PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013) — THE PLANET was the first to tell you that the city of Pittsfield would be blowing $1.3 million to “study” what to do about Taconic High School. Worse, the money will be borrowed, so tack on some hefty interest.

Amuso: ‘Exciting’ Process, to be Sure, but for Whom?

“This is really an exciting process we are venturing into,” thus spaketh Kathleen Amuso, the bee-hived cochair of the school building needs commission (SBNC).

Exciting? For what interests, precisely? For whom? Taxpayers? Don’t think so. Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski will come out of the study $1.3 million light.  “Exciting” for the architect and project manager, who will be splitting most of the money? Sure thing. They’re in for serious moolah, all to make a decision that Pittsfield’s body politic has been scared to make on its own.

This “process” the city is “venturing into” can be read as a bold confession that neither the school department, the school committee, the city council, the mayor, nor the SBNC possesses the confidence to make a “local” decision on the fate of THS. “Leadership” in the city has come to this forlorn state.

The expense of $1.3 million in borrowed money will not mortar one brick into place. It won’t put a drop of paint on one board. It won’t produce anything tangible. All it will produce is a voluminous study that will serve, after everyone ignores it, as a doorstop to the latrine in the corridor off council chambers. Why they would want to prop that door open is open to speculation. We have our thoughts, which we shall tastefully keep to our selves.

So Inspiring, It Produces Poetry!

THE PLANET wonders why Amuso would not want to spend $1.3 million on a study to see if the THS study is warranted, and perhaps another $1.3 million to see if that study makes sense. She has risen to the occasion so spectacularly, that we dedicate this poem to her:

She that is down needs do no study.

She that is low, no pride.

She that is wasteful won’t find a buddy

If she keeps taxpayer money as her guide.

THE PLANET is content with what we know,

Little be it or much: And boy,

Contentment still we crave, not studies, Amuso,

Because thou savest such.

Pretty good, eh?

We dedicate that verse to Ms. Amuso, whose championing of this project will put some mean cutter into the pockets of the study’s “designer” ($800,000), its project manager ($350,000), with $100,000 for environmental testing and $50,000 for “contingencies.” One would think a bottle of Dom, chilled, 1982, is in order to Amuso for sending such business their way. Incidentally, anticipating a sure-to-be-asked question, THE PLANET is not sure if another “free house” for a connected school department employee qualifies as a suitable “contingency.”

Krol Gets It Wrong

Ward 6 Councilor John Krol defended the $1.3 million cost: “Essentially, the state is telling us we have to go through this process to get to the point where we can make some real decisions.” My Right Honorable good Friend is wrong. The state has not told Pittsfield that. Krol’s interpretation, the same as Amuso’s and Mayor Dan Bianchi’s, twists state guidelines and communications to defer the heat from funding the study.

Krol knows that the state isn’t too pleased with the fence-sitting manner in which Pittsfield has handled the fate of THS. The state is only looking to light a fire under this bunch of top railers. If Amuso, Krol, Bianchi, and others had defined it goals for secondary education in the city, it would have had a basis for deciding on its own what to do about THS.

We repeat, the state is not requiring the city to borrow $1.3 million to blow on a study. To make that claim is to hide behind the skirts of the Commonwealth rather than act like a leader and decide this thing, here, locally, now.

Are they people or are they mice?

Squeak, squeak.



Pittsfield will have a farmer’s market this year, and that’s good news. Pittsfield will allow Downtown Pittsfield Inc. to sponsor a farmer’s market this year, and that’s not good news.

THE PLANET loves fresh produce, although we wonder why oh why would the market be held in the municipal parking lot bordered by Fenn Street and First Street? We can think many better locations (Wahconah Park, the Common, and Clapp Park, to name three). Our objection to the parking lot is weather related.

Apparently, Downtown Pittsfield Inc., which will subsidize the market (translate: “taxpayers”) doesn’t realize that:

(a) The market will do it main business in summer.

(b) Summer temperatures can get hot.

(c) The asphalt of a parking lot in summer acts as an oven, certain to bake more than a few cumquats.

(d) The use of public money to provide this market actually penalizes every other farmer with locally grown produce, who, if he or she wishes to sell in the city, faces the unfair subsidy.

Can’t the City Do Anything Right?

Can’t this city do anything right? The 2012 farmer’s market was a bust. That was also sponsored by downtown Pittsfield Inc. Pam Tobin, executive director of DPI, says this year will be different. How and why is a matter whose intricacies escape the humble minds here on THE PLANET. All we know is that Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski are funding the market’s sponsor, even though that sponsor failed last year. In Pittsfield, failure is rewarded. Failure, actually, is “success,” apparently, in some Orwellian manner that we cannot fathom.

Pittsfield’s Farmer’s Market, like most everything the city touches, has suffered from a bad case of the “slows.” It began in Parcel 3, years ago, with some success. It then moved to the Allendale Shopping Center, and last year, revived, flopped big time at Park Square.

The DPI farmer’s market, though, has already begun to “market” itself for the first edition, slated for May 11 in the morning. City arts commish Megan Whilden took the occasion of the announcement of the venture to dress in a carrot suit.  Mayor Bianchi will be on hand to throw out the first egg.


“Let not Death boast his conquering power, / She’ll rise a star that fell a flower.”Anonymous, epitaph for Eleanor Freeman, who died 1650, aged 21.





  1. Shakes His Head
    April 25, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Let them eat Carrot Cake!

  2. dusty
    April 26, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    The city is borrowing 1.3 million for this school study. I would love to know how much borrowed money the city is paying interest on and especially what financial institutions are benefiting from it.

    Perhaps Jlo might like to comment on this giving what banks and what amounts. tick tock tick tock

  3. Mr. X
    April 26, 2013 at 3:03 am #

    DV-The 400 g’s was mentioned at the council meeting and local talk radio. Why not put in their special permit that they hire a cop from 7-11 every am, cause you gotta pay a minimum 4 hours anyway.

  4. Still wondering
    April 26, 2013 at 5:09 am #

    Dan, you are wrong about the farmers market. Lots of people are looking forward to its opening and a parking lot means there will not be any mud. Also, the market will be done for the day during the warmest part of the summer days. Farmers markets are all over the county already. Is there something about life returning to downtown that upsets you?

    • Shakes His Head
      April 26, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      The location of the Farmer’s Market is not optimal to benefit any of the downtown merchants. Successful downtown economic development focuses on ‘add-on’ time for consumers in the central business district. If you are driving, parking, then leaving and driving again, you aren’t having lunch or visiting stores. The mall benefits from the market there because trips can be grouped. The physical distance and design from the host parking lot will not support more than people popping in and out. Now if the City were to partner with St. Joe’s for the space in front of the church, there would be a location where some downtown businesses would benefit from additional foot traffic.

      • Still wondering
        April 26, 2013 at 10:14 am #

        It makes you wonder if anyone pays attention to what goes on in this city. Here’s another one who doesn’t.

        • Shakes His Head
          April 29, 2013 at 8:17 am #

          I don’t pay attention because I live on North Street. Maybe if the City put a farmer’s market in your neighborhood you’d have an opportunity to provide input, because no one asked me my opinion when they decided to increase traffic in mine.

      • danvalenti
        April 28, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

        Excellent points.

  5. Downtown Dweller
    April 26, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    The farmers’ market was in a parking lot when it was at the Allendale Shopping Center and when it was up at the mall. Is there something about downtown parking lots that make this a more dire circumstance? Jus’ askin’.

    • Still wondering
      April 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      The one at the Mall is still there on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
      There would still be one at Allendale Shopping Center but the center was sold and the new owner did not see the value of it.

      The First Street location is a good one due to visibility from all the traffic going by on First Street and the easy availability of parking. (There’s plenty on Saturday mornings).

      • Downtown Dweller
        April 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

        I remember when the farmers’ market had to move from Allendale. I thought the owner of the property was being a bit short-sighted.

        I agree with you regarding visibility and parking. On a purely selfish level, I hope it’s successful there because it’s within walking distance for me. 🙂

        • danvalenti
          April 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

          Self- ishness is always a virtue.

    • danvalenti
      April 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      The sun is hotter when shining on downtown. The asphalt is hotter.

  6. njpgep
    April 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm #


    The farmer’s market is a welcome add to downtown, asphalt will not bother people during the early hours of the day and children will be thrilled to have parents buy them a King Kone at the end of their produce shopping.

    Also, why do you criticize a person’s appearance, Kathy Amuso does not have a teased beehive hairdo and this type of language is not necessary on your blog. Have respect for all of our committee members, they work hard for our city..join them or be considerate of them.

    • danvalenti
      April 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      Thank you for your comments.

  7. Scott
    April 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Farmers market is good but I could do with out involvement of the city and tax dollars can’t we do anything on our own anymore these days? If we don’t start networking food crops and sustainable energy for our own communities there is going to be real harsh times ahead.

    • dusty
      April 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

      the city brokers main reason for doing this probably had nothing to do with helping farmers…or their customers. Pittsfield political history suggests that there might be a large slice of pie in it for some connected entrepreneur.

      • danvalenti
        April 28, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

        That’s how soooo many things works in Pittsfield. Why not this one? The question you ask, dusty, is reasonable.

  8. joetaxpayer
    April 26, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    Bianchi is simply taking a page out of the Obama play book. Government handouts stimulates the entire area. Hopefully it reaps what it sows.

    • In the know
      April 26, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      Hey Joe are you by any chance a Republican ? Just wondering….

      • Scott
        April 26, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

        The ultimate insult! (To call one a republican.) I personly won’t get much use out of the farmers market unless the run through the winter but I wish all the farmers a prosperous season! Hey at least the mission to bring good whole food to the people of Pittsfield is one with good intentions.

      • joetaxpayer
        April 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

        No I am a independent and also not a fan of Bush. Just think Mr Oba!:ma has not given us hope or change. He fellowed a lot of Bushes policys

        • Scott
          April 27, 2013 at 5:05 am #

          Spot on Joe they are one and the same. It’s ignorant to call someone a republican because they question Obama policy.

  9. Dave
    April 26, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    Uh oh–isn’t this the oh so dangerous, busier than ever, accident waiting to happen, can’t have more traffic intersection that has all the politicians scared for the lives of our citizens?!?!?!? I guess vegetables are more cache than coffee.

  10. Giacometti
    April 26, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    So…now Downtown Pittsfield is taking over the Artwalk..the Tourist Information Booth..the Ethnic Fair and the Farmers Market…The problem here is that DPI has no idea what it is or what it’s job is and like it did with the Raptore / Art Show and Taste of the Berkshires it will fail…DPI just has no focus what it is suppose to do BECAUSE all of the downtown merchants they are suppose to serve want nothing to do with them…face it they are a
    waste of taxpayers dollars that the City should no longer support.

    • danvalenti
      April 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      You raise an excellent point. If DPI was doing such a blasted good job, then why do downtown merchants diss the organization so? Fact is, when your major constituency doesn’t trust you, no one else will. The DPI budget should be an AUTOMATIC cut from the muni FY14 spending plan.

  11. dusty
    April 27, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    The Pittsfield parasitic school system wants an addition 4.9% of the taxpayers money to feed the anaconda sized tapeworm that is its administration.

    Fortunately, the Lone Ranger has arrived on the scene in the form of Mayor Bianchi who wants to halve this percentile to spare the beleaguered taxpayer the total pillaging.

    I know some of you think that this is the same good cop, bad cop ploy used at every budget outbreak but this time I think the mayor really cares about us. And Barnum and Bailey really cared about the pocketbooks of the people who came to their circus.

    Is the mayor really Ruberto wearing a Bianchi mask?

    • danvalenti
      April 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

      The 4.9% request is another insult to taxpayers. The school department, once again, is asking citizens to reward failure.

  12. C. J.
    April 27, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    Super glue your shorts ! You flush with cash Pittsfield tax payer !!!!

    The Pittsfield P’s ( see earlier post) are beginning, ie; Pander to the municipal unions and bureaucrats, and Prepare for the inevitable tax increase without a pragmatic explanation of the necessity for said increase.

    Give incompetentence and malfeasance a self serving inch and they will fleece you for a mile….

    I hate to admit it but the Ruberto wearing a Bianchi comment is becoming more and more clear. Aren’t all of Ruberto’s dept. heads and political cronies, like North Adam’s Barrett still where Ruberto placed them ? Change ? The more you voted for change, the more things stayed the same.

    • Relax
      April 28, 2013 at 1:11 am #

      And you remain in Pittsfield why, exactly? To throw potshots at the local pols? If you could’ve moved to a better community, you would’ve. Face it, pal. Your rants amount to nothing. It’s just whining. Nothing has changed. Your life is an ineffectual as it’s ever been.

      • dusty
        April 28, 2013 at 2:05 am #

        How long have you been in Pittsfield Relax?

      • C. J.
        April 28, 2013 at 6:29 am #

        Relax = Topix mentality. First of all I ain’t your Pal. I was born and raised here. ” Ineffectual’ , big word from a unaccomplished drop-out. This is beyond your comprehension, but let’s meet face to face. Remember where Dave Southard met Joe Borden. That will do just fine. You want pot shots, you’ll get them.

        • Relax
          April 28, 2013 at 9:18 am #

          I’ve no idea who Dave Southard or Joe Borden are, but if you’d like to meet me, then be specific.

          • danvalenti
            April 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

            RELAX and CJ
            THE PLANET would be glad to referee.

    • danvalenti
      April 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

      So true about the Pittsfield Ps.

  13. Giacometti
    April 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    I can’t believe it …Jim Ruberto got an award from St. Joseph’s High School Friday night for being a man of great character and virtue…I’m starting to feel very sick…” To honor all …is to honor none “. …Shakespeare

  14. blind Justice
    April 28, 2013 at 2:52 am #

    Give us the strength, give us morals, and give us the wisdom –

    R. Robertson

    • danvalenti
      April 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

      Good words, BJ

    • blind Justice
      April 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

      Sorry DAN,

      Give us the strength, give us the wisdom, and give us the morals

      R. Robertson

      • blind Justice
        April 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

        Ring those bells………

      • danvalenti
        April 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

        Thanks, BJ. Still good words.

  15. tito
    April 28, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    ,,,,,,,,, give us a break,,,,,,

  16. tito
    April 28, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    ,,,,,,,,,,give us Valenti,,,,,for mayor,,,,,,,,

  17. Giacometti
    April 28, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    The work of DPI can be done better by the Cultural Development Office…thus saving $ 50,000 in the municipal budget…but will Peter Lafeyette allow that to happen as he runs both DPI and the Cultural Development Office…Whatever Lola wants… Lola gets !

  18. joetaxpayer
    April 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Wondering if anyone knows how Mr. Nose worthy came up with his numbers in the Gazette artical. He stated that Pittsfield spends $949 less per student than the state average. Would like to see a break down . Not saying he is a lair, but think he could be manipulating the numbers.