TWO TICKING PACKAGES … FIRST STORY INVOLVING CHARGES OF RACISM COULD DOOM MAYOR’S CHANCES FOR RE-ELECTION … HIS ACCUSER SPEAKS; THE MAYOR, MEANWHILE, REMAINS MUM … PLANET AWAITS COMMENTS FROM THE MAYOR IN DEFENSE OF DEVASTATING CHARGES BY MEDFORD BUSINESSWOMAN … plus … EYESORE ART SET TO INVADE CITY or ANOTHER FINE USE OF TAXPAYER MONEY
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, MAY 29, 2013) — THE PLANET is tracking several important stories, one that could have major impact on Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s re-election bid and another that illustrates, once again, how the city of Pittsfield continues to sleep at the wheel when it comes to proper procedure.
COUNCIL VOTES TO DENY SPECIAL PERMIT FOR DD-DT
First, though, a quick update on last night’s action at the city council. Cutting to the quick, our Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council (a) concluded the public hearing on the Dunkin Donuts Drive Through (DD-DT) special permit. Prof. John Mullin of UMass, retained by the Office of Community Development and representing his firm Mullin Associates, gave his view that the DT was inappropriate for that location. (b) Attorney Mark Bobrowski, retained by the city, advised councilors to vote on an authorization to draft a legal document either denying Cafua‘s application for the DT or approving it with conditions. (c) The council voted, 10-0, to authorize a denial letter (you’ll recall how THE PLANET called this one; we predicted a 10-1 vote on denial, and we’re not even psychic). Councilor Barry Clairmont was out of the room when councilors voted. We do not know why. Clairmont had argued in favor of the DD-DT. (d) Legal letter of denial will be drafted by Bobrowski. The letter is not expected to be complete prior to the council’s June 11 meeting. Cafua has threatened the city with legal action of the special permit for the DT was denied.
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MEDFORD PUBLISHER ACCUSES BIANCHI OF RACISM
The Bianchi story gets ugly, with the mayor being accused of racism. As we continue to gather information on this developing story — one that has been inadequately covered in local media — we await, literally, the mayor’s word.
The story involves an incendiary accusation against the mayor by a black Medford businesswoman looking to relocate to the city. We have already had a lengthy interview with the woman, Doris Wade, who has leveled potentially devastating charges against the mayor — on the record.
Several days ago, at the same time we contacted Wade for comment, we requested to meet with the mayor. He has not responded, continuing a policy that has been in place since THE PLANET broke the story behind the methadone clinic. Yesterday, we sent a second request to Bianchi, telling him we would prefer to go with the story with rather than without his comments.
THE PLANET has known Dan Bianchi for more than 30 years, and we have never known him to show even the slightest signs of racism. Such a trait would seem completely out of character for the man we have known for more than a generation. That being said, however, Wade’s charges are serious and cannot be dismissed. It becomes harder. of course, if the mayor does not speak in his own defense.
Story Ill-Covered if Not Buried
The story has been inadequately reported if not ignored altogether by a couple of weekly newspapers (The Gazette and The Beacon). The Gazette buried the story in the middle of a recent issue. The Beacon had it on page one, but, according to information we received, had several key inaccuracies. The Berkshire Eagle has not touched it, nor has any of its affiliate publications. Local radio won’t go near it. Too hot to handle? Right up THE PLANET’s alley.
THE PLANET simply does what its rivals refuse to do, and that is dig underneath all the election-year rosiness coming out of the corner office on Allen Street to bring the truth of the comings and goings in the land of Benigno Numine.
Keep in mind that everything the mayor thinks, desires, speaks, does, and doesn’t do from now until at least mid-September will be calculated toward poll results this fall. In that respect, Bianchi is that most predictable of species: re-electus politicus anthropolis. Every two years, this typically harmless beast becomes ravenous in its appetite for power. It will devour man, woman, and child to feed its unquenchable hankerings — beware, especially, “The Children.”
DEFINITELY NOT SMOOTH SAILING AT PONTOOSUC
The other story concerns a development project that has, curiously, has received little to no independent coverage and yet has raised a lot of questions about procedure and the administration of fair play from within and without official Pittsfield.
The story involves the harbormaster of the city of Pittsfield, the issuance of a special permit, and, despite the latter, the city’s apparent lack of knowledge of the details. It appears that the development has, despite promises otherwise, caused the demise of an existing facility/service that appeared after the YMCA closed its boathouse on Pontoosuc Lake.
THE PLANET continues to gather information on both these stories. Stay tuned.
GIANT PENCILS? EMPTY PICTURE FRAMES? IT CAN ONLY BE THE EYESORES OF ARTSCAPE
Brace yourself, people of Pittsfield. No, not for the certain annual tax increases. You already know they are coming — government cannot curb its appetite for the little money left in your pockets after you’ve met your obligations, and this fat pig will scarf down as much of your dough as it can. Brace yourself, nonetheless.
Artscape has landed, once again. THE PLANET shall eschew the philosophical question of why contemporary art has become so ugly and void of creativity. Rather, we simply point out that these hazards shall once again soon be assaulting senses. That it’s all done in the name of “art” has us thinking in preference of other arts, such as Carney and Ditmar, Linkletter and Fowler.
Sigthts for Sore Eyes
Installation has begun on seven over-sized eyesores near city planters and median strips, at Park Square, and other locations. We won’t call it “art,” since our beholding eye has long since learned to loathe common denominators of this sort. If you have a thing for boring but large pencils, pituitary signage, empty picture frames (we kid you not; the city calls this “art”), you’ve come to the right place — Pittsfield, of course. Funny how when they issue the glowing press releases for this junk, they never tell us how much valuable public money goes into littering the street with these repellent distractions.
“The outdoor display of public art has always been a crowd-pleaser, and often a real head-turner,” says noted art expert Dan Bianchi. The art installation has nothing to do with the upcoming election, of course. The “Bianchi for Mayor” stickers required for each of the works are there simply as coincidence.
Bianchi says the exhibit, now in its 12th year, gives energy, whimsy, and beauty to the downtown area, and “gives people one more reason to visit and spend more time walking our vibrant City streets.”
Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of that typical visitor to the city. Let’s see it from their perspective.
The typical tourists, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Schectner from Westchester County, New York, arrive downtown. After searching for parking, they land in the Columbus Avenue garage. They drop in at the visitor’s center in the bus station. There, Mrs. Schectner fights through peeping toms hiding out in the ladies room and then the couple tries to get the attention of someone, anyone. They best they can muster is an out-of-date BRTA bus schedule, colored a pretty pink.
Frustrated, they step outside to torn-up fake brick of Persip Park and enjoy the local color and ambience of the regular Denizens of that Deep, scary creatures who come from who knows where to smoke their cigarettes, utter their curses, kiss the sky, and give decent citizens every reason to flee. Across the street, Mr. and Mrs. Schectner gaze in wonder at our local youth as they pile onto North Street outside Juvenile Court, conferring with the lawyers from the advantage of backward baseball caps and baggy, baggy pants. They are The Children! They are the future!
Nothing Up but the Taxes
The Schectners then look at the $50K self-watering planters, drowning with all this year’s rain and being smothered from the garbage being thrown into the recessed pits. The scary denizens of that area have assumed the pits are trash barrels. This being Pittsfield, no one has bothered to maintain the planters.
Yes, the Schectners will get to enjoy all this — plus the “energy, whimsy, and beauty” of oversized pencils and empty picture frames. They will then escape and ameliorate the shock in the civilized lands of South County.
As for the “art,” no word, taxpayers, on how much bread this junk cost you.
No matter. You taxes are going up, up, UP!!!
“I could not dig: I dared not rob. / Therefore I lied to please the mob. / Now all my lies are proved untrue . And I must face the men I slew. / What tale shall serve me here among / Mine angry and defrauded young?” — Rudyard Kipling, “A Dead Statesman,” from “Epitaphs of the War 1914-1918”
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.