PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, AUG. 16, 2013) — Let us begin with an interesting possibility, raised by for county selectman Ron Kitterman: Given that Mayor Dan Bianchi has no formal opposition — that is, no one took out and competed nomination papers — Kitterman proposed that voters who wish not to support Bianchi write in either Terry Kinnas or Yours Truly. As you may know, every paper ballot has a blank line. On that line, you can write in the name of anyone you wish.

In past elections, Deputy Dawg (last sheriff’s race), Adolph Hitler (council at large), and Greta Garbo (school committee) have garnered votes. Mickey Mouse is a perennial favorite. In fact, most voters have been so disgusted with the political process in Pittsfield (and please, don’t tell us its everywhere … we know, already) stay away from the polls completely. This is how the GOB engineers election victories for its political stooges. Of those who vote, they leave lots of offices blanks.

The Blanks win a lot of elections. During one of then-Ward 6 councilor Dan Bianchi‘s last re-election bids, the blanks beat him in one of Ward 6’s precincts. Since he is unopposed, since he barely won backing of 1/4 of the electorate in his narrow victory last year over Peter Marchetti, and since he lost practically all the city’s 14 precincts to Marchetti (something like 12 out of 14, but don’t quote THE PLANET on that), one would think The Blanks have a good chance of out-tallying Bianchi in Campaign ’13.

Now, as a thought experiment: Instead of leaving the write-in line without a name … instead of leaving “mayor” blank, as many will do … instead of not voting at all … what if, for the sake of argument, the electorate participated in a radical, table-overturning political experiment. What if they loosely “organized” to vote for the same person as write-in candidate for mayor? What is they wrote in not a fictitious character or a dead one from history but a real, life person? What would happen?

Want to do it?

As we responded to Kitterman in the comment section from yesterday’s PLANET, we cannot speak for Kinnas, but we would encourage a write-in for “Dan Valenti.” That doesn’t mean we plan to run an actual sticker campaign, at least not at this moment, but we don’t want to do anything that would get in the way of offering at least token opposition to an unopposed incumbent. THE PLANET proposes that the mere act of writing in “Dan Valenti” will act as a catharsis for those Dan Bianchi supporters from 2011 who feel disappointed and let down by the Dan Bianchi of these past two years.

Can we legally run a sticker campaign, not being registered to vote in Pittsfield? We posed that question to city clerk Linda Tyer. Here’s the reply:

—– 00 —–

FROM THE CITY CLERK’S OFFICE:  I am writing in response to your question:  “What are the residency requirements of a person wishing to run a sticker campaign for mayor in the municipal general election? Can a person run while not a resident of the city, only to promise to reside in the city if that person should win? Or does that person need to switch residency first?”   Section 15 of the city charter states the following:  

“At each biennial election the following officers shall be elected in the following manner:  A mayor, by and from the qualified voters of the city for term of two years.” 

The operative phrase here is “by and from.”  The mayor is elected “BY” the qualified voters and “FROM” the qualified voters.  To be a qualified voter a person must be registered in the City of Pittsfield 20 days prior to the election.  Therefore, to win as a write-in candidate the person must be a registered voter in the City of Pittsfield at least 20 days prior to the election and receive more votes than any other candidate for that office.

You also asked what other requirements would such a candidate need to know.  I’ll refer you to this “how to” guide published by the Secretary of State. Anyone running a write-in campaign in Pittsfield should refer to the section of the guide for Scanners.  I will use this guide as a resource for the municipal election.  Here’s the link:

—– 00 —–

According to Tyer, if a sticker candidate registers to vote in Pittsfield “at least 20 days prior to an election” that person could run and win. Kinnas, Valenti, or anyone else would have to be a registered voter in Pittsfield at least 20 days before voters go to the polls in November.

Of course, in the likelihood that Kinnas, Yours Truly, or Mr. Miacca does not actually campaign and does nothing more than lick a stamp or a gaggle of wildflowers, a write-in vote, as we just noted, would be a dramatic “stick-it-to-em” form of balloting. It’s far more satisfying by leaving the office blank and greatly more productive than not voting at all. Who knows? Maybe we could even force a debate or two. Wouldn’t that be fun?!

Send a statement to city hall. Consider a write-in vote. For “Dan Valenti.”



Speaking of which, given that (a) Mayor Bianchi has no official opponent, and (b) considering his stated desire to have a forum in which to discuss the issues, at 11:01 p.m. on Tuesday, we sent the mayor the following e-mail:

In view of the fact that you face no opposition, and in light of your stated goal to be able to discuss the important issues facing Pittsfield voters, I am invitied you to a sit-down with me, on live TV/radio, at a day and time mutually convenient. Actually, I would be willing to host something on a regular basis, to act not only as a “moderator” but also as a kind of stand-in “opponent,” who will raise questions and raises items for debate pertaining to your record as mayor and your view of the next two years. Please let me know of your willingness to do this, and we can take the next steps to getting this done. It would be a great service to the electorate of Pittsfield.
Many thanks,

As of press time, we have not heard from the mayor or his office — not a peep. Not a creature has stirred in the Corner Office, not even a mouse. If you would like to see this tete-e-tete between THE PLANET and the mayor, we would encourage you to contact the mayor. His e-mail address is The phone number is (413) 499-9321. FAX: 499-9463.

THE PLANET has many questions, of course, including the names — specifics — on the mayor’s claim that many former political opponents have change their minds about him after seeing him in office and in action. When the mayor said this, he didn’t include one example, nor was he pressed to provide them. Jimmy Ruberto? Barry Clairmont? Terry Kinnas? Who are all these unnamed people?

It’s interesting that if you go on Pittsfield’s dreadful website (one full of puff but relatively little in terms of hard, useful information), the link to the “Mayor’s Office” doesn’t include his e-mail. Also, the link called “CONTACT” isn’t hot. Click on it. It leads nowhere. Beautiful. We wonder: Is “opaque” the new “transparency?”


“We had stood by a pond that winter day, / And the sun was white, as though chidden of God, / And a few leaves lay on the starving sod; / — They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.”Thomas Hardy, opening staza, “Neutral Tones,” (1967, 1898).




  1. Tim
    August 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    While giving voters a choice is great, why wouldnt you have gone through the standard channels prior to election season. I remeber blogs from several months ago in which you stated you might run etc. and maybe that was, as well as this is, all tongue in cheek. But you could have arranged to do it “properly” and be a more legit candidate at least several weeks ago when papers were available and then due. Not to mention with all of the inside info you tend to get, you should have had a good idea well ahead of time that bianchi would be unopposed and the 1 or 2 who took out papers werent going to return them. Now it feels like a cheap stunt, and you are able to ride the fence and use your blog to comment and debate, where as if you run officially most political candidates would step away from the type of reporting you do… Example, didnt krol drop from his good morning show at some point during his campaign?

    • Scott
      August 16, 2013 at 4:39 am #

      Tim, I agree.

  2. Ron Kitterman
    August 15, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    Personally, I don’t see it as a stunt, but as a challenge. Shouldn’t the whole concept of self government to be tested. Shouldn’t the mayor or any other office holder be held accountable to respond to Dan Valenti’s challenge of an interview ?
    As far as Mr. Krol is concerned, the reason he left his radio show was due to FCC rules. The same rules that apply to Donna Todd-Rivers ( WBRK) and others. He still has a web site to reach the voters and constituents. ( ) So, why would Valenti have to give up his website during this period ? The more information We the People have the better , in my opinion.
    The difficulties confronting a candidate who seeks election as a “sticker” or “write-in” candidate when another candidates’ name is printed on the ballot are substantial. The time, effort, and expense of such a candidacy make the task monumental.
    This being said, for one I would like to see an exchange of ideas from Valenti and Bianchi and will formally request it to the Mayor. It’s my belief the more information we have from our elected officials, the media, and potential candidates either on the ballot or off, the better.

  3. dusty
    August 16, 2013 at 1:17 am #

    I like the idea. Bianchi lost me when he lined up with the despicable school committee. He proved he was not a man of the people right then.

    And a question I would like to see debated should such a debate occur is, “Are you in favor of the new city charter?” In a city as corrupt as Pittsfield why would we want any mayor to have four years to dominate the power. This city charter revision stacks the deck further against the citizens and I hope to hell it does not gain traction.

    • levitan
      August 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

      How about this then.

      Four years for the mayor, one term only.

      Two years is ridiculous and means the mayor must spend one year leading, one year defending the rear.

      Or, how about first term 4 years, subsequent terms 2?

      You are concerned about ingrown mayors feeling like ingrown toenails. Yet, Pittsfield and North Adams have suffered double digit heroes who made it just fine on the 2 year terms,

      • dusty
        August 18, 2013 at 2:29 am #

        I think our interpretation of heroes differ dramatically. Most men cannot control their power and Ruberto and Barrett are prime examples. But yes limiting to one 4 year term is better than unlimited 4 year terms. I am still voting “hell no” against this new city charter.

  4. Ron Kitterman
    August 16, 2013 at 1:29 am #

    Great post Dusty, I’m in agreement with you concerning the charter question, In this sleeper of an election year shouldn’t we at least hear from the incumbent Mayor to defend or at least comment on the charter, before we send it off to Boston and 14% of the voters ?

  5. Scott
    August 16, 2013 at 4:37 am #

    What if someone got the three hundred signatures necessary and actually took out papers. DV this is a disappointment and only ads to voter apathy as you’ve put it in the past.

  6. JerryPosner
    August 16, 2013 at 4:45 am #

    In the last Select Board election in Sheffield, we had a write-in candidate – Ted Dobson. And he won.

    • levitan
      August 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

      Did he live in Sheffield? Did he actually like Sheffield?? I bet he won too.

      Vote for me. If I win, I promise the following:

      1) I will be surprised.
      2) I will take a leave of absence from my current job (gads that is amusing enough to get everyone to vote for me.)
      3) I will demand a 0 growth budget. Roads, firemen, and civic powers will be reduced if necessary.
      4) I will tell one entertaining story every week.
      5) I will actually smoke a cigar every Shabbat in the courtyard of City Hall
      6) I will give permits free of charge for every resident to own up to five chickens.
      7) I will send a host of Pittsfield engineers across the nation to rustle up cheap real estate in Pittsfield to expand manufacturing.
      8) I will get our state reps to drop broadband pie-in-the-sky crap in bring in mass transit to support PEDA development.
      9) I will encourage every citizen to exercise all of their Bill of Rights, and remind them that the number is 8, not 7.
      10) I will fire TFB.

  7. MrG1188
    August 16, 2013 at 5:56 am #

    Is it just me, or is there absolutely nothing worth reading in the Eagle…at least the online version? I mean, custodians clean the toilets at schools? That’s NEWS?!? And all the other stories on the front page are either soft (review of an event at Ventfort and interviews with 11 year olds about going back to school) or recycled from the last week. Has nothing happened? Are there no issues to address or investigate. Awful

    • dusty
      August 16, 2013 at 7:10 am #

      If you normally read any other newspaper and then you read the Eagle you would think it was a junior high school production. Seriously.
      Awful is the word for sure. For those of you who read the Berkshire Record from Gt Barrington you have a better idea of what a newspaper should look like.

      For many local residents who grew up with the Eagle and accepted its gradual decline into an intelligence insulting, low information tool of the local powers, they may think that is the norm for a newspaper. But once you get outside of the city you see real newspapers and it is like a step back in time. Everyone should try it. It is exhilarating and refreshing.

      • levitan
        August 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

        What about the Pittsfield Gazette? With even no reporters, they cover more ground than the Eagle.

        • hilly Billy
          August 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

          and did you notice how Planet blew the Eagles pants off with the PSC open meeting law violation and Terry Kinnas. Planet broke it last week. Boring broadsheet has it today. Pathetic I hope the new publisher is taking notes.

          • dusty
            August 18, 2013 at 2:31 am #

            they would not have printed it at all if Dan had not put it out there. Another example of how the gob regulates what they are allowed print

        • hilly Billy
          August 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

          and did you notice how Planet blew the Eagles pants off with the PSC open meeting law violation and Terry Kinnas. Planet broke it last week. Boring broadsheet has it today. Pathetic I hope the new publisher is taking notes.

          • levitan
            August 17, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

            I read the story in the Eagle.

            Too little, too late, my friend.

  8. C.J.
    August 16, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Someone suggested a write in campaign for Joe Nichols for Mayor. Didn’t he gather 1100 votes in a last minute write in effort during the last election ?

  9. Russell Moody
    August 16, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    No one should ever run unopposed… ever. Without exchange we become lazy, stop thinking and acting. Why couldn’t we run an online pre-election write in candidate campaign and let the voters decide who the write in should be?

    • levitan
      August 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

      True, and here I actually agree with you. I hate a ’empty’ ballot and have a crummy feeling leaving it blank.

      But, it is the citizen’s duty to run for office. The failure lies with those of us who think they could do better.

      Personally, I’d run against a certain ne’er do well, but my wife has me back into a corner against it. My fault, yes. Is she right, yes, too. I think you know where this leads.

      • levitan
        August 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

        …I have a crummy feeling leaving it blank because even then, I feel like I’m voting for the incumbent.

  10. Jonathan Melle
    August 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    Pittsfield politics is ran by the Good Old Boy network who serves the special interests and not the people.
    I was blacklisted from getting and keeping a job as a young man in Pittsfield over one decade ago. I spoke out about the problems and corruption in Pittsfield politics.
    I do not like following the downward spiral of Pittsfield from my home in Southern New Hampshire. But, Pittsfield is where I grew up and I still care about Pittsfield.

  11. Sheriff Dawg
    August 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    Well I for one will write in DV as mayor. Agree with Ron, Dustry and all the others who said no one should get in scott free.

  12. tito
    August 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    I will be voting for the skunk in the road at the Pecks and Dan Valenti! !!!!!!,,,,the skunk is into the eighth week of visibility,,,,,

  13. Jonathan Melle
    August 16, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Pittsfield politics usually sucks!
    The Good Old Boys run the show.
    They serve the special interests under the banner of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
    Most Pittsfield politicians say they are Democrats, but would be Republicans if that is where the power was in Massachusetts.
    Peter Larkin comes to mind. He is a career Pittsfield politician who said he was a Democrat. But Peter Larkin became a GE lobbyist. You can’t get more Republican than that!
    Pittsfield politics has a weak tax base with high taxes on people with low median incomes.
    There are no Fortune 500 corporations in Pittsfield anymore. GE left Pittsfield for Wall Street.
    Pittsfield politics under Jimmy Ruberto spent millions of GE dollars on revitalizing North Street. No living wage jobs were created!
    Thousands of people left Pittsfield over the past three decades. Thousands of jobs were also lost.
    The only economic indicator that grew in Pittsfield is teen pregnancies doubling the statewide average and welfare caseloads.
    Dan Valenti is not changing Pittsfield politics by writing about all of the sad realities on his blog. But, Dan Valenti’s intentions and heart is in the right place.

  14. tito
    August 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    The P E D A site is a joke.,,,,,,,who in the world is going to provide good paying industrial or tech jobs on that site without asking for the kitchen sink, this Thurston character should be gone, what has he done?,,,,,,,,,,,,,the new school committee will be like the new council, with Riello out of nowhere, and Lowthrowup leading the charge, literally. I was traversing the Taconic High School grounds the other day and was sickened by the warped window and blinds facing the front driveway entrance. Councilman Krol should be ashamed, he does a radio show from the building, also. I have heard in the St. Mark’ area they have had several home and vehicle break ins, have also heard the people in Krol’s Ward are also upset about the new traffic lights and traffic flow near Conte School. Quite frankly, there will be drivers trying to beat the red lights, good luck with that?,,,,,,,

    • levitan
      August 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

      In fact, the PEDA site should remain unchanged just as it is until we do find a way to convert it into middle class generating manufacturing jobs. To say that is ludicrous is to also say that Americans are no longer fit to manufacture.

      Hell, I’d love to see Colt open a plant right here in town – there’s something that we do own, and it’s New England traditions.

      Bring it to the home of Baseball.

  15. tito
    August 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    ,,,,,,,Jonathan, I know your father, good man, and I’m sure your a good person also. But you’re Ike a repeating rifle for krist sakes, change it up a little bit, Gesus Crimers,,,,,,,,,….!

    • levitan
      August 17, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      My comment about his holiness was redacted. Apologies rendered to Geez.H.C

  16. hilly Billy
    August 16, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    A vote for Dan Valenti is a vote for intelligence and the taxpayers. A vote for Dan Bianchi is a vote for higher property taxes, higher water bills, millions more to the schools, etc etc. DV–notDB–has my vote. I will be writing in his name.

  17. Giacometti
    August 17, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    The Aging Greek God had a great way of doing campaign buttons for candidates he supported throughout his years in public office…he would take an old button from some defunct candidate of years past ( ” the Greek God would say ” I’ll use this Elliot Richardson button…because the guy was a bum anyways ” ) , spray paint it bright orange and put new vinyl lettering on it with his candidates name….He only needed a few buttons because only the candidate needed a button and his press secretary needed one. Everyone else could use circular button shape stickers to cut way down in campaign costs. The secret was to run a full campaign at little or no cost and in the end get elected. A sly old fox that Aging Greek God was.

  18. Ron Kitterman
    August 17, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    He told me the story of when the advance crew came to Pittsfield to push JFK and they had some tie clips to give out in a cardboard box. He asked the worker if he could take a few and he replied sure, at that point he stuffed his pockets full of the PT109 tie clips. They probably wondered where they disappeared to. Emery board nail files were his favorite give away.

  19. For B.C.
    August 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Yes Hilly DV showed up the BB…again! Vote for Planet.

  20. levitan
    August 17, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Hey Dan,

    You hit a homerunner – redacting all of my comments!

    Good job. Not one smear, insult, or even a slur or indiscretion. What gives?

  21. T-bone
    August 17, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Following with interest and a couple of thoughts… the mayor has a responsibility to respond. My estimation of him will grow greatly if he is man enough to answer Planet’s challenge. Second as write in for Valenti I don’t vote in Pittsfield but I will recommend it to my family and friends there.

  22. The Kraken
    August 18, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    I do not do write in votes. If a candidate cannot follow the process to get on the ballot, they are, in my humble opinion, not worthy of my vote, nor of office.

    • Rivetor
      August 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      Well that’s your privedge Kraken, of course but if they had a “none of the above” option wouldn’t you use that if you didn’t like the choices? A vote and anyone other than Bianchi and not letting the slot go blank sends a deep strong message, that’s why I;ll be writing in DV for mayor.

  23. Rivetor
    August 18, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    I shall be stickering it to them by writing in Dan Valenti. Also Mayor Bianchi please agree to a TV interview with DV It will greatly help out voters. Thank you Sir.