PLANET GIVES POLITICAL ENDORSEMENTS ON MONDAY, BUT FIRST, A LITTLE BOONGA … UPDATE ON HOMELESS AND WINTER SITUATION … plus … FIRED TRANSCRIPT REPORTER LATCHES ON WITH ANOTHER BB PROPERTY
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, NOV. 1, 2013) — On Monday THE PLANET, presents our political endorsements for the municipal election in Pittsfield. First, though, we share a couple items that have made news recently. Both stories were broken, exclusively, on THE PLANET. The first deals with the plight of the homeless, with winter approaching, and the polar opposite responses to this pending crisis by two local political leaders. One is a Leader. One is a “leader.” The second deals with the fate of a reporter fired at The Boring Broadsheet‘s sister newspaper, The Transcript. We’ve covered this before, but it still astounds us how we in our solitary quests can ferret out so much news, while the Boring Broadsheet lies comatose, caught in its unwaking nightmare of plunging circulation and reader discontent, turns its back on the community.
Our third story is a brief reflection on this past baseball season in Boston. As some of you may have heard, the season ended in rather decent fashion two nights ago at Fenway Park.
(1) UPDATE ON HOMELESS — THE PLANET is pleased to report that Sen. Ben Downing has responded to our request for assistance, which we made on behalf of Pastor Russell Moody of the Pittsfield Church of Christ. As you will recall, when the building inspector pulled the church’s permit for running a facility for providing homeless people with emergency winter shelter, Moody appealed to Mayor Dan Bianchi. Bianchi gave Moody the cold shoulder and the bum’s rush. Apparently, homeless people freezing to death have no political value for the do-nothing mayor. THE PLANET ran the story, and we appealed for any community leader to step forward with help.
Sen. Downing wrote:
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Comments: DAN -
Saw the note about the homeless shelter. Recently met with a group of clergy and folks working to address the issue. We talked about both potential alternative sites and other solutions to the matter. I have made contact with the proper state agencies — Department of Housing & Community Development among them — and with the local agencies that work on homeless/shelter issues, including Berkshire Co-Regional Housing and Service Net.
Not in any position to speak to city involvement, but I am committed to coming up with a solution to the challenge. It seems every few years we have to scramble to address the “emergency shelter” issue. In many respects, this is because we cannot, despite efforts by our delegation, restrict access in Berkshire County shelters to Berkshire residents. The arguments for this aren’t just the obvious, but they are too many for this e-mail right now.
Just wanted you to know from my end, I am aware and I fully believe we should be able to solve the situation in some way expeditiously.
Thanks for the local coverage as always.
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THE PLANET thanks Sen. Downing for his leadership in this matter. Using the powers of office as well as its bully pulpit is the mark of a leader. Downing has that elusive “It” quality. Bianchi does not. Incidentally, Pastor Moody tells us that:
“The Berkshire Eagle [a.k.a. The Boring Broadsheet] has contacted me regarding the cot shelter. You struck a nerve. Funny, they didn’t seem interested a week ago.”
Imagine, prior to THE PLANET‘s coverage, the BB wouldn’t give this story the time of day. Once again, THE PLANET forces the BB’s hand into a semblance of its responsibility as the local daily, a duty, as we saw yesterday with our coverage of reporter Isaac Avilucea‘s plight, the paper has unforgivably shirked.
(2) SPEAKING OF AVILUCEA — The ex-Transcript scribe contacted THE PLANET yesterday about our coverage. He had this to say:
Comments: Dan, thanks for your well-reasoned, cogent post about my situation at the Transcript. You’ll be amused to find out that former Transcript editor-in-chief Mike Foster resigned last week. And I’ve accepted a job at the Register Citizen, in Torrington, Conn., a newspaper owned and operated by the same company, MediaNews Group (or is it 21st Century Media?; whatever it re-branded itself) which owns the Transcript. — ISAAC
We have no word on Foster’s sudden departure, but it points to the instability and chaos rampant in the newsroom. THE PLANET has many good friends in both newsrooms — good journalists who chafe at the position in which they find themselves. They are held back by management from furnishing the sharp-toothed, aggressive coverage that should be the hallmark of a media property, a franchise that should be the area’s shining beacon of the Fourth Estate’s long and necessary tradition to the proper function and health of democracy. We’ve seen too many good journalists get canned for doing their job. We wish Avilucea the best.
The situation also proves an interesting causal connection between the media and an area’s politics. When the dominant media outlet, usually its local daily, refuses to champion aggressively for the public good (notably, with an absence of enterprise or investigative writing), invariably you find the local politics is a morass of self-interest, greed, turf protection, and fear. Any similarity between that description and the political situation in the city of Pittsfield, is strictly intentional.
(3) SOX WIN IT ALL — THE PLANET won’t belabor the obvious, but we will point out that with the Boston Red Sox‘s third world championship in 10 years, winning the World Series calls for a reaction much like Jimmy Brown when he scored a touchdown: “Act like you’ve been there before.”
THE PLANET will make several quick points:
* From the first day of camp in Ft. Myers, this Sox team looked, acted, and played differently than the sour edition of fat cats of 2012. Clubhouse chemistry can often be overrated in sports, but not in this case. The owners, GM Ben Cherington, and manager John Farrell put together a roster that clicked on and off the field. Gone were the inflated egos of clubhouse cancers Beckett, Gonzalez, and Crawford. In were hungry ballplayers who loved what they were doing: Victorino, Gomez, Ross, Napoli, Drew, and the others.
* This year’s Red Sox team had an air of fate and destiny about them. That was made clear on Patriot’s Day in the bombing attack at the Boston Marathon. The New England Patriots were not even in pre-season. The Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins were in the post-season. That left it to the Red Sox to take up the slack, and the the entire organization did, in a big-time way. The World Series victory capped some kind of communal closure to the horror of the bombing.
* The Sox victory confirms Boston as Title Town, USA. Never before has one city claimed as many titles in a decade — division, conference, pennant, and world — as Boston has with its four sports teams. Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Championships, and Stanley Cups — We must say: It feels good.
BE SURE TO TUNE IN ON MONDAY’S PLANET, AS WE PRESENT OUR FEARLESS POLITICAL ENDORSEMENTS FOR THE PITTSFIELD RACES. ELECTION DAY IS TUESDAY, NOV. 5. HINT: WE ARE ENDORSING WRITE-IN CANDIDATE “DAN VALENTI” FOR MAYOR.
“Let me bring you songs from the wood to make you feel better than you could know.” — Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull, (1977)
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.