INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY STILL NOT SHARING WHAT IT KNOWS, and PEOPLE DIE FOR IT … PITTSFIELD COUNCILORS MUST DO THE RIGHT THING ON DUNKIN DONUTS SPECIAL PERMIT: REJECT IT … plus … IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN, TAXPAYERS; PITTSFIELD SCHOOLS RELEASES FY14 LARD PLAN
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 2013) — Sunni anger boils over in Iraq. Thank you, George Bush. Something tells us we are no longer in Rarotonga.
Minaret of famed Syrian mosque destroyed. Thank you, George Bush. Something tells us we are back home.
Intelligence Lapses, Once Again, Cost Lives
The most incompetent president in U.S. history proved that power in the hands of the wrong people can cause lifetimes of grief. Thank you for that confirmation, George.
Your example has inspired our current president to err similarly, as we are learning as the investigation into the Tsarnaev Brothers, not to be confused with the Smith Brothers, continues. Word comes from members of the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia warned the FBI not once but multiple times about the older brother, Tamerlan. The failure to share intelligence that so characterized the Bush Administration prior to 9/11/01 apparently has become standard operating procedure in Barack Obama‘s White House.
“There still seems to be serious problems with sharing information, including critical investigative information … not only among agencies but also within the same agency, in one case,” said committee member Susan Collins, R-Maine.
Conflicting stories appeared to emerge about which agencies knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s six-month trip to Russia last year, according to the Associated Press. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee on immigration legislation that her agency knew about Tsarnaev’s journey to his homeland. But Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the FBI “told me they had no knowledge of him leaving or coming back.”
The new evidence emerging about the capture of the 19-year-old suspect also casts doubt on the story originally told by police and authorities. First, they claimed they took the young man only after a fierce firefight. Now, new information has come out that the kid was unarmed. Meanwhile, the George W. Bush presidential library opened yesterday on the campus of Southern Methodist University. No, that is not the set-up to a terrific punch line. It’s true. The library probably has books with lots of pictures, large type, and certainly a complete collection of Dick and Jane readers.
“I’m comfortable with what I did,” Bush told the Dallas Morning News. “I’m comfortable with who I am.” THE PLANET is pleased to hear that, Mr. President, since so many of the rest of us aren’t. Your presidency was a failure that set up this once great country for the inevitable end-game, sure to come within a generation.
President Bush did not keep this country safe. It was under his watch that 9/11/01 occurred when the terrorist plots had no right of ever getting off the ground. It was under his watch that two wars, costing trillions of dollars and countless ruined lives, ignited a fire in the global political tinder.
YEAH, JUST WHAT PITTSFIELD NEEDS: A BIGGER DUNKIN DONUTS
Turning to local news, our Right Honorable Friends on the Pittsfield City Council listened at length to a Boston Attorney brought in to argue for the granting of a special permit that would allow a drive-through window at a new Dunkin Donuts store that would be built on the corner of Fenn and First streets in Pittsfield. The plan would required the demolition of the former Plunkett School. The granting of the special permits requires and 8-3 or better supermajority.
Cafua Management Co., based in Andover, brought its hired guns to the meeting. Basically, the lawyers, paid mouthpieces just doing their job, threatened to sue the city if the council does not grant the permit. Granting the permit, of course, would be the entirely wrong thing to do. Councilors should learn from the mistake they made in granting a drive-through window for the donut store’s current location, just south of Fenn and First. Traffic delays stemming from drivers wanting to turn left for their morning fix have led to legendary traffic tie-ups and many cases of road rage.
Only Sensible Answer: Deny This Special Permit
That’s not bad enough. Now, the developer wants to put the bigger store at Fenn and First. Drivers there will be looking to hang lefts and rights into the store lot from Fenn Street. Already, the area is congested with traffic that backs up at the Fenn Street post office, with its front parking lot that one could pave with a handkerchief. Councilors have one duty here, and that is to vote for the good of the city and not for the good of Dunkin Donuts. The only sensible answer is to deny the special permit.
As to the threat of legal action, the council, which would stand on solid legal ground in a denial, should be: “Go ahead. We’ll see you in court.”
Cafua attorney David Rich brought up a case in Saugus, in which the state Land Court reversed the denial of a drive-through there. Rich claims that case was similar to Pittsfield’s. He presented no compelling evidence to back up the claim, but it was enough to rattle councilors. They tabled the case until a public hearing on May 28. That’s an understandable move. It will allow the council to seek legal assistance, which should convince them that they have every right to deny the special permit.
The council, after all, is the deciding body. Giving it a vote up or down recognizes the validity of a down vote. The developers attorneys ignored that point, but take if from THE PLANET, councilors: You have every right, legal and otherwise, to deny this permit, which would only lead to a worsening of an already bad traffic condition in that area.
BEND OVER AND ASK FOR THE PETROLEUM JELLY, TAXPAYERS
Hang on to your wallets, my beleaguered friends and taxpayers in Pittsfield. Pittsfield deputy supt. of schools N. Tracy Crowe (50th cousin of J. Alfred Prufrock) and finance director Kristen Behnke were slated to present the school department’s FY14 budget request before their bobos on the Pittsfield school committee, a work of fiction that authorities will present as truth.
There are half the numbers of school kids in the Pittsfield district compared to a generation ago. Enrollment continues to drop, dipping below 6,000 for the first time in memory. Some 392 students opted through school choice to flee the dysfunctional district. Only 84 chose to come to Pittsfield. In addition, 106 students attend Berkshire Arts and Technology charter school. Nonetheless, despite the plunging numbers, there are three times the number of teachers and five times the number of administrators as there were 30 years ago, and don’t you know, the school department will come schlepping for more money for FY 14.
Noseworthy Accuses Kinnas of ‘Micromanaging’
In all of this, school committee member Terry Kinnas, who alone has championed common sense and reason when it comes to the schools, asked the school department for more updates on its plans during school committee meetings. Seems like a great idea, given the pulling-teeth nature of extracting information out of that secretive bunch. Naturally, interim supt. Gordon Noseworthy, a name you can’t make up, accused Kinnas of trying to “micromanage.” That’s a whole lot of gumption from a guy who’s not done much managing at all, except to collect a fat paycheck and keep a seat warm for the incoming super.
Here’s how the budget deliberations will shake out:
April 24, last night: The full budget was presented.
May 8: A “workshop” is slated for the budget. THE PLANET suggests that everyone brings band saws and other slashing equipment.
May 23: A public hearing on the budget. That’s when the apologists for the wasteful department will show up, in force, with “The Children” as human shields, and attempt to scare the committee into acquiescence. It’s worked every time in the past and it shall likely work this time.
June 12: By this date, the school committee will have approved the budget.
All the meetings as slated to begin at 6 p.m. in the library at PHS, except for June 12, which will be conducted in the Pittsfield council chambers at city hall.