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).





  1. dusty
    October 2, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    Dan, ask the mayor if the new PEDA venture involves Wal-mart?

    The silence may answer your question.

  2. Mike Ward
    October 2, 2013 at 4:04 am #

    The identity of the retailer doesn’t matter and I’m sorry that my quote regarding that makes it seem like I think it does. There will be good projects for Stanley Park if we stick to our vision and don’t settle for another shopping center.

  3. Liz Arrington
    October 2, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    I agree Mike Ward. Pittsfield needs to for once stick to the plan, the site is intended for light mfg. and enterprises that will provide more than service type jobs.

  4. dc
    October 2, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    All we need to do is look around the city at the over abundance of vacant retail space, to know that retail development at Stanley Park is wrong. If we cant find real tenants for the site, we should take down the fences and let it return to nature until a more practical use can be found.

  5. Tito
    October 2, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    …And please, let’s not have a watered down version of a shopping strip on the Tyler Street side, while using the sustainable income excuse as a reason to create low paying wages, so residents won’t leave the area. And please, let us not give a damn about putting in conditions to the developer to make it New England esthetic looking. Frankly put, the majority do not want these kind of jobs.
    Another concern we must have is? How much cost will the taxpayers incurr to get these projects off the ground?

  6. Ron Kitterman
    October 2, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    A tool making machine ? Order up 40K of shovels for starters, we may need more that that but it’s a start.

  7. Jamie
    October 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Its as you wrote DV. The BB played it up like V-E Day and the 4th of July all rolled into one. Cant decide which is worse, the BB or DB as in the mayor.

  8. Jamie
    October 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    PS You got my vote on Nov. 5

    • danvalenti
      October 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

      Appreciate it, JAMIE. Now tell your friends.

  9. Tito
    October 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    Will we see beer drinking ie The Softball Complex dugout @ the Stanley Complex?

  10. joetaxpayer
    October 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    We need this 30 Million $ project, but not on that property. Why can’t someone show some leadership and steer Waterstone to another Pittsfield site. Hubbard Ave. or old Big N land come to mind. Let’s not just say no, try to work with the developer for compromise.

    • Dave
      October 2, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      I agree that this is not the right project for this site, but can we please stop telling companies who want to invest in Pittsfield that we know better than they do where to locate their business! I am sure they have people smarter than us crunching the numbers on where they can maximize their interests. If we are so adamant on not having a particular project in a particular place that is fine, but they have spent money, time and resources in trying to move this project forward. Do we really think they haven’t looked at different locations-I’m sure they have and they realize it wouldn’t work for them(among other companies-that’s why these other parcels have been vacant so long) I reiterate that I feel that this project should not be approved, but don’t be disappointed when they don’t take one of the long vacant parcels as a “compromise”.

      • danvalenti
        October 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

        Nicely done, DAVE. Thanks for your input.

      • dusty
        October 3, 2013 at 12:46 am #

        Some of us are concerned with what is good for Pittsfield..not the company.

      • joetaxpayer
        October 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

        Dave, Pittsfield needs to stop saying no. Why not try to work with a developer. They will do what is best for there bottom line. Nothing wrong with that. Why can’t the City try to work with them to see if there is a similar site. This does not mean they are telling them what to do, only trying to help and assist on there desire to set up shop in Pittsfield. I am sick of Pittsfield stompping on developer’s. Telling them no, move on. We have stopped Scalise on Dalton ave. & Dunkin Donuts at first street.Dave, what is wrong with sitting down and talking to a developer, and let them know we will work with them.

        • danvalenti
          October 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

          JOE T
          This would seem a much more reasonable approach if we knew what the developer wanted to do and for whom. Keeping that from the public, on a project that will go on land governed by a public-private partnership, is needlessly secretive.

        • levitan
          October 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

          Letting developers turn PEDA into a tax-writeoff retail loss may work for Whitestone, but will take off the books a compelling resource for industrial development.

          What I would like to see happening is the Mayor’s office canvassing the nation for growing manufacturers who are qualified to expand into ‘free’ retail space. That objective would involve growing vocational training already existing and importing qualified and experienced technicians from beyond our State to produce a workforce.

          It happened here before with Crane and other industrialists, and it could happen here again with proper leadership.

  11. Joe Pinhead
    October 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    The issue is really quite simple, and yet hasn’t been framed up in its full splendid glory. First the fact that the best we can hope for on the PEDA property speaks to the decades yes decades of failure by both the PEDA board and any number of administrations, Boards, commissions, agencies, congressmen State Senators and reps. How much have we the People “invested” (their word at campaign time not mine) and as of yet failed to demand results? Is it any surprise we can’t and probably won’t do any better than a Wal-Mart super store? It drips with Irony on the very spot that power transforms were made to bring electricity to all sorts of places around the world will be the location were those very places can flood the market with cheap made Chinese trinkets. Of course I don’t count the Christmas tree chain in the mix yes its cheap made Chinese trinkets but hell it’s so trendy to hold them up and bash Walmart.
    I’m not sure who expects a Tiffany’s or the equivalent of a Rodeo drive, lined with Gucci, Saks, Ralph Lauren and Coach to appear on the property the fact that Wal-Mart or an equivalent speaks in both words and in person of the failures of our elected and appointed officials at all levels and the BB who gives them a free pass and no tough questions is equally duplicitous. We the people were not duped we were and remain victims of our own apathy and lack of expectations from our “leaders”
    Are we so desperate for “jobs” that the intended purpose of the “jobs ”escapes us? Do we no longer need careers in the Berkshires? The Jobs created by this project will make money for the usual suspects and will leave the rest of the people with little to no opportunity. Yes the jobs are noble and honest but they are not careers that will empower families to be able to live in a community, to coach the little league to be a part of the Civic team should they choose or to watch their children grow up ,or to be members’ of the Reid school council or anything else except time to rush across town to their second or third part time barely scraping by job. And the PEDA board and its elected lackeys will all slap themselves on the back for the creation of the jobs no mention of careers or how they didn’t create a single job they merely transferred the existing ones around. And we will hear about how hard they worked for us with this great result. But in the end we will see with our own eyes what we the people mean to them what’s good enough for our community. I say forgo the clean up on isle 5 and clean up the PEDA board and the City leadership first if that’s what they plan on providing allowing or even entertaining as their work product.
    The Big N is still available someone on the PEDA board grow a set of balls, log onto google maps and guide them to the Property show it to them over a happy meal and be done with this already.
    We should all be looking forward to a new shopping plaza because after all its for the children

    • danvalenti
      October 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

      As usual, JP, spot on and deep with insight.

  12. eddiep
    October 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    The answer to the question is why is that the suits blew it again and got away with it. They did not come up with manufacturing and are trying to blow us away with anything they can get hold of to redeem themselves. We shouldn’t let them get away with it this time.

    • danvalenti
      October 2, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

      We agree completely with that last sentence. That should be our motto: “Not This Time.” Consider a write in vote for “Dan Valenti.” Many thanks.

  13. Jonathan Melle
    October 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    GE left Pittsfield for Wall Street. Jack Welch changed GE from a manufacturing company to a financial institution. Jack Welch signed the Consent Decree with former Mayor Gerry Doyle that capped most of the toxic waste PCBs in Pittsfield. PCBs have caused cancer in thousands of local residents. The caps do not last and become ineffective as time wears on. To illustrate, Hill 78 near Allendale Elementary School is capped. The cap will become ineffective over time, and all of the school children will be exposed to cancer causing PCBs.

    • Jonathan Melle
      October 2, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

      Good Old Boy former Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s smiling mug graces the North Adams Transcript today.

      • Jonathan Melle
        October 2, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

        I like Mayor Dan Bianchi and would proudly vote for him if I still lived in Pittsfield. I believe that former Mayors Gerry Doyle and Jimmy Ruberto screwed Pittsfield, leaving Dan Bianchi with a mess. Gerry Doyle bankrupted Pittsfield and sent the city government into receivership. Gerry Doyle also signed the flawed and illegal Consent Decree. Jimmy Ruberto saw thousands of lost jobs, people move out of the area, very high taxes, and millions of dollars spent on North Street in the name of “culture”. Dan Bianchi inherited Pittsfield politics’ Good Old Boy network’s problems.

        • Donald
          October 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

          Um…did someone forget to take their meds?

          • levitan
            October 6, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

            What, you’ve never responded to yourself three times in a row?

  14. Mr. X
    October 3, 2013 at 5:11 am #

    Inside scoop says that Loews is the big retailer looking to get in on Tyler St.

  15. Mr. X
    October 3, 2013 at 5:15 am #

    Tony Simonelli is the best choice for council prez. JLO’s head is big enough already.

    • danvalenti
      October 3, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

      MR. X
      Does Tony want it?

  16. Thomas More
    October 3, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    If you are over 40 you will never see industry on that site. If the city stays on course maybe someday in the distant future the grandchildren of the inhabitants of the Rice Mill apartments will be able to pack their lunchboxes and hike over to Woodlawn. It will be special to hear the 8 o’clock whistle again in Morningside, even if we are occupying property on Pecks Road.

    • Jamie
      October 3, 2013 at 7:13 am #

      ANd the five oclock whistle at the end of the day. It sounded like the whistle of an ocean liner. With the citys present politics, we shall not hear that whistle. The only way is if something changes and someone gets changed. Im voting for Dan Valenti.

      • eddiep
        October 3, 2013 at 8:38 am #

        It was the whistle of an ocean liner. Anyone know witch one?

  17. scott
    October 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    The paving on South st has been delayed…

  18. dusty
    October 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    The non profits with the outrageously high salaried COs do not want to chip in to help with the taxes. And the GOB folk are certainly not going to push them since they are them.

  19. Billy
    October 3, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Ask any person on here what has the mayor done in two years along with his cohorts,the silence should say it all.

    • danvalenti
      October 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

      So true. The silene says it all. Why do you think he’s refused to talk to sit with me one on one for some questions. He’s scared to death. He’s running, all right … not for mayor but “from what?” Consider a write-in vote for “Dan Valenti.”

  20. Tom Sakshaug
    October 5, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    Just a thought on the long view:
    Let the big retailer come in, spend $10 mil or whatever to clean up the foundations, build their box, then fail in 20 years or so. Then we have nice, clean dirt on which to build something better.
    In the short term, of course, we will just be shifting the retail dollars from one spot to another, a zero-sum game, as previously mentioned. But maybe getting some extra tax revenue.

    • levitan
      October 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      I’d rather not have to experience that for twenty years. I’d rather see PEDA (and yes, that includes Bianchi) spend time in Montana looking for businesses qualified to expand to the Northeast. Does the site support railroad delivery? And is it offered at low cost? And does Pittsfield produce qualified workers?

      I can’t answer #1. Number 2 is, yes. Number three requires inducing working families with years of manufacturing under their belts to move here with their industry and them our own.

      That could well take twenty years, but I know it had happened before here in far less. Even so, it would be time well spent.