Article

!!PLANET UPDATE AND EXCLUSIVE!! READER REVEALS GREATEST SCHOOL SECURITY LAPSE IN PITTSFIELD!! … MEETINGS ON SCHOOL SECURITY A ‘TOO-LITTLE TOO-EARLY’ OVERREACTION … BIANCHI BARS PRESS FROM ATTENDING (SO MUCH FOR TRANSPARENCY) … OFFICIALS GET TO ‘ACT’ AS IF THEY’RE DOING SOMETHING, WHEN NOTHING IS TO BE DONE … plus … WHAT FISCAL CLIFF? AIR FORCE STICKS TO PLANS TO BUY 1,800 JETS FOR $400 MILLION

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

ADD 1, THURSDAY, DEC. 28, 2012THE PLANET wishes to highlight a comment made by OUTFOX, one of our regular correspondents, because it highlights a great point about the status of school security in the People’s Republic of Pittsfield. Outfox pointed our the greatest lapse in school security in Pittsfield, and that is the “open” lunch policy at PHS.

Students can leave the building at will and return the same way. Think about that, and about how easy it would be for someone fully locked and loaded to walk back into the building. Another commenter, GENE, picked up on Outfox’s observation, saying that he will not believe Pittsfield is taking the issue of campus security seriously until the PHS campus is closed all day, including (and especially) lunch.

Neither will THE PLANET. We thank Outfox and Gene for bringing this to light.

What Were They Hiding?

Below, you can read our coverage of a Super Secret, Bar-the-Press meeting held in Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s office on the topic of security in Pittsfield schools. We won’t repeat the points here, other than to say that when “They” meet behind closed doors and do not let the press or public witness what is being said or done, you know it’s one of two things: (1) The business at hand is dirty or (2) The contents of the meeting would prove embarrassing to “Them.”

THE PLANET has no reason to believe it’s (1), so, eliminating the other possibility, our guess is that the discussions, if they came out, would prove to be ignominious to city officials. Why? Is it that the meeting was simply conducted to make it look like “They” were doing something, anything, in a hair-trigger response to the Newtown slayings? Or is it that school security is so bad that officials didn’t want the public (or the press) to know?

The best response for the mayor would have been to hold a public meeting with department heads (police, fire) and school officials, with the press invited, in which “They” would share what the present plan is, what upgrades are needed (if any), and then take questions from those in attendance. None of this James Bond fantasy of secret meetings and “information too sensitive to trust with the general public.”

Come on, “Them,” stop thinking of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski as stupid. They’re not. Oh yeah, and one other thing: They only OWN the government, which means that professionally, they own your butt. But you’ve forgotten about that, haven’t you?

Don’t worry. There’s an election coming up next year. You’ll be reminded again and again and again and …

————————————————————————

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY DECEMBER, 27, 2012) — There is, perhaps, no more predictable “news” story than the one — written in laborious prose an endless amount of times — the mainstream media presented on the issue of “strengthening security” at schools in light of the latest fluke tragedy to hit lower academia.

Right on cue, the Boring Broadsheet jumped in with tree-felled coverage on back-to-back days on the “follow” to the shootings by a lone, pimpled madman in Newtown, Conn. As these stories always do, the BB was caught in the act of taking itself too seriously, diligently reporting on a series of “nothing doing” meetings help in Pittsfield.

One of the confabs took place in the corner office as Mayor Dan Bianchi met with a collection of city and school bona fides.

Looking Like They’re ‘Doing Something’

Politicians who are “leaders” love having these kind of meetings, and department heads and officials love attending them, for they show our heroes “in the act” of “doing something,” even if that something is nothing more than the gibbery flapping of overworked gums. The added bonus comes from the fact that, with school security already in Kids-In-the-Bubble territory, there is not much to be done.

The “leaders” assessed the city’s “level of preparedness,” don’t you know, in wake of the Newtown slayings. Look: You know, we know, and Jack Frost knows that the only way one can add to the already hysteric levels of security at city schools in Pittsfield and nationwide is to surround the schools with an impenetrable force field that vaporizes all alien life forms who wish to come near  a building of lower learning. Nonetheless, Mayor Bianchi “thought it was important that we all got together.”

Yes, but to do exactly what?

The Pesky, Budinsky Press Kept in the Dark, and So are We The People

We can’t say much about the content of the meeting, because Bianchi closed it to the press. Nice free society we live in, eh? Also, the gesture was an apt confirmation of Bianchi’s oft-touted, oft-ignored campaign promise of transparency. Keep the nosey budinskys of the press “da hell away” from a meeting like this. That’s Bianchi’s idea of transparency. Consequently, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski have no independent confirmation of what, if anything, actually took place. For all we know, the participants might have been comparing football cards or talking about the many ways they love THE PLANET.

The joke is that, according to the mayor, he already meets with officials “on a regular basis” to review school security. That’s probably why he kept the press away, because there was nothing more to say or add to what has already been said or added to what has been done or not done (got it?) … and what has been done has essentially been to create permanent lock-down conditions in each of the city’s public schools. Nice free society you got there, chump.

We The People don’t even know who attended. Bianchi would only confirm interim police chief Mike Wynn, interim fire chief Bob Czerwinski, county sheriff Tom Bowler, and deputy supt. of schools N. Nancy Crowe. Who else? “And others,” we were told. Which “others?” Apparently, according to deputy sheriff Barney Fife, that was a highly classified secret. If we had learned that information, we would have faced prosecution for High Treason (as if there is any other kind!).

‘We also want to make sure parents and [The] Children feel safe” … See? It’s Again About Feelings

“We always try to revisit [security procedures] whenever something like this [the Newtown tragedy] happens,” Bianchi told the dutiful Jim Therrien of the BB. “We also want to make sure parents and children feel safe.”

Ah, there it is. This is all about “feelings.” You’ll recall, feelings have been playing a big part in school matters of late. The Reid Middle School Council‘s subcommittee on community outreach, for example, held an “open” meeting by locking the doors and posting no signs. When a citizen arrived to attend and finally got access to Reid,  he found the meeting room and informed the chairwoman of the obvious violations of the Open Meeting Law. The chair and attendees, instead of being grateful for the information, had “their feelings hurt.” That was essentially the essence of the complaint they filed against the citizen, who also happens to be a school board member.

Therrien’s article has this howler: “Interim Superintendent Gordon Noseworthy said he and Crowe visited city schools on Monday, and he heard of no problems related to the aftermath of the shootings. ‘And all our principals said there were no problems,’ he said [THE PLANET's italics]. ‘But that doesn’t mean we will let our guard down.’”

And exactly what did Noseworthy expects principals to say? Did he expect, “We have security issues out the ying-yang?” Don’t think so, for this is Pittsfield, Dr. Noseworthy, and everything is great in the public schools. You of all people should know that. At least there isn’t anything wrong that a little more money for teachers and administrators won’t cure.

Take Some Boiled Blood, Add an Intercom, and Kiss the Sky

The next day, following the mayor’s meeting, another meeting took place, this at Williams Elementary School. This meeting included parents. One mom, Amy Wolfe, told Bianchi her “blood was boiling” because Williams, with its multiple locks, has no intercom … as if an intercom would have deterred the Newtown shooter. A backpedaling Bianchi told Wolfe it would take a month to install an intercom. Wolfe told the mayor, “The better to hear you, my dear.” Actually, she didn’t say that. She told the mayor a month was a month too long.

Guess time doesn’t fly when you’re not having fun.

——————————————————————————–

IF GOVERNMENT WASTE IS YOUR THING, WE’VE GOT THAT TOO

A few weeks ago, THE PLANET gave our take on the “fiscal cliff” issue. Part of the discussion was and is limiting government spending. The biggest and most obvious place to cut would be the Pentagon. We have enough weapons and enough war-making capabilities to last 28 lifetimes, but there’s always more needed to satisfy the corpulence of the generals and the defense contractors.

Thus, the Air Force will not change its plans to build and buy nearly 1,800 jet planes at a cost of nearly $400 million. All this, so the Stars can have their little toys with which to play. Here’s the story, from Reuters, that you may have missed. We present this so that you can ask yourself this question when they reach that last-minute stop-gap agreement on the “cliff”: Have they truly done all they can to eliminate unnecessary spending?”

——- 000 ——-

 

U.S. Air Force sticking to plans to buy 1,763 F-35 jets

By Andrea Shalal-Esa | Reuters 

  • A F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is seen at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland January 20, 2012. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

    Enlarge Photo

    Reuters/Reuters – A F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is seen at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland January 20, 2012. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force affirmed on Thursday its plans to buy 1,763 F-35 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp in coming years, as Lockheed and the government neared agreement on a multi-billion dollar contract for a fifth batch of planes.

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told an investor conference that the service remained committed to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which alone accounts for 15 percent of the service’s annual investment spending, and had no plans to revise its projected purchase of 1,763 of the new radar-evading jets.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to revisit that anytime in the near future,” Donley told the Credit Suisse conference, underscoring his support for the Pentagon’s biggest weapons program.

He said it was not feasible to consider cutting orders or make other major changes to the $396 billion F-35 program, which has already been restructured three times in recent years to allow more time for technology development and to save money.

The Pentagon is looking closely at every aspect of its budget given mounting pressure to cut defense spending, and programs as large as the F-35 are always potential targets.

But Lockheed executives argue that the Defense Department has already reduced production of the new plane sharply from projected levels, cutting into the economies of scale that were supposed to make the new warplane more affordable.

Donley said he had heard proposals about cutting F-35 purchases to save money for other priorities, but said such ideas did not make sense at this point in the program.

“These are good theoretical discussions, but when you look at where we are in the program, it makes no sense to have these discussions until about 2025,” Donley said. “There is nothing in the near-term about this program that will change; there is nothing that it will contribute to deficit reduction in the next ten years with the exception of its cancellation.”

And cancellation of the program, he said, was something no one would recommend.

Donley said the U.S. government was “getting close” to an agreement with Lockheed about a fifth batch of F-35 jets.

Lockheed President Marillyn Hewson told the conference earlier on Thursday that talks with the Pentagon – which have been under way for about a year – were going well and an agreement was likely before the end of the year.

“Those negotiations are progressing well,” she said at her first major presentation to Wall Street investors since being named Lockheed president and chief operating officer earlier this month. “I do feel confident that we’re going to get to closure on Lot 5 this year,” she said.

Lockheed and the Pentagon were also making progress in talks about additional funding for early work on the sixth batch of F-35 jets, said Hewson. She will become Lockheed’s CEO in January, succeeding Christopher Kubasik, who was forced out after admitting to having an affair with a subordinate.

Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Bruce Tanner said Hewson had played a key role in the company’s talks with the Pentagon, and the two sides had “closed a lot of our differences.”

Details of the expected agreement were not immediately available, but sources familiar with the negotiations said they expected it to include a reduction in the cost for each F-35 fighter jet from the fourth production contract, although the number of jets to be ordered will not increase.

The Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer, Frank Kendall, told Reuters on Wednesday that the two sides were “getting close” to an agreement on the fifth production contract.

He said he had “a very positive meeting” on Tuesday with Hewson about a range of issues, including the F-35.

Lockheed, the Pentagon’s largest contractor, and its suppliers are already building the fifth batch of F-35 planes under a preliminary contract, but the two sides have been struggling since last December to finalize the deal.

In September, Air Force Major General Christopher Bogdan, who is moving up to head the F-35 program next week, said ties between Lockheed and the U.S. government were “the worst” he had ever seen in his years working on big acquisition programs.

Hewson told analysts earlier this month that the F-35 program would be one of her top priorities in her new job.

Agreement on the terms of the fifth F-35 contract would free up additional funding for early work on a sixth set of planes, which the company has been funding on its own for some time.

Lockheed last month told investors that it faced a potential termination liability of $1.1 billion on that sixth batch of planes, unless it received more funds soon.

The Pentagon has refused to release any more money for the sixth batch of planes until the two sides resolve their differences and sign a contract for the fifth batch.

(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, John Wallace and Tim Dobbyn)

58 Responses to “!!PLANET UPDATE AND EXCLUSIVE!! READER REVEALS GREATEST SCHOOL SECURITY LAPSE IN PITTSFIELD!! … MEETINGS ON SCHOOL SECURITY A ‘TOO-LITTLE TOO-EARLY’ OVERREACTION … BIANCHI BARS PRESS FROM ATTENDING (SO MUCH FOR TRANSPARENCY) … OFFICIALS GET TO ‘ACT’ AS IF THEY’RE DOING SOMETHING, WHEN NOTHING IS TO BE DONE … plus … WHAT FISCAL CLIFF? AIR FORCE STICKS TO PLANS TO BUY 1,800 JETS FOR $400 MILLION”

  1. K-Man
    December 26, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Finally a voice of reason about the aftermath of the shootings. I can tell you I don’t like one bit the mayor barring the public (by barring the press). Transparency schmansparency.

  2. Scott
    December 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    “Politicians who are “leaders” love having these kind of meetings, and department heads and officials love attending them, for they show our heroes “in the act” of “doing something,” even if that something is nothing more than the gibbery flapping of overworked gums.”

    I missed the coverage did they have a pic of the mayor with his sleeves rolled up?

  3. The Kraken
    December 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    Big military = big gov’t.

    • Scott
      December 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

      Big gov’t then needs to only disarm the populace to full fill it’s agenda to control the people and further it’s world dominance. The children murdered at sandy-hook bless their souls are being used to spread political propaganda to take our rights to defend ourselves and the constitution away.

  4. Scott
    December 26, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    With all due respect as much as I feel the mayor hasn’t done much ‘cept raise tax and attempt create a job for someone to do the job he’s getting paid to do, pay spectrum to do business here, I could go on but you get the point. I would think the closed meeting would be an effort to conceal security protocol rather then keep the public uninformed.

    • danvalenti
      December 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

      SCOTT
      Yes, that’s what the mayor said. But at what point does “security protocol” trump the fact that we live in a free society, so called, with a free press, so called? Do we want freedom or security? THE PLANET wants freedom, because there IS NO SECURITY.

      • Scott
        December 26, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

        George Washington said something about that.

        • Joe Pinhead
          December 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

          I’m not certain that the Looney types who pull this stuff are going to be paying attention to the Mayor and his cohorts as they hunker down in the honeycomb hideout figuring out “security”
          Where does a guy start with this one, First the Mayor and school committee and responsible parties should have had this all figured out beforehand and announced to the public the City and the School department have had a plan in place for some time, We invite both the public and the press into an open discussion to be held date and time certain with all the appropriate department heads in place to answer any questions and to note any concerns recommendations etc- hold the meeting answer the concerns use the feedback to further enhance where possible etc. Not hard to do and the community is better off for it.
          Now we can only wonder what is it they needed to keep shielded from the public. Their mastermind plan? If it’s so good invite the press and public in so that others might learn? Or is there so little to it that the public can’t be allowed to see it? Remember we now have this from an administration that totally botched the spectrum issue and if I recall that needed to be shrouded in secrecy as well.
          Oh it all needs to be kept under tight wraps because its for ”the children”

          I am showing my age here but the first school shooting with “weapons of war” that I can recall is Kent State.. who was that crazed gunman?

          • Scott
            December 26, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

            Thank you I never heard of this before. But it validates my concerns over Americans disarming and giving full authority over to gov’t.

          • danvalenti
            December 26, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

            JP
            The Supersecret Plan is to put bubblegum in the locks after 3 p.m. Bazooka, of course.

          • Joe Pinhead
            December 27, 2012 at 7:23 am #

            Bazooka Joe is no more, however you can get a key and be part of Bianchi’s Boys. Simply collect 2 box tops from a bus purchased from EV world wide scratch that a battery from EV oops scratch that one too, OK a bar code from any Workshop live music course oops not one of those either OK I have it now. 2 UPC codes from any box of industrial size methadone and 1 transparency sticker from any thing done at the Honeycomb hide out redeem at Herman Alexanders but hurry this offer is for a limited time, the Mayor might have to travel out of town before the next witch hunt aka the School Committee meeting.
            Hurry as you don’t want “hurt feelings”

      • debbie
        December 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

        Dan ask Alf how fast he changed all the locks on a state building (southern district court) when he found out that a temporary employee listen in to his private phone call! He had the locks changed within a week. At who’s expense?tax payers . If so, then an intercom system should not take a month to install at a school if the children’s safety is at risk.

      • debbie
        December 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

        Dan ask Alf how fast he changed all the locks on a state building (southern district court) when he found out that a temporary employee listen in to his private phone call! He had the locks changed within a week. At who’s expense?tax payers . If so, then an intercom system should not take a month to install at a school if the children’s safety is at risk.

      • debbie
        December 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

        Dan ask Alf how fast he changed all the locks on a state building (southern district court) when he found out that a temporary employee listen in to his private phone call! He had the locks changed within a week. At who’s expense?tax payers . If so, then an intercom system should not take a month to install at a school if the children’s safety is at risk.

  5. dusty
    December 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    We need to protect these children from being shot in the classroom so they can grow up healthy and strong. They need to be healthy enough to be sent to the next unnecessary war we will get ourselves into where god forbid they will not be shot anyway. We need to buy them some time.

    • Tony
      December 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      Rght on Dusty! Why can’t we just all get along? Make Love Not War

  6. tito
    December 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Transparency is the best disinfectant, if Bianchi would disclose everything and give the citizens time to review it, that would change the discourse dramatically.

  7. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    December 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    DV, Happy Holidays My good Friend. I saw this and thought of you and wanted to paste it in case you missed the headline, Pittsfield Retirement Funds in Good SHape…http://www.berkshireeagle.com/ci_22249958/pittsfield-retirement-system-good-shape?IADID=Search-www.berkshireeagle.com-www.berkshireeagle.com

    Any Comment? Your good buddy JLo says all is well…

    • danvalenti
      December 26, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

      HILLY
      Yes, “everything’s great,” and I don’t believe it for a second.

  8. tito
    December 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    @ HillBIlly…..Who gave Lowthrowup those numbers,Care Barry, if you do the math the city put in almost ten million and the fund is up 8.6. Do the math?

  9. Joe Pinhead
    December 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    I didn’t see Pittsfield on the list here did anyone else?
    http://www2.ed.gov/programs/dvpemergencyresponse/fy2008awards.html
    http://www2.ed.gov/programs/dvpemergencyresponse/fy2009awards.html
    http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-288-million-school-districts-improve-readiness-an
    http://www2.ed.gov/programs/dvpemergencyresponse/index.html
    I can only assume that the Leaders of the city did not want our plan to leak out and didn’t need any help from the granting source, hell its so much easier to tap into free monies right? No pesky paperwork.
    I didn’t see Pittsfield Schools in this listing either, I only did a quick search I would love for someone in Administration to show me where they applied for and received federal grant funds for the top notch security plan.
    http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/Channel/School-Safety/News/2012/12/26/More-Schools-Districts-Vow-to-Improve-Security.aspx

    • danvalenti
      December 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

      Thanks, JP, for this relevant info.

  10. jlo
    December 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    For the record, the pension numbers are public, and were collected by the reporter. The City and State publish the figures. As to the Math… the following is the calculation.
    Money in the Pension system + money deposited each and every year (contributions) + investment results (gain or loss) – payouts to current recipients. Depending on all of these factors, the fund will gain or lose value from one year to the next.

    The Pittsfield Pension system was voluntarily turned over to the State about three years ago, because the State has a much larger pool of assets which allows it to take a slightly higher level of risk diversification, which generally increases the return to the pension fund. The pension systems targeted return rate is 8.3% per year. The Pittsfield system was averaging about 7.6 % which is enough of a shortfall to qualify for State management of the fund. A higher return rate reduces the amount of money that is needed to fund these obligations.

    It is important to understand that public employees DO NOT participate in the Social Security system. The public pension is their only retirement plan. A private employer would pay Social Security tax, usually equal to 7.5% of your pay for the Social Security trust fund and Medicare. The employee pays the other half (another 7.5%), usually referred to as FICA. Thus, the City makes no contributions to the Social Security System, other than to Medicare (2.3% of your income), which actually saves the citizens of Pittsfield the full cost of retiree health care.

    There is one last point to be made. Many of the City Employees make very little money, including bus drivers, cafeteria workers, support staff, school para-professionals. Most work less than 40 hours a week, often for low pay, usually less than $14 per hour. For many, the Pension is their only source of income in their retirement years, as they did not put into Social Security if they worked for the City for their careers.

    • danvalenti
      December 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

      JLO
      The Pittsfield pension numbers used by the reporter differ from those from the Massachusetts Tax Alliance by more than $200 million. The reporter used PERAC numbers. The Tax Alliance data, culled directly from state sources, shows long-term liabilities owed by taxpayers of more than $300 million. I laugh when you say Pittsfield turned over its pension system to the state “voluntarily,” unless you are referring to military volunteerism: “All right, you pukes, listen up. i want three volunteers. You, you, and you.” As for Social Security, please, J-Lo, spare us the violins. Unlike employees in the Dreaded Private Sector, public employees don’t have their pocket picked by Uncle Same every paycheck. The Social Security money that Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski get back is the money they “voluntarily” put into SS over the years. City employees get to keep that money to invest (or not) as they wish.

  11. Outfox
    December 26, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    PHS is probably most vulnerable to a security breach/failure at lunchtime, when the students are off campus. Who is keeping track of who enters the school when returning from lunch? I imagineif you didn’t belong to the student body but are the right age, it would be easy enough to enter the school as if you were part of a group returning from lunch.

    Scott, your “sleeves rolled up” comment is the best social commentary I’ve read all week.

    • Scott
      December 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      I remember watching a show on the psychology behind that. It is a detail that politicians use especially when photographed “working” on something important to the public. It’s comical.

  12. Ron Kitterman
    December 27, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    Great catch on Scott’s comment Outfox, Looks like they’re taking a page right out of the Obama playbook. When the coat comes off and the sleeves are rolled up behind closed doors is when we have to worry the most.

    • Scott
      December 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      You got that right Ron they’re rolling their sleeves up right now and trying to come up with a plan to disarm America.

  13. Gene
    December 27, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    Good one,Outfox, for I too won’t accept that PPS and the city are taking the issue of school security seriously until PHS is a closed campus and that includes lunch time. A gunman would have easy pickings.

  14. Dave G
    December 27, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    I told the people at phs not to let my child leave school grounds and they told me they could not stop them

    • Scott
      December 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

      Dave, that is unacceptable but at the same time why wouldn’t your child listen to you if you requested they stay inside or at least on school grounds for lunch?

      • Dave G
        December 28, 2012 at 9:51 am #

        He is a boy who wanted to skip periods. I don’t understand why they lock the doors so perverts & terrorists can’t get in, but watch the kids go out the door DURING school to see them

  15. The Kraken
    December 27, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Locking down schools = living in fear and taking some freedom away. Are you all sure you want to do that? You want to lock schools down yet allow a huge population comprised of mostly idiots obtain assualt weapons?

  16. danvalenti
    December 27, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    KRAKEN
    Americans do not want freedom. That much is clear. That being the case, it seems a minor thing to require PHS students to remain in the building for lunch. That is separate from a locked-down campus.

    • Scott
      December 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

      You’re right people clearly want everything handed to them it seems most would enjoy living in camps and working day and night, being fed crappy food and tortured when the guards get bored. Only someone who doesn’t care about freedom would support weapons bans.

  17. tito
    December 27, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    @ JLO do the part time bus drivers get medical compensation?

  18. Rivetor
    December 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Jlo, with all due respect, your report on the unfunded liabilites is not convincing. DV owns you with his reply. Learn from your betters, not your bettors.

    • dusty
      December 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

      I see jlo had no comeback. He is used to speaking from his exalted perch on the city council where no one can ask questions of him. The last thing he wants is a two sided discussion with someone not a gob brother.

      • bobbyd
        December 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

        Pensions are the driving force behind many of the municipal bankruptcies in CA. Something is going to have to give.

      • billy
        December 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

        dusty it is so sad you pick on j lo when he takes stands on tough positions. he embraces issues ranging from schools,public pensions,spectrum,he is not afraid of civil discourse over issues with his fellow councilors which is how real government used to work in this town .The mayor used to be a constant complainer during his run for office about Ruberto s lack of transparency .This mayor has been as transparent as Dick Cheney from a secure location. Ruberto used to take verbal beatings at the mic from his critics and he did so cause the first amendment allows it. Bianchi has shown he is above that same treatment from his critics he either lashes out in a angry manner or assembles a mob to divert peoples attention from a issue by making it into a personal matter not a personnel matter,as shown by his unprofessional behavior during the concerns over the city solicitors handling of the Spectrum debacle.It seems when issues are raised and demand uncomfromtable yet necessary answers, he resorts to the tactics mentioned above or has one of his allies threaten abuses of the open meeting law and works out a compimise with a weak council president to stiffel the first amendment. .

        • billy
          December 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

          The term GOB is for people who complain and dont lead .with solutions of there own..

  19. The Kraken
    December 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    There is nothing in the 2nd amendment that states anyone has the right to bear assault weapons. Plus it states that one has the right to bear arms if it’s for the purpose of forming a militia. Therefore, if you are bearing arms and are not part of a militia you are in violation of the 2nd amendment. It’s unconstitutional.

  20. The Kraken
    December 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    The 2nd amendment cleary states that a militia should be “well regulated.” Therefore, free and easy access to any firearm one desires is unconstitutonal.

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    • Scott
      December 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

      The right of the people to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed. It says nothing about the type of arms or ammunition either but I would believe the supreme court over some anonymous poster on a “journalistic blog”. Plus it also states any white male over 18 and below 45 has to part a part so all of us that fit that description are automatically part of the militia.

      • outfox
        December 27, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

        Scott, our right to bare arms has not been infringed upon; baring of other body parts, however, has been “well regulated.”

        More seriously, I’ve always thought the definition of a militia was not to overthrow a sitting government so much as it is incumbent upon us as citizens to come to the aid of our democracy if it is being stressed. Other than as an academic argument, there’s no need to worry that we will lose our 2nd amendment rights, if for no other reason than the presence of Al Qaeda in Latin America and the fact that the Mexican narco-terrorist cartels have already breached our Southern border. Trust me, we will not be left merely throwing rocks at these guys; we will be allowed to keep most of our firepower. For the scariest piece of writing on this topic, check out Ted Bell’s “Spy”. It’s fiction…I think.

        • Scott
          December 28, 2012 at 6:41 am #

          The writers of the constitution knew that the gov’t would eventually try and overstep it’s authority and need to be stopped and they knew only an armed population would be capable in this event whether it’s about the gov’t exerting it’s force on another nation unjustly or it’s own people. But I agree with you they’ll never get every weapon even if they tried and they know it would be stupid. I do believe people in the future will see less access to weapons as the gov’t grows in size. But only if we neglect to teach our children (as a lot are doing.) the importance of gun ownership especially woman. My little girl will be packing that’s for sure!

  21. Wet Blanket
    December 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    So when an elected official takes a moment to present some facts, and you don’t agree with them, you expect a “comeback” ? Or else you’re right and he’s wrong? Pathetic. How about we have a reasoned discussion without the pejorative overtones. Or is that not possible on this blog?

    • Dave
      December 27, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      Wet Blanket, your last attempt at a reasonable discussion was your “agenda” for the Reid committee meeting, actually I don’t ever recall you ever posting an original thought on any issue, only reacting to a point of view you disagree with. But if that is what gets your blanket wet, than please keep contributing.

      • Wet Blanket
        December 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

        @Dave- so suddenly it is a requirement on this site to have an original idea? Not just parroting the paranoid hype of the author and contributors? Cool.

        @Kraken- well thought out, seriously. Sadly I think little will be done however, even given recent events.

        • Gene
          December 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

          Wet, Dave had a point. I like some of what you post, dont get me wrong, but Jlo had nothing in reply to DV’s excellent refutation. Admit it, Dan writing is not “paranoid hype” you know that I know that we all know that. To say that brings you down. Don’t do that, I like a lot of what you write.

    • dusty
      December 28, 2012 at 2:47 am #

      Dan said that Lothrops “facts” were off by 200 million dollars. I was hoping that Lothrop would make all the taxpayers feel better by proving Dan wrong.

      You sound like a typical politician who does not like questions. Questions require answers and sometimes answers are embarrassing.

      Try to remember that these people work FOR the taxpayer citizens. They were elected, not appointed gods.

      • Wet Blanket
        December 28, 2012 at 7:35 am #

        Questions are good. Discussion is great. But employing your own facts in order to prove a weak point is lame. I was actually disappointed in Dan’s refutation. Where is the attribution? Give us a link to a website, and compare/contrast those numbers with the reported numbers. I don’t see that work has been done to prove the point. Short of that, it is all just “How to Lie with Statistics.”

  22. The Kraken
    December 27, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    There are many interpretations to the 2nd amendment. It was not well written and confusing. One can easily interpret it to mean we have the individual right to keep and bear arms. Or easily intepret it to mean what I wrote earlier. But one thing is for sure, banning assault weapons is in no way, shape, or form a violation of the 2nd amendment. From ‘District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)’, pay attention to the last line in particular:
    (2) Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.

    • Scott
      December 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

      A lot of good not having a gun at the school in Ct did… Notice VT NH and Maine the states with the least gun laws/restrictions have the least crime. You’d be rethinking your position if you were disarmed and put in a wok camp by the gov’t. Some say that’s extreme and paranoid but it’s not like it’s never happened. Access to weapons are a basic fundamental principle for a free society. it may already be too late anyways. Welcome to the welfare police state.

  23. Joe Pinhead
    December 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Scott, typically it is stated as fear but in the end we almost always hear about economic reasons. Look at how FDR seized the farmland and other assets of Japanese Americans. What could or would stop them from taking assets of say Russian Americans today. I fully realize the fact we should only use FDR citings to speak in terms of how wonderful he was, however this goes beyond the pale.
    http://www.fear.org/RMillerJ-A.html
    Unless of course its taken “for the children”

    • Scott
      December 28, 2012 at 6:45 am #

      Joe you get it man and the people who stayed here in America while others went to fight and die justified the unconstitutional actions taken against the Japanese Americans by FDR’s administration. That’s the scary part. That’s why these anti gun people are a danger to themselves and our society. If the Japanese Americans didn’t go along we would have killed everyone of them with out hesitation and it would have been up to the armed citizens to put a stop to it. It’s our responsibility as individual Americans and as a country.

  24. Rivetor
    December 28, 2012 at 6:46 am #

    Yes, and we have bankrupted municipal treasuries nationwide (and in Pittsfield) for “the children” or what, you think that 16% payraise extorted by the Pittsfield Teachers Union from the scared politicians will grow on the money tree?

  25. Scott
    December 28, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    I remember getting slack in history class for saying that the imprisonment of Japanese Americans was unjust. I also got slack from another “teacher” for pointing out that although the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor and killed military personnel it was a little extreme for us to drop the bombs we did on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing all those people in epic proportions never seen before in history. My point was they engaged our military and we engaged their people.