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HOW DO WE JUDGE A MAYOR? THE CITY BUDGET IS A TRUE BAROMETER … POISON POLITICS Is LEADING PITTFIELD INTO ‘THE DETROIT EXPERIENCE’ … plus … THE PLANET WEIGHS IN ON THE GEORGE ZIMMERMAN VERDICT

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JULY 19-21, 2013) — What barometer provides the best measure of a mayor? There are many from which to choose, but the one on which THE PLANET relies above all is a mayor’s handling of the municipal budget. Dan Bianchi has submitted two budgets, each raising the cost of government with record spending and growing its size with no increase in city services.

FUTURE PITTSFIELD HEADLINE, courtesy of Dan Bianchi

The mayor has thus failed the most important test in deciding on his worthiness for the corner office. He has raised taxes twice on both homeowners and businesses. Bottom line, he has driven people out of town, since many cannot afford the ruinous taxation the city insists upon to fund the Special Interests, especially in support of a bloated school department. He has continued the city on a dangerous path that will lead to The Detroit Experience.

In Detroit, a city with which THE PLANET has great familiarity and has visited numerous times, has filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in federal court, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history.

According to an AP wire service report, “The filing outlined several factors contributing to the city’s financial woes, including a long-dwindling tax base, population flight, financial mismanagement and overall decay of a city that once had more than 2 million residents and was the world’s hub of auto manufacturing.”

Sound familiar? Look at the factors:

* A steadily shrinking tax base. Same as Pittsfield.

* Drop in population from 2 million to 700,000. Pittsfield’s has dropped by a third, from 60,000 to 40,000.

* Fiscal mismanagement. Same as Pittsfield, with a generation of more spending, more debt, more promises to municipal unions, and higher taxes.

* Overall decay in a city with one dominant industry. Same as Pittsfield, which once boasted the world HQs of GE Plastics and GE Power Transformers.

“According to the Detroit Free Press,” the report continues, “the city is renegotiating $18.5 billion in debt. Chapter 9 bankruptcy would seek protection from creditors and unions.” Protection from the unions. Public employee unions, particularly teachers, were a major causative factor in Detroit’s decline. Now, in bankruptcy, all deals are off. We’d like to ask the president of the teachers’ union there: “How’d that work out for you?”

Detroit is also looking to renegotiate the terms of pensions, health insurance, and OPEBs (Other Post-Employment Benefits besides pensions). Pittsfield’s OPEB debt, [from "Retiree Health Care: The Brick that Broke the Municipalities' Back," www.masstaxpayers.org/sites] is listed at $330,075,000.

Let us repeat that: As of that report (February 2011) the taxpayers owed OPEBs of $330,075,000. How much will you wager that Bianchi won’t say a word about that in the campaign?

That figure includes $80,571,000 already paid by taxpayers. Where will the $330.1 million more come from? Got a mirror. Unless this situation is addressed now, Pittsfield will certainly face The Detroit Experience. It’s not a matter of it, only a matter of when.

“The fiscal realities confronting Detroit have been ignored for too long. I’m making this tough decision so the people of Detroit will have the basic services they deserve and so we can start to put Detroit on a solid financial footing that will allow it to grow and prosper in the future,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement.  “This is a difficult step, but the only viable option to address a problem that has been six decades in the making.”

The Budget: An Issue the Unopposed Bianchi Won’t Have to Address in Campaign ’13

A BIT OF PROPHECY, perhaps, from Bianchi’s campaign in 2011? This is a Ruberto for Mayor mailing that got under DB’s skin.

The city budget comprises the single most important issue in the upcoming election. The challenge won’t get easier, and Bianchi needs to be hard pressed on his plans for the next two years. Unfortunately, as of this writing, Bianchi is unopposed. Who will press him to defend his track record on the city’s finances and bid him speak to the years ahead? Nobody, that’s who. He’s going to skate free.

* Cities in general, and Pittsfield in particular, will most likely continue to face future shortfalls from a shrinking tax base, increasing demands for services as the “gimme groups” continue their municipal conquest (those who are milking public assistance), and cuts in state aid to localities. Given these factors of the most recent two years, Bianchi must be called to explain how growing the budget from $132 million to more than $137 million serves the interests of citizens, particularly taxpayers.

* Many other municipalities have responded to economic conditions responsibly. They have taken measures including

— downsizing of the public work force

— furloughs

— payroll reduction

— delaying or canceling capital projects

— cutting services.

— modification of employee health benefits and pensions.

Pittsfield could take some or all of these steps. Bianchi, though, like all political animals, is only thinking as far as November. Based on his inactions, he cannot claim to give a hoot about the future of the city. He will, though, attend many fourth grade science fairs in the next two years.

As Gov. Snyder says, these aren’t easy steps, but a true leader will take them. What about Bianchi’s “leadership?” He has grown government, increased spending, raised taxes, sat by with his thumb up his apple pie while the tax base shrinks and reduced continue to tank. He has taken the worst possible action given the fiscal realities.

Other Cities Have Been Proactive in Meeting the Fiscal Challenges

Do you think that’s MR. BIANCHI’s veto pen?

The National League of Cities’ most recent survey of municipal financial officers indicates that nine in 10 (91 percent of those responding) reported making spending cuts, with 82% saying further cuts were necessary. They recognize the gravy train must be derailed. These cities include Baltimore, Md.; Augusta, Maine; Bossier City, La.; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colo.; Dover, Del.; East Providence, RI; Sacramento, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; and Springfield, Ill.

Pittsfield, Mass., is not on that list. In fact, it’s hard to find any Massachusetts city or town, almost all held hostage by Democratic hegemony which is in turn held hostage by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, of which THE PLANET is a card-carrying member.

Leadership: In Cincinnati, Ohio, the city manager there recommended an FY14 city budget balanced by staff reductions, furloughs, reduction of funding to outside agencies, departmental savings, use of free cash, elimination of full-time job vacancies, a series of expenditure reductions, and reductions in the capital budget. The city voted in $35 million in reductions. Taxes did not go up in Cincinnati.

Leadership: In Austin, Texas, the mayor and city council asked citizens for suggestions to reduce city spending. They received hundreds of suggestions and adopted 39 of them. Total savings?  $9.3 million.

Non-Leadership: In Pittsfield, citizen involvement in government is looked upon with hostility. The GOB has effectively achieved a long-successful governmental coup, going back more than a generation, and the city’s “leadership” has been under the dictates of the two local political machines, roughly called the “Del Gallo Machine” and the “Wojtkowski Machine.” Mayors going back to the 1970s — since GE pulled out of town — have come from these two political tribes and have been taking orders from various GOBs made wealthy by the various tribal offshoots and connections.

Under Mayor Bianchi’s direction (he is of the Wojtkowski Tribe), the Special Interests have continued to see their budgets grow. Meanwhile, the ordinary citizens, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, find it harder and harder to remain in their homes. Their taxes are up, their wages stagnant or in retreat, and the cost of everything has increased. How has Bianchi helped them? By taxing them back to Go.

Pittsfield deserves better.

——————————————————————————

ZIMMERMAN VERDICT: JUSTICE AND THE LAW ARE SERVED

Okay, THE PLANET finally has to register on the George Zimmerman verdict. We were hoping Americans would keep their cool and be sensible, abiding by the jury’s duty, since we are — ostensibly at least — a nation of laws.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, center, with attorneys.

The verdict, though, has proven otherwise. Americans have proven too easily swayed by the irrational drumbeat of race politics, and they want revenge on a man who, a jury found, acted lawfully in proper self-defense against a man who attacked him and was pummeling his head into the concrete.

One 15-year-old, obviously poisoned by the hate surrounding the case, tweeted this sterling example of scholarship to register his protest of the Zimmerman verdict:

“If Zimmmerman free imma shoot everybody in Zion causing a mass homicide, and ill get away wit it just like Zimmerman,” he wrote.

“If Zimmer free” this ignoramus writes instead of, “If Zimmeran is freed …”

“imma shoot” instead “I will shoot.” “ill” which literally is the word “ill” as in sickness instead of the first person possessive of “I’ll.” “wit,” not “with.” The lad is no doubt a product of the public schools.

If there was true justice in America, this 15-year -old punk would be thrashed with a solid switch for perpetuating such hate in an ignorant way … but no. This is America today — a land in which stupidity is held as a virtue and knowledge as a vice. Quite the irony, wouldn’t you say, in this so-called “information age.” This is Pittsfield, where crime is rising and rampant. The mayor attends a Zimmerman protest, singing “Kumbaya on the Bayou” with a horde of other social engineers.

In 2013 politically correct America, we can’t let the jury verdict rest. There are too many Special Interests who have a political interest in turning Martin into a martyr that he never was. There’s too much money to be made from this tragedy.

Prosecutors who in dispassion examined the case almost uniformly stated that Zimmerman should never have been tried. The evidence was, at best, flimsy. George Zimmerman, though, became the true victim in this case, as he will now be robbed of the rest of his life — either by a revenge-seeking hothead like our 15-year-old scholar or by virtue of the fact that, unless he becomes a hermit, he will never enjoy privacy or public peace.

THE PLANET agrees with President Jimmy Carter: the jury reached the correct verdict based on the evidence presented. Juries do not decide morality. Juries decide legality. Unfortunately, crowds easily turn into mobs, and both react on emotions — not on evidence, reasoning, and logic.

“I think the jury made the right decision based on the evidence presented, because the prosecution inadvertently set the standard so high that the jury had to be convinced that it was a deliberate act by Zimmerman, that he was not at all defending himself,” Carter told Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA-TV. (EDITOR’S NOTE: THE PLANET here quoting wire service account of the WXIA interview).

The former president and Georgia governor discussed the verdict, and what it says about race in America, in an on-camera interview with the station.

TRAYVON MARTIN giving the camera The Finger.

“It’s not a moral question, it was a legal question, and the American law requires that the jury listen to the evidence presented,” Carter said. “The action that was taken in the courtroom was not to bring in the race issue at all. The prosecution avoided that subject quite clearly.”

Judge Debra Nelson ruled that prosecutors could argue that Zimmerman “profiled” Martin, but only if they avoided suggesting Zimmerman profiled the 17-year-old based on race.

Asked what the Zimmerman verdict says about race, Carter compared it to other high-profile moments involving race and violence in U.S. history, such as the police beating of Rodney King and the ensuing 1992 Los Angeles race riots and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I think eventually, no matter how deep the moral feelings and personal feelings might be among African Americans or others, with time passing they start seeing what can we do about the present and the future and put aside their feelings about the past,” Carter said. “I think that’s what’s gonna happen in our country.”

George Zimmerman, meanwhile, according the NBC News, is suing over an edited 911 police call from the night he gunned down Trayvon Martin. The case against NBC News was stayed pending the outcome of the criminal case. Now that’s out of the way, Zimmerman’s Philadelphia attorney James Beasley is ready to proceed, according to The Washington Post.

“We’re going to start in earnest ASAP. We just have to get the stay lifted which is a ministerial act,” Beasley told the paper via e-mail. When asked how the not-guilty verdict affects the civil case against NBC News, Beasley responded, “This verdict of not guilty is just that, and shows that at least this jury didn’t believe that George was a racist, profiling, or anything that the press accused George of being. That probably doesn’t get you that much, but it’s simply time for us to start the case and hold accountable anyone who was irresponsible in their journalism.”

The original 24-page complaint accused NBC of creating “this false and defamatory misimpression using the oldest form of yellow journalism: manipulating Zimmerman’s own words, splicing together disparate parts of the recording to create the illusion of statements that Zimmerman never actually made.”

What hath this country wrought?

————————————————————————————————

“Altarwise by owl-light in the half-way house / The gentleman lay graveward with his furies; / Abaddon in the hangnail cracked from Adam, ‘ And, from his fork, a dog among the fairies, / The atlas-eater with a jaw for news, / Bit out the mandrake with tomorrow’s scream.”Dylan Thomas, opening lines from “Altawise by Owl-Light.”

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

38 Responses to “HOW DO WE JUDGE A MAYOR? THE CITY BUDGET IS A TRUE BAROMETER … POISON POLITICS Is LEADING PITTFIELD INTO ‘THE DETROIT EXPERIENCE’ … plus … THE PLANET WEIGHS IN ON THE GEORGE ZIMMERMAN VERDICT”

  1. dusty
    July 19, 2013 at 2:35 am #

    Based on mayoral performance of the last 12 years it is pretty much a guarantee that taxes will continue to go up EVERY year in Pittsfield probably until it collapses of its own mismanagement. The city has gotten itself, through mismanagement, into super deep debt. Many over burdened families who stay will go down with it or more likely, before it. Thousands of forward thinking people have realized this and have left the area so as not to go down the drain with the dirty bathwater. All citizens need to take a good realistic look at where their future is headed if they remain in Pittsfield because the city is obviously going to be taking a bigger bite of your income each and every year. This is a recipe for financial ruin.

    I would love t hear from some of those who have left and read this blog.

  2. Ed McClelland
    July 19, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    Amen !!!

  3. The Kraken
    July 19, 2013 at 6:25 am #

    Dan, I could not agree more with pretty much everything you wrote today. The only reason Zimmerman was prosecuted at all was due to political pressure – that in itself was a racist act.
    You would be the kind of mayor this city really needs – I would likely vote for you if you decided to run. But now that Bianchi has turned GOB I can’t see anyone beating him this time. Too much money, too many cronies.

  4. Payroll Patriot
    July 19, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    Bits and Pieces Vol. 1

    From the same paper that brought you this
    ” he should be fired.” ref to Alf

    !!! What Jake is running the PPS?

    http://www.thetranscript.com/headlines/ci_23690498/duval-moving-phs-will-work-students?source=rss

    !!! Who got more votes in Nov of 11? Bianchi or Kinnas

    Kinnas 6858 – Bianchi 6144

    !!!Which blog master got votes for mayor in the 2011 elections?

    Dan Valenti

    More to follow? Bye for now.

    • B
      July 19, 2013 at 9:54 am #

      Kinnas for mayor! At least he would have the votes and Respect of the people.

  5. GMHeller
    July 19, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    Who could have predicted that Dan Bianchi would turn out to be such a lackluster, weak Mayor.
    The guy is plainly a captive of the city employee unions.
    Now with Detroit’s bankruptcy a fact, it’s time to update the numbers on Pittsfield’s own unfunded liabilities.
    It’s not a pretty picture — and it’s only a matter of time before Pittsfield suffers the identical fate as Detroit.

  6. Jonathan Melle
    July 19, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    I believe Mayor Dan Bianchi is a big improvement from Jimmy Ruberto. The Good Old Boy network rules Pittsfield politics no matter who is Mayor of Pittsfield. Jimmy Ruberto was a big piece of the puzzle that made up the Good Old Boy network. Jimmy Ruberto lied about being independent of the special interests.
    As for the city budget in Pittsfield, I believe that it is unsustainable. But so is every other governmental budget in our nation. Our national debt is in the tens of trillions of dollars. We owe foreign nations many trillions of dollars. To single out Mayor Dan Bianchi and Pittsfield’s finances is myopic.
    Dan Valenti is a conservative Catholic man. I believe Dan Valenti is a good man. Dan Valenti is like Peter Larkin in his conservative Catholic beliefs, but not everyone believes in conservative Catholicism. We live in a diverse society where many different beliefs make up how we live our lives.

    • The Kraken
      July 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      Jonathan,
      Could you please list the accomplishments Mayor Bianchi has done in his first term? Personally, I can’t think of any. That alone leads me to believe he has not been better than Ruberto, just more of the same.

      • Jonathan Melle
        July 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

        I admire Dan Bianchi for standing up to the Good Old Boy network that has ruined Pittsfield as one of the worst local economies in the nation. Pittsfield always had potential, but the Good Old Boy network has kept Pittsfield in the dumps. Dan Bianchi is an Army Veteran like me. He is very smart about finances. Mayor Dan Bianchi is a good man. He inherited a lot of problems that plague Pittsfield and no one could turn around Pittsfield in less than 2 years.
        Dan Valenti is a good man. But if he was in politics, he would push his conservative Catholic beliefs on everyone. I admire Dan Valenti for having the courage to take on the system and the Good Old Boy network. What Dan Valenti doesn’t understand is that budgets rise with inflation, which varies among communities. You have mandated expenses and discretionary funds. Budgeting or financial management should make mandated costs into discretionary costs, and then you find ways to reduce or eliminate discretionary expenses. If the city’s unions made contracts mandatory costs, then the Mayor of Pittsfield should negotiate less mandatory costs with the city’s unions. Take the difference and reduce discretionary spending. That is how any C.E.O. or public administrator cuts business spending. Put it another way, find ways to reduce your overhead budget. In financial management, workers are almost always the single biggest expense of a business. Unlike 2 generations ago, today’s workforce cost more for healthcare and pensions than salary. You can hire 10 workers without healthcare and pensions cheaper than hiring 1 worker with healthcare and a pension. That is because of “liabilities” or fixed debt. You are taking out a mortgage with compounding interest to pay a worker healthcare and pensions. That is why Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are such big budget expenses for the Federal Government. The baby boomers are retiring, and the liabilities or fixed debts are rising with compounding interest with money the Federal Government doesn’t have over the next 2 generations or until about 2060. Mayor Dan Bianchi has to follow state and local laws, labor union contracts with the city, and pay all of the liabilities or fixed debts for all of the city workers. To compound all of these problems, Pittsfield is the number one employer in Pittsfield. Thousands of local residents rely on Pittsfield for their livelihood or financial security. You could not cut Pittsfield’s budget immediately without feeding thousands of local residents to the wolves or taking away their livelihoods or financial security. If you wanted to cut Pittsfield’s budget, you would have to do it incrementally over decades or 2 generations. It would be reckless to radicalize Pittsfield’s finances when so many people and organizations rely on Pittsfield’s budget. I could not manage a city budget of well over one-hundred million dollars, or a state budget of tens-of-billions of dollars. I would not be able to know where to start managing a city or state government’s finances. My knowledge of economics and finance is limited to my academic studies in the 1990-decade. I worked at a bank, but that doesn’t qualify me to be a financial manager either. I know the theories of economics and finance, but I don’t know the real world applications. I believe that when a bureaucrat makes economic and financial management decisions, real lives are impacted. I don’t believe that Dan Valenti realizes this fact. He defends the little guy, but there are many stakeholders within the system.

        • DONT TRUST EM
          July 20, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

          Jonathan you didn’t answer The Kraken’s question. What specific accomplishments can he claim in two years?You wont need as much space for that as you needed above to say nothing.

          • Jonathan Melle
            July 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

            In Pittsfield:
            * Teen pregnancies double the statewide average
            * There are more people on welfare than have private sector jobs
            * Good Old Boys run Pittsfield politics
            * Crime, drugs, gangs, and violence are real problems
            * Taxes are high in a depressed local economy
            * Pittsfield public schools are underperforming
            * Thousands of people have left the area
            * Dan Valenti bitches and moans about Pittsfield’s problems
            * Dan Bianchi wants to turn things around in Pittsfield

          • danvalenti
            July 21, 2013 at 11:05 am #

            JONATHAN
            You were asked by DON’T TRUST to list Bianchi’s specific accomplishments. All you’ve done is list a number of sad truths about Pittsfield about which Bianchi has done nothing and THE PLANET has been exposing.

      • danvalenti
        July 21, 2013 at 11:12 am #

        KRAK
        He won’t answer this question, which DTE posed again, because there are no accomplishments, except ribbon cutting, visits to school science fairs, and “everything’s great” rhetoric.

        • Jonathan Melle
          July 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

          I admire Dan Valenti for speaking out about the corrupt system known as “Pittsfield politics”.
          I believe that Dan Valenti is a good man.

          • danvalenti
            July 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

            Thanks, JONATHAN.

  7. Russell Moody
    July 19, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    While Zimmerman was found innocent in a court of law of second degree murder and deemed to have acted lawfully in the situation in which he found himself, we end where we began– with the law.

    I would like to see the law adjusted but not dismissed. It makes sense to me to have ‘an expectation to retreat if possible.’ The possession of a gun should not give its possessor more courage than he or she would otherwise have.

    I exercise my 2nd amendment right and can lawfully carry in Massachusetts. It is not a privilege I take lightly and with it comes a higher standard of responsibility.

    There is no shame in running to avoid the use of deadly force against you or by you if at all possible…. Just my opinion.

    Russell

    • Scott
      July 21, 2013 at 9:11 am #

      Russell I respect your point of view. It’s logical I feel the same way and most people would avoid using deadly force unless absolutely necessary. You’re spot on too if the roles were reversed and it was Martin who was successful in killing Zimmerman. I tend to favor stand your ground laws though. The right to protect yourself is what makes America great I think all Ma law does is make a criminals job easier. Also things happen fast and these young kids from urban areas breed a culture of violence that they glamorize and enjoy. I’d have to say if I was being pounded into the ground and had a pistol I’d use it. The Berkshire Eagle has been incendiary and appalling on their coverage of this case.

  8. Dave
    July 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    This seems to me to have been a confrontation that either party could have avoided. I feel for the family of Mr. Martin, but imagine the scenario if Mr. Zimmerman did not have a gun and one last bang of his head on the concrete led to his death. I don’t think this story would have gone national, but the headlines in the local paper would have read something like ” Teen kills neighborhood watch volunteer while high on drugs”- This would not have been 100% accurate either, but the prosecutors would have been just as driven to prove that version as the one they were presented. Sadly, that scenario would have ended in a conviction 99.9% of the time, even if Mr. Martin, in defending himself, threw one punch and Mr. Zimmerman’s head hit the concrete and he died. Would Mr. Martin have been charged with a hate crime for his “Creepy ass cracker” comment? I think the system worked in this case regardless of whether you agree with the outcome, but in my other scenario I am almost positive Mr. Martin would have gotten far less of a fair shake. I really didn’t want to comment on this case, and Dan, the Mr. Martin photo was uncalled for, but ….. enough said. Prayers to the Martin family.

  9. DONT TRUST EM
    July 19, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    Your analysis DV of Pittsfield’s finances are the best Ive read, anywhere by anyone. I’m a recent arrival in the Berkshires. I’ve already experienced the political dysfunction.

    Long story short. Had an idea for a business, sought information, and to my emails and phone calls to chamber of commerce, Downtown Pittsfield, PEDA and mayors office, receive no followup phone calls. Not one. That business, which is web based but needs some bricks and mortar, is now thriving elsewhere. Thanks Pittsfield, for nothing. You could have had us and our taxes, but you did us a favor. No way would I ever recommend Pittsfield to anyone in business. And thanks Dan for this website. People around here don’t know what a gem they have in the Planet.

    • dusty
      July 20, 2013 at 2:45 am #

      New to the area and not connected to the insiders? Might take some business away from one of the insider companies?

      Forgettaboutit! Take a hike fella.

    • C.J.
      July 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

      You expected more ?
      PEDA’s executive director lives in Williamstown. Pittsfield’s community development director lives in New York state. Why should they care about Pittsfield and its future ? They come to Pittsfield, pay lip service for a salary and perks. Hope the municipal gravy train is there long enough for a quick pension, then as every day, they leave Pittsfield and go to their environs and leave Pittsfield to her fate. All on Pittsfield’s tab.

      • danvalenti
        July 21, 2013 at 11:06 am #

        CJ
        Good analysis.

    • danvalenti
      July 21, 2013 at 11:10 am #

      Thank you.

  10. dusty
    July 20, 2013 at 2:55 am #

    The reckoning was inevitable. The historic bankruptcy filing culminates decades of decline and drift, a toxic combination of chronic mismanagement, political dysfunction and corruption piled on top of decades of de-industrialization and population flight that have gutted the city’s tax base and its ability to provide services.

    This paragraph is from a story in the Detroit news regarding Detroit’s filing for bankruptcy. Notice the path it took to get there and see if you recognize any of the symptoms.

    • GMHeller
      July 20, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      Dusty,
      Gee, I wonder if there’s a political party that should be blamed for Pittsfield’s woes?
      Nah, move along, nothing to see here.

    • GMHeller
      July 20, 2013 at 9:07 am #

      And Detroit’s woes, as well.

    • danvalenti
      July 21, 2013 at 11:09 am #

      DUSTY
      THE PLANET has identified the symptoms and delivered the diagnosis. Pittsfield officials, however, have refused the treatment.

  11. outfox
    July 20, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    Why all these fiscal problems in the Pitty when we have all that GE money available? Oh, wait…

  12. tito
    July 20, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    Zimmerman brought a gun to a neighborhood watch? Recipe for disaster,,,,,,,,,,,,

    • Scott
      July 22, 2013 at 3:47 am #

      He wasn’t on neighborhood watch when he got into the alteration with Martin but with all the false reporting the truth is in the middle somewhere most likely what the jury heard which is why a not guilty was rendered or are the jurors in on the racial conspiracy as well?

  13. tito
    July 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    ,,,,,,Unfounded liabilities in the public sector,,,,,,,,recipe for disaster.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,

  14. Joe Blow
    July 20, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Anyone else read the article on Forbes about the Pittsfield Walmart?

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/walterloeb/2013/07/17/why-are-walmart-stores-such-a-mess/

    • danvalenti
      July 21, 2013 at 11:06 am #

      Yes. Welcome to Pittsfield.

  15. Dave
    July 21, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    From the BB- reporting on the Gather-In on Saturday. “The only speaker to mention the controversial court decision was City Councilor John Krol during a short speech.” Krol’s comment- “From the national perspective, we heard the President speak yesterday and say we have work to do {on race relations}, When a young African-American happens to wear a hooded sweatshirt while walking in a gated community and can be approached, stalked, attacked and killed and no justice is done, we have work to do. We have a lot of work to do”
    Point 1- “The only speaker”- could you guess it would be a lock step Democrat politician?
    Point 2- “approached, stalked, attacked and killed”- I wasn’t there and I assume Ms Krol wasn’t either so neither of us know what really happened.
    Point 3-”no justice is done”- Trial by jury with an acquittal- if we take the stance that every trial should be a conviction, what is the point of the justice system.
    Point 4- “We have a lot of work to do”- I agree- we all need to get to work for Joe Nichols and get this clown out of our circus.

    • dusty
      July 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

      Joe has integrity. That will work against him somewhat. Krol will have financial support from the machine again. The machine talking heads will try to smear him as well as Kinnas if he runs as they fear those two very much. I will certainly vote for them both should they run for anything.

      Krol has worn out his welcome and needs to find work in Richmond with his mentor Kerwood.

    • danvalenti
      July 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

      “No justice is done.”
      If these comments are accurate, Krol has essentially violated the oath he took when he was sworn in as councilor. He promised to uphold the laws of the land and the Constitution. A jury found Zimmerman no guilty. For Krol to claim “no justice is done” is ignorant at best and treasonous at worst. Be sure to read THE PLANET’s column tomorrow.

  16. HonorsStudent
    July 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Right on as usual, DV. Pittsfield is headed down the same path, though on a smaller scale, as Detroit. Enormous unfunded pention liabilities coupled with a decreasing and changing (not for the better) population base.

    Off topic, but I know it is one you enjoy discussing — I am a product of the PPS, graduated a few years back and enrolled in a top 100 liberal arts college, not the very best but pretty good. I must say I was unprepared for a college classroom despite being an honors student and taking the most rigorous classes in High School! It wasn’t that I hadn’t studied the right material; rather it was that until college, I had never been in a competitive academic culture or in a classroom that did not have at least a few students with discipline issues. Quite an eye-opener to say the least.

    • danvalenti
      July 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      HONORS
      Thank you for this amazing testimony. This, not the fictive pabulum being dealth by the mayor, the school committee, and the PSD administration, is the sad truth about what’s going on with public education in Pittsfield. THE PLANET fervently hopes that the new Jake, the new Pittsfield school super, will take heed of HONOR STUDENT’s comment as well as the posts on this site. If the new super is serious about this job, he will take the medicine and administer it to the patient. THE PLANET satnds ready to meet with him at any time of his choosing.