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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.

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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?

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NEMO MORTALIUM OMNIBUS HORIS SAPIT.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

28 Responses to “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”

  1. Still wondering
    January 30, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    While that candidate may be out there, that person will never be elected. Pittsfield voters almost never vote for someone who wasn’t born here and has multi-generations of family history here. Occasionally, someone from the outside is elected but only if a well known politician endorses the candidate. (The example that comes to mind is Sarah Hathaway. She was endorsed by State Senator Nuciforo.)

  2. Edwardo
    January 30, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    How about Mr. Valenti? He was born in Pittsfield, unless Im mistaken. Has multigenerations of family still in town etc. Valenti for mayor.

  3. outfox
    January 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    It is also nearly impossible to get a good job here if you are not from Pittsfield. I’ve never seen a group of people so afraid of outsiders in my life–and I mean, even afraid of people from other towns in the county. This brings the word”provincialism’ to a whole new level of meaning.

    • debbie
      January 31, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      Because they can’t control them. Your talking Alf aka Hitler!!!Pittsfield’s shady dirt bags who rob from the tax payers. They already know who it’s going to be. My guess its a women. Alf likes to bully women!

  4. Rivetor
    January 30, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Yes, the fear factor which outfox mentions is real. Retailiation, extortion, pressure to kee poyour mouth shut, it’s all there. Especially if you do biz with the city. Who would want to move to Pitts?

  5. joetaxpayer
    January 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Not enough people vote, and the one’s who do have a agenda. Not to mention most people in MA. historical are dismal voters.

  6. joetaxpayer
    January 30, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    historically

  7. Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
    January 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Most towns are soo stuck on imaginary boundaries and what it means if you and your daddy were born in between the town lines…From Dalton to Pittsfield to Lee to Lenox…All a bunch of townie towns stuck back in the 1950s…

    • danvalenti
      January 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      HILLY
      Point well made. We agree fully.

  8. Blind Justice
    January 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Dan. we live in a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy. ; )

    Most in the executive and legislative branches, either don’t know that, or will filly ignore it (the Constitution)

    • danvalenti
      January 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      BJ
      I am well aware of the difference. Others may not be, to your point. Pure democracy is one person = one vote on all substantial issues. A republic is one person = one vote in selecting the person who will vote in your name on all other issues. Given that, it is amazing and appalling that so few people bother to vote.

      • Scott
        January 30, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

        If it was a democracy you would only need the majority to out vote you and start taking rights away. In a Republic you could be the only one who stands for something and be protected by law.

  9. dusty
    January 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    What the city needs is a true bean counter for superintendent. I am sure that is the last thing Alf is looking for however so we can forget about anyone interested in money management getting the job.

    And I hope the candidates will do their own research about working for this particular city because this city can ruin a good honest person in no time. And if you are not of the upstanding sort, well then you might fit right in. (as long as you can keep your mouth shut)

    Good luck to whomever

  10. joetaxpayer
    January 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    The superintendent must start be getting back ALL OF THE SCHOOL DAYS back. You know 10 half days that count as full days.Also the mid-terms when kids leave after 1 or 2 tests and lets not forget end of the year exams when the samethong

  11. joetaxpayer
    January 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    At the end of the year when the kids leave after one period.

  12. Taylor
    January 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    My advice to anyone looking to become the new supt in Pitts. Buyer beware. You can’t say you weren’t warned.

  13. Jonathan Melle
    January 30, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    Pittsfield politics has been a point of real frustration to me. I am a citizen who speaks out about the role of government in society. We need a sustainable economy with middle class families who have job security and a living wage. Children should be safe, and go to good public schools. Politicians should be honest and welcome feedback. My experience in Pittsfield is that of being black-listed from the “real world”, meaning I could get a job or retain employment because I upset politicians like Andrea Nuciforo and Carmen Massimiano. What was worse, even when I moved away from the area, the Pittsfield political area made sure to slander me with one-sided accusations that I wanted to somehow hurt a woman from Becket, which is where my family lived from 1996 – 2003. It didn’t matter that I never hurt this person. It didn’t matter that she was married in 2002. It didn’t matter that I resolved our domestic dispute through the police. That is how I was treated for caring about my native community of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, which is where I grew up and lived for a majority of my life. Pittsfield is a small-town with many small people who run the political system. Like most bureaucracies, they want control and not dissent or feedback. I am glad I moved away from Pittsfield as an adult entering my middle age years. I would be too humiliated to live in Pittsfield anymore. I don’t know if I can psychologically take it anymore. At least Dan Valenti speaks for many of the people like me.

    • debbie
      January 31, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

      Jonathan Pittsfield was filled with corrupt little people in high places. Believe in karma ! the people you speak of are going down one by one. Its up to the people of Pittsfield to get out and VOTE them out. Its not hard just show up and darken the circle!!

  14. Wally Ballou
    January 31, 2013 at 7:18 am #

    Interesting subtheme here, that of the fear that hovers in the Pittsfield atmosphere like PCBs. Until that is fixed no companies or families will want to move here . Just the opposite. They will be looking to move out. Population from 60K to 40K. Get the trend?

    • danvalenti
      January 31, 2013 at 8:34 am #

      Fear is a paralyzing emotion, as bad in civic life as it is in personal life.

  15. egremontyankee
    February 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Dan:
    I am sure you blogger community shares my family’s solidarity with yours as you face the veil of tears.
    Best wishes.
    G.

  16. egremontyankee
    February 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Dan:
    I am sure you blogger community shares my family’s solidarity with yours as you face the veil of tears.
    Best wishes.
    G.

  17. egremontyankee
    February 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Dan:
    I am sure you blogger community shares my family’s solidarity with yours as you face the veil of tears.
    Best wishes.
    G.

  18. egremontyankee
    February 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Dan:
    I am sure you blogger community shares my family’s solidarity with yours as you face the veil of tears.
    Best wishes.
    G.

  19. egremontyankee
    February 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Dan:
    I am sure you blogger community shares my family’s solidarity with yours as you face the veil of tears.
    Best wishes.
    G.

  20. egremontyankee
    February 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Dan:
    I am sure you blogger community shares my family’s solidarity with yours as you face the veil of tears.
    Best wishes.
    G.

  21. Political Insider
    February 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Dan, Were you aware of the fact that city solicitor Degnan recouped 60K from the insurance company to pay back the city for the Spectrum case?

    • danvalenti
      February 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      Not aware. Thank you for the info. I shall try to confirm. If you have other details, espec. inside stuff, pass it along. As it stands, if true, she deserves credit.