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:

JOHN KROL: Unconditional acceptance.

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.

JOE NICHOLS: First yes, then no, then yes …

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!



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).



  1. dusty
    October 11, 2013 at 1:38 am #

    Joe Nichols strikes me as a man with integrity. John Krol strikes me as a product of the young professionals who has great talent for spinning GOB projects.

    I never did hear a Bianchi comment on the free house. He should be embarrassed just for hiding in the shadows regarding it. And just how is Cotes secretary’s house coming along anyway? Does it have sky lights? When will she be able to move in? Will there be an open house for the public to see where their tax payer money is going?

    • Mike Ward
      October 11, 2013 at 3:33 am #

      Good questions, Dusty. And, now that they want to represent taxpayers on the city council, where did the two former school committee members stand on Housegate?

      • dusty
        October 12, 2013 at 4:11 am #

        Excellent idea. I am sure neither Conant or Amuso want anything to do with questions on this subject. Brought back memories of Jackie Gleason going “ahum, ahum, ahuma.”

        Given a choice they would probably rather not answer ANY questions. Maybe Dan could prompt a debate for the at large candidates. I might pay money for that one.

    • danvalenti
      October 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks. You never heard Bianchi’s comments on Housegate because he never said a peep about it. That’s his version of wimp leadership.

    • Jim Gleason
      October 14, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

      John Krol is a bought and paid for GOB automatic vote and is still pushing the ruberto agenda for North St and the “arts”. WE SEE HOW WELL THAT’S WORKING. Four stores on NSt. closing and more to come soon. John Krol probably, in my opinion, agreed to a no holds barred debate becvause he’ll lie as he always does about his “accomplishments”.
      Joe Nichols is an independent voice who will not follow any preconceived agenda. He’ll return every phone call, something pretty boy Krol has a problem doing, and represent his Ward as a voice for the people, not a voice for the GOB.

  2. Ron Kitterman
    October 11, 2013 at 4:29 am #

    Thank goodness people are refusing to debate and destroying lawn signs. I’m mad as hell and may just roll over and go back to bed.

  3. Larry Tallman
    October 11, 2013 at 5:31 am #

    Politics aside and may the best man win the debate and Ward 6 election.
    Easter Sunday, 3 years ago my wife was unexpectedly forced to go out of state for a family emergency. I was settled in for my home alone frozen Easter dinner, when the phone rang. It was Joe Nichols, who had heard that I was spending the Holy Day alone. He hand carried a full course lamb dinner to my home and expected nothing in return.
    Joe recently gave 70 ham dinners to the folks at the Christian Center. Again, no publicity.
    I remember how his father Art, many times opened his pharmacy after hours , often on a pay me when you can basis, to help a sick child. Joe apparently has inherited his Dad’s compassion. I think we all remember acts of kindness.
    Please exercise your right to vote, and consider your choice well.

    • Russell Moody
      October 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      I’ll hit the like button on that one…

    • danvalenti
      October 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

      Thanks for this.

  4. Russell Moody
    October 11, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Krol’s strategy: Let Joe talk. He’ll hang himself.

  5. C Trzcinka
    October 11, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    Its very good that you used the power of this website to convince these guys to debate. I suggest that you seek questions from your readers. Think of it as “crowdsourcing” the information that people want to know. Using a podium versus a bar stool is not as important as getting the questions answered and they should be questions that people (rather than the Planet) are especially interested.

    We need a “Planet” in Bloomington, Indiana where I live…

    • John Krol
      October 12, 2013 at 5:22 am #

      C Trzcinka,
      You wrote that Dan used the power of his website to “convince these guys to debate.”
      To be clear, I have been very adamant in my desire to debate and have told all involved that I will debate anytime, any format, moderator, etc.

      • dusty
        October 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

        Hi John. Since you are being open to debate perhaps you could give us your opinion of Cotegate. Do you think it was totally above board or do you feel it seemed kind of shady? Love to hear your response soon.

        thanks ahead of time

    • danvalenti
      October 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

      THE PLANET is always open for questions, but to reinforce the idea, we’ll say it here: Anyone want to submit a question(s) for the Ward 6 candidates? Do so here at THE PLANET.

  6. Dave
    October 11, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Dan, why only Ward 6, how about the other 2 contested Ward races?

    • danvalenti
      October 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      A matter of time, that is all. I will say that if someone wants to set up debates in 1 and 3, I shall be only too glad to donate my services as moderator.

  7. C Trzcinka
    October 11, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Its very good that you used the power of this website to convince these guys to debate. I suggest that you seek questions from your readers. Think of it as “crowdsourcing” the information that people want to know. Using a podium versus a bar stool is not as important as getting the questions answered and they should be questions that people (rather than the Planet) are especially interested in.

    We need a “Planet” in Bloomington, Indiana where I live…

    • danvalenti
      October 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

      Every town needs a PLANET, Chuck.

  8. Ron Kitterman
    October 12, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    Looks like John won over C Trzcinka’s vote from Bloomington, Indiana, with his bragging of how great he is. Meahwhile back in Pittsfield his opponent Joe Nichols is shaking hands and meeting and greeting the residents of Pittsfield. Should prove interesting.

    • Donald
      October 12, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      Itchy trigger finger much? How long have you been waiting to use that gem? Don’t see anything close to a Krol compliment in any of CT’s posts.

  9. levitan
    October 12, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Is it too late to request knee chairs for you, Krol, and Nichols? If Nichols has a bad back, Krol not strong of knee, and Valenti eager to please, wouldn’t knee-chairs bring comfort and parity to the field?

    • danvalenti
      October 13, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

      We have submitted your suggestions to our board, LEV. If they advise doing it, we shall get a new board.

  10. Mr. X
    October 13, 2013 at 5:43 am #


    Under “c” in your commentary, you said 2 strong candidates. Joe Nichols is far from a strong candidate. He was a 1 term ward councilor in a ward seat that was up for grabs due to the Tony Maffucio alligations of drug use and domestic violence, and got crushed in his ridiculous bid for mayor. Then he whined about debate conditions, you yourself said it was a 1st for the challenger ducking instead of the incumbent. I’m no fan of John “pretty boy” Krol, how can you say Nichols is a “strong” candidate? Krol will clobber him in the election.

    • dusty
      October 13, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      Perhaps not for you, but integrity makes him a strong candidate for many people. He may also be a strong candidate for those who wish to vote for a non good old boy tool.

  11. Mike Ward
    October 13, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    On a lighter note, I’m surprised no one has riffed on the striking resemblance of this story to Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.

    • danvalenti
      October 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

      I have never read any Dr. Seuss, though, in fact, I had ham and eggs at my hotel today.

  12. Payroll Patriot
    October 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    Go Pats. unreal finish. Belicheck for Mayor!!!!!!!

    • danvalenti
      October 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

      In Bill We Trust!!

  13. Payroll Patriot
    October 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    Do you think he would take the pay cut for the children?

    • danvalenti
      October 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

      Of course. Anything, for THE CHILDREN.