BIANCHI TRIED TO GET RESULTS OF AT-LARGE RACE OVERTURNED … IN THIS ATTEMPT, MAYOR HITS NEW LOW AS ‘SORE WINNER’
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, DEC. 27, 2013) — When Mayor Dan Bianchi squeaked out his narrow win over Dan Valenti on Nov. 5 (some 5,000 votes to 72), Valenti took defeat graciously. He did not demand a recount. He told THE PLANET: “One seeks to overturn election results only in the most extreme cases.” Valenti said he didn’t think he could find the 4,000+ votes needed to put him over the top.
The point: Elections results, even when turnout fails to hit 25%, must be considered close to inviolable and inviolate. That’s what Valenti thinks. That’s what THE PLANET thinks. That’s what Harold Stassen thinks. That’s what everyone thinks who respects the democratic process. It is not, however, what Bianchi thinks. At THE PLANET, we judge such matters by actions, not words.
The newly re-elected mayor, in a fit of post-ballot paranoia fit for Richard Nixon at his worst, actually attempted to overthrow the results. After many interviews of witnesses to Bianchi’s ill-conceived and poorly planned attempt at electoral theft, THE PLANET has pieced together the “Top Secret” story.
At the center of it is Bianchi’s intense dislike of Ward 5 councilor Jonathan Lothrop and at-large’s Barry Clairmont. Along with Yours Truly and many others, those two occupy comfy perches in the upper percentiles of Bianchi’s “Enemies List.” As a newsman, we wear it as a badge of honor.
Bianchi — assisted by pesty Pummelin’ Pam Malumphy, loser of five straight elections — had Lothrop and Clairmont in his sights, with the goal of picking off one or both in the November election. To pull off their plot, they enlisted the unwitting help of Donna Todd Rivers. Prior to the election and seeing Lothrop as vulnerable, Bianchi and Malumphy paid a visit to Rivers in the summer, trying to get her to run against J-Lo in Ward 5. They wooed and wined DTR, offering access to Bianchi’s organizational machine, but to her credit, Rivers told them no.
Not long after, Rivers took out papers to run at-large. Bianchi was outraged, sources say. Suddenly, the mayor and company acted as if Rivers had contracted the ebola virus. Her crime? — Having the audacity to defy a royal order. Bianchi wanted her to run in 5, not at-large. How dare she? One source tells us Malumphy even “unfriended” DTR on Facebook — talk about silver linings!
After Rivers showed her independence, Bianchi and crew had to figure out another way to achieve their objectives. A week before the election, sources say Malumphy and Ward 6 candidate Joe Nichols descended upon the city clerk’s office and “grilled” personnel there about absentee ballots. Sources say showed great interest in where the city stored absentee ballots, that is, the physical location. Why would they be interested in that? It gives off an odd vibe, does it not?
When the ballots were counted on Nov. 5, lo and behold: Rivers came within 16 votes of knocking off Clairmont. All of a sudden, Bianchi got all lovey-dovey again with DTR. He wanted Rivers to demand a recount in the at-large vote. Sources tell THE PLANET that Bianchi told Rivers, “If there is a recount, I have every reason to believe you will win.”
Now isn’t that an odd thing to say? How could the mayor know this? We haven’t heard of the mayor’s prowess as a clairvoyant. How could a mere mortal have such a certain premonition of such an unlikely happening?
Rivers, however, wanted no part of a recount. She knew the probability of finding 16 votes were on the order of Duck Commander Phil Robertson being elected president of the National Gay Alliance. Short of outright fraud, that order of inaccuracy is extremely unlikely in a properly supervised election. Moreover, like most citizens, Rivers respects the democratic process. She took her loss with dignity and grace, which means she was speaking a foreign tongue to Bianchi.
Foiled again, sources say Bianchi sent Pummelin’ Pam as hatchet woman without portfolio to “lobby” the state, trying to get the Commonwealth to step into Pittsfield and order a recount based on the thin pretext of a solitary vote in Ward 3A.
Sources say city clerk Linda Tyer did not count this vote, which had written upon it “Kathy Amuso, Churchill Cotton, Melissa Mazzeo, and Donna Todd Rivers.” Pummelin’ argued that this vote, which would have boosted Rivers’ total by one, should have been counted. On that flimsy basis, sources say, she wanted to overturn the election. Secretary of State Bill Galvin laughed her out of the office. As Tyer knows and the state knows, a ballot shall be deemed illegal if a person writes-in candidates that have an official, printed spot on the ballot.
Flimsy pretext shot down, Malumphy next went to local state reps to perform one of her perfected arts: Nagging whilst arm twisting. THE PLANET contacted three of them: Rep. Patricia Farley-Bouvier, Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, and Sen. Ben Downing. We asked if they were approached by Bianchi, Melissa Mazzeo, and/or Malumphy regarding election results.
Farley-Bouvier: “I heard bits and pieces about this [story], but I was never contacted by anyone to take state action. I understand they contacted a different elected official.”
Pignatelli said he spoke to Bianchi, Mazzeo, and Malumphy “at different times on many different issues, but at no time was I asked to see if the state could order a recount.”
Sen. Downing, the third on the Nag List, told us: ”The long and short of it is that you’ve got the facts right, although I wouldn’t say I was pressured. They certainly looked for any avenue to challenge the outcome, but I believe the election was handled properly, as does the Secretary of State’s office.” [PLANET's emphasis]
“You’ve got the facts right.”
“They certainly looked for any avenue to challenge the outcome.”
”I believe the election was handled properly, as does the Secretary of State’s office.”
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That, my friends, is how sore winners operate.
Fortunately, these shady, under-cover operations bore no fruit. On Inauguration Day, Lothrop and Clairmont and the rest will take the oath. Pummelin’ Pam and DTR may be on hand as onlookers — Pummelin’ trying to put an edge on a rather dull Veg-O-Matic blade and DTR holding her head high for passing a test of character with flying colors.
One last note: Bianchi and Malumphy did not respond to our calls for comment. We let that speak for itself.
“Everywhere, people stare each and every day. I can see them laugh at me, and I hear them say, “Hey, you’ve got to hide your love away.” — John Lennon, “Hide Your Love Away,” (1965)
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.