SUPER GRILLING BEGINS: HART MONDAY, McCANDLESS LAST NIGHT, BRADSHAW FEB 4 … ALL GOOD, BUT PITTSFIELD NEEDS A CANDIDATE FROM ‘TRIBE C’ … plus … ‘ATTORNEY WARS’ HEATING UP WITH NEW REVELATIONS
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, JAN. 30, 2013) — On Tuesday night, the Pittsfield School Committee began grilling the first of three finalists for superintendent of the city’s public schools. They chose the one local guy in a mix of three, Jason “Jake” McCandless, presently the superintendent of the Lee public schools.
As one observer put it, “Just what we need. Another superintendent named ‘Jake.’”
The reference, of course, is to Howard J. “Jake” Eberwein III (you know, like “Thurston J. Howell The Third”), Pittsfield’s immediate preceding full-time super. The first Jake presided over a series of goofs, scandals, embarrassments, falling performance, and growing budgets. For that, he was yearly rewarded until the heat in his personal kitchen got a little too hot (a warm front that seemed to be coming from the direction of Capeless School) and he bailed out — not before handing out a $5,000 raise to a chum.
GOBs, Like Cats, Land on Their Feet When Dropped from Heights
Naturally, as a GOB, he landed on his feet at St. Elsewhere, otherwise known as Mary Grant University III (MGU3), otherwise known as Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, once known as North Adams State College, and before that known as North Adams State Teachers College. MGU3 knows a hot ticket when it sees one, and it didn’t waste a second grabbing a certified, unaccomplished, connected GOB. We guess students there weren’t getting a sufficient hosing.
On Monday night, a busy school committee hosted a visit by William Hart, assistant super for the Pentucket Regional School District in West Newbury. On Monday Feb. 4, the third and final candidate comes in: Ann Bradshaw, superintendent of the Mashpee public schools. All things being equal and simple on the face of it, THE PLANET recommends someone from outside Berkshire County. The fewer ties to Pittsfield the better, for it reduces the odds of internal poisoning. Again, on the surface of it, it would seem that Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski‘s best chance to get a reformer in the city school system is to look outside.
Free Advice: Be Your Own Person. Let Your Freak Flag Fly
Who best fits that description? Is it McCandless, Hart, or Bradshaw? And will the school committee see those qualities sovereignty as a strength or a weakness? THE PLANET’s advice to all three candidates: Be yourself. Don’t try to tell the school committee what you think it wants to hear, because the school committee, we are convinced, doesn’t know the answer to that one themselves. Go for it. Let your freak flag fly. Be your own person. If you can do that, the citizens of Pittsfield not only sincerely want you but also desperately need you.
City taxpayers need a superintendent who will not be afraid to “look behind the curtain.” There have been rumors of a lot of fish dealing done in the name of “The Children,” and the only way the city schools have a chance is to get an independent, fearless, and resolute superintendent.
In game show terms, think of it as a cross between “Let’s Make a Deal” and “To Tell the Truth.” Once the show is finished, there shall be a new super … unless, of course, it gets canceled by the nervous TV executives.
ATTORNEY WARS HEATING UP
THE PLANET is digging hard coming up with more of the untold story behind “Attorney Wars,” and we have uncovered some interesting allegations. If they prove to be true, it would make what has been revealed up to now seem as mere preamble.
Of course, we shall let you know the moment we do. One of the more challenging (therefore interesting) but frustrating aspects of being an investigative reporter in Berkshire County is dealing with the fear factor. Lots of people know stuff, but few are willing to come public, attach a name to it, and spill. They fear retaliation.
Yes, it’s sickening, to live in a so-called democracy only to have local politics operate in a manner of deceit, trickery, chicanery, deviousness, wiliness, bluff, lying, pretense, treachery, and just plain informal crookedness. To some extent, these qualities are present in all political systems, from national and regional to state and local. THE PLANET has been all over this country. We have seen and worked in some pretty rough outposts. With that, we can pronounce, with some authority, that Pittsfield remains unique for the stifling nature of its political inbreeding.
The “democratic” hoax of Pittsfield is that representation is available not for We The People but only for the tribes of two political families, each with its GOBs. We have seen these tribes alternate from Gerry Doyle to Sara Hathaway, from Hathaway to Jimmy Ruberto, from Ruberto to Dan Bianchi. That’s going from Tribe A to Tribe B, from B to A, and from A back to B.
What is sorely needed, of course, is a new type of person. That’s what we were getting at in our entry, above, on the Pittsfield superintendent’s search. We need someone from an outside tribe, call it Tribe C. We also need a legitimate, bona fide mayoral candidate from the same outside tribe.
Question is: Is he or she out there?
NEMO MORTALIUM OMNIBUS HORIS SAPIT.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.