Article

MAYOR’s BUDGET GOOD BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH … TAXPAYERS TO FOOT BILL FOR ALLEGRONE LEVY BREAKS … AIRPORT MANAGER SNUBS ANGRY RESIDENT … plus ‘DID YOU KNOW THAT …’ FEATURES SEVERAL ITEMS THAT WILL HAVE YOU STEAMING

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2012) — Those who argue that the 2.5 percent take hike under Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s FY13 budget is reasonable can make a reasonable case. The hike is about half of what the good citizens of Pittsfield have become used to, and it certainly represents a step in the right direction. You probably sense, though, a “however” on the way.

However.

What Middle Class?

Given the hemorrhaging being done by the vanishing middle class (especially mid- and lower-middle), THE PLANET says the increase adds more salt to a wound that needs healing ointment, not a 2.5% scrub out with a Brillo pad. There are many avenues to a flat budget or even one that tightens the belt and actually lowers taxes. Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski have had to reduce their expenses, but then again, they aren’t government. They can’t tax themselves. And yet, as one of our astute readers commented yesterday, with all the smart people on the council, school committee, and the corner office, none of them can’t figure out how to flat-line the budget or, God forbid, reduce taxes by cutting spending.

Many Ways to Reduce Taxes by Cutting Spending

MAYOR DAN BIANCHI: His budget fell 2.5% short of equitable.

One way to produce a flat budget would be to get another 10% from municipal employees in contribution toward their health insurance. The 10% combined with the same amount of free cash Bianchi produced in his budget would just about produce a flat budget. This would be a win-win. Taxpayers win by not having to pay more money in taxes. Public employees win by retaining what is still a great deal on health insurance, certainly one far better than they would get in most for-profit companies in the dreaded private sector. They currently pay only 15% of the cost of their health insurance. Taxpayers pick up 85%. The 10% adjustment would produce a 25-75 split, still more than generous.

Another avenue of approach is to reduce the overtime in the city, which pretty much goes on in a rampant, unsupervised, and unaccountable manner. A sounder approach to Ot through better management of existing resources could trim millions.

Still additional funds are available by the millions from the Pittsfield  School Department, which currently runs with an excess of administrative overhead and an unsustainable salary-benefit compensation for its many employees. It’s long been shown that simply pouring dollars into public schools (always the politician’s answer) does not translate into education success. With a trimmer, more competent, leaner and more responsive administration, performance could be boosted with a savings of millions. All that’s lacking in Pittsfield is the political will.

Lowering taxes in Pittsfield could be done with excess strain providing the reductions are aimed at the fat. That would mean going after every “protected” program, firing every incompetent, and reassigning or getting rid of workers who are there because they know someone, not because they can do the job. Start first the the School Department, an obese, underperforming leviathan that consumes two out of every three dollars the city of Pittsfield generates — or is that “degenerates?”

To survive the municipal elections next year, Bianchi must come up in a far bigger way for taxpayers than he did in his first budget. He’s got the smarts to do this, but does he have the will to assert himself as a Fearless Leader. The city needs more than just a quiet bean counter. It needs someone who will rattle the windows and tear down the walls, if necessary, on behalf of The Little Guy.

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ALLEGRONE CONSTRUCTION GETS 10-YEAR TAX BREAK ON HOWARD BUILDING

The Little Guy never gets a tax break, but if you’re Connected, such a favor doesn’t seem so rare to come by. Take the case of Allegrone Construction Company. It’s bad business for taxpayers.

ALLEGRONE: A 10-year tax break

In a little publicized vote taken late last month, our Right Honorable Good Friends approved a large, 10-year tax break for Allegrone to encourage the company’s plans to develop housing on the upper floors of the Howard Building on the corner of Fenn and First streets and the Onota Building at 74 North St. Allegrone’s plans for the Howard include 14 housing units costing $4.6 million. This is a short-sighted move that will do nothing for the city.

Government Should Stay Out of the Free Market

We remind one and all of the following:

* Allegrone is a privately held company.

* Capitalism works best when government doesn’t engineer free markets.

* The 10-year tax break, as an “inducement” for Allegrone to get involved in a private venture that would likely not float in the free marketplace, epitomizes such economic engineering at its worst. It may be well-intentioned, but as dollars and sense, it won’t add up for the public.

* Why do taxpayers have to play venture capitalist when private lenders are afraid to back projects such as Allegrone’s Howard Building housing? What do the private lenders know that the city of Pittsfield doesn’t? Why are city councilors and the mayor so keen on stepping over the line and getting mixed up in what should be a pure capitalist venture?

* If the housing market is robust enough, Allegrone Construction is free to invest its own money into the project, taking the reward if its market bet is good, losing out if not. Tax breaks skew this picture.

* Will my Right Honorable Good Friends in government never learn that when government messes with the private sector to produce these quasi-public-private monstrosities, the taxpayers always lose. Of course, that’s assuming that the council cares what taxpayers need as opposed to the needs of a well-heeled constituent such as Allegrone.

The council waived taxes that would have been owed from the entire value of the investment’s first year. Tax breaks in a diminishing amount (90%, 80%, 70% etc.) continue for the decade. Next time your property tax comes due, ask city hall for similar breaks. See how far that takes you.

One sure way to avoid taxes is simply not pay them, let your property rot, and stick the city with the cost of tearing the building down. Case in point: The Pennell Building.

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CITY, AIRPORT MANAGER GERMANOWSKI UNRESPONSIVE TO RESIDENT’S COMPLAINTS

THE PLANET prides itself on being Voice of the Little Guy. Once again, we prove it.

We publish the following letter, sent recently by Scott Barker to Mayor Bianchi, Mark Germanowski (Manager, Pittsfield Airport), and his ward councilor, Ward 5′s Jonathan Lothrop, and the four at large councilors.

 —– 00 —–

Dear Mr. Mayor et al.:


> My main concern now with this airport construction is that it is too complicated for you folks to figure out.

> 1. Fourth of July construction? You have now lost all of my respect and goodwill. And, have you lost your minds? (Did all of you realize this? I’m curious to know.)

> 2. Now there’s no construction here on Friday, July 6? Is the parade today? No mail service today? City, state, and local offices closed today? Are people having family gatherings today?
> (Of course, I’ll take any peace I can get up here.)

> 3. Now, did it ever, ever occur to you to publish the schedule or inform the residents of this? Of course not. Why? Arrogance, stupidity, or both?

> In the future, here’s what you do: about a week or two ahead of time for a special day, such as, oh, I don’t know, July 4, publish the schedule ahead of time in the Eagle. AND, send a note to the area residents explaining why you think it is necessary to allow construction on such a holiday. But say that there will be no construction on a another day, such as today. How about a monthly update for the residents concerning percentage completed? Maybe a diagram or two? When can we expect the end of this hell?

> Seriously, is this too hard?

> 4. I know, I know, it is too complicated for you because most or all of the workers don’t live anywhere near here. I wonder if the people of Pittsfield know this. Yeah, “it’ll bring jobs”–for people from other states and countries! And, isn’t a waste of tax dollars to pay them double time for the holiday?

> 5. The best thing to do would have been to stop construction for the whole week. Sort of a nice mid-summer break if you will. But that would indicate you actually have concern for the residents–and some common sense.

> 6. Last year we had about 20 to 25 people over on July 4. What would have happened if we planned the same thing this year? Hum? What do you say to that? As it was, I ate my lunch on the porch while wearing earplugs.


> I have communicated my concerns to the Mayor and Mr. Germanowski a few times, so they’ve heard about my concerns before.

> Oh, and don’t try to tell me you don’t hear from other residents. Back earlier in the year, the Mayor tried to tell me that he hadn’t heard complaints from other residents. About two or three weeks later I read in the paper about a meeting of city officials and area residents about it–we were never notified of the meeting.

> People think the blasting is the problem–it is NOT.

> Or is that that you’ve never been up here during the day to hear just how loud it is for 10 hours a day? I assume Mr. Germanowski knows. Or do you realize that it is from 7 am to (almost) 5 pm Monday to Friday? You can hear the noise from Bousquet!

> This is just a dereliction of duty, and you should all be ashamed of yourselves. I mean, can we trust you to even regulate parking spaces in the city?

RUNWAY 32, PITTSFIELD AIRPORT

We thank Scott Barker for sharing this letter with us. Barker tells us that only Bianchi, Lothrop, and Mazzeo responded to his letter. THE PLANET wonders what prevents Germanowski or the others from extending a little bit of common courtesy and good will by meeting with the letter writer. A small show of good faith would go a long way. Germanowski is a servant of the people. THE PLANET expects him to respond to Scott B. If he does not, we shall ask Mayor Bianchi to order Germanowski to do so.

Just so coincidentally, THE PLANET has learned of a meeting regarding the airport runway extension issue. Germanowski addresses it to “Area Resident of the Pittsfield Municipal Airport,” whatever that means. Here’s a copy of his message:

Mark Germanowski                                                                                                    
Airport Manager
Kevin Magner
Chairman                                                                                                       
July 17, 2012
Area Resident of the
Pittsfield Municipal Airport
Re:       Airport Construction Update
To Airport Area Resident:
The Pittsfield Municipal Airport Commission is progressing with the construction of improvements to lengthen the airport runway and safety areas.  The Commission would like to invite you to attend an informational meeting about the construction activities and what you should expect to see and anticipate during the remainder of work.
This informational meeting will have a question and answer period and will take place at:
Where: Crosby Elementary School
            Auditorium
517 West Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
When:  Thursday July 26, 2012
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely,
 Mark Germanowski
Airport Manager

—– 00 —–

Well, Mr. Germanowski, it seems that Mr. Barker didn’t hesitate to contact you and that you hesitated much to respond. Hope you can land a better performance at the meeting at Crosby.

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DID YOU KNOW THAT …

— The School Committee, using taxpayer money, sends Dupere Law Firm $3,000 a month in retainer fee to serve as its legal council? But wait, it gets better. Taxpayers also pay for turnpike tolls and parking fees the firm retains to travel from Boston to Pittsfield and back. What a country!

— Mayor Bianchi appointed Richard O’Connor to the disabilities commission?

N. Tracy Crowe, the new deputy superintendent of the cash-rich Pittsfield Public School, will make $120,000 a year, plus what the school committee referred to as “extensive benefit changes?” Benefits could top $40,000 a year. Dan Elias was the lone dissenting vote on the contact, calling it “way too much.” This year’s budget included “only” $101,707 for the position. This means the school committee gave the deputy super a raise of over $18,000 a year, not counting the unholy contents of the “extensive benefit changes.” Did they bother to ask you, Joe and Mary Jane? Nah,we didn’t think so.

BARBARA MALKAS: Her Arrogance brushes off committeeman Terry Kinnas' concerns.

— The School Committee continues to spend taxpayer money like sailors just embarking in the port of Shanghai for a weekend leave after six months at sea? According to committee member Terry Kinnas, school officials went ahead and purchased 333 iPad tablets for Advanced Placement students without the committee knowing.

Her Arrogance, Deupty Supt. Barbara Malkas, the school department’s Grand Apologist, brushed off Kinnas’ concerns, saying, “They [the iPads] arepurchased, they have been distributed, and we have already launched professional development for staff.” In other words, “We do what we want around here, see? Screw taxpayers.”

THE PLANET expects more from administrators such as Malkas. We also condemn in the harshest terms the imperious attitude that she embodies in her actions. Kinnas asked a reasonable question regarding what seems to be a shady purchase of the laptops without the informed consent of the full school committee. It seems they snuck this by, substituting a subcommittee recommendation for an actual purchase OK. Since when can a subcommittee authorize purchases?

Was the law broken? And is it true that school committeewoman Kathleen Amuso has a child in the Pittsfield schools who will be the direct beneficiary of one of the iPads? If so, did Amuso recuse herself from the issue. Kinnas says she did not. My good friends, when will We the People demand an end to such nonsense?

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“EVERYWHERE IS FREAKS AND HAIRIES, DYKES AND FAIRIES, TELL ME WHERE IS SANITY? I’D LOVE TO CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. SO I LEAVE IT UP TO YOU.” — ALVIN LEE

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

76 Responses to “MAYOR’s BUDGET GOOD BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH … TAXPAYERS TO FOOT BILL FOR ALLEGRONE LEVY BREAKS … AIRPORT MANAGER SNUBS ANGRY RESIDENT … plus ‘DID YOU KNOW THAT …’ FEATURES SEVERAL ITEMS THAT WILL HAVE YOU STEAMING”

  1. Still wondering
    July 18, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    I’m wiling to give tha Howard Building renovation/transformation a chance.

  2. Scotty B.
    July 18, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    Thanks to Dan for posting this. I thought he would post my letter to the Eagle, which they refused to publish, but this is the e-mail I sent to those who might want to know how their actions affect people.

    Only Bianchi, Mazzeo, and Lathrop responded, with apologies. The Mayor states that it was a last-minute decision by Germanowski, and that the Mayor himself advised against it.

    There’s no snub here (except by the Eagle)–at least not this time. My main objective is to let people know that they actually did construction at the airport on the FOURTH OF JULY–all day long.

    I never asked to meet with anyone, nor do I necessarily desire it. Just give us some peace up here!!

    Now, the meeting notice came to me from Jonathan Levine, who says he “came across it.” I don’t know how he came across it, or if I or other residents will be privy to it in time to plan to attend the meeting. But the route of it seems a little strange.

    • CONCERNED
      July 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

      Well a lot of your neighbors did fireworks till the wee hours for several days also. But thats ok. They want to get this job done.

  3. Scotty B.
    July 18, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    One more thing: Spoke to a neighbor last night who has to deal with the noise and an environmental hazard of dust particles and residue wafting onto her house–and probably into her lungs.

    Apparently, there have been some actions taken concerning this, but the problem has not been sufficiently resolved. I hear that Mazzeo has been helpful here.

    Also what I’ve heard:

    Am I to understand that this whole airport expansion thing is so the Eagle plane can take off from here with a full tank of fuel?

  4. Dave
    July 18, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    The Howard Building housing: 14 units at $4.6 million shakes out to $328,571.43 EACH. No parking, no yard.

    How can the city get tied up in this?

    Who is the target for these housing units?

    The city needs affordable housing.

  5. Levitan
    July 18, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Question about the iPads: shouldn’t introduction of new technology require a proposal for how it will be used to improve the students’ ability to succeed in class?

    The curriculum is not changing, so why is the teaching medium?

    • danvalenti
      July 18, 2012 at 9:12 am #

      LEV
      You ask a vital question that, apparently, the school department isn’t concerned with: Where’s the data that shows this is a good thing for students. Actually, the evidence is accumulating that more screens are detrimental to students. It ruins their ability for sustained focus. The purchase, likely illegal, of 333 of these machines represents the worst of the administrative mismanagement that continues to hold back Pittsfield Public Schools. Why do you think so many parents opt to get their kids out of the PPS, an underperforming academic ghetto?

      • Levitan
        July 18, 2012 at 9:18 am #

        I agree on the Vision Thing. But, there are schools that use iPads and laptops effectively in the classroom without breaking the budget and those school would have no problem explaining the presence of that technology.

        The Pittsfield School Committee should consider the overall policy. If some students get computers and others don’t, does that mean there are two teaching models in place? If so, are those models overlapping within the schools and even within the classroom?

        • danvalenti
          July 18, 2012 at 10:33 am #

          Laptops and iPads CAN be used effectively, but there’s nothing supplied by the school department that suggests it will be the case here. Also, how appropriate is it that one of the key movers of this project has a son in PPS who will be receiving one of these magic devices? That would be Kathy Amuso.

          • Levitan
            July 18, 2012 at 11:37 am #

            For $150,000 ($500*333 (assumed ed. discount)), I’d think they would have presented a proposal on how they would be used.

            I’m not bothered by Amuso’s child being a possible beneficiary. You don’t really think she would buy 333 for the school just to benefit one student? That idea fails the ‘normalcy’ test.

          • danvalenti
            July 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

            Our data shows they paid full price, sans discount. Disagree on Amuso. It’s an obvious conflict. The question isn’t the other 299. The answer is that her son will be getting one. Ethics doesn’t distinguish her motives from her actions.

          • Levitan
            July 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

            Presumably, her son gets the use of an iPad, as well as use of the school bus, text books and other resources. I think this end of the argument is a stretch.

            I’m surprised they paid full price, usually institutions negotiate a bulk rate, and Apple used to offer educational discounts.

          • dusty
            July 19, 2012 at 1:42 am #

            I questioned before. What happens to these ipads at the end of the school year? Do they get passed on to the next class or do the students get to keep them as their personal property?

            Cuz I ain’t contributing to the cost of them every year for every kid that goes through the system irregardless of what Barbalunga may think.

          • danvalenti
            July 19, 2012 at 6:48 am #

            These questions have not been answered. Long before the end of the school year, many of those devices will have been reduced to junk. Neither the kinds nor their parents will be held responsible. Eating the bill? Got a mirror?

  6. tito
    July 18, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Peter Marchetti’s letter to the editor about Pasty Harris has put integrity in question. Maybe her sign coordinator should check in with her candidate before she writes an editorial next time.

    • Levitan
      July 18, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      At any rate, his letter pretty much neutralizes whatever gain she could have accomplished with that silly editorial. Since when do we vote for the Best Signage candidate?

      • dusty
        July 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

        i think they do in ward 4

        • Levitan
          July 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

          I’m referring an editorial suggesting we vote Harris because she is very conscientious about where she puts her signs.

          Heh, is that what the decision comes down to?

          • Shakes His Head
            July 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

            I thought her signs were just the most stylish.

          • levitan
            July 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

            Stylish? Welcome to class and sophistication. Who ever went wrong with green (except McCain.)?

  7. Former Pittsfield Resident
    July 18, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    A new airport?

    Will all of Pittsfield’s residents be able to fly out and in commercially?

    Will this benefit all of Pittsfield’s residents?

    Who is paying for this project? Is it taxpayer funded or is the Federal or State government paying for this?

    Sorry to be so clueless. Been awhile since I’ve been there.

    • danvalenti
      July 18, 2012 at 10:32 am #

      FORMER
      No. There will be no commercial air service, and thus, no direct benefit for all residents.
      This project is being paid for by, you guessed, taxes. Federal money is paying for a large chunk, but Pittsfield taxpayers are still on the hook for millions. Also, keep in mind that federal (and state) tax money is still courtesy of taxpayers, not the Money Tree.
      OK to be clueless and inquisitive rather than clueless and close-minded and not at all civically curious, as too many are.

      • Former Pittsfield Resident
        July 18, 2012 at 10:51 am #

        Wow, who knew Piffsfield taxpayers had so much money.

        New IPads for students, a new airport that none of the residents benefit from but have to pay for. I don’t even wanna ask what else they on the hook to pay for.

        I was under the impression that a large % of Pittsfield’s taxpayers were retired people, struggling along on a fixed income.

        Is the city council okay with all this?

        Taxes were too high when I moved out. You could drive down any given street and there were at least two to three houses for sale.

        • danvalenti
          July 18, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

          You ask good questions. Yeah, apparently, our Great Leaders are OK with all of this crazy spending. Hackerama takes care of its own, da heck wit da taxpayers.

          • Former Pittsfield Resident
            July 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

            Thanks Dan!

            Hey off Topic
            Just a suggestion:

            Why don’t you post that picture of yourself — the one the Berkshire Eagle took of you in court — on your homepage.

            I think their intention was to make you look bad as the guy going after an “innocent” little girl but it back fired and made you look like a hero.

            A Champion of the first Amendment.

            All the gals seem to love it and I don’t think Sean Connery will mind too much.

          • levitan
            July 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

            FPR:

            The picture was likely taken by an Eagle photographer looking for a good shot. If it’s the same one who shot Ruberto years ago addressing a victory crowd, it’s a very good photographer with an eye for composition and drama.

      • Scott
        July 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

        what about wild acres there’s some beautiful large beavers down there. Are they moving them what’s going on?

        • Scotty B.
          July 19, 2012 at 3:54 am #

          You can get into Wild Acres off S. Mountain Rd coming from South Street. Come witness the destruction and check in on the beavers.

          • Scott
            July 19, 2012 at 5:42 am #

            I do all the time but I noticed wild acres isn’t on the mass fish and wild life trout stocking program. they used to have a fish cleaning station and that’s gone I’m wondering what is happening with this park.?

  8. tito
    July 18, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    The bigger question is, when a candidate violates campaign sign rules, what is the punishment?

  9. B. Clairmont
    July 18, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    Dan,

    I never received Scott Barker’s letter. Since you have his e-mail address, and I do not, would you please ask him to resend it to me? I’d be happy to respond to him.

  10. B. Clairmont
    July 18, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    If Scott reads your blog, my e-mail is bclairmont@pittsfieldch.com

    • danvalenti
      July 18, 2012 at 10:29 am #

      BARRY
      Thanks. I shall forward to him. Appreciate the responsiveness to your constituent.

      • Sam
        July 18, 2012 at 11:03 am #

        Wait, I thought Clairmont did not want anything to do with the planet or this site.

        What happened here Mr. Clairmont????

        • B. Clairmont
          July 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

          To Sam,

          I believe I said I wouldn’t speak with Dan concerning his questions. This issue concerns a taxpayer of Pittsfield who wasn’t receiving an answer from me, when I never received his e-mail.

          I have sent him a reply. I hope it helps him understand how I am trying to address his issue going forward (which I addressed to others that wrote me last week).

          • Demitrius T. Gladiator
            July 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

            Are you kidding us? You still have jock itch over Dan and his questions. Seems childish and petty, Barry. It will also guarantee you one and out!

  11. Edwardo
    July 18, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Following register race, the office seems highly political. That would suggest the person with the most experience, Ms. Harris, is the candidate most immune from those often murky ambitions. From all I’ve heard about her, she’s well liked but most importantly well respected. She also knows the job inside and out. The other two candidates’ resumes pale in comparison to Ms. Harris. I write this as a relative newcomer to Berkshire County, only beginning to learn the political landscape.

    • Levitan
      July 18, 2012 at 10:32 am #

      Harris seems to be playing the politics just fine.

  12. Elizabeth
    July 18, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Dan….regarding the Pittsfield school system. My husband and I (products of phs, late 70′s) are kicking ourselves in the a$$ for not pulling our youngest child out and letting the “chips fall where they may”… From third grade on, the “system” disregarded the needs of our son and pushed him through the tracks with their eyes closed. We did what we thought was best at the time…having two other (older) children in the school, who stayed on the “tracks” nicely. One, quite the over achiever…the other, quite the athlete. Unfortunately, or actually, fortunately, every human being is different. We learned the hard way that if you don’t go along with the program in the pps, than good luck! Talk about a good ole boy/gal mentality.

  13. Jonathan Melle
    July 18, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    I am unable to understand Dan Valenti’s analysis of Mayor Dan Bianchi’s FY2013 city budget. How much money is mandated and how much money is discretionary? What are the city government’s unfunded liabilities? Why did the new Mayor have to raise taxes? I read that state aid to cities and towns increased this year. Was that a factor in the 2.5% increase? Dan Valenti is making a political statement instead of a financial one.

    • Levitan
      July 18, 2012 at 11:43 am #

      Good questions, JM – what are the assumptions behind this issue’s argument regarding the budget, aside from the obvious one of the improbability of touching the Union’s share.

  14. tito
    July 18, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    @ Jonathan, goodquestions, and you can count on these three phrases as part of a power point presentation concerning your inquiry. 1 ….step up to the plate….2…..loading up on free cash……3……the c h I ld r e n

    • danvalenti
      July 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

      Isn’t it always “T-h-e C-h-i-l-d-r-e-n. Tomorrow, THE PLANET has more of the deteriorating story behind iPadgate.

  15. Dr. Jack Ryan
    July 18, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    A few questions I have:

    [REDACTED]

    Does the Nilan/Allegrone/BB relationship have significance in the financial dealings of Pittsfield?

    What is the next issue on the radar of the Stadium Authority gang?

    Why can’t the citizens of Pittsfield commission Louis Freeh to investigate the pedophiliac background of Pittsfield politics and recreation. After his Penn State investigation, it would be like shooting ducks in a barrell?

    Any chance we can draft Renny DelGallo to run for the City Council again?

  16. Scotty B.
    July 18, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Again, what you see posted today is an e-mail I sent to some of our public servants. I sent it to Barry a little while ago.

    Here is the letter that the Eagle would not print:

    To the Editor:

    “The City of Pittsfield officially sucks. As I write this on July 4 at 8:20 am, construction crews are working at the Pittsfield Municipal Airport—they started at 7 am today, as they do every day Monday through Friday (and go to 5 pm). The Pittsfield Police Department says this does not violate the construction noise ordinance. I called the Mayor at home and said my piece to his secretary. Construction has not stopped.”

    “You just have to wonder at what kind of arrogance and stupidity on the part of city officials would allow this. Fourth of July. Are the banks open? Is mail delivered? Are any nonemergency government services available?”

    “But on this day, the day that we celebrate the birth of our nation, and freedom from arrogance of power, we residents near the airport are subjected to that very arrogance, and stupidity (not to say a downright lack of patriotism).”

    “I invite you up to the intersection of South Mountain and Barker Rd. to see the monstrosity your tax dollars pay for. I could go on to tell you about the daily 10 hours of hell we experience up here, but I’m trying to respect the holiday. Can’t wait to enjoy the noise on Labor Day, too.”

    • danvalenti
      July 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      SCOTT
      THE PLANET is glad to do the journalistic job in the “Free Marketplace of Ideas” that the Boring Broadsheet refuses to do. That’s why our numbers are growing and theirs are decreasing.

  17. tito
    July 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    The NUMBERS are up, one can tell that by the way people pop in here from nowhere. What the Planet might or might not realize, is the out of state residents who also read here. I know of a resident in Colorado who reads the Planet quite frequently, she gets a days chuckles reading, Dan, Jimmy G and others comments. She once told me about how the Internet was a good tool to dismantle corruption on a particular blog. I guess the Planet is the Model!

  18. Ray Ovac
    July 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Regarding the Pittsfield Airport Expansion:
    Well, at least glitterati like James Taylor and Tanglewood’s conductors will have a place to land the larger private jets in which they all seem to travel nowadays. Just be honored that your federal tax dollars are going for such a worthy cause.

    • Scotty B.
      July 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

      That’s what I don’t get, they’ve been landing here for years. So why the real need for the expansion?

  19. Scott
    July 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    yeah that is pretty lame about Allegrone why do they get a break what makes them so special? Also there are already tax incentives for companies looking to build “affordable housing”. If our tax’s have to be raised now isn’t the time to be giving out freebies especially to people who don’t need them. I will write the mayors office and inquire about this I suggest others do as well.

  20. Scotty B.
    July 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Let it be noted for the record that Councilor Clairmont has also responded to my e-mail, and he states that he is as flabbergasted as I am at the holiday construction.

  21. Scott
    July 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    I live down off of South street and you can hear the blasting all the way down here in the Spadina parkway area.

    • Former Pittsfield Resident
      July 18, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      Blasting — ?

      I remember as a kid “exploring” the area near the airport off South Mountain Road and it was all swamp.

      I remember wading through water up to my chin with some friends of mine.

      Are they filling in the WetLands also? Is that legal?

      I also remember working for Mr. Kaminski on his farm. I think he owned alot of land up that way.

      This all seems like a terrible waste of taxpayer money so that a few more Lears and Cessna’s can take off and land. The airport will bring no income to Pittsfield.

      • levitan
        July 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

        I wondered about the wetlands too.

        • danvalenti
          July 19, 2012 at 6:39 am #

          The wetlands have been destroyed, beautiful acreage taken, and with it, a little bit more of Pittsfield’s soul and sanity — all so that a few Lears owned by the A listers can land there when visiting South County in July and August. We shall be posting more by way of expose on this project in the days to come.

      • Scotty B.
        July 19, 2012 at 3:58 am #

        They have thrown a sop (by law) of preserving some and creating a couple more small wetlands. We here can now enjoy about 150 yards of wetlands before the travesty arises across the way. Then there’s a pathetic little area off the south end of the airport.

        Right, a couple more private jets, maybe.

  22. ShirleyKnutz
    July 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Doesn’t anyone remember the airport needed to be expanded to keep GE and KB here?

    • Former Pittsfield Resident
      July 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

      So that’s why KB Toys went out of business.

      never would’ve guessed that.

      • Shaniqua Stone
        July 19, 2012 at 5:39 am #

        No KB Toys went out of business when Mitt Romneys company Bain Capital bought them and stripped them apart!

        • danvalenti
          July 19, 2012 at 6:40 am #

          No KB Toys went out of business when they could no longer compete. That’s how capitalism works.

    • Scotty B.
      July 19, 2012 at 4:00 am #

      Too late, then, right? But, oh, now we’ll get all those jobs and companies back now?

  23. tito
    July 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    It’s was all about the fuel, ask Lyon.

    • Larry
      July 18, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

      What are you trying to say???

  24. Paul
    July 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    The iPad gate is a tragedy, a majority of the teachers that already have MacBooks and don’t use them. They give them to their kids to use and so many come back broken, it is costing a fortune. Now those same teachers are going to get iPads, they will end up letting their kids use them at home and eventually they will break.
    It’s not just the cost of the iPads, its the ongoing maintenance and service contracts that are killing the school.

    The airport expansion allows for “heavy jets”.
    http://www.kewljets.com/Jet-Type/Heavy-Jets

    These are long range big private or corporate jets, favored by rap stars, movie moguls and Saudi princes that haven’t upgraded to full size commercial jets.

    They have a longer range, often international capability and amenities to match. They are the elite jets for the most elite people, they are not blue collar planes.

    • levitan
      July 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      If those Saudi princes and princesses dine on North Street, bring ‘em in!

      Let’s retire the journalistic lazy iPadgate. The argument is about what technology is appropriate to advance the curriculum, it is not about iPads.

      • danvalenti
        July 19, 2012 at 6:43 am #

        The Saudi princes and rappers don’t dine on North Street. They stay at Blantyre and dine at Wheatleigh. As for iPadgate, we judge it a relevant story, involving an illegal and unnecessary purchase of $165,000+ worth of educationally useless toys. The argument is about the waste of taxpayer money.

        • Levitan
          July 19, 2012 at 7:54 am #

          I mean to say, frop “gate” from the tag. It’s a byproduct of a lazy journalistic culture, one that wants to get the public outraged without bothering with the questions of what and why.

          The issue is not about iPads, but should the school be buying expensive and short lived gadgets, and if so, how will they be used.

          • Levitan
            July 19, 2012 at 7:56 am #

            I like ‘frop’ but meant ‘drop’.

          • danvalenti
            July 19, 2012 at 9:23 am #

            LEV
            The suffix “gate” can be and often is overused, especially as shorthand to avoid explaining why something is a scandal. We employ “gate” to iPadgate because we have explained in the detail the nature of the concerns. As always, thanks for your lively and conversation-advancing contributions to this site.

  25. Scotty B.
    July 19, 2012 at 4:03 am #

    No one has answered my query about the Eagle plane. Could this whole airport thing be about one plane and its fuel load?

    How deep does the corruption on this thing go? Who is getting kickbacks and how much?

    The Sultan of Brunei happily pays the fine at the airport like he’s buying a cup of coffee.

    • Levitan
      July 19, 2012 at 5:51 am #

      Brunei?

  26. PITTSFIELD BELIEVER
    July 19, 2012 at 6:46 am #

    A good friend’s wife works the front desk at Blantyre. Ask Valenti about the Sultan of Brunei. Your hero of the Little Guy, DV, dined at Blantyre last night with his good buddy and Riggs cellmate, James Taylor. And there is a Saudi prince staying there.

    • Ed Shepardson
      July 19, 2012 at 7:06 am #

      If your statement is true, you probably just got your good friend’s wife fired.

  27. Mark Smith
    July 19, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    @ Dan’s Bain Capital Reply:

    Hi Dan,

    According to this website, Bain was the direct cause of KB’s decline, not competition.

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/12511407

    • danvalenti
      July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      Thank you for the information.

  28. Jonathan Melle
    July 19, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    I wish I had1% of the money that Willard Mitt Romney has in his offshore banks.