UPDATE: SOX SOAR, MAYOR BORES … FOUR DOWNTOWN BUSINESSES CLOSE DOORS; MAYOR BIANCHI SILENT, ALTHOUGH HIS ‘CAMPAIGN’ MATERIAL TOUTS GREAT PROGRESS WITH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
ADD #1 FOS, FRIDAY, OCT. 18, 2013, LATE — THE PLANET caught the red-eye back east, and we are delighted at the discussion ignited here by our observations. That’s the purpose of this site: to share news and information, offer commentary, and invite your responses. It’s a testimony to our team keeping THE PLANET running “backstage” in Techniland, to the high standards we have set, and mostly to the intelligence of our readership.
A serendipitous turn of events brought us out of town, and while we were taking care of business, we caught the Boston-Detroit game on Thursday night. Two plays at the plate pointed out the difference between these two talented teams. The first was when Tiger Miguel Cabrera ran through the third base coach’s late stop sign and barreled to home plate on a two-out single to left. Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes fielded the ball cleanly in medium left and threw a strike to catcher David Ross, nailing Cabrera by 15 feet. The Tiger third baseman didn’t slide and didn’t try to known the ball loose from Ross.
Only that tubalard Cecil Fielder is slower than Cabrera on the Tigers. The play reminded my of Touchdown Tony Ferdyn‘s remark: “It’s one thing that your running the bases with a piano on your back. It’s another thing to stop and play the @#$%^&* thing.” Cabrera’s selfish play took the Tigers out of an inning.
The other play occurred when Ross tried to score. Like Cabrera, the throw had him beat. Unlike Cabrera, Ross plowed into the Tiger catcher with as hard a hit as you’d want in a training film.
There’s the difference. The Red Sox grind the game with hustle, speed, daring, and smarts. They aren’t afraid of getting dirty while playing clean. The Tigers do not have athletes. They have plodders too afraid to play hard. Detroit has a great starting rotation with the AL ERA leader, a 21-game winner, and last year’s Cy Young award winner. Boston has superior depth, a better bullpen, and the phenomenal closer Koji Uehara.
Boston has grit. Detroit has quit.
BIANCHI: BORING IN ON IRRELEVANCE
In the discussion about the four businesses closing, some commentators mentioned the bra store and the yarn shop. True, these are boutique businesses, and as it turned out, the market pronounced judgment. It’s not city government’s role to subsidize companies whose products or services do not fulfill marketplace needs, and it’s true that no politician including the mayor can change that. In fact, a mayor should never try to artificially try to prop up a failing business that the marketplace doesn’t want and customers won’t support.
Nonetheless, THE PLANET lays the net effect of four business closing on the doorstep of Mayor Dan Bianchi for his failure to address the major contributing factor to the city’s depressed economy. He has failed to reel in municipal spending. This in turn has led to two steep tax hikes, which has driven people and businesses out of town, which has reduced the tax base. Those that are left end up paying more in taxes for less service. We also indict Bianchi for failing to address the loss of four businesses. He had the obligation to make a statement. Instead, like he has done so many other times as mayor, he took a powder.
Bianchi has continually made himself unavailable for questioning, hiding from THE PLANET’s honest inquiries made on behalf of citizens. That tells you everything you need to know about him as CEO of the city. Honestly ask yourself if you feel a man like can represent you, the citizen and taxpayer, who are so oppressed right now. He’s feeling secure, since he has no balloted opponent, but the mayor mistakes pusillanimous for plucky and running scared for “security.” It’s hard to imagine how the mayor of a city could become an irrelevant bore, but you don’t have to imagine. You have the real deal now playing in the corner office.
Never approach a bull from the front. Never approach a horse from the read. But you can always approach a fool from any direction. He can hide but he cannot run. Bianchi’s time will come.
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(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESSDAY, OCT. 16, 2013) — You may have seen the coverage in the Boring Broadsheet last week of four — count ’em, four — business in downtown Pittsfield that gave up the ghost. They cited lack of parking and other reasons. The names of the businesses are of little importance here, although THE PLANET salutes each of the entrepreneurs who gambled on central city. The BB, though, failed to see the larger picture.
It takes pluck, verve, luck, and nerve to succeed on your own in any business and in any business climate. However, these businesses happen to have been in place for the nearly two disastrous years of a Dan Bianchi mayoral whitewash, and it would seem that at least some of the blame for the closings lies at the doorstep of the corner office. THE PLANET says this with the mitigating factor that only a close look at the management, business practices, and books of each of the four businesses could more accurately assign blame.
On Bianchi’s website, votebianchi.com (THE PLANET has no problem publicizing it; in fact, we want you to look at it in all its vagueness and bromidial generality), there’s an entry titled “Dan Bianchi — the only candidate with a Plan.” That’s all well and good, except the information, as is all the other on his website, is for campaign 2011, when he narrowly defeated Peter Marchetti. That’s how current Bianchi is with Campaign ’13, and this lack of attention indicates (a) his arrogance and (b) his lack of care in offering fresh ideas or even defending the old ones after two years.
How did his 2011 promises work out? It’s a subject the mayor wishes you wouldn’t mention, which explains why he has such an intense phobia about meeting with THE PLANET any time before Nov. 5.
If you want to know what Bianchi’s ideas are for 2013, good luck, because he is unopposed on the ballot. Bianchi is running. He’s running not for mayor but running from “Dan Valenti,” the write-in “candidate” for mayor. Valenti is not running, he’s standing — for the truth, one thing Bianchi can’t handle.
We make Bianchi this offer, with a generous nod to Harry Truman: If he stops spreading lies about Valenti, Valenti will stop telling the truth about him. We have this as an iron-clad agreement from The Valenti Camp. We know them well.
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Now, how can the mayor bear at least some, if not major responsibility for the demise of four more private-sector businesses? Let’s us count some of the ways by presenting some of his “plan” for 2011, looking at how much of it was the usual campaign B.S. and pandering.
BIANCHI in 2011: [I will] “Form a tax panel to recommend ways to improve service while reducing costs” (THE PLANET’s underline). REALITY: To the best of our knowledge, the tax panel never happened, service declined, and taxes went up.
BIANCHI: “Pursue new ways to streamline delivery of services and save money.” Also, “Hire based on qualifications not political consideration.” REALITY: Service is down, while his appointments and hires have generally been on the basis of politics and loyalty first and foremost. Ability, when it is there, happens as a fortuitous coincidence. Bianchi has been the most political mayor in a generation.
BIANCHI: “I will continue my strong support for education and high-quality public schools.” This blurry, ill-defined “promise” means nothing — a one-size-fits-all statement such as “I am in favor of good schools.” Like, who isn’t? REALITY: Performance in the Pittsfield Public Schools has continued to decline, during which Bianchi presided over two budgets. Each time gave the school department millions of dollars more with little to no accountability. Why? He reasoned that more money = more votes among the teachers unions and the other vested educational interests.
BIANCHI: “Create … business improvement in downtown Pittsfield …” Also, “[D]crease downtown Pittsfield reliance on tax payer [sic] dollars.” REALITY: He skunked downtown by failing to stem the hemorrhaging in the budget, sitting on his hands despite the increase in crime, doing next to nothing to create meaningful work, and accelerating the contraction of an ever-shrinking tax base. Ask the four downtown businesses that are “cluster closing” how Bianchi’s downtown economic plan worked out for them.
What a bunch of bullshit here, to wit: BIANCHI: “Support ways to improve pur public policy and decision making by streamlining permitting processes and develop 21st century web-based interaction with city agencies.” REALITY: Didn’t happen. One common theme in the many businesses who have closed during Bianchi’s tenure is the lack of cooperation from his office, the political nature of Downtown Pittsfield Inc., and the departmental nightmare one has to endure to do business with the city. Dan Valenti is on record saying that one of the first cuts he makes in the size of the bloated government is Downtown Pittsfield Inc. DPI is DOA under Valenti. And “21st Century” Bianchi doesn’t even have his e-mail address listed on the city website. In fact, e-mail addresses are missing for many if not most government departments and officers. You will also notice that when you click on the “Mayor’s Office” on the city website, the “contact” link for Bianchi is not an active one. You can position your mouse over the word “contact” from now until Pixie and Dixie hairlip Jinxie, and it will do you no good. You would do better trying to contact Bianchi by smoke signals or carrier pigeon. THE PLANET has lost count of the number of people who have told us of contacting the mayor and not receiving the common courtesy of an acknowledgment, let alone a reply.
Get this: BIANCHI: “I am proud to have earned the endorsement of Berkshire County Sheriff Tom Bowler.” REALITY: Yes, Bianchi says “earned.” The Amazing, Transparent Mayor doesn’t mention that Bowler and the mayor’s former director of administrative services were and are brother and sister. He also doesn’t mention that she, Donna Mattoon, served as campaign manager for both campaigns. Also, what does a political endorsement have to do with public safety? Nothing. Bianchi didn’t address public safety in 2011 because he had no fresh ideas. In 2013, Pittsfield is paying a punishing price.
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In light of all this, THE PLANET encourages readers to visit the city of Pittsfield website. Click on the tab “Mayor’s Office.” You then see a picture of the smiling Mayoral Boy Wonder and a three-paragraph letter of welcoming. Bianchi talks of a “growing downtown … strong businesses, a skilled workforce.” He tells the visitor that he “stand[s] for aggressive economic development.” At this point, you see the nose of his mug shot begin to grow so large that it dwarfs the great California redwoods. He also tells visitors that he stands for “the highest educational standards for our children; for a city not weakened by crime, and for anything that ends up taking care of me politically, not matter how many citizens it ends up screwing.”
OK, THE PLANET made up the last part of the prior sentence, but, we opine that it would be a more truthful version of Pittsfield reality than the marshmallow fluff Bianchi’s been dishing out for nearly two years.
No, the time has come to call this guy out. The simple way to do that is to vote for Dan Valenti on Nov. 5. It’s as easy as writing in his name. Bianchi also better be getting ready for an invitation to debate him. The best way, of course, is to begin to pay attention to government. Besides voting, attend city council and school committee meetings. Let the mayor know your mind. Call him, write him, or pound on his door. Get in his face. Bug him. He’s your hired help and nothing more.
Final thought: Speaking of which, last week THE PLANET sent the mayor the following e-mail:
Since you expressed a desire to defend your two years in office, and given that you face no balloted opponent on Nov. 5, I am inviting you to a series of interviews/debates prior to Election Day. I will make myself available for any number of events that you wish. This would give you a chance to fulfill your desire to face questioning in defense of your record.
I’m sure your team can work out satisfactory details with me on scheduling this.
Please let me know of your availability ASAP. Thanks.
Dan Bianchi, come out, come out wherever you are!
When the phone doesn’t ring, I’ll know its Profiles in Courage not getting back to us.
“He never found her, though he looked / Everywhere, / And he asked at her mother’s house / Was she there. // Sudden and swift and light as that / The ties gave, / And he learned of finalities / Besides the grave.” — Robert Frost, final two verses, “The Hill Wife,” (1916)
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.