WE HAD IT FIRST: PITTSFIELD WILL SPEND $1.3 MILLION TO ‘STUDY’ TACONIC HS PLAN … MONEY WILL NOT MORTAR ONE BRICK … HUGE EXPENSE COMES ONLY BECAUSE AMUSO-LED SBNC HAS FAILED THE COMMUNITY … plus … CITY TO HOLD FARMER’S MARKET ON BOILING, BROILING ASPHALT OF MUNI PARKING LOT
By DAN VALENTI
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?
PITTSFIELD TO HOLD FARMER’S MARKET ON THE BURNING ASPHALT
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.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.