PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, JAN. 31, 2013) — Let THE PLANET assure all friends and foes of Mayor Dan Bianchi: We are not out to unduly sing his praises on the one hand or needlessly cut him down on the other. We say this, because this is an election year, and the conversations are getting weird. It happens every two years, as predictable as the landing of the swallows at Capistrano in the feast day of St. Joseph.

People must understand that, as the sitting mayor, Bianchi has the spotlight. “He da man,” as the drunkards might say on the 13th hole in Phoenix. It is at once one of the percs and penalties of being Hizzoner: You make news and headlines whether you want to or not. That means that since Pittsfield is often included in our daily universe of topics, Bianchi and the doings of his people fall within our corral.

Like It or Not, ‘He Da Man’

Thus, when we write about Contractgate, Tailgate-gate, his handlings of Spectrum, or the performance of his departments heads, we do so not from any hidden agenda or to “do the bidding” of shadowy forces that people with great imaginations want to say lurk in between the lines we write. We do it because “he da man” who finds himself as CEO of a constitutionally chartered corporation known as the city of Pittsfield. He wanted it. He got it. He’s in the kitchen, the place where, as Harry Truman told us, is sometimes gets mighty hot.

Be it on the air, in print, or in cyberspace, THE PLANET has faced accusations like this (“He’s pushing a hidden agenda”) concerning every mayor going back to Ed Reilly. The long, gray line includes Gerry Doyle, Sara Hathaway, and Jimmy Ruberto. The accusations, fevered though they might be, come with the territory. Every mayor gets in the office as a result of a fair amount of support. That is, after all, how one wins an election: You tally at least one more vote than your opponent.

A new mayor, consequently, assumes office with the support of many people who think he or she is the next new loaf of Wonder Bread. The sun rises on this person, and these well-meaning mother hens want everyone else to love the new mayor, uncritically and unquestioningly. Bianchi has such people circling the wagons and has had since Day One. They have his best interests at heart, no doubt, but they have done him more harm than good.

The Goal of a Good Reporter/Commentator: ‘Impartiality,’ Not ‘Objectivity’

In our position here at THE PLANET, we have to step above the fray. The fawning gushes ill-fit our pubic persona, and the same holds true for the prejudicial pot-shots. We have to assume, going in, a position rather like an umpire. We must try as hard as we can to be impartial. That’s the only way to fairly make the call.

Let us explain that last word. “Impartial” = n., adj.,  a condition of neutrality; fair-minded, just, without favoritism, even-handed.

That is the proper stance for a journalist going into to a story, because it is only from a position of political or ideological detachment that one can be open enough to arrive not just at the unadorned facts of the case but the truth of the case.

Many people confuse the pre-condition of “impartiality” with “objectivity.” It is a mistaken notion that a good journalist is “objective.” The very fact of choosing to pursue story A versus story B is a judgment. When you get into story A, the type of questions you ask, and to whom you ask them, are judgments. And so you assemble your information, usually many times more stuff that you can actually use. You make decisions: what quotes to leave out, what quotes to include. This process of judgment begins the moment you focus on this story as opposed to that and does not stop until the story gets published.

Stories with a Moral Dimension are Different

The “objective” journalist divides the story in two and presents both sides, 50-50. The 50-50 add up to 100. On routine reportage — covering a meeting of the zoning board of appeals, say, or reporting police logs — that approach is fine. The reporter isn’t interested in truth. He or she is there as a human tape recorder, the eyes and ears of his or her readers or audience. On other kinds of stories, however, giving 50 percent to each side, so to speak, does the readers and audience a disservice.

These are the stories with a moral dimension. There is a right and a wrong. The reporter’s job is to enter the story impartial (“objective,” if you will) so that he or she can find out who is scamming whom. Sometimes that is not possible and one cannot tell. More often, though, if one has enough sources and remains diligent to the story and determined to get at its core, you find the scales of justice tipping in one way of the other, sometimes slightly and other times preponderantly.

Back to cases. Our coverage of politics in Pittsfield would have to, of necessity and by definition, involve a substantial amount of weighing in on the performance of the mayor. During an election year, this coverage takes on heightened, almost symbolic importance to those who have a dog in the fight. To those people, every question you ask drips with animosity and ill-will. We assure those folks, however: That is not the case. We love Dan Bianchi. We love Jimmy Ruberto. We love Sara Hathaway. We love Gerry Doyle. We love Ed Reilly. Get the point?

Needless to say, so we should say it, Bianchi will have people out there this campaign season who have a vested interest in seeing him re-elected. He will also have plenty of folks whose bread would be better buttered if he did not win. Try stepping into that maelstrom as THE PLANET, and you can appreciate the situation. Your every word is judged, parsed, weighed, stamped, filed, briefed, and debriefed. It is rather like walking a tightrope, blindfolded, that stretches over a pit of roiling lava. You have people at each end of the rope jiggling it. Oh, and by the way, you are juggling chainsaws.

We love every minute of it!

So no, we aren’t carrying out anyone’s hidden agenda. We aren’t being fronted by a Super-Secret organization that has ulterior motives in mind. There’s no SPECTRE, THRUSH, or Winter Hill Gang here.

Why can’t people simply accept that we operate THE PLANET, free, without subscription, as a public service? We do this in the same way as Dan Bianchi is, or should be, serving as mayor.

TOMORROW ON THE PLANET: The latest in “Attorney Wars” and more. You won’t want to miss it.






  1. dusty
    January 31, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    I am not suggestion you have any agenda Dan. But I am suggesting that your site is being used by others for an attack on the Bianchi administration and associated friendships.

    The moniker billy comes to mind. Most of his posts are slams on the current administration with praise for the last one. He comes across as a gob tool to me but that is just my own opinion.

    • danvalenti
      January 31, 2013 at 11:50 am #

      Understood. My site is available to all points on the political, social, economic, and cultural spectrum. All points of view are welcome. I applaud when people like you and billy take advantage of this opportunity — an opportunity to express citizenship.

    • Scott
      January 31, 2013 at 11:57 am #

      Dan Bianchi doesn’t need any help discrediting his administration. In my opinion he’s dropped the ball on just about every major issue he’s faced and low and behold he just joined Mayors against guns SHOCKING!

    • Joe Blow
      January 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      I voted for him and had high was I thinking.

      • Scott
        January 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

        We were thinking what Dan pointed out PM didn’t show he wanted it bad enough.

    • billy
      January 31, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

      It is not slams against the mayor its called expecting responsible government ., What you are doing is walking down the same path as councilor Mazzeo did when she sent a letter to the Attorney General about the open meeting law trying to suppress first amendment. rights.I did not all ways agree with mayor Ruberto but i can tell you things i did like about him

      1) After he defeated Sara Hathaway he never mentioned her name again.

      2) He took ownership of his successes and failures he did not become the smaller man and blame her. for his short comings and policy missteps., as has become common place for this mayor and his cohorts
      3) he spent his time getting grants for spurring economic growth and funding housing projects to modernize housing stock and attract young professionals back to the Berkshires..This mayor is quoted as saying “Im not good for asking for money. Did he not think when he ran for the office that during these tough times it would be the most urgent skill to possess?

      4) Ruberto moved the city forward while dealing with great personal loss Bianchi said kind words of condolence during the campaign even saying how respected the mayors family, but he let the supporters say anything derogatory and not factual.
      This mayor should stop hiding behind his supporters and Captain the ship instead of holding onto the rudder or get pulled along in the lifeboat.

      Dusty shame on you for twisting my words to deflect from your mayors political.shortcomings.. I expect more from my leaders and take them to task when i believe they have abused my trust. I would advice you to reexamine your blind loyalty and join me with expecting more than excuses and mediocre results from our chief executive

      • dusty
        January 31, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

        You reenforce my position.

      • Scott
        February 1, 2013 at 5:07 am #

        Well put!

  2. bobbyd
    January 31, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Dan Valenti, the Everlasting GOB-stopper. 🙂

    • danvalenti
      January 31, 2013 at 11:50 am #

      Thanks, bobbyd.

  3. Jonathan Melle
    January 31, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    The Good Old Boy network is going to try to takeover Pittsfield politics again in 2013. I don’t think they are going to run Jimmy Ruberto again, however, because he didn’t do a good job. Ruberto raised taxes every year, wasted millions of public dollars on North Street, and was found guilty of multiple “ethics” violations. I wonder who the G.O.B.’s will run for Mayor this year?

    • Scott
      January 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      Dan this quote fits you to a T and I know I emailed it to you but I wanted to share it with everyone.

      “Any hack can safely rail away at foreign powers beyond the sea; but a good writer is a critic of the society he lives in.”
      – Edward Abbey

  4. Randy Savage
    January 31, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Dusty you say this about Billy because you are nothing more than a blind Bianchi loyalist. Billy brings a very good objective view of the political winds that surround City Hall now a days. As a person who voted for the current Mayor I am very disappointed with his administration for several reasons on many different fronts. I assure you I am not a ‘’Good ole Boy’’ or a “Goon of Bianchi”. There are several people in Pittsfield like me that are tired of empty promises made at election time by people like Dan Bianchi and Melissa Mazzeo.

    • Scott
      January 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      Randy Savage I to voted for him and was fooled. It would be nice to get some people in office who really care about the city as a whole and not just the people connected to them. Show me one thing this administration has done to effectively reduce violence and give opportunities to people who work low paying jobs and don’t have resources to educate themselves to get a better job. What good are the arts if no one can afford to experience them. I guess when a medical marijuana vendor wants to open up shop they will be met with the same hostility by the people and the same willingness by the Bianchi administration to incriminate said opposing citizens guaranteeing them not only a building permit but tax payer funds to get them started. This whole idea of a growth based economy is a delusion on a local and federal level why can’t we sustain while increasing the quality of life by providing better education/employment opportunities and food to the population??? A day of reckoning is coming for self serving politicians and to media sources who obey their “elite” masters by publishing misinformation and out right lies!

    • dusty
      January 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

      Actually I am not a Bianchi loyalist. I too have been watching him with a skeptical eye. I was very disappointed with his part or lack thereof in the Kinnas tribulations for one thing.

      But I still feel that there is a coordinated attack to make sure he runs with a bad rep next time. He must have done something right but no one seems to have heard of anything. That seems a bit strange.

  5. Jenny from the Block
    January 31, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    “Randy Savage I to voted for him and was fooled. It would be nice to get some people in office who really care about the city as a whole and not just the people connected to them.”

    Well said. I hope Nick Caccamo runs again.

  6. Joe Blow
    January 31, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    I think one of the biggest problems in this country is the media and it’s so called journalists. Most at this point spew Government propaganda instead of seeking the truth.

    • Scott
      January 31, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

      They are enemies of our liberty. Look at the story plastered right now about ONE .22 bullet found in Lee middle school. Hello a lot of people hunt and shoot in the Berkshires especially the further out you get but the Eagle caught wind and didn’t waste any time to use it to further their anti gun agenda. And the mayor joined “mayors against guns” too didn’t you hear!

  7. Williams
    January 31, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    I voted for Bianchi. Not again. He has done nothing nothing nothign. I am so pissed I don’t know waht to say or do. I know this. If Valenti runs for mayor, I’ll sell my house and kids to back him. Please, someone, rescue us from the nightmare of Pittsifield.

  8. Phillips Exeter
    January 31, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    To DV
    We moved to Pittsfield last year. Let me cut to the chase. We believe in you. We shall be contacting you privately. But we want all to see this.

    : Please run for mayor. We will back you, support you, throw as much money as you need. Please. Run. You will win. Pittsfield, our new beloved home town, will then have a chance.
    Thank you.

    PS I will understand if you do not publish this. God Bless you. You are a good man.

  9. Ron Kitterman
    February 1, 2013 at 4:33 am #

    That’s fair game, love your Wonder bread analogy, the day old stuff is cheaper but you know what you’re getting. The fresh stuf is more expensive for sure and sometimes you wind up just throwing it out.

  10. tito
    February 1, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    Sturgeon has dissed Krol about four times on his own show. Getthat ice patch on West street taken care of councilor?

  11. Dave
    February 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    I voted for Jim Ruberto during his first winning campaign. I went to an event at the American Legion and heard his “I’m going to get out my rolodex of CEOs…….. and run Pittsfield like a business” speech. I bought that shit hook, line, and sinker. It didn’t take him long to turn from “rolodex man” to an A1 politician. I never voted for him again. In my opinion, he took the easy path- take the cultural money that the State was more than happy to “give” away (still came from our taxes) instead of going after industry. The old “build a downtown, and give the masses things to do and the jobs will follow” hasn’t really panned out yet(except for the heads of all these artsy orgs. and their 6 figure salaries) I used to get a kick out of the pomp and circumstance that accompanied a new restaurant or business that opened on North St back then. They failed to tell you that it was just replacing the store that used to be there that went out of business. As far as Mayor Bianchi, I honestly have no clue how I feel. It has been a long time since I have been so indifferent( or unaware) of who are Mayor actually is-Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

    • Joe Blow
      February 1, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      How about giving the masses jobs and a vibrant downtown will follow. I was watching Mayor Bianchi’s year end accomplishments on pctv and he was going on that he got invited to 300 + events and attended 280 or something. I’m not sure how going to DARE grads and spaghetti dinners is bring jobs in.Just imagine if the put as much effort into jobs/industry as they do to this culture b.s. He’s just another out of touch politician.

  12. Blind Justice
    February 1, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    Bianchi has jumped onto the Anti-Civil Rights bandwagon and joined Mayors for Gun Control.

    How has the tough mASSachsetts gun laws done combating crime in Pittsfield Mayor? Other than making people helpless and defenseless walking down city streets

    • Scott
      February 2, 2013 at 5:10 am #

      I wonder if Bianchi has a gun…