HARRIS, NEAL VICTORIES CAME WITH EXPECTATIONS … HARRIS WON BY BEING HERSELF, A ‘NON-POLITICIAN’ COMING ACROSS AS THE MOST KNOWLEDGABLE … NEAL COULD HAVE BEEN HAD, BUT NUCIFORO’S PLAGIARISM MISTAKE PREVENTED IT … plus … !!!A PLANET EXCLUSIVE!!! FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE LENOX DEMOCRATIC TOWN COMMITTEE … READ THE CONTENT OF THREE FED-UP LETTERS OF RESIGNATION
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, SEPT. 7, 2012) — Congratulations are in order for the campaigns of Patsy Harris and Richard Neal. Respectively, they won the Democratic primary races for register of deeds in middle Berkshire County and 1st District U.S. representative to Congress. Barring an act of God, Honey Boo Boo, or some other unforeseen occurrence, those two shall go on to office in their respective seats, since there is no opposition, GOP or otherwise.
Caught in the Act of Being Herself: The Voters Liked It
Both wins were expected by THE PLANET. Harris ran a solid campaign, and she scored by not being a politician. She projected, retained, and maintained a “regular person” persona, and — as we advised her — she only had to be herself and not someone else. She did that. She did not do what a new-bee often does, to be like “them,” perceiving slickness and polish for the sophistication required for office.
Harris, well coachable and eager for advice, wasn’t afraid to ask for help, and she showed how smart she was in picking up expertise from others along the way, this address included. A candidate’s job is one of communication. To communicate well and effectively, a candidate must first fashion a coherent and credible message. Harris did that. She honed in on her experience — not in running for office but in running that office by virtue of having worked as assistant register for more than a decade.
Pignatelli could rely on his last name looking good, but not good enough, on a lawn sign. The best he could do after that was look the part, which he did, and attempt to translate his experience with the family electrical business to the office of register of deeds. It was an ill fit from the start, and the more voters got to know about the nature of the job, from the one candidate who knew the job, the more they could see that one does not necessarily assume the other. Phillips ran a poorly run, poorly expressed campaign. She did not have a message, and a candidate without anything to say is a blusterer, little more and a lot less, especially when that candidate had a record as a quitter in public office.
Harris did not have to do anything more than be herself, explain what she knew about the position, and not worry about her lack of campaign experience.
Do all that, Harris allowed voters to see her command of the facts. Her long time experience in the office of register allowed her to give the best answers to questions specific to the job. That made a difference. She wasn’t as “polished” as her opponents in the debates, but, again, with the proper coaching, she played her demureness into a strength. We will let Harris provide details to the extent that she wishes about our coaching sessions. We can only say we feel the kind of pride a track coach must feel when he sees his ward win the gold medal.
Harris definitely hit a chord with what we might call “normal” people — the Mary Jane and Joe Kapanskis out there, who are tired of politics and its retreads.
A Campaign of ‘What Ifs’ for Nuciforo
Neal for Congress. This was never really a race to begin with. Andy Nuciforo lost whatever momentum he built up when the plagiarism issue hit the news. Even with that, Nuciforo ran well and we have to believe that without it, he would have run. Bill Shein gave it a go and ran a credible shoestring campaign. All he needed was a pair of shoes to go with the string. Neal had the shoes, the suits, the “Look,” the talk, and mainly, the money and organization to waltz to victory. Sure, he ducked debates, but can you blame him, with nothing to gain and everything to lose?
The pity, of course, is that both these candidates walk into office by virtue of no November opposition. For register, that hardly matters. For Congress, with Neal’s less than convincing win, it does. A strong GOP challenger or a third party bid would have been interesting, especially if it was more than of the token variety.
Onto November, which will have a race for governor’s council and state rep, especially Laugenour versus Pignatelli. THE PLANET shall be covering those race in due time.
WHAT’s ALL THIS CRUD ABOUT THE LENOX DEMOCRATIC TOWN COMMITTEE?
A couple of days ago, we gave the Town of Lenox what Larry Mondello and Beaver Cleaver used to call “the business.” Judging from the reaction, our comments hit the mark.
Since our report, we have learned about some of the chaos on Democratic Party committee in that town. Ken Fowler, who is chairman of the town select board, also chairs the Lenox Democratic Committee. That’s kind of like owning Baltic Avenue and Mediterranean Avenue in Monopoly. At one time, it was like owning Boardwalk and Park Place. My, how the real estate has changed. “There goes the neighborhood,” one might say.
Three Resignations in Six Months: Something’s Amiss in Millionaire Land
Since the town elections in March, there have been three resignations, THE PLANET has learned: Joe Kellog, secretary; Linda Messana, who later rejoined; and Sonya Bykofsky.
Three resignations in six months — while not on a pace of the evacuation from Dunkirk, it does not advertise well the state of the committee under chairman Fowler.
THE PLANET here publishes the resignation letters, which you might find of interest for the way they allow a glimpse “behind the curtain.”
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RESIGNATION of SONYA BYKOFSKY
AUGUST 28, 2012
Fellow Committee Members:
I have been busy with my seasonal business and am just catching up on e-mail messages in my personal account, so please forgive the long time in responding to Chairman Fowler’s last group message.
I have been a member of the Democratic Party all my life. My background is from a middle class family that participated in grass-roots democratic activism. I joined this Committee searching for like-minded Democrats working to make a positive impact in our community, and support Democratic candidates, and values. I had the expectation that this Committee would be a place of transparency and democracy. However…
From the time we were elected on to this committee in March 2012, new members were prevented from their right to vote immediately on committee matters (violating state law). We were told we had to first attend 3 meetings. Why? (It was only at the last meeting on 8/2/12 – after I brought this up – that suddenly this was allowed.)
Town Democratic committees are dissolved, and re-organized every 4 years along with their by-laws. Newly elected Committee members should be given the opportunity to vote – again, immediately – to adopt, amend, or approve by-laws when the new Committee re-organizes – prior by-laws do not apply. (These prior by-laws were not even revealed to newly elected members for several months.) Why?
Ken’s’ message [Fowler] stated to contact him if you have issues, and “we will then have an agenda item included for the next meeting and we can discuss this as a committee”. I requested the by-laws be listed on our last meeting agenda again – Ken refused, saying it was up to him what went on, and that we could address the matter under old (or new?) business at the next meeting. Again, avoiding any input from new members re: the by-laws. Why?
Apparently, there is some selectivity by the Chairperson as which laws are to be enforced, to whom they apply, and whose requests will be permitted. Why?
Tribalism and parochialism has undermined this Committee’s ability to have transparency, respect for procedures, law, and diversity of opinions. We’re supposed to be supporting Democratic candidates. (There’s a national election around the corner, folks.)
It is for these reasons that I am resigning this committee. (Feel free to “play this out” in the press…that’s part of transparency.)
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Tribalism and parochialism: This provides a strong clue about what’s going on in Lenox. THE PLANET had heard the same charges with respect to Fowler’s stint as chairman of the select board. This might be entertaining soap opera at one level, but at another, more fundamental level, it means the good people of the Town of Lenox continue to be misrepresented by the petty politics of pettier, and not prettier, politicians.
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Here is the resignation letter of Linda Messana:
Dear Lenox Democrats,
I have had enough of a choice few and you know who you are. Life to too short to be bothered by your nonsense. I have officially resigned both my position and my membership, in what was a GREAT organization. I expect you will drive this into the ground as you have so many other things in our wonderful town.
Life is too precious to waste it on these few. I will really the miss the rest who tried to be civil. I would rather expend my energy helping organizations and people who care and appreciate my attention.
Please look carefully at the forward e-mailing you have been presented. There are people on the list that are NOT members of the Democratic Committee.
What happened to our elder generation of loyal Democrats. I suspect they are as tired of this as I am.
Linda Procopio Messana
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We shant attempt much commentary here. Messana’s message speaks for itself.
Finally, here is Joe Kellogg’s resignation:
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From: Joseph Kellogg
Sent: Wed, May 2, 2012 9:50 pm
Dear Lenox Dems:
I am writing to advise that I will be resigning from the Town Committee effective immediately or at least until a smooth transition can be made to someone willing to take over the Secretary duties. I am available for help with a new person and will offer advice if requested.
Although I have prepared the motion for the Charter Review article for tomorrow night’s meeting, I don’t think its appropriate for me to offer it so would ask that someone step up and volunteer to present it. The motion is attached for anyone wanting to jump in.
Its been a lot of fun, but my frustration with the direction of the town is just getting too much and I see no light for any significant change in the near future.
Will likely also be resigning from Planning Board and Assessors but need to give that a little more thought as to timing.
Thanks for everything.
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There you have it: an inside look at the frustration, irritation, dissatisfaction, discontent, and vexation that has paralyzed the Democratic Town Committee and, to much of the same extent, the Lenox Board of Selectmen. One wonders: How much longer will the Mary Jane and Joe Kapanskis of Lenox put up with these clowns and their buffoonery?
“GOOD BYE FOR NOW, GOOD LUCK, AND MAY THE GOOD LORD TAKE A LIKING TO YOU.” — ROY ROGERS.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.