PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, JULY 9, 2013) — It’s official, as THE PLANET predicted. There will be no drive-thru window for the proposed new Dunkin’ Donuts store on Fenn and First streets. At its last meeting, our Right Honorable Good Friends on the city council said no, 10-1 (Barry Clairmont being the lone “yes” vote to the request for a special permit to allow the DD-DT). We shall also predict legal proceedings against the city by Cafua Management, the developer. This we also prophesied in an earlier post.

The new development here is the admission of the private council retained by the council to provide the legalities in the likelihood of court action. It may have gone unnoticed, and certainly the import slipped by many if not all, but when cthe city’s outside lawyer, Mark Bobrowski, declared legal the special permit sought by Cafua, he may have been delivering a meatball to Cafua.

It had been previously thought that Bobrowski would provide legal wording suggesting otherwise. Now his strategy appears to be one of arguing why legality is not enough. That’s far different from arguing that precedent does not apply in Pittsfield’s case. Now, it looks like the city will have to prove extenuating circumstances beyond the law. Judges and courts generally find favorably in such cases. The council, nonetheless, shot down Cafua’s application. This action slipped by without much notice, but Bobrowski’s statement, according to lawyers THE PLANET asked to comment, could seriously weaken the city’s case in court.

Cafua argued all along for the legality of its application from the city. Bobrowski, by declaring the legality of the developer’s request, may have severely limited the city’s options in court. Cafua’a legal strategy has been transparent. They made it clear they would rest on legal precedent. Precedent isn’t introduced for its own sake, but merely to establish the basis of its present request from the city. Cafua did as advertised, and now the city has essentially agreed with the move. Taxpayers better hope the document Bobrowski drafted can withstand assault by precedent, which the courts tend to favor.

A source connected with the developer, speaking on condition of anonymity, calls a legal challenge “a certainty.” Do we have another Spectrum case on our hands?



With so much of the focus on these “pages” focusing on the Pittsfield School Department budget, you may have escaped the following line items from the city’s operating budget:

Mayor’s Office

Mayor, $87,780 … Director of Administrative Services, $50,770 … Executive Assistant, $36,250 … Marketing and Advertising, $2,000 … Supplies, $3,500 … Travel, $6,500 … Mass. Municipal Association, $10,000 = Total, $196,940.  Ten years ago, the cost of the mayor’s office was a little more than $50,000.

We wonder, at nearly four times the cost, if citizens feel they are getting four times better service from the corner office. In fact, the total spending for city side, not counting the schools, comes to $82,060,098. To put this in perspective, that’s more than what it cost to run the entire city a decade ago,  including the schools. We wonder if the mayor will campaign for re-election on these figures. Somehow, we think not.

There’s also an anomoly in the Veteran’s Services office. The veteran’s affairs agent makes $50,000 (up from $47,500 from last year). She directs a line item for “program expenses” of $700,000 (up from $650,000). That seems an unusually high number (twice what it cost to run the entire the parks department). THE PLANET wonders: Is there an explanation available for this item, along with an audit to back up the exposition?

By the way, for all salaries, add 25% to 30% for benefits.



In the July 3, 2013 edition of Berkshire Business News, the propaganda sheet of the local C of C, Head Cheese Mike Supranowicz unveils news of yet another “Strategic Plan.” This marks “Strategic Plan 13,” one for each of Supranowicz’s 13 years as head of the chamber. This is amazing, considering that Ed Wood‘s “Plan 9 from Outer Space” only got that far, four clicks shy of the chamber’s astounding total.

Thirteen “Strategic Plans,” 13 large studies, and nothing to show for it if we measure this by economic development and meaningful jobs created. “Strategic Plan 13 from Outer Space,” according to Supranowicz, “will continue to support small businesses.” Right.  “[W]e must provide meaningful programs and support that will assist them with their ongoing challenges.” Sure thing. These words mean nothing.

Supranowicz is pulling a “Nose” here (named after the late interim PSD super). If you read his statements carefully, his wording implies that, to date, support of small businesses have not occurred.

Supranowicz reveals a further shocker. He says that “Over the upcoming months, we will develop and initiate the tactics … to begin to address our objectives. You will see the development of programs created to engage and assist small businesses.” As we say, from the Big Cheese’s wording, for the previous 12 years, the chamber hasn’t done anything of the sort. Businesses in Berkshire County must be sleeping a lot better knowing the Chamber will be “developing and initiating tactics.”

What does this all mean? It means that Grade A members of the GOB such as Supranowicz have the job of making murder sound respectable and giving solidity to the wind, to paraphrase George Orwell in his classic essay, “Politics and the English Language.”  Talk of “Strategic Plans” is a ruse to create the illusion that the “jobs people” are doing something. Nothing is being done, of course, but publishing propaganda in house organs. In that vein, you will love to know that Downtown Pittsfield Inc.’s director tells us that the downtown is “all … fun and excitement!” The chamber thinks so highly of this flack that they don’t even publish her name under her picture or anywhere in her column.

Beepers Also Making Noise

In the same July 3 issue, our young friends, the Berkshire Young Professionals (BEEPERS) are pictured on page 9. More than 50 BEEPERS, we read, descended on our watering hole, where we often hold court: the Lion’s Den at the Red Lion Inn. That occurred on June 5, a night we remember well for the preppy horde of know-nothings who prompted our hasty retreat to the more refined atmosphere of the upstairs dining room. Naturally, THE PLANET had our spies there that night, and we can attest to an ample amount of drinking, and not just apple juice, ginger ale, and Shirley Temples.

We also heard that the BEEPERS were read the riot act for committing the Cardinal Sin that night. In the photos that run illustrating the young “professionals,” one of them is clearly seen … ARE YOU SITTING DOWN?? … holding a drink!!!! For that egregious sin, the collection of young females (most of the BEEPERS are of that species) and faux metro-sexuals were put in their place by the bosses. Remember, these are young people trying to make a go of it in Pittsfield, a town where the rules elsewhere do not apply. In this town, a young one must kiss up to the GOB and their politics.

You may recall that in light of the aftermath of our discussion of the chance meeting between Meredith Nilan (then a proud, card-carrying BEEPER) and Peter Moore in on a cold December night in 2011, the adults at the chamber told the little ones: “Absolutely, positively no depictions of drinking.” You recall, further, that the issue of drinking had been of considerable interest to investigators of  Nilan’s state of sobriety on the evening in question.

Check out the pictures online at


“So in all wrath she got to daddy’s vehicle and went ; / While Walker to the road, in a light mood, / Passed, thinking, ‘Does she know what she’s doing behind that wheel?’ / An impact spent, a running away, and a deal.” —  Sir Tiberious Fruitjuice, from “Elegy on a Hit and Run.”




  1. Dave
    July 9, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Strategic plan #13 = Strategic plan 12 + more BS
    Strategic plan #12 = Strategic plan 11 + more BS
    Strategic plan #11 = Strategic plan 10 + more BS

    and so on, and so on, and so on……………..

    Definition of dumb- Doing(or having the same people do) the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    Pittsfield definition of dumb- electing the same people over and over and expecting different results.

    Pittsfield is a microcosm of the country. Politically diseased where there are more people being paid by the Government(either by employment or some form of assistance) than people who are making money in the private sector. This is unsustainable. .

    • Joe Blow
      July 9, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      “Most plans are just inaccurate predictions” ~ Ben Boyal

      • danvalenti
        July 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

        Boyal is right. “Strategic” plans are the worst of the lot. As soon as you hear from Suit in Pittsfield talking about a strategic plan, head for the hills.

    • danvalenti
      July 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

      The notion of “political disease” is a good metaphor. It aptly describes a process that will, unless changed, inevitably mean the end of the city of Pittsfield, and in a larger sense, the US of A. Those two entitled shall continue to exist for a good while longer, of course, but they shall be far drearier places — sort of like George Bailey’s nightmare come true, when Badford Falls turns into Pottersville.

  2. Jonathan Melle
    July 9, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    Pittsfield politics is ran by the Good Old Boy network. They intimidate the people from participating in state and local government. They serve their own special interests. In Pittsfield, the city government is the single largest employer. Non-profits, such as the Hospital, employ thousands more locals. Pittsfield is ran on taxpayer dollars! There are more people on welfare than have private sector jobs in Pittsfield. Teen pregnancies and welfare caseloads double the statewide average in Pittsfield. Pittsfield needs to change!

  3. tito
    July 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    Krol needs to stop babbling about past mosquito control mistakes before they start spraying that crap multiple times,for mucho more dinero to the city taxpayers. Lake ie Wahconah Lake,
    is not a good thing when you have a pest problem, primarily MOSQUITOS. The venerable Matt Kerwood had the best idea but was laughed out of the council chambers, at least he had foresight to know we could have an epidemic one day!

  4. tito
    July 9, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Next time someone runs in my ward, remember one thing, you need to take immediate repsonsiblity for Lake Wahconah or Lake Simonelli, that’s right Tony, don’t need to spend any time on western mass poles than you have to and start addressing the millions that have been poured into the Wahconah Lake project, what an oxymoron, the teams names is the Suns????? I was at the game the other night and we had a Sun Delay,,,,,,?????

  5. tito
    July 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    ,,,,,,but it worked out ok, took a dip in the parking lot after the game,,,,,,,,..,,

  6. Fan Dan Go
    July 9, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    You’re right about the Beepers, DV. We were at the Lion’s Den that night, and there was l. o. t. s. of drinking and not Shirley Temples as you mention! Great story. I own a local business and the chamber as well as Downtown Pittsfield Inc have been useless actually a detriment. I “hafta” be a member, though, to avoid the shakedown, if you know what I mean. Keep the heat on, Dan.

  7. MrG1188
    July 10, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    Now let’s not get all holier than thou about the drinking. I think the point was rather the hypocrisy of not being allowed to picture the drinking. Dan, you’ve really done a great job of showing the value, or lack thereof, derived from the school district funding. Today you took a whack at the Mayor’s office from a value proposition standpoint. It might make interesting reading to have a look at the Chamber next. How much public money goes into its coffers, directly or indirectly? And what HAS the city gotten for those investments over the years? I mean, seriously, there is nothing worse than listening to a public servant justify his position and record, but perhaps we need that in this case. Aside from “banking” on the arts; galleries & etc., and creating some opportunities there what has the Chamber done to attract real small business? And for all the GOBs reading this, I am not trying to be a wisea** here, I am seriously seeking some sort of reckoning.

    • danvalenti
      July 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

      MR G
      I would love to see the results of such a cost-benefit look at the Chamber. The odds of getting an independent valuation, however, would be slim at best.