‘SHE’ MAY BE A ‘HE’: MISS AMERICA TAKES A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE … plus … THE PROBE INTO TAILGATE-GATE
By DAN VALENTI
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.
THE INVESTIGATION INTO TAILGATE-GATE
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.
EXIT, STAGE LEFT, LAUGHING ALL THE WAY AT THE END OF THE WORLD.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL