Article

!!PLANET EXCLUSIVE!! TWO ODD (AN ODDLY TIMED) LETTERS SENT TO SCHOOL CHAIRMAN ALF BARBALUNGA, PLUS EXECUTIVE SESSION TONIGHT AT COMMITTEE MEETING, HAS BUZZED THIS QUESTION: IS THE GOB OUT TO SILENCE TERRY KINNAS? … CRUCIAL MEETING TONIGHT MAY REVEAL THE TRUTH … plus … TAILGATE-GATE CONTINUES TO RATTLE THE WINDOWS AND SHAKE THE WALLS

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, DEC. 12, 2012) — Yesterday, one of our correspondents, DOWNTOWN DWELLER, did us all a huge favor in posting the agenda of the school committee meeting, slated to begin tonight at 6 p.m. in the PHS library. Here is the link: http://www.pittsfield.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/file/Dec%2012%20Agenda.pdf

Playing a Hunch

We have the feeling you won’t want to miss the action, which should come about midway through. We’re playing a hunch here, folks, but stay tuned to the school committee meeting tonight. After reading the tea leaves, reconstructing the clues at the crime scene, and piecing seemingly random items together, THE PLANET has that old-time feeling that there’s going to be some serious grooming, zooming, booming, and pooming.

Couple the agenda with a couple of odd pieces of paper in the school committee packet, THE PLANET has apparently stumbled on a story … and it could a “A Story” with initial caps. Let us explain.

If you open the school committee agenda for tonight, a tantalizing item flashes in neon: “VII Executive Session: * Discussion of Complaint Against a School Committee Member …” From this, it appears the committee will be going after and possibly eating one of its own. But who? And why? The agenda doesn’t say, but we think we’ve put it together.

After examining the agenda, THE PLANET remembered two documents that appeared in the information packet given to each committee member, and, upon request, to the public and the press. In our packet, we saw two letters addressed to school committee chairman Alf Barbalunga that, at the time, seemed odd in a way we couldn’t fix.

‘Milky’ Malkas, ‘Koochie’ Koocher Make Missive Misgivings

The first was from Barbara Malkas, former #2 honcho under previous school superintendent Jake Eberwein III. The second was from Glen Koocher of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, who is assisting, so called, the Pittsfield committee on its superintendent search. THE PLANET actually reads through this stuff. The letters focus in an odd, even orchestrated way, on the behavior of committeeman Terry Kinnas.

Are these two letters related to the call for Executive Session? THE PLANET has no proof of this, but we will make a prediction. We predict, using these letters as Exhibit A, that the executive session will target Kinnas.

Letter #1: Malkas Still Pitching the Bull, but Why … and Why Now?

Malkas was notable during her stint in Pittsfield for being one of Jake’s most loyal disciples. She acted for the Special Interests and against Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski. She set and implemented policy, and she had a hand in the coming and going of a lot of money. That latter fact alone is cause for anyone to have the Ray Walston antennae on high alert (OK, gang, Trivia Time: Name the pop culture reference here).

Malkas left the district last year, with Jake, after she did not get Jake’s job. She’s now employed elsewhere, palming paychecks from others in the Land of the Jolly Green Gullible. Why, then, would this relic from the dark though not dim and distant past be piping up on Dec. 4 with a letter to committee chair Alf Barbalunga?

What earth-shaking communication did she have to make? Well, get this:

Out of the blue, Malkas decides to write to the chairman to complain about Kinnas’ opposition to the purchase and funding of the iPad Pilot Project. Yes, that iPad Pilot Project … from months ago … long since past … dust finely settled. It makes no sense, unless … we’ll get to that in a moment. Malkas writes in her third paragraph:

“On July 19, 2012 a posting in a journalistic blog appeared questioning the purchase of the iPADs are being legal. In the posting, Mr. Kinnas responded to the question regarding the legality of the purchase with, ‘I’m not sure, but you can be sure I’m going to try to find out.’”

“A journalistic blog” — Gosh, do you think she means PLANET VALENTI?

Unbelievably, Malkas seems to be complaining to Barbalunga, five months later, that a school committee member would try to find out information on behalf of his constituents. Forgive our density, but we fail to see the NEWSFLASH!! there, unless, of course, the letter has a political and not a practical purpose. Kinnas did not even say the purchase was illegal. He said he didn’t know but would try to find out. Isn’t that his job? Isn’t that what you would want a committee member to do? So why would Malkas write now, a mere days before the school committee meeting. Could it be to begin the Kinnas kangaroo-court trial?

We ask again: Why oh why would Malkas all of a sudden, a week before a school committee meeting that will be going into executive session to answer a complaint against one of its members, be inspired to write this letter? Did she do it of her own accord, or was she asked to do it to provide “evidence” against Kinnas. If so, she did a poor job, because her descriptions of Kinnas’ actions would show him to be responsible, judicious, and promoting the good of the community.

‘I Am Not a Crook’

Malkas closes by accusing Kinnas of “purposefully impugn[ing]” her reputation as an administrator. We searched the record, and we can find no instance where Kinnas did anything even remotely of the kind, to her or anyone else. Malkas then produces a litany of how great she was and how all her appropriation of funds were “appropriate and legal?”

“Appropriate and legal.” The words jump off the page. Who said they weren’t? Why would she be inclined to head that one off at the pass? There may be a perfectly good reason, but from the evidence of the letter itself, we cannot find it. Her statement about her “appropriate and legal” handling of money reads rather like Richard Nixon declaring at the height of Watergate that “I am not a crook.” We all know how that worked out for The President. This is not in any way to make any claim one way or another about Malkas. This is only to point out how incongruent we find her statement about appropriations. Why would she have to point our the “appropriate and legal” nature of her money handling? Why would she have to do that in the context of a personal attack on the one school committee member who might start poking around, and — GASP! — ask questions on behalf of his constituents?

In plain English, are there certain parties who are getting mighty nervous that Kinnas might be asking too many questions about funds and other matters?

Letter #2: The Koochie Koocher Dishes Bad Hooch

Then we come to Glen Koocher’s letter on MASC letterhead. Like Malkas’ milky missive, “They” would have us believe Koocher’s letter came out of the blue, unbidden, and at his own initiative. Yes, it, too, targets Terry Kinnas. Koocher’s letter is sent to Barbalunga, at his home address. Think about it: Two letters, each sent to Barbalunga, only four days apart, each targeting Kinnas only days before a hearing that will go after one of the committee members.

Folks, its beginning to get awfully ripe, and not just in Denmark.

So here we are, expected to swallow that Koocher all of a sudden decides to write to Barbalunga, basically saying that Kinnas is responsible for the paltry numbers of candidates applying for the Pittsfield superintendent’s job. And we are being asked to believe that Koocher has written this, by mere coincidence, within four days of Malkas doing the same thing.

Koocher offers not one shred of evidence to support his claims against Kinnas. Instead, he writes some paragraphs that leave a neutral party aghast. For instance, he writes,

“Be assured that the presence of one of more deportmentally challenged members of a school committee, or even inappropriately behaving members of the community at large, will discourage individuals from applying.”

Oh, really, Koocher? And certainly, the poison politics of the school department and the city of Pittsfield have nothing to do with why so many smart people want no part of this area’s school district? Contractgate? No, that wouldn’t cause a smart person second thoughts now, would it? The unexplained $9,000 theft, still unsolved, of prom money? Nope, that would not induce pause. The recent state audit, that laid the lumber to Pittsfield schools? — nah, that couldn’t possibly be why few are applying. No, it’s Terry Kinnas, the one committee member who does his job, day in, day out, and isn’t afraid to ask questions. Terry Kinnas is to blame.

Folks, we got a sneaking feeling that the GOB is trying to set Terry up for a fall. If that is the case, you cannot sit silently by and allow it to happen. A good first step is to show support for Kinnas, through e-mail or phone to the school committee (Chairman Barbalunga, abarbalunga@pittsfield.net / 413-442-4279, 32 Brookside Drive, Pittsfield), through attendance at tonight’s school board meeting, through letters to the editor, or through contacting Kinnas directly at tkinnas@pittsfield.net or 499-2989 (14 Cooper Parkway, Pittsfield).

What is ‘Inappropriate Behavior” from the Public? Tell Us, Koocher

And while we’re at it, Koocher, what’s your definition of “inappropriate behavior [from] members of the community at large”? Are you referring to the Kapanskis, Mary Jane and Joe? Are they citizens who ask questions and demand answers. Are they they good, honest, tax-paying members of the public who want and expect quality performance and accountability from alleged public servants such as yourself and school department employees? Are they We the People, who are the true owners of government?

Koocher, like Malkas, mentions the “blogs” and says that candidates for superintendent learn from them about the “interpersonal, professional, personal[,] and operational challenges they may confront.” Gee, do you think he, too, means THE PLANET?

See, didn’t you know it all along: It’s not the rampant corruption, tarpit politics, and notorious political inbreeding of an underperforming department that eats up $90 million of the city’s budget that is keeping the candidate pool low. It’s Terry Kinnas and the “blogs.” Dan Valenti, by the way, is also responsible for the Lincoln assassination, the Patty Hearst kidnapping, the financial crisis of 2008, President Obama‘s win over Mitt Romney, and Global Warming. Don’t tell anyone, but he also kicks the canes from old ladies and steals candy from the mouths of laughing babies.

Koocher writes, “It is now clear to me that Mr. Kinnas has, through various tactics, undermined your ability to attract candidates for your superintendency.” Koocher then makes a list of allegations against Kinnas, each of them vague, unspecified, over-generalized, and unsupported by evidence. He mentions Kinnas’ “[a]ntagonistic public comments, extensive and hostile interrogation of staff at meetings, probing into areas of administrative operation, a tendency to talk at extraordinary length at public meetings…”

Ladies and gentlemen, THE PLANET has known Terry Kinnas for a couple of decades. Never once have we known him to be ANY of that. Rather, he has shown himself to be the model citizen of participatory democracy.

— “Antagonistic public comments?” Name them, Koocher.

— “Extensive and hostile interrogation”? Where and when? Be specific! And is the word “interrogation” loaded, or what.? Koocher, isn’t that what Schicklgruber‘s SS men and Gestapo used to do? You don’t want to take back that word, do you?

— Koocher, do you know of time limits on public discussion?

— Koocher, do you not think that a school committee member would have as his or her very job definition the mission to “probe into areas of administrative operation”? THE PLANET does, as well as 99% of the general public. It’s only the GOB 1% who want to limit free speech and crush the one TRUE public servant who dares to ask questions about the multitudinous list of questionable actions and omissions being committed in the name of taxpayers by the inept and corrupt Pittsfield School Department.

— Koocher, who are you to make these unsupported claims? Why did you write this letter at this time? Whose water are you carrying? Please clarify.

Is There a Witch Hunt in Progress to Silence Terry Kinnas, the Best Public Servant in Pittsfield?

Ladies and gentlemen, and all my good friends out there, reading the tea leaves, THE PLANET has reason to believe there is under way and underfoot a concerted effort to silence Terry Kinnas. We can’t be sure of this until we learn which member is the topic of tonight’s executive session. Presumably, that session will produce testimony, evidence, and accusers. At that point, we will know much more.

And to think: All this is occurring a mere nine days before the End of the World according to the ancient Mayan prophecy (FULL DISCLOSURE: DAN VALENTI IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT, TOO).

————————————————————————–

SPEAKING OF SO-CALLED ‘WITCH HUNTS’ HERE’S ONE THAT ISN’T 

On Tailgate-gate, the questions continue to swirl. THE PLANET has learned that Dr. Gordon Noseworthy has been apprised of the situation. He seems to be taking the situation seriously but appears to be reserving comment until the “local investigation” being conducted by Taconic High School principal John Vosburgh is complete.

Meanwhile, many allegations, snippets of information, speculations, rumor, and innuendo continue to abound about Tailgate-gate about the participants, including the THS football coach, Vinnie Barbarotta.  We won’t go there. Contrary to what our legion of critics like to say, THE PLANET does not spread gossip. With that lead in, we share this Letter to the Editor, sent to us yesterday by “THS Senior Mom”:

—– 00 —–

‘Shame on Mr. Valenti’ (for Telling the Truth)

Comments: Ok, I’ve kept quite long enough! It must really be a slow news week in Berkshire county when something like this “tailgating” issue makes the front page of the Berkshire Eagle. It reminds me why I don’t purchase it any more, it’s our own National Enquirer. Let me state for the record that the THS mom who started this whole thing was totally full of it!!

Seems to me that she may have her own agenda for saying the things she did, shame on her!! Also shame on the coaches (that were drinking, because I know for a fact one of them was not drinking) for doing something so irresponsible when they were entrusted with people’s children and their safety. What an example to set for the students.

I’m sure they never thought that it would turn in to a total witch hunt, but nothing like giving them the matches to send them up in flames. As for the students, I can guarantee you that they never thought that there college football experience would turn into the nightmare it has become, all because they made some poor decisions. Notice I said their poor decisions. These are young men who in a few short months will be unleashed into the world as adults.

As for the three or four students who chose not to drink, good call, your parents are very proud of you & you should stand tall. To the coach who was not drinking, thank you for being responsible & trying to keep an eye on the others when it was most definitely not an easy situation.

I’d also like to say shame on Mr. Valenti for not trying to find out the facts before allowing a letter from “THS mom” to start all of these half truths that put even more stress on all the parties involved. I would think you would wonder why someone would be so willing to volunteer information on such a sensitive situation & not questions that person’s motives. Especially since that would only be information that people with direct knowledge of the incident would have. What parent does that? Not someone looking out for their child’s best interest, way to throw your kid the the wolves.

Does anyone think that the other students can’t figure out who’s parent is responsible? As for myself I think people need to get over it & let the officials do what they will. I find it so sad that a fun day for a group of seniors had to turn into something that was totally blown out of proportion because of the poor choices of a few of the  coaches, who thought that bringing alcohol with them was a good idea and someone with questionable motives leaking half truths. — THS Senior Mom [EDITOR's NOTE: THIS LETTER WAS EDITED FOR GRAMMAR AND SPELLING BUT OTHERWISE PRESENTED AS RECEIVED]

—– 00 —–

How We Work: Rumors? No. Tips? Yes … Depending

THE PLANET would respond first by making this point: Folks would not believe the amount of information that comes into the Secret Squadron over the transom, many of it of the “Have you heard about such-and-such?” and “PLANET, you should look into it.”  We receive massive amounts of mail, and it stands to reason: We are the only game in the region when it comes to fearless investigative journalism, news, and commentary of the Biercean-Menkensian mold. Where else would the tipster go? The Boring Broadsheet? Stop us if you’ve heard that one before.

THS Senior Mom answers that, correctly, in her first paragraph. The BB put Tailgate-gate on page one because THE PLANET’s enterprise reporting forced them to do so. They were asleep while we got the goods. We broke the story, they played a weak, watered-down version of catch-up, and found enough substance in the allegations to run it. THE PLANET should also note in passing that nowhere does the BB credit us for breaking the story, as is the unwritten journalistic law and universal J etiquette.

No Time to Say Hello Goodbye

Even with a force as vast as THE PLANET’s, happily and secretly ensconced at our Fortress of Solitude HQ high on a mountaintop overlooking the city, we would scarce have time to microwave our Poptarts if we tried to run down all the tips that come into us. There are no enough hours in the day, as Sophie Tucker once told us.

After 37 years of being in the business, we have developed a reliable “sixth and seventh sense” about tips and tipsters, and indeed, we have broken countless stories because the tip happened to be a good one. We have a reliable cadre of embedded sources in many offices and places. These are the ground troops that have, over time, proven trustworthy. When we receive information and intelligence from them, we know we must snoop around.

Most  of the other tips, though, either turn out to be phantoms or, if having substance, lacking in relevance. We don’t have exact figures, but it’s fair to say that of every 100 leads that come our way, we probably investigate six or seven. Of those, three turn out to be something. One or two receive coverage. Thus, THS Senior Mom, you are as wrong as the Birthers and the Flat Earthers: THE PLANET does not casually publish rumors, but we DO check out and vet stories as best we can and to the stringent levels of The New Journalism, which we are in the process of helping to create.

Interesting Admissions

THS Senior Mom makes some interesting admissions:

— She admits that there was in fact underage drinking.

— She admits coaches imbibed along with their students.  ”[S]hame on the coaches … What an example to set for their students,” she writes.

— Then, in the same breath, she calls the attention the story is getting “a total with hunt.” On the one hand, she praises the kids and the coach who didn’t drink, then at the same time cuts the irresponsible ones a break (the boozing coaches are being unfairly torched while the drunkard kids made “poor choices”). Folks, that’s known as a “total disconnect.” Such disconnective ignorance is as astounding as it is appalling.

— THS Senior Mom then tops all of this. After she herself has made the case that what was alleged to have happened did in fact happen, she writes: ” … shame on Mr. Valenti for not trying to find out the facts before allowing a letter from “THS mom” to start all of these half truths that put even more stress on all the parties involved.” Help us out, here? Did we miss something? THS Senior Mom first admits the story we broke has proven to be accurate while at the same time claiming we did not try “to find out the facts” before publishing! Our story is inaccurate but accurate. We would hazard a wild guess here: THS Senior Mom probably is a product of the Pittsfield Public School system.

Ladies and gentlemen, THE PLANET normally disdains exclamation points in prose. They are overused. PROF. PLANET counsels his writing students to omit exclamation points except for true exclamations. You’ll notice, though, my good friends, that we have used an “!”. We do this in a futile attempt to express our stupefaction.

THS Senior Mom makes the unwarranted assumption that we did not vet the original e-mail alerting us to the situation. She assumes, again, incorrectly, that we did not question the source’s motives, but she then admits the source had “direct knowledge of the incident.” Incredible. It could wrench you’re back just thinking about this woman’s logical inconsistencies.

She accuses our original source of “throwing [her] kid to the wolves.” She then implies that the other students have figured out who she is, in the process also implying some kind of unspoken threat. Apparently, THS Senior Mom did not consider the possibility that the child of our original source was one of the boys who did not drink. Do you think that good mom might have been peeved that the THS football staff would take charge of children and lead them astray in such a duplicitous and irresponsible manner?

So tell us, THS Senior Mom, where are the “half truths”? Why was our original source “full of it!” when her information turned out to be accurate? She will notice that no persons involved have denied any of the allegations. THS Senior Mom actually admits the charges were true! (Yes, “!”). Why is this a “total witch hunt?”

THS Senior Mom, looks like you are having a “senior moment.”

The big questions are still unanswered:

* Who did what to whom?

* Who did the drinking and who did the thinking?

* How loaded was the driver on the way home from a tailgate party that had at least three 30-packs of brew?

* Who did the driving?

* Who procured the booze?

So many questions, so little courage from officials in answering them.

————————————————————————————

PLANET, JOE PINHEAD ‘DO LUNCH’

And finally, and quickly, for those keeping score at home, THE PLANET had lunch with Joe Pinhead yesterday at the fabulous Red Lion Inn. We dined in style, and THE PLANET picked up the tab for the man who had the winning entry in our First Annual Turkey of the Year Award.

Thanks, Joe. Keep up the good work.

————————————————————————————-

SHE LIKEWISE HOLDS THAT IN HER MOST BENIGN LORD AND MASTER CAN BE FOUND THE KEY, THE FOCAL POINT, AND THE GOAL OF MANKIND … AS WELL AS ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

 

72 Responses to “!!PLANET EXCLUSIVE!! TWO ODD (AN ODDLY TIMED) LETTERS SENT TO SCHOOL CHAIRMAN ALF BARBALUNGA, PLUS EXECUTIVE SESSION TONIGHT AT COMMITTEE MEETING, HAS BUZZED THIS QUESTION: IS THE GOB OUT TO SILENCE TERRY KINNAS? … CRUCIAL MEETING TONIGHT MAY REVEAL THE TRUTH … plus … TAILGATE-GATE CONTINUES TO RATTLE THE WINDOWS AND SHAKE THE WALLS”

  1. THS senior mom
    December 12, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Here’s some info for your points. One of the non-drinking students belongs to me & I am very proud of him! As for the witch hunt, I am referring to the coaches suppling the alcohol to the students, absolutely false! Did they bring it? Yes. Poor chose? Absolutely! Where students falling down drunk? Not according to my source (who I believe, since they were present). As for the rest, all I will say is it is an on-going investigation & I’ll let it progress without my interference for now. But the main reason for me even acknowledging any of this is because I was upset about how all of this is affecting my son and just wanted to voice my feelings on the topic, since I am truly affected by this. Sorry if it wasn’t to anyones liking & my grammer was wrong. It was a heart felt expression of my frustration with this whole situation and it’s affect on MY child! I will say that at sometime in all our lives we have done something stupid & possibly irresposible. So all I can say is “he who has not sinned should cast the first stone”. Please let this story come to it’s conclusion & let’s all try to learn from this aweful experience. Thanks for hearing me out.

    • danvalenti
      December 12, 2012 at 9:33 am #

      THS SENIOR MOM
      Many thanks for your testimony, your love of your son, and your willingness to be involved. I have the greatest respect for that. Congratulations on your son, who chose to do the right thing. If the coaches didn’t supply the alcohol, do you know who did? Your involvement is not interference. You have knowledge, and we commend your involvement.

    • taxmano
      December 12, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      @THS senior mom,

      Please let me understand. Are you saying that the coaches brought alcohol to the tailgate party with students, but did not supply alcohol to students?

      • THS Football Dad
        December 13, 2012 at 8:43 am #

        Coach Barbarotta stopped and bought three thirty packs of beer for the game. He also had a bottle of liquor in his vehicle. There were a total of seven adults (five coaches, two friends of the coach). Do the math – 12-13 beers per adult, plus liquor. I don’t know if he planned on sharing with the players but that is a lot of alcohol when you are driving two hours.
        Coach Vinnie Barbarotta drove one vehicle. His adult son Jake who is (was) an Assistant Coach drove the players to the game. Jake had been drinking heavily so his younger brother (also a player on the team) drove home the players.
        The teacher who is also a coach drove home alone in his vehicle. I was told that he did not drink and tried to separate himself from this mess.
        Coach Vinnie Barbarotta drank WITH at least one player.
        So he buys the alcohol, drinks with at least one player and is charged with a crime yet…..? so much for the NO TOLERANCE policy promoted by the schools and local police.
        Will Coach Barbarotta nominate these players to benefit from the Bianchi-Barbarotta scholarship fund????
        I suppose the Bianchi end of the scholarship fund might oppose that… of course some recognition for the players who didn’t drink and stood up to their peers and coaches would be nice. I can’t imagine what their life must be like right about now. Being honest won’t win them points with their peers who drank (if and when they get consequences for their actions).

        • Thomas
          December 14, 2012 at 9:18 am #

          I don’t know where you are getting this information from but I would recheck that because most of this is untrue. All you are saying is assumptions because you weren’t there first hand and I don’t expect you too know. But I’m trying to say don’t spread around anything if it’s not the truth.

        • Mr. Football player
          December 14, 2012 at 9:48 am #

          Thank you for these unreasonable accusations that are completely off. I’m not trying to be mean or malicious but you have no clue what your talking about because your son told you wrong.
          I personally know that Vinnie did not drink with any students at the game. That is completely unreasonable and frankly coming off stupid. For a coach to drink with a player is 100% unacceptable and didn’t happen. So please before you make accusations, do more research then ask your son that wasn’t even with half the players for half the game. He is feeding you false information the is way off.
          Also, the Bianchi-Barbarotta scholarship is not solely picked by Vinnie so stop. Now, it is a group picked scholarship, so it just makes you look unintelligent when you say the kids that drink are going to be nominated for this. No one wins points by drinking with their coach.
          Also, it is a known fact that teens drink. It happens. It is part of high school and for your information, Mr. Valenti, drugs are not a problem at our school. Not only is this city full of cops that are notability brilliant at their jobs. They have stepped up the past month and been making this city a lot different. Taconic is not full of druggies. If anything we are making strives toward greatness. We have programs like SADD and great teachers that help keep it clean.
          The trip was for fun and something to do a weekend. Nothing to do with school. The football staff are all friends and last time I checked, adults can drink together. No adult can tell me they could go to a pro sport event and not drink in front of underaged kids. None of the kids drank with the coaches. None of the coaches even knew the kids were drinking until after the game. So for you to say your son is a golden child is ridiculous.
          P.S. stop making these accusations please without taking with anyone but your son!

          • danvalenti
            December 14, 2012 at 10:25 am #

            MFP
            Most interesting. Your assertions about drug use at Taconic sound like those coming from “he who doth protest too loudly.” There would be any number of Taconic kids who would laugh at your assertion and who could produce your drug of choice within 24 hours. They know where to get it. Your other assertion, of alcohol being “a part of high school,” sounds as if you have given up and lost the fight.

            You admit that you are friends with the football coaching staff. Would that not put you in a position to fight for them, regardless of what they might or might not have done? It would taint your testimony. But since you claim factual information, I issue you this challenge: Come out on the record, with your name to back it up, and in a meeting with me, let me interview you so I can get the story straight. I will take along my camera as well to illustrate the story. Are you willing? This is a serious offer.

            If what you say is fact, then come out in the open and stick up for your friend. Don’t hide behind a fake name, where you can say anything, truth or lies.

          • The Varsity
            December 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

            Mr. Football Player, your naivete is dangerous and misleading. I have a teenager at Taconic and one who graduated from there last year. Not only are drugs easily available to buy (and I mean even the hardest hard core drugs) but they are also being done on the preimises, including the bathrooms. My kids and I have a healthy open dialogue about drugs and alcohol because addiction runs in their family so we have had to have many a discussion on the topic. I want to make sure they have a healthy attitude about and respect for drugs and also want them to be able to come to me for information, and to let me know of their curiosities and concerns. In these discussions it has come up MANY times that they have been offered to them in school. IN school and in the woods BEHIND the school, meaning on the property.
            Taconic is NOT perfect, and cops are NOT all over the place and SADD is a monumental failure. You are either a friend of Barbalunga or a defensive student yourself.

          • danvalenti
            December 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

            VARSITY
            Thank you for this excellent admission and correction of Mr. Football Player.

    • Scott
      December 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

      “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” John 8:7 I like that one.

  2. Magic
    December 12, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Ray Walston “My Favorite Martian”

    • danvalenti
      December 12, 2012 at 9:26 am #

      MAGIC
      That’s a score, a trey from downtown. Well done.

      • Magic
        December 12, 2012 at 10:29 am #

        Just shows my age

  3. Richard
    December 12, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    I know there are people who don’t like Mr. Kinnas but he was elected by the people to serve. If the other people on the school board or any other person don’t like what he is doing then they will half to wait for another election. This is beginning to look a lot like the city council when some members tried to get rid of the city Attorney. The school board should get on with the business at hand and leave the people that they don’t like or agree with to the people and see if they still want him. I know some people in power don’t like to leave it to the people but we the tax payer should have the last word.

  4. Mike Ward
    December 12, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Wow. This school committee drama reads like the Ides of March. Almost inspired me to watch tonight’s meeting, but then I realized the stabbing scene will be behind closed doors.

    • Joe Pinhead
      December 12, 2012 at 10:24 am #

      LOL so true so true

  5. Concerned Citizen
    December 12, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    This is sad; these coaches should be fired; students should be suspended ..lesson learned ! but since the Barbarotta’s are relatives of Dan Bianchi our mayor & the Barbalunga’s justice won’t be served the way it should be .

  6. Joe Pinhead
    December 12, 2012 at 10:23 am #

    Wow great work here Planet, and I see Barbra Malkas has elevated the Planets status to Journalistic blog. Couple things here to try and comprehend; Why on earth would she question a duly elected School Committee member who was trying to get a constitute an answer? Has the board under which she was serving made that a foreign concept? Why wait 6 months to mention it? Should we good citizens travel to her current district and inform the current board members as well as the citizens of her thoughts on committee members trying to answer and address taxpayers concerns? Or should we wait about 6 months when they are performing her review? Good for the goose is good for the gander.
    Was Mr. Koocher requested to prepare this letter? If so by whom? If so when? Can we see the formal request as it was crafted by either the School Committee or search group? Was it Alf since the information went to his home address? Did taxpayers pay for this hit job? Why is it concentrated on Mr. Kinnas any mention of people not wanting to apply because of the publicity involved regarding the House or contract-gate? Is he advocating that we don’t question questionable practices? We should all let anything happen no matter how outrageous so he can get some quota of Superintendant application? What of the Schools teetering between level 3 and level 4 performance? That doesn’t make any one pause? How does one know who doesn’t apply and why? Does Mr. Koocher intend to come to the City here and inform us all what we can and cannot request or mention to either our duly elected or appointed officials? Notice he never mentions the quality of the candidates who might have applied if only they didn’t have to answer questions from School board members and us pesky citizens. Might I respectfully request he provide that information as well? I sure hope we didn’t pay for this letter.
    Oddly enough as we learned yesterday an extremely qualified candidate who is in a great position to know of all of the Board members and their personalities has tried to apply and isn’t being allowed. Mrs. Canning I am certain pays attention to the local educational establishment. I wonder what Mr. Koocher has to say on that front?

  7. Ron Kitterman
    December 12, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    yesterday we saw union thuggery in Michigan, today we may see administrative bullying by the school committee to keep this information from us, in violation of the open meeting law. Good piece of work Dan and Terry thanks for bring out the truth.

    • Bain hater
      December 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      Ron What union thuggery ? Do you enjoy your city pension that those union thugs fought hard to get?

  8. AMBROSE
    December 12, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Anybody get the feeling that Dan dined alone yesterday at the RLI.

    • Layla Lady Lay
      December 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

      Ambrose call the RLI reservation desk. Ask the wait staff. DV is a frequent flyer there, has an open tab, and never dines alone. We know.

    • Joe Pinhead
      December 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

      No he wasnt alone I had a turkey sand and soup combo it was good too. There was a story going around the internet that there have never been 2 finer, charming or handsome guys dining there before. I cant confirm the last part though, you know you cant beleive everything on that interweb thingy.

  9. dusty
    December 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    The gob has managed to keep Mr Kinnas out of local politics for years. He finally beat them and got in and they are horrified that stones may be upturned. I assume the mayor will be in on the secret meeting. Will Kinnas be as well? Is this whole city operating in a vacuum?

  10. Pat
    December 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    How can the average citizen here in Pittsfield stop the underhanded shenanigans that go on here? Whether it’s jobs going to people who don’t deserve them, but who KNOW SOMEBODY or people getting special favors as in the woman getting all the free work done on her house, or people giving themselves raises for doing very little work, the list goes on and on? How deep will the corruption become or maybe we already are just as bad as Boston.

    • Joe Blow
      December 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

      Pittsfield…Boston….Washington

  11. Go Terry Go
    December 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    Mr. Kinnas ,
    Thank you for being the voice crying out in the wilderness. The two letters sound totally bogus and totally lacking in credibility.
    I ,as a taxpayer, appreciate your efforts to hold certain people to some reasonable standards. The sheep most likely will follow the scent of their leader’s hoofs at tonight’s meeting, but know that you have supporters who truly appreciate the time and honesty that you are bringing to your tenure on the school committee.
    You are a man of moral values and that can be very threatening to those who have never reached that plateau.
    Good Luck fending off the wolves tonight and please keep up the good work that you have been doing.

  12. CCD
    December 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Terry Kinnas is an honest man. He is doing the right thing. How dare Glenn Koocher from MASC, a vendor for Pittsfield, in his role, make such statements. It is grossly inappropriate and a complaint should be filed in Boston for his actions. Terry Kinnas has been nothing but supportive to candidates. Let Glenn go back to doing what he does, collecting applications, sorting them, and then hiring Superintendents who have been in scandals. Leave Terry alone, or I promise that you will see an uprising in town…. and with that said, how dare Malkas say anything after her scandal. Speaking up this much later is crap. Lastly, the one with ethics issues is Alf Barbalunga…read the newspaper from Nov.2010 — GO TERRY YOU ARE THE MAN. YOU KNOW THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE SLEEZY and ARE DOING WHATEVER THEY CAN TO DISCREDIT YOU SO THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH THEIR NONSENSE.

  13. YOGI
    December 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    SUPPORT TERRY KINNAS. TERRY KINNAS IS THE BEST GUY ON THAT COMMITTEE. PEOPLE ARE JUST JEALOUS OF HIS INTEGRITY.

    PITTSFIELD ELECTED YOU FOR A REASON and ITS NOT BECAUSE YOUR DADDY WAS A JUDGE.

    • Joe Pinhead
      December 12, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

      Go to the Meeting tonight to show your support

  14. COLE
    December 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    He is a great guy and he doesn’t let people get away with stuff. THIS IS TOTAL RETALIATION.

  15. COLE
    December 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    He is a great guy and he doesn’t let people get away with stuff. THIS IS TOTAL RETALIATION.

  16. Chris Canning
    December 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    He was supportive during my case and raised the question of my candidacy to the SC. I know he is a good man. I am sorry but I know that he is not the problem in Pittsfield. I support Terry a 110%. My family is dedicated to education and we will back Terry Kinnas. We hope you do, too.

  17. jerry
    December 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Terry is up against the wolves. I agree. We have to keep him in office. Maybe, the person with the wristwatch picture from Patricks could make it public. Terry is the one who should be the head of the school committee.

  18. WT
    December 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Go Terry! Don’t back down!

  19. dusty
    December 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    I am a Kinnas fan as well. Who the hell is this Koocher character? Never heard of him before. Perhaps another sacrificial gob wannabee earning his badges?

  20. tito
    December 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    So Dan, we can squelch the rumor that Terry will NOT be getting the heisman tonight?

  21. another go terry go fan
    December 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Dusty,see up above on Koocher..

    I just came in and was told to read Valenti before I even had my coat off. I can’t resist adding my opinion. Terry, thank you for all you do to try and keep the school committee honest.

  22. GMHeller
    December 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Mr. Valenti,
    If indeed his fellow Pittsfield School Committeemen are trying to set-up Terry Kinnas, then Mr. Kinnas is well advised to go to that Executive Session accompanied by counsel.
    This is Berkshire County and forewarned is forearmed especially when dealing with those on a school committee known to be ethically-challenged.
    Having a lawyer present will give Kinnas the benefit of having a witness to the Committee’s shenanigans (because in executive session who else but other committeemen are going to be witness the stunts the Committee is trying to pull?).
    Further, counsel will also have knowledge of applicable state law, always a nice thing to have especially when one is surrounded by one’s opponents.

  23. skier1
    December 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Terry, you are amazing!!!! You should be proud of the work you’ve done. To the other members, SHAME ON YOU!

  24. another observer
    December 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    i can tell you from dealing with mr kinnas on a professional business level that , Mr Kinnas is an honest and inquiring person. If he doesnt know the awnser to a question, he will stop at nothing to get the most accurate info possible. And i will tell you , It Is a glorious day that a man of his caliber and integrity tries to serve the people the best he can. And this finger pointing against him Is pure Horse pooey! Maybe Alf shoud take a look at a few things like ethics 101, something daddy knows nothing about. Everyone can flap rumors and i will tell you that a certain Lawyer always had unbelieveable luck with barby on the bench, and the clients were usually spoiled monied people that would slip through the legal cracks again and again. I could point a lot of fingers, But the middle one is for anyone questioning Mr Kinnas’ actions or integrity. He is a man of THE TRUTH “NO MATTER WHERE IT FALLS!” The school Commitee now may not remember other scandalous stenches from the inner works of the pittsfield faculty. But they worked hard to keep those quiet. Anyone who may remember the “Abortion issue” going back 15-20 years ? Pepperige Farm remembers. And I cannot be the only one! FEAR NOT TERRY, US TRUTH SEEKING CITIZENS GOT YOUR BACK!!!! OH and one more thing, $9000 in cash goes missing and no one has any awnsers? that means one of two things, smart thief or inside job, Smart thieves are a dying breed, I know where id put my money. Dan, Wonderful job again Glad to see these people squirm under the spotlight of truth.

  25. Joe Blow
    December 12, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Funny how mayor Bianchi is not at the meeting…wimp

  26. Bain hater
    December 12, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Mr ramsdell is taping the meeting for Mr Kinnas? What he doesn’t trust PCTV?

    • Joe Pinhead
      December 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

      Pctv will not allow any reuse someone may want to use it in a different venue later on down the road. It may not be he doesn’t trust them.

  27. another go terry go fan
    December 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Terry
    I am watching the school committee meeting as I type. If Alf can’t see that 1/2 of 10 =5 then there is no hope.
    You are currently being set up and I find it interesting that the school committee lawyer is so obviously one sided. Should he not be there for all of you? Also, there is nothing frightening looking about you and I don’t believe for a minute that those four or five people feared you at all. This is such a planned attack. Hang strong buddy. There is a total honesty that emanates from you that I am not feeling from your counterparts.

  28. tito
    December 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Heard the Taconic coach is done, to bad, will see. LOOKS like Terry relishes the inquiry that is being unleashed tonight.

  29. Bain hater
    December 12, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    Terry really looks pathetic tonight. This is the guy most of you think is the greatest thing since sliced bread? 10 bucks says this meeting last 5 hours

  30. tito
    December 12, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    Terry is giving them the rope a dope, the committee and mob will be falling asleep in five hours.

  31. Dave
    December 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    this is the best tv on tonight!!! funny how terry kinnas asked for a 3 minute recess to confer with our NEXT MAYOR Ken Ramsdell and was denied. He put on his defense, which was quite impressive, and lo and behold time for a 3 minute recess!!!
    The lawyer for the school committee was pretty complacent in his response to this item, compared to how agressive and confident he was to the alfie open meeting law issue. It tells me he knows that this issue is bogus and is trying to not make himself look bad by agressively defending it. And it has been way more than 3 minutes

  32. jinxetcetera
    December 12, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    I am also watching the program live. Terry I would not want you after me for anything. You are one straight shooter. They may fall asleep Tito ,but I think they are too angry.
    Maybe they can nap during this long recess.
    Just when I think Terry is losing it, he bounces back with some remark that just amplifies his total and honorable intentions. He is
    so obviously a friend of the majority of the taxpayers of this city.

  33. Bain hater
    December 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Next Mayor? Wow that’s a stretch.

  34. Bain hater
    December 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    What. Terry doesn’t have Rinaldo as council?

  35. tito
    December 12, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Renaldo is searching for an apartment.

  36. tito
    December 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    I will let the experts and the Planet’ divulge the scope of tonights meeting. But when one of the complaintants said he knew Terry was upset because his face was red, was simply over the top. This ridiculous hearing was to serve as nothing more than to embarrass Mr. Kinnas as payback for throwing members and administrators under the bus, correct or not. Ms. Malkas during her tenure looked like a woman scorned sitting at the last few committee meetings. Mr. Kinnas is a threat, real or unreal, to the status quo. Yes, the volunteers should be respected at the open meeting law, but if you think your going to muzzle him, you are sadly mistaken.

  37. tito
    December 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    I will let the experts and the Planet’ divulge the scope of tonights meeting. But when one of the complaints was knew Terry was upset because his face was red, was simply over the top. This ridiculous hearing was to serve as nothing more than to embarrass Mr. Kinnas as payback for throwing members and administrators under the bus. Mr. Kinnas is a threat, real or unreal, to the status quo. Yes, the volunteers should be respected at the open meeting law, but if you think your going to muzzle him, you are sadly mistaken.

  38. jinxetcetera
    December 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    Terry Kinnas was correct about the open meeting law. This was the scopes monkey trial tonight. Alf was a hypocrite.

  39. COLE
    December 12, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Alf is a liar. This was the worst behavior on his part. The state needs to review this bully.

  40. kim
    December 12, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Terry you are a special person to undergo that kind of behavior by that man, who was on a witch hunt.

  41. tito
    December 12, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Attention Dunkin Donuts, could you possibly send a couple of dozen donuts and a bucket of coffee, your best, over to the school committee meeting, they’re in executive session and seem to be getting a little weary over tonight’s long agenda.

    • dusty
      December 13, 2012 at 2:36 am #

      In the real estate section of last Sundays Beagle there were 33 listings. Seems like a bunch of home sales. Perhaps after seeing this meeting 33 more will be listed next week and the week after. People want to escape the shit storm that is Pittsfield politics. It just keeps getting worse.

  42. Gene
    December 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Excellent coverage of the school department, school doings, school finances, and all other things school. I don’t ever remember anyone covering the school committee as frankly as Mr. Valenti. In hearing tonight, Yon said it best “No one wins”. I’m a Terry fan but he seemed afraid to mount a defense. Reid committee came off as well meaning amateurs

  43. Ken Ramsdell
    December 12, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Bain Hater,
    I just want to clear up a few things
    1. I recorded the video for my own record I had asked in the past if the PCTV video feed was a public feed that anyone could copy and edit. Many municipalities and systems have allowed this in the past for various reasons One camera, one set of operators etc. I was told that the production was owned by PCTV and as such I could not get a feed. I may wish to use this piece of video in the future or it might wind up being used by someone else. I do trust PCTV but I also remember video tapes being “lost” for years on end by the GOBS ask Bernie Baran. Might I add that if at any point and time any of the people involved had simply turned on their phones we would have had a recorded version of events either audio or video. I suppose no one thought to do that. Terry get a cell or a tape recorder and be sure to use it.
    2. I have no plans to run for Mayor.
    3. Mr. Kinnas has worked his tail off in trying to get answers from all sorts of elected and appointed boards; as such I feel he deserved my support. When asked to support and help him if by nothing more than standing by his side I could think of no other place I would have rather been then in that chair next to him. In my world thats what friends do.
    I will leave it up to each of you to look at the proceedings from tonight and decide for yourselves if he got a fair shake.

    • Scott
      December 13, 2012 at 5:38 am #

      This is Pittsfield no one is getting a fair shake except the connected corrupt thieving liars that occupy public funded positions.

  44. Terry Kinnas
    December 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Thank you for your postings and phone calls. Good night and God bless.

    • Scott
      December 13, 2012 at 5:32 am #

      Terry thank you for doing the right thing.

  45. joetaxpayer
    December 13, 2012 at 4:25 am #

    Different Yon same Bullspit!! Terry keep up the good work, don’t let them bully you.

  46. Ron Kitterman
    December 13, 2012 at 5:52 am #

    Pittsfield and the country need more Ken Ramsdells and less Baine haters, thanks for the contribution Gentlemen.

    • Bain Hater
      December 13, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      Mr. Kitterman I find you to be a bit of a hypocrite for excepting a $60 thousand dollar Union bargained city pension yet you call them thugs. Why is it wrong to pay union dues to bargain for your diserved benefits? Should others pay so you can get a free ride?

  47. Kevin
    December 13, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    Seems like a hatchet job in an attempt to silence Mr. Kinnas, pretty sure it will not work. “”Our work is absolutely grinding to a halt,” Barbalunga said That’s due to poor leadership not Mr. Kinnas.

    • danvalenti
      December 13, 2012 at 7:38 am #

      KEV AND ALL
      THE PLANET appreciates your views on this. Our informal poll indicated overwhelming public support for Mr. Kinnas. How well that translates into the population as a whole is unknown, but we would submit that it is indicative of the prevailing trend. Government in Pittsfield, in terms of public perception, is back to (did it ever leave) “Us vs. Them.”

  48. Mr. X
    December 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    Mr. Kinnas, continue to fight the good fight. Alfie reminds me of the bully on the school playground. The school committee has around a $70 million budget to work with? Does anyone else out there see a big disconnect between them, the city council and the Mayor’s office?

    Mr. Kitterman, gotta chime in. How many unused sick days did you cash in for money when you retired from the PPD? Sick days that where bargained for by union thugs for your benefit. How many people working even get any paid sick days, let alone ones you can turn into cash when you retire? C’mon man!!

    • danvalenti
      December 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      MR X
      The budget last year was $82 million. This year it will come in at $90-93 million. Ah, but what $20 million among friends?