‘SNOWMAGEDDON’ WAS A DUD IN THE BERKSHIRES, BUT BIANCHI STILL DROPPED THE BALL … AGREEING TO ‘MARTIAL LAW’ IN MEEK KOW-TOW TO GUV A BONE-HEADED CALL … ‘INSTANT MONTANA’ TO THE GANGLAND RESCUE … plus … LENOX ZONES OUT ON NEW BIZ
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, FEB. 12, 2013) — How bad did Pittsfield panic during the dud of Snowmageddon? So bad, that when Pope Benedict XVI got wind of it, he thought it best to resign. After hearing of the imposition of martial law in Pittsfield for a !foot of snow!, !in February!, he realized he was too pooped to pope, another sign that the End Times were nigh.
How many storms of between 12 and 20 inches have fallen in the Berkshires over the years? More than we can count. This is, however, the first time a mayor has implemented martial law ordering drivers off the road under penalty of fine and/or imprisonment. Think about it — You had to go to the store to get Twinkies and Kool-Aid, and the next thing you know, you’r making little ones out of big ones. This edict made everyone on Pittsfield roads after 4 p.m. on that day a criminal. If you weren’t arrested, you merely got away with it. Let it loom large on your conscience.
Fact is the mayor’s action only reinforced the snow panic that has now set in, irrevocably apparently, to the constitutions of the once-hardy folks of New England. As bad as the snows were in Boston, Logan Airport measured Storm Nemo as only the fifth largest on record there. In short, we’ve all Been There, Done That … but you wouldn’t know it for the fear and loathing — led by the mayor himself — over some lovely snowflakes.
‘A Loyal Democrat,’ and Other Misses
Mayor Dan Bianchi, armed with the latest weather forecasts, Doppler radar, and the Atlantic Red Ball Weatherman, should have realized that Gov. Deval Patrick‘s ban — which may have (we only say “may,” not having been there) made sense for the coast — did not apply in Pittsfield. Bianchi, however, is a loyal Democrat, and that’s how weather-related decisions were done not on the basis of science but politics.
The pusillanimous Bianchi wouldn’t dare call the governor and tell him, politely, where to place the next snow ball. This timid, tepid attitude prevented Bianchi from acting with common sense, and it characterizes his approach to government. We can now say it, after 13 months in the Corner Office: He’s not a CEO. He’s not a leader. At best, he’s a CFO. Even at that, he still passed along to innocent taxpayers robotic tax hikes and grew the government.
Bianchi governs with the courage of a hen-pecked husband. He’s afraid to act with conviction, in a way that might define himself, his administration, and his philosophy of government. All of this showed up during Snowmageddon.
The Buck Stops There … Unfortunately
Yesterday, THE PLANET asked for people to offer feedback on Bianchi’s handling of the storm. We got a lot of hits. Snow falling on public streets and roadways will never fail to engender a lively discussion. That having been done, we realized all along, of course, that the mayor does not actually drive a snow plow. In terms of actually moving snow, he doesn’t lift a finger. That falls to his department heads and his plow jockeys. And yet, it’s not silly to assess his performance, in the same way the head coach or manager will take the heat or the halos for what his players do on the field.
He da man, and being da man come da responsibility.
With one phone call to Boston, Bianchi could have scored an A+ for the storm. Instead, he caved in to an obtuse, pea-brained blanket order and turned a lot of citizens into criminals. They broke the law, and the law won.
THE RATS ARE WINNING
THE PLANET briefly mentioned that while Bianchi was turning Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski into jailbait, the growing number of gang members who are infecting the city had to be laughing their twitters off.
During a recent meeting of the police advisory commission, acting chief Mike Wynn told it like it is, saying the amount of gang members operating locally “is more than you could possibly imagine.” We had one of our Z-Agents at that meeting, and it was said that active gangs include the Latin Kings, the Bloods, the Crips, Ride or Die, and Hell’s Angels. No mention was made of the Cub Scouts.
The interesting thing, according to our correspondent, is that Wynn, sheriff Tom Bowler, and the mayor “are acting helpless in the face of this situation. Wynn shared a lot of information, but the take-away is that the city doesn’t have a clue on what to do about this cancer.” That’s a scary assessment, this admission that crime is out of control and the authorities don’t know what to do about it, except to ask for more taxpayer money — Big Government’s solution to everything.
Add Water and, Voila!, Instant Montana
If that assessment accurately reflects the situation on the mean streets of the city, it might be another reason to stock up on Instant Montana. Don’t know about Instant Montana? It’s a super-secret freeze-dried product developed in THE PLANET’s laboratory here at the Fortress by our leading scientists. When you add water to Instant Montana, you get a full, “every-man-for-himself” survival kit, complete with short-term food and water, tent, hot plates, shotgun, ammo, fuel, rain suit, eye patch, Rambo trading cards, and a copy of Extremist Politics for Dummies.
All of this reminds us of the great moment on the old Hollywood Squares, when Peter Marshall was the host. He called on the redoubtable Paul Lynde in the center square.
“Paul, how’s the rate race going?”
“The rats are winning,” Lynde answered.
ZONING OUT IN LENOX
Want an example of bureaucracy run amok?
Come on down, Town of Lenox building inspector Bill Thornton.
This starts out good. Sam Kasten Handweaver wants to move its offices from Pittsfield to Lenox Commons on the Pittsfield Lenox-Road, #55 to be exact, which is trying to make a comeback from the dead and has shown a strong pulse at that. SKH makes custom textiles for the interior design market. As part of its business, SKH makes samples of materials for would-be customers.
Keep in mind that:
* We’re talking small samples here, swatches.
* The Commons is located well out of Lenox town center.
* The Commons just lost its popular coffee shop, Jonathan’s Bistro, which went out of business a month ago. The Bistro was drawn up to be one of the anchors for the Commons complex. In other words, the site is looking for tenants.
Thornton, however, said balked at SKH, arguing that making swatches for would-be customers violates the anti-manufacturing zoning restriction for business at the Commons. Now the Millionaire town finds itself locked into a debate over the meaning of “manufacturing.” Can you see why THE PLANET and many others contend that the mysterious blight against reason and common sense, now epidemic in Pittsfield, has migrated to Lenox?
We also seem to recall a chocolate shop in the Commons that makes sweet treats for sale and shipment. Is that not manufacturing? And isn’t there a store that manufactures pottery? Is there a double standard here? Plus, how can sample swatches by any stretch of the imagination be considered production of goods. The term “manufacturing” suggests the design, making, and processing of a commercial product on an economy of scale far greater than sample swatches.
We leave the closing word to Kate McNulty-Vaughn: “This is a good problem to have. This means businesses want to come here.”
Maybe so, Kate, but it more likely means that once the word gets out that the town nit-picks against commerce in this way, businesses will continue looking.
“When Doris dance under the oak tree, / the sun himself might wish to see …” — Richard Eberhart
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.