THE TALE OF TWO COUNCIL ELECTIONS, WITH THE SECOND ONE BEING THE MOST DESPERATE … plus … BIANCHI AD PERFECTLY SUMS UP HIS THE BIG ZERO HE’S PUT ON THE BOARD IN TWO YEARS AS THE GREATEST MAYORAL FLOP IN CITY HISTORY
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, SEPT. 27, 2013) — There will be two elections this year for the city council. In the first, voters from the electorate will select seven ward councilors and four at-large. In the second, the newly formed city council will elect a council president.
This involves some premature analyses of the at-large council race. Jonathan Lothrop is unopposed in Ward 5, and so he will be back. In the at-large race, of the seven candidates, there is at least one close-to-sure lock at this point: Melissa Mazzeo (that being said, anything is possible). MelMaz has as solid a core organization as you can find locally, and in this era of low turnouts, that spells a pump-in. The import of these two developments can be found in that second election.
In 2011, so the insiders say, there was a tacit “promise” from mayor-elect Dan Bianchi that Mazzeo would be the council president. Bianchi lobbied behind the scenes for this outcome, but Lothrop’s supporters returned serve. The deadlock produced a compromise candidate, Kevin Sherman. As VP, instead of going for Mazzeo, Lothrop got the call, buzzing the bonnets of both Mazzeo and Bianchi.
In 2013, with Lothrop a certainty and Mazzeo all but, it promises to be another epic battle for what will likely be a split council: For council president, Lothrop versus Mazzeo.
We have been in contact with these two councilors, and THE PLANET shall be back soon with what they had to say.
BIANCHI AD: LIES, LIES, AND MORE LIES
In a full-page, back-cover ad in the Sept. 19, 2013 issue of the Pittsfield Gazette, Mayor Bianchi touts “Tuesday, September 24th is Primary Day.” The needless ad from a mayor who remains unopposed on the ballot speaks much of horning his own toot. The ad begins with seven color photos:
1. Bianchi talking to Babe Ruth Leaguers.
2. Bianchi on the phone next to a WWII veteran.
3. Bianchi with his wife.
4. Bianchi walking North Street with Sen. Elizabeth “Granny” Warren.
5. Bianchi with a bunch of fourth graders, holding trophies.
6. Bianchi shaking hands with a soldier, surrounded by American flags.
7. Bianchi interviewing girl softballers.
These marshmallow photos perfectly sum of Bianchi’s first term, a two-year hiatus from leadership and the hard choices of good governance in favor of ribbon cuttings, certificate presentations, and heaping helpings of similar mush mouses. The mayor didn’t realize it, but in the ad he perfectly captured his insubstantial, nugatory, ineffectual, two years of Nothing. Bianchi, hailed as a friend of The Little Guy coming in based on the earlier part of his performance as Ward 6 councilor, assumed office with the hopes and expectations of many in the city. He proceeded to lay the biggest egg since Yolk Simpson fried his brains on a Yosemite sidewalk.
The text of the pitiful ad well competes with the pictures in capturing the essence of a man trying desperately to puff himself up, to be the Big Man in light of the fact that he thinks he shall skate free into a second term. He thinks.
He begins: “Thank you to all who have contributed to the important progress our City has made over the past 20 months.”
Bianchi defines “important progress” as “public safety improvement” that has “made Pittsfield a safer community.” THE PLANET disputes that point and calls the mayor out for lying flatter than a sack of guano. There has been no “pubic safety improvement.” Rather, it’s been the opposite. The anecdotal evidence and the evidence that is there for anyone with open eyes and open minds to see: The city become far more dangerous, with shootings, stabbings, drug dealing, domestic violence, and other forms of mayhem becoming the norm, not Sara Hathaway‘s “aberration.” Under Bianchi’s watch, the city has suffered from a major regression in public safety.
Here’s another stinking sack: “And, streamlining the permitting system to make doing business in the City easier, continues to be a top priority.” CAll me Lord Haw Haw on that one. Aside from horrible syntax (his campaign is in dire need of a competent writer), dealing with the city has never been more difficult and, sad to say, more political. Or haven’t you noticed the near complete lack of business development under Bianchi’s watch?
Bianchi blathers, “In my opinion,” nothing is more important than implementing solid plans for the economic future of Pittsfield.” That’s what we in the newsroom at The Post-Standard called a “NS” statement, as in “no shit.” It would be nice if the mayor had actually performed as if nothing was more important these past two years. Also, doesn’t the “In my opinion” reek of the timid defensiveness that has become Bianchi’s hallmark since he went over to the GOB side? He continues, “In my plan for Pittsfield, I proposed many important initiatives that would make this possible.” Naturally, he doesn’t name one of them, because there are none to name. Thus, the mayor continues to play the people who elected him and those who didn’t as suckers.
Forget about the beff. Where is the leadership?
“Our efforts will define the future,” Bianchi intones. Good God, let us hope not. If that is the case, Pittsfield has lost even its slim chance of recovery. Under this mayor, it’s become clear, the city of Pittsfield is doomed.
“From our schools,[sic] to our City’s Charter, we have set a course of positive development, one that ensures progress and promotes excellence.” If Bianchi’s for the charter, sight unseen, a thinking person who cares about Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski should be opposed. THE PLANET shall be eviscerating the proposed new charter in a future column.
Ladies and gentleman, aren’t you tired of the kind of political mush seen in Bianchi’s ad? Aren’t you just about fed up with this sort of say-nothing patronizing? Don’t you want to be treated as adults? Don’t you want someone who isn’t afraid to take on the true challenges that face Pittsfield? The top two are reeling in the out-of-control growth in the city budget and the automatic and steep tax hikes that have been foisted upon taxpayers under a false set of promises?
Dan Bianchi, you have told enough whoppers to the good people of Pittsfield.
Son, you’re going to have to soon start answering for it.
“Lay and laze in moonlight mist / once loved, twice blessed, thrice kissed. / Imagine me in palm-pressed grasp: / one heart, two souls, four hands enclasped.” — Dan Valenti, “Glow-dusk Birth,” (2009)
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.