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KRATKA ON HOT SEAT TONIGHT AT PITTSFIELD SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING … LENOX CONTINUES TO SPIT UP ON THE BED; THIS TIME, ALLEGED OPEN MEETING VIOLATIONS ARE THE ISSUE … plus … ‘LENOXOLOGY’ ENDS IN WITH A WHIMPER, NOT A BANG, BUT TOWN IS $100Gs LIGHTER FOR IT

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, AUG. 22, 2012) — First items first. Tonight, beginning at 6 p.m., the Pittsfield School Committee meets. One the agenda is an appearance by WTBR mananger Larry Kratka. The meeting will be conducted in city council chambers.

LARRY KRATKA: Is this the face of a betrayer or a liar? It's hard to conceive of a third possibility.

Kratka is being hauled in based on the actions of several months ago, where he threw ex-WBRK talkmeister Bill Sturgeon under the bus over what he called heavy political pressure from outside heavies, who, Kratka claimed, were “terrified” of Sturgeon getting a show. Kratka refused to identify the political thugs he claims gave him no choice but to betray a friend and colleague. THE PLANET is wondering if there were any outside bogeymen, or if Kratka invented to story to advance his own private agenda. That would explain his refusal to name names — if there weren’t any names.

This is the Business of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski

If were were taking about a privately owned station, none of this would be of concern to Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski. WTBR, however, runs on taxpayer money. Kratka himself receives a stipend paid for with public funds. The studio is problematically located inside of Taconic High School. All of this makes it a taxpayer matter.

Kratka didn’t seem to grasp the enormity of his admission, which, basically, is that the operation of the station is not on the level. Until he comes clean, a cloud of suspicion will hang over every aspect of the station’s operation.

The school committee has the obligation to:

(a) Ask Kratka point-blank to reveal the source of the pressure and

(b) Insist on an answer.

If he refuses, there is only one correct option: Pull the plug immediately on his stipend and suspend operations at WTBR until, and only if, a qualified replacement can be found. That would be the time to take a look at all of the programming and to determine is there is enough student interest to justify having the station at all.

Kratka Has No One to Blame but Himself

This is all Kratka’s doing, assuming he is telling the truth about outside pressure. He could have done what any respectable journalist would do, which is to tell the person or persons squeezing him to perform an anatomical impossibility on him- or herself (or selves). If he refuses to name names, it will strongly suggest he has been lying about the pressure and that he, for reasons known to him alone, had personal motives in getting rid of Sturgeon.

It should be an interesting show tonight.

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LENOX CONTINUES TO MESS THING UP BIG TIME

What’s is happening to the once model-town of Lenox? Lately, the town can’t stop tripping over its own clown’s feet.

In this town, they don't want you knowin' nutting, taxpayers.

THE PLANET shares the take of Berkshire Beacon editor George Jordan III, the Lenox Board of Selectmen, and the Kennedy Park Committee. Jordan had filed a complaint with the state attorney general, alleging the selectman and the committee violated the open meeting law. Jordan alleged the bodies “failed to post notices of their respective meetings and their respective agendas with reference to the Belvedere that was ultimately built in Kennedy Park.” Moreover, Jordan alleged, they “each failed to publish a legal notice in a newspaper of the said hearings.”

Barney Fife Syndrome an Epidemic in Official Lenox

Too often, as we’ve seen in the city of Pittsfield, boards, councils, and committees get the Barney Fife Bug. Instead of having a proper perspective on their offices, they often possess an inflated view of their own imagined importance and power. Instead of realizing that they serve in the backwaters of Podunk, they behave as if they are dealing with State Secrets and affecting matters of global concern. These two-bit tin horns give local government a bad name, and they cause responsible journalists such as Jordan to administer the medicine.

“There appeared to be a tacit attempt to deny the public from participating in the discussion” over Kennedy Park,” Jordan wrote in a front-page editorial in the Aug. 16 edition of the newspaper. “There was no effort to publicize their respective hearings either by the proponent or his clerk of the works, Robert T. Akroyd of Lenox.”

Capeless Not Interested in Violations of the Law

Is this the door to town hall in Lenox?

Unfortunately, Jordan’s complain got caught between shift changes over administering of the open meeting law. On July 1, 2012, the AG’s office took over the job of enforcing compliance. Prior to that date, the local district attorneys — in the Berkshires, the office of David Capeless — were expected to enforce the rules when it came to local and regional commissions, boards, councils, and the like.

The move seemed like a good one in Berkshire County since Capeless, as we know, has routinely looked the other way when it comes to violations of the open meeting law.  Capeless’ ineptitude on this matter has maybe as much as any other single issue been responsible for the widely held view that he a pawn of the local Status Quo, a D.A. more interested in protecting the hides of his powerful friends in the GOB than standing as the top law enforcement official representing We The People. His actions of omission in the infamous Triple Murder case, the Angelo Stracuzzi Follies, and the Meredith Nilan-Peter Moore case only fueled that perception.

As Jordan pointed out in his editorial, “[Capeless] ignored prior complains.” At least the AG’s office acknowledged his objection, Jordan said,”but [it] found a convenient way not to hold members of the board of selectman or the park committee in violation.”

That is unfortunate, because every time the enforcing agency, be it the district attorney or the AG, ignores an allegation claiming that We The People were shut out from participating in running their government, it emboldens the Barney Fife‘s of public life to continue to ill-judged and impolitic procedure.

THE PLANET applauds The Beacon and Jordan for their effort. It has raspberries for the AG and the D.A.

Open Meeting Educational Session Planned for Sept. 12 or Lip Service at its Finest

Incidentally and ironically, the AG’s office will conduct four educational sessions on the open meeting law throughout the state. One of scheduled for Lenox on Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. THE PLANET wonders if the Lenox selectman will put a sign in front of the entrance saying: “Public Not Allowed. This Mean You!!”

Official Lenox allowed mindless development, particularly of condos; created the ugliest strip mall this side of the Pecos, and has found itself in a disconnect with the town’s citizens. It fell under the spell of tourism and the recreationists, who had what discretionary income there was to be had since 2008, and in the process of catering to them, lost its soul.

We give you the epitaph, straight from the mouth of selectman John McNinch: “The truth is people think it is impossible to get anything done here.”

Here, here, Mr. M.

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‘LENOXOLOGY’ PUT OUT OF ITS MISERY, BUT ONLY AFTER COSTING LENOX TAXPAYERS $100,000

Speaking of Lenox, the Millionaires have finally pulled the plug on “Lenoxology.” You remember the town paid more than $100Gs, most of it to The Big New York City Agency to develop a marketing campaign that would get the town out of its doldrums. It went with The Big New York City Agency for reasons that still strike one as mysterious, especially after passing up any number of competent local agencies.

It took The Big New York City Agency to come up with this work of genius. A hundred thousand bucks later, and the town of Lenox has flushed it down the porcelain commode.

The BNYCA snickered into town, likely assigned its junior staffers to the job, and came up with “Lenoxology,” a term justly derided from the start. Town officials got on the defensive over their stupid decision, and they couldn’t admit their blunder. Basically, they couldn’t give “Lenoxology” away. To the bitter end, the Lenox marketing and events committee wanted to go down with the ship on Lenoxology, but more rational heads prevailed. The selectman were so embarrassed by Lenoxology that they even refused an offer to purchase the bum term. That offer came from Eiran Gaizit of The Gateways Inn.

“If [he] likes ‘Lenoxology,’ [he can] use it,” said one town official.

“I’ve lost interest, Gaizit replied.

One of “Lenoxology’s” biggest fans, Realtor Bob Romeo, a member of the marketing and events committee, said, “The town has spent probably $100,000 on ["Lenoxology"] so far and [has] now abandoned it.”

Such is life in toney Podunk.

THE PLANET thanks The Berkshire Beacon for providing the quotes to this story.

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THERE’S MORE TO COME LATER TODAY, SO KEEP CHECKING IN. THE PLANET IS WORKING ON SEVERAL STORIES THAT WE THE PEOPLE WILL FIND OF INTEREST.

HOMER’s HYMN TO MERCURY, FOR THOSE UNSKILLED IN ITS SWEET TONGUE, COULD TELL NO BETTER A TALE THAN THE ONE TOLD HERE, IN ALL THE BERKSHIRES’ PASTORAL HILLS.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

 

15 Responses to “KRATKA ON HOT SEAT TONIGHT AT PITTSFIELD SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING … LENOX CONTINUES TO SPIT UP ON THE BED; THIS TIME, ALLEGED OPEN MEETING VIOLATIONS ARE THE ISSUE … plus … ‘LENOXOLOGY’ ENDS IN WITH A WHIMPER, NOT A BANG, BUT TOWN IS $100Gs LIGHTER FOR IT”

  1. Elizabeth
    August 22, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    The school committee bores me, Larry Kratka bores me and LENOX really bores me. I’m going golfing with Mary Jane and Joe.

  2. Magic
    August 22, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Is $100,000 the lucky number in Berkshire County

  3. joetaxpayer
    August 22, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    Lenox get lenoxology for a hundred grand and pittsfield gets a meth clinic.That slogan doesn’t seem that bad now.

    • Beacon Hill Mob
      August 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

      Lenox got SCREWED.

      $100K, LESS than Mis-manager FEDERSPIElL spoons tourists for, AT A YEAR SALRY

      Not even a meth clinic with junkies, JEFFY???

  4. Jim Gleason
    August 22, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Yhe school committee won’t do a thing to Larry, nor does he deserve anything in the line of a scolding because he does a great job at WTBR. Aside from the Krol propaganda hour I enjoy most of their programming, all of it except the dance music on Thurs. and Saturday, in fact. The kids are good and the adult DI’s are, for the most part, good too. The citizens of Pittsfield get their money’s worth from Larry. Good job and keep it up, Larry.

  5. Dead to Rights
    August 22, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    I understand what you’re saying Jim but the point of what Larry did, his actions and statements with the whole Sturgeon episode. I agree with the points made here that he needs to tell the truth about the incident. That’s all. Many people have been blamed for being the bad guys, that’s why Larry simple needs a little honesty. Hw owes it to us.

  6. tito
    August 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Kratka isn’t going to budge.

  7. dusty
    August 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Larry is one of their own and besides it is a personnel issue so it will be behind closed doors.

  8. tito
    August 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    The caveat is Larry is relinquishing any liability, so if the School Committee endorses Mr. Sturgeon back to the station, they will be responsible, Hats off to Larry, very clever.

  9. gEE Whiz
    August 22, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    Krtaka reliquishes any liability? That’s ridiculous. If the school board falls for that, they deserve what they get. Larry is clearly burnt out, if you listen to his newscasts, you can hear him going through the motions. I’ve stopped listening to him. He’s always been a mumbler, but combine that with lack of energy and enthusiasm and he’s barely decipherable.

  10. tito
    August 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    It may be ridiculous, but that’s what he said, what he didn’t say was, who put political pressure on him? that has been the Planet’s bone of contention. Why does the school committee want this headache to begin with, it’s a no win situation. And that is why Kinnas is against.

  11. Scott
    August 23, 2012 at 4:59 am #

    As long as the part time locals are happy who cares? Just keep them coming to spend their money we need them just as much as they need us. With the recent health trend Lenox should be focusing on quality nutritious food, Tanglewood and all the beautiful hiking trails like Olivia’s overlook. Of course including the full time locals in making important marketing decisions and strategies to come up with practical solutions to drive the local economy is important as well I mean they’re the ones out on the trails and running business’s that leads them to interact with out of towners but it’s a shame the board is clueless to the needs of their own community. I’m just a painter what do I know…

  12. Beacon Hill Mob
    August 23, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    I remember when Lenox was a nice Town to live in. Local kids could afford to buy a home where they grew up.

    There was no strip mall, condos or Hysterict District

    And we had no need for an overpaid, under worked and inept Town Manager, nor foolish $100K slogans.

  13. Brian C. Marquis
    August 25, 2012 at 5:20 am #

    The first name to pop into my frontal lobe, in the Kratkagate scandal, wouuld 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)

    • danvalenti
      August 25, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      BRIAN
      An interesting theory. That would certainly explain why LK played D&D. Well, Ken Warren. is this in fact the case? Or would this sort of thing not be in your “dirty tricks” playbook?