PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, JULY 29, 2013) — Toughen up the hyde, and toughen up the hide. Hyde. Hide.

That was, is, and shall be THE PLANET‘s free advice to candidates running for public office. We won’t explain the homonymic difference. We trust you are smart enough to figure it out for yourself. If not, then you should take out papers and run for public office on a “GOB ticket.”

We gave Donna Todd Rivers a treatment no different from any of the other countless candidates you might name, going back to our more than 20 years commenting on the comings and going of the fair city of Pittsfield, particularly its politics. That includes about 4,000 radio shows, a few hundred TV shows, thousands of newspaper columns, mostly in the Berkshire Eagle and the Pittsfield Gazette, and nearly 800 online columns. Yet you would think by our innocent and simple questions that we had offered a joy buzzer to the queen and a whoopie cushion to the prince.

When this type of reaction occurs, we look to the most logical explanation: We dared to ask questions of a GOB-backed Favorite Daughter.

Quite a Response

The accusations emerged instantly, as if it had been pre-made for such use (which is how all cliches find employment): We heard that we had begun a “smear campaign.”  We stood accused of trying to “torpedo a nascent candidacy. We heard we were sexist. From that, we can conclude that when you give a certain type of woman equal treatment, it’s considered pouring on. Thinking “equal” meant “equal,” we didn’t realize we had to tread on eggshells in this case.

Fortunately, the vast majority of the readers of this blog realize THE PLANET has been guilty — once again — of nothing more or less than speaking the truth as we see it. We humbly submit we are eminently qualified to issue such commentary as an interest observer who studies the issues more than most.

A reasonable, curious, and open person would have to wonder: Why would some people object so strenuously to a simple and fair analysis of a questionable set of behaviors by a rookie candidate?

Dum-de-dum-dum, as the old Dragnet TV theme used to hum.

A Sure Sign

We read it as a sign that the candidate in question is a GOB sacrificial lamb. Under this scenario, if she wins, the GOB gains a vote it will own. If she loses, she becomes “collateral damage,” so much campaign fodder.

People have been speculating that, with several “safe” office holders not seeking re-election, the GOB would be desperate to control council seats they might otherwise lose. Every so often, you get a Joe Nichols or a Terry Kinnas who defies the odds, but essentially, with low voter participation, the Special Interests dictate the stakes and the outcomes. Observers have been speculating on people (mostly from a pool of “wanna-be players”) that might come forward, and ever since the first announcement of the “closing” of her business, Rivers’ name found easy circulation.

Come on in, Donna Todd Rivers! Welcome aboard as a candidate for higher office in the city of Pittsfield. Don’t flatter yourself that you are special, however. You are just another of the washed bunch who looks to “lead” the city and its unwashed masses for the next two years.

What we’re saying is: “You’re not special, believe us.” Now go out and prove us wrong by running a great campaign and voting for TAX RELIEF — repeat TAX RELIEF, which is the single-most important issue of Campaign ’13. What you say and how you vote on the school department budget will determine all.

We will hold this standard to every candidate running. Will they vote with the GOB and continue to fund an over-bloated and unaccountable school department or will they vote to finally reign in the biggest drag on the city’s economy, one which keeps taxpayers in perpetual bondage?

We shall eagerly await. We wish Rivers and all the other candidates well.



GIRL TOSS — The 1,000 players, officials, and families clogging up Pittsfield this week for the New England Regional Championships of the Babe Ruth Softball League provided Mayor Dan Bianchi to exhibit his throwing arm. Bianchi threw out the first pitch. The mayor also had the honor of first pitch for the Futures League collegiate all-star game at Wahconah Park on Jan. 25. This being judged “BIG news” by the Boring Broadsheet, the paper published two photographs on the same day of Bianchi’s “first toss” efforts. The verdict has finally come in: He throws like a girl. By the way, we didn’t realize the Bambino played softball.

HANG ON TO YOUR COMMON SENSE: PITTSFIELD SCHOOLS MONKEY WITH ‘NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICIES — The federal government sneezes, and the Pittsfield School Committee catches cold. How else can we explain the exercise in uber-political correctness that took place at the latest school committee meeting on Wednesday, July 24?  The committee voted in several policy changes pertaining to anti-discrimination rules.

“These are from feedback, from coordinated program reviews,” said N. Tracy Crowe, deputy superintendent. What feedback? What program rules.? She did not say, or we missed it.

The changes have to do with “mandated language.” It seems the Feds are not only dictating local educational policy but ordering the actual words being used when it comes to the blank check of “discrimination.”

We quote this paragraph from The Pittsfield Gazette, July 25 issue: “The main non-discrimination policy vows that the district will not tolerate any intimidation of threat that could be interpreted as ‘interfering with … freedom to learn and work.'” The policy also adds “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” as unacceptable bases for action along with “race, color, sex … religion, or national origin.”

Throw in “handicapped” as well.

In other words, we’ve just about come to the point as a society where every person is a minority of some kind capable in any situation of being a “victim,” able to sue taxpayers for a free ride for the rest of their lives.

The school committee, it needn’t be said, heartily embraced the changes. Hang on to your wallets, my good friends.

—– 00 —–

 P.S. — Stay tuned for two major announcements pertaining to two current members of the Pittsfield School Committee.


“Law makes long spokes of the short stakes of men” — William Epsom, first line of the poem, “Legal Fiction.” 1935.




  1. Ron Kitterman
    July 28, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    I agree Dan Bianchi makes Barack Obama look like Justin Verlander, Pudgie Bowler is the only politician I would trust on the mound. What’s next TFB tossing out the first pitch to the Suns ?

    • danvalenti
      July 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

      Heard that TFB will be tossing out the first tax hike at a future Suns game.

  2. dusty
    July 29, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    Meanwhile, new superintendent of Pittsfield schools is quoted in today’s Eagle as saying he can think of “no higher honor” than being the new superintendent of the Pittsfield schools.

    Does he really mean that cuz it seems like a low bar to set for oneself.

    • danvalenti
      July 29, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

      “No higher honor?” The new Jake has a low set of expectations. I can name a million higher honors: (1) Being named towel boy at the YWCA … (2) Slopping out septic tanks … (3) … well, y’all get the point!

  3. joetaxpayer
    July 29, 2013 at 3:58 am #

    Congratulation to Berkshire Force U16 New England Champs! None of those young ladies threw like girls. Good luck in the World Series.

  4. Darren Lee
    July 29, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    The only thing the families clogged up were local hotels and restaurants ! Hey DV I’ll donate a week’s pay (City pay that is) to your favorite charity if you can hit Cat Record’s fastball past the pitcher’s mound !!!

    • danvalenti
      July 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

      You’re on. I don’t know Cat Lee from Bill Monbouquette, but I’ll take up that bet. The near-certainty of winning money for my local charity is an offer too good to refuse. When, where, and what are the rules?

      • Darren Lee
        July 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

        DV – the bet was a little tongue in cheek – esp. since the players have left for the Carolinia’s for a week – but I love your confidence in your athletic abilities !! You’re either quite the specimen or full of puffery !!

      • Darren Lee
        July 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

        DV – the bet was a little tongue in cheek – esp. since the players have left for the Carolinia’s for a week – but I love your confidence in your athletic abilities !! You’re either quite the specimen or full of puffery !!

        • danvalenti
          July 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

          Tongue in cheek or not, the offer still stands. Call my bluff. When the girls get back from the Carolinas, let’s do it. What’dya say? By the by, no one loves t-in-cheek more than THE PLANET.

  5. MrG1188
    July 29, 2013 at 7:53 am #

    Actually Joe, they ALL throw like girls; which is to say hard and with deadly accuracy. That expression is a pet peeve of mine as a long-time softball coach. The philosophy I always tried to impart to my girls was, since people aren’t gonna stop saying it…let’s try to make them realize it’s a compliment!

    • joetaxpayer
      July 29, 2013 at 9:12 am #

      All I know is they have more skills than I ever had playing ball. I guess they throw like All-Stars.

    • danvalenti
      July 29, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      “Throwing like girls” only refers to hardball, a form of play that is in serious decline, because it is so difficult.

  6. Toland
    July 29, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    DV great coverage on the whole DTR saga. You did voters a great public service in my opinion.

  7. Richard Allen
    July 29, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    The Coordinated Program Reviews are generally conducted by DESE. If the language was changed chances are it was mandated by DESE or the Federal Government.

    • danvalenti
      July 29, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

      Yes, that’s the reason, but there is precedent for local control. THe $$ the feds send to us (our own money!) come at a firece cost.

  8. Jonathan Melle
    July 29, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    I do not like how Pittsfield politicians either say that they are not part of the Good Old Boy network or that there is no such thing as the Good Old Boy network. That was former Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s M.O.! When Jimmy Ruberto first ran for Mayor of Pittsfield, he said that he was not part of the G.O.B. network. Then, when he proved himself to be beholden to the special interests, Jimmy Ruberto said that there is no such thing as the G.O.B. network that rules Pittsfield politics. I wish Pittsfield would rise up against the special interests and fight Pittsfield politicians who are beholden to the G.O.B. network. However, that is never going to happen. Pittsfield has become another version of North Adams. It is controlled by single-party rule, but many of the Pittsfield politicians where the badge without merit. Pittsfield and North Adams are becoming known for welfare and teen pregnancies, job loss and joblessness, poverty and crime, and the ever-growing underclass. When former North Adams Mayor John Barrett III lost his election in 2009, he turned to Pittsfield politics for his patronage. Jimmy Ruberto helped his friends, while Pittsfield’s economy became worse. But I wonder, how could Pittsfield become any worse?