OCTOBERFEST, A TIME WHEN BIANCHI TELLS US ALL IS WELL BECAUSE ALL IS POLITICS … A TIME FOR CIRCUSES, CAKES, AND OTHER HOKUM … HOW LONG, THOUGH, WILL ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ WAIT BEFORE OVERTuNING THE TABLES?
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, OCT. 2, 2013) — Just as THE PLANET predicted some time ago, we are seeing October in its fullest splendor. It’s been a great year for apples, foliage, and the hot air and cliched verbiage of politics. Politics, politics, all is politics.
Let’s play three questions:
(1) Why do you think the paving of South Street got finished just as we hit October?
(2) Why do you think the GOB would decide that late September-early October is the right time to hold a so-called “public informational meeting” on the retail development of PEDA?
(3) Why do you think the city, led by the mayor’s office and the school department administration, would treat the arrival of a new machine for the vocational machine shop as if Gen. MacArthur had just returned to the Philippines?
We’ve got answers.
Could the answer to these three questions be “politics?”
Actually, yes it could — and is.
THE PLANET has been covering corrupt politics long enough to know that each October, the powers that be and wish-to-be-some-more bring out the dancing girls, the circus clowns, the jugglers, and the spice cakes. They do it to distract We The People from the real problems. Mayor Dan Bianchi, while showing us his lack of leadership as mayor, has proven good at the OCG — the “October Con Game.” In the case of Pittsfield, a city that each day sinks further into the muck (Venice has that problem, too, but it’s a much better place to sink), the Octoberfest has been taken to new lows. Would one expect anything different from the most “political” mayoral failure in Pittsfield since Alf Langdon was presidential timber? We speak, of course, Bianchi, a.k.a. The Man Who Isn’t There, a.k.a., The Amazing, Transparent Mayor.
Question 1 can be dealt with simply. When you want to distract the people, dig up a major road. Keep the crews out there for a year or more. It will create the illusion of progress, show a city “taking care” of its infrastructure, and most importantly will reward the big construction companies, who just might return the favor on or off the books … not that THE PLANET would ever suspect such a thing happening in Pittsfield.
Question 2 makes THE PLANET wonder how long the GOB can keep performing the same three-card monte before a discontented public turns over the tables? It’s all well and good that Waterstone Development Co. should come to the council chambers on Monday night and give a tune and a jig, but what happened by way of news? Nothing. Waterstone gave the same pitch to the PEDA board in July. They (Bianchi, the GOB, and Waterstone) bothered again not because they give a rat’s ass about what Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski think but for pre-election window dressing. It makes the mayor look “involved,” gives the appearance that PEDA is doing something, anything, and implies that the process is open.
If all that were true, Waterstone, Bianchi, and PEDA — all of them or any one of them — would have shared with The People the most important missing piece of information on the proposed retail project: The name of the anchor store. Without that name, an intelligent, fact-based discussion cannot take place. That the GOB would stage this event without revealing the name insults every person in the city of Pittsfield. What’s the bloody Big Secret about the identity of the company? Keeping it from citizens only creates suspicion, breeds more mistrust, and gives one the feeling that something fishy is going on.
The simple answer to the proposed retail development, at least as long as the dagger-and-cloak continues about the name of the store, is this:
P.I.T.T.S.F.I.E.L.D. / D.O.E.S.N.’T. / N. E. E. D. / A.N.Y. / M.O.R.E. / R.E.T.A.I.L. / J.O.B.S. //
That reality probably won’t be a factor, though, since the politicos and their masters only want to make it look like there’s some, any, kind of “economic development” taking place. The shills have this as their talking point, and you are starting to see that weak line of thinking regurgitated back by the intellectually lazy, some version of all the construction jobs the project will create and “some jobs are better than none.”
One of the defenders of the retail complex chided those who want more for the PEDA site by saying, “Hope is not a strategy.” THE PLANET replies, “Perhaps, but it’s more of one that a sell-out.” Dan Fox Drive was supposed to be the city tech corridor for manufacturing. That went boxy and retail. Next, PEDA was sold as the economic hub that would bring manufacturing and good-pay, good-benefits jobs back to the city. Now it seems that The Suits for some reason want to do with PEDA what they did with Dan Fox Drive. Question is, why?
Question 3 is perhaps the most revealing. The Pittsfield Public School vocational department received a new, computerized tool making machine for its machine shop operations. Fine, Great. For all we know, it’s a second cousin to the $160,000 Heap Big Red Road Patch Machine that’s rusting away in the Phantom Zone. Really, though, did this new contraption justify the presence of the mayor, the superintendent of schools, the assistant superintendent of schools, the deputy superintendent of schools, and the associate superintendent of schools? The event also included the PPS head of IT, who was taking pictures. The vocational director and one of the supers, by the way, is Frank “Free House” Cote. It never ends in Pittsfield, a city that has long made satire redundant.
You mean to say that top four officials of the Pittsfield Public Schools administration can all take a significant bunch of time off in the morning to stand around and make or listen to boring speeches? These people bring down more than a half-million dollars a year in pay. THE PLANET doesn’t want all of them standing around trying to find their rumps with both hands. We want them in their offices and doing whatever it is they are supposed to do for the taxpayers. Even the introduction of Kathy Amuso as school committee “chair” wasn’t enough to save the day.
You wouldn’t expect Mayor Photo Op to miss this crucial event, and sure enough, Bianchi attended. Watch today how the Boring Broadsheet plays this up like the biggest thing since EV Worldwide and it’s “1,000 Jobs.” Bianchi cut seven ribbons, issued 23 certificates, posed with nine Girl Scouts, walked 12 old ladies across the street, and he had his picture taken shaking hands with People in Suits 262 times — all before noon. His stilted speech made drying paint wish it were watching grass grow out of a Chia Pet head.
Our spies who were there (and we had them from city side, school side, and BCC) described Bianchi’s speech and demeanor variously as “scripted” and “glazed over.” Another remarked that the mayor looked distracted. Jeepers, do you think he’s got wind of Dan Valenti’s sticker campaign? Do you think he’s dreading that he might have to debate that dude?
Actually, by our accounts, the two best speakers were the briefest. They were the two instructors who will be teaching the kids how to run the machine. It sounded like they knew what they were talking about, so it must be they’ve actually worked for some time in the Dreaded Private Sector.
Bianchi has at this stage of his first two-year term become a living, walking answer to a query. The question, Jeopardy style, is this: “Who is the answer to the political question ‘What’s the use’?”
“The game enforces smirks; but we have seen / The moon in lonely alleys make / A grail of laughter of an empty ash can, / And through all sound of gaiety and quest / Have heard a kitten in the wilderness.” — Hart Crane, final stanza, “Chaplinesque,” (1926).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.