PLANET ADVISES PITTSFIELD SCHOOL COMMITTEE TO CREW CUT … SPEAKING OF WHICH, WHEN IS A ‘CUT’ NOT A ‘CUT’? WHEN IT’s A MULTIMILLION RAISE … plus … IS ANDY NUCIFORO GOING TO POT?
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, AUG. 27, 2013) — As Pittsfield’s public schools continue to reel in an amalgamation of falling test scores, increasing drop out rates, graduates unprepared for college and the workplace, the growing problem of the misuse of technology and smart phones, and all the rest of it, it’s comforting to know that the schools may be taking action, even if it is watery.
The school committee will be “testing the waters” on an idea that makes about as much sense as tacking up a Jell-O cube to a bulletin board.
Recently, PPS athletic director Jim Abel sent a letter to the Pittsfield School Committee. Abel wants to add crew to the school athletics program.
You heard it right: Crew.
Forget the basics. Reading, writing, math — they’re all so passe. What the kids need is a little rowing. Paddle, paddle, paddle. Might be good for their self-esteem.
THE PLANET advises the school committee to sink to Davy Jones’ locker this one before it gets one foot off shore.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE FOLLOWS THROUGH ON COUNCIL’S ‘CUT’ of $200Gs FROM SCHOOL BUDGET, or, WHEN IS A ‘CUT’ NOT A ‘CUT’?
School department asst. supt. for business and finance Kristen Behnke took her “cough syrup” like a big girl at the most recent school committee meeting. The school committee “cut” the FY14 operating budget by $200,000. Oh, don’t get your Pop Tarts toasted. The school committee didn’t suddenly grow a set of gonads. The committee was merely following the the city council’s June vote to trim that amount from the school budget.
Since then, the GOB, the Vested Interests, and anyone whose living depends on the public teat have bleated about the horrific “cut” in the school’s budget. Fact is, Pittsfield taxpayers will have to pay nearly $2 million more to operate the budget from FY13. Some “cut,” eh?
Behnke told the committee the schools will be spreading the $200Gs over a variety of accounts, including vocational supplies, computers, phone, library, and testing. Committeewoman Kathy Amuso cast the lone vote against the move. She wanted the entire $200,000 to be taken from the fuel account, as the city council proposed.
Amuso made a good point: Multiple cuts over many areas broaden the impact. There’s no need to wonder what happens if the fuel account runs short. The city would find additional funds from they very stones themselves at the first story of any of “The Children” going cold this winter. If the winter continues on the mild to average side, as it has been for two years, the problem won’t even come up. If worse comes to absolute worst, the city might consider the admittedly desperate but nonetheless decidedly necessary move of …
… cutting crew.
IS ANDY NUCIFORO RELYING ON POLITICAL CONNECTIONS TO SECURE ONE OF 35 MEDICAL MARIJUANA FACILITIES?
Is former state senator and defeated congressional candidate Andrea Nuciforo getting into the pot business? He’s trying.
The Boston Herald ran this article on Saturday, written by Chris Cassidy. Pay particular attention to the last two paragraphs:
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The Bay State’s prospective pot peddlers include doctors, lawyers, former Beacon Hill lawmakers and the owner of a hemp clothing boutique — just some of the 181 applicants feverishly competing to open the newly legal dispensaries in what experts predict will be a $1 billion industry.
“We’ve been in the cannabis field longer than anyone else here in Massachusetts,” said Jonathan Napoli, who owns The Hempest, a hemp clothing shop on Newbury Street and in Harvard Square. “We’re local players. We’re not coming in from Colorado or California or anything.”
Napoli wants to open Planting Hope — the name of his proposed pot dispensary — in Dennis, Salem and Boston, though he declined to discuss specific locations.
Officials yesterday released the names of those vying for the 35 medical marijuana dispensary permits the state is doling out the first year of the new law. Also released were the counties — but not the towns — where they hope to set up shop.
“It does seem like a real lot, to be honest with you,” said Lynnfield Town Administrator Bill Gustus. “It would lead me to believe it must be a lucrative business.”
But Napoli said there are no big-money guarantees in the marijuana industry.
“There are a lot of expenses involved,” said Napoli. “But the price will only come down as more states start regulating. It remains to be seen how profitable it’s going to be. I see a lot of optimistic projections, but I think there will be some unknown bumps down the road.”
The biggest, he said, will be persuading cities and towns to allow the dispensaries in their communities. Lynnfield, for example, passed a moratorium that will bar the pot shops from setting up there until the town can work out specific regulations — a process that could take until next spring.
Cities and towns aren’t allowed to permanently ban the dispensaries from their communities, but they can zone where they can and can’t locate.
“In some cases … it’s a knee-jerk reaction, that people are anti-cannabis” Napoli said. “There is a lot of fear of the unknown out there. But a lot of towns … are rational about it.”
Five of the applicants are listed as doctors and the names of two are followed by “Esq.,” a common indication that they are lawyers. At least two former state senators — Republican Brian P. Lees and Democrat Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. — are listed as contact names for dispensaries. Lees could not be reached. Nuciforo is one of five applicants in Hampshire County and hopes to open Kind Medical Inc..
“We think that a dispensary should be patient-centered, it should be safe, secure and allow fair access to patients that need it,” Nuciforo said. “We think we can accomplish that for Western Mass.”
Long-tiome Nuciforo critic Jonathan Melle, who altered THE PLANET to Nuciforo’s latest business venture, asks a reasonable question: “Is Nuciforo using his political connections to receive one of the 35 medical dispensary permits in Massachusetts?”
Seeing as how this sort of “Who You Know” strategy has been elevated into a corrupt art form in Massachusetts, would it strain credulity to consider this as a possibility?
“Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying; / My dog and I are old, too old for roving” — John Masefield, opening lines, “On Growing Old.”
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.
This leads to a fair question, first raised by long-time Nuciforo foe Jonathan Melle: