VALENTI WINS WRITE-IN LANDSLIDE!!!!, but seriously — POST-ELECTION THOUGHTS FOR A WEDNESDAY OF LEAVING AND CLASS … STOCKBRIDGE HONORS FALLEN HEROES … plus … REMEMBERING AN ARTIST
By DAN VALENTI
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 BORING — The 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.
STOCKBRIDGE INSTALLS MEMORIAL
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.
ARTIST WILLIAM BLAKE REMEMBERED
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.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.