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ADD 1 ON ‘CLOSINGATE’: THE THINKING BEHIND THE PLANET’s VIEWPOINT … or … THE INDISCRETE CHARM OF THE OPINION BUSINESS DURING A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN …’CLOSINGATE’: WARD 6 CANDIDATE JOE NICHOLS SAYS RIVERS DENIED SHE WAS ‘CLOSING’ NORTH STREET SHOP … RIVERS’ OWN LETTER, STATEMENTS, AND ADS, SHOW OTHERWISE in CAMPAIGN ’13′s ‘CAN YOU TRUST HER?’ … plus … LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

ADD 1, FRIDAY, JULY 26, 2013 AND INTO THE WEEKENDTHE PLANET has known Donna Todd Rivers for about three years. She has been an acquaintance though not a friend. We’re bought her lunch at the Red Lion Inn and, when she was breaking into radio, sat down with her in and out of the studio giving her advice and answering all her questions. We have long respected her for the pluck of starting and keeping going a boutique business in the heart of downtown Pittsfield.

We were not surprised when she became a candidate for an at-large council seat. The moment she did that, she became a job interviewee. Like every other candidate, she is looking to get hired by We The People. In this case, it’s for an important, citywide position.

In our role as THE PLANET, doing daily cyberjournalism, we function during elections in various ways for the electorate. One of those ways is to act, in effect, as a human resources manager, conducting job interviews, if you will, on candidates. From that, we issue opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the applicants. The “interviews” are sometimes literally that: A sit-down, question-and-answer session. At other times, we “interview” by accumulating evidence from the campaign trail from all sorts of sources and in all types of ways using many types of methods.

We are in a privileged position as a journalist to ask questions the public might not be able to ask, to go places they might not be able to go, and to talk to people they might not be able to reach. Based on all of that — and it’s a moving feast of information that continually changes — we make observations based on fact and issue opinions and commentary based on the application of both deductive and inductive logic. We function as an umpire during a ball game. He takes in a bunch of information, then makes a judgment call. People may agree or disagree with the judgment. That’s how we arrive at public policy in a democracy, by thrashing out contending viewpoints and finding ways to cooperate.

Shared information and opinion. That’s all we’ve done with “Closingate.” We haven’t conducted “a smear campaign,” as some have suggested — these include a former Ward councilor and the head of one of the Big Three public employee unions.  In other words, what many would call GOB types, who apparently mightily want Rivers to succeed in her bid for office office.

THE PLANET never conducts campaigns, smear, gear, cheer, drear, fear, jeer, rear, brassiere, career, of cashmere. We haven’t run any type of campaign, in fact, in our postings from yesterday and today. We have simply reacted to a highly public reversal, over publicized, of a person who is running for a citywide office.

Please, take a deep breath, take a stress pill, and look calmly at our role in this (and most other) stories: THE PLANET shares facts and other information, and we make judgment calls in the form of opinions. That’s it. No runs, no hits, no errors, and no one left on base.

We do this because candidates, especially new ones, need to pass the crucible of trust. Everything a candidate says or does in his public life and often in her private life becomes, respectively, relevant and possibly relevant.

THE PLANET doesn’t want Rivers to succeed nor do we wish her to fail. We never take a rooting interest in a candidate. We are Switzerland and the transit area at Moscow Airport: Strictly neutral. The closest THE PLANET will come is when we do as many other media outlets do: Issue endorsements.

As to which candidates win elections, that’s up to the voters. We seem to be in the minority in our confidence for Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski. We are content to leave the sorting out to them electorate, who on Election Day will make a decision. Until then, we will continue to do with all candidates what we’ve long done: Assemble information as best we can and make honest judgments with the sole interest of informing the electorate. We do this because informed voters make better voters.

THE PLANET has done that and nothing more with Rivers’ candidacy. We’ve talked to her and others on what her candidacy might mean to the voters of Pittsfield. We’ve presented a judgment based on the information we’ve obtained. That’s all — simply that and nothing more. We would be more than willing to hear from the candidate herself, the same as we do with any and all candidates. We always welcome dialogue, whether they agree or (perhaps especially) disagrees with our judgments.

That being said, we are grateful for anyone who wishes to take on the burden of public office. That includes Rivers, Gerald Ely, Dan Bianchi, Barry Clairmont, Joe Nichols, Jim Conant, Kathy Amuso, and everyone one else who has taken out papers. True, taking out papers doesn’t mean they will get on the ballot (some might change their minds), but taking out papers becomes the first necessary condition to ultimately getting on that ballot.(sticker campaigns notwithstanding).

Our free advice to all candidates: Run hard, run fair, take no prisoners, compete for the seat, toughen up the hide, and give it your best shot. And please, never, never take it personally when THE PLANET might dare to question one of your positions or actions. It’s N.E.V.E.R personal with us. We act only as an agent for an informed electorate.

Happy Running.

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(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, JULY 26, 2013) — THE PLANET heard yesterday from Ward 6 council candidate (and former Ward 7 councilor) Joe Nichols, who responded to our story on the incredible “I’m Closing/I’m Not Closing” of at-large candidate Donna Todd Rivers. We preface this by saying that in our years of dealing with Nichols both as an office holder and in private life, we have found him an honest man with integrity.

Nichols wrote:

Donna came to see me yesterday, and I told her that she was like the wind. You never know which way she would blow.

When she told me her store on North Street was going to remain open, I was flabbergasted.

I asked her, what about all the advertising that said you were closing the end of this summer? She said, “We didn’t say we were closing!” I said, “That’s the way I heard it.” She said, “That’s the way all the idiots heard it, but that’s not what the ad said, oops!” I said, “Are you calling me an idiot?”

Dan, I have to agree with your writing today. Amazingly, it is dead on!!!

This is a revealing and relevant charge being made by Nichols.

Grasp this: Nichols is saying Rivers denied to him that she ever said she was “closing.” If that is Rivers’ latest claim, it would seem to be a fib as bald as Mel Cooley‘s dome. THE PLANET doesn’t have the script from her radio spots announcing the “closing,” but those who heard it took away the strong impression that the store would be shutting its doors. Many of them who were customers made their subsequent interactions with the North Street beads store on that basis. That is, they assumed Rivers was telling the truth. She may parse the radio spots, but she can’t hide from the statements and documents she issued on June 1 and after.

This is About Truth and Integrity, the Two Most Important Attributes Required for Those Who Would Serve We the People

This issue is about truth and integrity. Let’s be clear: It has nothing to do with what a private business woman does with her store. That’s her business, literally. It would have stayed that way had not Rivers got the campaign itch. The moment Rivers became a candidate for public office, and a citywide office at that, what she said in public statements and did in public action related to her North Street beads shop became The People’s business.

The moment she generated fresh sets of headlines with two separate, conflicting, and mutually exclusive announcements pertaining to her intentions on the North Street shop, We The People had a fair and reasonable right to examine the statements and actions in light of Rivers newly minted candidacy. Had she done this privately, between her customers and herself, it would have gone away without a trace.

That’s not what happened, as we now know. Thus, this matter of Closingate  now becomes our job, acting on behalf of an electorate that has every right to be informed about decisions a candidate makes that would indicate his or her reliability and suitability for public office.

“Closingate”  is about a woman who made public claims about her business that a reasonable person would say turned out not to be true. That same woman now wants the same at-large public to entrust her with a citywide vote and influence over public policy. That’s asking not a lot. That’s asking too much of a public already so abused and disrespected by other candidates and office holders in the past.

On the basis of her behavior in “Closingate,” THE PLANET calls on voters to reject Rivers for the at-large seat.

Nichols’ claim that Rivers denied the store was closing is troubling. If she’s now denying saying she would close, then it would seem she’s trying to make fools of virtually everyone who fell for the announcement, including the public at large, the media, and most importantly, her customers. What should the electorate make of this in a candidate?

As we stated yesterday, when Rivers made the initial announcement of “closing,” we heard from some of those who knew her, worked with her, and in whom she possibly confided telling us, in effect: “Wait and see. She’s not closing anything. She’s going to get a story, get people talking, and then she’s going to run for citywide office.” As it turned out, they predicted exactly what happened.

That would seem to strongly indicate that Rivers’ planned “Closingate” as a publicity stunt, a cheap one at that. Based on her “I’m closing” then “I’m not closing,” Rivers, who in the interim not so coincidentally became a candidate for citywide office, received lots of publicity, including two glowing puff pieces in the Boring Broadsheet. She also drove desperate business her way from customers who had chits to use or other business to conclude at the North Street beads shop.

Rivers’ Statement Provides Smoking Gun on ‘Closing’ — No Quotes Needed

There is no room for ambiguity or doubt in the June 1 statement Rivers issued on the future of her North Street location.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: THE PLANET apologizes for formatting problems in the remainder of this column, another of those odd tech glitches occur in cyberspace journalism]

 Assuming that Nichols provided an accurate account of the meeting between the two candidates, and there is no reason to think otherwise, Rivers now seems to be adding insult and fabrication to her transparent flip-flop. When we visited her to confirm the closing, she explicitly stated that her North Street shop would be shutting its doors. We wanted to hear if personally, facing her in person. That’s how we prefer to do business.
There’s no doubt she said she would close her store. She didn’t have the exact date, but she thought at the end of August. She listed several reasons why “the time had come.” On June 27, we received an e-mail from her cousin that confirmed that “she’s closing her business and also leaving WBRK.” [PLANET's underline]. She said there was no way she would remain on North Street. We took her at her word.
On June 1, Rivers sent out a long, public e-mail on her company’s letterhead. It bore the heading: “North Street location is closing.”  The subject line read: “Bisque, Beads, & Beyond IS Closing.” The “IS” was in all caps. What part of that announcement indicated that the North Street store is not closing? Yet, Nichols says Rivers told him “I didn’t say we were closing.”
“Life is an amazing journey[,] and it brings you to the most incredible places if you are willing to embrace the ride.” That’s how Rivers’ e-mail announcing her closing begins. This sentence, if nothing else, proves the author has a gift for trite expression. More seriously, however, it also indicates that Rivers herself was unwilling to “embrace the ride.” Now, it appears as if she wants to take customers (and  would-be voters) “for a ride.”
THE PLANET doubts whether voters will “embrace” the ride, especially given the seven other strong candidates in the at-large council pool. This includes three at large incumbents: Barry Clairmont, Churchill Cotton, and Melissa Mazzeo.
“But with time comes change,” the e-mail says. “And it is time for BBB to embrace another change. We are both saddened and excited to announce that we will be closing our North Street location by the end of the summer.” [our underline]
What part of that indicates, “We never said we were closing”?
Based on Nichols’ encounter with Rivers, it seems that she is trying to parse her way out of her initial decision and her claims of closing the North Street location. Perhaps she’s embarrassed over “Closingate.” Perhaps she’s panicking. Perhaps she knows exactly what she’s doing. Perhaps it’s something else. Whatever the explanation, based on the evidence we’ve seen thus far,”Closingate” doesn’t appear to be behavior you would want in or from an at-large representative.
Rivers’ supporters that contacted this website justified “Closingate.” They say she pulled the old squeeze play on her landlord, bluffing to close to get a better deal on the rent. If this is true, it appears we we’re dealing with the type of person who would not hesitate to use her customers as human yo-yos to get  a better rental arrangement. In the hypothetical, would you call that behaving with integrity? What about in the actual?
Only Rivers knows the answer to that. We do know, though, from having rented office space on North Street for 28 years (the first four in the Elglo Mall [now Crawford Square] and the next 24 in the Shipton Building), that when THE PLANET had a question of rent or had any other business to discuss with a landlord or any other provider, we did it openly, honestly, above board, and abided by all of our agreements. That’s how we conduct our business. We have never lied to our customers. When we gave our word, you could take it to the bank. We have never used our associates or anyone else as pawns for our own selfish interests. As we say, only Rivers can speak to her heart. We can only draw reasonable conclusions based on the evidence we have.
With those conclusions come a set of honest questions, one that voters should ask of all candidates and not just Rivers. We have restaurateurs, accountants,  and other councilors who must act with customers and clients in the Dreaded Private Sector. Those actions become relevant to the public offices they hold.
Would you trust a person, any person, who would sell out customers, using them as pawns in a business negotiation? Would you trust a person, any person, who went public with an announcement that goes to the heart of a living, reverses an emphatic claim, then denies he or she ever made the claim in the first place?

Would you trust any public statement coming from a person, any person, who would lead us all to believe one thing, and then several weeks later not only issue a “never mind” but call you an “idiot” if you believed him or her the first time?

Apparently, unless we are missing something, that’s what Rivers seems to be asking voters. Does she think Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski are “idiots,” ripe plums to exploit into an $8,000-a-year opportunity to carry water for the GOB?

Apparently, THE PLANET has a far different opinion of The Little Guy, who holds the most important public office of all — that of “Citizen.”

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Now we present one of the more interesting letters that recently came in by e-mail.

‘A GOB Rats Nest’

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while now.  Have you, or to your knowledge, anyone around here looked into the functioning of BCREB and Berkshire Works, especially the latter.  It is truly the living incarnation of the GOB network, stuffed with patronage and no-show jobs.  I’m not sure if he’s still there, but that’s where John Barrett ”landed” after his initial contract with Pittsfield expired (even though his Linked In profile makes no mention of it!).  [In my current position] I had much interaction with them, and never once saw him there, although I always asked.  They also had a director under Barrett AND a director under that guy!  I know most of the ‘underlings’ there are dedicated people who work hard with little remuneration, but it galls me to see it so top heavy, especially with the ‘top’ being so useless, over compensated and under utilized.  

“And of course, to top it all off, Mike Supranowicz has his paw prints all over it too.  That whole little cabal over there, all under one incestuous roof (ChamberEconomic Development, BCREB, Berkshire Works, Tourism Bureau, etc) is a real little rats nest of GOB patronage that seems to function as a shadow government above or beyond public scrutiny.  Just my take for the day.” 

“How are they funded? From the city budget? There’s something called “Community Development” for $543K and a shocking $40 million in ‘unclassified’ funds.” — JMT

Dear JMT
Thanks for your letter. Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s proposed operating budget contained $42,359,363 in “unclassified” expenses, up $2,148,963 from FY13. The bulk of this is for health insurance for public employees and retirees (roughly $22 million), pension payments for the same (roughly $10 million), and principal and interst on long and short-term debt (about $8 million). — THE PLANET
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“An intellectual hatred is the worst.” — W. B. Yeats, from “A Prayer for My Daughter,” 1919, 1921
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.

69 Responses to “ADD 1 ON ‘CLOSINGATE’: THE THINKING BEHIND THE PLANET’s VIEWPOINT … or … THE INDISCRETE CHARM OF THE OPINION BUSINESS DURING A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN …’CLOSINGATE’: WARD 6 CANDIDATE JOE NICHOLS SAYS RIVERS DENIED SHE WAS ‘CLOSING’ NORTH STREET SHOP … RIVERS’ OWN LETTER, STATEMENTS, AND ADS, SHOW OTHERWISE in CAMPAIGN ’13′s ‘CAN YOU TRUST HER?’ … plus … LETTERS TO THE EDITOR”

  1. Mike Ward
    July 26, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    So the smoking gun here is a private conversation that you were not present for? Forgive me if I reserve judgement on DTR’s candidacy. This feels more like a smear campaign than a political analysis.

    • Tim Bartini
      July 26, 2013 at 5:47 am #

      Mike. I totally agree. Why would anyone want to run for public office in this city?

      • danvalenti
        July 26, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

        TIM
        Thanks. The answer to your question, from the civic books: To make a difference for positive change. From the city’s political realities: To further one’s own private agendas.

      • Scott
        July 27, 2013 at 3:43 am #

        They are the best paying jobs… well for some.

    • danvalenti
      July 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

      MIKE
      Thanks for the comment. “Smear campaign” or “political analysis” — it all depends on your point of view. I obviously wrote this as analysis and commentary, a purely subjective opinion on a most puzzling circumstance.

  2. Scott
    July 26, 2013 at 4:29 am #

    This town is something what’s it gonna take for everyone to grab their pitch forks and serve the gob’s some urban youth justice!

    • danvalenti
      July 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

      SCOTT
      What’s it going to take? My guess is: cell phone abuse not in the public schools but in their lavs.

  3. FloggingMolly
    July 26, 2013 at 6:14 am #

    I agree with Mr. Ward. Amazing the effort that Dan Valenti is taking to crush the DTR campaign before it gets underway. Wonder if it had anything to do with the fact that she is a woman? Or maybe because she had a highly popular show on WBRK? Keep talking Dan as they say there is no such thing as bad publicity. Or as Oscar Wilde said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” Go DIVA go

    • danvalenti
      July 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      FLOGGING
      Thank you for your comments. THE PLANET is not trying to “crush” anyone’s campaign, although God knows we’ve been accused of that by many supporters of many past candidacies where we did something other than gush 100% percent praise for the respective “Favorite Sons.” As to your question, the answer is “No.” This site is gender neutral. The answer to the second question is “No.” Her former radio show had nothing to do with it. You are totally correct, though, or we should say Oscar Wilde was correct about publicity. We are putting the DIVO on the map!

  4. Bball8
    July 26, 2013 at 6:19 am #

    I too do not see any big deal, regardless of what she said, timing etc. She changed her mind, whatever the reason. can’t say i never have done that before. much ado about nothing. But a fine smear job, indeed, as tim indicated, intentional or not. I’ll wait to hear what she has to say during the campaign before rushing to judgment on her candidacy.

    • danvalenti
      July 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      B
      Thank you for your observations. Of course, that’s the only way we can ever judge a candidate: By his or her campaign.

  5. FloggingMolly
    July 26, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    I think you also should take a close look at what she said. She didn’t say she was closing the business, she said she was closing the store. She specifically said “she is considering either running an online business and appearing at special events, selling the firm to someone else or relocating elsewhere in Pittsfield.” Thats a far cry from saying she is closing the business so even if this conversation took place with Joe Nichols she was correct is stating she didn’t say the business was closing. Maybe do a little research as to who the landlord is where she is and it may shed some light on what was probably going on here. And apparently anyone who talks to Joe Nichols should be careful that there any conversation they have with him may end up used against them. At least if people are going to smear be accurate in what you are saying.

    • Russell Moody
      July 26, 2013 at 11:43 am #

      I read that too…

    • danvalenti
      July 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

      FLOGGING
      We made that distinction. Carefully re-read what we wrote. You’re playing semantics with closing the business vs. closing the store. Joe Nichols shared his conversation on this web site. That made it a public conversation, since it was between two candidates for public office. Remember, in journalism, unless you’re told it’s “off the record,” it’s on. As for accuracy, opinions, however well or badly argued, are always “accurate,” since they are judgment calls, much like an umpire making a call in a game.

  6. Silence Dogood
    July 26, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    I loved her radio show. She was always fair to all viewpoints and seemed to really think things through. She wasn’t a hip shooter. I see no reason how business decisions or negotiations or whatever will effect her job performance on the council. She is a breath of fresh air for the City of Pittsfield.

  7. Silence Dogood
    July 26, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    By the way should merchants in Pittsfield run their businesses as public services? Let me know when Steve Valenti starts giving away clothes because I want to get there early as he won’t be in business at the end of the day.

  8. FloggingMolly
    July 26, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Now let me see if I get this right.

    Joe Nichols who literally closed his business and was selling his equipment over a dispute with his landlord and because they were putting in a Subway and then did an about face when his landlord offered a sweetheart deal is questioning the motives of Donna Todd Rivers who merely announced she was leaving her location but then decided she would stay???

    Very interesting…

    • Dave
      July 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

      I didn’t see the Joe Nichol’s scenario played out in the local media, did I miss something? Oh wait, I think that was Dan’s point- I guess that’s the difference between a “Diva” and a regular Joe!

      • danvalenti
        July 26, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

        The local media won’t touch it. They don’t touch anything that might portray any member of the GOB with anything but silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty little maids all in a row.

  9. tito
    July 26, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    ,,,,,,,,as I recall, wasn’t it Joe Nichols who changed his mind last election,,,,,,,,,,,

  10. tito
    July 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    ,,,, selling your inventory is the same as closing the damn place, no matter what the Diva said,,,,,,,,,,, I like her and Joe,and will vote accordingly anyway,,,,,,,,,,,Lothrop and Krol need to go.

  11. Mr. X
    July 26, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Gotta agree with Mike Ward. As I’ve said I have known DTR for many years, she is far from a phony, and is just what we need on the council, not afraid to speak regardless of what or how people dissect it. Joe N. should put his efforts towards beating JK, cause that will be a tough win.

    • danvalenti
      July 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      Good advice, MR X.

  12. Dave
    July 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Just me, but I really hate those “Going out of Business” sales that some places seem to have yearly.

    • danvalenti
      July 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

      DAVE
      Most of the “going out of business” sales are put-ons meant to artificially drives sales. It’s likely the case here as well.

    • Scott
      July 27, 2013 at 3:39 am #

      Lots of chain stores do that to drive sales. They come into a place like Pittsfield with the intention of going out of business.

  13. Ron Kitterman
    July 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    Dan,
    I would like to make you aware of a timeline of events concerning your recent posts concerning Donna Todd Rivers the owner of Bisque, Beads & Beyond. Your recent blog is not entirely factual from the events that you feel are accurate. On the date of July 26 in one of your two postings you wrote,
    “Closingate”” is about a woman who made public claims about her business that a reasonable person would say turned out not to be true. That same woman now wants the same at-large public to entrust her with a citywide vote and influence over public policy. That’s asking not a lot. That’s asking too much of a public already so abused and disrespected by other candidates and office holders in the past.”
    To dispute that I would offer that I emailed DTR June 26th, 10:43 PM to confirm an appointment to see a business property on the date of Sat June 29th at 9:00 AM At that showing I represented her interests and viewed the property with her and her Assistant Manger Alexis Jones, the listing Broker and the owner of the property. After the showing we discussed the pros and cons of the investment and weighed several financial considerations to make improvements necessary, if she decided to purchase said property. She stated that the current terms of her lease on the North Street property could not be renewed and that she was going to close the business and operate over the internet and mobile-ly till she could find another location.
    On the date of July 5th. 2013 8:30 AM I went Bisque, Beads & Beyond and met with DTR she was still firmly stating that she was moving from that location. Apparently between that time and the date of July 26 th she was able to renegotiate the terms of the lease with the landlord at the North Street location. I wasn’t surprised in the least or “flabbergasted “ in any way. She changed her mind and made a business decision. It’s not like she is pulling a 2 Brown Street sale or posing for pictures on the Cover of Rolling Stone. She’s running for City Council At Large and we’ll see if she gets enough votes or not. That is a decision for the voters to decide. Two former employees I met since that meeting told me they “Loved her” and would vote for her in the next election, without hesitation. I’ve known her for at least 10 yrs as a Attorney, Business person, community minded individual and radio host, is she perfect ?She doesn’t walk on water but I’ve always known her to be honest, sincere and conscientious, let the voters decide if they think she deserves the job or not.

    • danvalenti
      July 26, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

      Thanks, Ron. Always appreciate good information. Are you working for her on her campaign in any capacity, official or otherwise?

    • raider50
      July 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

      Great post Ron, hopefully Dan can find someone else to waste all of his time on. We have exhausted the “donut” angle. the building issue, drug rehab, school committee, and now “beadgate” and no outcomes were changed because of your crusades

  14. Toland
    July 26, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    Keep up the heat Planet. Great job on the BBB coverage! It occurred to me… BBB and the BB. See the pattern? Both GOB!! My vote will be anyone but Rivers.

  15. Mr. X
    July 27, 2013 at 3:37 am #

    Good stuff RK. DV sure knows how to get this blog movin, must be an election year.

  16. Ron Kitterman
    July 27, 2013 at 4:58 am #

    Thanks Mr. X as the late Peter G. Arlos use to say “ I don’t follow politics “

  17. Mike Ward
    July 27, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    You can dismiss me as a GOB type — whatever that is — but your 900 word defense of the original post is a pretty good indication that you know you didn’t give DTR a fair shake. And for the record I’m not involved in her campaign in any way.

    • Dave
      July 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      Mike, I respectfully disagree. Unfortunately, Donna Rivers has learned from interviewing politicians that an ambiguous answer or statement is the easy way out. If you make a statement that can be taken two different ways or tweaked to fit your agenda, you can never be called on any decision you make. Dan did not delete any comments that supported Donna Rivers, so anyone who happens to participate in this forum has their say. That is fair. IN MY OPINION(MY CAPS), on her talk show Donna Rivers did not challenge any opinion of any guest on her show. She appeased every guest by not challenging them. I understand that being a councilor and a talk show host are different, but if you can’t challenge a guest on your own show when nothing is really at stake, how will you make the tough, non-conforming decision as a councilor if you are opposed to the masses?
      P.S. Mike run at-large, you will win big! I would say Ward 4 but Connell is doing an exemplary job.

      • Mike Ward
        July 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

        Thanks, Dave. Been there done that.

      • danvalenti
        July 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

        DAVE
        Most astute. DTR learned well on how to say nothing while appearing to say “something.” The something has all the solidity of pure wind. THE PLANET is not falling for it.

    • Tim Bartini
      July 27, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

      Mike. I’m not sure why I’m considered a “good old boy” Yes I’m union President for Pittsfield Fire fighters. I do agree with your point of That Dan did not give DTR a fair shake. Dan. I have not felt with DTR in probably 20 yrs since she was city solicitor . Dan shame on you for writing crap just to get people to write on your blogg! Your better than that!

      • Tim Bartini
        July 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

        Dealt. Sorry

        • danvalenti
          July 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

          TIM
          Don’t worry about being letter perfect. Your thoughts are what matters. THE PLANET welcomes them here.

      • Dave
        July 27, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

        Tim, If it is really you and you are a union President for any Pittsfield chapter, please get someone to proof read your responses. Obviously you read, and comment when you feel it is necessary, so when you do respond to a comment, at least use correct grammar because if the head of a union doesn’t know the difference between Your and You’re or You are???!!!??!! I don’t think it’s really you– you can’t be that stupid.

        • Tim Bartini
          July 27, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

          So sorry “Dave” I’m a fire fighter not a English teacher. Do you want me to put out your fire or proof read your writings?

          • Dave
            July 28, 2013 at 7:46 am #

            So sorry “Timmy” but I want the head of one of the three biggest unions in the city to be literate- I know this is Pittsfield and that is a lot to ask, but I assume you are involved in contract negotiations and grant writing, so being in a leadership position comes with certain expectations- oh nevermind, this is Pittsfield!

          • danvalenti
            July 28, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

            DAVE
            I always appreciate Tim Bartini’s participation here. One thing I have always respected about Tim is that he posts under his real name. When I had my talk show, he was an occasional call-in, and he always identified himself by name. Can’t argue with that. Plus, he often has good things to add to the discussion.

          • danvalenti
            July 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

            TIM
            I will choose you for fire fighting, any and every day!

    • danvalenti
      July 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      MIKE
      I’m not “dismissing” you as a GOB type. I’m “identifying” you as a GOP type. You do not realize it, apparently, but by virtue of having office and being part of the government that presided over the continuing decline of the city, you shall always be an adjunct member of the GOB. That being said, your statement “… a GOB type — whatever that is — ” is hilarious.

      • Mike Ward
        July 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

        You have deftly attempted to change the subject, Dan. But the topic at hand is that you’re apparently trying to torpedo DTR’s nascent campaign for reasons we may never know. I shall join the other posters who said they plan on hearing what this candidate has to say before judging her.

        • danvalenti
          July 28, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

          MIKE
          I respect your point of view, but (a) I have not changed the subject. I’ve explained the subject, since so many misinterpreted my first comments on this topic … and (b) I am not trying to torpedo (or boost, for that matter) anyone’s campaign. I’ve merely raised reasonable questions. I, too, will join you and other who plan to listen to what this candidate has to say, modifying my initial observations or not, based on what I hear. Remember, I do not vote in Pittsfield. I am the neutral observer, trying to view all from an omniscient point of view, almost like the third-person narrator of a novel.

  18. Ron Kitterman
    July 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    If a GOB is driving around in a 1978 Dodge Charger chasing Miss Daisy in hot pants, then sign me up. If being a GOB is special privileges and consideration from the administration, my application is on file waiting for return. As many of you know, I had to retire from politics several years ago due to ill health, the voters got sick of me.

    • danvalenti
      July 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

      RON
      THe GOB reference was to Ward and Bartini.

  19. Jonathan Melle
    July 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    I wonder what would happen first:
    * Winning the lottery for over a million dollars
    -or-
    * Getting a good paying job in Pittsfield?

    • Dave
      July 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      Jonathan, for you -Winning the lottery. You have made your point, nothing that Pittsfield does will make you happy. Sorry, but when I see your posts of more than 20(lol) lines I don’t even read them. I know where they are going. I have no problem with you sharing your views-that Is why we read this blog, but you need to be objective, times change, people change and if you don’t know the players anymore?!?

      • Jonathan Melle
        July 27, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

        I like Mayor Dan Bianchi. I think he is a good man. I believe Mayor Dan Bianchi can change Pittsfield for the better.
        I like Dan Valenti. He makes a lot of good points about Pittsfield politics.
        In Pittsfield:
        * Thousands of people have left the area in the past couple of decades. Pittsfield had 60,000 residents. Now, it has 40,000.
        * Teen pregnancies and welfare caseloads double the statewide average. There are more poor people receiving welfare assistance than have private sector jobs.
        * Pittsfield and Berkshire County is the #1 place in Massachusetts for job loss.
        * The number 1 employer in Pittsfield is the City of Pittsfield. Thousands of local residents work for Pittsfield and depend on the taxpayers for their financial security.
        * Crime, drugs, gangs, violence are a real problem in Pittsfield.
        * Taxes are very high in Pittsfield with a weak tax base.
        * Pittsfield is a post-industrial community that GE left behind for Wall Street.
        * Pittsfield has toxic levels of PCBs cancer-causing pollution in its water, ground, and air.
        * Pittsfield has under-performing public schools.
        * Pittsfield politics is ran by the Good Old Boy network comprised of inter-related, multi-generational families.
        * Dan Valenti bitches and moans about Pittsfield politics everyday on his blog.

        • danvalenti
          July 28, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

          Thank you, JONATHAN.

  20. Toland
    July 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    As Mr X said DV really knows how to get it going! and thank God. Keep it coming Planet.

    • danvalenti
      July 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Thank you, TOLAND.

  21. Dave Bubriski
    July 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    Looks like DTR is running her business with good business decisions. We could use this type of thinking on the council. I hope she wins a seat.

    • danvalenti
      July 27, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      Yes. Good business decisions: Fool your customers into thinking you’re closing, generate a rush of business for a dying concern, and get lots of BB ink to “boost” your at-large campaign. “Good decision.” But for whom?

    • Dave
      July 28, 2013 at 8:00 am #

      She has done her time sitting in the box seats(where the camera catches you) during various meetings, but I don’t trust the “I am going to run the city like a business” phrase since I bought that line of crap and voted for Ruberto!

      • danvalenti
        July 28, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

        DAVE
        Great point. One of the worst cliches about government is “running it like a business.” Business engages in voluntary transactions with customers. Government provides services to all, whether they want them or not.

  22. dusty
    July 28, 2013 at 3:01 am #

    Dan, will you be hosting any debates this year? I hope someone does and ask real questions and demands real answers. No one was better at dodging questions than James Ruberto. He could have written a book on it.

    by the way, what is that mountain of dirt at the Common for? Is it a monument to where the city is headed?

  23. Silence Dogood
    July 28, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    With all the conspiracy theories you are sounding more like Dan Brown than Dan Valenti.

    P.S. I hear that Mazzeo’s changed their lasagna to ensure the re-election of Mellisa.

    • danvalenti
      July 28, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

      SILENCE
      I’m a better writer than Brown.

  24. Ron Kitterman
    July 28, 2013 at 4:36 am #

    Spot dead on Dusty my money is on Larry Kratka … That age old question why are you running ? which is a tuffy or How about How are You going to bring about economic development to the city ?

  25. Dave
    July 28, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    Or we could have Sturgeon do them. He can ask the same puffball questions then go off on a tangent for 5 minutes at a time. In a one hour program, each candidate will only have to speak for about 10 minutes, saying the usual “we need to create jobs, support education, blah blah blah” with no specifics needed.

  26. Toland
    July 28, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Yes, have Kratka do the debates and get a bunch of mumbled softball questions. Have Sturgeon and get questions just as easy but more long winded. Have DV do the debate and put the candidates on the hot seat with sharp pointed and relevant questions.Since sponsors of debate don’t want to rile the GOB count on Kratka.. the man who caved into political pressure as he admitted when he was ordered to cancel Sturgeons show. Pretty spineless if you ask me.

  27. joetaxpayer
    July 28, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    I think what happened to BBB is interesting. The Berkshire bird cage thought so too. They had a big head line in the paper proclaiming the resurrection of the beads. Me personally I could care less. My reason for me not voting for her, is after listening to her show she’s shown me to be a conformist. She will be no different than the tax and spend councilors we already have in the council. It is time for new ideas to save taxpayers money.

    • danvalenti
      July 28, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

      JOE
      You never know about someone until they get into office, but by the available evidence as a talk show host and as a “box seat” sitter, it appears that she will provide another vote for Big Government and against taxpayers.

  28. Ben Weldon
    August 3, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Wasn’t DTR the City Solicitor back in the 1980s? What was her record back then? Might be an indicator of what she’ll do in the future.

    Ben

    • danvalenti
      August 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

      BEN
      To my knowledge, no. She was not solicitor back then.