WANT TO REGISTER YOUR DISSATISFACTION WITH PITTSFIELD POLITICS? WRITE-IN VOTE WILL ALLOW YOUR TO ‘STICKER’ IT TO ‘EM … plus … PLANET INVITES BIANCHI TO A ONE-ON-ONE, BROADCAST SIT-DOWN; INVITATION SENT TUESDAY BUT NO WORD YET FROM MAYOR
By DAN VALENTI
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:
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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:
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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.”
PLANET INVITES MAYOR BIANCHI TO SIT-DOWN BROADCAST; BIANCHI ANSWERS IN BEATLE FASHION: “NO REPLY” … YET
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.
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 email@example.com. 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).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.
LOVE TO ALL.