PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT, FRIDAY, DEC. 21) — Today, being the last day in human history according to the ancient Mayan calendar, should be a day of rejoicing. All those bills you owe? Forget about them? The college loans? Screw it. You can even skip work today and not bother calling in.

Incidentally, we know the prophecy is true because we have read the Signs of the Times, the latest of which came from this Associated Press dispatch about an arbiter’s findings against a beauty queen. See if a particular sentence stands out here:

NEW YORK (AP) — A beauty queen who claimed this year’s Miss USA contest was fixed has been ordered to pay the pageant organization $5 million for defamation.

In a decision signed last week, an arbitrator found that the comments from Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin were false, harmful and malicious. Monnin had alleged that the five finalists had been selected in advance of the pageant’s live telecast.

The arbitrator, Theodore Katz, said Monnin had two motives: “She was a disgruntled contestant who failed to make it past the preliminary competition” and she objected to the pageant’s decision to allow transgender contestants. He wrote that the way the contest is judged “precludes any reasonable possibility that the judging was rigged.”

Did anything catch your attention? How about ” …and she objected to the pageant’s decision to allow transgender contestants. “

So we have a Miss America competition, and now we can’t be sure that the Miss is a “Miss.” Oh well, a miss is as good as a smile.

“L-O-L-A Lola. Lo, lo, lo, lo Lola.” — Ray Davies.



When scandal erupts and it involves the city of Pittsfield, especially the Pittsfield Public School system, it has a convenient way of landing in that little pile of dirt and dust balls that gets swept under the Persian.  Guess that makes the case for wall-to-wall carpeting through all of official Pittsfield.

For instance, when the $9,000 in prom money was lifted last year at PHS, nothing happened. When the fix got put in so that a secretary of the vocational director received up to $150,000 in free student labor from Taconic High School vocational students, no one in power did anything to stop it.

We could bring up any number of such incidents, but the thing to focus upon is The Pattern. Do you get The Pattern?

A shady, semi-legal, or outright illegal action occurs. Those in control, who want you to believe Everything Is great, By Golly, Under Our great Direction, pretend it didn’t happen. Once in a great while, one of these episodes is uncovered because someone in the know has a conscience. They drop a dime to THE PLANET. We investigate report our findings. After a brief flare-up, officials (the school committee, the administration, etc.) pretend it didn’t happen in some fashion or other. Then it’s on to the next scandal.

All this is being done by a department that eats up $90 million of a $133 budget. The department is underperforming. The state — even the state, which has an agenda to participate in the hoax which is public education in the Commonwealth — excoriates the department. Taxpayers continue to get plundered by tax increases to pay for the pay raises of these people.

And now, we have Tailgate-gate.

There’s no question that for the Dec. 1 game at UCONN (vs. Cincinnati, which UCONN lost, 34-17), the THS coaching staff took the senior footballers to the game, prior to which there was a tailgate party.

THE PLANET first broke this story and published information as we could, inviting everyone with information to come forward. We actively sought out those who would have better, more accurate information. You know what? Not one official source disputed a word of our reporting. Not one.

Moreover, after we shared the details of our investigation with THS principal John Vosburgh and the THS administration, not one sliver of what we shared was refuted … and that was after deliberately inviting the administration to correct any misinformation; the absence of such correction would be taken as tacit confirmation. The administration was OK with those terms.

Neither the THS administration, anyone on the THS football coaching staff, interim supt. Dr. Gordon Noseworthy , the Pittsfield School Committee, Mayor Dan Bianchi, the city council, or any other official source has spoken about this case on the record. That being said, THE PLANET has received information from first- and second-hand sources. These include members of the coaching staff, the THS administration, the school committee, footballers, and their parents.

No charges have been filed in connection with the case, and, as far as we know, no actions have been taken.

Based on our investigation, again including information from primary sources, here’s what we think happened. We invite anyone with knowledge to the contrary to correct any of this information. THE PLANET, though, will only take corrections on the record with people using their own names. Speaking of which, yes, of course, we would prefer that we could identify sources by name, but you must understand: In Pittsfield, a climate of fear, retaliation, and retribution is the norm when it involves hot items concerning politics as it affects the operation of the schools and the city. In plain English, sources are afraid to use their names because they know there will be payback.

Also keep in mind we gave the administration multiple opportunities to reply officially, but they chose not to. Very good. They could have cleared the matter up once and for all, but no. They would rather fight the story and live in the Land of Nod.

What Happened in Tailgate-gate, According to Sources

Much of this information comes from sources with various degrees of connection to the story. They include members of the THS coaching staff and football team, an administration source, and several parents whose kids have talked.

* On Dec. 1, the THS coaches took the football seniors to the UCONN-Cincinnati game in Connecticut. That is undisputed fact.

* We have learned that head coach Vinnie Barbarotta will not return next season. He goes down in the books as a one-and-done. We learned this last week, and it was NOT news to us when one of our correspondents (and school department apologist) shared it today. While coaches are dumped all the time, one could easily construe this as a finding of culpability. The administration did not confirm or deny this report.

* Sources say the THS party left Pittsfield with three 30-packs of beer. There is another version that says alcohol was obtained in Connecticut. The administration has not confirmed or denied this report.

* There were seven seniors in the party and several coaches. It is believed that five of the seniors drank (two didn’t) and all but one of the coaches drank at the pre-game tailgate party. The administration did not confirm or deny this report.

* It is not clear who purchased the beer. One of the footballers who was drinking said Coach Barbarotta provided the beer. One of the team members who did not drink also said the same thing. Another version said that the coaches didn’t know about the student drinking, because they left the students alone while they (the coaches) watched the game. The students either procured the beer on their own or took part in another party going on in the parking lot. What’s worse? Coaches with students while they’re drinking, so at least responsible adults are on hand, or leaving the kids on their own to party, unsupervised? It would seem that either way, there was a serious mistake made by the adults. The Taconic administration would not confirm or deny this report.

* Sources say “some students” were visibly drunk and that “there were some coaches that were having trouble standing.” The administration would not confirm or deny this report. It is not clear who drove back, and if the driver had been drinking or not.

* According to sources, initial word of the drinking came from one of the students in the party, who texted his parents. This boy, according to sources, “was caught texting his parents, only to catch the ire of his peers and the head coach.” According to a source, “The kids were told to keep their mouths shut by Vinny.” The administration would not confirm or deny this report.

* One of the teacher/coaches who didn’t drink, according to sources, was a “Mr. Harrington.” One source with knowledge of what happened said Harrington attempted to stop the partying, “only to be over-ridden” by Coach Barbarotta. The administration would not confirm or deny this report.

* On Monday morning, according to an administration source, Harrington informed Taconic principal John Vosburgh of tailgating. Parents were called that same day, notified of the incident, and told that the administration was aware that it had taken place. One source said, “It would really take a lot of the heat off those two kids [who didn’t drink] if Vosburgh would acknowledge that one of the adults reported this, but I guess it is easier to let a kid take the fall.” The administration would not confirm or deny this report.

* Sources say that the night before the last THS game against Monument Mountain, Coach Barbarotta threw “quite the party” at his residence for members of his football team. The party, they say, included alcohol. The administration would not confirm or deny this report.

The questions remain:

— What will the administration confirm or deny?

— Will it issue a report?

— Will the school or Child Protective Services be involved in further action?

— Why no comment or interest from the school superintendent, from the Pittsfield School Committee, from the teachers’ union, from the THS athletic director, or from District Attorney David Capeless?

— Will this incident, too, be swept under the rug, without official testimony? If the coaching staff, including the head coach, did nothing wrong, why isn’t the administration defending them? If they did something wrong, why isn’t the administration providing the details. Coaches, teachers, and administrators are given “custody” by parents of their children. Parents have every right to know the truth in situation such as this. There have been many parents wondering about the safety of their children given the sensational events in Newtown, Conn. They are jittery. When news of Tailgate-gate began to filter through the community, school officials (administration and the school committee) should have promptly acknowledged the story and shared what they knew. True, the THS administration, according to sources, did notify parents on the Monday following Tailgate-gate, but their constituency includes every taxpayer in Pittsfield, who foot the bill.

In the end, with no one in authority willing to go on the record, we will never be sure exactly what did happen on Dec. 1. It seems clear from the evidence and testimony, though, that something did happen along the lines we have shared. Why, for instance, the sacking of Coach Barbarotta after only one year.

Again, to repeat, we await the outcome of the THS report.

When nothing is issued, we’ll know it’s the Pittsfield Public School administration not saying anything.

Be clear: THE PLANET makes no allegations.  We are reporting what various informed sources have told us, and we have confirmed the information as best we can. THE PLANET does this as a public service and taking with utmost seriousness our fiduciary role in protecting democracy and the free institutions of community life. We take our role as the Fourth Estate seriously. We will let other media sources wrestle with their own consciences in this regard.

We offered the Taconic administration a full week to correct anything that was not a fact or misreported, to confirm what we learned, and to add anything they wished in order that we might present the best version of events. They have chosen not to talk to us.

THE PLANET will be glad to publish any factual information that corrects, confirms, or adds to this record.






  1. Howard
    December 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    How many times can you misreport the same figure for the school department’s budget? It’s happening weekly. You always publish it as a portion of city expenditures, but as I learned from YOUR OWN REPORTING, much of that money is from state, federal and other sources. The entire $90 million is not coming from the city’s budget and therefore only represents a number EQUIVALENT to 70% of the city’s overall budget, but does not CONSUME 70% of the city’s budget.

    • danvalenti
      December 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      The school department budget IS, repeat IS, the numerator in the fraction made up of the entire budget — in short, it is a portion of the city’s expenditures. My own reporting reflects that, and my own reporting has NEVER denied that some of the money comes from the state, feds, and grants. We never claimed the entire $90 million comes from taxpayers. You, my friend, have made that irrational leap of misapplication. Let me educate you. The $90 million comes from the city’s budget. That is an accurate statement. It does not come entirely from Pittsfield taxpayers, though a huge portion of it does. It DOES, repeat DOES, consume 70% of the city’s budget. Also, I might point out something you conveniently do not note, and that is: All the state, federal, and grant money comes from taxpayers, including the city’s. Now that you have been set straight, have a Merry Christmas.

  2. tito
    December 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    You tell him Danno!

  3. C. Trzcinka
    December 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    What is surprising and maybe disturbing about allowing transgender competitors is that the contest is allowing surgically reconstructed people to compete. What’s next? a Miss America robot? I wonder if they are tested for steroids or other performance enhancing drugs like athletes?

    • danvalenti
      December 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

      Gives the term, “I, Robot” a whole other meaning.

    • FPR
      December 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      If they can make a robot to look like Miss America, I’ll take one.

      Especially if I can program it.

      • Scott
        December 23, 2012 at 7:11 am #

        Wouldn’t you rather have a woman with her own personality who thinks for herself?

  4. Bain hater
    December 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Dan. You You heard it first Vinnie Barbarotta will not coach next year. Vinnie is a good guy Good coach. He is very active in youth sports what happened was making a mountain out of a mole hill typical Pittsfield and typical bloggers

    • Rick Wide
      December 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

      Yes, another “good guy.” Aren’t they all, Bain. You might try hating less and loving more. Stuffing kids with booze, yeah, just a mountain out of a molehill. Get real, man.

    • Claire Fraser
      December 22, 2012 at 6:40 am #

      Bain. Of course Vinnie isnt coaching next year, his son is graduating. He has only gotten involved in any sport so that his son could play, be it football, baseball, basketball. THS track record for coaches abusing some type of substance has something to be desired. If I recall the JV Baseball coach was arrested in connection with a drug bust involving Hermann Alexander’s last year, the Berkshire Eagle had reported. Does the PPS athletic director hire these individuals? Where is his accountability in all this? And as far as parents being contacted that Monday after it was reported by Harrington? Maybe some but not all parents of players, one had heard that their child was questioned by THS administration on Tuesday, therefore prompting the parent to contact the school and ask what was going on. The school adminstration is waiting for this all to pass over and be forgotten, regardless of Mr. Valenti’s valient efforts to call them out.

      • danvalenti
        December 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

        You make an excellent point. The school department will try to do as you say, which it to wait it out until it dies down. The hypocrisy of it all, with the “zero tolerance” policy on booze and alcohol. That is case-in-point why the city is going nowhere but downhill, and fast. This is where we need a mayor to throw a “nutty.” But no. It won’t happen. Remember, you can’t spell Valenti without “valiant.”

      • Bain hater
        December 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

        Claire. His son is a good athlete he would play even if his Dad was not the coach

        • Gene
          December 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

          That all depends on who you ask.

  5. Scott
    December 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    I ran into a guy in the woods the other day who happened to be a PPS employee I won’t name but he claimed the coaches took the kids to the game and when the coaches went into the game some students stayed out at a tale gate party with a non connected group of people and had some drinks. Perhaps this is a case that got blown out and maybe the coaches decided to handle it on their own so the kids wouldn’t get in too much trouble. I could see that but if they provided the booze and knowingly allowed the drinking that’s not right.

    • Bain hater
      December 22, 2012 at 4:44 am #

      Scott you got the real story

  6. imabigboy
    December 21, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Thanks, Dan! So glad your blog is here reaching dozens of people with the truth every day.

    • danvalenti
      December 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      It’s “thousands of people … every day,” IMA. The other part of your statement is spot on: “with the truth.”

  7. raider50
    December 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    how many times are you going to tell us that you are going to expose the tailgate issue but never come through. Same speculation over and over again. No proof, no names, just reliable sources that because of retaliation don’t want to go on the record.

    • danvalenti
      December 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

      Yes, fair comment. Each time we went to update, we got called away. Such is the life of a writer. We did finally finish it, raider. Thanks for keeping on us.

  8. Gene
    December 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Thanks Dv for the coverage and the story. Well written and more than fair. Like you am waiting for someone in charge to comment officially.

  9. FPR
    December 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm #


    Its closing in on the end of the day and the world has not come to an end yet.

    Those Damn Mayans. They should be wiped off the face of the earth for this.

    End of the world jokes are running rampant. People are telling them like there’s no tomorrow.

    • FPR
      December 22, 2012 at 8:11 am #

      That was the worse apocalypse I’ve ever seen.

      • danvalenti
        December 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

        This is the comment of the year! I love the dry wit.

    • imabigboy
      December 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

      The Mayan calendar is proof that not finishing something is not the end of the world.

      • Scott
        December 23, 2012 at 7:14 am #

        @ “imabigboy” that’s good!

  10. tito
    December 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    What are we to stock up for, if the world is going to end?

  11. Teecha teecha
    December 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    If Mr. Harrington is Kevin, he’s a guidance counselor at the school and has always had strong morals nd great values. I graduated with him and he is a stand up guy. If this is him, his actions surprise me none.

    December 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    its it funny a lot of people want other hung, until its there kids and then we over do it. Which I agreed everyone is over doing everything this days. Hang all until its yours then ask for a break Got to laugh this screwed up world.

    • Twist
      December 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

      Let the drinking begin???

  13. Tim
    December 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    Harrington is and always has been a stand up guy, not surprised at all that he tried to stop it in some way.

  14. MR. X
    December 23, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    Less than 5 years ago a player on the THS basketball team, the son of the head coach, was caught in the school’s back parking lot with a large amount of pot that was in many individual bags ready for selling. Little or nothing happened to him, certainly no legal action. Ask the irrate parents who had kids as athletes on that and other THS teams.

    Less than 2 weeks ago the star player for Syracuse University basketball, Michael Carter-Williams, was caught shoplifting, he stuffed a robe and pair of gloves into his backpack while in the dressing room. He paid a $500 fine with his credit card on the spot, no legal action was taken and no disiplinary was taken by the school.

    • Scott
      December 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      I have no problem with someone taking responsibility for a poor choice and paying for it from their own money. It happens.

  15. Mr. X
    December 24, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    Yes, Scott, stuff happens. The fact that MCW is getting a free $50,000 a year education at a great college and whether he likes it or not, he is a role model for the young hoop fan kids in the community. He got no punishment from the school. As a scholarship athlete I just think he should have gotten some kind of punishment. It just sends a bad message to the kids. If you knowingly and willingly make a bad decision, and if you’re a star athlete, just pay a small fine and nothing else will happen to you. He should’ve sat at least 1 game.

    • Scott
      December 24, 2012 at 10:33 am #

      The school has no authority in that case I could see if it was on school grounds or something how can you ask the school to indiscipline students for actions when they are out in the community that’s absurd. It’s not like he failed a drug test.

      • Joe Pinhead
        December 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

        Just so I understand, the School has nothing to say about an athlete who is given a free ride in exchange for playing a game and representing the university, However a School Board representative as a member of the public, wants to participate in a meeting that has to by law be open to the public-arrives finds the doors locked brings it to the attention of the board that is meeting and we need to have him reprimanded? Oh ok now its clear.

        • danvalenti
          December 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

          JOE P
          Another Great One!
          Those looking at the city of Pittsfield from afar, whether as a place to live and work or a place to start a business look at such situations and say, “What, am I out of my mind? Why would I want to move to a political cesspool like that.” It’s unbelievable: a citizen, who happens to be a school board member, wants to attend an OPEN MEETING of a subcommittee of a middle school council. When he arrives, the doors are locked. When he finally gets in, there is no signage directing him, in a large building, in which room the meeting is being held. When he finally gets there, he informs the chair about the problems. For this, the chair and others on the committee, whose “feelings are hurt,” files a complaint against the citizen. The school committee, on which the citizen happens to serve, reprimands the member … instead of doing what they SHOULD have done, which is either to refuse to hear the complaints by the subcommittee, or, upon hearing their flimsy case, backed their member 100% instead of selling him down the river. What a job, one of cowardice and ignorance. For that vote, remember, a key member of the school committee, who also happens to be mayor, was nowhere to be seen.

  16. joetaxpayer
    December 24, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Agree, Mr.X , he should sit it out at a Children’s Hospital. If he is feeling so sorry for himself that he has to steal, that might be just the medicine he needs.

  17. Mr. X
    December 24, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    Right on JTP. DV, any feelings on this? Aren’t you a SU alumni?

    • danvalenti
      December 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

      MR X
      I am an SU alum. I get back to the city frequently and still have ties to the campus. I am not familiar with the case you mention, but the school has the right and the responsibility to insist on higher standards for those getting a free ride via scholarship, especially those in a highly visible, role-model role as an athlete. In the case of proven and serious wrongdoing, yes, the scholarship should be revoked and the student expelled. As you point out, though, athletics has assumed an evil place in our culture, an evil borne out of a love of money and misplaced priorities.

  18. Mr. X
    December 24, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Scottie Scottie Scottie. Anytime any student attending any college gets arrested in an off campus incident, especially a scholarship student, athletic or academic, the institution absolutely has every right and authority to act in a manner as they see fit. As they should. It’s a privilege, not a right to attend their institution. Any actions, especially off campus, are a direct reflection on that institution. The main point here is that more and more you see college, and high school athletes get away with stuff that the average kid doesn’t, because of who they are, and, in college, the potential monies they bring into the school. Especially college football. Bowl payouts this month and next month are projected to be $145,537,000, and that doesn’t count 3 of the biggest ones-Orange, Sugar and Fiesta Bowls. Those payouts TBD.

    • Scott
      December 25, 2012 at 6:54 am #

      Xie, Xie, Xie the point was he took responsibility for his actions you don’t see much of that these days. The guys education and sports career shouldn’t be over. Plus depending on how good he is it wouldn’t make sense for the institution to punish itself for the wrong doing by making him sit out. Plus maybe they feel the punishment was appropriate maybe you should consult the university. Merry Christmas!