PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WED.-THURS., NOV. 20-21, 2013) — Before we pick up where we left off

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB LOGO: But what are those hands cupping?

yesterday, THE PLANET has obtained more information on the Peter Bell story. We have an inquiry into the Club for official comment. To our query, the Club replied:

“The staff here at the Club has been directed to refer all questions regarding the situation with Mr. Bell to Attorney John Donna, President of our Board of Directors.” 

The Club sent it unsigned.

When we asked the Club for contact information for Donna, we got this:

“Mr. Donna has an office on North Street” 

Uh, THE PLANET already knew this. We were hoping for a direct e-mail and a personal phone number. Judging by the response, we felt a need to let the anonymous sender that there is now such a thing as telephonic and internet communication, new-fangled inventions that would provide a more useful manner with which to make contact in 21st century America —  even Pittsfield.

Tomorrow, we shall post what we have learned. For now, let’s go back to yesterday’s theme and this comment of two days ago from Dusty:

Dan, the schools and parenting being what they are in Pittsfield, I would suggest to you that there is a very large segment of the younger generation (18-40) , who are totally unaware of who is running for a given office or that there is even an election going on. I know many just don’t care, but I think a person to person survey would show that a surprisingly large number of these folk are unaware that they even have a city government.

And i imagine that the GOB would like to keep it that way.

Our correspondent is correct on both points. Pittsfield does not have a wave of new voters, that “younger generation” he mentions, to follow the aging, active electorate. The Greatest Generation grew up in the Depression, fought WWII, made enormous sacrifices, then put down roots in communities across America. They created that magic window of time known as “The Fifties,” a period which THE PLANET defines not in a technical sense of chronology but by the feel of the times and the milieu against which those times unfolded. This would gives us the years 1946 to Nov. 22, 1963, from the first post-war year to the day of President John F. Kennedy’s horrific assassination in Dallas, Texas. That’s “The Fifties: 1946 to 1963.”

That Greatest Generation built America’s infrastructure, powered its factories (a well-known Pittsfield story), created the world’s best in just about everything, parented families, and thought of public service as an honor that did not require financial remuneration. In Pittsfield, they voted in percentages that often topped 70 and even 80%.

Like a long-playing record, however, and as obsolete, that Solid Gray Line is fading out, and behind it — the next generation that saw a youthful president gunned down, another president resign in disgrace, fought or refused to fight in a phony Asiatic war (the killing, though, was all too real), and rewired itself with escapism, the new form of dropping out made more urgent by political hypocrisy and speedier by emerging technology.

Dusty’s comment sufficiently described the next segment of the electorate, the 40-and-under slice, a group so politically clueless that it still hasn’t found its ass or elephant, even using both hands. That’s certainly a factor in how so-called democratic republics such as the People’s Republic of Pittsfield can embarrass itself with a turnout under 25, which it just did on Nov. 5. If you did a demographic profile of the turnout, you would find most of the voters older than 40 and likely older than 60.

“And i imagine that the GOB would like to keep it that way.”

Yes, Dusty, your imagination has zeroed in on reality. The GOB loves it when We The People leave them alone to their devious devices. The last thing the GOB (Good Old Boys, as in the GOB Network, for the uninitiated) wants is for the slumbering colossus of the body politick to wake up, get angry as hell, and begin cleaning up.

The GOB strategy for the city elections of 2013 depended upon low turnout. That’s how this collection of politicians, Big Shots, administrators, and other “connected” people keep the boat steady and the waters calm. You won’t, for example, see PSD personnel making between $50,000 and $160,000 a year + benefits wanting to usher in the sort of dramatic change needed to make Pittsfield once again a vibrant city or, if not that, at least a city with a future other than lying on a refrigerated slab in a financial morgue.

The cornerstone of keeping the majority of Pittsfield voters either dumb as dirt or too frustrated to “waste a vote” is controlling the media. That task became much easier in 1995, when the once-vaunted Berkshire Eagle sold out in a fire sale to a rapacious, bottom-line, bottom-feeder media chain based in Denver, Colo. Now a few publishers and editors later and with the newspaper going the way of the typewriter, the GOB has The Boring Broadsheet under its thumb. The story of today’s BB might be titled, “18 Years a Slave.”

Squeezing the life out of the BB came easy. Big advertisers became sacred cows. For example, when the head of the County’s Largest Institute of Financial Fervor and Yenning (CLIFFY) allegedly had all sorts of alleged fun over many alleged years in the various alleged arenas of unlikely alleged erotica, the paper looked the other way … for decades. Not so coincidentally, CLIFFY was a major advertiser. Many of the Big Shots that ran (and run) prestigious city companies and institutions in the Dreaded Private Sector and in the so-called “Non Profit” sector were (and are) “Connected” politically. Their advertising dollars demanded more than the usual tributes.

The GOB certainly had nothing to fear from local radio, with all but one of the seven local stations having been gobbled up by an out-of-state media chain. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. The local on-air news departments became nothing more than “rip-and-read” from wire services, feel good Chamber-of-Commerce-type press releases, and feeding itself with some of the sour cud the BB had already chewed.

In the election of 2013, the GOB had no local talk shows to deal with, since all had been silenced. It also had the great luck of an incapacitated Pittsfield Gazette. Editor and publisher Jonathan Levine experienced medical problems, and the Gazette became a non-factor during the election.

The GOB couldn’t believe its luck: a toothless BB, an equally gummy radio news, no local talk shows, and no Gazette. The only lone outpost standing between the GOB and Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski was … ta-da …


We, alone, were not afraid to stand up and point out the obvious, which by then had become so obscure as to seem either a fantastic tale bordering on fiction or to resemble one of epigrams from the Wisdom of the Ages. THE PLANET, alone, took on the GOB. We, of course, had no chance of winning. We went into the chess match two rooks down. The point of such a battle, however, is to slow the enemy, win the larger war of attrition, and hold on for the coming act of God.

Congregation, let’s open our “GOB Hymnals to page 13,” for “Lift High the Graft”:

“It’s Dan Valenti’s fault Pittsfield didn’t turn out to vote (the antidote).

“It’s Dan Valenti’s fault that those who won won and those who lost lost.

“It’s Dan Valenti’s fault the charter passed (in the morass).

“It’s Dan Valenti’s fault that on Election Day, the weather was pretty decent. 

Our hearts our light. No dearth to upraise. Waft the angel on her flight, corrupion’s praise.

Valenti tells THE PLANET that he hoisted a few, having caught each of the notes as they rolled — their hollow mirth, their endless dying, signaling the inevitable rebirth.

He also told THE PLANET that no one would heed the prophecy. What a realist that kid is!


“‘Over the Mountains / Of the Moon, / Down the Valley of the Shadow, / Ride, boldly ride,’ / The shade replied, — / ‘If you seek Eldorado.'”Edgar Poe, “Eldorado.”




  1. eddiep
    November 20, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Dan, I am going to hang todays post on my wall. Sooner than later, this is going to come back and bite them hard.

  2. MrG1188
    November 20, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    While I’d contend your circular graphic severely simplifies the Cycle of Corruption and blames it ALL on the unions, which is not at all fair (and I am not currently a union fan, it’s just not ALL their fault!), it is a point well made. Pittsfield right now is just a tiny microcosm of the entire Federal government. Everything you said can be applied there as well. Depressed numbers, voter apathy breeding futility, breeding further apathy, breeding deeper futility and ultimately despair. Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative; on the inside they are ALL GOB’s, and the labels on the outside tend to keep us all squabbling amongst ourselves and never noticing that, well beyond having our pockets picked, our very bones are being picked clean!

    I do not pretend to know the solution, and there are plenty wiser than me who have said that duly elected officials, even the best intended, are corrupted almost immediately upon entering the system because the money is so…extraordinary or the threats so real I’d imagine. But I think open discussion is perhaps a start, followed by dogged news coverage. If it takes armed insurrection, well…who can say

  3. Jonathan Melle
    November 20, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Pittsfield politics spiraled downward ever since Gerry Doyle was elected Mayor in 1997. Jimmy Ruberto took Pittsfield politics to even deeper lows over the past decade. Dan Bianchi inherited the mess from Doyle and Ruberto.

    • Billy
      November 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

      Chicago mayor Rham Emmanuel is in the process of trying to close a 27 billion dollar deficit in his city.The mayor has already closed 50 schools,and is in the process of laying off Around 1700 police officers,along with trying to reduce public employees pension by a 1/3. Rham says the pension liability has created such a fiscal black hole that it has to be addressed because the payments are not allowing city infrastructure to be addressed and maintained. Sound familiar ? The public pension system was created in the day when salaries were low and manageable and were seen as away to compensate the employee .
      I find fault with any public official who does not see the forest for the trees and thinks of some political agenda or his own Career or public pension over the fiscal stabilility of the town he takes the oath to represent to the best of his ability . I would remind people that vote totals do not make leaders,a leader is a person who sacrifices for future generation leaving what he has found on more stable footing and able to grow for the ” children” All those “public servants “say they care about. The council can not Hide from this reality. Or the fiscal nightmare that is facing Chicago,Detroit ,Miami to name a few is coming our way regardless of how the council and school commitee try to spin the issue. I would remind those ” leaders” the numbers don’t lie And we should be fiscally proactive instead of Waiting and finding ourselves in the situation of so many cities that live in in denial have found themselves in.

      • danvalenti
        November 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

        Emmanuel is a great object lesson. This “liberal” got elected mayor and took his leadership role to heart. The longer Pittsfield continues to ignore the problem of unfunded liabilities, the more painful the eventual and inevitable collapse will be. It will also be sooner by that much.

  4. Ron Kitterman
    November 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    I don’t have a clue how to get more people to vote but in the words of JFK ” Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.”, So 42 and 44 found out there are more takers than makers, so in order to fundamentally transform American, we don’t need to worry about asking what we can do for our country any longer, but what can our country do for us is fully back in style.

    • scott
      November 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

      Ill stand on park square with a sign and get the word out on the importance of voting.

      • levitan
        November 26, 2013 at 7:30 am #

        What’s the point of voting if no one is running for office.

        How about standing on Park Square with a sign emphasizing the importance of Running? (That’s the implied Right that is quickly vanishing.)

  5. teecha teecha
    November 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Question: With all the negativity you give the public school system in pittsfield/berkshire county… would it be worth it to come back and work there for the raises and benefits? As a private school teacher I’ve been considering it for a year or so. I’m curious as to your take on it. What better options could there be for teachers? the pay and benefits are sooo damn enticing.

  6. Where's Strom Thurmond when you need him?
    November 20, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    Dan as a resident of Pittsfield and frequent reader of your blog (what can I say its fun to read) let me make a few points.

    1) The GOB as you know and write about no longer exists. Did it at one time? Of course. But most of those individuals that were part of the GOB’s and once held power are no longer relevant, in AA or dead.

    Portraying what you define as the GOB as an illuminati like figure however does keep readers on their feet and is interesting gossip. So I understand why you do it.

    2) The younger generation highly supports your defined GOB candidates. For many reasons

    A) They are the progressive candidates and provide a more positive message.

    B) Many of your GOB candidates and figures are involved in the community and have children that are popular in the community as well. Thus the 21-40 year old group is much more likely to be familiar with these people. Many of the candidates you do not define as GOB are more reclusive and not as well known in the community. Thus your statement above is not correct.

    C) What does it matter they don’t vote anyways.

    3) Those that win elections in Pittsfield don’t usually spend much on campaigns at all. They don’t need to when only a couple hundred people are voting in your ward. Some yard signs and talk to some people will do the trick. No need for any large conspiracies. Most people would rather go home and start dinner than vote. It’s just apathy and laziness. Not conspiracy.

    4) The people you have stated are GOB figures only wish they had the power that you give them on this website. In reality most of these peoples are useless schmucks that you make out to be Kings. They hate you for the things you say about them but they love you because you put them on a pedestal and make them feel important.

    • danvalenti
      November 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I will respond briefly:
      1. While the old-guard GOB may have passed (or is passing) The GOB does in fact exist. You’re just not seeing them. They are the GOB of Subsequence.
      2. Your source for this dubious claim? That generation is more defined by non-participation and ignorance (how many read the charter before voting on it, for example?). My source? Election demographics, hard, fast data. (a) Agree (b) Disagree (c) Agreed.
      3. You are using a word that I haven’t mentioned: “conspiracy.” Don’t worry about it, though: People often do that to me.
      4. I give them no power than they have earned on their own.
      Glad you find THE PLANET fun to read.

      • Tim
        November 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

        Gotta somewhat agree with b, at the very least in the sense that there is a cyclical nature to the term gob… That said your definition basically includes anyone who benefits from someone elses connection to something or someone else. So it could really be anyone at any given time to suit the writer, reader, or other user of the term. You usually use it in terms of politics, employment, and business, but the use of it can extend to suit your, or anyone elses, needs/agenda.

        You might not use the term conspiracy, but its awfully close to what you often point out in local politics, etc. it might not be the exact word, but its certainly the connotation to the reader on a frequent basis.

      • Still wondering
        November 21, 2013 at 8:25 am #

        Who ever Strom is, he has no clue about how things really are in Pittsfield. We could name names right now but do we want to poke the hornets nest? They know who they are and we know who they are too.
        Let’s start the fun by saying “Berkshire Bank” shall we?

    • dusty
      November 21, 2013 at 2:08 am #

      If there is no GOB how do people like Doyle and Barrett and Ruberto land cushy, no show jobs after they leave office? How do relatives of connected people get off when committing obvious misdeeds?

      How does the school committee wind up with a powerful head who has no background in education? Would you not think their leader would be someone who has been in the field? So think about why this does not and will not happen.

      • Donald
        November 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

        Dusty, I believe this is what’s referred to as networking in the business world.

        • danvalenti
          November 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

          Networking is proper. Using one’s political power to for selfish purposes is not. Collegiality cannot be likened to corruption.

      • Tim Bartini
        November 21, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

        What job did Jim Ruberto get after he left office?

    • Thomas More
      November 21, 2013 at 11:58 am #

      I have to agree. This blog or whatever you call it is amusing and at times silly. (vote for me for mayor) The conspiracies, the name calling, pummelin, granny, aging Greek et. al., one must laugh. And then the GOBs. They do exist in the courthouse. They have to make sure that their kids get jobs. I have to agree with you that they are a hapless bunch. Recently, listening to Canadian radio a commentator lamented that Americans were nice people but they “choose such fools to lead themselves,” For that, Pittsfield is the gold standard.

      • Dave Bubriski
        November 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

        Yeah,I guess we need a Mayor like they have in Ontario. Rob Ford is a hoot. A leader Canada can be proud of.

        • danvalenti
          November 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

          When Ford gets busted on Ontario, send him to Pittsfield.

          • scott
            November 23, 2013 at 11:45 am #

            Hey now how do we know the whole Ford thing isnt a conspiracy by the GOB’s in Ontario? I mean if you look at his track record he has and plans to continue to cut spending and save the tax payers money. I agree let the people decide in an election seems like they love him and it seems like mob mantality has taken over for rational educated thought and opinion.

  7. Giacometti
    November 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    Those who can’t do…teach. Teaching is not easy in grades below the 12th grade because of students who don’t want to be taught…students who want to be educated usually enjoy reading and see a better education as the ticket to a better future…Those who think teaching is easy should do some substitute teaching
    …then and only then they will learn how difficult it is to teach and how grateful we all should be for those who teach in our schools.

    • CarlosDanger
      November 21, 2013 at 7:20 am #

      Please enlighten me on what is difficult about being a teacher. Is it the 14 weeks off a year? The 6 hour work day? Having to do only one thing at a time? All those ‘in service days’ which are just more time off? Teaching practically the same thing every year? Being overpaid and over benefitted? The early retirements and cushy pensions? Please enlighten me.

    • joetaxpayer
      November 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      Agree, teaching is not a easy task. Under the current rules teachers don’t have to do that to keep there jobs.Sure makes it alot easier.

  8. Joe Pinhead
    November 20, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    We cant be far behind.
    Looking at this shows what can and will happen if it hasnt

    • danvalenti
      November 20, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

      Thanks, JOE. We found it most enlightening.

    • scott
      November 23, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      Wow springfield mass is numero uno…

      • danvalenti
        November 24, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

        Pittsfield must be in that same demographic.

  9. Mike Ward
    November 21, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    To say the problem is low voter turnout is an oversimplification, in my opinion. It’s not the two minutes of filling in the circles on the ballot that satisfies your civic duty. It’s the hours spent reading, watching meetings, thinking, discussing issues with friends, traveling to other places, and learning something new before you vote that matters. Low voter turnout is a symptom of the real problem of “I don’t know and I don’t care.” And at least these non-voters are honest enough to not waste everyone’s time by making random choices in the voting booth.

      November 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      Mike Ward hits this nail square on the head. People don’t care. And using the 18-40 demographic is somewhat false. I’m getting close to 40 and so are most of the people I know, many are over 40. As a general statement, the 18-40 thing may hold some water, but I believe its more than age. It is about self reliance and respect of other people in the community. Those of us who pulled our selves up and made a decent life without the help of government wish to restrict spending and curtail welfare and handouts that we are forced to fund because we are successful. Many people suck off the system and simply expect a free ride. They don’t have a vested interest in the happenings of government(though they should). They receive lifes needs without having to use critical thinking. Therefore they lack the ability to think and reason about anything outside of their present situation. I believe the apathy is a result of not having to achieve. Same goes for public unions, what don’t tax paying slaves understand about the fact that the overpaid public employees are fighting against US, the tax payers, to take a larger share of our wages when they ask for raises and better benefits?

    • danvalenti
      November 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

      Yes, and we are not saying that. Voting is how democracy keeps score. It is not a cause here but an effect.

  10. Dave
    November 21, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Just read an interesting letter to the Editor (BB) by George Beebe regarding Gt. Barrington- made me wonder what will happen when funding for the new Taconic goes to the voters?

    • dusty
      November 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

      Yes. A very interesting letter. Dan should read it and maybe post it for his readers. Could that ever happen in Pittsfield? Who or what lit the fire under those people?

      • MrG1188
        November 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

        The project was/is necessary, the plans well thought out and well designed, the reimbursement rates are excellent too. I voted FOR the project. As many others did, I voted against the Prop 2 1/2 override. The project has merit? Go ahead and do it…but figure out a better, more creative, better way to get the money. Like a family, if you want to take a vacation, cut out drinking beer. LOL…Maybe Great Barrington doesn’t need another new fire truck this year, or so much police overtime,,,or one of a hundred things that could be cut to enable the funding without triggering Prop. 2 12. That’s what got into me, and I think a lot of others agreed.

  11. Darren Lee
    November 21, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    All sectors of governement in America (local, state & feds) can be tied to the lack of measurable, accountable results. If you serve 4 years, the first year is spent understanding what to do, the second is spent figuring out how to do it, the third year is spent figuring our who to stroke to get it done and looking towards re-election and the fourth year is spent running for another term. ~ “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.” JFK

    • Dave
      November 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

      Darren, I agree that all levels of Government are accountable.
      The most critical in my opinion is the local. For example, if all the cities for just one stinking year, told MA they would not accept any money for non essential projects(fixing the Common in Pittsfield’s case) how much money could be saved. The problem is that this money is budgeted each year without a defined need, and then fought over because as the Reps put it
      “If we don’t get it, some other area will”- which makes them heroes to the local politicians who in turn fawn over the Reps every chance they can to the press. Then it works the same with MA and the Federal Government. We don’t need trickle down economics, we need trickle up change… and fast!

  12. amandaWell
    November 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Ask not what you do for your Country, ask what you can do for yourselvelf.

  13. Jonathan Melle
    November 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    When I was a young man, I looked for a job in Pittsfield for over one year of my life. No one in Pittsfield would hire me for employment. The Good Old Boy network blacklisted me in Pittsfield. And I was a Veteran to boot.

    • Donald
      November 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

      Jonathan, how is your job search going in NH?

    • Joe Blow
      November 21, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

      Stop playing the victim and take a look in the mirror.

      • Jonathan Melle
        November 21, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

        I am not a Senator’s son. I am disliked by Andrea Nuciforo, Jr. and Carmen Massimiano, Jr. I am a Veteran.

        • Still wondering
          November 22, 2013 at 6:49 am #

          You’re a guy who couldn’t cut it in the military and got out on a general discharge. So now you run around yelling “I’m a veteran!”. You wear your “status” on your sleeve and expect everything to be handed to you on a platter. You walk around with a chip on your shoulder and you are surprised when people call your bluff. We are all wise to you so just go away and leave us alone.

          • Jonathan Melle
            November 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

            I am a proud Veteran. I received an Honorable discharge from the U.S. Army. I received regards from a U.S. President for my service.

  14. Evian
    November 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Dv’s use of the term GOB has always been acurate. Its not ‘networking’ as someone said, rather it is using ones connections and getting the to pull strings for you. Especially when the person getting the favor isnt qualified, doesn’t know jack, etc. etc. Go Planet!

  15. Mr. X
    November 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Heard today that Peter Bell basically is very difficult to work with, considering his very arrogant and cocky attitude, and he has lost the people person 1st and foremost skills for that job, not that he had many of those to begin with. Anyone that has dealt with him knows all of this to be true. It doesn’t make him a bad person, just a bad person for that position.

    • danvalenti
      November 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

      MR X
      Our Boys Club update runs tomorrow.

  16. raider50
    November 21, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    Whine and moan, bitch and complain. Same old crap just a different story here. How did that write-in campaign go for you Dan.

    • danvalenti
      November 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      It went great! Thanks for your vote. Keep on reading.