PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, SEPT. 18, 2012) — It’s been 14 years the creation of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA). Progress, once the most important product for PEDA’s illustrious successor — General Electric Co. — has been painfully slow. That’s an understatement of the order that Custer lost at Little Big Horn.

PEDA has been hampered by a combination of politics (petty as best, poison at worst), the failure of its leaders to achieve consensus with We The People, lack of vision, a sense of complacency, and the kind of self-triumph too often associated with those who hold power, as if power itself is the mark not only of their justification for also their achievements (even when there is a lack of achievement!).

An annotated list of misses by PEDA would take far longer than THE PLANET has on this day, and we see no need to recount the litany. Let’s exemplify by the latest illustration of PEDA’s non-functionality.


Does PEDA Need Liability Insurance Against Toxins?

On Aug. 21, PEDA’s insurance for environmental liability lapsed. Did PEDA renew? We have no idea. A visit to the PEDA website brings up stale news of the all-is-well variety. The website remains moribund, functional only in a technical sense. Now that we’re on it, isn’t it funny how many Pittsfield websites, in this, the age of cyberspace, work as if it’s 1989 and not 2012. The city’s site, for example, lacks e-mail addresses. News is dated and skewed. In many other towns and cities, one would have a reasonable expectation that going to a site like PEDA’s would supply the answer on its insurance status, since, after all, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski are shareholders.

Does PEDA even need such insurance? If the property has been sufficiently cleaned up to market and for prospective companies to buy in and build, why does the authority need protection against industrial toxins which are not there in the ground? Wasnt the land cleaned up to acceptable standards allowing build up?

THE PLANET can only think of one reasonable scenario for purchasing the expensive policy: There are still poison surprises located on the site, or at least, there is the fear that there are surprises lurking in the ground. That issue has been longstanding for the former GE campus. If a company moves in and finds, for example, it has a “sick building” on its hands, where does the liability fall. Where does it end?

The lapsed policy indemnified PEDA for $50 million against such risk. Discussions were toward purchasing a new insurance contract with a $5 million cap. The risk-benefit analysis shows that coverage is reduced by 90% but premiums are much lower. Should PEDA take a chance on exposure?

THE PLANET went online to find out. One would expect to find relevant information on the website: What is the cost of the different policies? What its the status of the insurance? What does the policy cover. Why isn’t there a copy of the actual policy, so the public can examine for itself?

This “stuff” is known as information, and in official Pittsfield, authorities do not sufficiently trust Mary Jane and Joe to keep them supplied with the info they need to self- govern.

Self-govern, we say. The way government has taken over lives, that sounds like so much nostalgic civics clap-trap.

Does PEDA Even Need the Insurance?

Does PEDA need pollution insurance? The answer is no, providing it is confident that the property presents itself in clean enough shape. The answer is yes if PEDA has reason to believe the site is still polluted. Again, PEDA’s website is of no help in determining if the authority renewed the policy and at what level.

PEDA Executive Director Corydon Thurston favored more insurance, claiming that it’s a recruiting tool to get companies aboard and assuage their concerns that they might be building on a toxic time bomb.. Perhaps, but THE PLANET wonders: If that is so, and with $50 million of insurance in place against toxic risk, why haven’t more companies moved into the site?



Noted in Passing — Mayor Bianchi appointed veterans affairs director Rosanne Frieri to the disability commission, to complete the term of Deborah Sadowy. Readers will recall that Frieri came under fire from certain members of the media and public stemming from an alleged lack of performance in her job working with and for veterans. Seemingly qualified parties — Soldier On executive director Jack Downing, for example, and veteran activists such as Bill Sturgeon — claimed Frieri was not doing the job. There were complaints that she treated the nearly $50,000 a year job as a cost center so she could run her photography business, on taxpayers’ time. Frieri has denied that. Others including veterans say she has done a good job in helping them. Go figure. THE PLANET wonders, though: Can she take on this added responsibility, do it justice, and still function as an effective veteran’s advocate (all the while going all shutterbug on us?).

Crime Busters — With crime, drug problems, and gang-related activity continuing to scald Pittsfield and keep people away from the downtown except for circus events (Third Thursdays, First Fridays, and the like), you’ll be interested to know that Mayor Dan Bianchi has brought to resurrected life the police advisory board. The board consists of Sheriff Tom Bowler, Larry Tallman, Phyllis Smith, Ken Wilson, Radcliffe Harewood, and Scott Clements. THE PLANET wishes them success, but we wonder: What is the barometer by which we can make an intelligent, fact-based assessment. On behalf of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, we want more than good intentions. We would like to know: What can the commission reasonably promise?

Warren PeaceElizabeth Warren is a law professor at Harvard. She makes $500,000 a year. She has a net worth of $14.5 million. She has a large stock portfolio. She lives in a multimillion dollar home in Cambridge. She has raised more than $24 million in her campaign, most of it from Hollywood stars and New York City media moguls. She’s running for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, where every member of Congress is from the Democratic Party except her opponent, Sen. Scott Brown. Someone, please compute all of this information and tell us how Warren can with a straight face claim to be in close touch with Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, whose interest she claims she will represent in Congress?







  1. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    September 18, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    And is Scott Brown any better with his monied Wall Street backers? How has he voted? For the working class people? C’mon DV

    September 18, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    With a straight face she is a janitors daughter and at one time in her life had to work for whatever she’s got. Even though as a member of Romney’s (just barely made it in across the 200 grand/year line) middle class i can remember when i had nothing. not to knock brownie for what he’s done but his very first vote next january if he wins the election will be for mitch mcconnell – have to agree with hilly, most of his money is coming from out of state

    • Scott
      September 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      So you’re middle class? You don’t seem happy about it. Warren is a typical Democrat take from the rich and give to the poor in this election it will be as simple as that and seeing how the rich are only 1% you’ll see Mass continue it’s blue streak and Obama will be president again ahhhh the choices!

      On another note we’re way better off here then in Mexico for now…

      • AMBROSE
        September 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

        do i seem unhappy? just saying, she didn’t always live in a mansion. romney did – brownie didn’t

        • Scott
          September 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm #


    • levitan
      September 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

      Scott Brown has run strong campaigns built from hard work. Unlike Warren, Brown, to our knowledge, has not exploited the poorly-used members of our extended nation, the Cherokee, to advance herself to her current economic status.

      And to date, Warren refuses to talk to the Cherokee media, though she promises to keep those ‘communication lines open.’

      In addition, and more to the politic point, her behavior and disposition during the CPA hearings revealed her to be little more than an arrogant and self-serving bureaucrat.

      Warren, to me, is a professional user and schemer and I cannot justify giving her my support.

      • levitan
        September 18, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

        *should have written ‘to advance himself…’

  3. joetaxpayer
    September 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Little Bull, aka Elizabeth Warren will say anything to get elected .Sometimes I wonder if she had alittle to much of the peace pipe when she was at the reservation.

    • Jim Gleason
      September 19, 2012 at 7:39 am #


      • joetaxpayer
        September 19, 2012 at 9:40 am #

        Thank you Jim.

  4. ShirleyKnutz
    September 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    I will say yes Scott Brown will be bipartisan. A report just came out noting the fact. Has John Kerry voted at least 15% against the Democrat mantra? I guess we know who is poisoning the Congress with their uncompromising attitude!

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      September 19, 2012 at 5:04 am #

      Scott Brown didn’t exact;y have a high bar set for him to be most bipartisan did he Shelly?

  5. ShirleyKnutz
    September 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    By the way we will never see a manufacturing plant at the PEDA site in our lifetime. So who needs insurance? There is a reason the insurance companies have the most expensive offices!!

  6. Ron Kitterman
    September 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Elizabeth is just a little too phony for me.

    • Scott
      September 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

      How does she get to pay less I never get that option when I do my tax’s my accountant doesn’t say “Hey want to pay a lower tax?”

  7. levitan
    September 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Re: pollution insurance. If you have a leaky oil tank buiried in your personal property, you are required to have it removed and the contaminated soil removed. The EPA will issue a statement that you have complied with the law. But…it can come back at any time and say you need to do more. Hence, you can get a clean bill, piss off your neighbor who has a friend in the EPA, and find that you need to re-excavate your property.

    That is how environmental law was explained to me by Reb. Sabin.

  8. The Kraken
    September 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Elizabeth Warren’s ancestor had high cheekbones. Is that not enough to vote for her? It was enough to get her a free ride into Harvard.

  9. Ron Kitterman
    September 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    She proved her Indian heritage by showing us a copy of the Pow Wow Chow Cookbook ….

    • Scott
      September 19, 2012 at 4:24 am #

      So we still need Obama’s birth certificate and Warrens blood work I hope it get’s in before election time.

  10. Kevin
    September 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    The Cherokee exploitation is what did it for me with her. My vote is with Scott Brown.

  11. Giacometti
    September 19, 2012 at 12:09 am #

    Scott Brown signed the Norchrist Tax Pledge….and voted against equal pay for women along with Mitch McConnell and his crew..
    He’s no friend of the working class or women.

  12. just sayin
    September 19, 2012 at 12:18 am #


    How can you criticize Warren for her bucks, ergo out of touch? If that’s your criteria then your buddy Romney is on another planet. At least she has a brain and not an inane weather vane.

    • danvalenti
      September 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      Fair criticism, though I respectfully disagree. They both have money, but that’s a given for high-profile national office today. You need a ton of it, either your own or someone else’s. Warren is highly leveraged, which means she will be bought and sold to her masters if elected. Mitt has his own, and while at the presidential level all successful candidates for that office are pawns to the Vested Interests, I think with Mitt money will be less of an influence than with Warren, of whom we can ask: “First time in a limousine?”

      • Levitan
        September 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

        Warren already has been bought and sold as part of her evolution from naive hack to the Wall Street apparatchik during her CPA stint.

  13. jlo
    September 19, 2012 at 4:39 am #

    I think there are a lot of nervous Republicans out there now that Warren has taken a five point lead over Brown. With Romney imploding nationally, this may repress his base, which is very bad new for “down ticket” elections, espcially in swing states. The latest polling shows a huge move on the Senate races, not just here in MA, but nationally. A mear two weks ago the Republicans were favored to have 52-53 seats, now the Dems are at 52-53 seats (projected).


    Of course, too much confidence by the Dems can kep some of their people home. Its actually in both parties interests to portray the election as “close” in order to get people away from their many distractions, and to go bother to vote.

    • danvalenti
      September 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

      Excellent analysis

  14. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    September 19, 2012 at 5:11 am #

    Suprised you guys are sooo far off on the Senate Race and are distracted by non issues, Cherokee etc…voting record is what really counts! Check the facts that follow…Brown only crosses the isle when it is a throwaway vote that doesn’t matter just to look good for the other side…here is the side by side comparison on the issues ..

    So the real question is, who is going to vote is your best interests?

    • joetaxpayer
      September 19, 2012 at 5:34 am #

      Scott Brown !

      • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
        September 19, 2012 at 7:35 am #

        Did you read the comparison Joe?

        • joetaxpayer
          September 19, 2012 at 8:44 am #

          You asked who is going to vote in my best interests,the answer Scott Brown.

        • Scott
          September 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

          She’s against legalization of marijuana and want’s tougher gun laws in a state where they are already the toughest. So much for her native American heritage.

      • Scott
        September 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

        I agree “JoeTaxpayer” after reading their comparison from the link provided I have changed my mind. Do they have these for all politicians?

    • danvalenti
      September 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      Good post, Hilly.

    • Larry
      September 20, 2012 at 4:53 am #

      Scott Brown!

  15. Still wondering
    September 19, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Both Scott and Mitt will win in November. Place your bets now, you’ll get the bets odds.

    • joetaxpayer
      September 19, 2012 at 8:45 am #

      Unfortunately, Obama will get re-elected, agree with Scott Brown winning a close one.

    • danvalenti
      September 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      If the election were held today, The President would win re-election, handily. The Brown-Warren race is a toss up.

      • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
        September 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

        Scott Brown was hurt by Mitt Romney’s recent comments in a BIG way…watch..!

  16. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    September 19, 2012 at 6:12 am #

    Still wondering, I’m still wondering if you are watching what is going on around you before you make those foolish remarks..

  17. Jim Gleason
    September 19, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    Dan, because Jack Downing, who is crooked as the day is long, and bill Sturgeon, KOO KOO, KOO KOO, don’t like Rosanne Frieri you question her ability? They both are non-credible sources.Mayor Bianchi wouldn’t appoint her to a position she can’t handle.Saw turge on last week with the high school radio talk show host, what an educational hour that was (HA)

    • danvalenti
      September 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

      No, I am merely reporting on the reviews that have come in from those who have been served by the office, including those two men but mostly disgruntled veterans. It’s nothing personal against Rosie or anyone else. As always, I go where the preponderance of the evidence leads. Stay well.

  18. Pat
    September 19, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Go Scott Brown.

    • Scott
      September 19, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      One thing I can’t stand about him is he voted against mothers on welfare going to school which is odd because he admitted to growing up and his family benefiting from welfare and he’s for corporations but I can’t see past Warrens tougher gun laws to solve problems. She seems more like a socialist as well.