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MORE INFO ON CITY-SPECTRUM SECRECY … LETTERS TO THE EDITOR … plus … PLANET LOOKS AT THE HOTTEST RACE SET FOR SEPT. 6: THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FOR MIDDLE COUNTY REGISTER OF DEEDS … PLANET ISSUES ENDORSEMENT

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, AUG. 14, 2012) — Last week, THE PLANET brought readers up to date on the latest in the secret (and secretive) business between Spectrum Health Systems or Worcester and the city of Pittsfield. Stories like this can sometimes serve to pry other information from otherwise hidden corners.

It did.

Dwyer Buys Adjacent Plot on Stoddard

Since then, the Dywer Funeral Home has purchased the adjacent property that, at one time, looked like it would house Spectrum’s methadone clinic. That didn’t happen, and to make sure it would continue to control its own destiny, Dwyer has bought the property. That move showed forward thinking, a neat strategic gem amid a story that’s been nearly all fools gold.

Debbie Dwyer says that “for the time being, we will try to clean up the two apartments and get them rented. Down the road, who knows? We’re considering an addition to the funeral home, and that parcel might be valuable parking space.”

Dwyer says that purchasing “certainly wasn’t something we planned, but we’re glad we could do our part to contribute to a nice, residential neighborhood. Many families in that area have been there for many generations. Both my family and my husband’s family have been there since the early 1900s.”

We thank Debbie Dwyer for that update, and we salute her communal spirit.

Does Work at Yon Building Have a permit? and Keep Your Eye Out on Wednesday for an Announcement re: Spectrum

In other Spectrum news, THE PLANET hears on the street two things:

* The extensive work that continues in the Yon Building on Summer Street does so, apparently, with “no posted building permit.” We haven’t confirmed that information. Spectrum originally wanted to go into the Yon Building, Mayor Jimmy Ruberto said no and launched a suit the city had no chance in winning, and now it appears Spectrum will be locating at that address after all — although we remind everyone, nothing has been officially confirmed. Speaking of that, THE PLANET also hears that …

* … On Wednesday, Aug. 15, there may be some kind of announcement regarding the City-Spectrum situation. The leak is unofficial, so stay tuned.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Time to dip into the mail bag. Several letters have been piling up, and we can start the whittling process right about now.

‘City’s Babe Ruth Champs Need Help for Arkansas’

To The Planet:

As you may know, after a week long battle ending this past Wednesday, Pittsfield’s 15 Year-old Babe Ruth All-Star team won their way into the Babe Ruth World Series in Van Buren, Arkansas.  This team of talented, hard-working young men is now representing our city, our state and all of New England in the national tournament that many kids only dream of reaching.

With only one week to prepare for this huge event, the team and its parents are working diligently to raise funds to defray the costs associated with the event.  While the boys themselves will be out in various places over the weekend, our success will depend more on the generosity of local businesses and individuals due to the short period of time we have to prepare.  

Please consider supporting your hometown team and the dream they continue to keep alive.  The will wear their Pittsfield jerseys with pride, and show the nation what teamwork and good sportsmanship can achieve. 

If you would like to help our team and families, donations can be made by check made out to “Pittsfield Babe Ruth”.  There will be parents like myself who will be available to pick up donations, or they can be mailed to:

           Pittsfield Babe Ruth
           c/o Gildo’s Auto Body 
           717 East Street
           Pittsfield, MA  01201

(If you require the request on letterhead including Tax ID, that can be provided)

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Valenti Blog, ‘In Order of Importance’

To The Planet:

I get a kick out the google search results when I search “Valenti Blog” (someday I will figure out where I put your blog’s “bookmark and not have to search).  Your blog is listed first in the Google search, ahead of the nationally known feminist Jessica Valenti.  As you know Google lists in order of “importance” (their words), so you must be more important!

Don’t always agree with you but appreciate your work and your informative coverage of the local scene. — Joe

—– 00 —–

We thank our writers for these letters. If you wish to correspond with THE PLANET, do so at this website or at danvalenti@verizon.net.

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PLANET ANALYZES MIDDLE BERKSHIRE REGISTER RACE

The hottest race locally, the Democratic primary for Middle Berkshire County Register of Deeds, pits three candidates: current Assistant Register of Deed Patsy Harris, former Pittsfield city clerk Jody Phillips, and Scott Pignatelli, head of the family electrical business.

Berkshire County, with about 132,000 people, has not one, not two, but three three registers for north, middle, and south county. As a letter to the editor in the Boring Broadsheet pointed out several days ago, Suffolk County, with about six times the population, gets by with one register. First question: Why do we need three here? Answer: Politics. Three political positions paying $90,000 a year plus benefits ensures triple the political loyalty of one post.

Which of the Three: Harris and Here’s Why

PATSY HARRIS, in front of her present office, the Register of Deeds.

Second question: Which of the three — Harris, Phillips, and Pignatelli — is the most qualified for the job? To answer that, let’s ask: What does a register of deeds do? REgisters are responsible for (more or less) of the following duties:

    • Record and edit the minutes of meetings and distribute to appropriate officials or staff members.
    • Research information in the municipal archives upon request of public officials or private citizens.
    • Respond to requests for information from the public, other municipalities, state officials, or state and federal legislative offices.
    • Perform general office duties, such as taking or transcribing dictation, typing or proofreading correspondence, distributing or filing official forms, or scheduling appointments.
    • Issue public notification of all official activities or meetings.
  • Collaborate with other staff to assist in the development and implementation of goals, objectives, policies, or priorities.
  • Plan and direct the maintenance, filing, safekeeping, and computerization of all municipal documents.
  • Prepare meeting agendas or packets of related information.
  • Perform budgeting duties, such as assisting in budget preparation, expenditure review, or budget administration.
  • Prepare ordinances, resolutions, or proclamations so that they can be executed, recorded, archived, or distributed.
  • Coordinate or maintain office tracking systems for correspondence or follow-up actions.
  • Maintain fiscal records and accounts.
  • Represent municipalities at community events or serve as liaisons on community committees.
  • Serve as a notary of the public.
  • Maintain and update documents, such as municipal codes or city charters.
  • Participate in the administration of municipal elections, such as preparation or distribution of ballots, appointment or training of election officers, or tabulation or certification of results.
  • Perform contract administration duties, assisting with bid openings or the awarding of contracts.
  • Issue various permits and licenses, such as marriage, fishing, hunting, or dog licenses, and collect appropriate fees.
  • Process claims against the municipality, maintaining files and log of claims, and coordinate claim response and handling with municipal claims administrators.
  • Provide assistance to persons with disabilities in reaching less accessible areas of municipal facilities.
  • Develop or conduct orientation programs for candidates for political office.
  • Prepare reports on civic needs.
  • Provide assistance with events, such as police department auctions of abandoned automobiles. (source: mystudent.com)

Cold, Relentless Logic Makes the Choice, not Friendship

SCOTT PIGNATELLI, left, in this classic campaign photo, with two of his biggest supporters, former mayors Jerry Doyle, center, and Jimmy Ruberto.

You’ll agree: This is a long list. Of the three candidates, there can be no doubt: Harris has by far the best qualifications of the three. Philipps and Pignatelli can duke it out for a distant second place.

THE PLANET bases this judgment on nothing more than reason, objectivity, and common sense. Before this race began, we did not know of Patsy Harris at all. We know Jody Phillips the best. She took a composition course from The Professor several years ago (and did well, we might add) and, of course, we had numerous dealings with her in her role as city clerk in Pittsfield. We know Scott through his family. THE PLANET goes back a long way with patriarch Big Jawn (still one of our favorite all-time local pols and a man for whom we have great love and respect). We have also known Smitty for a long time, and we have enjoyed out relationship. Thus, if we were basing a recommendation on anything other than an objective and omniscient logic, we might not endorse Harris.

The facts, however, require a nod her way.

A Campaign of Lawn (Yawn) Signs, but That is About to Change

JODY PHILLIPS

Unfortunately, to now, this campaign has basically been to now one of lawn signs. Beyond a certain point, lawn signs can be counterproductive. Not enough is probably just right, and too many provide more eyesores for weary drivers. Harris alone seems to have grasped this point. Putting up a vast and assaulting horde of lawn signs, as Phillips and Pignatelli have done, indicates strong organization (Pignatelli particularly) but also might suggest lack of substance. Having a more tasteful amount suggest more confidence. Edge: Harris.

There are two forums coming up at the end of this month, and there will be some information gleaned from them. How much information, of course, will depend on the format and the moderator. A lame, white-bread, vanilla format (timekeeper, arbitrary time limits) and a timid, paint-by-the-numbers moderator such as the kind we get locally in every debate not moderated by Dan Valenti will, guaranteed, produce excerpts from stale stump speeches. Better than nothing? Yes, but not by much.

Of the three, only Harris has a dedicated websitepatsyforregister.com. The site features a landing page, biographical information, photos, events, news, a link for volunteers, a donate button, and a contact link.

Phillips and Pignatelli have Facebook pages. Phillips tells us her qualifications consist in her experience as city clerk. Period. Her FB page has an amateur, cheerleader quality to it. Pignatelli has a smart, You Tube film touting his experience as a manager. it shows far more sophistication, and it’s well produced. Pignatelli cuts a good-lokking figure for the camera, but when you listen to his words, he doesn’t say much. He speak in the same generalities about the job of register as he’s done so far in this campaign, in about as equal a degree of generalness as Phillips. Ask a specific question about the job of register, though, and only Harris has the answer.

Harris has this information on her landing page:

Patsy Harris is a candidate for the Middle Berkshire County Register of Deeds and current full-time Assistant Register of Deeds. Through her extensive experience, Patsy recognizes that not only does the Register need to possess sound management skills for her staff, but also must manage the documents that affect the title to our land. The Register must be the most knowledgeable person in this office; for she has the final say as to the recordability of each and every document. It is vital that the Register of Deeds has the expertise required to protect land owners from unforeseen liens, encumbrances and title issues that can detrimentally affect the marketability of their homes and businesses. Throughout her years spent working in the Registry, Patsy has formulated many innovative ideas about how to best use the budgeted funds from the state. Patsy promises that her full-time presence will not change. She vows to remain accountable to her supporters, and will continue to serve the public in the capacity of Register of Deeds. Vote for Patsy Harris in the Primary Election on September 6, 2012!

Here is the link to Pignatelli’s You Tube speech:

Scott Pignatelli for Register of Deeds - YouTube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgi18xqcyVQ

Edge: Pignatelli and Harris. Phillips’ FB page is long on rah-rah and short on substance.

Of the three, only Harris has reached out to THE PLANET with information and answers. We did a phone interview with her on Thursday of last week and met in person on Sunday. Pignatelli has sent us brief, non-substantial FB comments. Phillips has remained silent. In other words, Harris is campaigning. Pignatelli and Philipps are stalling. Edge: Harris. 

Based on all of these factors, THE PLANET formally endorses Patsy Harris for Berkshire County Middle Register of Deeds. Pignatelli has not shown how his experience of running a family business translates into being the Register of Deeds. Phillips has two things to explain: (1) Why did she quit as City Clerk, costing Pittsfield $25,000 needed for a special election? (2) Why does she want out at General Dynamics? 

Come evening time on Sept. 6, Patsy Harris will be elected register for middle Berkshire County.

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SHE IS A PORTION OF LOVELINESS THAT HE MADE MORE LOVELY. LOVE SWEEPS THROUGH THE DULL SENSE WORLD, COMPELLING THERE ALL NEW SUCCESSIONS TO THE FORMS THEY WEAR.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

90 Responses to “MORE INFO ON CITY-SPECTRUM SECRECY … LETTERS TO THE EDITOR … plus … PLANET LOOKS AT THE HOTTEST RACE SET FOR SEPT. 6: THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FOR MIDDLE COUNTY REGISTER OF DEEDS … PLANET ISSUES ENDORSEMENT”

  1. Kevin
    August 14, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Spectrum story hit the BB today, 100k fine for the City, WOW bend over tax payers.

    • Andy
      August 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

      Now you can go see a play, eat at Spice, walk around “Upstreet” (even saying that is nauseating) and get your methadone.

      • Deb S
        August 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

        just a side note here…it isn’t walking around Upstreet…you go Upstreet and walk around North Street…I think it’s a bad choice for Spectrum to be there…but will have to wait and see the impact it will have on North Street…

    • Dead to Rights
      August 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

      What a ripoff, a disaster, and an embarrassment, that I put first on Ruberto about 70 per cent and 30 per cent on Bianchi for agreeing to that awful confidentiality agreement.

  2. Kit
    August 14, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Nothing like trying to stir the pot. Re: Spectrum – According to the International Building Code, a building permit does not have to be displayed for commercial work but only needs to be available to the building official for inspections.

    • Levitan
      August 14, 2012 at 11:02 am #

      I believe it is the unyielding threat and use of litigation by towns and cities that has led this company to play hardball with communities.

      I am grateful that we did not do something incredibly stupid and continue our lawsuits as the $100,000 was just the first sanction that I had predicted some months ago.

    • Levitan
      August 14, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      In addition, the Dwyers learnt, almost too late, that they had an interest in their neighboring property. Better late than never, I suppose, but in the free market, you sometimes have to reach deep in your pockets to protect your commercial interests.

      • Dead to Rights
        August 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

        Yes and they did that late in the game as it was. I am angered like I haven’t been before about the stupid politics of this city. Totally disappointed with this outcome, with Ruberto, Bianchi and the remarks of Kevin Sherman John Krol and Krol’s ex-boss David Phelps of BHS (wealthy non-profit). DV I hope you address this.

        • Levitan
          August 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

          The City trashed $100K just to make a political statement and look ‘responsive’ to the voters. And, it would appear, the residents of Pittsfield fell head over heels to egg City Hall on in potentially tossing even more money after that load.

          I would hope we learnt a lesson here regarding damsels in distress.

    • levitan91
      August 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

      For those interested:

      Medical explanation for Methadone treatment (and why heroin is not a good thing to take)

      • Scott
        August 15, 2012 at 4:03 am #

        I’ve never done any hard drugs but watched my brothers struggle my whole life. My advice would first be the obvious never take any of that crap. My second if one were to get involved would be to beat it through medical supervised detox in a controlled environment then nutrition. Why would anyone want to be dependent on something whether it’s alcohol, tobacco, methadone or other illegal drugs? I’m not arguing the right for spectrum to do business in a free market (even though they’re a non profit for poor hopeless morons dumb enough to take drugs in the first place.) I’m not arguing heroin as opposed to methadone. I’m arguing that none of it is needed and to live a healthy productive life you need to be drug free, eat right, exercise and have a decent job, maybe some hobbies.

        • Levitan
          August 15, 2012 at 6:03 am #

          Sorry for your troubled experience, Scott – it must be hard to see a family member suffer from that addiction.

          But, the term of methadone is likely dependent on the nature of the patient: the patient’s family background (substance abuse in family can be genetically passed on), their emotional commitment and strength to overcome the addiction, and other biological factors.

          So, it is not fair to characterize methadone treatment by it’s worst outcome, which is lifelong treatment. But then again, there are countless illnesses, mental and physical, that require lifelong medication.

  3. EddieP
    August 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    After reading the BB this morning about the clinic, I can’t help but wonder if BHS will eventually make the Dan Fox Drive location available to Spectrum.
    In its quest for total medical domination in Berkshire County, I am not surprised that BHS had a hand in this somewhere.
    Mr. Phelps seemed awful quick to jump on this opportunity before anyone else did.

    • danvalenti
      August 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      EDDIE P, DTR, LEV, KEVIN, ETC.
      This development raises more questions than it solves, so many it is difficult to figure out where to begin. The confidentiality agreement, with respect to the role played by BHS, is one of the most pressing queries. Eddie raises the fair point of BHS’s domination in the county, and a reasonable person can only conclude that this has been in the mix for a while. How long? Now that is a key concern. Another question is the $100,000. What kind of piss-poor negotiation position and job during the arguments did the city have and do? It must have been off the charts, on the low side. As DTR mentions above, most of this is on Ruberto, but Bianchi comes off looking bad, too. His quote about never again agreeing to confidentiality is another big question. You mean, he agreed? He didn’t inherit legal duct tape over the mouth? There is so much about this resolution that, on the surface, appears dishonorable and unscrupulous. We have only begun to dig. There are people involved with this deal who aren’t happy. THE PLANET will be interested in any factual information anyone might have. For the sake of the good people of Pittsfield, this cannot be allowed to stand.

      • Chet Hunter
        August 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

        Ok Dan why did you take my reply off just because I said your endorsement gave Patsy the kiss of death? Name me a candidate that you endorsed who has won in the last 5 years. I’m waiting

        • danvalenti
          August 14, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

          CHET
          So you and “Shaquile Stone” (or whatever you you) are one and the same! Most interesting. Look, you’ll be better off on this site if you post items of substance rather than drivel. “Chet” or “Shaquile”. How about leaving me a valid e-mail address, sent to danvalenti@verizon.net, and we can have a little chet, I mean, chat. Otherwise, you will soon be history. Your choice. You are welcome, but only under the same house rules with which everyone else abides. If you do not respond with a valid e-mail address, your posts will be deleted on site, even if you should change you name. As my webmaster explains, you can’t hide your electronic signature.

          • Scott
            August 15, 2012 at 4:04 am #

            “you can’t hide your electronic signature.” Sure you can…

        • Say It Ain't So
          August 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

          Hey Chet

          While you are waiting for Dan’s reply…, I would urge you to consider the adolescent and name calling mind set you treat all issues and people here who may happen to disagree with you. You seem incapable of maintaing an adult conversation with others who may disagree with you without resorting to personal attacks and base name calling. Perhaps you are in fact a young adult who has not yet grown up and is stuck in being a Middle School bully. If that is the case, you may just be filled with youthful huberious. Be warned though! As my old English teacher used to say ‘it won’t get you far in life. ‘ However, if you are an adult it seems you have yet to grow up.

          It is the likes of your ‘might is right’ mentality that has this city on it’s knees. Paying through the nose to bullies on the street block for the likes of inflated UEP salaries to spoiled bullying teacher’s unions who act like kids themselves to tax payers and are incapable of holding a reasonable conversation without degrading others and personal attacks.

          Let’s face it Chet- it is the likes of your ‘bully mentality’ that has been the ‘Kiss of Death’ for this city.

          Go back to school Chet ! and grow up ! Maybe try learn something! Come back when you are capable of contributing to this forum without subjecting the rest of us to your immature bulling and name calling.

          In the meantime, I hope Dan gets back to you soon with an answer so the rest of us can have an adult conversation. Chet School’s in session soon- listen up kid – you just might learn something!

          P.S – ask your English teacher to help you expand on your expository and persuasive writing skills. It would be a helpful place for you to start.

          • Say It Ain't So
            August 15, 2012 at 5:54 am #

            Stone – Chet –

            Like I said – Go back to middle School where yourvgames may be tolerated and Grow Up! Your Silly need to play games with Dan just further proves your sub par ability to participate.

            Too much of a stupid bully to know otherwise.

          • Say It Ain't So
            August 15, 2012 at 6:14 am #

            Chet- with some education it may have a chance to DAWN on you how silly you act !

          • Levitan
            August 15, 2012 at 8:33 am #

            Hubris. You mean hubris.

      • Levitan
        August 15, 2012 at 6:06 am #

        Regarding your statement that “Bianchi comes off looking bad…”

        Today’s Berkshire Eagle:
        “Bianchi said he couldn’t comment on the negotiations between the city and Spec trum, because he had to honor a confidentiality agreement between the nonprofit and Ruberto, reached prior to the mayor taking office Jan. 1″”

        According to that report, Bianchi inherited the confidentiality agreement, and he had no further ability to mitigate the outcome, except to offset even more sanctions that would have occurred had he obstructed the Stoddard location.

        Sometimes, to do the right thing, you have to look bad to a few people.

        • danvalenti
          August 15, 2012 at 6:31 am #

          LEV
          Read further on, with his quote: He said never again would he agree to confidentiality. Taken at face value, which is the same respect you are affording the statement you quoted, it suggests that Dan had a choice with respect to the confidentiality agreement. He decided to abide by it, but he didn’t have to. There’s where he made a mistake. He himself has said he will never do it again. Ergo, he has admitted, in a manner I totally respect and endorse, that he blew it. He did not do the right thing in agreeing. He did the right thing in admitting he did the wrong thing.

          • Levitan
            August 15, 2012 at 7:22 am #

            I have no idea what he meant by “never again” without more context. I would conclude, based on everything we can agree upon, that never again applies to an administration trying to cover up a settlement. That statement does not imply that he himself did that, but refers to the policy that he inherited.

            Of course he did not have to abide by it, but it is reasonable to assume that there would be a significant cost to tossing it out. Really, Dan, this Spectrum business was the last thing on Ruberto’s plate, and the outcome of Ruberto’s administration’s actions were in place in January.

  4. Elizabeth
    August 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Who cares! Ok..so a clinic comes in to Pittsfield to deal with the dredge of the earth. People are people. I’m disgusted with all the low life drug infested scum just like the next guy, but if a business wants to provide a service where it’s sorely needed(Pittsfield), than so be it. Summer st?? What’s the big deal with that? It’s not exactly a “neighborhood”. Ummm what would Jesus say? I’m serious.

    • Levitan
      August 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Neither Job nor Jesus would even know there was a Spectrum sited on Summer Street.

      • danvalenti
        August 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

        Steve Jobs would know. And so will people who frequent the downtown.

    • danvalenti
      August 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      ELIZABETH
      I agree. We never quarreled with Spectrum wanting to come to Pittsfield. The mandate, though, that give the state the right to determine what we need or do not need, and the hamstringing attached to the zoning of this private, “not-for-profit” enterprise matter a great deal. The city of Pittsfield blew this in every way you can imagine, beginning with Ruberto and continuing today.

      • Levitan
        August 15, 2012 at 6:09 am #

        Dan, I don’t see how the city is “blowing things” today; that statement is very weak.

        • danvalenti
          August 15, 2012 at 6:28 am #

          LEV
          With respect to what, exactly? The way it handled Spectrum? Well, if you look at the numerous questions this “deal” raises, a reasonable person would have to agree: (a) The Ruberto Administration handled it poorly from the start (about as bad as could be handled) and (b) The Bianchi Administration, in agreeing to conditional secrecy, kept the lid on what I’m sure is further embarrassing actions. There’s also the matters of the $100,000 “fine” (unnecessary: tougher and better negotiations would have avoided that for the city) and the manner in which BHS has inserted itself as the Henry Kissinger of the situation. If that is not blowing things, then tell me, what is?

          • Levitan
            August 15, 2012 at 6:55 am #

            Well, I have yet to hear that Bianchi agreed to the confidentiality agreement or conditional secrecy. For all you know, blowing the lid off that agreement may have dissolved the $100,000 settlement and resulted in even worse sanctions, possibly from the State as pertains to violating the Disabilities Act.

            Tougher negotiations? Ruberto tried that, and look where we ended up? Better negotiations seem to be what the Bianchi Administration gave us seeing that Spectrum is back to a commercial location with eyes on moving into a proper medical location.

            I agree that the City blew it by taking a purely obstructionist approach when research would have predicted this outcome. If the lawyer didn’t warn them, they bear the blame.

    • Scott
      August 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      He would say not to put unnatural drugs into your system for the sake of becoming addicted to another substance with greater health effects and even risk of death.

    • The Kraken
      August 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

      Elizabeth, the problem is this business is funded by taxpayer dollars. And alot of people don’t think methadone clinics are ‘sorely needed’, but rather just another way for someone to get high – on the taxpayer’s dollar. They are controversial at best.

    • outfox
      August 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

      Hillel would say, “Do unto others and the rest is commentary” and Jesus would later co-opt it. Or are you refering to “hey-zeus” the Puerto Rican dope dealer from Holyoke who is soon to arrive in Pittsfield?

      • Scott
        August 15, 2012 at 4:07 am #

        Outfoxed!

  5. Jonathan Melle
    August 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    The Pittsfield Registry of Deeds has been a Democratic Party political office for about 4 decades. Mary O’Brien is a Democratic Party activist. Andrea Nuciforo is using the office as a stepping stone for higher political office as a Democrat. It must be nice to earn over $90,000 per year plus state government benefits for a no-show job!

    • Levitan
      August 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      I understand that there is a fourth candidate running for that office.

  6. Jonathan Melle
    August 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Add a methadone clinic to Social Services Alley. What do you get? North Street, Pittsfield.

  7. Dave
    August 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    How many people honestly knew that there was a different type of clinic already on North St before this whole Spectrum deal came up? Not me, which leads me to believe if all the grandstanding had not taken place, Spectrum would be on Summer St already, the city would have an extra $100K in the coffers and I would not know that they were there. And by the way lets see if they will take the great white whale(the police command center forever parked in the BRTA station) instead of the 100K-they could use it as a mobile center.

    • levitan91
      August 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

      Just you wait until this crowd learns that we have AIDS treatment facilities in Pittsfield.

      You will hear about keeping undesirables out, trading one drug for an affliction, etc…

      • Scott
        August 15, 2012 at 4:09 am #

        Are you seriously going there? Ok you are I would say we’re gonna need it as the drug epidemic increases so does careless sexual encounters.

        • Levitan
          August 15, 2012 at 6:11 am #

          AIDS is transmitted by needles, such as used by heroin addicts. I would think getting people off that drug could prevent the spread of that disease.

          Careless sexual adventures are not historically unique to the post-modern age.

          • outfox
            August 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

            AIDS is a blood borne disease, that is often transmitted by using dirty needles, but it is now possible to buy packages of clean needles at any pharmacy in PIttsfield for about three dollars, Drug addiction would be better served if it were addressed as public health policy/law,like prostitution laws originally were, rather than the punitive criminal laws currently in place in America, and the moralizing of twelve step programs, which are truly an outdated modality when it comes to addiction treatment.

            Methadone, however you feel about it, falls under the heading of “harm reduction’ as do free condoms and access to clean needles.

            However, there are some drug crimes that are so heinous that they can only be punished by the criminal justice system. For many residents of the American Gulag, punishment does not end upon release from prison, especially in our Puritanical state of Massachusetts, allowing our prisons to be a self perpetuating system. I’ve always said “There is no such thing as an ex-con” due to the way the American Gulag keeps the formerly imprisoned disenfranchised. And, of course, keeps the guards and prison support staff gainfully employed…

            Restorative justice, where the perpetrator is not removed from their community but is overseen by regular citizens in community service type projects, has had great success in American communities where it is used for non-violent drug offenders who may be much of the population that also requires methadone. I know it has been working in Albany, NY.

          • danvalenti
            August 16, 2012 at 6:21 am #

            OUTFOX
            Excellent post, well reasoned and presented!

    • outfox
      August 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

      I said a while ago that it was the suboxone clinic that was contributing to the low life look of North St. during the day. Suboxone, methadone; is there a redundancy of services here?

      • Levitan
        August 16, 2012 at 7:31 am #

        Apparently not based on your own observations.

        • outfox
          August 16, 2012 at 7:48 am #

          Levitan, which/what is not based on whose observations? Clarify.

          • Levitan
            August 16, 2012 at 9:11 am #

            You imply that we have an abundance of heroin addicts. If they are in the market for heroin, then we are clearly in need of new clinics, either to satisfy the demand existing ones cannot handle or to do the hard work that existing ones fail at.

      • Levitan
        August 16, 2012 at 7:59 am #

        Dan,

        Outfox’s response is neither well reasoned nor written

        First, the author clearly did not read the medical explanations as to why it is both necessary and helpful to administer methadone, and so the author continues the urban legend that addicts wander about in some acute state of methadone high.

        Second, AIDS is a risk when using dirty needles, and addicts on a budget just may decline purchasing them. So, reducing addiction may also reduce the spread of that disease. The author provides no rejoinder to that argument.

        I won’t comment on the American Gulag because it is incoherent.

        Where’s the beef, Dan?

        • outfox
          August 16, 2012 at 9:59 am #

          Levitan, nowhere in the above post did I say anything about the efficacy of methadone, nor did I indicate that I believe “addicts wander about in some acute state of methadone high”. I do not believe that. As I understand it, methadone does *not* provide that kind of high, and the most effective way to use it in treating opiate addiction is after a period of methadone maintenance the provider then begins to step down the administered dosage in an attempt to wean the addict off of methadone as well.

          Methadone as used in a well managed pain management approach is a different animal. As with any administration of pain medications, the risk of dependency is there, hence the need for “management” by reputable medical professionals. I do think that methadone has negative connotations in our society which leads to the demonization of it, as we Planetarians have recently witnessed.

          I have long been an advocate of harm reduction approaches to public health crises, as they are effective for both the at risk population and the greater society. However, because of the nature of the war on drugs with its focus on interdiction and imprisonment, Americans hear little about what are referred to as “alternative” approaches to 12 step treatment, with the possible exception being methadone. Apparently we’ve all heard of that.

          Because the rate of imprisoned Americans—which includes those on probation, parole, and ankle bracelets ( house arrest)—now and has for many years exceeded that of Soviet Russia at its worst, I figured the “gulag” reference would be an easy connection for most readers. For those of you are unfamiliar with it, I was referencing Alexander Solzhenitsyn”s book “The Gulag Archipelago”, an account of his time as a political prisoner in Soviet Russia. Gulags are where Soviet dissidents were held. While American drug offenders are not what is traditionally considered dissident, there are many similarities that can be made between our contemporary system of imprisonment and those of the gulag. ( I can now hear Levitan somewhere saying, ” Such as?” Google it and make your own opinion; mine is but one.)

          Apologies if I made too many assumptions in my previous post; thank you Levitan for calling me out to clarify, and hopefully strengthen, my views.

          • Levitan
            August 16, 2012 at 10:23 am #

            Thank you Outfox for that clarification, which is indeed a much stronger statement. And, I apologize for the acerbic characterization of your position.

            The gulag analogy is not really central to your argument so I won’t put much weight on it, except to say that Soviet Gulags operate(d) sans the oversight and checks that our prison system works. First of all, you get a trial in this country, secondly, once sent to prison you are accounted for.

            In con\trast, as experiences in my family attest, innocent people can be accused of crimes or be set up, and then sent to a gulag. If you’re fortunate to survive, you can expect to lose 2 years of life for every one served. In addition, prisoners can fall off the books and depend on hand-outs for food (if you’re not officially there, you don’t exist.)

            So, for your purposes, I don’t really think it applies.

          • outfox
            August 16, 2012 at 11:07 am #

            I do use the term “gulag” as a numerical comparison, as well as for it’s shock value. While it may not be wholly central to this argument, it is germane on some levels. One example here at BCHC involves an inmate requesting and being denied kosher meals at BCHC while the institution insisted that it’s Friday meatless menu was not based on religious belief but inmate preference, as BCHC does not honor request for special diets. Knowing that this was a flagrant violation of federal law, the inmate then used the resources at their disposal in the law library of BCHC to research and document the law, and file appropriate grievances with BCHC. The result? BCHC prisoners are now no longer allowed unsupervised access to the law books; they must submit, in writing, what case law they wish to see, and will only be allowed to see it if it applies directly to their open case(s). Any potential for possible self incrimination under those restrictions? Other Constitutional violations?

            Also at BCHC: in election years it is only the sentenced prisoners who are not allowed to vote; any un-sentenced resident still retains their right to vote. This is not widely known. When this tried to be addressed, the administration went bonkers—of course these are examoles from the “Butch” years, and Capeless was running against that uppity woman from Barrington. (Tongue firmly in cheek here)

          • levitan
            August 17, 2012 at 5:04 am #

            Outfox:

            Your information on the restricting inmates access to legal information is really astonishing.

            Again, I apologize for slamming your prior posts.

  8. Elizabeth
    August 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I agree Dan..steamrolling Spectrum into Pittsfield is bullish. But in the end, it might not be a bad idea. What’s the alternative? It’s not like the “problem” is gonna go away. As it is, how may drug addicts are already using taxpayer’s money to take a taxi cab every day, or other day, or whatever it is, to travel to Springfield to get treatment? It’s a huge problem.

  9. Elizabeth
    August 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I agree Dan..steamrolling Spectrum into Pittsfield is bullish. But in the end, it might not be a bad idea. What’s the alternative? It’s not like the “problem” is gonna go away. As it is, how may drug addicts are already using taxpayer’s money to take a taxi cab every day, or other day, or whatever it is, to travel to Springfield to get treatment? It’s a huge problem.

    • The Kraken
      August 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      Elizabeth, just want to make a couple of comments. One, methadone clinics have been around for a long time yet herion use is still rampant. Is that not proof these ‘clinics’ don’t help the problem go away? Two, I have yet to see any clearcut evidence proving that methadone clinics are not anything but another way to get high for an addict.

  10. The Kraken
    August 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Even after reading the Registar of Deeds job description I still don’t see how it warrants 90k a year. Who says public employees are underpaid? That’s right, public employees! As a person who works in the private sector, I think they are overpaid and way overbenifitted.

  11. tito
    August 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    I don’t know where Dan gets his Lawn Sing count, but the practical Hinsdale PATSY, has the most lawn signs out, gluten like.

  12. levitan91
    August 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Sorry, Scott, but I cannot find any verification for the urban legends that methadone simply substitutes one addiction for another or even those legends that it ruins the mind and body.

    Taken from Medical Issues for counselors, copy for AATOD conference. In press, Journal of Maintenance in the Addictions. Judith Martin:

    “After using heroin, the patient is intoxicated for less than two hours, and within four to six hours is already in withdrawal. As illustrated in the curve in Dr. Payte’s figure, heroin doesn’t last very long. This short duration of action is shared with many dependence-producing substances that require multiple daily doses. Heroin addicted persons typically use heroin four to six times daily to avoid withdrawal. The experience is literally of either being ‘loaded’ or being ‘sick’. [9] The short hours of clear-headed time are spent worrying about the impending withdrawal. Patients just beginning maintenance treatment may associate – indeed are conditioned to associate – the fully aware state, which the counselor is calling normal, with withdrawal.

    On the other hand, a methadone maintained patient who is on the correct dose doesn’t go into withdrawal. At steady state, methadone tissue stores act as a sort of slow-release mechanism, keeping methadone in the patient’s bloodstream, continually available to the brain receptors. The patient is in the ‘functional’ or ‘comfort zone’ part of Dr. Payte’s graph. (See Figure 1) This stabilization allows other body activities to normalize. [9] The stress hormones, activated each time the patient went into withdrawal are now stable. The immune system function goes back to normal. The counselor emphasizes the importance of this stability to the patient. It provides the platform from which the patient carries out recovery activities and life plans. Tese key differences between heroin use and methadone treatment”

    • MaryKate
      August 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

      levitan91,

      On the flip side of the coin, I think you might find the Seattle Times, “”Methadone and the Politics of Pain” an interesting read.
      http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/flatpages/specialreports/methadone/methadoneandthepoliticsofpain.html

      • danvalenti
        August 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

        MARYKATE
        Thanks. I wasn’t aware of this article, although, interestingly enough, I read the Seattle Times today. I went there to read a story about Johnny Pesky.

        • outfox
          August 15, 2012 at 3:49 am #

          RIP Johnny Pesky

      • levitan91
        August 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

        The entire article is addressing the misuse of methadone for a pain-suppressant. The article you cite explains how methadone is a risky option for treating chronic pain, and that course of treatment is distinguished by the author from herion treatment.

        “While the pain relief from methadone might last four to eight hours, the drug’s half-life can extend for days. Various studies have placed the high end at 59 hours, or 91 hours, or even 128 hours. That means the drug’s dangers — mainly, its effect on the respiratory system — last long after its benefits have worn off. A patient in pain might be tempted to take another pill without being aware of the toxic buildup”

        In short, in case you missed it, methadone for pain is easily abused because the relief is shorter than the half life of the drug, and that situation results in toxin accumaluting in the liver. With heroin addiction, the drug is given more time to be metabolized.

        Your article may be a flip side, but you have the wrong coin.

        • Kevin
          August 15, 2012 at 6:08 am #

          Honest question levitan 91? What are the current state/ federal guildlines for the length of time an addict should remain on Methadone? Last I read, which was a long time ago 18 months? If the guildlines have been increased, what are they? I have worked with addicts who have been on it 20 plus years. Not a big fan of the treatment but also would not say it is useless. Also how come it is proscribed via a clinic instead of through your doctor?

          • Levitan
            August 15, 2012 at 6:13 am #

            Kevin – those are good questions and I don’t know the answers. I will see what I can find and let you know.

  13. Amanda Blake
    August 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Patsy Harris looks like she’s the best one for this job, although I have great respect for Scott Pignatelli. Either of them could do it, but Ms. Harris seems the best qualified. Good coverage Dan.

  14. tito
    August 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    I’m kind of thinking maybe this election should have been held in the general election, what is the freight for this one.

  15. tito
    August 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Will someone tell Missy Mazzeo that Hawkers and Pedldlers is not a primetime issue. Does John Krol do anything beside backslapping Councilors Lowthrowuo and not so Clairmont?

  16. Giacometti
    August 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Drug clinics that treat opiate addictions are all over town and very few people are aware that they even exist….and there have been no problems associated with them as most people fear there will be. We must treat those that want help with any addiction whether it is drugs or alcohol.

    The existing clinics are:

    Jerry Carter, M.D.
    Phyllis Atwell, M.D.
    725 North Street

    Experience Wellness Clinic
    152 North Street

    George Breit, M.D.
    165 Tor Court

    Jennifer Michaels M.D.
    131 Bradford Street

    Brien Center for Mental Health
    333 East Street

    • Downtown Dweller
      August 15, 2012 at 8:13 am #

      Your information is outdated. The 131 Bradford St. address no longer exists and hasn’t for almost 7 years. It is the site of the New Amsterdam Apartments. Some of the other doctors listed treat only in a detox setting (again, the info is outdated, 165 Tor Court was the address of McGee detox and that moved to BMC on North St.)

      However, your point is taken about treatment being available with most people being unaware that it existed.

      • Levitan
        August 15, 2012 at 9:02 am #

        Giacometti seems to ask the ethical and moral question of how much service and resources for the less fortunate can we abolish and remain a civilized nation.

  17. tito
    August 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    Looks like Krol, Clairmont and gang, are putting the screws to Councilor Mazzeo concerning Hawkers and Peddlers petition to eleviate certain restrictions, It’s very clear, they do not like her.

  18. Larry
    August 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Patsy may be more qualified….. but I cannot see her beating The Pignatelli machine by any stretch of the imagination. He’s going to run her over big time!

    • danvalenti
      August 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      The Pignatelli Machine will be tough to beat in this and in any race. Remember, endorsements are not predictions of who will win, just who in the judgment of the endorser, is the best qualified for the office.

      • Larry
        August 15, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

        Agreed….. She (Harris) is certainly the most qualified candidate for the job, hands down!

        Will she win? Not a chance!

    • dusty
      August 15, 2012 at 1:36 am #

      The people of Pittsfield need to make a statement if they do not want to give over another office to the GOB. If they stay home and do not vote, the GOB will be happy to bend them over and give it to them in the ass.

      You have a candidate who has been doing the job for a long time, doing it well and honorably. Why would you want to now turn it over to an inexperienced but connected politician who is merely a cog in the machine that is eating Pittsfield??

      Why? Give me one good reason. I thought we were trying to get away from all this crap.

  19. tito
    August 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    How about Pignatelli and Wagoneer.

    • Larry
      August 14, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

      Wagoneer???

  20. CONCERNED
    August 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    Remember around every Meth Clinic is the heroin dealers. Remember being told how many residents went to Holyoke for Meth and came back with more Heroin. Just ask the Holyoke PD.

    I would vote for Harris, Jody nice person but Harris earned the right to the job. Pignatelli, just looking for a spring board, using the name and nothing else.

    • levitan91
      August 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

      Concerned, I looked that one up too. and found the following article in the eagle http://www.berkshireeagle.com/ci_3978760?IADID=Search-www.berkshireeagle.com-www.berkshireeagle.com. I am not sure what your point is exactly but if you are suggesting that the meth clinics were the cause of heroin abuse you would not be correctly relaying the story. By the way those at meth clinics that come back with dirty urine are kicked out.

      • Scott
        August 15, 2012 at 4:13 am #

        Would you instruct someone in your immediate family perhaps a son or daughter to seek methadone treatment for their addiction? (I’m speaking hypothetically)

        • Levitan
          August 15, 2012 at 6:17 am #

          I rarely consent to hypothetical questions, but yes I would.

          I would expect the clinic to be responsible, supervise each dose, and demand compliance with a comprehensive program to implement a long-term solution, as opposed to cold turkey solutions that don’t provide for relapse.

          • danvalenti
            August 15, 2012 at 6:24 am #

            LEV
            Your conditions are the conditions we should expect from Spectrum: rigorous enforcement of responsible use and administration.

      • CONCERNED
        August 15, 2012 at 7:00 am #

        My point is heroin dealers know this person are weak and set up to get them to buy heroin These people already abuse the drugs, therefore Im not saying meth clinics caused there abuse

    • danvalenti
      August 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      CONCERNED brings up an important point. Where there are meth clinics, there are heroin users or former heroin users. Where there are such users, the dealers will follow, in droves. True, there are other clinics in town, but none with this high a profile or at this level of size and sophistication. All bets are off as to the ultimate effect this clinic will have on the downtown, but I know it won’t exactly be “renaissance” producing.

      • Levitan
        August 15, 2012 at 6:25 am #

        Test your logic here, Dan.

        “Where there are meth clinics, there are heroin users or former heroin users. Where there are such users, the dealers will follow, in droves”

        Can you invert it and still make sense?

        “If dealers do not appear in droves(A), then there are no heroin users or prior users (B), and there will be no meth clinics,(C)”

        B and A are weak. Heroin users have been around for a very long time and are likely everywhere. Therefore, B likely never happens, and therefore neither does A.

        Society and it’s ills. If you hate it, become a pioneer, my friend, and hitch a wagon and break fresh ground.

        • Levitan
          August 15, 2012 at 6:27 am #

          Also, meth patients are not the best clients anyway because they are under pressure not to purchase heroin, and the last place they would do that is on the doorstoop of the clinic.

        • CONCERNED
          August 15, 2012 at 7:05 am #

          So if someone doesn’t like something and doesn’t agree with you they should leave town LEVITAN you don’t make sense at all. By the way do think all these people going to meth clinic are just Pittsfield people. They come from all over, therefore more drug dealers come also. Plus some will like Pittfield and stay On and o

          • Levitan
            August 15, 2012 at 7:28 am #

            Concerned: As another commentator elsewhere likes to say, “Reading is FUN-damental.”

            I never said those who disagree with me should leave town. I said very clearly, that if you cannot abide by the vice that pervades society, you should head for the hills. It’s the liberty that our Founding Father’s paid with blood for – pursue your happiness and your dreams. Why not? I know plenty of happy people in Montana and Idaho who would never tolerate the urban and suburban lifestyle.