PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013) — Don’t tell anyone you heard it here, but THE PLANET has learned that the Crane Warehouse, which we discussed last week, will not — repeat not — be demolished.

Reliable sources tell us that an agreement is in the works between the city council and Jim Scalise that would result in the building being retrofitted for development and re-use. We also learned that there may be another building built on the property to increase the site’s use and adaptability to various potential uses, but the main building, the historic warehouse, is staying put. That’s good news. True, the building doesn’t rival other long-gone Pittsfield landmarks in aesthetics and historicity, but it has undeniable character and charm that would not be matched by a new structure.

History Preserved for the Future

The Care Warehouse will not be razed.

As you recall, we put the spotlight on this building last week. Not many people were pleased with the proposed demolition, as it turned out. Enough people conveyed their sentiments to the parties involved, and guess what: You helped them see the light. This demonstrates that when enough people mobilize, they can affect positive change in local government.

THE PLANET also commends Scalise for realizing the mistake he had made. He proved big enough to admit it. That’s a good man.

THE PLANET will have more details as this story progresses, but chalk this up as a small win for The Little Guy. Together, we managed to exert enough pressure to get a change for the positive. In public life these days, especially in the city of Pittsfield — where the decks are perpetually stacked against Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski — there are no such things as “small” victories.

Now, if only the parties involved can see the wisdom of not razing the historic former Plunkett School in favor of a donut shop. The old school is a fabulous building, and the city will ultimately regret tearing it down. The equivalent here is the Palace Theater on North Street. The city foolishly torn it down to City Savings Bank could have more parking. Soon after, the bank moved across the street. The parking lot became superfluous, ironic because of the horrible parking situation downtown. Today, that lot is for sale. Asking price: $399,000.

It would be the perfect Pittsfield joke, of course, should that fatuous action — the demolition of Plunkett School — come about. It would also serve as an apt metaphor for the present priorities of this once-great and now wayward city. Finally, what message does it send to others who may be entertaining a move here, that the business and real estate markets of the city find it preferable to tear down this lovely structure and put up in its place a donut shop.



EDITOR’S NOTE — In response to yesterday’s item about alleged nepotism in the hiring of Patrick Walsh as facilities manager of the Pittsfield courthouses, we received this letter. Walsh, 25, is the son of John Walsh, District Court’s chief probation officer. Walsh was hired over Mike Dascani, long-time maintenance man at the court and, for the past six years, acting facilities manager.

—– 00 —–

‘Mike Dascani is a Man with Integrity’


Michael Dascani is a man with integrity.  He stepped up to help the Trial Court when it was needed and after a few years of asking for an upgrade to at least a supervisor, Mike was he told on several occasion to look at the big picture.  He continued to do the facilities manager job  for the pay of his senior maintenance tech.  All the responsibilities and none of the benefits, that is, pay or up grade.

So for the last six years, Michael did this job, like he does everything, with passion and dedication.  He would go on weekends during the winter months and make sure that the old boilers were on and running so the buildings didn’t get cold and pipes freeze.   He took care of the buildings as though they were his responsibility and wanted to have as little down as possible during the winter months. 

He did the best he could to try and make everyone on the complex comfortable, but you cant please that many different personalities.  Michael cared about the buildings and what was going on in them and took good care of the old systems that there. He was, in my opinion the best candidate for the job. — Courthouse Katie

—– 00 —–

THE PLANET thanks Courthouse Katie for her letter. Another comment on Dascani came in yesterday from a courthouse source who calls herself “Patty” [See yesterday’s comments section; THE PLANET published an edited version of her letter]. Patty made the point that “many complaints” have been filed against Dascani, and speculates that those complaints are probably why he was bypassed in favor of Patrick Walsh. Patty did not say who made these charges, why they made the charges, when they made the charges, or to whom they made the charges. If she wishes to share specific information, we are open the hearing it, but she most come forward openly to us, as did our other sources for this story.



For the soon-to-be-heard Pittsfield School Department fiscal lamentations that the $90 million+  it presently receives from bedraggled taxpayers is not nearly enough, we present the following clip.

Come budget time, you can be sure the school department administration and teachers union will make its emotional, “oh, woe is us” case to the city council, the school committee, and the mayor by citing “The Children.”


And once again, in all likelihood, the jellied politicians will cave, this being an election year. Of course, this being an election year, if somehow we could rouse a gigantic turnout at the polls, the move would backfire, because the majority of citizens know the truth: That the school department is an obese cash cow; that it wastes an egregious amount of money, if we define “waste” as a bad return on investment; and that it operates pretty much free of accountability on the local level.

Is it “for The Children?” Take a look and listen.

This is a hilarious clip of comedian George Carlin, telling us about the recent, bizarre phenomenon known as “child worship.” Enjoy.

George Carlin -Child Worship

This explains it all, doesn’t it? THE PLANET wonders if ever we shall ever see the day when we put kids into proper perspective, at least until they turn 18, when they will be well equipped to provide a good life for themselves, since they are, at that age, invulnerable and know everything.



LARRY “What A Great Job I’m Doing” KRATKA

‘That’s unbelievable.” So Larry Kratka is quoted about the great job he’s doing at WTBR. The article can be read in full in the April 4 edition of The Berkshire Beacon.
No, Larry, the job you are doing is not “unbelievable.” The manner in which you have turned the once-proud WUPE/WUHN News into the Vox Snooze, is, however, “unbelievable.” You have abandoned your principles and have forgotten that you are a member of The Fourth Estate. You need to be out there covering stories and also uncovering them rather than wasting time sucking up to the Local Rah Rahs. THE PLANET realizes the immense pressure on you as a Vox mouthpiece, but we all make our choices. You have it in you to do good work. Now more than ever, this area needs a vigilant media. Step up. Answer the charge. THE PLANET cannot do it alone.
When you begin to actually and aggressively cover the news, break stories, and do more than read press releases and puff pieces, then you can talk about WTBR.
O could I fly, I’d fly with thee! / We’d make, with joyful wing, / Our annual visit o’er the globe, / Companions of the Spring.Michael Bruce


  1. in the know
    April 12, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Meow! Dan has his claws out for Kratka ! I think Dan is a bit jealous of him….. Just saying…

    • Scott
      April 12, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      And yours are out for Dan…

    • danvalenti
      April 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

      “I think …” True, and your thought is off base. We are simply pointing out that LK has lost his get-up and go, journalistically. Larry probably needs WTBR to help him keep what is left of his morale after the going over he and the others at Vox received from cost-out corporate.

  2. Dave
    April 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    The city lost it’s say in the fate of Plunkett School when they sold it years ago to a private entity. Sure they can play their games and make it impossible for the owners of the property to succeed, but what good will that do? The “donut shop” is a pretty successful franchise, but hey I guess it just doesn’t live up to our high standards.

    • danvalenti
      April 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

      Yes, and the private sector can do what it wishes, as long as it conforms to zoning. The drive-up window would need a special permit. The council would be well advised to refuse this permit. Can you imagine the traffic at First and Fenn. Take the current logjam from the post office and times it by a factor of (to pick a number) 10. The council can stop this mess and madness by refusing the permit.

      • dusty
        April 13, 2013 at 2:27 am #

        and can you imagine the traffic nightmare coming from the Crane warehouse side of the Hubbard Ave intersection? It seems insane to me. Why would anyone in their right mind allow more cars to come into an already contentious intersection from another direction? It almost seems like the city goes out of its way to impede any fluid traffic flow in Pittsfield.

        • Still wondering
          April 13, 2013 at 7:40 am #

          Actually, there is a traffic light at the corner of Danton Ave and Hubbard ave which also has an outlet into the parking lot that serves the trailhead that goes to the Cobble. The parking lot can serve whatever is at the warehouse.

          • dusty
            April 13, 2013 at 8:14 am #

            I am aware of that. I am also aware that many cars continue through the intersection from all angles for a few seconds after their light has gone red. I feel it just greatly increases the odds of people getting hurt. It also means the wait time will be increased from all other directions.

        • joetaxpayer
          April 14, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

          Dusty, Agree they must come up with solutions to the Cotsville traffic. Still a lot a land on Hubbard Ave. that will get developed. Hope they revisit the Downing park connector road. This would eliminate a lot of the truck traffic.

          • danvalenti
            April 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

            Good points, Joe.

    • Rick
      April 17, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      How can you put a Drunkin Donuts next to a church?

  3. Scott
    April 13, 2013 at 6:24 am #

    Anyone notice the right hand turn heading north on south street onto east housatonic is way narrow or is it just me? Didn’t we just spend a fortune making that area better?

  4. Rivetor
    April 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    DV fair comment on Mr. Kratka. As a former (stress former) listener of WUPE everything you say is accurate. Sadly I can’t listen to your former sation WBRK too stale and too fluffy especially what passes for “talk” radio. Dreadful.

  5. tito
    April 13, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    Yeah, she sounds like a growling woodpecker.

    • danvalenti
      April 13, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      The Diva, you mean?!

  6. GMHeller
    April 14, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    In re: The Mount’s Plan to have the taxpayers of the Town of Lenox buy the property and spend taxpayer dollars to maintain it.

    How wonderful!
    Why shouldn’t Lenox taxpayers be on the hook for literally millions of dollars of expenses to maintain The Mount in perpetuity.
    That’s real smart.
    The Mount needs a new roof? (And of course as a town property it would have to be installed at prevailing union wages)
    3 Million bucks?
    No problema, charge it to Lenox taxpayers!
    Better yet, charge most of it to Lenox summer residents who will be the real source paying for all this folly because as we all know summer residents are not allowed to vote in local elections on how Town monies (summer residents’ real estate tax dollars) get spent.
    At least this proves one thing: There IS a sucker born every minute.
    Edith Wharton didn’t coin that phrase, but wouldn’t she be proud!

  7. GMHeller
    April 14, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    And the beautiful gardens of The Mount will now have to be maintained by a full-time staff of gardeners who are paid prevailing union wage scale and who will no doubt have the right to enroll in the Town’s health and pension plan including full medical and dental coverage.
    Where do I sign up for this gravy train?

    • in the know
      April 14, 2013 at 11:11 am #

      Heller you got your gravy when you gauged the people of Boston with your gas prices!

      • GMHeller
        April 14, 2013 at 11:41 am #

        Praxis33, how nice to hear that you are now out and about the streets of North Adams where the observant photographer with a cellphone may now catch you wheeling about on your Medicare Scooter and perhaps win the $450 Grand Prize in the ‘Photograph Praxis33 — Win Money!’ Contest (which despite your continuing efforts on Topix to delete threads is still very much an ongoing contest to unmask and expose you).
        Send all entries and inquiries to editor @ berkshirerecord .com.

  8. Scott
    April 14, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Oh Jesus… Dan, code red alert topix contamination spill clean up required asap!

    • GMHeller
      April 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      Leave it to Praxis33 to open his big yap.

    • Relax
      April 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      Precisely, Scott. This Heller fellow is a menace.

      • GMHeller
        April 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

        There’s a Topix thread which claims that ‘Relax’ is Praxis33, who as you all may recall is the troll who posed as a Greylock Federal Credit Union manager and played a hoax on Valenti.

        • Relax
          April 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

          Topix is a cesspool of nonsense and hatred. I’ve never posted there. And, what does the Mount’s plan have to do with the subject matter of Dan’s article? Nothing. Please hew to the issues.

          • danvalenti
            April 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

            The Mount, and the foolish proposed deal that it wants to hang on Lenox taxpayers, will be a subject for us next week. Heller’s comment has nothing to do with that is posted here, but it can serve as an appetizer to our discussion to come.

  9. Scott
    April 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Dan, I screen topix occasionally to see what the creepy crawlies are saying. It appears you have been a subject of interest lately.

    • GMHeller
      April 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

      That’s no doubt Praxis33 in one of his various screen guises dissing Valenti.
      Praxis33 is plainly envious of the online respect Valenti gets and which no one gives Praxis33 online or in real life.
      Fact is Praxis33’s only claim to real fame now is the $450 Grand Prize being offered to unmask and expose him.
      It’s hard to find anyone in North Adams who is not aware of the ‘Photograph Praxis33 – Win Money!’ Contest.

      • FPR
        April 14, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

        Mr. Heller,

        It is my firm belief that this “Relax” possibly also “In the Know” is the same person you seek in your libel lawsuit.

        I have expressed to Dan that I wish to bow out at this present time from this dangerous troll.

        He is insidious. He in fact gets into people’s personal affairs as he has yours. His goal is to inflict damage in the personal life of others as he must not have one.

        He is the same person that deceived both you and Dan, pretending to be a member of the Greylock Credit Union.

        He claims to be an intellectual, trying really hard to put himself on the same level as Dan.

        I wish you success in bringing him to justice. I will truly make this my last post here unless I see the need to post again.

        Just felt a need to make this clear to all readers here.

        • danvalenti
          April 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

          And we warn all posters that THE PLANET shall not tolerate any sort of Topix slime. Thanks, FPR. We do hope you remain a part of this site. Your comments have been enjoyed and respected by the vast majority of our readers.

          • FPR
            April 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

            Thanks Dan. I shall continue to at least read your column every day. No one else is doing what you are doing. I commend you for your excellence in bringing out the truth in what will always be my hometown.