PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, NOV. 6, 2013) — THE PLANET offers you some quick post-election thoughts. We invite you to share your comments of the events of Election Day here.

* BIANCHI ‘WINS’ FOR LOSING — We thank the couple hundred so who wrote our name in for mayor (number unofficial). We had 50 as our definition of a “win.” It was also the over/under from the Stardust Sports Book. Combined with the blanks and those who did not vote — that is, the vast majority of Pittsfield voters who eschewed the mayoral ballot — Mayor Dan Bianchi once again “won” with a tiny minority of eligible voters who actually voted for the guy. About 24,000 voters chose not to vote for him. Barring a sea-change in both his policies, his politics, and his personality, Bianchi will be in for a rough two years. If, however, he turns it around, we shall be the first to note it, and cheerfully.  We hope it happens.

* UNCHARTED TERRITORY — THE PLANET knew the charter would be approved. The Suits, the GOB, and the Special Interests rigged this one pretty good. They didn’t pull anything new. Rather, they relied on the tried-and-true tactics that have skunked Pittsfield citizens for the last generation: Govern poorly and favor the rich and connected. This will create apathy. Apathy will suppress the vote well under 50%. The respective (though not respectable) cores of the Suits, GOB, and Special Interests can then hijack the election and engineer the outcome. When the salary increases for the mayor and (yes) the city council kick in, and when the GOB decides to pay the school committee, don’t act surprised. We tried to warn you.

* NICK OF TIME — THE PLANET fully expects Nick Caccamo, winner in Ward 3, to be allowed to serve on the council. It doesn’t mean our analysis was incorrect. It only means that a differing opinion prevailed. This results in good news and bad news for Ward 3 residents: The good news is that Caccamo was clearly and by far the most qualified for office compared with Rick Latura. The bad news is that he will be unable to participate in any discussions or votes pertaining to the school department, of which he is a full-time employee. The “more good news” is that Caccamo can’t accept his $8,000 council salary under charter rules. The “more bad news” is don’t expect the extra $8,000 to be used for tax relief to help out Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski. The mayor already has his eyes on the next tax hike and will no doubt find other ways to waste the $8Gs.

HITHER AND YON — Ward 1 voters decided to oust Christine Yon as councilor, favoring Lisa Tully. It was a close one, 565-480. Yon secured her fate in this election when she went to bat in a big way during Spectrumgate. The Bianchi Administration bungled the case, and Yon wouldn’t accept that as good enough for her constituents. Bianchi tried revenge, and it worked. Congratulations to Tully. THE PLANET wishes her the best success as Ward 1 councilor.

KROL ON A ROLL — As predicted, John Krol handily stuffed Joe Nichols back into the oven. The Nichols campaign came out as half-baked. Krol, not one to loaf it, ran a smart, enthusiastic campaign.

AT-LARGE — The ins were Barry Clairmont and Melissa Mazzeo at the rhetorical bookends, and Kathy Amuso and Churchill Cotton as the books. Donna Todd Rivers just missed, trailing Clairmont by 16 votes. Voters didn’t want Jim Conant because of his performance as school committee members. Mark Miller picked up the rear.

SCHOOL BORED — As THE PLANET recommended, voters said no to the teenager. The present school board has two more meetings left, and we would expect to see the four newcomers at both. Terry Kinnas is out, and early odds are on Josh Cutler to take up the slack for We The People. Don’t be surprised to see Kinnas at the meetings as a private citizen. In some ways, in that, the highest office of all, he may be even more effective in policing a committee that has grown flaccid and all too casual in both process and procedure, to say nothing of outcome.

SPEAKING OF BORINGThe Boring Broadsheet‘s “Live Blog” on election results lived up to the paper’s name. The coverage was, to put it kindly, confused and confusing. It had more tweets on the Virginia governor’s race and the fate of the Houston Astrodome than Pittsfield results. This was at 9:25 p.m. on election evening, long after the polls closed. Where were the reporters? Petting Aunt Edna’s pet poodle? Who was directing them? Mack Sennett? (let us know if you get it!). Didn’t the BB find a quicker way to gets results from polling stations to the newsroom than relying on smoke signals and carrier pigeon? While its tweets twaddled, people looking to the BB twiddled their thumbs.

EXIT SIGNS — THE PLANET puts out an all points bulletin to every winning and losing candidate: Get rid of your ugly, eyesore signs. Burma Shave us no more.

THE NEXT ELECTION — Now will will have a lame-duck period of a little less than two months, time for all of us to rest up until the next big election. That will be for council president, and the wise guys on the street still insist it will come down to an epic battle, behind closed doors, between Melissa Mazzeo and Ward 5’s Jonathan Lothrop. There will be so much arm twisting between now and then that the Pittsfield city physician had better learn how to get good at Tommy John surgery.

Congratulations to all winners.



THE PLANET notes today the installation of a memorial to honor three fallen Stockbridge police officers who died on duty. They are special officer Thomas Killfoile (died Aug. 8, 1940), H. Crosby Smith (d. June 10, 1951), and former chief Bill Collins (Aug. 8, 1958). The memorial was placed outside police headquarters in town hall. It will be dedicated next May.

Stockbridge police chief Rick Wilcox thanked the select board for their support of the memorial project. Wilcox also acknowledged the research assistance of Ed Shepardson, the grand-nephew of officer Killfoile. THE PLANET, as a Stockbridge resident, also acknowledges the select board and Shepardson. In addition, we commend the long-time service of chief Wilcox, who will leaving the post when he turns 65 in a few months. THE PLANET thanks Shepardson for the photo he sent. We tried to post it, but the pixels exceeded the limit. We can’t give the technical explanation, but, no matter how our geeks tried to crunch it, the picture wouldn’t fit.



THE PLANET received this letter from Dan O’Connell, former long-time arts commissioner in Pittsfield:

Just a note to recognize the passing of William F. Blake of Great Barrington and Pittsfield …who with Daniel Galvez of Oakland, California painted the Vietnam Memorial Mural, The Police Department Mural…the Fire Department Mural and the Boy’s and Girls Club Mural for the City of Pittsfield, Berkshire Artisans. A humble and  unassuming artist Will’s death followed a long battle with cancer. He also worked as one of a small number of watermark artists who engraved watermarks for the United States Treasury / Crane & Company. The citizens of Pittsfield and the Vietnam Veterans of Berkshire County have lost an artist who gave his talents to keep alive the memory of our fallen soldiers and the Police and Firefighters who keep our community safe. William F. Blake will be missed by all who knew him.

We thank O’Connell for this letter.


“I’m afraid I can’t allow that, Dave.”HAL to Bowman, in Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001.





  1. Billy
    November 6, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Dan now they own their issues. No more finger pointing.good luck to the city. We’ll need it. 4000 decided the future of forty thousand and shrinking.

    • danvalenti
      November 6, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

      Great points, BILLY.

  2. Tito
    November 6, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    The big winner was Tiffanyxxxx I mean Brittany, what’s her name? Over 2000 votes, don’t know what she stood for, a silhouette for a picture, and zero campaigning = P A L O O K A V I L L E’,,,,,,,

    • TKO
      November 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      I know Britt personally, she got over 2900 votes on Tuesday. She would have attended the media events if she had been invited…I do not buy the excuse that they had the wrong contact info. The info was correct at the voters office.

    • danvalenti
      November 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

      Amazing stuff. 2,000 votes for air and cotton candy.

      • bobbyd
        November 7, 2013 at 7:20 am #

        Amazing stuff, indeed.

      • bobbyd
        November 7, 2013 at 9:52 am #

        I am not one of your book reviewers. Remove my post if you will, but do not redact it so that it means something completely other from what I wrote.

        • danvalenti
          November 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

          I can remove the post if you wish. Our webmaster deleted the original because of the guttural expression. By the way, we would be open to book reviews.

          • bobbyd
            November 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

            I would appreciate if you would either have the webmaster remove the entire post, or repost it and mask just the offending portions of the apt (if vulgar) term.

  3. Silence Dogood
    November 6, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    No analysis of the numbers in the at large race? When was DTR on the SC?

  4. NJP
    November 6, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Kathy Amuso was on SC, not Donna Todd Rivers!

    Dan, perhaps if you had submitted papers to run for Mayor, you would have had an opportunity to debate our current Mayor! You chose the easy way not to run, no stumping, no door knocking, no money spent!

    • levitan
      November 6, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

      Hell, not even taking out papers, and not even the risk of winning.

    • danvalenti
      November 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

      The easy way was the smart way, NJ. My public service is laid out for you and the public every day, here on THE PLANET.

  5. Dave
    November 6, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    Rumor is Joe Nichols is already house hunting in Ward 5.

    • Russell Moody
      November 6, 2013 at 5:17 pm #


  6. joetaxpayer
    November 6, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Another sad chapter in Pittsfield politics!

    • danvalenti
      November 6, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

      JOE THE T
      On and on it goes, and where it stops, Chapter 11 knows.

  7. Nota
    November 6, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Nichols in Ward 5, that will be a Guiness record of three consecutive runs for office in three different Wards…this has Palookaville written all over it.

  8. Nota
    November 6, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    That’s Guinness, I THINK?

  9. Jonathan Melle
    November 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Pittsfield politics is at its worst in 2013. The Good Old Boy pushed through a top-down city charter that gives the Mayor a lot of power over the people. Instead of a people lead democracy, Pittsfield is ran by the few known as the Good Old Boy network. There are no good jobs in Pittsfield unless you are politically connected to one of the low gene pool, multi-generational Pittsfield families. All of the poverty, welfare caseloads, teen pregnancies, homeless, jobless people will continue to lose.

    • Joseph Nichols
      November 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

      Jonathan Melle,

      I have to totally agree with you. While I was at the poles yesterday, Ruberto and Doyle drove up to help John Krol. I was not just running against Krol. Rather against the whole GOB which I guess Mike ward has now joined.

      Funny, Before I ever ran for office, Mike Ward inspired me to run when he and Dan Bianchi would go against the popular vote on so many issues and appear to be standing up for the people.

      Then I ran and won Ward 7. To my amazement Mike ward was in the process of switching over to the GOB. What a disappointment at that time.

      I was newly engaged then to my now wife Nancy. Mike actually told Nancy’s sister, when he didn’t even know me, that I was only with Nancy so I would have someone to babysit my child while on the council. What a loser I thought. I’ve never met someone so low as to do such a thing. What a disgrace!

      Oh well Mike, I guess you fit in very well with the GOB. Enjoy!

      • Jonathan Melle
        November 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

        I spent over one year of my adult life looking for a job in Pittsfield after I the bank I worked at unfairly terminated my employment for complaining about my branch manager calling me the racist term “wop” because I have an Italian-American last name. No one would hire me in Pittsfield. The Good Old Boy network in Pittsfield blacklisted me from getting a job in Pittsfield. I survived on unemployment, then on food stamps and welfare assistance. I am a Disabled Veteran who served our nation Honorably. I am financially secure now. No thanks the Good Old Boy network in Pittsfield!


        In Pittsfield:
        * Taxes are very high with a weak tax base
        * Tens of thousands of people have left Pittsfield and Berkshire County over the past several decades
        * Pittsfield and Berkshire County is the #1 place in Massachusetts for job loss
        * There are more people on welfare assistance than have private sector jobs
        * Teen pregnancies and welfare caseloads double the statewide average
        * The public school system is overpriced and underperforming
        * Tens of millions of dollars were spent on North Street and the dowtown area is still dead and place to avoid especially after hours
        * Crime, drugs, violence, gangs are real problems
        * The Good Old Boy network runs Pittsfield politics and serves the special interests instead of the common good
        * The Good Old Boys consist of multi-generation, inter-related Pittsfield families that derive from two camps: the Del Gallo political machine and the Wojtkowski political machine
        * Pittsfield’s finances have many millions of dollars in unfunded liabilities or debts that today’s Pittsfield politicians are not adequately addressing
        * Pittsfield has gone into state receivership before after the Doyle administration debacle and may go the way of insolvency like the Detroit bankruptcy
        * The number one employer in Pittsfield is the City of Pittsfield
        * Thousands of local residents work for the city government and the public school system
        * Many people and entities, such as the labor unions, depend on the system and control the Pittsfield politicians
        * After the public payroll patriots, non-profits, such as the Hospital, depend on taxpayer dollars and employ thousands more Pittsfield residents
        * The above vested interests make Pittsfield unaffordable to the little guy (the “Kapanski” family) who is not politically connected to get a city, school, or non-profit job
        * Pittsfield needs new Pittsfield politicians who will take on the special interests to regain control of city finances
        * PCBs left behind by GE have polluted Pittsfield’s air, water, and ground
        * Thousands upon thousands of Pittsfield residents have suffered through and died of cancer caused by Pittsfield’s toxic waste PCBs
        * GE left Pittsfield behind for Wall Street


        The Good Old Boy network in Pittsfield oversees all of the following social problems in Pittsfield politics:

        * Homelessness in Pittsfield
        * Teen pregnancies in Pittsfield
        * Thousands of welfare caseloads in Pittsfield
        * High municipal taxes and fees in Pittsfield
        * Low median incomes in Pittsfield
        * GE’s toxic waste PCBs pollution in Pittsfield
        * Job loss in Pittsfield
        * Population loss in Pittsfield
        * Substandard public education in Pittsfield
        * The Good Old Boy network in Pittsfield
        * Hundreds of Millions of Dollars of unfunded liabilities or municipal debts in Pittsfield
        * The #1 employer in Pittsfield is the City of Pittsfield
        * The #2 employer in Pittsfield are non-profit organizations like the Hospital
        * There are no Fortune 500 corporations in Pittsfield
        * Thousands of local workers depend on tax dollars in Pittsfield
        * The vested interests in Pittsfield vote for Pittsfield politicians who ensure out of control and unsustainable municipal finances
        * The “Kapanski” family gets screwed by Pittsfield politics
        * Pittsfield politicians will never change Pittsfield politics until Pittsfield goes bankrupt like Detroit

        • Ed Shepardson
          November 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

          I think it’s time to start screening the callers.

        • eddiep
          November 7, 2013 at 10:11 am #

          Jonathan..did you pursue this firing in the courts, it sounds like you had a case.

      • Mike Ward
        November 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

        I’m not even going to comment on the part about Joe’s family because I don’t believe the real Joe Nichols would post something as fantastic and absurd as that. I believe this to be a prank post.

        As far as me being a GOB, well, guilty as charged. How do you think I knew the internet address of the proposed charter the other day? It was in the GOB newsletter.

        • Jonathan Melle
          November 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

          Pittsfield politics is ran by the Good Old Boy network. They are against democracy. All they want to do is control people in Pittsfield. It is like the Twilight Zone!

        • Billy
          November 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

          I wouldn’t give him that much credit. If anyone gets. Scooby snakes for being a loyal lap dog. It’s. JN. Stay tuned. Their in charge let’s see who they blame now. I’m sure their working on a out strategy

          • Billy
            November 6, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

            Meant. Snacks. Lol

      • levitan
        November 6, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

        Well, Joe I voted for you – remembering your strong positions during Ruberto. And Mr. Ward is not someone I would obligingly keep in my acquaintance. You can tell a man by his words.

  10. Liz Arrington
    November 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Anothervote, another failure of the democratic process. As tito said 4000 decide for 40,000 and slipping.

  11. Jim Gleason
    November 6, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Melissa Mazzeo, as was the case in the last election, was top vote getter at large. Bury Clairmont (that’s what we should do) was 14 votes better than Donna Todd Rivers for 4th ant large. Get ready for a recount, I’d imagine. I’ve heard conflicting accounts on different media whether Cotton or Amuso were third or second.Congrats to Lisa Tully in 1 who, along with Melissa, won despite not getting the Berkshire Good Ol’ Boy, er I mean the Eagle, endorsement.Good effort to Joe Nichols. If the residents of Ward 6 enjoy being lied to right to their faces, good luck with Krawl.Congrats to Kevin Morandi, Chris Connell and Tony Simonelli who won uncontested races.Good luck to all.

  12. Dave
    November 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    I call on the new council to take action. I told you they were coming and we needed an ordinance to ban them from city limits. Big Y is selling the Kronut. Think of the children, childhood obesity, the traffic problems this will cause with people racing to get their donut-croissant hybrid. We can’t let another delicious pastry product invade our city!

  13. Nota
    November 6, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    from above…..These are the Days of our Lives’ Mike told Nancy that Joe was using her for babysitting chores because he was on the Council….These are the Days of our Lives’. Also, I want to know what’s up over at Ward 3, you didn’t vote for the most annoying voice in the room’ what up wid dat. Shame on you! Jonathan is that your official resume, looks familiar.

    • Jonathan Melle
      November 6, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

      My official resume includes not living in Pittsfield! I speak out against the Good Old Boy network that runs Pittsfield politics. Pittsfield has so many problems! The Good Old Boy network has ran Pittsfield into the ground.

  14. TKO
    November 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    If Mr. Caccamo cannot vote on school issues as an employee of the school district how will Ms Faron be able to serve on the school committee with an active federal law suit against the school department currently in the courts?

  15. Nota
    November 6, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Does the words recurring theme,ring a bell.

  16. Billy
    November 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    People voted for the charter and I bet almost not a handful. Actually knew what It said in it. Would you sign a legal document without reading it? Or listen to someone say trust me. Bernie Madoff ring a bell.?

  17. Billy
    November 6, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    So. Go the sheep

  18. scott
    November 6, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Dan imagine how many votes you’ll get if you actually campaign!

    • danvalenti
      November 6, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

      True. That’s why I didn’t, because I would have won and easily. That’s how smart I am.

  19. Anastasia Beaverhausen
    November 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    Shame to see Councilor Yon go. Let’s see if Tully can get things done as promised. Yon was for the people. Made that her number one priority and full time job. Can Tully say the same? HMMMM we shall see won’t we.
    As for Mazzeo get her azz outta there. and Congrats to Krol and Clairmont!! Well done!! and well deserved!
    I cannot believe Bianchi is still in.. He’s like an un-lanceable cyst. but i digress….

  20. JB
    November 6, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    My lawn sign (s) are already gone

  21. bobbyd
    November 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    A little off topic, except that it happened on election day, any thoughts about the Million Mask March?

  22. Tito
    November 8, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    Stop stumbling, you said quite explicitly, I don’t go there (stop @shop) anymore’….. I personally like stop and shops bottle return, and can be assured a 99 per cent chance of not being mugged.