PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 11, 2013) — If you visit the city of Pittsfield’s website and click on the mayor’s link, you’ll find a side tab labeled “Mayor Dan Bianchi’s 2012 Accomplishments.” It is a ponderous list of breathtaking achievements. THE PLANET would like to share some of it with you. Mayor Dan Bianchi:

Received 391 invitations.  He accepted and attended 259 of these invitations. These included “scouts, ribbon cuttings, dedications, annual meetings, and graduations.” As Deputy Barney Fife once told Sheriff Taylor, “It’s big, Ang. It’s Big!!”

COMMENT: THE PLANET suggests that if the mayor spent half the time he does at ribbon cuttings working on city business, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski would be better off. One wonders if Bianchi, in listing the invitations, counts the multiple times that we invited his comments on pertinent issues. We do know that he has answered none of them since we blew the lid off of Spectrumgate.

Attended 23 school events, listed as “classroom visits, DARE graduations, reading in classrooms, etc.”

COMMENT: THE PLANET rather likes the “etc.” at the end, a catch-all category when the author can’t come up with any more examples. During the DARE graduations, Bianchi congratulated students who complete the DARE classes, wherein they learned all about drugs. In Pittsfield, that means being taught what to smoke, inject, ingest, sniff, or snort, where to get the stuff, and the economics of drug dealing. The most promising of the DARE graduates become entrepreneurs, going into the profitable drug distribution business. THE PLANET wonders is the mayor includes this under “Expanding Small Business.” Under that category in his 2012 accomplishments list, Bianchi writes: “Met with businesses to determine their strategic needs,[sic] and ensure city programs are conducive to growth.” Yeah, and how did that work out for the Kapanskis as well as Mr. Small Businessman? They tax rates went up, again.

Presented 47 certificates.

COMMENT: In what? For what? We don’t know. Who gives a flying twerp? We don’t know the answer to that one, either.

Attended 23 school committee meetings.

COMMENT: That’s his job. He’s a member of the school committee. Why do you list these meetings as if it’s some unusually great feat? Bianchi conveniently ducked the most important one, the one in which Alf Barbalunga and the other four members conducted the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial, illegally persecuting Terry Kinnas for doing too good of a job. The evidence points to Bianchi’s orchestration of that kangaroo proceeding, though he didn’t have the stones to be there that night so that he wouldn’t have to look Kinnas in the eyes, soon to be a movie, “Profiles in Cowardice.”

Attended 24 PEDA board meetings.

COMMENT: THE PLANET forgives you if you wonder what the heck for, since PEDA remains a ghost town 15 years after the signing of the Consent Decree, where GE picked our pocket and got off with pennies on the dollar for polluting the city.

Attended 56 meetings with department head, 41 meetings with individual councilors, 26 council meetings, and 39 “visits” with state and regional officials.

COMMENT: There are numerous other meaningless tallies of this sort in Bianchi’s “Accomplishments.” It reminds us of the office brown-nose who has to generate many useless e-mails and messages, with a cc: to everyone in the company. They do this to show “how busy they are.” THE PLANET asks: If Mayor Bianchi had accomplished anything worth noting in 2012, why would he feel it necessary to pad the list with such purposeless minutia as certificates awarded and ribbon cuttings?

Bianchi includes a good dose of humor in his report. Under “Lawsuits Settled,” he lists: “Spectrum Health Systems, Inc.” Settled? By caving in court and giving Spectrum $100 grand? THE PLANET considers it far from “settled.” Another example of what must be a joke: a heading titled “Creating a Stronger Foundation.” Foundation for what? Pancake makeup for his face when he goes on TV? He lists “Pittsfield Promise”: “Strong advocate; mayor’s office is very involved in this effort.” What effort is that? One of those do-gooder, “feel good” programs that bureaucrats love to create to make it look like they’re doing something about an intractable problem. The problem in this case? Trying to get 90% of Pittsfield third graders to read at grade level by 2020. If there was ever an admission of the failure of the Pittsfield Public School system — the $90+ million PPS — this is it.

Want a knee-slapper? Under “Charter Commission,” Bianchi writes: “Successful cities put politics to the side and concentrate on serving residents …” Uh, yeah, and doesn’t that explain the city’s colossal failure at this for this past generation. Bianchi, a 10-year city councilor and now two years as mayor, has presided over this most political of burgs. “Poison politics,” we call them.

Here’s another howler. Under “City Budget,” Bianchi brags that he “saved” taxpayers $700,000.


Yes, he actually wrote “saved.”

Let’s see. For two straight Bianchi budgets, overall spending is up, homeowners’ tax rate is up, and the commercial tax rate is up. It cost millions more each year to run the city in these two years, with services falling almost as fast as morale in city hall.

Under “Improving Public Safety,” Bianchi “initiated,” “launched,” “created,” “began,” and “applied” a bunch of stuff, but none of it mattered. Under Bianchi’s two years as mayor, crime has continued its upward track, drug use and abuse has exploded, response time is down, and the city isn’t safe after dark.

Finally, Bianchi has a heading, the lead one: “Attracting New Business: PEDA.” We learn that he expanded the PEDA board to 11, “appointed new members with key areas of expertise,” “created subcommittees,” and has “work[ed] aggressively.” He doesn’t say how many new businesses were attracted to the site in his two years. The number is Z-E-R-O.

As an example of satire, albeit unintended, Prof. Valenti would give this a passing grade. As an example of fiction, again, we’d pass it along. Taken as non-fiction, expository prose, however, we must tell the mayor that he has an “F.” This is not only his grade for 2012 but for his entire first term.

Bianchi has been a political hack, a man who left his wise judgment in the vestibule and replaced it with the most narrow-minded and petty political puerilism.

This calls for two votes, one in September and, more importantly, one in November: Write in “Dan Valenti,” your “None of the Above” (NOTA) “candidate.”


“On that Indiana stairway / Gleams Cinderella’s show. / Upon that mighty mountainside / Walks Snow White in the dew.”Vachel Lindsay, lines from “When the Mississippi Flowed in Indiana.” (1920)






  1. #nomorebianchi
    September 11, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    Two years ago you endorsed Dan Bianchi for mayor over Peter Marchetti. Do you regret that DV? I will not be voting for the mayor. He has done nothing just like it was said in the last campaign. Dan is a great BS-ER he fooled all those people into voting for him just do he could pad his pension. He is as useful as tits on a bull. He should resign and stick to working bingo at st marks church

  2. Ron Kitterman
    September 11, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    Great points Dan, on this date back in 2001 I was listening to Dan on his WBRK radio show, sitting in a Pittsfield police cruiser when a local, known to us as a window washer, train enthusiast knocked on my window and started rambling on about planes flying into buildings. I asked him if he was alright and he continued his rant, the light turned green and it wasn’t till I got to the now dilapidated police station that I found out he was correct in his assessment. Myself, I’m not a big fan of a new charter either and if the Mayor still refuses to grant an interview with the Planet, I can be convinced with little pressure to write in your name for the office of Mayor.

  3. Still wondering
    September 11, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    The Mayberry connection was very funny Dan. Regarding our mayor, the record shows that he basically showed up where and when he was supposed to. It IS an improvement over the previous mayor.

    • Foxy Lady
      September 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      Im not sure he’s showed up or is showing up. There is a lot of talk in city hall about the mayor slipping away a couple days of week to his office in the old First Aggie bank to work for the energy company Global which he worked for full time before he became mayor. If that is true …

      I am going to write in Mr. Valenti for mayor. I don’t often agree with his views but I think his critique of the mayor are on target .

      • Gatos
        September 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

        I’ve heard that this mayor works some parts of 3 days a week. I tried to get an appointment on a Monday or Friday…he’s never in.
        $86K or whatever for a part-time gig…not bad if you can get another lucrative part-time job to pay the bills!

  4. joetaxpayer
    September 11, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    Wow, Pittsfield needs a mayor not Mrs Pittsfield. Maybe his Executive Secretary could go to some of these events, so he could get some real work done.

  5. Pat
    September 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    I love it!! The famous Scopes Monkey Trial as a description of the Terry Kinnas persecution by the GOB. I am cracking up over that one. Very funny Dan.

    • joetaxpayer
      September 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Pat, Was funny, sad thing is they still don’t get it. Heard a couple of cronies on the radio crying about it. They feel these laws do not apply to the PTO. Also it is a deterrent for getting parents involved. Well fellows if you advertised the meetings and unlocked the door I think you might get more participation.

    • danvalenti
      September 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

      Thanks, Pat.

  6. Pat
    September 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Why is it that I keep applying for jobs at Pittsfield City Hall that I am extremely qualified for, but I don’t even get a call for an interview? Can somebody tell me what is going on at City Hall?

    • C.J.
      September 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      Do you reside in Pittsfield and pay taxes to the city ? If you do it is a major detriment. For example, The Pittsfield Personnel Director lives in Sheffield. The Pittsfield Community Development Director and the Pittsfield Health Dept. Director, live in NY state. The Pittsfield Finance Director lives in Cheshire. The Pittsfield Building Inspector lives in Hinsdale. The Pittsfield Veteran Services Mgr. lives in Richmond. The CEO of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority lives in Williamstown. the Pittsfield Tax Assesor lives in Adams. And so on and so on.
      The response to this residency question is always that there are no qualified candidates living in Pittsfield. Wouldn’t this reasoning also apply to city councilors, mayors, etc.?
      Should any of these stated residencies be erroneous, and the city official reside within Pittsfield, I apologize and will gladly stand corrected.
      Since these employees are paid from Pittsfield city coffers and receive Pittsfield perks and pensions, over time is Pittsfield’s unfunded liabilities ( like Detroit) impacted ?

      • Magic
        September 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

        At one time I was Tax Collector for the Town of Windsor. In order to hold an office in town you had to be a resident. I think it is probably still true.

        Why is this not true in Pittsfield?

        • magic
          September 11, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

          I now know these are not elected positions sorry

          • NBI
            September 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

            The Director of Building Maintenance lives in Lanesboro.

      • dusty
        September 12, 2013 at 2:02 am #

        Oh gee …maybe they should put this stipulation in the new city charter.

        Except then that might cut out favors to friends of the connected.

        Don’t look for it…it won’t be in there.

      • CarlosDanger
        September 12, 2013 at 7:35 am #

        CJ, thank you for that info – I was not aware all these people did not reside in Pittsfield. It should not matter if it’s an elected position or not, residents in Pittsfield should always get first dibs on a city job.

  7. Joe Blow
    September 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    I posted on here a few month back about Bianchi’s list of so called accomplishments…..what a joke! His policies are the exact same as Roberto and Doyle,nothing has changed only the hole getting deeper. When I think of all of the taxpayer money being wasted on the arts and North St. it makes my blood boil. If we spent that money bringing in living wage jobs,downtown would revitalize itself organically. In the news again this week PEDA is in talks with the same retail developer promising 200 full time jobs….yeah sure! I’m pretty sure the public said HELL NO to this retail plan for that site last year. This city needs real change but the game is rigged and the GOBs have their own propaganda agency(B.B.), money and connections. ughhhhhhh!

  8. Pat
    September 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    True. I guess this is why more and more people are moving from the area…..lack of good jobs.

  9. Hurdygurdy Man
    September 11, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    My mind is made up. I’m writing in DV for mayor.

  10. TKO
    September 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    I again need to ask Dan…what is your platform? I am clear on what you don’t like, but you have not given me any solutions. It would be as wrong to write you in as to vote for the unopposed Mayor. Can you give us just 3 points so that we can get a inkling of your platform? I try to be an informed voter….maybe holding out and ignoring the questions posed to you is part of your master plan….but for now it looks like you don’t have any solutions. How is this different than Mayor Bianchi not responding to your requests for an interview?

    • danvalenti
      September 11, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

      Three points? Simple:

      1. By far the biggest issue facing Pittsfield is its out-of-control finances. Each term, going back almost a generation (since the GOB took hold) it has been automatic that the cost of running the city will increase. The tax hikes for both businesses and homeowners likewise have each time been automatically hiked. Associated with this issue of “finances” is the unaddressed matter of OPEB (other post-employment benefits) owed by taxpayers to city employees. That tab of unfunded liabilities is more than $300,000,000. It’s what did Detroit in, and other cities as well, that did not pay attention. As mayor, I would submit a budget less than the previous one, even if it’s by $1 less (the FY 14 budget in which Bianchi raised the budget by millions). Too many hard-working people have had to scramble to pay more taxes. They tightened their belt. It is time city government does the same.

      2. Education. Out of a $137 million city budget (not counting capital expenses of millions more) the schools eat up anywhere between $90 and $100 million. That’s the place to begin addressing the budget. I would let the superintendent and the school committee know that the honeymoon is over. I would recommend keeping all the teaching staff but thin out the administrative ranks, which have over the years grown to ridiculous proportions. Example: Four superintendent-level positions, making well more than $100,000 a year not counting benefits. I would push for a revamped dress code and introduce a measure requiring school uniforms for both middle and high schools. That will eliminate the competitive teen-age clothing issues, save parents money, increase classroom performance, and help put the adults back in charge. There would be many other ideas for trimming the budget. Some are big (the school department should not be in the transportation business) and some small.

      3. Business development. We have a plethora of entities supposed to create “jobs.” They have been failures. This includes PEDA, Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, 1Berkshire, etc. They have created two jobs: a con job and a snow job — Cushy jobs for executive directors and lots of staff. Few jobs for the local economy. My idea is to (a) abandon the current philosophy of “sitting in Schwab’s drug store and hoping to be discovered.” That doesn’t work. You have to get out there. Many ways to do that, including attending appropriate conventions, trade shows, and the like. (b) I would also seriously look into reformulating the duties of the OCD director and give him more of a mandate with task (a).
      There. There’s three things. These are Reader’s Digest versions of what I would do. This list of three doesn’t include public safety, infrastructure, and other important areas.


      • dusty
        September 12, 2013 at 2:15 am #

        This platform works for me. A mayor also needs to have the balls to oust the power brokers that are oustable. ( I know..not a word…I like making up words) Bianchi surprised his supporters when he kept people who his supporters thought were part of the problem. They soon learned why.

        cancer can grow back if you don’t get rid of all of it.

  11. Giacometti
    September 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Joe Blow…THERE IS NO INDUSTRY…all industry goes to non union states…or southern states where there is very little cold that the industries there don’t have to pay for heat.

    The Arts make Pittsfield appear to be aesthetically aware and has brought jobs to construction companies to build theaters, roads and streetscapes…do you think the South Street work currently getting done happened for any other reason ?…
    Megatrends 2000 states that where the arts flourish business will follow…
    point of fact: more people attend Broadway shows each year than baseball games at Yankee Stadium…In Pittsfield we finally have more culture than just agriculture and you should be proud of it.

    • Wilson
      September 12, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Right, it isn’t NYC’s booming economy that supports Broadway, it’s Broadway that supports NYC. If Broadway closed Wall Street financial firms might even relocate to Pittsfield to take advantage of the Colonial Theater!

      In reality, entertainment burns productivity, it doesn’t produce it. The theaters in the Berkshires with their silly rehashed counterfeit “culture” can’t even break even to support themselves, and you think they can spread prosperity? The work on South Street is being paid for by the state as a welfare program for wealthy construction company owners, out of taxes that crush any real productivity

  12. Chazz Storie
    September 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    I’m going to write myself in as mayor…

  13. Nota
    September 12, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    It’s Valenti, for me!

    • danvalenti
      September 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

      Spread the word. One tells two, two tells four, four …

  14. Ron Kitterman
    September 13, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    @ Nota
    Good answer Mayor,( Clap, Clap, Clap) , top 5 answers are on the board Do I hear Why should I? xxx You lose Mayor ….. The game goes over to the Kapanski family. Thanks for playing the Family Feud