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.

BIANCHI: Sore winner with bad case of Malumps.

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.” 

—– 00 —–

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)





  1. Still wondering
    December 27, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Give the Pam thing a rest will ya? Tell us about the safe in the City Clerks office.

    • Downtown Dweller
      December 27, 2013 at 9:58 am #

      Why would a custodian have the combination to the safe in the office? Someone there must have made it available at some point.

    • danvalenti
      December 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

      What’s “the Pam thing?” As for the safe in the clerk’s office, we cannot and do not, despite what some think, simply make up information. We have some leads but nothing that has been confirmed. Of course, that’s why we have the police.

  2. Magic
    December 27, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Mr. Bianchi you are such a disappointment was fooled once voted for Mr. Valenti second time around

  3. dusty
    December 27, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    In all fairness I would like to hear Pam’s version of this.

    Based on some of the bona fide losers who have been reelected in past years I have always thought local elections might be fixed.

    Maybe the write in votes should be looked at for the other candidates he favors.

    • danvalenti
      December 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

      Yes, so would I. We sent her an e-mail telling her what we knew and asking the relevant questions. SHE chose not to reply. THE PLANET gave her every opportunity. Unlike the Gestapo, we cannot force someone to talk.

  4. Jonathan Melle
    December 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Pam Malumphy for Mayor of Pittsfield in 2015.

    • Billy
      December 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

      Lmao. Ok johnathan

      • Jonathan Melle
        December 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

        I cannot read berkshire eagle online anymore. The beagle wants me to pay them money to read their substandard news articles. So long Pittsfield politics.

        • joetaxpayer
          December 28, 2013 at 8:50 am #

          That explains a lot, if your getting your Pittsfield politics from The Berkshire Bird Cage.

      • Jim Gleason
        December 28, 2013 at 9:03 am #

        You don’t have much of an ass to laugh off, Christine.

  5. Mad Trapper
    December 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    I have not trusted Smiity since grade school. Not the brightest bulb in the class either

  6. smh
    December 27, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Say it ain’t so, DV! The clerk really has no choice but to toss ballots even when voter intent is crystal clear?

    • danvalenti
      December 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      Not according to state law. Follow: When the names are printed on the ballot with a bubble to be filled, a voter wishing to vote for that person or persons must fill in the bubble. State law says if a person writes-in the name of a balloted person, the vote will not count. This is not opinion. This is fact, THE PLANET’s preferred currency and medium of exchange.

  7. Nato
    December 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Mayor hits a new LOW, how appropriate!

    • Jim Gleason
      December 28, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      Not as low as you, Christine. YOU LOST IN WARD 1!

      • billy
        December 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

        what you talking about? no wonder 22 percent voted.this city is going south and this contacting like second grader.glad you support me who your friends are and ill tell you about yourself.

      • billy
        December 29, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

        this clowns acting like a second grader

  8. Scott
    December 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Are you suggesting that city hall is tampering with votes?

    • danvalenti
      December 27, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

      No. I said that after a tightly supervised election, the easiest way to find 16 votes would be to tamper. Sixteen votes are a mountain to come by in a recount. If an election were off by that amount, it would raise two immediate and likely possibilities: (a) the election was sloppily conducted or (b) results were monkeyed with. Remember when Lothrop won by only five votes? His opponent challenged. Every vote in five was recounted. End result? Lothrop gained one, to win by six. People have to understand— again, assuming that the election was fairly conducted — that when A gets a recount against B, each are as likely to pick up votes as the other. Results cancel out.

  9. Linda
    December 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    Another excellent story by the one news source that is working for the average, ordinary man and woman.

  10. Nato
    December 27, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    One thing is very clear, the Mayor needs a No Vote on Lothrop as President,otherwise his agenda will be null and void. He is lucky to have the popular Mazzeo on his side, he’ll need her. Remember her illegal meeting accusation months ago.

  11. Billy
    December 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    These guys are gonna implode

    • Jim Gleason
      December 28, 2013 at 9:08 am #

      Not like you imploded, Christine. you LOST!

      • billy
        December 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

        im a guy you moron. dont you have a tractor pull to go to. Christine who? don’t make any loud noises around Jim :).

  12. Billy
    December 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    Students and business are going elsewhere. While these guys are chasing there political foes. People are shaking their heads in disgust

    • Jim Gleason
      December 28, 2013 at 9:09 am #

      Not as disgusted as the voters in Ward 1 were with you, Christine. You LOST!

      • Dave
        December 28, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

        Are you trying to tell us something Jimmy?

        • Dave
          December 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

          It’s not like you to beat around the bush!

          • Dave
            December 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

            And I would have hit the there/their angle!

  13. Pat
    December 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Does anyone know why the horrendous accident that happened on the mall connector road last night wasn’t even mentioned in the Berkshire Eagle? Not even on the on-line site. They reported the accident in Williamstown, but not the Lanesborough mall connector road accident that happened on Thursday night.

    • EddieP
      December 27, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

      Because there was nobody there to report it. Have you noticed lately that several stories that have happened have been 2 maybe 3 days late in getting printed? And of course some stories do not get printed at all. They seem to have put all thier recources into the sports department but have let the other content lag.

      • Pat
        December 28, 2013 at 7:03 am #

        So true. I found out about the mall accident from iberkshires site. I remember when accidents were reported within several hours on the Berkshire Eagle on-line. People should have been warned about the bad road conditions on the mall connector road not to mention knowing to avoid the road since it was filled with rescue vehicles.

        Sometimes the worst accidents happen from just a small amout of snow that coats the roads with black ice which I assume is what happened in both the Williamstown and Berkshire Mall connector road accidents. Speed may have also been an issue in the Lanesboro accident. Everyone worries about the big snowstorms, but its often the light coatings of snow that cause the most problems.

        • eddiep
          December 28, 2013 at 9:20 am #

          When that head on collision happened in North Adams on Rt. 2 this year, iBerkshire was there and within the hour they had a slew of pictures online. If iBerkshire and the Planet ever combined to form a print edition, they would blow the bb out of the water and out of business. This would also disarm the gob.

      • Jim Gleason
        December 28, 2013 at 9:14 am #

        Beside Howard Herman, the sports dept. sucks. The editor is only an excuse for an editor and covers things like running and tennis more than the mainstream sports he should be covering and that people are interested in.Get rid of them all except Howard, oh and Derek Gentile too, he’s good.

  14. ShirleyKnutz
    December 28, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    Isn’t the southeast saying if your with Gallo you get 1,000 guaranteed votes. Never understood how they could guarantee it until I bought my first house and then went to vote. The names for my address went back to several previous owners. When I informed the person at the ballot they said it would be taken care of…it took almost 10 years!!

    • Scott
      December 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

      I didn’t have that problem. Did you register at city hall and through the DMV? Cause I know I did it through the DMVwhen I changed my license but I had to physically go to city hall.

  15. Joe Pinhead
    December 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Help I’ve been out of town for a bit, anyone know who won the ward 1 race?
    In all seriousness this is the type rubbish one would expect to see in a place devoid of leadership and the lack of desire to put the community ahead of ego and power. The Mayor will stand at the podium giving his inaugural address speaking of unity and the need to work together for a better City. How he can eat with that same mouth after pulling this stunt is no less than stunning.
    People take a good solid look at the leadership and the maturity of that leadership here in the city. You will see why every elected official pins the hopes and dreams of the city on nothing more than a lottery ticket. It has been the EV lottery and the thousands of jobs, the online music lessons that would save us or any other number of con job proposals.
    MR MAYOR you wanted the job of Mayor start doing the job, you and Pam are now seen as the class clowns.
    Mr. Downing I have never voted for you but will give it very serious consideration seeing how you answered the question directly and truthfully, truly to be admired. The other 2 reps I hope Obama care covers the costs of getting a spinal implant.

    • danvalenti
      December 29, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

      Thanks, JOE. We must get together soon.

  16. Gene
    December 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Like the idea of iberkshires and ThePlanet combining efforts. iberkshires has the manpower, Planet has the knowhow and the connections. Unbeatable.

  17. Robin
    December 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    Sen. Downing, a 10 out of 10. Mayor, a 1. Pam M, an embarrassment. She gives women in politics a bad name.

  18. Silence Dogood
    December 29, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Why do I think this story will have further details breaking in Monday’s Planet?

  19. billy
    December 29, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    hey Jim . read the boggels my mind why that doesn’t bother you? thank god you support him your doing great pr keep it up.

  20. Nota
    December 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Come on guys, keep it civil, the Planet has a great blog here, it seems Jim and Billy are getting a little topix fever, let’s respect Dan’s effort and comply with civil discourse.

    • Robin
      December 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      Yes, Nota youre exactly right. One feature of the Planet I enjoy the most is how DV has kept the comments from sinking to topix

    • danvalenti
      December 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

      NOTA & ROBIN
      We monitor the comments judiciously. THE PLANET will never descend into the gutter, such as the cesspool site you mention.

  21. Billy
    December 29, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    I apologize stop knocking people who served . I appreciate the forum . Jim should follow suit. The Mayor and the rest of the group is nothing to brag about. I be the first one to say he was doing something constructive for what he is getting payed but this story speaks volumes

    • danvalenti
      December 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      Thank you, BILLY. Well said.