PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, JULY 3, 2013) — Quotable quotes leftover from the latest school department budget fiasco. You won’t find these in Bartlett’s Famous Quotations:

“I thought we had a pretty lean budget.” — School committee chairman Alf Barbalunga. Comment: “Think again, Alfie.” This budget is “lean” the way Furnace Creek, Calif., is chilly. Think again, Mr. Chairman.

“To me, this sounded like campaign season heating up.”Barbalunga again. Comment: First, this comes from a man who would hair lip every Eskimo on the Bering Sea if it meant winning a vote. Thus, he would know all about pandering. Second,  this comment refers to the six city councilors who voted to “trim” $200,000 from the school department’s $91.66 million budget [NOTE: This figures includes school expenses hidden on the “city side” budget]. We would remind our Right Honorable Good Friend The Chairman that these six — Clairmont, Yon, Morandi, Connell, Simonelli, and Mazzeo — acted in a non-political manner. The suck-up vote (to the GOB, that is) here was to go the way of Capitanio, Lothrop, Krol, Sherman, and Cotton: to approve the full amount, depriving taxpayers of a symbolic win. The Savant Six cast the courageous vote.

“Are they looking for us to return [to ask for more money] when the schools run out of fuel?” — Interim supt. Gordon Noseworthy. Comment: Here, we see the dearly departed, The Nose, employing the ancient trick of using “The Children” as human hostages. In this hyperbolic statement, The Nose implies that if the council makes this cut of .002% of the budget — well less than 1%, in fact, one fifth of 1% by our estimates — the Little Darlins’ will freeze to death. That would indeed raise a serious situation. How could The Children text during class or surf porn in the Internet if they died from hypothermia? Picture The Children, dressed in rags, cutting firewood in the forests to try to raise a little heat in the pot-bellied stoves, all because of those Mean, Nasty Councilors.

“[I prefer] flexibility in the budget.” — Mayor Dan Bianchi. Comment: The mayor speaks in tongues in this saying, all of them forked. By “flexibility,” he means he wants excess funds for the schools, far more than they actually need, because that’s how public schools operate these days: with lots of slush. Bianchi also know the move will win him votes from the Vested Interests.

“It’s unfortunate that at the 11th hour, [the council] decided to cut the school budget.”James Conant, school committeeman. Comment: We dealt with this whopper yesterday. The Special Interests deem it a “cut” when anyone dares to reduce the amount of increase they will actually receive. In this case, Conant asks you to believe that $1.66 million in additional money is a “cut.” THE PLANET also adds that the council’s “11th hour” action was a masterpiece in gamesmanship. If the council had advertised the “cut” in advance, the school department would have wailed, howled, and filled the chambers with The Children. The Boring Broadsheet would have obeyed the GOB and run a story on the proposed council “cuts.” The School Department hacks would have stacked the chambers with protesters, including four-year-olds carrying misspelled hand-made signs. Admit it, JC, six city councilors out-slickered the bunch of yez.

“I don’t have a problem with the cut.” — School committeeman Terry Kinnas. Comment: Kinnas again shows that he, and he alone on that committee, has the interests of We The People in mind.

“I said that I didn’t want to hear that teachers would be cut. Right away, we are hearing teachers will be cut. I will support cutting the $200,000.” — Ward 7 councilor Tony Simonelli. Comment: Here, we witness a city councilor actually standing up to the entrenched Vested Interests. He made the remark after Barbalunga threatened to ax teaching positions if the council “cut” the $200,000. Simonelli called Alf’s bluff. He had nothing, not even a pair of deuces.

“His response is very disturbing.” — At-large councilor Melissa Mazzeo. Comment: This remark, directed at Barbalunga, hit the target. Bullseye for another straight shooter.

“Times are tough.” — Ward 2 councilor Kevin Morandi. Comment: After saying this, Morandi made a great, impassioned plea for taxpayer relief. He said the “cut” would be a way of acknowledging how much taxpayers have been abused. This was Morandi at his best, a comment alone worthy of his re-election.

 “I don’t know how cutting a surplus [in utility costs] relates to teacher layoffs.” — ward 4 councilor Chris Connell. Comment: It doesn’t, and Connell had the fortitude to point that out to a lumbar-challenged school committee and five of his council colleagues. “Viva, Connell!”

“[Pittsfield residents] are not overtaxed.”The Boring Broadsheet, in an unsigned editorial. Comment: We wonder if the new publisher knows that his editorial staff kow-tows so scrapingly low to the GOB? We wonder if he cares ever to make The Newspaper Formerly Known as The Berkshire Eagle relevant again. Do you think he wishes to boost circulation? He’s going about it in an odd way.

“I was trying to frame this budget around a vision.”Noseworthy. Comment: You did, The Nose. You framed it around Dante Alighieri‘s vision of hell. You can find it under “D” for The Divine Comedy.

“This had to be about getting somewhere and not just thinking in terms of one budget.”Noseworthy. Comment: The Nose didn’t tell you that the “somewhere” will one day soon be the poor house for the city of Pittsfield. Ahead within a score of years if current events and the poison politics that drive them are left unchanged. Destination, State Receivership.

“I don’t think cutting $200,000 will stand in the way of our progress. … It’s not going to stop our vision of progress.”Noseworthy. Comment: What The Nose means is that the schools didn’t need the money! Their going to achieve their “vision” anyway. In other words, he admits that everything THE PLANET has been saying about this budget is correct. The Nose knows, as they say. Incidentally, don’t you get that queasy feeling whenever a public official, defending a spending plan that preserves the sinful Status Quo, begins talking about “a vision.” Vision? Go to an eye doctor if you want “vision.”

“When you are going after resources, you have to tell people what you are striving for. What we are striving for is excellence.”Noseworthy. Comment: You can’t make this stuff up. Where shall we begin? First, we see The Nose’s slip of the tongue. He admits to “going after” money. That particular phrasing often refers to the actions of predators looking to scam, for example, telemarketers calling a widow and asking for her credit card numbers. They “go after” the money. Second, when, exactly, did The Nose “tell people” the goal? Third, the schools are “striving” for excellence? We thought you were already there, Mr. Interim Super. You material on the web boasts all over of “excellence.” Who’s not telling the truth, Dr. Noseworthy, you or the website you blessed?

“[I’m an] “eternal optimist.”Noseworthy. Comment: “Optimists” are simple people who know too little.

“Well whoop-dy friggin‘ do.”Joe Kapanski. Comment: Our regular Little Guy has the right reaction to the latest round of the city of Pittsfield‘s budgetary hosing.


“Regret is dead, but love is more / Than in the summers that are flown, / For I myself with these have grown / To something greater than before.”Alfred Tennyson, from “In Memoriam.”





  1. Still wondering
    July 3, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    I wonder if the School Committee or the Mayor will try to punish us for cutting the school budget by pulling some kind of sequestration b.s. like Obama.

  2. Jonathan Melle
    July 3, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    How would Dan Valenti help grow Pittsfield’s depressed local economy?
    There is NO private sector in Pittsfield! No Fortune 500 corporation is going to move to Pittsfield! Pittsfield is the single largest employer in Pittsfield! Thousands of local residents work for the city government, school department, and state government. You either work for the city, such as a cop or fireman, or you work for the school department. You may work for BCC or the Jail. Or, you work for one of the many non-profits, such as the Hospital, that depend on taxpayer dollars.
    Pittsfield’s depressed local economy is ran on taxpayer dollars. That is a fact. If you take away all of the public sector jobs in Pittsfield, you would have NO economy left in Pittsfield.
    Given these facts, how would Dan Valenti change Pittsfield’s financial and economic spending of taxpayer dollars? If Dan Valenti got his way, what would Pittsfield become?
    The Pittsfield politicians serve at the mercy of the Public Payroll Patriots that vote and politik in the largest numbers in Pittsfield. If you are related to one of the multi-generational, low-gene-pool Pittsfield politicians, you will get a good paying state or local government job with healthcare and pension benefits. Ben Downing’s dad was the late-Gerard Downing, who served as Berkshire County District Attorney. Andrea Nuciforo, Jr.’s dad served as Berkshire County State Senator and Probate Court Judge. Jimmy Ruberto’s late-brother Anthony Ruberto served as Berkshire County District Attorney and Trial Court Judge. William “Smitty” Pignatelli’s dad “Big” John Pignatelli was a Berkshire County Commissioner and Democratic Party activist. Carmen Massimiano and Cliff Nilan are good friends and notorious Good Old Boy Pittsfield politicians. It is all in the family in Pittsfield politics. Dan Valenti speaks out against the “vested interests” that run Pittsfield politics. The Good Old Boy network serves the “vested interests”. Mayor Dan Bianchi has not changed the system in Pittsfield politics like he said he would. Most of the Pittsfield politicians are serving the special interests instead of the people in Pittsfield. Pittsfield will never change. Dan Valenti is right about Pittsfield problems, but he offers no real or viable solutions to change Pittsfield.

    • danvalenti
      July 3, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      I shall be glad to share my ideas and will do so in a future post. I have shared such ideas in previous installments of THE PLANET. By far the most important component of economic development is getting the city’s finances under control.

      • Jonathan Melle
        July 3, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

        Dear Dan Valenti,

        I have read many of your posts about getting the city of Pittsfield’s finances under control. You are right about having to take on all of the vested interests, such as the unions, to do so. The problem is that the city of Pittsfield is the #1 empoyer in Pittsfield. Thousands of workers depend on the city government for their financial security. Thousands more depend on non-profit agencies, such as the Hospital, for their financial security. Moreover, there are more teen pregnancies and welfare caseloads in Pittsfield than private sector jobs. Many Pittsfield politicians come from multi-generational, low-gene-pool families like Nuciforo, Ruberto, Pignatelli, Massimiano, Downing, et al. They use to local and state government as their sinecures. We need new Pittsfield politicians who will bring a new perspective to the community. “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul.” (George Bernard Shaw). Follow the money!

  3. Payroll Patriot
    July 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    I am back for the parade a day early. The attendance will be 60 to 100 k depending on who is doing the counting. The % of the people will be divided into 35% + good citizens who pay taxes. Up to 20% illegal whatevers and up to 45 % EBTs that are not on vacation in Hawaii. Next year the parade route will be changed to Mayor Bianchi’s neighborhood, as all the streets in his neighborhood are being repaved, including his own. The mayor’s streets being repaved should tie this into the budget process. Happy Independence Day to ALL, including Mr. Snowden.

  4. Ron Kitterman
    July 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    Not really on topic, but tomorrow morning after you grab your BB, Berkshire Eagle or however you refer to it as from the driveway . Check out the editorial page, if the same holds true as in years past, the staff will usually print up the Declaration of Independence for us to read. Before you crumble it up and pack it into the starter chimney for the Kingsford coals or line that bird feeder, just take a look the document . These guys ( Founding Father’s or Framers ) pretty much nailed it in my opinion. One of my favorite parts is : “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” They didn’t really sound like angry, greedy old white guys to me but maybe that’s just me. Anyway have a blessed, safe and Happy Independence Day and enjoy the 4th of July !!!

  5. Dave
    July 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Last minute 4th of July float idea—Teacher in front of students with chalkboard— “Johnny, what is 2+2” Johnny “5” Teacher “Good try Johnny, here’s your trophy for trying” as a Math specialist comes in and pulls out a fistful of money from a big nostril. Any more suggestions? we need to work on this quickly.

    • danvalenti
      July 3, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      Excellent suggestion!

    • dusty
      July 4, 2013 at 12:52 am #

      The good news for these Johnnies that can’t do math is that they will always be welcome on the Pittsfield School Committee. And the better news is that starting next year they may be paid for their inability to comprehend numbers and their relationship to budgets. The system has a niche for these folk and you can ask Farley Bouvier about that if you need affirmation.

      • B
        July 4, 2013 at 10:36 am #

        Dusty, you are so funny but so true.

  6. Kevin
    July 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    That float idea is good one, Dave except I think if Johnny is a PSD pupil, 2 +2= 5 seems a little too close to the right answer. Looking forward to the parade.

  7. tito
    July 3, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    2 plus 2 equals 5 in West Virgina,,,,,,,,,,,

    • danvalenti
      July 3, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      In Alabama, it equals 6. In Georgia, it equals 7.

  8. tito
    July 3, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Equal is a cool word to bad it doesn’t exist,,,,,,

  9. Giacometti
    July 3, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    When I gave a written test while teaching school in the PPS a few years ago my students answered the questions written in ” text ”

    Students these days just seem to want a drive-up window on everything. So I did what any good teacher would do. I flunked them. In my class there was no short cut to success.

    • danvalenti
      July 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

      You did the right thing. Today, “failure” gets a trophy.

    • B
      July 4, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      My English teach teacher at PHS in the 70’s gave us a test that had us reading the entire test before answering any questions, at the bottom of the page it said ” sign your name and turn the test in”. I was done within minutes and the rest of the class were all sitting there answering all the questions. The teacher has such a big smile on his face as he told the class I got an A on the test and the rest of the class flunked, I was the only person who didn’t answer the questions, I followed instruction.

  10. NBI
    July 6, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    Great job Dan. Really nailed it!

    Came across this on the City of Pittsfield website today. Sadly, this accurately describes the overall situation here, not just in government. Oh we’ll, just keep raising taxes. Can’t wait to see how much they nail us on the new sewer rate!

    City Hall

    Personnel Department

    City Job Opportunities

    No positions available at this time.

  11. Oliver W. Dunn
    July 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    The $56.43 million school budget is a three percent increase ($1.66 million) over the FY ’13 budget of $54.77 million.

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