PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013) — No we did not drink any green beer yesterday, although we actually did see a Toyota Prius without an Elizabeth Warren bumper sticker — another sign that Armageddon is nigh. Shock and panic could neigh have ensued, but we kept our senses!


* ‘Clean Up After My Mess, Sucker’ — In the community block grant “Gimme Grab,” which THE PLANET discussed last week, Berkshire United Way made a pitch for funding for taxpayers to help fertile females to keep their legs together — as if that’s our responsibility. The city need to invest more taxpayer dollars into programs that address the high teen pregnancy rate and also youth illiteracy, the United Way claimed.  Do you see the disconnect? Why is it always the taxpayer’s problem to ‘encourage” personal responsibility in young adults — or any adults for that matter? No one is able to answer this question honestly. As long as Pittsfield keeps rewarding young girls for getting pregnant out of wedlock with taxpayer handouts for everything from shelter to Pampers, they will continue their irresponsible behavior. They will make more on handouts than by working. The simple, least costly, and most effective solution to this ridiculous situation, of course, is to make adoption easier for couples who wish to have children but can’t on their own. If a “preggers” girl cannot through her personal support network provide for a child and demonstrate that with doubt, that child should be surrendered for immediate adoption. As for youth illiteracy, didn’t we just hear last Wednesday night how well everything was in the two city middle schools. What literacy problem, we ask?

Changing of the Guard — Time catches up with all of us. The latest example is the resignation of former mayor Remo Del Gallo as a voting member of the community development board. Former Ward 2 councilor, our Right Honorable Good Friend Lou Costi, steps up to succeed Del Gallo. Remo’s are large loafers to fill. Costi had been an associate member of the board.

Mattoon on Her Way Out — Donna Mattoon, who serves as Mayor Dan Bianchi’s director of administrative services, has announced her resignation. She will be taking a job with IBM in New York. Mattoon’s resignation comes suddenly and no doubt will (a) surprise many in city hall and (b) set off a mad scramble to fill the position. It’s hard not to see this as a setback for the mayor. Mattoon has been more than just an adviser or a chief of staff. She has served Bianchi as a power behind the throne. Some in city hall call her the co-mayor. In any case, we wish her well in her new job. Bianchi will best be served by hiring someone who is not only competent (goes without saying) but also more than just a “yes” person. A man in a position of power needs that more than he might realize.

Just Legalize It; It’s Only a Plant — Speaking of the community development board, they are considering zoning changes to accommodate marijuana treatment centers in Pittsfield. Apparently, the board does’t realize that we already have many such centers set up via the open drug trafficking going on in the middle and especially high schools, in front of administration, staff, and police. Voters legalized pot for medical purposes in the last state election. THE PLANET recommends the ultimate short-cut: Let’s just assume city’s rights (a legal concept we just made up) and unilaterally declare marijuana legal in Pittsfield. It’s Mother Nature, man. What’s the harm of a plant that helps people relax and eases pain?

Spring is Coming, and So is Springside — The once august Springside House, allowed to deteriorate into something resembling the residence at 1313 Mockingbird Lane (Herman Munster‘s house), may be coming into some TLC. Members of the Friends of Springside, parks department director Jim McGrath, Mayor Bianchi, Ward 1 Councilor Christine Yon, and the community development department are teaming up to pursue a $30,000 state grant that will allow a full engineering and architectural assessment of Springside House. A range of options on general and specific restorations will be generated. Here are some informational links on the project:

THE PLANET supports this effort. The Springside House is a fabulous Pittsfield treasure. It deserves a full and thoughtful restoration.

Homeowners,  Beware of Scams —Register of Deeds Patsy Harris has sent out information about two scams that target local homeowners. In the first scam, homeowner receive a notice that they may be eligible for mortgage relief. Harris recommends that anyone receiving such a solicitation should notify the Attorney General at (413) 784-1240 (Springfield) or (617) 727-2200 (Boston). The second scam comes from a business called Property Transfer Service. This company offers to obtain a copy of the homeowner’s property deed for a fee of $83. Harris says her office provides deeds to homeowners at less than $3 a copy. Deeds may be requested at the Registry at 44 Bank Row, Pittsfield, by phone at (413) 443-7438, or downloaded and printed for free at Any questions? Contact Harris at (413) 443-7438 x12 or by e-mail at

Amuso, Noseworthy Present a Croc— One of the great fictions in Pittsfield is the viability of the


School Building Needs Commission, a floundering collection of individuals who get their name on the letterhead and apparently are content to let it rest at that. As “leaders” of the committee, school department interim supt. Gordon Noseworthy and school committeewoman Kathy Amuso reported to the city council that “all is well, great, fantastic, and right on target.” They didn’t use those words exactly, but the sentiment was there. In fact, this Sad Sack of a committee has led to numerous delays into the process of deciding what to do about Taconic High School. Under their “direction,” the commission has proven tone deaf to community needs, recommending that the new vocational program drop auto body and metal fabrication. Noseworthy can cite the excuse, “Hey, I’m just a coat holder,” but Amuso has to admit to a colossal failure, letting down students, local businesses, and taxpayers. As a member of the school committee and a long-time local, it’s her job to be in touch with the community on such an issue. She should also admit that the building needs commission is a farce. It has met three times in 14 months, simply to rubber stamp whatever the school department wants. Amuso should have admitted to the city council that the commission is a joke, that it doesn’t care about pubic input, and that it’s run as a wholly owned subsidiary of the schools, citizens be damned. Noseworthy is on his way out with the new super taking over on July 1. We don’t have to worry about him much longer. As for Amuso, her poor showing as a member of both the school committee and the building needs commission should result in her defeat in November — should, that is, she should have the nerve to run for re-election.

15 and Counting — Incidentally, the 15 vocational programs approved by the Pittsfield school committee are auto body, carpentry, cosmetology/barbering, culinary, early childhood care, electrical, engineering, graphic communication, horticulture/landscaping, health and medical assisting, information support/networking, manufacturing-machine tech, metal fabrication, and office technology. And Jerry Mathers as The Beaver.


“For the beginning is assuredly / the end — since we know nothing, pure / and simple, beyond / our own complexities.”William Carlos Williams




  1. Still wondering
    March 18, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    Dan, you are right on the money about why the teen pregnancy rate is so high in Pittsfield. The baby momma’s know that getting pregnant is a ticket to easy street, all on the taxpayers dime. Nothing will change until this does.

  2. Shakes His Head
    March 18, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Does Bolwer have other siblings that need temporary jobs? I mean since his campaigning is behind Bianchi’s election…..

    March 18, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    Chairman Costi lives in Cheshire.

  4. GMHeller
    March 18, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Regarding solicitation scams: Recommend strongly that anyone who receives ANY solicitation of ANY type (via US Mail, radio or TV broadcast, telephone, or via any form of advertising) from ANY organization claiming tax-exempt ‘not-for-profit’ status to check first with GUIDESTAR.ORG to discover exactly how much money is paid by the organization to top org officials as well as how much goes towards fundraising.
    More importantly, what percentage of monies taken in by the org actually go to the org’s intended purpose?
    There are lots of scams out there.
    Rule of thumb: Don’t give a dime to any organization whose CEO makes more than you do.

  5. Scott
    March 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    I disagree on the teen pregnancy. I think promiscuous sex, drug and alcohol use portrayed and glamorized through hip hop culture is part of the problem. The answer isn’t turning our backs on young woman but giving them support. It would be nice to see parents addressing this at home and maybe some guidance counselors but when that type of behavior is reinforced by supposed roll models it seems most kids are set up for failure. You can see how this blatant disrespect for our female companions has played out most recently in Ohio with a couple jocks. One thing is for sure social media, text messaging, alcohol and this poor attitude emulated by industry “stars” are a recipe for disaster. It’s obvious those boys parents lack in morality themselves.

    Dan, I said the same thing on marijuana people act as if the legalization of it will destroy a neighborhood when if fact it would add so much in the form of tax in communities they do business, but wait will they be eligible for “not for profit status”??? Personally if they made it legal I’d just grow it myself with all my other herbs.

  6. Scott
    March 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Also I just got a text from the city declaring a snow emergency does this mean I have to stay indoors??? They were not specific in that regard so I guess I am in limbo until “they” let me know what I should do.

    • danvalenti
      March 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

      See Tuesdsay March 19’s PLANET!

  7. Dave
    March 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    Didn’t we give Hancock Shaker Village a bunch of PEDA funds to do work on our historical sites(and I am sure the Springside house was mentioned) as part of their new architectual program? If I remember correctly,we also eased the amount of properties that were originally part of the agreement because it took longer to analyze each property than was stated it would in the original assessment(by 5 times as long-yeah great due diligence in the original plan!) I’m all for work on the Springside House, but how many times over are we going to pay for it.

    • danvalenti
      March 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

      You are right to bring up a healthy skepticism regarding work on the Springside House.

  8. Ron Kitterman
    March 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Hey Dan, Just a thought from what I can gather some of the towns changed the dates of the town elections to the dates of the Senate special election. I know some of the politicians and elected officials read the Planet, but maybe Pittsfield could hold their preliminary election Tuesday, June 25th , 2013. The last time someone came up with a similar idea there were 100 excuses why they couldn’t but it was just a thought of how we could save a few bucks for Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski ?

    • In the know
      March 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

      Ron maybe we can save Mary Jane and Joe some money if you give back some of you $ 65 grand pension ?

    • ambrose
      March 18, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      That was a Democratic primary when TFB was embroiled in a three way race and trhe folks calling the shots didn’t want anything like a larger turnout to screw up their plans.

      • danvalenti
        March 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

        Correct. In fact, the last thing the Establishment wants is a large turnout. Apathy keeps people away from the polls. That allows them to “energize the base” (one of the most loathsome cliches of all political time) and steal elections.

    • danvalenti
      March 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

      Good idea, but if it saves a few bucks for Mary Jane and Joe, it will mean the GOBs will hate it.

  9. Jonathan Melle
    March 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    I believe that teenagers should masturbate instead of have sexual partnerships. Teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are serious issues. If teenagers have sexual partnerships, i hope they are educated about sex and have access to birth control. Peter Larkin proposed abstinence only education. I asked him if teenagers could masturbate in lieu of sexual partnerships, and he did not reply. Peter Larkin is a culturally conservative Catholic who does not believe in abortion, sex education, and birth control. Pittsfield is not a progressive community to have elected Peter Larkin. I understand that Tricia Farley-Bouvier is a conservative Catholic, too. I wonder if she is O.K. with teenagers masturbating and having safe sex? Pittsfield should stop electing conservative Catholics like Peter Larkin and Tricia Farley-Bouvier. Pittsfield’s teen pregnancy rate should not double the statewide average.

    • Kate Dempsey
      March 19, 2013 at 1:55 am #

      With the prices at sperm banks, it sounds like you’ve let a half a million dollars slip through your fingers.

      • Joe blow
        March 19, 2013 at 3:56 am #

        Kate, thanks for the laugh!

        • Jonathan Melle
          March 19, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

          There is nothing wrong with masturbation. It is an effective form of birth control.

  10. Uncle Fester
    March 18, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    Ambrose is correct, Louis Costi does live in Cheshire He doesn’t appear to be all that Right or Honorable. He has resided on old Lansboro Rd, Cheshire, MA since 2010.

    • danvalenti
      March 18, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      Does that preclude him from serving on the board? In other words, is there a residency requirement? I don’t think there is but am not sure.

  11. Rivetor
    March 18, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    DV excellent selection of topics today. The Berkshire Magazine interview with you had it correct when they called you “Berkshire County’s most prolific scribe.” Thank you for the Planet.

    • danvalenti
      March 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

      Thank you, RIV

  12. Giacometti
    March 18, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

    Perhaps the City should try to save the Thomas Allen House on East Street…is seems to be the only guilded age cottage in all of Berkshire County that has been totally forgotten. It has windows made from Tiffany Glass, wood parque floors, finely hand carved fireplace mantles and tarra-cotta shingles. Just a suggestion as a unique learning experience for any Taconic High School House Building crew….a much better project than a school department secretary’s house…

    • dusty
      March 19, 2013 at 1:25 am #

      Maybe we could move a school committee member into it and make it eligible.

  13. Ron Kitterman
    March 19, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    Thank you Mr Heller that is a Valuable site for sure.

  14. Teecha teecha
    March 19, 2013 at 5:01 am #

    Its sad networking or something similar isnt on the vocation list. Its a rather big job market these days. Horticulture? Gret, lets teach kids how to grow high grade marijuana hydroponically

  15. Teecha teecha
    March 19, 2013 at 5:01 am #

    Its sad networking or something similar isnt on the vocation list. Its a rather big job market these days. Horticulture? Gret, lets teach kids how to grow high grade marijuana hydroponically