, on a daily basis, would make for a best-selling newspaper.

      • taxmano
        June 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

        No. what did you hear.?Do tell!

    • Molly
      June 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

      Browning – please let us know what you have heard. Please state that it is just what you heard and has not been proven or stated as fact, yet – but please also share the rumbles. Thanks!

  24. Jeannie
    June 10, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Pittsfield’s PCB remediation, the GE consent decree, public safety solutions tax relief,,and most importantly job creation, all appear to be in the abyss of political

  25. Home Run
    June 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm #


    Stop baiting people. Say what you have to say, if you do indeed have something to add. But don’t dare others to say stuff you dare not say yourself in a public forum . Man-up Browning say it for yourself , hide not behind others words.

  26. Levitan
    June 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Here’s a post that pertains to whether anger and vitriol should be directed at the mayor.

    BE comment

    I heard John Krol and school committee member Kathy Yon say this morning that everything was so much easier and better under ruberto than it is at present. That’s because ruberto never set a limit or asked any questions like Mayor Bianchi is doing now ruberto blindly gave the superintendent whatever he asked for.

    Thanks, JG.

  27. Phil Shifley
    June 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Alf Barbaluga and Clif Niland are a joke, how these 2 [REDACTED] have their jobs is beyond me, Barbalunga should have been fired in 1999 when John O’Brien was suspended after an investigation began into his agency’s hiring and promotion of probation officers, O’Brien’s hiring practices had been the subject of front-page stories in The Boston Globe, which detailed what it said was an agency where patronage was rampant and where political contributions helped advance careers,One of the officials named in the Globe’s report on patronage in the Probation Department was Alfred E. “Alf” Barbalunga, South Berkshire District Court’s chief probation officer.

    The Globe said Barbalunga’s father, the retired judge Alfred A. Barbalunga, is friendly with O’Brien, and that the younger Barbalunga went unscathed after a 1999 investigation for poor job performance as a probation officer in North Adams, which included complaints he wasn’t always showing up for work. A judge recommended Barbalunga be fired and another pushed for a reprimand, but in the end he received no discipline.

    Three years later, in 2002, O’Brien promoted Barbalunga to chief probation officer at the South Berkshire District Court.

    Now the other [REDACTED] Clif Niland, Stracuzzis best bud who hid his prior convictions on charges connected with his arrest in Biddeford, Maine, for incidents involving underage male teenagers from the board of directors at Greylock Federal Credit Union for six years also there was no evidence Stracuzzi ever served his court-ordered sentence of probation….how do these scum bags get away with it?….there needs to be a petition signed to have these two bottom feeders stripped of their titles, take away their tax payed pensions, and thrown in Jail…truly disgusting.

    • Debbie
      June 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      Well said Phil. I think you forgot to mention how much did Daddy have to pay for his son to slide into that position! If I had to guess, I bet twice the amount of money that Little man Cliffy paid Attorney Shrudy to get his daughter off with a little slap on the hand CWOF. Just like the little slap Cliffy received from the Commissioner’s Office for not doing his job for supervising Stracuzzi. I am glad to see you did your homework Phil. Not many people know enough to google these two Jokesters and read HALF the truth. Just think if they took the pensions away from 3 corrupt people Nilan, Barbalunga, the old Sheriff “Chester” that would save the tax people $270,000 a year. WOW ! that’s alot of money.