AFTER BACK AND FORTHS, NICHOLS AGREES TO PLANET’S TERMS ON WARD 6 DEBATE WITH KROL … EVENT WILL RUN LIVE (LATER ON TAPE) OCT. 23, 7 p.m. ON PCTV … plus … THE SATISFYING SEQUEL TO THE ADVENTURES OF FRANK ‘FREE HOUSE’ COTE
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, OCT. 11, 2013) — Debating debates is not for debate. There is, in fact, no debating the following facts:
a.) The West Side Steering Committee has in the past hosted debates, and it considered doing so for the Ward 6 contest between John Krol (I) and challenger Joe Nichols.
b.) The committee ultimately decided not to sponsor a debate, citing the reason (or excuse) that there was not enough time to publicize the event.
c.) Knowing that such a debate between two strong candidates, a multi-term incumbent and a former ward councilor and mayoral candidate, would be in the best interests of the electorate, THE PLANET stepped in to offer our services. We know the players and have had vast experience as moderator for both TV and radio. We knew we could get this set up, and fast.
d.) We contacted both candidates. Both accepted, Krol unconditionally and Nichols with a stipulation for podiums. Nichols cited a back problem and said he needed to stand, not sit. THE PLANET has long eschewed podiums in the TV debates we’ve done, since they tend to “formalize” and “stuff up” the complexion and flavor of the images. TV, after all, is a visual medium. Podiums cut off the candidates from the viewers, they offer areas to stack canned notes, and they offer a convenient hiding place. THE PLANET wanted chairs. We compromised, selecting bar stools, which would allow for sitting or standing. The moderator would be roving with a wireless mic.
e.) Krol again agreed with all stipulations. Nichols wrote THE PLANET back, telling us our format was “completely unacceptable.”
f.) Frank and intermittently testy exchanges followed, which we shall at present mercifully keep under wraps for the moment, since, at the end of the day yesterday, Nichols finally agreed to be there on Oct. 23. That’s the bottom line in all the he-said/he-said. Nichols blinked, realizing he was about to make an irrevocable mistake. THE PLANET must say, though, that in all our years of covering politics and being around politicians and elections, this is the first time the incumbent was ready to go, unconditionally, and the challenger played hard to get. That’s one big slice of the cube-shaped Bizarro World.
g.) Thus, all things being equal, which they rarely are in Pittsfield politics, and barring some other intervention, divine or otherwise, there will be a one-hour debate on PCTV beginning at 7 p.m. It will have John Krol debating Joe Nichols, with Dan Valenti moderating (or referring, as the case may be). Judging by the histrionics from the one camp in setting this up, we feel obliged to let you know that it likely won’t be for the feint of heart. Parental guidance is suggested.
h.) We have to speak for ourselves on this final point, of course, but we view the hysterics and hubbub in this little event as one of the re-occurring adjuncts to be expected when one plays The Political Game. Emotions runs high; candidates are on edge; they listen too much to their “yes people;” pride, self-esteem, and ego all play into it; and the months and weeks and days of campaigning come down to one day, in this case, Nov. 5. It’s enough to rattle a person, if one if the rattling type. Some are, and some aren’t.
i.) No harm, no foul, in other words. A debate will be conducted. That is all we know and all you need to know.
You will want to be on hand, on the telly that is, for this one!
PLANET VALENTI PRESENTS THE SEQUEL TO ‘FREE HOUSE GIVES A HOUSE TO HIS SECRETARY’
You remember the popular serial THE PLANET ran last year, “The Amazing Escapade of Frank ‘Free House’ Cote.” Frank Cote has a Big Shot six-figure job as “Assistant Superintendent for Vocational and Technical Education” for the PPS. Don’t ask us what he does, though, for all the Big Bread.
Last year, when Cote conducted the nationwide search on behalf of the carpentry students at Taconic High School for worthy construction project, he selected his secretary as the most worthy applicant to receive the free services, estimated at $100,000. The students were “hired” as indentured servants to build a new palace for Frank’s office lady. THE PLANET and 99.99 percent of every taxpayer who heard about this railed to the high heavens, but no one who could have done something about this outrage acted. That includes Mayor Photo-Op. As far as we recall, he never addressed the issue. Likely he was “out of town” when the heat hit, the same as he was during the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial.
Well gang, it’s that time of year, and back by popular demand, PLANET VALENTI PRODUCTIONS announces the development of the sequel: “Free House Makes Amends.”
At 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 16, Stephan Jankowski, THS vocational department head; Bill Lyons, THS carpentry teacher; Free House; and PPS Supt. Jason “Jake” McCandless, a.k.a. JIV, pronounced “Jive,” JIV met to review applications for this year’s “free house.” They received 24 applications, rejecting 12 outright as “handyman projects.” The dozen remaining were rated 1 through 12, with 1 being the most worthy project. They selected construction of a house on Dewey Avenue, to be built for Berkshire Habitat for Humanity.
A good selection, we agree.
It shows that the firestorm THE PLANET triggered by the free house for Cote’s secretary came into full play this year. With the new super, JIV, conscious of not having any more embarrassment on the PPS than is already deserving, the decision was made to play it straight this year. See, folks, they know we are watching.
Score it another victory THE PLANET has won for the bedraggled taxpayers.
Oh yeah, and no thanks to Mayor Do Nothing for all the help you didn’t give us.
“Dan Valenti” says he can’t wait to get you in his sights when you two debate, live on TV and radio. You are going to respond to Valenti’s challenge, aren’t you?
“We make our meek adjustments, / Contented with such random consolations, / As the wind deposits / In slithered and too ample pockets.” — Hart Crane, first verse, “Chaplinesque,” (1926).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”