DD-DT OFFICIALLY REJECTED, BUT CITY’s HIRED-GUN LAWYER MAY HAVE GIVEN DEVELOPER AMMO FOR CERTAIN COURT BATTLE … BUDGET BLATHERINGS … plus … PROPAGANDA RAG OF CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRODUCES INCREDIBLE FICTION
By DAN VALENTI
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?
TALES FROM THE CITY BUDGET
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, $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.
MORE EARTH-SHATTERING NEWS FROM THE BERKSHIRE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
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 www.berkshirechamber.com/byp.
“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.”
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.