PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, AUG. 27, 2012) — At 7 p.m. Tonight in the small theater, K-111, at BCC, and important debate takes place. The three candidates for Middle Berkshire County register of deeds — Patsy Harris, Scott Pignatelli, and Jody Phillips — square off.

PATSY HARRIS: Set to debate her opponents tonight at BCC.

The race is unusual in that it has drawn three legitimate candidates. Two — Phillips and Pignatelli — have strong candidacies strictly based on their ties to the GOB. Only Patsy Harris brings to the campaign a working knowledge of the register’s office. She should have that. She’s worked in the office for 11 years.

Only Pasty Harris can say “been there, done that.”

Not Your Typical Year, and So the Register’s Race is Getting a Lot of Attention

The register’s race typically doesn’t get a lot of attention, but this is not a typical year. The current register, Andrea Nuciforo, gave up the post (and some say, the ghost) to run for Congress. The race looked a lot different a couple years ago, when it became known that incumbent 1st District U.S. Rep. John Olver (D-Amherst) would not seek re-election.

The wide open seat proved irresistible for Nuciforo, who bounced from the state senate, to register, and — according to his plan — wanted to ride that comet straight to Capitol Hill. Redistricting, however, put a crimp in those plans. Instead of running for an open seat, Nuciforo faces a challenger much more formidable that Olver or an empty seat. Congressman Richie Neal is a two-decade veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives, holds an important committee assignment, and is well funded, well organized, and well known. Nuciforo made a long shot even tougher when the third man in the Democratic primary (Sept. 6), Bill Shein, uncovered apparent plagiarism on Nuciforo’s website.

When Nuciforo made it clear he was stepping down, it set into motions delusions of grandeur in the Phillips camp.

Phillips, you recall, quit her post as city clerk when the greener grass of General Dynamics came into view. Now, after a few years in the Dreaded Private Sector, she and her people (including her live-in boyfriend, acting Pittsfield fire chief Bob Czerwinski) told her: “It’s yours. $90 grand a year, huge benefits, and little work. No one can match you. You have a lot of friends. We will see that you get in.” That’s pretty much the scenario according to a source who was once part of her campaign but who left.

We can imagine a similar sort of thing going on with Pignatelli. He’s the son of the legendary Big Jawn and the brother of 4th District state rep Smitty. There’s money, there’s organization, and there’s the last name that always looks good on a lawn sign.

Pignatelli said in a recent radio interview that he will continue as the head of the Pignatelli electrical contracting business and serve as registrar. This tells a reasonable person that he will show in the register’s office up to collect his paycheck, maybe play a few games on the office computer, sign a few papers, and head to his business … or the golf course.

Pignatelli says he will be a full-time register. It’s hard to envision the scenario if he intends to stay fully involved in the family business.

Harris: The Only One Who Knows the Job

Harris was the last to declare her candidacy, and we can see the faces of Phillips and Pignatelli growing long when they found out. They didn’t expect a qualified opponent. Phillips and Pignatelli are politicians. Harris is not. Phillips and Pignatelli works rooms. Harris just plain works. Phillips and Pignatelli haven’t the foggiest on the working details of the office. Harris does, to a level of expertise. Phillips and Pignatelli are counting on friends in the right places to pull strings. Harris is counting on the intelligence of the electorate.

If ever Pittsfield (and middle county) has an election where We The People can repudiate the GOB and their mobbed up and made friends, it’s this race. A vote for Patsy Harris is way more than a vote for register. It’s a vote where voters can send a loud message” “We’re made as hell, and we want some honesty in government for a change.” Granted, in terms of practical influence, not much will change, but a Harris win could signal seismic rumblings for the 2013 municipal campaign.

There is a lot more to say about this race, and THE PLANET — and only THE PLANET — will dare to say it. Tomorrow, we shall has some thoughts on tonight’s debate.

Tonight’s debate is sponsored by The Pittsfield Gazette. Bill Sturgeon will moderate.



MAYOR DAN BIANCHI: He repudiates the charges of Clairmont, Krol, and Lothrop as politically motivated.

GANG OF THREE — THE PLANET has received numerous comments and requests for comment on the interesting development in corner office-council relations. At-large councilor Barry Clairmont, Ward 6’s John Krol, and Ward 5’s Jonathan Lothrop have come out with both barrels firing, aimed at mayor Dan Bianchi.

We have some snooping to do on this one, and so we won’t say too much.

Dancing Barry, JK, and J-Lo have called the mayor a liar over the $100,000 paid out to settle with Spectrum Health Services. They claim the mayor lied about the money in the FY13 budget. The mayor has vigorously disputed that. He points to the council approval of that budget in late June, after our Right honorable Good Friends on that body were informed of the purpose of the money. They both can’t be telling the truth. THE PLANET will be checking in on this case, which smacks of pure politics. Is that perception correct? We shall be reporting back  on that.

WARREN REPORT — THE PLANET received an interesting post on Kratkagate and his attempted assassination of Bill Sturgeon. Brian Marquis wrote:

The first name to pop into my frontal lobe, in the Kratkagate scandal, would be none other than the notorious Kenneth G. Warren, Jr. Mr. Warren is know for his vicious and unprovoked attacks on those who threaten the vitality of the GOBers’ promise land! He is the unspoken gatekeeper to a mindless mindset of mushy minds! (and besides, he’s Mr. Kratka’s brother-in-law)

LARRY KRATKA: The hat says "Goofy."

We had not heard this theory, we replied, though it would seem to fit all the facts of the case. THE PLANET invites Ken Warren and/or Larry Kratka to comment. When the phone doesn’t ring, we’ll know it’s them, on a conference call.

THE PLANET’s main memory of Warren is when he was a gas-pump jockey at the filling station on the corner of East and Lyman streets, living proof of the Peter Principal. Kratka, as most of you know, has refused repeated attempts by THE PLANET to tell us his side of the case. Must be his side is a tad embarrassing, or maybe he doesn’t have a side.

We will go on the air with him any time, anywhere, to discuss this matter, live. Yes, that is a challenge.

SHE DOESN’T HAVE THE NECESSITIES —  (From Yahoo! Sports): The former LSU women’s soccer player took another stab at becoming one of the Tigers’ kickers, but fell short. She also tried out in the spring, didn’t make the roster, but was encouraged to get better during the summer and come back out in the fall.

At the time, coach Les Miles said he had four kickers on the team that were going to be tough to supplant and noted that her physical limitations would be difficult to overcome.

“She’s a great person, but there’s some things she can’t do and she knows it,” Miles said in the spring. “We go to kicking off into the corner, we count on our kicker making some tackles and it’s just not something I’m comfortable she’s ready to do. It’s one of those spots you really can’t put a person that cannot tackle.”

The girl’s name is Mo Isam. She thinks soccer and football are the same. We remind her than in football, you can use your hands.

MO ISAM: Stick to soccer, honey, and leave football to the guys.

Her tryout is the sort of nonsense Title IX has allowed.

Title IX, or some remedy for giving women a chance at playing school sports, was certainly needed, but like most other attempts at social engineering, it has been taken to radical extremes.

Isam had no chance of making the team. Instead of telling her in the spring, with no invitation back, Miles had to humor the applicant. Or what are lawsuits for?



“Too big to fail.” Where have we heard that before?

All this year, as in the many before it, citizens of Pittsfield have been hearing the mantra that we might call, “the paradigm of perpetual growth.” That phrase comes from a highly recommended book, Too Much Magic by James Kuntsler.

The Little Economic Engine that Couldn’t

In context, we refer to practically every civic project — initiated in the names and wallets of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski. Such projects — for example, the downtown face lift, PEDA, the needless airport runway extension, or the opening of any new restaurant or cultural venue ordinary people can’t afford — are called by various names, “economic engines” or “renaissance,” for example. These monikers, which look great on banners but fall busted in application, imply miraculous powers of these mostly foolish expenditures and ventures to initiate economic revival. This is a fiction, of course. Taxpayer money continues to be misspent with all sorts of vague promises of revival that simply never materialize.

Another Piece of Humble PIE

Pittsfield stands as a mini-version of what has happened economically across the nation, except the city makes the situation worse by wave after wave of economic, political, and social dysfunction.

After manufacturing vacated U.S. soil (after GE, Sheaffer-Eaton, Sprague, Beloit Jones, and the woolen and paper mills left the Berkshires) the country (the city) entertained the delusion that we had a “post-industrial economy” (PIE).

Nationally, various “sectors” were forwarded as linchpins of the PIE, including finance (and the ruinous changes that took place in banking after deregulation), housing, construction, information, and service. As Too Much Magic artfully demonstrates, these sectors represented too much mis-invested money “in more stuff with no future.”

Locally, the banks were too small to get into much trouble. Housing took a tumble, especially in Pittsfield. Construction slacked off as a result. Information technology never got going in the city as a “sector.”

“Service,” however, overran Pittsfield like the Ebola virus. The city created a “recreation and resort” economy, one that failed to created jobs with livable wages, jobs designed to serve the function of peasants and serfs of feudal days. Our leaders, meanwhile, boasted in the “arts,” those elite time wasters only people with discretionary incomes can employ, mainly to relive their ennui and boredom.

The economic collapse, led by the rapacious, gullible, and greedy, serves as a case in point. One of the hidden “blessings” of Pittsfield awful economy is that when the economy tanked, the city wasn’t hit as hard. The hits largely had already been absorbed. Nonetheless, people in town lost homes, jobs, and the means of a living.

 Little More than Swindles

Investment banks, driven by greed and lack of responsibility in the face of deregulation, began to package mortgages into bundles, backing them with securities and derivatives that turned out to be little more than swindles. Those who offered these investments — which were nothing more than non-performing loans — pawned them off  “to hapless investors in every corner of the globe, from pension funds in faraway lands desperate for yield, to the fellow underwriters, the banks themselves” (Too Much Magic).

That’s why the banks, more than anyone else, pressured the White House and Congress for the TARP bill (supported by Paul Ryan, by the way). Those bailouts, which enraged ordinary taxpayers, became the one, true bipartisan “accomplishment” in the Bush-Obama years. The rest has been gridlock. When it comes to reforming health care or any other measure that will bring some relief to ordinary people, the bozos in Washington don’t care. When it comes to bailing out the moneyed plutocrats, suddenly they can get things done.

To think, this country, once known as America, actually existed. So did a city called Pittsfield. Both have become too toxic to succeed.






  1. Scott
    August 26, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    Wow early I’ll read later and post my thoughts if needed.

  2. dusty
    August 27, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    Krol, Lothrup and Clairmont are the same trio that caused such a dust up with the Peddlars issue recently. Have they become blood brothers? I wonder how they feel about all the North street business that have all their tables, chairs and products blocking the public sidewalks. Is anyone in charge to make sure pedestrians don’t have to turn sideways just to walk down the street these days. These guys are very selective about what they become concerned about, so I was just curious about how they felt about this issue. Like you say Dan, if I don’t hear anything from them I will know it is them not calling.

    • Ed
      August 27, 2012 at 6:14 am #

      Krol, Lothrup, and Clairmont deny any political agenda which would have motivated this accusation and their cellophane concern for the city. Admittedly they appear to be joined at the hip and incapable of nonpartisan independent action. But why would they be more interested in discrediting the mayor and being obstructionists than objectively serving their constituents ? Unless they were political hacks with a program designed by other interests with something to gain. This would by its very nature require political commonality. On the surface, Krol was the city’s public affair coordinator under the former mayor that initiated the Spectrum negotiations.His first political job was given to him by the former mayor. Clairmont served in a financial capacity during an election campaign for the same former mayor. He also served on the committee to elect Krol a ward councilor. There is a poignant picture of Clairmont on Krol’s web site. Lothrup, a Worchester native makes his living from the state gravy train. It’s common knowledge that the same former mayor recommended him for promotion within his political arena. Can one imagine what some concentrated investigation may discover ?
      Political agenda ? What political agenda ?

  3. FPR
    August 27, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    Hey Dan,

    I’ve still been reading your articles, you are a very good writer. Just not much interest in local issues there but informative.

    In the grand scheme of things, with the entire economy on a crash course, does it really matter who serves as Registrar of Deeds? Maybe I’m missing something but it doesn’t seem to make any difference beyond a non-GOB not getting in.

    Soccer is referred to as football in other counties and here, not so much. Has anyone ever done any studies to see how bouncing a 70 MPH soccer-ball off someone’s head affects their brain?

    The fighting going on between the City Councilors and the Mayor at least makes people interested in what’s going on in their city. It all boils down to money — $100.000.00 here and $100,000.00 there. The way Pittsfield spends money like a drunken sailor, does it really matter. The taxpayers will just pay more taxes to cover it. Right?

  4. Scott
    August 27, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    One day we’ll see the burning of banks and uprising once people get hungry enough the occupy movement is just the beginning. I’m not saying I support the movement but it is happening of course I’m not really hungry either.

    • joetaxpayer
      August 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

      Thats funny,the occupiers cannot pick up after themselfs.They should take baby steps and occupy a shower.

      • Scott
        August 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

        Or a job, and a voting booth…

        • joetaxpayer
          August 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

          Thats too big of a step,how about a bathroom?

  5. Berkshire Ex-Pat
    August 27, 2012 at 6:27 am #

    Mo Isam’s tryout had nothing to do w/ Title IX. Indeed, NCAA football programs have been granted the right to exist as all-male by Title IX and its corollary statutes. Female student groups and/or colleges are free to establish “women’s football” programs if sufficient interest exists. On occasion, college coaches allow women to try out- typically as kickers- in order to avoid negative publicity and frivolous lawsuits that could potentially arise under other areas of the law.

    • Wilson
      August 27, 2012 at 11:43 am #

      I don’t know all the intricacies, but Title IX certainly does require men’s teams to let women try out if there is no female team. So nice for the government to “allow” the team to exist if the school reduces other opportunities for men, but that doesn’t mean Title IX doesn’t demand more.

  6. tito
    August 27, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    If Scott does well in Pittsfield, he will win the election.

  7. Jim Gleason
    August 27, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    Krol, Clairmont and lothrop, all ruberto lackey’s, stand in the way of progress in Pittsfield. No one seems to mention, especially the very biased BB,that all this litigation over Spectrum started and was aimed at the ruberto administration, which illegally tried to block access to Pittsfield from Spectrum. Now Dan Bianchi has to clean up another ruberto fiasco. lothrop says this isn’t politically motivated but his buddy and fellow complaint machine Krol is rumored to be running for Mayor in the next mayoral election.Not politically motivated? Tell the truth for a change, you three, and pay attention to your constituents concerns.Let’s get rid of these three next election.

    • Scott
      August 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

      Chet Hunter *you’re boring. I’ll stick to painting you stick to learning basic homophones it’s really annoying. How old are you and where do you work?

      • danvalenti
        August 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

        Chet Hunter’s postings have been deleted due to his bad case of infantilism!

        • Scott
          August 28, 2012 at 6:14 am #

          Infantilism that’s perfect!

  8. Silent Majority
    August 27, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    There’s more to the Krol-JLo-clairmont thing than meets the eye. Could be they have a legitimate case. There’s much about hte Spectrum deal that hasn’t come out and Mayor Bianchi is hiding. He cites confidentiality but that is only to save his own ineptness in dealing with Spectrum. DV look into this. I respect you as a journalist. Find the facts as you say you will.

  9. Pat
    August 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Dan, excellent description of the state of affairs here in Pittsfield. Another way of saying it is that things were already so bad here in Pittsfield that the economic crash that affected the rest of the country wasn’t felt as much here. We were already in critical condition and have been for at least the last 20 years.

    I think the powers that be, or the GOB as we call it, wants to turn the Berkshires into the Gilded Age playground for the rich that it once was. In order to do this, they must drive out all of the middle and lower classes. What better way to do this than to starve people of jobs and create an economy where only the well to do can survive. We are seeing this now as many people are being forced to leave the area just for survival because they can’t find work.

    Do we ever read one article or human interest story in our local newspaper about just how badly people are suffering in this area due to the lack of jobs or having jobs that pay such low wages that they can barely pay their bills. No we don’t because the powers that be don’t care. This is their way of weeding out what they consider to be the undesirables. The only people they are interested in keeping are those that keep the local social service agencies going. Eventually, they will probably get rid of them as well in order to complete the transformation of this area into a playground for the wealthy which I believe is their ultimate goal.

    • Demitrius T. Gladiator
      August 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      That’s a great point Pat. I never thought about it until you mentioned it but the BB hasn’t run one of the types of articles you mention, one that shows the human cost of this crummy local service economy meant to cater to the outoftown wealthy. The BB runs countless stories on every cultural dropping and how great everything is, the tralala approach while the city itself goes under. People turn to this site I believe because they are sick of the BB’s BS. They want the truth.

  10. Jonathan Melle
    August 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Andrea Nuciforo was a No-Show Registrar of Deeds. He collected his big salary paid for by Mary Jane & Joe Kapanski, while plotting his run for U.S. Congress. Like his brother Smitty Pignatelli, Scott Pignatelli would be a No-Show politician, too.

  11. tito
    August 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    Andrea Nuciforo endorses Patsy Harris, so who ya got Jonathan. Everybody is a good ol boy in one way or the other.

    • Jonathan Melle
      August 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

      I do NOT care who wins the Registry of Deeds election in Pittsfield. The Pignatelli’s seem to be the Good Old Boys. Patsy Harris has on the job experience. Jody Phillips has a good background, too. I don’t think I could ever support Smitty Pignatelli because he would not sign my nomination papers. I don’t think I’d vote for his brother either. But, I live in Amherst, NH. I vote on 9/11.

  12. tito
    August 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    The great Bill Sturgeon will be tonight’s moderator at B C C, and happens to be a Pignatelli supporter… others pictured in the facebook of Scott Pignatelli are High Sheriff Tom Bowler, Mayor Daniel Bianchi’s, Council members Chris Connell and Paul Capitanio, former Mayors Gerry Doyle and Remo DelGallo. Dan Bianchi’s and Gerry Doyle? And Mayor James Ruberto.

  13. tito
    August 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Jody is the only candidate looking at the camera, the other two are unpolished and quite frankly amateurs. Sturgeon gets an A, fine job, does BCC have a radio station, got Bill?

    • Dave
      August 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

      Any person not already “in the bag” for another candidate who watched this debate and does not vote for Harris should have their voting rights revoked. To tito, if looking into the camera decides your vote, well enough said. The fact that Harris looked more uncomfortable than the other two is the second reason she should be elected. She is not a politician and if this was not an elected position and resumes were the only criteria, she would be the only one considered. The first reason is that she is the most qualified-hands down-She was the only person who talked the actual job duties and her credentials that seperated her from her opponents. I thought a debate for thus race was ridiculous, but it actually made this race exactly hon Dan Valenti charachterized it.

    August 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm #


    I was not going to vote for Register of Deeds, because, frankly I don’t care about that position. However, after reading this, I see that Phillips likes to suck on the public tit, and bounce around from job to job, Pignatelli will collect public funds while he continues to run his business. Guess Harris it is.

    As to the woman trying to play on a men’s team, that is the outcome of liberal, feelgood nonsense.
    Certainly everyone is equal as a person. That sure as hell doesn’t make people equal in how intelligent, strong, or attractive they are.

  15. tito
    August 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    Dave,what is hon?

  16. tito
    August 27, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    Dan is saying appearance (hasn’t missed many meals) means something to the voter.I would say that Candidate Phillips looked very comfortable, was spot on with her answers. Looking into the camera is part of it, hon?

    • Demitrius T. Gladiator
      August 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

      I watched this debate Dave and tito, and I thought Harris was the best one. She was the only one who talked the specifics of the job. Jody has been mimicking just about everything Scott has been saying. I thought Scott did well too. I’m voting for Harris because of her being in the office and her knowledge. Scott P is my second choice. Jody? Not a chance.

  17. dusty
    August 28, 2012 at 1:26 am #

    When you go to the Registry of Deeds you want your business taken care of right the first time. If it is not you may have a big mess to straighten out and need a lawyer to do it. There are plenty of cushy jobs for political hacks but in the Registry of Deeds you want someone who knows what they are doing. Patsy Harris knows what she is doing.

    • danvalenti
      August 28, 2012 at 6:28 am #

      You raise a key point Harris drove home last night. Deeds are legal documents. They have to be perfect in every way, or else the deed holder can find him or herself in serious legal trouble, with a huge, expensive mess on their hands. Harris alone has the experience to know what she’s doing so as to provide intelligent management of the office.

  18. tito
    August 28, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    Dan, you have to admit, Jody won this debate, hands down. do you need examples.

    • danvalenti
      August 28, 2012 at 6:26 am #

      Yes, give me specifics. You will see in my report today (8/28/12) on the debate how and why Ms. Harris won. I shall provide specifics. Oh, and Tito, please leave me a valid e-mail address the next time you write to me at I’ve lost patience with the bogus address you’re using. Thank you.