PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013) — THE PLANET hopes you had a nice Memorial Day weekend. We did, thanks, spent with friends in New York. We even checked out a 1970 VW bug, which may at sone point soon become the PLANETMOBILE. We also have our eye on a ’58 Willys Jeep.

Memorial Day ends, but the eternal recurrence of heroic sacrifice endures. THE PLANET salutes all veterans at the same time we denounce war.

To that end, THE PLANET received this Letter to the Editor from State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli:

Name: Smitty Pignatelli


Comments: Subject: Disappointed in MIAA

What Happened to Remembering our Military Heroes on Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is the day to remember the men and women who bravely served our country and gave their lives so we can enjoy the freedom that is cherished by all Americans.  I want share my disappoint me with you ~ families are forced to be split up on Memorial Day because of the Western MA High School Track meet which was postponed from Saturday, May 25th and rescheduled to Monday, May 27th ~ Memorial Day!

While I appreciate the concern with the bad weather predicted on Saturday – I am upset that the Western MA track and field organizers chose Memorial Day –  the one day that our country should come to together to honor those who laid their lives down for our freedoms. Memorial day is important day in my family – it’s a day to stop and recognize, appreciate and honor these people who don’t often get remembered and saluted the way they deserve.

We need to be teaching our High School students to value the ultimate sacrifice that people – just a little older than them – have made and continue to make for us.  People in the Berkshires don’t have to look too far to learn of the sacrifices that too many of it’s citizens have made serving our country.

In the past two weeks – the Berkshire have buried a 24 and a 28 year old who were killed in the prime of their lives serving us over seas.  I will always think about these two young people – Edward Passetto from Lenoxdale and Mitchell Daehling from Dalton-  especially on Memorial Day.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t remember what the Coakley family of Lenox went through when they learned that their brother was shot down over Vietnam and considered MIA for over 23 years and just 2 months ago, again, when they buried their 23 year old grandson killed in service to his country.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the bravery of  John Fuore, from a long time Lenox family, who having already served during WWII re-enlisted during the Korean Conflict and on Valentines Day 1951 was killed in action.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about a young man from Lenox, killed in war at the age of 19, my father’s best friend who he loved so much that he named his first son after him, William Smith otherwise know as “Smitty”.

I hope in the future that the adults that organize sporting events will take pause and remember why this day is so special and should be remembered for what it really means.

William Smith “Smitty” Pignatelli

State Representative

4th Berkshire District



THE PLANET agrees with our Right honorable Good Friend from the Southern Berkshire District.

—– 00 —–


THE PLANET also heard from another representative of We The People, Pittsfield school committeewoman Kathy Yon, who added to the record on her comments regarding “Smartgate” and the misuse of personal “smart” devices by high school and middle school students.

Yon writes:

Inappropriate  use of technology should not be tolerated.  Policy STU-38 supports that position.  The Policy Subcommittee may need to investigate whether the  policy is being enforced and/or whether it needs to be tightened up.

THE PLANET thanks the gentlewoman for her comments. We are heartened by the fact that our expose of Smartgate has put this issue closer to the front burner and that a majority of school committee members are on the record of addressing this abuse. We hope this sentiment gets translated into action. You’ll also recall that none of the Gang of Four in the School Department administration — Gordon Noseworthy, N. Tracy Crowe, Kristen Behnke, and Frank Cote — bothered to respond to our queries on behalf of the public. That’s $450,000 in salary, just doing nothing.

On the other hand, six of seven school committee members responded. THE PLANET thanks them. Let it be known that Dan Bianchi, who also happens to be Pittsfield mayor, chose not to favor us with a reply. He must have had more pressing business. Gee, was there another fourth grade science fair being held lately?



Historic Springside House to Open for One Day Only Exhibit at Get Outdoors @ Springside 

Springside House will be open to the public for the first time in six years for a one time only, exclusive look at historic materials from the City of Pittsfield’s own archives as part of the parkwide festivities for Get Outdoors at Springside from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 8, 2013.


In “Open Spaces: A century in Pittsfield’s parks and recreational life,” visitors will be able to view artifacts and images spanning a lifetime’s worth of outdoor recreation, local athletics, and park management.  Trophies and plaques representing six decades of championships and local competitions will be featured, as well as collections of memorabilia from teams, clubs, and beloved park activities, such as programs and buttons spanning the entire 65+ year history of the Winter Carnival.

The exhibit will feature vintage DPR uniforms and equipment, open space maps and planning documents, century old Parks Commission minutes, and even mid- century antiques from the days when local Civil Defense was headquarted in the Springside House.

Open Spaces will include photographs, many never before seen by the public, charting the powerful and fundamental role that outdoor activities have played  in the life of the community.  Many of the photos were taken by William Plouffe, a longtime former Berkshire Eagle photographer and former president of the Berkshire Museum Camera Club.

The one-time gallery showing of this collection was the result of an inter-organizational effort as part of the city’s co-sponsorship of the all day event celebrating National Get Outdoors Day.  It is co-curated by James McGrath, parks director for the City of Pittsfield; Joe Durwin, archivist for the Friends of Springside Park, and Karin Gradziel, an intern volunteer for the Vincent J. Hebert Arboretum.


“No voice in the chambers, / No sound in the hall! / Sleep and oblivion / Reign over all!”Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from “Curfew”





  1. tito
    May 28, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    Tonight we receive another tax increase from our city fathers, it’s only a few bucks they tell us. Do you think taxpayers losing homes care about the Future of the Springside House?

    • dusty
      May 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

      The next time you drive by the school administration building on 1st street check out the large sign they have designating the business. I hope that was made at the Taconic carpentry shop but if not it must have cost a small fortune because those things are super expensive. By comparison check out the Crosby sign in front of that school.

      Any chance anyone on the school committee could track the origin of that sign? I don’t imagine they keep records of such stuff.

      • danvalenti
        May 28, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

        An interesting speculation. The sign is all that you say. The Big Whigs at Mercer, though, are careful to keep the cream-colored trim in shabby and chipped disrepair, so as to masquerade as a “needy” district (TRANSLATE: The Big Whigs need their raises).

      • Wilson
        May 28, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

        The city is spending $40,000 for yet another series of banners. Money isn’t real to these people unless it is 7 figures, i.e. union-approved expenditures, which are considered critical and non-negotiable.

    • Mike Ward
      May 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

      Tito, I’m sure it’s cold comfort to anyone actually losing their home but Pittsfield has one of the lowest tax bills in the state. At $2,795 we are ranked 271 out of 312 towns in terms of average single family home tax bill (see article below).
      I’m not aware of a “value” comparison of MA towns but we should compile it ourselves because I think you will find that most of the towns that are cheaper than us also have far fewer services. What’s a two minute fire department response time worth when you have a medical emergency?
      So while we can always do better by taxpayers I think we need to start that conversation with the understanding that Pittsfield is a pretty good deal.

      • danvalenti
        May 28, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

        Thanks for the link.
        Your argument, about the “low” tax rate for homeowners in Pittsfield, does not stand up when the rate is compared with the many indices of local “wealth” or financial well-being. Pittsfield, with one of the lowest per-capita incomes, a shrinking tax base, a declining population, and a decided lack of discretionary funds, has an actual tax rate — measured by the ability to pay — that is among the highest (if not THE highest) in the state.

        • Mike Ward
          May 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

 defines the word bargain as “an advantageous purchase, especially one acquired at less than the usual cost”. Ability to pay is not part of the definition, but for those of modest means Pittsfield is among the most affordable places in the state.

      • In the know
        May 28, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

        Mike great reply. These clowns would bitch if their tax rate was 1 cent per thousand. But don’t plow their road look out !

      • dusty
        May 29, 2013 at 1:53 am #

        Mike, is Spice still getting their tax breaks? How many years now? Did they ever fulfill their end of the bargain? How do you feel about this rip off?

        • In the know
          May 29, 2013 at 5:31 am #

          NEWS FLASH! Spice building sold to Teirney going to be high end hotel! Red Lion Inn involved with project!

          • Still wondering
            May 29, 2013 at 5:41 am #

            ITK, yes I heard that too.

    • danvalenti
      May 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

      LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: Assume the position!

  2. Still wondering
    May 28, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    We do indeed care about Springside House!

  3. joetaxpayer
    May 28, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    Let the inmates at Cheshire rd. country club care for it. Tito it is “only a drop in the bucket”. Problem is no drops are being taken out of the bucket.

  4. tito
    May 28, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    ,,,,,,,,,,and you’re losing your home, S w?,,,,,,,,,

  5. Jonathan Melle
    May 28, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Smitty PIGnatelli is not a man of the people. When I asked him to sign my nomination papers in 2004, he refused. He ran for political office on his father’s name. He is a case study for top-down politics of the banal. He is a career politician who is part of the infamous Good Old Boy network.

  6. Joe Blow
    May 28, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    I don’t care for Smitty but he’s not obligated to sign your papers.

    • Jonathan Melle
      May 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      The following politicians refused to sign my nomination papers:
      * Peter Larkin
      * Daniel Bosley
      * Carmen Massimiano
      * Shitty PIGnatelli

      Larkin, Bosley, & PIGnatelli were all elected leaders to Beacon Hill at the time (2004). Carmen Massimiano was the Sheriff. Carmen is close friends to Andrea Nuciforo, who is my enemy #1.

      They were making a statement that they are part of the Good Old Boy network and would not support an outsider to represent the people of Berkshire County.

      • Joe Blow
        May 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

        If you had the support of the people you wouldn’t have needed their signatures.

      • Rick
        May 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

        These people aren’t high on my list of favorites either, but they all came up a notch by not signing your papers…….

  7. Magic
    May 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    Mr. Melle, even if they were not elected leaders to Beacon Hill at the time. They still wouldn’t have signed you nomination papers. And if you were as good as you think you are you wouldn’t have needed them.

    • Jonathan Melle
      May 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

      The problem with Pittsfield politics is it is an insider’s game. You have to be inter-related to a low gene pool, multi-generational local family to get elected to political office. see my post by “Eric”, below.

  8. Jonathan Melle
    May 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    A post by “Eric”, on August 22, 2008:

    “The problem with local politics isn’t partisanship. We have a mayor [Jimmy Ruberto] whose brother was DA [the late-Anthony Ruberto]. We have a DA [David Capeless] whose father was Mayor. How many votes did Jerry Doyle Sr. buy [Mayor] Jerry Doyle Jr. with driveway aprons and apartments in public housing?[William] Smitty Pignatelli’s father was County Commissioner.[Chris] Speranzo’s grandfather was a Democrat mover and shaker and union thug. Ben Downing’s father [Gerard Downing] was DA and his father enough of a political hack to have an industrial park named after him.[Andrea] Nuciforo’s [II] father [Andrea Nuciforo I] was a [State] Senator [and then a Judge], Uncle [Tom Wojtkowski] was a State Rep and Aunt a Mayor [Anne E. Wojtkowski].[Kevin] Sherman’s mother is a Del Gallo. The problem around here isn’t partisanship so much as nepotism and incest.”

  9. Dave
    May 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Drive-thru part 2 tonight, set your DVRs!!! The big, bad donut shop wants to invade our precious downtown district. We can not stand back and let a totally private enterprise succeed in our precious downtown. How dare they make a go of it without the help of Downtown Inc. and without asking for a taxpayer handout!!! This will set a bad precedent that is totally against everything Pittsfield stands for. Flood the chambers and keep Pittsfield a “Gateway city”. Too much private enterprise success stands to ruin life as we know it!!!

    • danvalenti
      May 28, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      Remember THE PLANET’s prediction. The DD-DT fails 10-1 (Clairmont) or 9-2 (Clairmont, Capitanio).

      • Dave
        May 28, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

        If Barry’s arguments can’t sway at least 5 other councilors to vote yes, then it was dead on arrival. Who was the hired gun speaking of the master plan and how the DD doesn’t fit?
        Councilor Cotton had a good point. The DD has been approved without the DT. I can’t see how the DT is such a huge factor in a business fitting into the master plan or not. I still think the DT would be less of a traffic mess than having everyone having to park, go in get their purchase, come out get back in their car and leave. The line of cars waiting to park(since each transaction would take 5 times longer) would be way worse than any stacking issue a DT would create. I will suspend my “Slippery” moniker in honor of Barry being the olny one making sense tonight.

        • joetaxpayer
          May 29, 2013 at 4:12 am #

          Dave must agree with you Clairmont was the only one who seemed to get it. JLo talking about the post office that does not have a drive through and limited parking and a existing DD that has a 6 stack drive up.My question to the council is how much stacking would DD need to get a yes vote.Anyone anyone

  10. tito
    May 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    Jonathan,,,,,,,that is funny stuff,,,,,,,,

  11. tito
    May 28, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Drag golf council and Mayor.