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!!PLANET EXCLUSIVE!! ‘WILL IT GO ‘ROUND IN CIRCLES?’ … ROUND AND ROUND SHE GOES, AND WHERE IT STOPS IS LANESBORO, NOT PITTSFIELD. QUESTION IS WHY? WHY DID PITTSFIELD TURN ITS BACK ON A MILLION-DOLLAR GIFT HORSE? OUR FOUR-PART SERIES EXPLAINS WHAT HAPPENED … PART 1 TODAY!

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, OCT. 30, 2012) — Now that Sandy didn’t do anything around here, not even muss up anyone’s hair, THE PLANET presents the inside details on how Pittsfield blew it again, this time coming full circle on missing out, this time on the Berkshire Carousel. This is the first of a four-part series to run all this week.

This is a story with the intrigue of a spy novel, the mystery of a whodunnit, and the suspense of Boris Karloff‘s Thriller. It is a story that hasn’t been told.

It Reads Like Fiction

If one were to present this as a work of fiction, a writer couldn’t ask for a better symbol for Pittsfield futility: A device with no practical purpose, one that spins in a circle, leaving a person continually passing the places already traversed only to return to the beginning, accomplishing nothing. The irony drips from the horses’ mouths like the foam of hard riding. Our novelist could write with implicit meaning from a speaker that greatly differs from the statements he or she ostensible asserts. Our hero would start off and end up on the same exact spot, the Eternal Beginning and Endless Ending, one and the same.

Beautiful.

The carousel would function as a literary device intended to symbolize the duplicity of meaning — how the city of Pittsfield pretended to want the project only after it was too late.

PINKY, one of the Berkshire Carousel horses.

We spoke to several persons involved in the carousel project, both from the carvers’ side and the city side. We talked to sponsors, donors, politicians, and volunteers. Each requested that their names not be used, a request that’s standard issue in a town where fear prevails. THE PLANET shall honor that request. We shall use horse names for our sources: Mr. Ed, Trigger,  Pegasus, and Seabiscuit. You get the idea.

Even after the fact, those who had to deal with the situation express trepidation: “I’m a bit uncomfortable bringing up all the things Pittsfield leaders did to discourage the carousel project,” says Pegasus. “We have remained very positive, and we don’t want the project or the town of Lanesboro to suffer from ‘repercussions.’” Obviously, Pegasus is a steed who knows how The Game works in Pittsfield. Play Ball or Be Ware.

Positive Action, Nasty Comments

Inexperienced, volunteer carvers did the work of artisans. Amazing.

Let’s be clear from the outset. Pittsfield could have had this fabulous project without much effort. It said “no” then cried after the carousel directors decided on Lanesboro. After the decision had been made, there appeared to be an orchestrated effort to blast the selection.

Trigger, a carousel source, said, “Throughout the history of the project, we have been careful to stay focused on the positive aspects of the carousel and now, how much the Town of Lanseboro understands and appreciates it. In the past few weeks [since our decision], we have received a lot of negative comments, some rather nasty, over the decision to locate in Lanseboro over Pittsfield. However, people writing on the net and in the Eagle or commenting publicly about the decision have no idea that the city leaders in Pittsfield blew it and really had no interest in this project, even today.”

That’s an amazing assertion, one THE PLANET knows to be true: “”City leaders in Pittsfield … really had no interest in this project, even today.”

Why? Why Would Pittsfield Not Want this Great Project?

Question is, why? Why would two administrations be so averse to such a fun, joy-inducing, morale-lifting people magnet?  It would be funded with private dollars. It would not be a financial or management drain on the city? Why would any city not want this?

In the city of Syracuse, N.Y., if you go to the Carousel Center-Destiny USA — the second largest mall in the country — you will find a spectacular carousel that draws a continuous stream of people, mostly parents and kids. You can’t put a price on the value of such an attraction. Yet, despite having one practically fall into its lap, Pittsfield said, “No thanks.”

There were many people instrumental in this decision to shut out this gift from Mr. and Mrs. Jim Shulman, for reasons that still have not been made clear. They are, according to several our our equine sources, Deanna Ruffer, Peter Lafayette, Megan Whilden, Rob Proskin, and Richard Stanley. To a lesser extent, one would add Mayors Jimmy Ruberto and Dan Bianchi, though, as we shall explain, the two CEOs had less power in the situation than most realize.

TOMORROW: PART TWO — WHY THE CAROUSEL DIRECTORS CHOSE LANESBORO AND   WHAT FEW PEOPLE UNDERSTAND: WHY THE CAROUSEL WAS SUCH A 5-STAR GIFT HORSE FOR PITTSFIELD, ONE THE CITY DECIDED TO LOOK IN THE MOUTH.

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AS WE WALKED OUT ONE EVENING, WALKING DOWN TYLER STREET, THE CROWDS UPON THE PAVEMENT WERE FIELDS OF HARVEST WHEAT.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

22 Responses to “!!PLANET EXCLUSIVE!! ‘WILL IT GO ‘ROUND IN CIRCLES?’ … ROUND AND ROUND SHE GOES, AND WHERE IT STOPS IS LANESBORO, NOT PITTSFIELD. QUESTION IS WHY? WHY DID PITTSFIELD TURN ITS BACK ON A MILLION-DOLLAR GIFT HORSE? OUR FOUR-PART SERIES EXPLAINS WHAT HAPPENED … PART 1 TODAY!”

  1. FPR
    October 30, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Hey Dan,

    Reminds me of the days of Mayor Charlie Smith. The people of Pittsfield wanted the Mall on North Street — voted twice in favor of it. The Federal Gov’t was even willing to kick in a few million for a parking facility.

    Good Ole Boy Charlie single handedly said NO! He wanted it out on Kelly’s land so Pyramid said FU and built it in Lanesboro.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  2. dusty
    October 30, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    When Jim Shulman first spoke of his desire to create the carousel in Pittsfield I thought it was a wonderful idea. But within seconds I remembered Jim Bouton s plan to bring entertaining baseball to Pittsfield. And I remembered how that whole wonderful idea blew up in his face. I had visions of greedy politicians and connected folk grabbing for concession money, fees and whatever other part of this project they might get their hands on. By moving the carousel to Lanesboro Jim has saved it because there is no way in hell it could have survived the greed encrusted Pittsfield GOB network. They would rather destroy it rather than see it go elsewhere, even if it had to do so to survive. .My guess is that you will tap dance around Rubertos role in the whole mess but he could have told people to leave it alone. And he did not so I think he gets the lions share of the blame……

    It is all for the kids in Pittsfield…except when some lowlifes can suck money out of a great project and then they don’t give a crap about the kids anymore.

    • Tony
      October 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      Dusty, your post sounds like a conspiracy theory out of the “Twilight Zone”, what exactly are you trying to say? Makes no sense to me at all! The GOB greed encrusted network…. really?? What set of GOB’s are you referring to, the current ones, Bianchi, Bowler, Guachione, Mazzeo and Davis, or the past ones Ruberto, Stracuzzi and Marchetti? Let’s face it Dusty there’s more than one set of GOB’s in the COP.

  3. outfox
    October 30, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Off topic, sorry, but Friday night while returning home we noticed major police activity on Columbus Ave and Daniels. On Saturday, we heard there had been a shooting. Watched for the story in the paper on websites, fb, etc. It finally appeared today, four and a half days after the incident occurred Why did it take so long for the local rag to print this??? I feel they had a responsibility to alert the community, especially if the shooter was at large. Yes, Pittsfield is done;we will never again have employment of any significance.

    • danvalenti
      October 30, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      I took the BB that long because it time and time again fails the community in its responsibilities.

  4. AMBROSE
    October 30, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Have to agree with FPR. Back in the day it wasn’t a few million, but $14,000,000 that the powers that be waved good-bye to. That was the ’70′s and that was a sizable chunk of G. Washingtons. As FPR pointed out “we the people ” voted twice for a downtown mall. At the time, many downtown merchants also opposed the mall because they feared their businesses would be negatively affected. No mall for Pittsfield. Jump ahead a couple of decades. A different FPR wanted to build stadium downtown, free of charge to the taxpayers. No dice. This time it wasn’t the greedy GOB’s who feared change, it was “we the people”. No way is some outsider coming into our town and try to shove three million hard ones down our throats. We’ve got a fantastic, historic stadium with a waterfront view that suits us just fine. “We the people” in our wisdom saved Center St. for a much needed CVS and the rest of the lot for the heralded merry-go-round. Thankfully, our city’s powers saw what this carousel would bring. One of those beautiful steeds would be a Trojan Horse and filled with greeks who would file out and try to destroy both WTP and the GOB’s and bring a ray of hope to our fine community. The mythical GOB’s and “We The People” must unite to guard against any outsider who may be inclined to change things.

    • DC
      October 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      AMBROSE, you got it all wrong on the center street stadium issue. That was an attempt by the GOB to get money from the taxpayers through eminant domain reimbursments for their properties at inflated prices. The center street property went to auction months before the stadium issue arose and the highest bid was in the $300,000 -$400,,000 range, which wasnt accepted. Along come s the GOB’s and the property is suddenly worth $1.7 million to the taxpayers!. Lots more to THATt story.

    • danvalenti
      October 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

      AMBROSE
      Good points here, except for the stadium. Larry Bossidy was NOT going to build a stadium, “free of charge to taxpayers.” The stadium they said would cost $18 million was actually a $30 million project. Most of the funds that stadium backers said they had were phantom state dollars. That’s taxpayer money. Pittsfield taxpayers would also have been on the hook for millions in borrowing. You’re also incorrect about the carousel being a Trojan horse. We will explain why in the rest of our series. Appreciate the input.

  5. Still wondering
    October 30, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    One cannot overstate the overwhelming negative impact on the Carousel project (in Pittsfield) by Deanna Ruffer. She is a human whirlwind of negativity, chaos and destruction.

    • danvalenti
      October 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

      SW
      Ruffer is perhaps the major reason why the city said no to the carousel, according to our sources.

  6. Ron Kitterman
    October 30, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    I was under the impression that BOD’s made the decision, I’m not totally convienced Pittsfield would have been the best location, myself. But why would Diana Ruffer not want it in Pittsfield ?

    Maria Caccaviello
    Pittsfield, MA

    President
    Dr. Jim Shulman
    Retired Psychologist/Hospital V.P.
    Galena, Ohio

    Marjorie Shulman
    Teacher
    Helen Berube Teen Parent Program
    Pittsfield, MA

    Nancy Shulman
    Real Estate Broker
    Bloomberg Realty
    Pittsfield, MA

    Frank Bonnevie
    Owner/Instructor
    Fred Villari’s Studios of Self Defense
    Pittsfield, MA

    Bobbi Cohn
    Sales Manager
    Marian Raser Jewelries
    Pittsfield, MA

    Jonathan Denmark
    Account Executive
    Berkshire Insurance, Group
    Pittsfield, MA

    Rocco Shannon DiNicola
    Owner
    Butterfly Sneakers Parking Lot Marking and Striping
    Pittsfield, MA

  7. Scott
    October 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    Never look a gift horse in the mouth…

  8. joetaxpayer
    October 30, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    As Mayor Roberto said, “we don’t want to end up like Holyoke”.They have a incredible carousel, maybe better than the Berk. groups. Alot of good it’s done for them. Think we tax payers dodged a bullet, City would have spent a million building a vandle proof structure. Think most people could care less where it ends up.

    • Scott
      October 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

      Heritage Park in Holyoke and the wonderful history that place has is something everyone should make a trip to check out. Yes it’s a shame that the city has fallen to such a low level. They’ve also had a methadone clinic there for years so one could look to that area to see it’s not making much of an impact. The children s museum right next door is cool for the kids too.

  9. Dave
    October 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I was skeptical of the claims by the carousel people(not sure who exactly) when this first was introduced that this would be done with 100% private money. As far as I know, this has been the case. There is NO RUSH for this to be completed as far I kinow, so plugging along using private funds until completion seems like the best path for all involved. A benefit to the “children” and our arts economy with no taxpayer funds. A totally PRIVATE enterprise with no strings attached to public sector input or influence. I was disappointed with Mayor Bianchi offering taxpayer funds as an incentive because it goes against everything good about this project. I understand him trying to once again trying to cover up the mess from his predecessor, but in my opinion, not the right move. A Pittsfield owned site sold for $1 or the Common and paying taxes as a private enterprise would be the best situation for all involved

  10. Demitrius T. Gladiator
    October 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    Another great piece, DV. This will be an enlightening series I’m sure.

  11. Giacometti
    October 30, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Carousel would not attract tourists as it constitutes kitsch

    It would be like bringing monster trucks to Lincoln Center.

    • Scott
      October 31, 2012 at 4:47 am #

      No but it would attract locals and encourage people to bring out their kids thus making the cock roaches go further into the dark where they belong. There’s safety in numbers.

    • Still wondering
      October 31, 2012 at 5:12 am #

      Mr G has written one of the dumbest posts ever to appear on this blog.

      • Four in one
        October 31, 2012 at 7:11 am #

        Agree normally I love Mr Gs stuff as he seems tuned into arts. He misses one of the key points made by DV in the article, that Pittsfield is not Dom Perignon at the Ritz more like a brew at Danny’s it’s blue collar still and what G calls kitsch families eat up. My wife and I have been the the huge mall in Syracuse and the carousel there is an amazing thing and a great draw

  12. joetaxpayer
    October 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Four in one, that is why it belongs at Berkshire Mall.Can be used year round rain or shine.

  13. Giacometti
    October 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    I was merely pointing out what I assume the elitist in Pittsfield must be thinking in rejecting the Carousel as they live with social blinders.