Article

CONTRACTGATE: AN EGREGIOUS ABUSE OF TAXPAYERS, EVEN IN A CITY FAMOUS FOR STINKEROOS … SCHOOL COMMITTEE, COUNCIL AIDED AND ABETTED A RIPOFF OF MARY JANE AND JOE KAPANSKI … LATE DEVELOPMENT IS WE THE PEOPLE’S ONLY SHOT AT JUSTICE … plus … LOTS OF POINTS AND QUESTIONS YOU HAVEN’T SEEN RAISED ANYWHERE ELSE

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, OCT. 17, 2012) — In applying for up to $150,000 in free construction work courtesy of Taconic High School vocational students, Lynn Whitney didn’t have to expend even as much as a postage stamp. Welcome to Contractgate.

“I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter, and make believe it came from me.” (Sung to the tune of “I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter, and make believe it came from you.”)

Hiding in Plain Sight … Clever, Cote, Clever

The ad, cleverly done small enough to be hidden from most except the most astute readers of the Boring Broadsheet — a condition that vastly limits the qualified population, since it is a paper to be avoided or, if read, to be skimmed like a Frisbee-flat stone skipping over Berry Pond — specified “no phone calls.” Hey, the school department wouldn’t want to make it convenient. It listed a postal address for respondents. This being Pittsfield, applicants could not apply via that new-fangled, high-tech gizmo, the Internet. What will they think of next?

The ad ran for four days, from April 13 through 16, 2012, in the BB. Frank Cote, Whitney’s boss as assistant superintendent of schools and head of vocational, told the city council the ad ran for a week. (For the record, Cote’s official title is “Assistant Superintendent Vocational, Workforce, and College Readiness”. In other words, He’s Important. He’s got seven words to state his title).

Cote misstated the length that the ad ran by three days — an innocent slip? A colloquial accounting of time? A flat-out lie? You draw your own conclusions. Oh yeah, and for performance like that, you taxpayers pay the man somewhere around $100,000 a year plus amazing bennies. Whatta city!

Keep in mind, too, that the ad ran on not just any four days but on those four days. April 13 through 16 of this year fell on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The days F-Sat.Sun. are the three least read days in a newspaper. April 15 is tax day. People get might busy before and after that day. They might not read a newspaper as attentively as at other times. In Massachusetts, we have a phony state holiday on Monday so that all state workers can get a free ride off taxpayers. A holiday is a low-to-no read day. Thus, you see how the GOB ran the ad to limit public exposure. They basically took Sunday and Monday out of play, knowing that Friday and Saturday would be consumed with weekend activities and getting taxes done.

The school department had to publicly advertise for the construction work, but only in a technical sense did they do so. The “they? in this case was Frank Cote. He unilaterally placed the ad. He did not go through either the school’s business manager or city purchasing. He didn’t go through the school committee. He just ran the small ad, on his own, on days that were not like to be read. By the way, who wrote that ad? Cote? Whitney? Someone else?

If Nobody Else Responds, Can We Call it Competitive Bidding?

The ad produced two responses: one from the city’s Office of Community Development and one from Lynn Whitney, Cote’s secretary. Whitney dated her letter to Cote applying for the free slave labor as April 25, 2012. That same day, Whitney, as Cote’s secretary, initialed having received the letter. Either the post office set a world’s record in delivering her letter, or she simply typed it up and gave it to herself!

While were on it, did Whitney type up the letter on her own computer at home but her school department computer? Did she use her own printer or the taxpayer’s? Her own paper or the taxpayer’s?

Amazingly, no one on the city council during its discussion of Contractgate on Oct. 9 asked about this highly irregular and suspicious set of events.

It’s clear to any reasonable person: The school department, through Cote, produced an ad that would satisfy the technical requirements of public bidding in a way that would all but guarantee that few people in the general public would read it. In case someone from the unwashed masses did see the ad, which would have threatened the entire scheme, Cote worded it to make it look like the school department sought a corporate sponsor. It uses the term “sponsor” for the program. Whitney is the “sponsor.” An ordinary person, reading “sponsor,” would not think to apply.

The Ad Didn’t Mention Free Student Labor Worth Up to $150,000

Another crucial missing piece of the information is the fact that all that work, involving the building of a new home, would be done for free. The ad gives no mention of it. Do you think the ad would have produced more responses had it publicized free construction, with more than $100,000 on the line? Perhaps. Just perhaps.

In spite of all this, first the school board approved Contractgate, 5-1, and then the city council, 7-3. Yesterday, THE PLANET raised questions about the extremely odd nature of the item being given over to the council. This clearly was a matter for the school committee. The only problem, from Whitney’s standpoint, is that, according to the State Ethics Commission, she failed to meet three of the five conditions.

The SEC found her application for the free work improper. The SEC, though, gave Whitney an emergency escape hatch. If she could obtain a letter from “the appointing authority” approving the arrangement on the basis of a situational review, she could legally steal the free construction.

Who and what is “the appointing authority” of a school department employee? It isn’t her boss. It’s the school committee. The committee, however, was not put in the embarrassing of having to put such an OK in writing. Why?

That’s when the matter miraculously ended up in council chambers. Crazy, eh? How did that happen? Who did what? Who called whom, on whose behalf?

Even if, for the sake of argument, you allow the council’s jurisdiction over a school matter, the council did not fulfill the condition of M.G.L. chapter 19(1)(b): It did not authorize this unholy deal in writing. We couldn’t imagine Kevin Sherman, or any councilor, for that matter, putting in writing such a questionable matter? Trust us: Any letter will be used with glee in Campaign 2013.

The council took a voice voice, passed the measure 7-3, and Kevin Sherman gaveled the item closed. The council couldn’t even be bothered with a roll-call vote. As it turned out, Sherman, Chris Yon, and Jonathan Lothrop voted against the deal. Morandi, Capitanio, Connell, Krol, Simonelli, Mazzeo, and Cotton voted in favor. Barry Claimont did not participate in the discussion or vote, since Whitney is a client of his accounting firm.

Curious Remarks by Mazzeo; Did She Have to Recuse Herself from Voting?

At-large councilor Melissa Mazzeo made some of the most curious remarks during the discussion period. She basically listed some reasons why Contractgate wasn’t a good deal … and then voted for it! She had her cake and ate it, too. Dee-lish.

She excused the irregularities. Mazzeo made a lot of excuses for Cote and Whitney. She said that they did what the law required: they advertised, they got bids, they amended the contract after school committeeman Terry Kinnas pointed out the “roofing” discrepancy between the ad and the actual contract, and they sought permission from an overseeing body. What’s the big deal?

Mazzeo then repeated Cote’s plea: “It’s for the children.” She said “the kids” will be looking for a construction project come next month. Again, what’s the big deal? Here’s one for them.

Mazzeo also noted that the house would go on the tax rolls. No one sought to rebut that by saying the house goes on the tax roll regardless of who builds it. If the council (and earlier, the school committee) had done the right thing in the first place, Whitney would have been forced to do what Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski have to do when they want to build a new house (like it happens every day!) — She would have to pay for it out of her own pocket and not force taxpayers to pick up the $150,000 or so bill. The house would still go on the tax rolls. It was one of the weakest performances the at-large city councilor has ever put in on behalf of We The People. It came off more as a favor done for She The Whitney.

It’s been rumored that Mazzeo and Whitney are friends. THE PLANET has heard that from several sources, enough to make it plausible but not enough to confirm. We have a request for comment into Mazzeo asking her to explain the extent of her relationship with Whitney, if any. If the information is true, should Mazzeo have recused herself from the discussion and vote, as Clairmont did? The answer is “yes.”

Bianchi Blew It, Too

And what of Mayor Bianchi? He had dual citizenship, as it were, being a member of the school committee and, of course, being the CEO of the entire city. Despite this, the mayor voted to approve this lousy deal on Aug. 22 at the school committee meeting. Contractgate subsequently came before the council twice, on Sept. 25 and Oct. 9, both times with the mayor in the room. That gave the mayor two opportunities to step forward and act in the name of citizens. He could have halted Contractgate with one word: “Enough!”

Bianchi could have thrown the weight of his office against this deal, as well his weight from  being a member of the school committee. He didn’t do that. Instead, he remained as silent as Buster Keaton in The General. That was a silent film, where voices could be “heard” only in the imagination of the filmgoers.

Bianchi could have righted a wrong, corrected the perception of insider trading, and in doing so, reassured the citizens of Pittsfield that he had their backs. He didn’t do that.

Bianchi could have been a leader. He chose not to lead.

The last two times THE PLANET contacted Bianchi for comment (by e-mail and phone) he has not responded. Coincidence? A deliberate shutout (a mayoral strategy that never works against THE PLANET … ask former mayors Reilly, Doyle, and Hathaway … they all tried it, to their ultimate electoral dismay).

Krol: He too Told Us It’s for ‘The Children’

Ward 6 councilor John Krol, like Mazzeo, told us why Contractgate wasn’t a good deal … before voting to approve. “You look at the appearance, and it’s unfortunate,” Krol pointed out. Then, however, he too mentioned “the children.” Right then and there, taxpayers got shafted by another councilor.

An Obvious Question Not Asked

Consider this.

Not one of the councilors thought to ask Cote this question: Do you think it’s proper for your secretary to be profiting in this manner from a contract that was kept away from the general public? No one put him on the spot or delivered the necessary heat, although Jonathan Lothrop came the closest, pointing out the reasons why this deal didn’t pass the smell test. It was the methodical Lothrop doing his thing.

The proper action, one that Kinnas advised when he spoke at the endless open mic session at the start (endless because of the orchestrated support for the city solicitor), would have been to file the matter and send it back to the school committee for re-advertising, this time making it a fair fight. The re-bid would:

* Exclude any city employee

* Be user friendly. The ad would run more than four days, and obscure days at that.

* The ad would be placed prominently and would be augmented by fliers, Facebook, and any other way to publicize strong competition.

Our Right Honorable Good Friends on the council did not do that. Why?

Chris Connell of Ward 4 swatted at a fly, which was taken as being in favor of the Whitney deal. Churchill Cotton, at large, and Tony Simonelli ,Ward 7, gushed in an overflowing manner praising the schools. Cotton is a former school accomplice. He used to be on the school committee. Simonelli has the insider’s vantage point from his many year as vice principal at THS — hardly what one would called a disinterested, conflict-free couple of votes. Paul Capitanio of Ward 3 slipped into the Land of Nod and said not a peep. Cappy voted for it, nonetheless. Ward 2′s Kevin Morandi parroted Mazzeo, his Polly to her cracker.

Other Points Need to Be Made and Other Questions Asked on Contractgate

Point: After learning that the contract Lynn Whitney originally signed with the school department did not match the language of the ad, city solicitor Kathy Degnan rewrote the contract so the contract would conform with the ad. Degnan did this after the fact, of course.

Question: Why did Degnan re-write the contract? Follow us here. As far as the application for free construction labor, Whitney could not be considered as “Lynn Whitney, secretary for Frank Cote and employee of the school department.” She was “Lynn Whitney, private citizen.” She had become, for the purposes of that application to win the contract as student “sponsor,” Mary Jane Kapanski, ordinary resident.  That had to be the case for reasons the State Ethics Commission made clear. We must ask, then, why the city solicitor did work for a private citizen? Why did she rewrite the contract and at whose bequest? Whitney’s? Cote’s? How could the solicitor revise a contract for a private citizen? Why didn’t the school committee and council press for answers?

Point: Clause 16 of the contract enacted between Whitney and the school department dated Sept. 26 and signed by Whitney for herself (again, Lynn Whitney, private citizen) and interim school superintendent Gordon Noseworthy states:

“16. There will be a fifteen percent (15%) surcharge on all materials, or a mutually agreed upon flat fee of $ _____, to be paid by the owner to the program to compensate for wear and tear on tools and any incidental costs that may occur.

In the blank following the dollar sign, in the actual contract we see the figure “0.” That’s right: zero! In other words, the school department could have had Whitney pay for 15% of up to $150,000 but chose not to!

Question: Who rewrote the contract? Answer: City solicitor Degnan, who delivered packets with the revised contract to city councilors before their Sept. 25 meeting. Why would Degnan rewrite the contract and screw taxpayers out of $22,500? Did she do this on her own initiative, or was she ordered to opt out of this money, that would have gone to the schools? If she was ordered, who did the ordering? You have to ask yourself: Why on earth would the city solicitor, given the choice between making up to $22,500 for taxpayers or making $0 — zero dollars — select nada, nothing, zilch? No one asked.

Point: John Krol hosts a morning radio show broadcast from the vocational department of Taconic High School.

Question: Should he have recused himself from the discussion and the voting because of that?

It Ain’t Over Until … You Know the Rest, Yogi

THE PLANET has gotten wind of a couple of initiatives that call into question several aspects of Contractgate before separate “proper authorities.” We don’t have details. We don’t have confirmation. Suffice it to say from what we do know, however, that Whitney might do well to check out construction costs, the way any other private citizen would have to do (citizens who don’t know GOBs in High Places, naturally).

We can say no more on these late developments, except to report to Mary Jane and Joe that there is still a ray of hope.

They Call It Palookaville

Finally, when one goes through the contract between the schools and Whitney, we learn a couple more interesting things:

1. Excluding price of the land, the project is valued at $250,000. Using a common construction estimate, about 60% of that would be building costs, or $150,000.

2. Clause 22 reads this way: “The City reserves the right to waive any of the OWner’s obligations and/or requirements listed in this Agreement. Any such waiver to be binding shall be in writing, and will be attached and incorporated into this Agreement.” Say, what? Why would the city agree to this? The clause essentially gives a school administrator the power to free Whitney of ALL costs and obligations, including cost of materials, supplies, furnishing electricity, trash removal, storage, and other stipulations placed upon her by the contract, all without citizen oversight. Un Bee Leave A Bull.

Some people like to say that Pittsfield is no different from any other city in terms of corruption. THE PLANET tells them they are wrong: This open, blatant ethical stinkeroo would not get by most anywhere else.

They call it Palookaville.

——————————————————–

On Thursday, we present some interesting (and maybe some will find it shocking) news about a prominent city department. The head of that department has not responded to at least three PLANET requests for comment on the specifics we have dug up.

The specifics are embarrassing to the department, which, apparently, would rather you, Mary Jane and Joe, not know about any of it. We also have several requests in to a person who represents workers of this department. This person requested that we phone for a talk. We deferred. We want the response, if there is one, in writing. If we fail to hear from the department by 9 a.m. Thursday, THE PLANET, as we have informed the department, shall run the information on the assumption that it is all true.

Tomorrow, more tales of the unexpected.

——————————————————————–

WHAT SUBJUGATION IS MORE ABSOLUTE THAN THE ONE IN WHICH THE ENSLAVED NOT ONLY DO NOT REALIZE THEIR SERVITUDE BUT ACTUALLY HAVE BEEN TOLD, AND BELIEVE, THAT THEY ARE FREE?

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

 

 

60 Responses to “CONTRACTGATE: AN EGREGIOUS ABUSE OF TAXPAYERS, EVEN IN A CITY FAMOUS FOR STINKEROOS … SCHOOL COMMITTEE, COUNCIL AIDED AND ABETTED A RIPOFF OF MARY JANE AND JOE KAPANSKI … LATE DEVELOPMENT IS WE THE PEOPLE’S ONLY SHOT AT JUSTICE … plus … LOTS OF POINTS AND QUESTIONS YOU HAVEN’T SEEN RAISED ANYWHERE ELSE”

  1. FPR
    October 16, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    Great article again Dan.

    I didn’t know the city solicitor rewrote the contract. Yeah what is the city solicitor doing work for a private citizen for? It does call into question her competency.

    It answers (sort of) my questions as to where was she on the legality of it all? Well she would not come forward with any information that would implicate herself as being an accomplice to the whole to the whole scam which really does seem to be illegal.

    Someone, probably Terry Kinnas, should file a formal complaint with the state ethics committee. Some outside agencies should come in and put a stop to this. Someone needs to go over the heads of the mayor and city council.

    All those involved should be properly disciplined with fines and removal of employment.

    If the people of Pittsfield don’t do something about the corrupt gov’t they have then there will just be more of the same and might as keep paying the tax increases. I would start with impeaching this mayor.

    Thanks for exposing all of this Dan.

  2. Scott
    October 17, 2012 at 4:36 am #

    Dan if you have questions for the mayors office I’m sure they’ll make an appointment to haul you in there for a discussion to explain to you your opinion in a “it’s time to go to the principals office for a chat about your actions/expressed opinions” type scenario like I received from his executive assistant.

  3. Gene
    October 17, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    Another great piece on exposing what is a morally wrong deal. What happened to integrity? To ethics?

    • Shell Game
      October 17, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      Just wondering if the Pittsfield Public Schools have kept a file of “past” recipients of the Taconic students “building internship program.”

      • FPR
        October 17, 2012 at 8:32 am #

        Interesting point. Yes what about the past Taconic slave labor builds?

        Who were awarded these contracts and do they have any tie ins to Cote’s office?

        Were these houses sold at a profit? If so, does the sale of these have houses have a direct correlation to any influx to Mr. Cote’s personal bank account perhaps?

        What would prevent Ms. Whitney from selling the house after its built at a substantial profit and donating a large portion of the proceeds to Mr. Cote?

        Just how deep does the rabbit hole go?

        • FPR
          October 17, 2012 at 9:04 am #

          Just what would an ethics investigation reveal?

          They got very sloppy on this one, I’d be willing to bet a simple investigation into past builds would reveal much.

          Is this something the Pittsfield citizens and the GOB network are willing to turn a blind eye to?

  4. Magic
    October 17, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    This is not my parents Pittsfield. Such a disappointment for those of us born and raised here.

    Any further word on the lights for the ball park or is this just another “dropped ball” for the city and the parks department.

    • Joe Blow
      October 17, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      Sure it is,this stuff has been going on here for a very long time.

  5. Randy Savage
    October 17, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Just over a week ago Bianchi, Mazzeo, Mattoon, and Degnan filled the council chambers with their minions to tar and feathered Christine Yon for exposing the truth and gross mismanagement of the Spectrum case by the Bianchi administration. A mere 176k out of the taxpayers’ pockets; what a really good deal Bianchi made for us and the city.
    And now here we go again; another Bianchi blunder. Yes Dan why was Degnan involved in this issue when the school committee has their own legal counsel assigned to them? I watched him speak at the School Committee meeting and he stated no one ever consulted with him about the bidding process before or after the bid package were developed and sent out. The big question is why did Degnan alter the documents after the bids were completed and after Lynn Whitney had been awarded the contract? There is no question Degnan and Mazzeo are close friends and now you add Whitney to the equation. I don’t think this passes the smell test.
    I am sorry to say I voted for Bianchi, and I have to admit Yon is correct; Bianchi & Degnan are just not capable of managing the cities affairs in a proper manner. Sad…

  6. GMHeller
    October 17, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    And Mayor Bianchi is the guy who is supposed to be a tough negotiator with the city employee unions over the issue of random drug testing?
    And this is the guy who is going to reopen the GE Consent Decree and get Silver Lake cleaned-up?
    What is it about the Pittsfield Mayor’s office that the first thing that happens to seemingly intelligent people once they get into that little room that they turn gutless and inept with little regard for common sense and doing the right thing?
    Mindboggling!

    • Tony
      October 17, 2012 at 10:14 am #

      And don’t forget Mazzeo’s campaign promise. If re-elected she would open the Concent Decree! What happened to that empty promise?

    • Joe Blow
      October 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

      What’s mind boggling is why you are so worried about Pittsfield when you don’t even live here.

      • levitan
        October 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

        “Greater the stink, the less it matters.”

  7. Tony
    October 17, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Dan I agree with your assessment of Mazzeo’s confusing statements regarding Contractgate. During her early days as a councilor I thought of her as a “watchdog” for We The People, lately however, she seems like nothing more than a “lap dog”. Were her principles of old based only on distain for the past mayor? And is her frequent double-speak of late based solely on blind loyalty for the current administration? Regardless of what the answer might be….. We The People deserve councilors that don’t flip-flop on their principles.

    • danvalenti
      October 17, 2012 at 11:14 am #

      TONY
      Melissa got back to us on her relationship with Lynn Whitney. She says there is none. She never met her before the council meeting on 9/25. Tomorrow we shall include the full text of the councilwoman’s comments.

      • levitan
        October 17, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

        Hmm, after all the innuendo – do you really think people care at this point?

        You are beginning to knife comments for the language, you may need to consider the value of gossip.

        • CONCERNED
          October 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

          Levitan: One thing for sure there is a lot of gossip here

          • danvalenti
            October 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

            CONCERNED:
            See my note to SMH.

        • smh
          October 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

          Couldn’t agree more about reconsidering the value of gossip, especially coming as it typically does at this site, i.e. anonymous posts by those who have “heard” stuff.

          • danvalenti
            October 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

            SMH
            Gossip, rumors, tips, whispers: Call it what you will. EVERY story starts out that way. THE PLANET keeps the comments section open, and we encourage as much as we can free-spirited debate. We can’t verify every single statement made here. As for how we handle hearsay, we attempt to check it out, as we did in this case. We obtained the facts and corrected the record. We shall repeat the correction tomorrow. Let me tell you, though, that THE PLANET receives a ton of leads, tips, etc. Nine out of 10 are either dismissed out of hand or for some reason not used. Of the one, maybe half of those turn out to be good information. Those we use. Ask every good reporter, muckraker, journalist, and scribe: Every story begins in hearsay fashion. Information is then vetted and, as best as can be done under the circumstances, confirmed for accuracy and truth.

        • danvalenti
          October 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

          LEV
          It’s up to people to determine if they care. Not THE PLANET. Our traffic suggests the answer is “yes, they do care.”

          • levitan
            October 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

            Yes, but a journalist does not let gossip and innuendo take the place of reporting. I hate to say it, but this story of the Whitney contract is now a shambles. There may have been a scandal here, but it’s lost in the dark forest of opining.

          • danvalenti
            October 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

            LEV
            We have presented facts of the case, the only medium in town to do so. Only this, and nothing less. The scandal, to the extent is was there, is still there. You are sounding like you want to wish it away.

          • levitan
            October 18, 2012 at 7:18 am #

            You are sounding like you want to wish it away.

            No – I am just not willing to jump on any old bandwagon just for the fun of it.

            It is kind of like the Tawana Brawley scenario. A serious accusation is made. It may well have been true – certainly worth investigating. But instead of that, there was a public circus and opinion took the place of fact.

          • danvalenti
            October 18, 2012 at 7:46 am #

            LEV
            The “public circus” is now, in this day and age of Honey Boo Boo and extreme reality entertainment, a sad adjunct of many otherwise serious aspects of public life. I applaud anyone who doesn’t want to jump on the bandwagon. Public discourse is becoming a game for gawkers. At this site, we employ our skills in an effort to combat that. The circus, nonetheless, have swept over events like a tsunami. Serious public discourse? Not possible. Case in point: what passes for “debate” on the national level.

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      October 18, 2012 at 5:06 am #

      Tony who?

      • danvalenti
        October 18, 2012 at 6:33 am #

        Soprano? Conigliaro? Bennett? The Tiger?

        • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
          October 18, 2012 at 7:18 am #

          LOL DV

  8. GMHeller
    October 17, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    There’s an article in the BB today that PlanetValenti’s First Amendment attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo III has gotten himself into legal hot water — again.
    Another domestic squabble.
    What’s up with this guy?

    • Scott
      October 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      That whole scene sounds strange I’m waiting for the outcome of that and the recent dog attack get your autographed turkey basters out! Who needs cable in the berkshires eat your heart out springer! [REDACTED]

      • levitan
        October 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

        Question, regarding our identities here,

        Didn’t you “like” a comment in the Eagle comments blasting Del Gallo? That was a certain Scott Moore to whom I refer.

        • Scott
          October 18, 2012 at 3:20 am #

          I may have the eagle is a joke and so aren’t most of the comments on the site I use it for my entertainment in the early mornings and afternoon like I said who needs cable. Also you have no place in the identity game “levitan”.

          • Scott
            October 18, 2012 at 3:30 am #

            Also since the Mayors office didn’t like one of my comments on disqus I now have to wait for approval even though I use my real name and my comments fall with in the parameters of their terms and conditions. Free speech is alive and well here in the Berkshires maybe I should go back to using an anonymous name like everyone else. Look for me at town meetings soon.

          • danvalenti
            October 18, 2012 at 6:34 am #

            SCOTT
            That’s unfortunate.

          • levitan
            October 18, 2012 at 7:22 am #

            Wait! You have been censored here too! Is Valenti in the hands of the Mayors office?

            If Disqus is ‘entertainment’ for you, you spend a good part of your day at it. Is PV entertainment too?

          • danvalenti
            October 18, 2012 at 7:49 am #

            PV is and has to be entertainment as one of our components. To matter, a newspaper, magazine, website must be read. To be read, it must be alluring. To be alluring, it must entertain. That, however, is a secondary purpose. Our first is to inform, educate, enlighten, enrage, provoke, and do all that we can to encourage involvement of We The People in their own government, community, and public life.

          • levitan
            October 18, 2012 at 7:23 am #

            Perhaps the source of censoring at the Eagle is your use of language? If you don’t keep it clean here, you probably don’t do that there either.

    • danvalenti
      October 17, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

      GMH
      I can’t speak for Rinaldo. All I can do is say he did one fine job helping me prepare, argue, and win my vase in court against Meredith Nilan (June 9, District Court).

      • Scott
        October 18, 2012 at 3:21 am #

        Come on Dan that comment was all in fun I’m starting to think GH isn’t really GH anyways.

        • danvalenti
          October 18, 2012 at 6:35 am #

          SCOTT
          I know that, but in trying to police web comments, I would rather err on the side of caution. Please, no offense intended.

    • levitan
      October 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

      Wait! What?? Glenn Heller is now reading the Berkshire Eagle for gossip too?

      What’s up with Del Gallo is that life is hard.

      So what?

  9. CONCERNED
    October 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    GM Heller: Don’t throw stones. You know about legal hot water I have heard!!!!!!!!!

  10. dusty
    October 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    There is one more thing about this that does not pass the smell test. Sherman, Yon and Lothrop voted against this. Clairmont recused himself. These are the GOB blue-bloods so why are they looking all squeaky clean here? Did they figure it was going to pass anyway like they wanted and decided to look all moral by voting against it for appearances? These type of leopards do not change their spots over night. Something is ginormusly bogus here folks.

    • B. Clairmont
      October 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

      Dusty,

      I properly recused myself. I’m not sure how that qualifies as “ginormusly bogus”. Would you care to elaborate? Some Councilors only recuse themselves when it is convenient. I’m sure you know whom I’m speaking of.

      I won’t speak concerning the outcome of the vote or the facts of the issue, as that would be improper as well.

      Barry

    • CONCERNED
      October 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

      Sorry B. Clairmont I don’t know whom your speaking of. Please tell me.

      • B. Clairmont
        October 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

        Concerned, the comment was meant for dusty, they know of whom I speak, even if they deny it.

        • Scott
          October 18, 2012 at 3:35 am #

          Mr. Clairmont is there a record of the THS carpentry dept. program activities dating back ten years and is it available?

          • B. Clairmont
            October 18, 2012 at 4:10 am #

            I have no idea. You would need to check with the school department. At the very least one would assume that a teacher would remember what projects the kids did.

          • dusty
            October 18, 2012 at 11:48 am #

            As much as you like to do research I would think you might do this as a public service Barry. Just to clear the air so to speak. But then you might be working for the wrong side of this equation huh?

  11. Sal Bando
    October 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    As The Planet Turns. That’s what this blog feels like. I couldn’t agree more with smh and others who question the Planet’s willingness to give credence to ‘I heard something from a guy who heard something from a guy…’ I also suspect that Tony and those ‘guys’ are really Lothrop, Krol, Yon, and Clairmont using fake names – their behavior has been more embarrassing than the Council of 2002 so, hey,why not try to boomerang crappy behavior onto others? Bring back Charlie O!!!!

    • danvalenti
      October 17, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

      SAL
      “As The Planet Turns.” We like it. We don’t reveal identities on the site, but we can say that Tony is not JLo, Krol, Yon, or Clairmont. I like the notion of The Return of Charlie O.

  12. Scott
    October 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    I wonder if it’s on record what projects the students have worked on over the last ten years.

    I bet theres a nice retired couple in the city on a fixed income who would greatly benefit from the students hard work who would really appreciate the help and leave the students with a better sense of pride.

    • danvalenti
      October 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      SCOTT
      It should be on record, but whether or not it is: That’s another story. The shoddy nature of most school department records would lead one to believe the records, if they are there, would be incomplete and misleading. Still, it would be worth digging the stuff out and giving it the light of day.

      • JB
        October 18, 2012 at 6:48 am #

        We could use our collective memories, for instance, Williams st end of Elm st, a new house was built during the early 90′s maybe, late 80′s? I lived in the Orchards section and it was when the East st bridge was out, drove williams and elm everyday for awhile to get to work. Thats the only one that comes to my mind at the moment.

  13. Ron Kitterman
    October 18, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    Gee you would think the school committee would have a BINDER or something of the houses they built.

    • Spectator
      October 18, 2012 at 6:08 am #

      a BINDER…..nice one.

    • danvalenti
      October 18, 2012 at 6:34 am #

      BINDER. Suddenly, the new “hot” work in America!

  14. Ron Kitterman
    October 18, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    @ Dan in regards to the only medium in town we still have the Gazette. Would agree though looks like the others don’t exist any longer.

  15. Scott
    October 18, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    I take that back the Eagle is only proof reading comments for Dell Gallo probably because of a few bad posters slamming him using fake identities. I jumped to a conclusion and I was wrong.

  16. Scott
    October 18, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    “levitan”: “If Disqus is ‘entertainment’ for you, you spend a good part of your day at it. Is PV entertainment too?”

    And informative!