LEFTOVERS FROM THE WARD 6 DEBATE … plus … LETTERS TO THE EDITOR COVERS TAX SCANDAL CLAIM, THE INDISCREET CHARM OF THE BB, HOW THE CITY IS LETTING PEOPLE ‘FREEZE TO DEATH’ and WHAT’S BEHIND SUPRANOWICZ MOVE TO HILLCREST
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, OCT. 25, 2013) — Leftovers from the Ward 6 debate:
* Icing It — Joe Nichols and THE PLANET happened to walk into the studios at the same time. We found it
fortuitous, since it allowed us an ice-breaking walk, going in. We met Joe’s wife and his step-daughter, and the the two of us went inside. “All I want, Dan, is for you to be objective,” he said. We replied with words to the effect of, “It never occurred to us to be any other way.” He was making an elliptical reference to the early expostulations he had raised about the format of the debate. If you’ll recall, at one point, he withdrew, calling our arrangements “totally unacceptable.” Truth is, once THE PLANET got him on board along with John Krol, it erased all the earlier drama. We learned long ago not to chase criticism, advice first given to us a generation ago by none other than the Aging Greek God, Peter Arlos. When it was over, we chatted with both candidates, then they both strolled over to Prof. Valenti’s COMP I students, who were there covering the event as an assignment.
* Studious in the Studio — The students took copious notes and followed the proceedings with great interest. We weren’t sure about this unusual assignment, but it met with success. The proof, of course, will be in the writing they produce, which The Professor shall have in hand next Wednesday. The experience reminded us of the observation made by John Holt, the great American educator, of how sometimes the best learning takes place outside the classroom. It was the first time in a TV studio for some and the first time attending a political debate for almost all. After it was over, both candidates came over to greet the students, and it made for interesting discussion.
* Armchair Politics — In the aftermath, Krol noted, “Well, it wasn’t my A game (I will happily admit it), but I think it helped show some clear distinctions between the two candidates.” It did do that, and THE PLANET heard from a number of Ward 6 voters who expressed that the TV show helped them decide in one direction or another. Nichols felt good about his performance, saying, “This was not a good night for John Krol.” One small bit of evidence: body language. If you watch the debate again on tape, or for the first time, pay attention to the manner in which both men are seated. Krol, especially as the hour went on, shifted forward in his chair, literally at times on the edge of his seat. Nichols sat back in a more relaxed, casual manner. Krol looked as if he was at the starting line of a race, which, in a sense, he was. Nichols looked like he was watching a fourth-grade music recital, which, in all senses, he wasn’t.
* Format Fun — As to the format, THE PLANET hopes that it shall be used more often by others. We suspect the reason it isn’t is
that it requires the moderator to be totally on top of the event. There’s no hiding behind a podium or desk, reading from canned questions, on autopilot. No painting by the numbers in doing a debate this way. One must go into it having already moderated the event in his or her head, having the prep down pat, and then be prepared to let fly on the improv. Unless you’ve tried doing this, live in real time and in the moment, before a live audience in a small TV studio with the french-fry lights kleiging away, you have no idea of the task. It’s not for the feint of heart.
* Fan Reaction — On Facebook, there was a lot of reaction and feedback to the Krol-Nichols debate. Jamie Giardina made this comment:
We welcomed the chance to respond, knowing that, for some if not a lot of viewers, seeing a debate done this way can be disconcerting, the way most change is for many, not on the merits but simply because it is, well, different. We replied:
FB pot-stirrer Ron Kitterman, ever the wag, added:
Ron’s remark brought a chuckle, and it gave us a chance to expound:
At large councilor Melissa Mazzeo, who is up for re-election, wrote: “loved this type of debate. I thought it was well done and wish they were all done this way.”
We agree, MM.
Former Ward 4 councilor Mike Ward — still the owner of the greatest local political slogan, the classic, punning, “Ward for Ward 4” — wrote:
Ward followed up:
Excellent point, the first. In fact, THE PLANET employed the strategy in our first question of the debate, directed at Krol, about the letter from former Mayor Paul Brindle, which had only been published that morning. Our counter:
Nichols “liked” the comment.
EMPTYING OUT THE MAILBAG: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Now THE PLANET begins to clean out the mail bag. We are glad to publish letters on any topic. To submit, please send an e-mail to email@example.com. You must include valid contact information. If you wish, we will withhold your name and identifiers. We provide this as a public service in the sole interest of The Free Marketplaceof Ideas. The views expressed in these letters are not necessarily those of THE PLANET.
‘Swept Under the Rug’
To THE PLANET:
Comments: Some investigative reporting would involve the very confirmed rumor that a local power broker construction company, complete with private jet at the Pittsfield Airport and connected to the “GOB,” has not paid personal property taxes for many years to the city. Very substantial amount of back taxes allegedly owed and overlooked, and quite possibly settled in a diminished amount. All swept under the carpet. — Mr. Ed
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‘Boring Broadsheet Strikes Again’
To THE PLANET:
‘City Letting People Freeze to Death’
TO THE PLANET:
Last year an effort was made to provide a cot shelter for the homeless during the cold winter months. The Salvation Army provided the space and Berkshire Co-Act provided the infrastructure.
Long story short … they exceeded their 52 days the permit allowed them to provide temporary housing by the city. Because of that, the city will not renew the permit.
Efforts were made to have the shelter at the Mount Carmel Rec Center–again, all of the infrastructure provided by Berkshire Co-ACt to no avail. http://co-act.org/berkshire-cots/
The City Building inspector would not issue a shelter for housing 250 temporary beds without the installation of an $80,000 dollar sprinkler system. All this in spite of the fact that the facility has more than sufficient egress and awake staff during the shelter operation. The logic seems to be this: “Let’s literally let people freeze to death because they might expire in a hypothetical fire.”
We have people breaking into buildings and starting fires for warmth every winter. It seems like we could be proactive here.
Requests have been made for funding through the Block Grant by the city and 22 projects were funded ahead of the cot shelter, with no plans to offer any money for this need. Where is the humanity? Where is the morality? Do we not have an ethical obligation to do something?
The mayor has been contacted and nothing that I am aware is being done other than lip service.
Today a couple living in the wood in a city park] came to me looking for help. I was harvesting carrots for the winter months for our meal sites in Pittsfield.
The reality: they are homeless and it is cold outside.
We need a cot shelter in Pittsfield and the corner office will not help. — Russell Moody, pastor, Pittsfield Church of Christ.
PLANET’S REPLY: We know that many office holders in Pittsfield read this blog. Here’s an issue crying out for resolution. We wonder if anyone will step up to the plate and be a hero? We also are astounded at the lack of response from the corner office. We hope the letter writer persists there.
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‘Supranowicz Move Another Non-Profit Ripoff”
TO THE PLANET:
Did you see [Mike] Supranowicz is leaving the 1B cabal?