PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, Friday, JUNE 15, 2012) — It’s enough to raise the dead.

Sources say the irate calls made yesterday to various of my Right Honorable Good Friends in public office from Debbie Dwyer of Dwyer Funeral Home were likely more venting than anything else, since the city council will likely not be able to do anything about it. If Ms. Dwyer can be believed, and she has an excellent reputation for veracity, she does have a gripe.


“It,” THE PLANET has learned through reliable sources, is the apparent out-of-court compromise agreement hammered out between the city of Pittsfield and Spectrum Health System regarding the opening of a methadone clinic in Pittsfield. Spectrum wanted to locate the clinic downtown a building on Summer Street, across from the Columbus Avenue parking deck. The city fought the application in court.

Court insiders then and now (see PLANET Dec. 1, 2011, Archives) agreed the city had little chance of winning in its attempt to prevent Spectrum from locating in Pittsfield via zoning legislation, as a petition filed by Ward 6 councilor John Krol suggested. The city filed suit as leverage in negotiations, although, given this new location, Summer Street would have been the far better location.

The agreement reached between city solicitor Kathy Degnan and Spectrum attorneys, sources say, will locate the meth clinic at or near Stoddard Avenue and North Street, in a building adjacent to the Dwyer parking lot.

There is a discrepancy on who talked to whom. The mayor’s office is saying it talked to Dwyer Funeral Home. Darren Lee, the assistant city solicitor, supposedly talked to Dwyer a few months ago regarding shared use of the parking lot. Dwyer did not agree to the use of the lot by Spectrum, sources say. One source is saying the mayor’s office says Dwyer agreed to the use. Therein lies to apparent disagreement.

Sources say the deal is close to being announced and “could be signed within a few days.” The city council would not appear to have jurisdiction or influence. A city source admitted Pittsfield had little chance in the courts in winning the case, and it filed suit only to delay the process so that there would be more time to negotiate an alternate location other than Summer Street. The compromise deal, we are hearing, is next to Dwyer Funeral Home.

One source sympathetic to Dwyer’s complaint says “the location surrounding the proposed site of the clinic is a residential areas. Kids play in the Dwyer lot.” The source says a better location would be on Fourth Street. Needless to say, Dwyer is not happy with the pending deal.

As Patrick Henry might say, “Give me liberty, or give me meth.”



If Rosanne Frieri retains her job as veterans’ advocate, she will have to “come back” as a much more dedicated agent that she heretofore has been. That is the good that comes out of the The Great WTBR Flip Flop. Frieri may mean well, and that would fit her character, but in a job like this, intentions are only the bass line. Action and effectiveness are needed for the follow-through.

MAYOR BIANCHI: What to do about Veteran Services?

Frieri knows now that her boss — Mayor Dan Bianchi as well as We The People — will be watching. She also knows that if she continues to spend time on her photography business that could and should be spent working for local veterans, the plug will be pulled. Again, if this results in her re-dedication to the job and greater effectiveness for veterans, it will all be worth it.

THE PLANET began our investigation into this story knowing nothing more than the fact that at the appointed hour, Bill Sturgeon was not on with the debut of his show on WTBR. This was the Tuesday following Memorial Day. In fact, John Krol simply continued “Good Morning, Pittsfield,” with Bill as his guest, for the second hour.

From Trumpet Fanfare to Bum’s Rush in an Instant

This came in light of the trumpet fare of WTBR manager Larry Kratka‘s glowing press release telling the world how delighted he was to welcome Sturgeon as part of the station’s adult on-air talent. From the start, THE PLANET tried to separate the two issues:

(1) The issue of whether adult on-air talent should be broadcasting over a high school radio station (meant for school children) whose license is owned by the Pittsfield School Committee.

(2) The issue of Kratka’s sudden and unexplained dismissal of the very show he touted.

As for (1), we agree with Pam Malumphy, who raised concerns about having adults on the air. Her concerns may have been politically motivated regarding Krol’s show, and it wouldn’t be surprising for such a political player. Nonetheless, she was right to question the philosophy of allowing adult programming. How far she went after that in defense of her buddy Ro Frieri is not clear. The probe suggested she played a key role in Kratka’s decision, although she denies she had anything to do with it.

THE PLANET’s concerns with (1) were over the purpose of the station. If there are enough high schoolers to warrant operation of WTBR, then it should be kept on the air exclusively with student talent. If there is not enough of an interest, the station should be shut down. The excuse has been raised that Taconic High School rules prohibit student broadcasters during school hours. If that is true, then either the rule needs to be changed or the station needs to be off the air during that time.

(2) Kratka pulled the show without providing a reason. Look, when you drum roll advance publicity for a show with the media, as a media member yourself, and then you pull that same show unexpectedly, you owe that same media an explanation. Kratka knows the drill better than most. Instead, he got deaf and dumb. The whispers started. THE PLANET got involved.

LARRY KRATKA: The "journalist" who caved into "political types" he says he doesn't know. Right.

Only through our persistence did Kratka publicly address the issue, admitting to us that he was pressured by “political types” who were “terrified” of what Sturgeon might say on the show. Seems that Kratka was terrified as well, but why? He hasn’t come clean.

Kratka wanted the episode to disappear without a trace. In the old days, prior to cyberspace, that would have happened. Today, it becomes next to impossible to hide. Every person with s smart phone is a source.

Kratka Still Has Not Named the ‘Political Types’

Kratka did not name these ” political types,” casting aspersions on a wide range of suspects, most but not all of whom were innocent.  Later he told Clarence Fanto of the Boring Broadsheet that he didn’t know who they were. Even the BB saw through this flimsy lie, saying as much in an editorial.

How can a journalist be so cowed by pressure from sources he says he doesn’t know? As Fanto and THE PLANET know, being able to take the heat and getting pressured comes with a life in journalism. If you can’t take the heat, you’re in the wrong business, son. You have to be able to take the roughest players best shots, spit in their eye, and come back with fire.

Our probe revealed the most likely motivation for the “political types” to pressure Kratka: the veterans’ issue. Further inquiry identified the likely instigator, who herself admitting speaking to Kratka about WTBR programming: Pam Malumphy. Until Kratka comes public with the names, that is where the most neutral examination of the best evidence takes us.

The villain in this charade is Kratka, who did the unthinkable for any journalist who has self-respect and who expects to earn the respect of his or her audience: He caved under political pressure. Nothing Kratka does from this time forward will be seen in the same light. The question will always be: Whose bidding is this “newsman” doing? Who ordered him to do this story and not that?

Our investigation began without any preconception. We tried to see things whole, placing the various bits and pieces in position and looking at the picture. We had as our guiding principle to go where the evidence took us. We did that, and in doing so, helped expose another dirty, little secret in a long and continuous string of such cases that continue to infect the body politick in Pittsfield.



Speaking of “Seeing Things Whole,” that is the topic of a special guest column for THE PLANET, published recently at We found it to be particularly well written and thought provoking. It addresses the need to see The Big Picture.



Special to PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

What does it mean to “see things whole”? In everyday life it means stumbling across a problem and immediately connecting it to the “larger picture.” Suddenly a struggling business is not simply an economic problem but one of institutional culture as well. Teen sex is not simply a statistical increase but connects to values and considerations on a fuller meaning of human sexuality. By trying to see things whole, one might hesitate to purchase the latest technological device on sale at BestBuy because one questions the common mentality that technological change is the only real criterion of progress. “Seeing things whole” is a feeling for the unity of the world. It is a conviction that all truth is somehow one.

As a thinker and a scholar, seeing things whole means studying these problems (business failure, teen sex, and human progress) not simply as an economist, a sociologist, or an historian. It means that an economist would examine the positive and negative values and practices that have defined the institutional culture of the struggling business. Identifying such values is crucial in order to make judgments that serve as the basis of real decisions about the present and future of the company. Seeing things whole means a sociologist employs the moral imagination to connect statistics on teen sex to the wider context of psychological and social consequences. It means an historian would not explain historical and social change on the basis of one factor alone. The historian must avoid constructing an historical narrative on the basis of unexamined preconceptions about “the good” toward which he or she assumes society has and should be progressing.

Seeing things whole helps one avoid fixation on one aspect of the problem to the exclusion of all the rest. Sometimes researchers become so enamored with exhaustively exploring a problem as simply an economist or a sociologist or an historian that they forget the larger context. This fundamentally skews the problem. I called this the “narrow mind” in a column last year. The narrow mind eagerly seeks to grasp a single idea or method by which to understand much or all of reality. The US Department of Defense calls this “channelized attention” in pilots. A dangerous flight situation is created when there is a tight focus of attention on one particular goal that leads to the exclusion of comprehensive situational information. Collisions have resulted from this hyper-focus.

Seeing things whole helps thoughtful people to avoid the problem of “channelized attention.”  One man who did this well, I think, was the historian of culture Christopher Dawson (1889-1970). He came to intellectual maturity during the 1920s and 1930s (in England) and was an example of a scholar who sought to explain human development without fixation on only one factor. His methodology recognized reality as multifaceted. His contemporaries appreciated his methodologically pluralist approach. The American historian of literature Haydn White (b. 1928), for example, wrote that, “It is Dawson’s merit to have stressed the necessity of viewing historical change pluralistically, and in so far as he actually does so his work is of the highest quality….” Dawson studied historical change and many other topics pluralistically in many of his books, especially in “Progress and Religion” (1929).

In that book his historical scholarship reached out to incorporate the viewpoints of sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and theology. “Culture” was a fundamental concept for him in “Progress and Religion,” helping him integrate those various disciplinary viewpoints. Culture was a common way of life of a people embracing spiritual and intellectual as well as material factors, he wrote. He called these material factors “Folk” (society), “Work” (economics), and “Place” (human ecology). This allowed him to approach the problem of progress or historical development with maximal interdisciplinarity. Human progress, he concluded, was a coordination of both spiritual and material factors in a culture; it was both ethical and earthly. In his book, he argued for this view of progress by sketching the spiritual and material development of world civilizations.

Seeing things whole does not mean knowing everything. But it does mean opening oneself to everything, seeing where each thing fits. It begins in wonder at the mystery of being. It is the “perennial philosophy” that arises from ordinary experience. It is “susceptible to endless growth and enrichment,” as Daniel Sullivan wrote in his “Introduction to Philosophy.” Its horizon is limitless and yet it grounds itself in love of limits and boundaries. Seeing things whole necessitates the penetration of the expert in a particular field combined with an ability to quickly grasp the limits of that field and its relations to other fields.

Intellectual boundaries between fields of knowledge were important in Dawson’s work. He wrote that failing to recognize the existence of realities not reduced to purely sociological terms resulted in naïve confusions of thought. An example of his point appeared recently in a BBC report on the successful mapping of the genome of a human fetus. A scientist being interviewed said that this development would raise questions about what to do with that information. “That’s a societal question, it’s a question about what society thinks is acceptable,” he said. But what does society think is acceptable? What if “society” (defined statistically as the majority) thinks that slavery or anti-Semitism are acceptable, as it has done in the recent past? Religion, philosophy, and science are not mere functions of society; they have their own ends, Dawson thought. Sociologists and scientists confuse their own methods if they fail to recognize that different objects require different methods. Sociology alone can’t determine the ethical dimension of teen sex or of the use of fetal genetic information. Only thinking carefully about the boundaries of fields such as these can one navigate contemporary problems.

Navigating boundaries is thrilling. Dawson’s mentor at Oxford, the political scientist Ernest Barker (1874-1960), encouraged him as a student to read widely in different disciplines. Barker himself appreciated moving about on the boundaries of different subjects, as he wrote in the Preface to his 1942 book “Reflections of Government.” He noted that physical boundaries are always exciting places—“whether it be the Welsh border, from Chepstow to Shrewsbury, or the Scottish border that runs from Carlisle to the Cheviots.” Perhaps the same is true, he continued, of intellectual boundaries. “They are places of excitement, where discoveries may possibly be made.”

Trying to see things whole in our daily life, when we treat with other people, when we consider personal and social problems, helps our soul to be open to all that is true. It helps us to overcome our blindness which narrows our minds so that we miss out on knowing and enjoying half of reality.

We thank Niki Kalpakgian and for help in presenting this piece.








  1. tito
    June 15, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    Dan, where is wrrs on the radio dial, can’t seem to find it.

  2. tito
    June 15, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    Ok, gott it…104.3 f m…… Comes in pretty clear.

  3. nomorebill
    June 15, 2012 at 6:57 am #

    The signal may be clear, but his show won’t be!

  4. acheshirecat
    June 15, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    Wasn’t there a dust up about 20 years ago at WTBR between students and adults who were using the station? Ended up with the station going silent for a long time. I can see 20 years ago adults taking up dead air when students couldn’t be on. Today when students can’t do live shows they can run a computer program to fill the air with automated radio. They do it alot aleady at WTBR. Seems like an easy solution. Run the automation when live shows cant be on. No adults except for advisors.

  5. Maxwell Edison
    June 15, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Another opinion is that Pittsfield taxpayers bought that equipment and everything else in the schools. And as long as students always have first priority for access there is nothing wrong with school facilities of any kind to be used by non-students.

    • Jim Gleason
      June 16, 2012 at 6:37 am #

      Pittsfield Taxpayers didn’t pay for the equipment at TBR. Most of it was donated by other local stations who had no use for it any lomger. The rest is bought form fundraisers run by ADULT VOLUNTEERS. I have been to these fundraisers and ADULT VOLUNTEERS, excluding John Krol, who does no fundraising, work very hard to give the kids a venue to do their thing and have shows every week. Please know what you’re talking about before you speak or write.

      • bobbyd
        June 16, 2012 at 6:57 am #

        Just calm down! We have a good thing going here and having facts before writing will go and wreck it. You need to discontinue posting if you’re not going to move the discussion forward.

  6. Scott
    June 15, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Shouldn’t be an issue junkies don’t have cars.

    • Joe Blow
      June 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

      Don’t be so sure of that…they come from all sections of society.

  7. Joe Blow
    June 15, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    I’m outraged about that they made a deal to put this clinic in my neighborhood! There are many good law biding people who live on this side of Tyler st. We are not gonna let this go down…no way! We have enough problems with patrons of a certain bar in the neighborhood. So North st. is more important than a residential area……Who thought this was a good idea? I can’t believe I voted for and convinced family and friends to vote for Bianchi.
    ~ Far beyond pissed off

    • Scott
      June 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

      The one thing Ruberto did I agreed with even though his motive was not to disturb the “artsy fartys” types that flock to north street. People who want to kick drugs have plenty of help the only thing these clinics do is keep people addicted to something else until they can get the good stuff and bring good neighborhoods down. I hope it doesn’t get passed.

      • Molly
        June 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

        Isn’t it true that these meth clinics merely change the drug that they’re addicted to, from heroin to meth and us taxpayers pay for most of the meth? Why not go into rehab and get totally clean instead of being a meth addict? I’ll probably receive numerous replies telling me that I don’t know what in the hell I’m talking about and that’s likely true as I’ve never been an addict. But it seems to me that if they can get free meth vs. paying a lot for heroin, they will merely just change their addiction. Is a meth addict able to function in society and hold a job, etc? I’m asking as I just don’t know… What are the percentages of former heroin addicts now turned to be meth addicts, do contribute to society – anyone know?

        • levitan
          June 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

          Isn’t it true that these meth clinics merely change the drug that they’re addicted to, from heroin to meth and us taxpayers pay for most of the meth?

          ANWER: No. Companies such as SPECTRUM apply very strict standards to patients for treatment.

          As for alternate treatments, I wouldn’t even recommend cold turkey to a heroin addict.

        • Debbie
          June 18, 2012 at 11:35 am #

          Meth clinics are nothing but LEGALIZED drugs that our Government makes money on! (kick backs) If you are an addict and get sent to jail for a period of time you do not receive any meth at all, you just detox! I think if they are to put a Meth Clinic in town it should be next to the COURTS where most addicts have to report anyways. Most are supervised by the corrupt court system ” JUST TELL THEM CLIFFY SENT YOU” your sure to get a deal!

          • Levitan
            June 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm #


            Yours is the ’emotional’ answer to a legitimate question. But, it is not one that considers track record or exactly what if any impact a meth clinic has on a mixed use community.

          • Levitan
            June 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

            I would also draw a distinction between “breaking an addiction” and ‘detoxing.” Those two are worlds apart, with one requiring no more than a prison term, and the other a lifetime commitment that apparently starts with a clinic.

            Hope that helps.

    • Chet Hunter
      June 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

      Sorry Joe but it’s zoned for it. I don’t blame you for being pissed.

  8. Not buying it
    June 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Clinic location … If it turns out to be 15 Stoddard, which does share access to Dwyers parking lot, guess who one of the owners of that property is. None other than Dr. Philip Adamo. Yes, the Chairman of the Pittsfield Board of Health. The building has been for sale or lease for a couple of years. Does anyone what his position is on existing location? Possible conflict of interest and GOB reward rolled into one!

    • Not buying it
      June 16, 2012 at 7:00 am #

      So according to today’s BBS, my hunch was right and you heard it here first. What I didn’t know is that Phil has been the City of Pittsfield Physician since 1998. Another revalation was that this is non-profit. Sweet … they won’t pay real estate taxes. I’ve been meaning to write for a while that I’m so happy those kind folks on Crofut St donated their multi million dollar house to the needy Miss Halls School, another non-profit. How much did your taxes go up to make up the lose monies?

      Once again the powers that be put the saftey and welfare of school children and a neighborhood ahead of taking care of one of their own. There has to be a way to stop this from happening! Remember, Phil was also the guy who said the kids at Allendale school were safe with a PCB mountain next to their playground. Time to reward a loyal GOB. I should have either gotten into politics or declared myself a non-profit to insure financially security!

  9. Chuck Garivaltis
    June 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Today’s (June 14) Pittsfield Gazette under budget review there’s a piece titled “Park Neglect” that is mind boggling to anyone paying attention to city/park issues.
    Ward 7 councilor Tony Simonelli wants the mayor to boast funding for parks and field maintainance, including the addition of seasonal workers. Tony was an educator and former good athlete so he knows what he is talking about. I think I understand Mayor Bianchi’s response to the request that he find money to repair park fields. He wants to know where and what fields need help. Then he’ll see if we have the money.
    Now, for anyone not paying attention the past ten years, it should be noted Larry Bossidy donated, that means he sent a check with no strings attached, to the best little city in the northeast, for the improvement and preservation of playing fields. Are these the same playing fields and playgrounds that now need help? Where’s the money? Is anything left in this previous very generous pot?
    Here’s the question Pittsfield taxpayers should be asking: Why should I, no doubt through my real estate taxes, pay for park upgrades when Mr. Bossidy donated one million dollars for this very same purpose not long ago? I have the answer to this question. If anyone wants to debate me on this issue I’m willing at any time and place. The answer is we squandered most of the money on so called phony upgrades that ruined parks and put in sprinkler systems to keep grass green in Kirvin and Clapp Park. Did you ever see brown grass in Clapp Park the past 75 years? We’ll we spent $300,000,000 dollars on this naturally green field and another $300,000.00 on Kirvin Park to maintain a green field on this old farm land – that had great black soil left be nature.There were other boondoogles like a pitchers mound put in backwards and a foul line that was way off; in addition, we had to repair the track at Clapp, and electrical, plumbing, computer systems ever since. A few years ago I met with the past city lawyer and city officials and recommended we sue the contractor for incompetence. Pittsfield did not have the cohones, or the guts, to follow through.
    This is just the tip of the iceburg of the screwing we got on so called upgrading of Pittsfield parks. How about the trucks, snowplows, and other sundrys thast are still in the garage at Springside Park. The home of the new dog park. We sure know how to follow through on our votes.
    I will say this: if anyone ever tells me they would like to donate money to Pittsfield parks I would suggest they donate their money to another city. We just don’t seem smart enough to handle request and kindness of this sort.
    To now see there is a request for funds to repair and upgrade playing fields is damn sickening. We had one million dollars for this very same purpose. How much, if any, is left?

    • Terry Kinnas
      June 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

      Thanks for the reminder.

    • dusty
      June 16, 2012 at 2:41 am #

      And most of this stuff happened under the Ruberto administration right? I wonder if anyone can dig out an accounting of where all this money went and print it out for the public. Dan Bianchi should be able to get his hands on this info.

      If we keep hiding all this crap where is the incentive for people to be honest? When was the last time any city official got penalized for intentionally screwing up?

      And who was running the parks dept while all this was going on? Please tell me Cliff Nilan was not in charge of anything.

      • Ed Shepardson
        June 16, 2012 at 6:30 am #

        By Larry Kratka, WUPE Radio News
        12:00AM / Friday, June 06, 2003

        The Pittsfield Parks Commission voted last night to spend approximately $550,000 to maintain fields and other items in the City’s park system.

        The money comes from $850,000 remaining from the $1-million dollar donation to Pittsfield by Larry Bossidy.

        Parks and fields needing work include Springside Park, Demming Field, Clapp Park and others.

        New playground equipment will also be purchased for several parks. The Parks Commission set aside $100,000 of the $550,000 in a contingency fund.

        • bobbyd
          June 16, 2012 at 7:01 am #

          You fun wrecker.

        • dusty
          June 16, 2012 at 8:06 am #

          That was dated 2003 but things did not turn out that way did they?

          Who’s fun did he wreck…no one is going to jail for the malfeasance. The tax payers took another kick in the groin but otherwise the perps are still chuckling about it.

    • Mike Ward
      June 16, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      Chuck, don’t forget that you were able to convince the council to restore some $120K for expenditures that were disputed years after the fact (Bianchi and Kerwood did not agree):

      I think the lesson learned was not “don’t donate” but rather to be clear about how you want your gift to be used. Mr. Bossidy was not clear at all and his wishes were left up to interpretation.

      • Jim Gleason
        June 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

        Mr. Bossidy mare it VERY CLEAR as to how the money he donated was to be used. He said it was for improvement and preservation of the city’s playing fields. Not for trucks, not for play stations, not for un-needed things like sprinkler system’s at Clapp and Kirvin, which ,btw, is a conservation area, not a city park.Please don’t try to make excuses for incompetence by Hermann and the other ruberto jack booted foot soldiers who screwed this up. Just because people disagree with Chuck’s proposals doesn’t mean he was wrong. Chuck was for the kids and families of Pittsfield, 100%, unlike Hermann and others who were fulfilling a misguided mayor’s agenda.

        • Mike Ward
          June 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

          Jim, I think the sprinkler purchase (which I agree was not needed) perfectly illustrates that the notion “improving playing fields” can be left up to interpretation and dispute – and it was. Typing ‘very clear’ in all caps doesn’t make it any more true.

          • Jim Gleason
            June 18, 2012 at 8:32 am #

            Mike, your saying it wasn’t clear doesn’t write it in stone either. I interpreted it very easiy and I thought Mr. Bossidy was very clear in his instructions to the city. Doyle and ruberto were very good at bending things to their favor and it’s clear they weren’t given good interpretive skills either, which you apparently share with them.

          • rick
            June 19, 2012 at 1:51 am #

            all you had to do was to pick up the phone and call him for the correct interpretation, you people decided to make fools of yourselves over and over on that issue…… all you did was ruin it for the kids….i believe since then there has been no more donations from bossidy or any one else for that matter…. way to go…. fool

  10. Jim Gleason
    June 16, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    John Hermann has had a large role in the squandering of Mr. Bossidy’s generous gift. Little Cliffy cane in for some, but not as much as Hermann.Sheila LaBarbara also had a hand in most of it.Mr. Garivaltis was on the Park Commission for some of this and fought tooth and nail against spending the funds in a wasteful manner but was always out voted by ruberto’s minions.What a shame to waste most of that money by incompetents.

  11. Mark Smith
    June 16, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Nice Work If You Can Get It :
    Spectrum has grown from $35M in 2005 to $47M in 2009. Charlie Faris,CEO, made almost $300k in 2009. Both the legal and illegal drug trade is very profitable. There is no stopping this clinic, per Federal and Massachusetts laws, they can locate in any residential area. Even Pittsfield’s Zoning allows this clinic anywhere. Remember, the people in methadone programs are “disabled” per our government.

    • Scott
      June 17, 2012 at 1:45 am #

      Yeah that’s bs I’m all for people getting help but there comes a point in one’s life when you have to take a little responsibility for yourself and you’re right the bottom line is if spectrum didn’t see this as potential profit and growth for themselves they wouldn’t be coming here they could give two shits about addicts.

  12. chuck garivaltis
    June 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Mike, I appreciate your complimenting my persusive powers in convincing the city council to return $120,000.00 to the Bossidy account so that it may be spent for the purpose for which it was intended. I tried to get the full $181,000.00 returned to the Bossidy account so that all of it would be spent of playing fields for youngsters. The intention was “for the improvement and preservation of the city’s playing fields”. Mr. Bossidy gave this writen to Mayor’s Doyle, Hathaway, and Ruberto, and Mike Filpi, parks commission chairman.Mr. Bossidy was crystal clear how he wanted his donation spent. He sent 4 letters to city officials stating his wishes. And another letter saying he did not want interest on his donation skimmed off to the General Fund – which was happening. Here’s what the city council did to his request . Nothing for almost 2 years in what amounted to a non-interest bearing account.. Then the council authorized the transfer of $181,000.00 from the Bossidy account to and for the purchase of heavy duty equipment.Here’s what the council bought: One ton dump truck with plow, four wheel drive pick-up with plow, skag mowers, trailer, tractor, woods overseer rotary mower and attachments. This amounted to $181,000.00 for heavy equipment in complete opposition to Mr. Bossidy’s request to spend money on preservation and improvement of playing fields for youngsters.

    It is true I appeared before a council committee to request the council return the $181,000.00 to the Bossidy account so that all the money would be spent on playing fields for kids which was Mr. Bossidy’s intent.. Councilors Kerwood and Bianchi were, as you say, members of this committee. I was questioned for an extented period of time and came away from the experience with much respect for Dan Bianchi. I called him the following day and thanked him for his understanding and professionalism. For sure he asked tough questions, but he was confident enough to wait for my replies. I appreciated the fact he treated me with respect and allowed me all the time I needed at the podium.He truly listened to my reason for being there. The end result of this was a rare display of common sense and good judgement from the city council and they authorized the return of $120,000.00 to the Bossidy account. Not all I wanted but much better than nothing. Unfortunately, even this money was squandered on sprinkler systems (guess we don’t get enough rain in Pittsfield), shoddy work, misalnenment of ball fields, ruining 4 kids ball fields, and a track that had to be immediately repaired. This is to name part of the damage to our fields.

    So you see, Mike, with this kind of a track record, who would recommend to anyone they donate money to Pittsfield for any field/sporting activity. I wouldn’t.

    One more thing. I would bet we have spent in the area of 2 million dollars to fix the flooding problem at Wahconah Park.
    Next time it rains bring your kayak down there.

    I don’t want to sign off without mentioning one more item of community interest. A methadone treatment center in a residential area is beyond the pale. If the law is an ass and allows this then city gavernment should fight the stupidity and attempt to overturn it.

    There are homes, children real estate values, and a family business like the Dwyer’s that has been a community pillar for generations. To do this to them is not fair, not right, and outrageous.We should be better than that.

    The energy, money, political power that has gone into trying to clean North Street of drug addicts, drug pushers, prostitutes, and others that have given our community a bad rap is a fight that has not been won.

    There’s plenty of help for these people. We have existing treatment centers and when they need their fix we send them by bus or car to Albany or Springfield who gladly treat them. If Pittsfield approves a methadone clinic we will add to our existing problems.

    • Mike Ward
      June 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

      Chuck, thank you for your service on the Parks Commission. Nobody was more committed to the parks than you.

  13. chuck garivaltis
    June 16, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Thanks, Mike, and back at you for your outstanding service as the Ward 4 councilor.

    Hey, Jim, You have an excellent knowledge of what goes on in the sporting world and parks system.. I know you learned from a master, Don Gleason, who now has a park deservedly named after him.

  14. Molly
    June 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Our Mayor and Councilors should put a LOT of pressure on Dr. Adamo to not sell or lease his property for a meth clinic. That’s the only way out of this that I see… Or perhaps the entire neighborhood (including Dwyer Funeral Home) could all contribute to buy this property before the meth clinic does. What is so wrong with it being on Summer Street? I never understood that but holy cow was Ruberto ticked off, ehe? He didn’t even know that there was already a sub-oxone clinic on North Street – I found that to be hilarious. So why should Ruberto still be having any say in what happens in our city? He shouldn’t! Maybe Pittsfield could sell one or two of the hundred or so properties that they own in this city and buy this building? Otherwise, this WILL happen…

    • Scott
      June 17, 2012 at 1:48 am #

      Or maybe they can go on the PEDA site…

      • dusty
        June 17, 2012 at 2:50 am #

        Not sure if you are kidding or not but that sounds like a great idea. Anyone who moves into the PEDA area will get huge tax breaks for years anyway so the city would not be losing as much tax revenue.

        I love it when all these political types say they want to “give back to the city they love” and then they stick a knife in it’s back when it benefits them.

        Maybe they should build this meth clinic on top of hill 78. Or better yet, tunnel beneath it. Perhaps a floating houseboat/clinic on Silver Lake?

        • Scott
          June 17, 2012 at 8:04 am #

          No I was serious but I like your floating house boat clinic idea.

          • Levitan
            June 18, 2012 at 6:16 am #

            City Government could put ‘pressure’ on Spectrum, but nothing would come of it. Laws aren’t being broken, zoning regulations are not being violated, and correct process is being followed. The most pressure the government likely has now is in the form of kneeling and begging.

            Now, if Ruberto had not taken them to court, the clinic would likely have been located closer to downtown where it belongs. This outcome is the cautionary tale for those who would fly to the Courts to resolve every dispute.

  15. joetaxpayer
    June 17, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    Should put the clinic as close to the police station as possible.I think in the back of the old pittsfield sporting goods building, that abutts the police station would be a nice fit.On another subject,why is the City of Pittsfield putting so much money into one park. The Common is looking nice after phase 1 why put millions more into the same park.I say share the wealth and spread out the money.

  16. The professor (and Mary Ann
    June 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Maybe the phantom political figures that pressured Kratka at WTBR can do something useful,for a change,and pressure the meth clinic,and it’s alternative therapists in the cars driving around the block to vamoose from our town.

  17. Debbie Dwyer
    June 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    When I first heard that Spectrum was planning on coming to Stoddard Ave. I questioned why the neighborhood hadn’t heard anything. Not one word. I contacted the City Solicitor’s ofice and was she agreed to meet the next day at 11AM and was going to ask Ward 1 Councilwoman Chris Yon to be there. Not only did she not show up but she never called to cancel. I called her in the afternoon and talked to her staff who knew nothing of the appointment. I tried to call the Mayor and was told he was only taking calls from Department Heads because of the budget meeting that night. The Mayor did call back later in the day and when asked why none of us, including the City Council, were not notified, he said it was all because of the confidentiality agreement between the City and Spectrum. I tried to explain that the parking lot we own is busy everyday with school children cutting through for either Morningside Community School or Reid Middle School and after school, when the lot wasn’t used for parking by us, the kids would play there and rides their bikes. It was during that call I was told the Clinic would expect 150 people between the hours of 6:30AM – 8:30AM to get their Methadone. That’s the time all the children are passing through and/or funerals are being lined up.
    Darren Lee did call about parking and was told absolutely no! That was a few months ago and we never heard another word from anyone and thought if was over. Little did we know. I am more than willing to speak to anyone who may have questions. The Dwyer Funeral Home is 5th generation and has been there for 109 years. Does that mean anything? We have some great neighbors and some of the sweetest children around. Please don’t ruin the neighborhood by bringing in a Methadone Clinic when there are many areas in the city that would work better for both sides. Why won’t they talk to us………or the City Council.
    FYI……..there are only 8 psarking places on that property. Where are all these people (and employees) going to park? Please let your voices be heard. Call the Mayor and ask for transparency. This is our City.

    • Levitan
      June 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Debbie Dwyer

      For all this talk, you do have my sympathy. I’d wish it would take it’s place in a corporate or medical park. Oh well….

    • dusty
      June 19, 2012 at 1:12 am #

      Is that area in Ward one? If so do NOT expect any help from Yon. She was not put on that council to help the citizenry in general.

      Now if you have GOB connections that might be another story.

      • Debbie Dwyer
        June 19, 2012 at 7:02 am #

        Councilwoman Yon has been right here since I first heard about this. She is behind us 100% and doing a very good job to represent Ward 1. She was the first one here yesterday for the rally.

    • Scott
      June 19, 2012 at 4:55 am #

      Question do you own the land where the parking lot is? If so I don’t see how this crap can happen. There is plenty of help for addicts around here clinics like this only keep people hooked on another substance. Spectrum not fro profit my ass! there’s our slogan let’s start picketing.

      • Debbie Dwyer
        June 19, 2012 at 7:04 am #

        The Dwyers own the parking lot next to the Adamo building and told Assistant Solicitor Darren Lee that there would NO parking for tenants of the Adamo building. That was 2 months ago. We never heard a word after that until last Thursday.

        • Scott
          June 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

          Ok if you own it then they can’t use it end of story they can’t make you let them use it.

        • Molly
          June 19, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

          I think this will be nothing but a huge headache for the Dwyer’s as people will still park there and what can you do? Not much other than call the police after first making sure that it’s not someone’s car that is attending the funeral. By the time that happens and the police get there, the person would’ve come and gone. I think for that reason alone, they shouldn’t be allowed to open there. Why can’t our elected officials ask the simple questions like, “where is the parking that you will need to provide?” and if they don’t have adequate parking, then deny them the right to be there! Don’t they, by state law, have to provide a certain number of “disabled parking” spaces? Where will they be? Really, this sounds like a nightmare for the Dwyers, right in the midst of trying to line up all of the cars for the funeral procession, which is a very difficult job as it is!

          How is it that Ruberto was able to keep them from going to Summer Street, yet all we hear from our current elected officials is that “there is nothing that anyone can do?” Obviously there must be something as Ruberto succeeded at it! Bring them to court again! Or look into exactly what Ruberto did! It’s really hard to believe that there is nothing that anyone can do! Perhaps just coming up with one stall tactic after another and eventually they will tire of it and look elsewhere.

          And why is it that Bianchi is bound by a confidentiality agreement that was signed by Ruberto? A newly elected mayor should not be bound by that — time to go to court again! Especially now that we have a City Solicitor along with an Assistant City Solicitor!

          • levitan
            June 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

            “nd why is it that Bianchi is bound by a confidentiality agreement that was signed by Ruberto? A newly elected mayor should not be bound by that — time to go to court again! ”

            Ok, Molly,

            Now can you suggest something that will not involve spending my tax money?

            Oh, most likely the confi. clause is between the City of Pittsfield and Spectrum, not Ruberto and Spectrum. Look, I don’t even need a law degree to hazard that guess.

  18. Kevin
    June 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    To me Methadone is state sponsored addiction and the last I knew addicts were traveling east each day to get the drug, These clinic’s are open a few hours a day, just long enough to hand out the days allotment. Many of these clinic’s are hotbeds for crime and drug sales and need to be monitored closely by local law enforcement. As much as it sucks that the need is here for one of these clinic’s, this location is far better than the Summer St. location. It is much more open with far fewer area’s to duck and hide to conduct transactions.

    • Levitan
      June 18, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      Many of these clinic’s are hotbeds for crime and drug sales and need to be monitored closely by local law enforcement.

      Any proof that is true in Massachusetts?

      • Kevin
        June 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

        Albany close enough……Whitney Young Clinic?

        • levitan
          June 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

          No, it has to be in Massachusetts which may have different standards of operation than even NY.

      • Scott
        June 19, 2012 at 4:50 am #

        Have you ever been to Holyoke? Try taking the kids to the children’s museum it’s such a shame that a small city with so much history has so much drug’s and violence. I don’t know if the clinic is to blame but it doesn’t seem to be helping either.

  19. danvalenti
    June 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    We thank everyone for this wonderful, wide-ranging debate on a couple of key city issues.

  20. tito
    June 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Pistol Pete Arlos, better known as the Greek God, was in favor of methadone treatment at doctor’s offices, all the offices has to do is get a couple of nurse rejects or phlebotomist types, to distribute the methadone. The Greek God certainly was the man in those days!

  21. Chuck Garivaltis
    June 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    True enough, Tito, the aging Greek God, Pete Arlos, had a good idea, but there is no way it would fly. Folks needing a methadone fix don’t receive their treatment and go home. They hang around and the grounds of the treatment becomes a meeting ground. Doctors, clinics, treatment centers know this and that is why this business is not pursued.Do you see PEDA chasing after it as a job producing business? It won’t happen.

    This program is not to treat Pittsfield kids who have made a terrible mistake and need help. Because it is federally approved and sanctioned by Mass. state it would, by law, be available to any drug addict in America. And we know from experience that when drifters come to Pittsfield for services, incarceration, or treatment, many of them stay followed by their honeys.

    I know we would like to attract a professional class of people but many of our new residents are not professionals but folks in need of professional treatment.

    Where is the leadership and concern about placing a drug treatment center in a residential neighborhood where children play and traffic, near a school, next to a park, and literally on top of a 100 year old family business that is owned by the enterprising Dwyer family that has been a credit to the community.

    Pittsfield:What Went Wrong? It wasn’t only because GE left for reasons related to globilization. It was also beacuse of a brain dead political center. And here we are again. Where is the political outcry? Where are the savoirs of Tyler Street? Where is the concern about a resurging North Street? Where is the ward councilor? Where is any concern from government? I thought we had a friend in the state house. Or are we once again going to roll over and play dead while our quality of life becomes less safe because we’re afraid to speak out.

    I know there are policies enacted through our government officials that tell us this is the law. But this law is a detriment to Pittsfield.We make these policies through our elected representatives. What we make we can unmake. That is, if we have the will.

    • Debbie Dwyer
      June 19, 2012 at 7:12 am #

      Thank you so much for your comments. There has to be a way to undo what has been done. Why won’t government listen to us instead of blaming the former administration? Poor excuse!

      • Jim Gleason
        June 19, 2012 at 7:45 am #

        No, not a poor excuse. ruberto was and is a poor excuse for a mayor and he’s the one who set this all up, not Mayor Bianchi, who is taking the flack for ruberto’s slimy moves, again.Put the blame where it belongs, on the person who signed all these agreements two weeks before he left office, that being ruberto.

      • Levitan
        June 19, 2012 at 8:48 am #

        Not a poor excuse, it is the reality. Spectrum was forbid by the Ruberto administration which landed Pittsfield in court and Spectrum is now poised to be your neighbor.

        Having allowed this situation to escalate to the courts (Ruberto’s fault), we lost control and leverage with Spectrum and I don’t see any options in influencing them except to offer them something attractive.

  22. tito
    June 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Drug addiction has turned into a profession!

    • Scott
      June 19, 2012 at 4:46 am #

      You ain’t lying! And what message do you think that sends to the children and the teenagers entering the scene? I really believe that if we can make an impact on child abuse (by really holding abusers accountable.) You will in turn see less drug abuse better parent’s, better schools the war on drugs is a joke. We’re penalizing the wrong people in a sense.

      • Levitan
        June 19, 2012 at 8:51 am #

        Drug addiction is an illness, and the professionals who treat it may be the only hope those who seek treatment have.

        • Scott
          June 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

          BS the individuale has to want it you can be the self proclaimed best at drug treatment but if the person is not willing to get help you’re better off helping someone who want’s it.

        • Molly
          June 19, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

          I have NEVER bought into the premise that drug addiction is an “illness”. It is NOT an illness! An illness is something that a person gets that didn’t do anything wrong to get the illness, or at least not knowingly. Cancer is one example of an “illness”. These drug addicts know exactly what they are doing and they CHOOSE to shoot up heroin, do crack and lots of other hard-core drugs, anyway. They put themselves into this situation and the “treatment” for it should be that they should go into rehab and get totally clean and become a law-abiding citizen who contributes to society in a positive way. Handing out free meth, paid for by us, does not seem to be helping either them or society.

          • danvalenti
            June 20, 2012 at 6:36 am #

            We agree. Addiction begins as a choice. It continues as a choice. It becomes an illness because of the physical consequences.

          • levitan
            June 20, 2012 at 10:45 am #

            Except that opiates produce a biological addiction, not simply a habitual addiction. Hence, it might as well be an illness.

            Please try to parse your emotions out of this argument.

          • danvalenti
            June 20, 2012 at 11:55 am #

            If a person catches the flu innocently and by accident, is that not a different situation than if he or she makes a conscious, free-will choice to shoot-up with the flu virus? In both situations, the person will come down with the “illness.” Calling the second case an “illness” devalues the nature of sickness in the first case. Emotions have nothing to do with the argument. You must take into account a person’s decision to mess with drugs. With all the information on how deadly they are, once a person decides to do it, they have decided to compromise their health and well-being, even to the point of death. The social obligation ends with the person’s decision to use drugs and to keep using them.

          • levitan
            June 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

            An illness is something that a person gets that didn’t do anything wrong to get the illness, or at least not knowingly.

            Ridiculous of course. Please try to think about the things you think about.

            Illnesses are maladies that bring detriment to the body. Infections, chemical imbalances, addictions, mental disorders.

  23. rick
    June 19, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    true, after they reached that great high they went looking for and found that it takes them to a new low, they want the tax payers to help them get off the crap……. in that profession you speak of they recieve…food stamps( THEY CAN SELL TO FEED THEIR HABIT)…cash (so they can buy their dope)…a free cell phone(so they can call the man for their dope) and free housing( to shoot it up). all at the expense of the tax payers…..

  24. Larry
    June 19, 2012 at 4:12 am #

    Is Dan on vacation or has The Planet been struck by an asteroid?

    • Scott
      June 19, 2012 at 4:47 am #

      What he can’t take a three day weekend? I did it was father’s day remember?

      • danvalenti
        June 19, 2012 at 7:17 am #

        You win the prize. A three-day weekend it was, in the land of wonder and beauty. Thanks.

        • Scott
          June 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

          Hope you enjoyed it I know I enjoyed mine it was full of canoeing cold cuts for lunch and marinated grilled steaks for dinner. Of course there were veggies mixed in all that too everything from bok choy to salad greens.

    June 19, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    What personal experience to you have with these clinics? Or is your defense of them more of a financial one?

    • Levitan
      June 19, 2012 at 8:52 am #

      Just Saying,

      What personal experience do you have with these clinics, or is your opposition to them strictly emotional?

      • Levitan
        June 19, 2012 at 8:55 am #

        Analogous situation to Spectrum siting: Williams College in the ’90’s was expanding into the neighboring streets. People screamed and holllered about property values, bad neighbors (students), noise, and loss of tax revenues.

        One thing that they did not do is buy out the properties in question, nor offer any follow up data to prove that they had a legitimate argument to begin with.

        Meanwhile, this question from the city’s perspective is moot. It’s up the the concerned citizens to appeal to Spectrum.

      • Scott
        June 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

        I have a brother hooked on opiates and thankfully he’s in jail now off the stuff but who knows maybe they’re keeping him hooked on some other form of drug but I hope when he gets out he’s clean I think these clinics are just legal drug dealers.

        • levitan
          June 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm #


          I hope your brother is not the victim of the malice that is prevalent in the community and finds his way home to ‘normal.’

        June 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

        I’ve buried friends that died from heroin. I’ve watched friends kick the H and go to ‘treatment’ ie; methadone clinics.
        They became addicted to that high. Some became pill heads. Some didn’t, but they mostly went back to their old ways or found a different high.
        They two ex-heroin addicts I know that turned themselves around, were smart enough to NOT use methadone. They went to detox and suffered through it.
        I’m sure methadone has its place for some. But I do not think taking an addict and addicting them to ‘legal’ drug is the right way to go.
        Ok, I responded to your inquiry, you gonna respond to my questions? Or maybe you will throw more diversions?

  26. Debbie Dwyer
    June 19, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    Reading today’s Eagle story confuses me. On the 2nd page (A-2), bottom of the 1st column where they say “Bianchi wanted the situation with Spectrum to be the first topic of his new public television show”….. Then 2 paragraphs later he is quoted as saying “to talk about this would have been meaningless”. Which is correct? This is what we’re dealing with.

  27. dusty
    June 20, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    i would be interested in what Mr Bianchi says about that as well