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SCRAPPY SOX SHOW SERIOUS SPUNK, OR IS THAT ‘SERIES’ SPUNK? … SCHOOL SUPT. CONTINUES PPS ASSauLT ON TAXPAYERS WITH NEEDLESS APPOINTMENT … plus … SBNC, THE OPEN MEETING LAW, AND THS: HAS A SECRET DECISION BEEN MADE? REVIEW THE EVIDENCE AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELF

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, OCT. 21, 2013) — Now that the Boston Red Sox have extended the MLB season to its ultimate limit — The World Series — all other sports do not exist. The Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics, all within their seasons, will have to wait. They are under the radar, and they could square the circle or lay fat ones over light. None of it will matter. That’s the pull the “Sawx” still have on New England, even in this jaded time of shutdowns and deficits, overstimulation and media overkill.

THE PLANET has previously detailed our career as a baseball writer and how we have in the past decade withdrawn from the game at the Big League level. We have enjoyed plenty of minor league ball, and it seems the lower the designation, the more there is to appreciate, qualities such as hunger in the players, hustle, and playing for little more than an opportunity sans guarantees.

This 2013 version of the Red Sox, however, has a different feel to it than your typical MLB big-payroll outfit of bloated multi-millionaires. Think at this point of “Cecil Fielder,” that $200 million pantload the Detroit Tigers must pay for the next decade. Did you see his flabby belly flop after his huge base-running mistake in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS?

Contrast The Blob Fielder with Shane Victorino, the hitting hero whose gram slam sent Boston to the Series. Victorino is a little guy, a scrapper out of the Nellie Fox-Eddie Stanky mold. He came up to the plate with the bases loaded after having gone just about 0-for-everything prior to that in the series, promptly fell into an 0-and-2 hole, and then adjusted his swing on a hanging curve ball and deposited it into what we used to call “the nets.”

The bearded, bon homme, Boston bunch has an entire roster of guys like Victorino, players that you can imagine would perform just as hard in itchy baggy flannels as they do now in their cool tailored polyesters. The remarkable turn-around from last year’s toxic collection of whiners and losers (Beckett, Gonzalez, Crawford et. al.) to this year’s “all-for-one and one-for-all” band stands as an object lesson for every leader looking to build a dynamic team. You don’t do it based on politics and “who you know.” You do it on ability and character. The current Administration in the city of Pittsfield might want to take notes.

It’s been enough to get this erstwhile baseball writer back for a few games, as few as four more and as many as seven.

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SCHOOLS CONTINUE ASSAULT ON TAXPAYERS: NEEDLESS POSITION VACATED, BUT ‘JIV’ PLANS TO FILL IT JUST THE SAME

Speaking of management, if you want an example of “poor,” look no further than the city of Pittsfield and a couple of personnel decisions made by school Supt. Jason “Jake” McCandless, a.k.a. Jake the Fourth, a.k.a. JIV, pronounced “Jive.”

For the second time, when presented with a chance to tighten the belt, JIV has instead added to the bloated PPS administration. This month, the personnel director of the PPS is leaving the position. This is a perfect time to eliminate this needless post. Like maintenance and purchasing, the city has two personnel departments, one for city side and one for school side, a needless waste useful only for political princes looking to solidify their bases of power. In the case of personnel for the schools, one could make the case that the position is doubly useless. Not only is there a personnel department in the city, but legally, the individual school principals do the hiring. On the administrative level,the superintendent hires. Why, then, should taxpayers have to fund this useless post?

The personnel position being abandoned is essentially one for a paper pusher whose major qualification is loyalty to the Status Quo. You see, as THE PLANET has many times exposed, there’s a neat little (and expensive) racket being operated out of the Mercer Building, and the last thing they want is an Al Serpico, a Julian Assange, or an Eric Snowden asking too many questions. Believe us, one Terry Kinnas is about all they can stomach, and with Kinnas stepping down in January, THE PLANET wonders who will take his place as the fighter, as the voice of the people and the conscience of government? Who among the new school committee will step forward and dare fight for right?

This is a $90+ million school department, and fully 87% goes toward personnel costs! Think about that for a moment: 87 cents of each dollar taxpayers spend on public education in Pittsfield goes toward maintaining a fat administrative staff and the rest of personnel. That leaves just 13 cents for the classroom. To top that off, in his cover letter to the school committee for the FY14 budget, long-gone interim superintendent, Gordon Noseworthy, had the audacity to cite that statistic as one of the roadblocks to good education in the city. The Nose essentially presents the case of the kid who murders both his parents then asks the court for leniency because he is an orphan.

Instead of taking the opportunity to streamline the administration, boost performance, and reduce costs, JIV has chosen instead to fill the position. THE PLANET doesn’t know the salary, and it’s nowhere posted on the line-item budget, which lists the position for zero dollars. The evidence is strongly suggestive: JIV is yet another king whose only question is: “How can I continue to build and strengthen my empire?” The answer is age-old: Appoint people to unnecessary posts, where they will give you political loyalty. To a classic bureaucrat, that’s a service far more useful than a practical skill set.

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HAS DECISION ON THS BEEN DECIDED, IN SECRET?

THE PLANET learned a little more about the latest open meeting violation — alleged violation, that is. It, again, has allegedly occurred in the Pittsfield Public Schools. It allegedly involves the School Building Needs Commission, which allegedly met illegally by failing to post proper advance notice. We doubt we need all those “allegeds,” given the ratio of allegations with the determinations of the state AG that violations of the law have occurred. There’s no “alleged” about that.

THE PLANET hears that two school department personnel have been or will be named in the complaint: School committeewoman (and at-large council candidate) Kathleen Amuso and JIV himself. We are awaiting official confirmation of this.

As you may know the SBNC is the group charged with deciding what to do with Taconic High School: renovate, repair, or tear down and build anew. Don’t tell anyone, but from the chatter THE PLANET is getting from our spies on the inside, the decision has been secretly made: If the chatter proves true, which often does, taxpayers will be required pay for the most expensive option: building a new educational palace. What, you expected them watching out for your tax dollars?

In his cover letter to the FY14 budget, The Nose had a sentence that, intentionally or not, let the pussy  out of Felix the Cat’s magic bag. He wrote, “As we move closer to building a new Taconic High School, the Massachusetts School Building Authority will carefully monitor our commitment to funding adequately and maintaining our educational programs.”

The Nose wrote of the THS matter as if it had already been decided: to build the new rather than repair the old. Did he slip? Why would he have worded the sentence this way? Why wouldn’t he have started it, “As we continue to evaluate whether to renovate Taconic High School or build a new campus, …” But he didn’t. He wrote of it as a fait accompli. Folks, THE PLANET hates to break this to you, but it looks like the decision may have already been made … in secret … out of sight … and certainly out of mind.

Back to the complaint. The SBNC will be dealing with tens of millions of dollars if it decides to build a new THS. It is imperative that this commission operate in broad daylight. If it proves true that the SBNC, at this crucial stage in the THS decision, met illegally, there should be serious consequences.

FYI, the SBNC includes the following:

Appointed by Mayor Dan Bianchi — Amuso, John Barber, Warren Dews, Floriana Fitzgerald, Coleen Hunter-Mullet, Ellen Kennedy, Ed Kuni, Carmen Massimiano, Melissa Mazzeo, Patrick Mele, and Chuck Vincelette.

Appointed by the school committee — Kathy Yon.

Appointed by the school superintendent — Frank “Free House” Cote, Frank Laragione, Noseworthy, Guy Pannesco, Kevin Fischer (PHS student rep), Molly Barbarotta (THS student rep), Mike Tweed-Kent, and John Vosburgh.

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“Today is only yesterday’s tomorrow.”Uriah Heep, (1972)

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

12 Responses to “SCRAPPY SOX SHOW SERIOUS SPUNK, OR IS THAT ‘SERIES’ SPUNK? … SCHOOL SUPT. CONTINUES PPS ASSauLT ON TAXPAYERS WITH NEEDLESS APPOINTMENT … plus … SBNC, THE OPEN MEETING LAW, AND THS: HAS A SECRET DECISION BEEN MADE? REVIEW THE EVIDENCE AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELF”

  1. AmandaWell
    October 21, 2013 at 3:35 am #

    I believe Cecil was Prince Fielder’s father. But you’re right as usual Planet. People need not forget, the Red Sox had the best record in baseball this year with St. Louis…. GO SOX!

    • danvalenti
      October 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

      AMANDA
      Yes, Cecil is Prince’s dad. They were both pantloads, but that pathetic swan dive to conclude Prince’s crushing (for the Tigers) base running gaffe was particularly of Stumbo quality.

  2. scott
    October 21, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Heard sirens all sat morning In south st area so i turned on the scanner a car evading police rolled in a ditch so the rumor has it all i heard was the call for Sayers saying “I don’t know what kind of equipment Sayers is going to need but the car is on its roof in a heavily wooded area.” You’d think the bb “reporters” would be all over that story.

    GO SOX! Damn right nothing else matters but the jets took the pats because of some new bs rule. What a game that was!

  3. Gene
    October 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    DV as usual on top of stories and scotts message above shows that the Planet readers will cover the city too! The BB? CAn’t seem to remember them anymore. Cancelled subscription about a year ago then found this site.

    Go Sox all the way.

    • danvalenti
      October 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

      Good one, GENE.

  4. Tito
    October 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    I’ll give it to Scott, Gene, he is on the ball when it comes to events in motion.

  5. Mr. X
    October 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    Another big miss by the BB…sometime on Sat. nite Oct. 12th vandals set fire to one of the A-frame buildings at Ponterill. It was not discovered and reported to fire dept. until Sun. am around 10ish. Upon arrival, the fire dept found the building completely burned to the ground in smoldering remains and the still alive natural gas line on fire at the old building. The gas co. showed up shortly thereafter and killed the gas line. All that is left standing is the beautiful field stone chimney, what a shame. Go up and check it out for yourself.

    • eddiep
      October 21, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

      That site is supposed to have solar panels built there.
      The caretakers house was torched and when the gate was put up it was pulled down. Ponterill sold the property but the owners must not care about security. As for the bb, have you noticed the spelling mistakes, even in the headlines. Bad mistakes in the stories, wrong information being presented as fact. They got rid of the proofreaders a long time ago. If you subscribe to the Sunday edition, they charge extra for the tv section, it is full of mistakes and not worth it. This paper is good for entertainment purposes only. You never know when the stories are accurate.

      • danvalenti
        October 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

        Yes, it is as you say, EDDIEP.

    • danvalenti
      October 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

      MR. X
      One of the things we love about how our site has developed is that our readers break more news than the BB.

  6. Nota
    October 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    Dustin Luis Pedroia and Eli Manning combined, have over two hundred million dollars in contracts. Thank you Planet, for this FREE Site.

    • danvalenti
      October 21, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      We are glad to provide this public service.