PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 17-19, 2013) — At its final meeting of this month, our Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council will in all likelihood decide the fate of the application by Cafua development company to purchase the Plunkett School site in Pittsfield, tear it down, and put in its place a new Dunkin Donuts store, complete with drive-through window — what THE PLANET has been calling the DD- DT.

More Donuts? Cool … the Market will Bear Them … It’s the DT that’s the Problem

There’s no issue with Cafua purchasing the site. The company using private capital. There’s no issue, fundamentally, with its desire to build a new DD. If the market will support another donut shop — and by looking at how many motorized wheelchairs and wide-body scooters toot the streets of Pittsfield, it appears one could not have too many fat-peddling snack shacks — good for Cafua. The issue is the drive-through, that is, the DT part of DD. The DD-DT requires the council’s supermajority approval, 8-3 or better, for a special permit to be granted. The issue has been heavily discussed, and, barring the unforeseen, will come to a vote on May 28.

The drive-through requires council ruling, and rightly so. Drive-throughs mess with traffic patterns, and the First and Fenn intersection is one of the most heavily traversed in Berkshire County. In addition, right around the corner stands the notorious Pittsfield Post Office parking lot, a sliver of land that simply cannot accommodate the traffic volume. That city regulations require a council up-or-down explicitly grants our Right Honorable Good Friends standing in the case. By virtue of this standing, Cafua will be hard pressed to win in its threatened lawsuit should the council reject the company’s application for the DT.

Fearless Predictions of the Outcome

At that council meeting, there will first be an open public hearing, at which time all interested and uninterested parties may speak. Following that, the council will vote. The drama comes from Cafua’s implied threat of legal action should the council not allow the DT.  The developer’s lawyers all but assured a lawsuit if seven or more councilors vote against the DT. THE PLANET says fine. Bring it on.

THE PLANET has a prediction on the outcome:

1. There’s no way the DT is going through. The council will turn down the DT. The council will cite the DT’s issues with the master plan and with neighborhood compatibility with respect to the city’s intended and more pedestrian-friendly goals for that section. Again, keep in mind the council has legal standing here. In effect, the law empowers it to act as judge and jury on the DT’s efficacy.

2. We don’t even see a close vote. In fact, we predict either 10-1 against or no worse than 9-2, with at large’s Barry Clairmont and possibly Ward 3’s Paul Capitanio voting to approve. Ultimately, we believe Cappy will make the vote 10-1.

3. This matter will go to court. Cafua’s introduction of case law and legal precedents in council chambers all but assures going the Perry Mason route.

4. It will be a protracted battle, but the city will prevail. The council has standing, and land-use case law will support the decision.

THE PLANET would urge all those who have a view on this to let the city council know. Again, the public hearing is May 28. Let THE PLANET know, too. That is also a way to let the council know how you feel.



Pittsfield wants to put in facilities for medical marijuana. THE PLANET wonders, “Why?”

The matter reeks with the sweet, smoky smell of hypocrisy. The “medical marijuana” tactic is the type of half measure that political fence sitters love. Its backers think it splits the difference between the insane policy of making pot illegal and what society should have done long ago, which is, of course, to legalize, regulate, and tax Mary Jane.

Plain and simple, for every legitimate medical use of pot, there will be a landslide of bogus prescriptions issued to folks who have but one intention: to get high.

Medical Mary Jane Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Marijuana has the beneficent effect of relieving the suffering caused by certain types of illness, but the fact of the matter is that most marijuana use falls into the “recreational” category, the same type of stress relief people seek in booze, though Mother Nature is much safer. It’s preposterous to think that dispensing marijuana will be limited to genuine illness. People will go to their doctors, claim pain suffering from things like the heartbreak of psoriasis and tennis elbow, get an Rx for pot, and let the good times roll. There will also be many who get prescriptions for legalized medical marijuana who will in turn sell the dope at many times street value to support their addictions to far worse substances or simply to make a profit.

To be clear, THE PLANET strongly favors the legalization of marijuana for everyone, not just for sick people. That is the way to go. If pot is legalized, those who wish to enjoy reefers will do so without fear of going criminal. Those who don’t wish to do so will continue to refrain. Legalization will have no marked effect on availability to minors, who already know how to get the stuff. In fact, if you were looking, today, to find a connection to buy pot for recreational use, all you have to do is ask the nearest 15-year-old.

Of the 50 states, 15 have allowed medical marijuana. The law makes it legal to consume, possess, or distribute marijuana for medical use. The law doesn’t go far enough. Marijuana is a wonderful plant, with incredible commercial potential. Its possession, consumption, and distribution should simply be another free market transaction for all who wish to engage.

Every American ought to be able to access the benefits of Mother Nature without having to resort to the black market.



He’s been under fire for his handling of the deadly attacks on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi. He presides over a Justice Department that secretly accessed phone records of AP reporters. He’s now scrambling to stay afloat amid reports that the IRS targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

He’s President Barack Obama. He’s had better weeks.

Our quick take?

The IRS (Internal Revenge Service) scandal; Obama Whiffs — When an agency with that much power and ability to look into the affairs of individuals and groups acts in a manner that’s anything but neutral and non-political, it’s a big deal. Obama just brushed aside calls for an independent investigator into the IRS scandal. The move begs the question: What’s there to hide?

Justice Department Spying on Journalists; Obama Whiffs — The First Amendment protects the press. It makes journalists free from political prosecution that in other countries would result in jail time or a visit to the nearest gulag. Moreover, shield laws protect reporters from outing sources. THE PLANET knows all about these things, having NEVER in our long career as a journalist — print, broadcast, and cyberspace — revealed a confidential source for any story. Obama’s justification of leaks pertaining to national security falls flat. This was the sort of thing that did in Richard Nixon.

Bengazi; Obama Scores — Obama’s political enemies have used this attack to hammer the president, after the fact. THE PLANET agrees with the President on the need to look ahead in this case. The dead are dead. What’s most important in light of the attack is bipartisan effort to protect U.S. diplomats around the world. Obama called on Congress to work with him “to increase security at embassies around the world.” Sure, this stance neatly passes the Bengazi ball to Congress’ court; nonetheless, it’s the right posture.


“Within a magic prison, / We reprimand the happiness / That too competes with heaven.”Emily Dickinson, from “Of God We Ask One Favor”






Share this post:

Share to Google Plus


  1. Blind Justice
    May 17, 2013 at 9:41 am #


    I can’t agree with you on Bengazi. State department/Hildebeast did little to protect the embassy when they knew of the threats. Then they went into coverup mode and concocted stories to cover up the incompetent behavior.

    Another Nixonesque moment for the Emperor with no clothes

  2. Roman Knows
    May 17, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    If purveyors of alcohol are watering holes, will purveyors of marijuana be pot holes?

  3. The Kraken
    May 17, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    If you are president are you required to have a scandal? Obama’s IRS and Justice Dept. spying, Bush’s Valerie Plame affair and lies about WMD, Cinton’s Monica Lewinski, Reagan’s Iran-Contra, Carter’s hostage crisis, Nixon’s Watergate. I’m sure I left out quite a few.
    The part that really troubles me is Obama’s ongoing claims that they hear about these things through the press – either it’s BS or they have serious communication issues in the administration. Not sure which is worse.

  4. SS
    May 17, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    Hope your predictions are right about the DT, Planet.

  5. Hurdygurdy Man
    May 17, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

    Dunkin Donuts wants a new facility. No one is stopping them. All they can’t do is put a drive thru window. Pittsfield has a right to decide for itself these kinds of things. Council andDV are right.

  6. ShirleyKnutz
    May 18, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Take your logic glasses off Dan, this is Pittsfield where what makes sense does not happen. The greenbacks will pave a new drive thru for DD, Mr. Donut will move into the old DD and will will make first st a parking lot for the new park called the Common! Commenting on Mary Jane I believe people with that much pain and using Marijuana should have their driver’s license suspended, because obviously they will be distracted by all the donut shops!

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

      Yes. The plethora of donut shops threatens to become a social evil, a scourge to all decent men, women, and children. Oh, the humanity!

  7. FPR
    May 18, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    How about legalizing marijuana and turning Plunkett school into a drive thru pot dispensary?

    Shut down the post office and just use Fed Ex or UPS and email.

    There are no problems……. only solutions.

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      When I become mayor, I will appoint you Minister of Propaganda.

  8. Dave
    May 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Dan, your statement that Pittsfield wants a medical marijuana dispensary is inaccurate. The voters of MA. spoke and legalized pot for medical purposes. It is not a question if Pittsfield wants one, they cannot ban one and the administration is doing the right thing by creating certain zoning restrictions beforehand, rather than going through another “over my dead body” scenario. If history is any indication, Pittsfield will only “want” one if it is non-profit and sucking more life out of every taxpayer. Should a for profit, totally self reliant company apply for a dispensary, I’m totally confident Pittsfield will do everything in its power to make sure it doesn’t succeed!

    • Scott
      May 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Good one Dave!

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      Strictly speaking, Pittsfield could indeed keep a medical marijuana facility out of the city via the home rule process. I would not advise that it do so. The mayor’s creation of zoning restrictions is also unnecessary, since it implies that pot is in the same category as other substances (such as methadone) that need to be controlled. My problem is with the hypocrisy of society and whatever forces are keeping pot illegal “allowing” pot for medical purposes. If it is THAT beneficent, let it be for everyone, legally.

      • Shakes His Head
        May 20, 2013 at 6:59 am #

        The mayor is not the authority deciding zoning restrictions. that is a legislative task.

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      May 20, 2013 at 5:20 am #

      Dispensaries in MA as written into law must be non profit

  9. Giacometti
    May 18, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Coffee is a very important part of the daily routine of most Americans. But Americans are not aware why Dunkin Donuts coffee taste different and is thus more appealing, First the coffee itself is a highly specialized Arabica type of coffee and there is an
    added ingredient that makes their coffee smoother and thus much
    more addictive. That added ingredient is chicory.

    • B
      May 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

      They use light cream not half and half like most places. Use light cream in your coffee at home and you will see the difference.

  10. Tom Sakshaug
    May 19, 2013 at 5:28 am #

    I have a feeling that the medical marijuana zoning issue will be moot in 2 to 6 years when voters legalize pot in Massachusetts. Those setting up dispensaries in the meantime will be financially hammered when that happens. Therefore I doubt that any for-profit entities will set up a dispensary.
    Meanwhile, unless there has been a change, the rules will allow a prescription for 10 ounces of I assume high-grade pot for 60 days. An oz every 6 days…If the recipients don’t sell some to someone else they will be fairly non-functional pounding weed at that rate!
    If the silly 1000-foot exclusion zone (I think) from houses of worship for these dispensaries is dropped (what about the Rastafarians?) and the silly on-site growing requirement is retained, Plunkett school with its leaky roof would be a great place for such a dispensary. Grow it on the top floor, sell it at the drive-thru along with the donuts to take care of the munchies. Not my idea, a certain Councilor gave me that one, as a joke of course, and I see FPR has the same thought.

    • Hilly Billy 2 in Ward 4
      May 20, 2013 at 5:22 am #

      again , Dispensaries in MA as written into law must be non profit

      • Tom Sakshaug
        May 20, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

        Yes, I was educated on that after I made my comment. Also no house of worship exclusion. The school exclusion is 500 feet.

        • danvalenti
          May 20, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

          THE PLANET thanks TOM S for two things: (1) His posts, which never fail to advance the discussion and (2) Using his own name.

          • Tom Sakshaug
            May 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm #


          • danvalenti
            May 22, 2013 at 7:48 am #

            Not at all. You deserve every drop.

  11. Scott
    May 19, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    Hemp as a commodity would destroy other industries and put some folks out of work which is why the paper industry started a propaganda campaign a long time ago to outlaw hemp. The hemp plant that is used to make clothing and other products is different from the Marijuana plant cannabis sativa that produces buds people and animals consume for the euphoric feeling they get. Hemp is also a super food and is high in omega fatty acids. Most of the legally sold hemp is grown in Asia so I’m good with it as a nutritional supplement until the gov’t allows me to grow my own or by regulated USDA approved and certified organic. While I’m on the subject I went to the farmers market yesterday and bought a bunch of wonderful vegetable plants dirt cheap. I hope the movement towards nutritious local produced small farm non GMO food grown the way nature intended continues to build momentum as well as encouraging people to grow their own food. Even when it comes to meat products I support small farms that treat their animals ethically and humanly. A quick google search for big corporate large scale meat producers and their unsavory meat production practices will leave the most carnivorous of us debating a vegetarian diet. Did you know KFC isn’t even classified as actual meat anymore? Why anyone would eat that is beyond me. I’d also like to plug REAL PICKLES in Greenfield Ma, they supply lacto fermented organic vegetables and you can buy factory direct. Lacto fermented food contains billions of beneficial bacteria and is essential to digestion health.

    • FPR
      May 19, 2013 at 6:41 am #


      Excellent comment. I agree wholeheartedly.

      There is a new app out now call “buycott”.
      Its available for Android and IPhone smartphones.
      Still sort of in the beta stage but hopefully will gain momentum.

      What it does is when you are at the grocery store, you snap a picture of the bar code for the foodstuff you are buying. It goes on the internet and brings you back the results of whether or not the product contains GMO.

      If enough people use this, one of two things will happen.
      1) They will stop selling GMO poisoned food.
      2) They will just lie to you or not tell you GMO is in it.

      Here is some more information:

      • Scott
        May 19, 2013 at 8:23 am #

        When we go to the grocery store we usually swipe our card with the belief that it gives us savings but the reality of the situation is that it is simply a means for the store to track what you purchase. If you choose not to participate you pay a higher price provided you can’t get the cashier to swipe their card or someone behind you in line. They know what we’re buying so vote with your dollars. I try to only buy either certified organic or products that state they are non GMO. Everything else I buy local where I can talk to the person who is responsible for harvesting it and I grow a lot of stuff in the summer right in my yard. I have fresh herbs pretty much all year and a good five months of lettuce, tomatoes and other things. This year I’m ahead of the game by starting things myself from seed and getting all that good stuff at the farmers market yesterday.

  12. Pat
    May 19, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    I am totally against legalization of pot. If people started treating it as though they were smoking a cigarette, can you imagine the consequences on society. Would you want your surgeon using pot right before the operation? Or how about your dentist coming at you with the drill while he is stoned on pot? Or maybe the air traffic controllers also stoned while they are trying to prevent planes from smashing into each other.

    No, people, treating pot this casually would be the undoing of society as we know it. Putting the idea out there that getting stoned is as normal as brushing your teeth and so beneficial is not the way to go.

    Obama was wrong on all 3 issues this week as far as I am concerned. If we don’t figure out why Bengazi happened, it will happen again. Will there be extra high alerts on the next 9/11 at embassies as there should have been this past 9/11, but which were not because the Obama administration let down its guard and became much too casual about terror attacks.

    • FPR
      May 19, 2013 at 7:34 am #

      Well, drinking is legal. I would hope that even an alcoholic surgeon is professional enough not to get sloshed before performing an operation.

      On his own time, I have no problem with him smoking a bone.

      An alcoholic dentist should have at least some professionalism to his practice.

      Air traffic controllers, well didn’t Ronald Reagan fire them all because they wanted a raise?

      • Scott
        May 19, 2013 at 8:18 am #

        You may want them to have that drink to stop them from shaking…

    • Scott
      May 19, 2013 at 8:16 am #

      Legalization of marijuana/hemp will hardly increase medical professional usage. How about we engage in a discussion on the wide use of pharmaceutical grade readily available narcotics medical professionals are most likely using legally or otherwise? Chances are you have already been treated by a MD or DMD high on something. You’re over thinking the legalization of something that nature gave us as a gift regardless of personal opinion on recreational drug use hemp should be used there are rumors it can even be used as a fuel.

      • Tom Sakshaug
        May 19, 2013 at 10:31 am #

        All the federal and state governments have to do is regulate pot the same way they regulate alcohol. No responsible surgeon, dentist, air traffic controller, or pilot would use it prior to work. It would result in the forfeit of his or her professional license if caught, and it would not be difficult to catch such a person. Many physicians, dentists, etc. drink alcohol but few do so in a way that impair their judgement.

    • Mike Ward
      May 19, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      You’re right, Pat — pot shouldn’t be treated like cigarettes. It should be regulated like alcohol.

    • Hurdygurdy Man
      May 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

      What you dont realize Pat is that if there are professionals (doctors, dentists airline pilots etc) who are unprofessional enough as you suggest, they are already getting high, or drinking to excess. Marijuana is available to everyone, anywhere, if you want it all you have to do is buy it. So your point doesn’t hold up. Legalizing pot will take away all the black market $$.

      • Tom Sakshaug
        May 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm #


        • Varsity mom
          May 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

          And Mexican drug cartels stand to lose BILLIONS in profits if pot becomes legal. Either way, if someone wants to get high, they will get high.

    • B
      May 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

      I understand they have legal marijuana in capsule form that does not get you high but regulates your pain, If this is the case this is what they should be selling in prescription form and it should be in the drugstores and there’s no sense of even having dispensaries.

      • danvalenti
        May 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

        I haven’t heard of that form of marijuana, but assuming it exists, why deny people of the experience of the “high?” Is it so wrong for people to have an outlet from the pressures of this veil of tears?

        • B
          May 20, 2013 at 10:05 am #

          I’m in pain most of the time and would love to find something that works that does not get me high.

          • Scott
            May 21, 2013 at 3:37 am #

            There is a farm in NH called Misty meadows look it up they may have something for you B.