PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY, AUG. 6-7, 2013) — The ABBAnti-Belvedere Blockheads — is a group of Lenox citizens that represents the worst side of activism, which we can call “NIMBY, monied, and over-scrupulous.” This combination produces the opposite of a true citizen activist, namely, a “budinsky.” The ABB, whose official name is Friends of Kennedy Park,  opposed a beautiful, heartfelt memorial created by a father to honor his dead son on the spurious grounds that town officials did not follow proper procedure.

The town has admitted its error on the paperwork, and that should have been the end of it. Nope. The ABB sued the town, only to find a judge rule in favor of the memorial and against the ABB. That should have ended it. Nope.

Court Decision Rules in Favor of the Memorial and the Town

The Blockheads took their assertions to court. There, they met the town. After both sides had stated their cases, Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger ruled in favor of the town of Lenox on July 8. Common sense prevailed over painstaking punctiliousness. Briger threw the ABB’s suit out of court on its keister.

The ABB’s selfishness in putting their own private agenda against the common good has caused consternation throughout the community. Ken Fowler, chairman of the town select board, blasted the ABB’s actions. Fowler made an excellent point, that the town offered many alternatives to court action, from binding arbitration to changing the design of the memorial. The ABB rejected these good-will offers.

The ABB has filed an appeal of the judge’s decision. This needless court action will hit Lenox taxpayers in the pocket to mount another defense. THE PLANET hopes there will be a provision that requires the Blockheads to pay for all court costs when, not if, they lose again.

All of this may be premature, because as of yet, no court has agreed to waste its time with the ABB’s frivolous appeal.



On Monday, a bunch of statehouse hacks wrangled a free vacation to The Berkshires. The beautiful scheme, launched by state rep. Cory Atkins (D-Newburyport) and Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport), diguised the junket by giving it the name of a “listening tour.” These two layabouts that chair the house-senate Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development held so-called public hearings in Pittsfield yesterday to see if there is tourism is important to the Berkshires.

Yes, they had to travel all the way from Newburyport via Beacon Hill to answer the burning question: “Uh, gee, do you think tourism is an important industry for The Berkshires during July and August?” Riding high into Berkshire County on the taxpayer’s dime, Atkins and Ives gave lifts to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth “Granny” Warren, state house Speaker Robert DeLeo, and other self-important hacks.

Granny and DeLeo “testified” about tourism in The Berkshires during July and August. Apparently, you can’t have a “listening tour” if there’s no one to listen to. With sequestration, war, a busted economy, punishing taxes, you’d think these Democrats would have better issues to ponder n Washington and on Beacon Hill.

Ives claims “the listening tour has given the committee valuable feedback on the needs and benefits of tourism to local communities, education, and small businesses. I look forward to listening to area stakeholders in the sectors of tourism, arts, and culture on the challenges and successful strategies in these important areas of our economy.” Ives probably has a staffer on board to write such turgid prose, for it doesn’t sound anything like what a human being would say.

The key phrase in Ives’ statement is “area stakeholders.” Now, since citizens are nominally the owners of government, you would think she meant Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, but you know much better than that. When a hack like Ives uses “area stakeholders” in this context, she means the Players, not the Little Guys. She’s talking put, unadulterated GOB here.

In that respect, we wonder if Megan Whilden testified on the grand success of the Storefront Artists Project, which has taken a series of empty storefronts in downtown Pittsfield and made them worse by dousing them with junk “art” of the kind that taxpayer-supported mediocrity produces. You know, if you put an infinite number of six-year olds in a room with an infinite amount of finger paints and paper, eventually, one of the Little Darlins will paint the “Mona Lisa” or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Short of that, we have Storefront Artists Project.

THE PLANET certainly hopes that Mike Supranowicz, the Pillsbury Doughboy of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, testifies on the “listening tour” about one of his greatest successes. That would be his order to Berkshire Young Professionals (BEEPERS). Following the chance meeting of Meredith Nilan and unarmed pedestrian Peter Moore in the chilly evening hours of Dec. 11, 2011, Supranowicz ordered that any photographs taken of BEEPERS be done only if they weren’t holding drinks in their hands.

Our local profiles-in-courage nearly wet themselves over the “listening tour.” State rep. Paul Mark, shilling as well as its ever been done for the GOB, called the tour a “great opportunity.” For what? For giving state reps a chance to schmooze at Tanglewood with the colleagues on the taxpayer’s credit card? Mark also pointed out that “I have worked hard” in connection with the “listening tour.”  Look, when a politician, especially a GOB pol, talks about his or her “hard work,” that’s the time to look for the bon bons.

THE PLANET would ask Mark to explain his idea of “hard work?” Operating an asphalt drill to bust up pavement when it’s 97 degrees and humid? That’s hard work. Digging with a pick-axe for coal deep within the bowels of the earth? That’s hard work. Clanging wine glasses filled with “free” wine on the porch of Blantyre with a room full of GOB suck-ups? That’s not hard work. These clueless state reps do not understand that, apparently.

Ever one to capture the sense of the moment as if he were reciting “The Gettysburg Address,” Fourth Berkshire District state rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli uttered this immortal line: “I’m looking forward to a great hearing and tour.”

Berkshire Visitors Bureau president Laurie Klefos also couldn’t contain herself, uttering litanies of praise and thanksgiving. She thanked the state reps that provide the money for her cushy, “make work” job for coming to the Berkshires for a free good time … uh, we mean, for the “listening tour.” Just as beings from another world who landed here and tried to figure out what Mike Supranowicz does, they would run into an even bigger question mark with Klefos. Supranowicz and Klefos have been heading the jobs effort for the Berkshire County economy by creating two jobs: a con job and a snow job.

That’s why we give them the Big Bucks, Ladies and Gentlemen.


Finally, only in Pittsfield and only in the Boring Broadsheet Dept. …

… We have this headline, recently posted on page 1 of the B section above the fold: “Pittsfield — Parrot thief back to jail: The man convicted of stealing a bird in March will now do time for not registering as a Level 3 sex offender.” Some things cannot be satirized.

Polly want a cracker?

In this case, we seriously doubt it.


“Look on and jeer! Not Satan’s thunder-quake / Can cause the mighty walls of heaven to shake / As they do now, to hear a boy’s heart break.”John Betjeman, last stanza, “An Incident in the Early Life of Ebenezer Jones, Poet, 1828” (1940)




  1. Bull Durham
    August 7, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    Perhaps the ‘listening tour’ should have happened in early January, when the local hotels and restaurants are ghost towns and the service industry (except for the slopes) locally lays off much of its staff for most of the winter. A family member used to work for a coffee shop in a prime ‘tourism’ location here in the beautiful Berkshires, and every January she would lose two-thirds of her hours until April. Getting a sampling of tourism in the Berkshires in summer is like trying to gauge whether Salem is busy during October.

  2. Ron Kitterman
    August 7, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Too bad the listening program wasn’t scheduled last month when the Bacon Hill delegation was doing the SNAP challenge. Where they ran out to Big Y and Shoprite with $37.50 each to raise awareness about the dimensions of poverty in the Berkshires equal to the assistance from food stamps. Oh, I’m sorry EBT benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

    • Scott
      August 11, 2013 at 4:34 am #

      Oh snap Ron!

  3. tito
    August 7, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    ,,,,,,,,Good stuff’ Ron, keep it coming,,,,,,,,

  4. Bill Sturgeon
    August 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    I agree with Bull Durham. If they really wanted to help the businesses of the Berkshires they should visit in the dead of winter.

    Ron, in my EBTprogram needs a complete overhaul. Good reporting, Ron.

  5. GMHeller
    August 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    Mr. Valenti:
    According to the police report on file at the Pittsfield Police Department, the parrot claimed the sex was by mutual consent, and they met on Twitter.

    • raider50
      August 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      they met on “tweeter”

  6. Giacometti
    August 7, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    I am so tired of hearing about the Storefront Artists Project…the fact is that is was a complete sham…run by the GOB’s who don’t know the difference between Norman Rockwell and Mark Rothko.
    Can we please stop praising this group of do nothings that have been out of business for the past five years ?

    As for the parrot fiasco I think it was a case of assault with a dead weapon.

  7. dusty
    August 8, 2013 at 1:30 am #

    Still wondering what is going on at the common with all the dirt piles.

    that whole project looks like it was created to send taxpayer money to friendly contractors

    • Magic
      August 8, 2013 at 9:12 am #

      That’s how I see it too

  8. Ron Kitterman
    August 8, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    I wonder if ” Smitty” got to show them the BELVEDERE monument, See while you argue about things like the transportation budget, and adding a buck or two the smokes or a few pennies to the gas tax. We have more important issues here in the Berkshires to ponder like our scenic beauty and jobs for the middle class.

  9. Pat
    August 9, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    Does anybody know where the jobs are in Pittsfield? If people do know, they’re not saying, which I guess is because there are so few jobs.

    • danvalenti
      August 9, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      There are the Con Jobs and the Snow Jobs that the GOB have created for themselves, and little else.

      • Pat
        August 9, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

        I have to agree with you. Finding a job that is steady and reliable in this area is extremely difficult.

    • dusty
      August 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

      If you kiss the right asses in Pittsfield long enough they will create a cushy position for you. Do you mind working along side politicians?

      • Pat
        August 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

        I love politics, but dislike politicians. Does that make sense?

        • Scott
          August 11, 2013 at 4:37 am #

          Pat, it makes perfect sense. Start a small business it’s your only hope. I have two and may pick up a part time bus boy job to keep up with the tax.