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 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.



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




  1. joetaxpayer
    February 12, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Mayor Dan will always carry Gov. Devals water, he has the (D) by his name. As far as gangs go don’t forget those girls pushing those cookies all around town.I have to go to rehab because of them.

  2. FPR
    February 12, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    Hey Dan,

    Enjoyed your article today again as always.

    Yes, Martial Law – you called it correctly. Like the proverbial frog in water where the heat is slowly turned up end resulting in its demise — the issuance of Martial Law for a mediocre snow storm in February in the Berkshires was a beta test.

    Its was designed to acclimate the public to such an edict under the guise of a dangerous snow storm. Most people would know better than to travel in such a storm and winter weather advisories would warn against it, but to make it a crime of up to one year in jail makes it insanity.

    Its unbelievable that a sitting Mayor or the public would accept such an edict as normal. No doubt there will be more Marshall Law to come, always backed up by “legitimate” emergencies until the majority of the public becomes “comfortably numb” to it.

    You can’t just usher in a Police State because the people would rebel in great numbers. No, you have to slowly bring it about so that the people won’t notice. They’ve done it successfully with so many other things. The % of monies you pay to the Schooling of your children being one outstanding example.

    • Chicken Little
      February 12, 2013 at 10:27 am #

      Martial Law is when tanks are rolling in the streets, not when the Governor issues a temporary driving ban during a blizzard. Admittedly, the storm here was not all that bad, but I’ve yet to hear of anyone in the Berkshires being fined or jailed for driving in violation of the ban. But, the storm was quite bad in other parts of the state, particularly on the South Shore, Worcester, and Boston. Indeed, the schools are still closed in Boston.

      We need to dial down this paranoid, overheated rhetoric about Martial law, a police state, and a tyrannical government and deal rationally with these infrequent events. The last time there was a driving ban in MA was shortly after the Blizzard of 78, some 35 years ago. And, what sort of person is going to go out for a ride during a blizzard? Medical personnel, first responders, and the like were exempt from the driving ban. If you own a business, no one was going to patronize it in a blizzard anyone. It likely cost you more to pay your employees and keep your lights on than what you would have made in revenue. Any rational business owner plans for snow days and other interruptions in business.

      So, stop whining like little children over a temporary driving ban, and like an adult.

      • Scott
        February 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

        If you want to live a life of complacency and control go for it. I want liberty and so do most people on here. It’s the principle of it all.

      • FPR
        February 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

        The coming economic collapse will be especially hard on you.

        Primarily because you don’t see it coming. Satan’s best tool is making use of the fact that people don’t believe he exists.

        You can excuse the driving ban as normal all you want to but it is all part of a much bigger agenda.

        • In the know
          February 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

          FPR. People like you scare me. Really you believe your crazy nuts believe this will happen?

          • FPR
            February 12, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

            The national debt sits right now at 16.5 Trillion dollars.
            and that’s what they admit to.

            The derivatives market is over 700 Trillion dollars.

            And I scare you?

            Its a mathematical certainty that this economy will collapse. I would give my right arm to be wrong.

            crazy nuts? I think not.

          • Scott
            February 13, 2013 at 5:32 am #

            Don’t worry the gov’t will make it all better if it odes. You won’t have to worry about anything they will feed, house and employ you.

      • In the know
        February 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

        Great reply

      • Wilson
        February 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

        The National Guard were in fact deployed by the governor for the storm. As they should have been, but you’re the one childishly following Daddy Deval’s arbitrary rules and nestling in the safety of his embrace. Maybe you can hint about a curfew so you don’t get sleepy by missing your bedtime. And remember to write your Uncles to tell them you support Daddy Deval’s rules on snacks. You’re a growing boy!

    • Joe Blow
      February 12, 2013 at 10:49 am #


  3. Ron Kitterman
    February 12, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Alcohol prohibition gave us Al Capone and the gangs of the 30’s which controlled the market. Drug prohibition gave us Mexican criminal gangs funded by Middle Eastern Terrorists and Mexican drug cartels provided with weapons from Fast and Furious. The answer to the question is always the same, give us more money for more cops, teachers, fireman, and politicians for a bigger more bloated government. Adults should always get to decide for themselves if we want to drive in a snow storm but the progressives are using every opportunity to control more and more of our lives, while we are watching Dancing with the Stars, The Grannies or the Superbowl. They got the power we may never get it back in our lifetime.

  4. Sean
    February 12, 2013 at 11:57 am #


    “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.”

    How does one come to the conclusion that the (acting) Chief and Sheriff are helpless and don’t have a clue?

    What was said exactly at that meeting that left your “correspondent”…. with the impression (to then report here) that local law enforcement is “helpless”?

    Dan…..could you expand on this?

    This is not your usual way of blogging.

    • joetaxpayer
      February 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      LDan must give Chief Wynn a break, probably a little jet lag from his Israel trip. Brushing up on his tactical training. Who knows maybe he was brushing up on Jewish gangs like the Kosher Nostra.

    • danvalenti
      February 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      I will be glad to. In fact, in an effort to make this a teaching moment for all of us, I shall respond on tomorrow’s PLANET. Thanks for your question.

  5. Still wondering
    February 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    The term “loyal democrat” is used often by the big shots in the party to guarentee turnout at various party events. As in, “If you are a loyal democrat you will attend xyz event.” They use the fear of being shunned or possibly endangering your job as a weapon to get the sheeple in line.

    • In the know
      February 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

      So loyal Republican never happens

      • Still wondering
        February 13, 2013 at 6:39 am #

        Not in this state.

  6. In the know
    February 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Dan. Did the Stockbridge selectmen call the Govenors office to call off the road ban?

  7. Jow Blow
    February 12, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Speaking of the police state…. Police Chief Michael Wynn said. “The best advice I was given — and we’ve gotten help from congressmen — was a Homeland Security facility. If that means I’ve got to warehouse supplies for DoD and DoJ, that’s fine. If I need to include a training facility, that’s fine.” This is what Wynn said about funding for a new station.

  8. dusty
    February 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    While the gangs were gaining strength Ruberto concentrated on polishing North street. I think the gang leaders should give Mr Ruberto a collective thank you for his efforts. He has made the city pretty for them.

  9. Williams
    February 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    DV you are right on with these items. If you were mayor you would never have agreed to the imposition of martial law. Gangs look for vulnerable cities such as Pitts. No jobs, lots of welfare, and easy pickins for drug trafficking.

  10. Scott
    February 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    On a positive note I went down to the city building on W. Housatonic to get some sand and one of the “plow jockeys” happened to be down there. I asked if they sanded my street and the guy asked where I was located and came right over he was also real polite nothing wrong with a guy making an honest living.

  11. Scott
    February 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    I wonder if the textile business may have a waste issue there also that whole park is “green” right? At least I know the houses that were being built were utilizing “green materials”.

    • danvalenti
      February 12, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

      It’s possible, S. We hadn’t heard of there being a “green” problem. The problem centered on the anti-manufacturing edict and the definition of “mfg.”

      • Scott
        February 13, 2013 at 5:28 am #

        Cool D.

  12. tito
    February 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    What is so important about the Pittsfield Promise? The Mayor should be more concerned about our Seniors who are barely getting by, has anyone seen the cost of heating a home lately? Councilor Clairmont will be putting a petition in tonight to lighten the burden a little bit for taxpayers, he needs to be more aggressive with this administration like before the Degnan situation,not passive, like they want him to be, go Barry!

  13. tito
    February 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    …the good Councilor also is against home cooking regulation as unlike commercial business, a cat could piss in the food, which makes sense,with that being said cats that run free in neighbors property should be prohibited and fines to the owner,as well as dogs with no leash and crapping on other peoples property, with or without a leash on.

  14. Gene
    February 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    On Saturday, a little after the no-driving ban went into effect, I was driving home from Home Depot. I was stopped by the police on Tyler Street. They quizzed me about being on the road, I said I’m on the way home. When I got home my wife couldn’t believe the story. Oh yeah I should also say at the time, roads were a little slick but not that bad.
    At first I thought ‘martial law’ was too harsh a label but after thinking about my experience I have to agree. I’ve lived in Pittsfield a long time thru many big storms and never had to put up with anything like that. Good reporting as usual DV

    • Scott
      February 13, 2013 at 5:27 am #

      Welcome to the welfare police state!

    • danvalenti
      February 13, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      Thanks for this testimony of confirmation. Believably unbelievable.

  15. ShirleyKnutz
    February 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    Chicken Little just wanted you to know I acted like an adult and went driving through town while nobody was on the road.

    • Scott
      February 13, 2013 at 5:22 am #

      Yeah criminals like that type pf scenario.

    • Chicken Little
      February 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      Well, I’m relieved that you don’t need to have the nanny-state babysit you.

      It was a temporary driving ban. Did you go out on the road to “stick it” to the man?

      Get over it and grow up.

      • Scott
        February 14, 2013 at 8:36 am #

        I have a snowmobile and yes if the need arose I would be able to make the choice as an individual and take responsibility for myself and my family.

  16. In the know
    February 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Dan this blog used to be agood place for info. Sorry now it’s just a right wing blog

    • Joe Blow
      February 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

      God forbid anyone has a different view than the BB and the D. Party line.

    • Scott
      February 13, 2013 at 5:26 am #

      Right wing??? He’s more bias any day of the week than the eagle. Just because we’re not loyal like you to your “elite” liberal masters doesn’t mean we’re loyal to the republican ones. The only thing I see here that leans more left is the religious and smaller gov’t approach.

      • danvalenti
        February 13, 2013 at 8:23 am #

        We are not right wing. We are not left wing. We are rocket propelled. We don’t need wings. Fact is, we make the calls as we see them. That’s what some can’t see, SCOTT. They’re own partisan bias they would project on us.

    • danvalenti
      February 13, 2013 at 8:26 am #

      We will not argue with your interpretation, as that would be silly. We will only add that we have no bias, left or right. We will call out fools of any political persuasion.

  17. tito
    February 12, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Gene was pulled over for driving in a storm…you can’t make it up. Pittsfield,Russia!

  18. Clarence Darrow
    February 12, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    People, it is not martial law to impose a temporary driving ban during a blizzard. And, it is not a “nose under the tent” problem suggesting further intrusion by the government on our freedoms. This is the first driving ban in 35 years. It lasted less than a day. There is no Beer Haul Putsch coming; there are no tanks rolling down the street; the black helicopters circling your house.

    At the time of the last ban, during the blizzard of 78′, 54 people died because they got trapped in their cars because they were stuck on impassable roads. No one should died stuck on an unplowed road. So, you couldn’t run to the store for the night. Grow up and stop whining.

    • danvalenti
      February 13, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      All true, but keep in mind that in Pittsfield, a foot of snow fell. The weather projections indicated we would not get what the coast got. The driving ban was a blanket call by the guv that should have been subject to local conditions.