Article

MEDIA FLOGGING MAKES WEATHER WIMPS OUT OF TOO MANY or GOOD GOSH! IT SNOWED. IN THE BERKSHIRES. IN JANUARY. … plus … CITY SWEARS IN NEW GOVERNMENT MONDAY — CACCAMO’S LEGAL RIGHT TO SERVE STILL IN DOUBT; MAZZEO, CONNELL TO BE NEW PREZ & VP; MAZZEO CLARIFIES HER POSITION WITH RESPECT TO ‘ELECTIONGATE’

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, JAN. 3, 2013) — First and most importantly, happy 93rd birthday to my beloved dad! I visited yesterday, and he was outside, sweeping the back stairs of snow! The toughest, gentlest man I’ve ever known.

Weather. It happens in the Berkshires, but you wouldn’t know it for the panic induced by the media and eagerly consumed by a gullible public becoming more and more hypnotized by its fancy little techno-gizmos. By 5 p.m. yesterday, less than three inches of snow had fallen, and yet —

— The governor called a press conference to declare a statewide mergency.

— Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York State essentially closed all public offices.

— The school declared closure the day before that!

— Even the Dreaded Private Sector bought into the insanity. THE PLANET was out and about yesterday, driving to fit the conditions (that is, sensibly and therefore safely), and discovered that Barnes & Noble bookstore at Berkshire Crossing had locked up at 1 p.m. “for the consideration of its customers.” What B.S. If customer consideration played a part of it, the store would have remained open. We will never buy another book there again. From now on, it’s Amazon Dot Com.

Our relatively recent weather mania can be easily explained.

Follow the money.

Every media outlet that includes weather as part of its mix has learned how to make money off of induced hysterics. The internet, the Weather Channel, local radio, and the newspapers know that if they flog the weather into something it’s not, people will keep tuning in. That will drive advertising. Fan the flames, predict disaster, and people will keep checking in — even when the storm is a dud, as yesterday’s was, and even when it continues to give us a “weather event” we would have hardly mentioned only a few years ago.

Here’s a little poem we composed for the occasion:

“THE SHOCK! IT SNOWED, IN THE BERKSHIRES, IN JANUARY”

Since meteorologists now declare
That clerks and people must prepare
To doubt if snow in the Berkshires ever were,
To say that cold is a new local scare,
To argue, through a solid stare,
That all the weather happening here
Must induce panic and solicit glare — 
Since all that, am I common sense’s only heir?
Not to let a little snow muss up my hair?
All weather-watching I now forswear.
I’ll read, instead, my Compact Voltaire. 

Fall for it you wish, folks, but here on THE PLANET, it’s an eternal 72 degreesF and sunshine.

——————————————————————————-

MELMAZ SHALL WIN COUNCIL PRESIDENCY; CONNELL WILL BE HER PICK FOR VP

On Monday at 10 a.m., Pittsfield new city government takes the oath. There will be at least a couple of interesting events. First, Melissa Mazzeo will be elected new council president. She will tap Ward 4 councilor Chris Connell to be her VP.  Second, Nick Caccamo will be sworn in as new Ward 3 councilor. He will be illegal and ripe for challenge. A reading of the new charter makes it clear: Caccamo, as a man who hold another municipal paid position, will stand in violation of the city’s new rule book.

First, a discussion on the election:

—– 00 —–

The Second Election isn’t far away. It takes place on Inauguration Day, in the council chambers at city hall, after the newly elected government gets sworn in and Mayor Dan Bianchi finishes his halitoxic speech about how great everything is and will continue to be.

In its first act of business, our Right Honorable Good Friends on the new city council — From the wards, respectively from one through seven: Lisa Tully, rookie (R); Kevin Morandi, incumbent (I); Nick Caccamo, R; Chris Connell, I; Jonathan Lothrop, I; John Krol, I; Tony Simonelli, I; and At large, Melissa MazzeoBarry ClairmontChurchill Cotton, all I; and Kathy Amuso, R — will take its first vote. At stake, the council presidency.

Since THE PLANET last reported on upcoming Second Election, not to be confused with the Second Coming, the dynamics have changed. The story has changed three times now. Now (and we think finally), it appears that it will be as we first reported: Mazzeo vs. Lothrop. This after Lothrop all but took himself out of the running. Well, he will vying for votes.

What happened? What made Lothrop change his mind?

We contacted J-Lo, who revealed that two weeks after the election, he met face-to-face with the mayor. The Ward 5 councilor said he reminded Bianchi of something the mayor-elect told him in 2011, shortly after the mayor narrowly defeated Peter Marchetti for the city’s top executive post.

“Dan told me he hoped I would run for council president,” Lothrop said. He said, ‘You would be the best choice.’” J-Lo said that when he met with the mayor in mid-November last year, he reminded Bianchi of that statement under the logic of what was true two years ago would hold water today. Lothrop said the mayor brusquely disagreed and ended the meeting.

So much for statesmanship, diplomacy, rapprochement, burying the hatchet for the overall good of the city. It Lothrop’s account of the meeting is accurate, and we have no reason to doubt it, the mayor buried the hatchet all right — directly into J-Lo’s back. We tried to reach the mayor, but he didn’t return our calls.

J-Lo’s intent was an attempt to heal the growing factional political rift in city government that has had dire consequences for citizens and taxpayers of Pittsfield. Following his meeting with and rebuff by the mayor, Lothrop said, and after thinking more about it, he decided to challenge Mazzeo for the presidency.

“You have to be true to yourself,” he told THE PLANET.

An analysis of the likely vote shows Lothrop will most likely go into the presidency vote as the underdog. Let’s do a speculative tally:

Mazzeo can count on Tully, Morandi, Simonelli, and her own vote. These seem certain. Lothrop can count on himself, Krol, and Clairmont. That puts it at 4-3, Mazzeo.

What of the remainders, Caccamo, Connell, Cotton, and Amuso? These are less certain, but here’s how we read it. Mazzeo will pick up Amuso, with Lothrop bagging Caccamo. That would put the vote 5-4. Thus, under this scenario, the vote will come down to Connell and Cotton.

With Connell being offered the council vice presidency, as THE PLANET believes will happen, Mazzeo has his vote. That will be the clincher. Cotton should follow suit. Final vote, as we are predicting: MelMaz 7, J-Lo 4.

—– 00 —–

OBJECTIVE READING OF NEW CHARTER SHOWS CACCAMO CANNOT LEGALLY SERVE IN WARD 3

The new charter took effect on Nov. 18. Caccamo’s terms of service as councilor begins the moment he takes the oath on Monday. Prior to that, he was an ordinary citizen. Our checks with both the state’s AG and Secretary of State confirm our reading of the law. You don’t have to be a lawyer. All that you need is the ability to read and a little common sense. Trying to shoehorn Caccamo into “legality” will not survive a challenge, which could come at any point during the upcoming two-year term.

—– 00 —-

THE PLANET sat down at length with Mazzeo to talk about several matters, including out reporting of “Electiongate,” where she, Mayor Dan Bianchi, and Pam Malumphy tried to challenge the results of the at-large election.

To sum up the bottom line, Mazzeo confirmed the essential facts of our reporting, as did Sen. Ben Downing. That’s the main takeaway. We nailed the essence of the story.

She downplayed the role Malumphy played and said that she, Mazzeo, was the key driver in wanting the city and state to examine the ballots. Malumphy did little more than “the legwork, the running around for me, since I had too much on my plate to make all the calls myself. Pam’s got a big heart, and she offered to help out.”

At issue — and we all agree on this — is the status of a ballot in which a confused voter writes in the name or names of a person or persons who are officially listed on the ballot. There were several such votes cast in the Nov. 5, 2013 election, Mazzeo said.

When THE PLANET contacted the Secretary of State’s office, they said such a vote should not be counted, based on CMR (Code of Massachusetts Regulations) Sec. 54.04(10). Mazzeo said that another CMR code contradicts that: CMR 950 Sec. 54.06(9).

CMR Sec. 950 contains the regulations of the Secretary of State’s office. CMR 950 Sec. 54 governs “Voting and Counting Procedures for Electronic Voting Systems.” Mazzeo cites CMR 950 54.06(9c), which reads:

“(c) The election officers shall read and record each write-in vote whenever the intent of the voter can be reasonably determined, whether or not the voter has omitted the address, made a mistake in the name or address, or failed to mark the vote indicator for the write-in, sticker candidate, or ballot candidate.”

The key parts: The intent of the voter must be “reasonably determined” even when the voter “failed to mark the vote indicator for [a] ballot candidate.”

To Mazzeo’s point, this appears to conflict with CMR 950, Sec. 54.04(10):

Write-Ins. A voter may cast a write-in or sticker vote in the space provided on the optical scanner ballot … for a person not listed on the ballot …”

The two regulations appear to be at odds.

Senator Downing’s office appears to have supplied a reasonable response to this apparent conflict. Bethann Steiner, Downing’s chief of staff, wrote to Mazzeo on Dec. 2. Steiner first notes Mazzeo’s reference to CMR 950 Sec. 54.06(9c). Steiner says the Secretary of State advised her that CMR 950 Sec. 54.04(10) is the applicable statue since “it more specifically spells out the same language in the statute.”

Steiner goes on to say: “In sum, the Elections Division is advising our office that both state law and regulation dictate that if your name is printed as a candidate for a certain office on the ballot, but a voter decides to write in your name instead of filling in the circle by your name, that vote will not be counted.”

THE PLANET accepts the Secretary of State’s interpretation as definitive. To Mazzeo’s point, however, state law needs to be clarified. In our view, CMR Sec. 54.06(9c) needs to be written to conform with Sec. 54.04(10). Mazzeo said she challenged the 2013 at-large results not so much to change any results but to help clarify voting counts in future elections: “In my mind, this [challenge] was all about going forward, to the next election. Someday, a candidate will be in a race where a single vote or two will matter. I wanted this issue opened up now to clarify the same situation for the future.”

THE PLANET agrees. We urge the rewrite of 950 Sec. 54.06(9c).

—– 00 —–

 In our interview, Mazzeo made several other interesting points:

* She explained her origins as a New York Jets fan (comes from her mom’s love of Joe Willie Namath). She says she has just about every piece of Jets memorabilia ever produced. As a fan of the perennial champs, the New England Patriots, THE PLANET listened patiently and with a tinge of sympathy. She also:

* Said she first offered the council vice presidency to Simonelli. Tony wanted no part of it, she said.

* Said she would not consider Lothrop for VP. J-Lo’s name has been floated as a compromise candidate. J-Lo will oppose Mazzeo for council president on Monday. He will lose, either 4-7 or 3-8. It will be interesting to see how Caccamo votes. Either way he votes, fairly or not, he will be pegged as either anti-Bianchi or pro-Bianchi.

* Said she would be independent from Bianchi. Mazzeo says she’s not as close to the mayor as some people say or “speculate.”

* Thanked her husband, Tony, for his support and understanding in and of her political career.

THE PLANET hopes that Bianchi will follow Mazzeo’s example of open dialogue with us, not for our sake, since we don’t care one way or the other, but for We The People‘s sake — because that’s who we report to here on THE PLANET. The Special Interests and GOB have their advocates in spades. Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski have only THE PLANET to speak up for their interests.

—————————————————————————

“If I were you, I’d realize that I love you more than any other guy, and I’d forgive the lies that I heard before when you gave me no reply.”The Beatles, “No Reply.” (1965)

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

 

 

 

51 Responses to “MEDIA FLOGGING MAKES WEATHER WIMPS OUT OF TOO MANY or GOOD GOSH! IT SNOWED. IN THE BERKSHIRES. IN JANUARY. … plus … CITY SWEARS IN NEW GOVERNMENT MONDAY — CACCAMO’S LEGAL RIGHT TO SERVE STILL IN DOUBT; MAZZEO, CONNELL TO BE NEW PREZ & VP; MAZZEO CLARIFIES HER POSITION WITH RESPECT TO ‘ELECTIONGATE’”

  1. dusty
    January 3, 2014 at 2:43 am #

    Tony Simoneli is a smart man.

    Connell seems independent and a good choice for the people..

    Of course Caccamo will vote Lothrop and I doubt if he ever considered otherwise. I think Cotton will as well. Lothrop would not embarrass himself if he did not think he had the votes. His ego is too ginormous.

    The council presidency is high profile and can bring derision to the person who has it if they disrespect the people. Remember the one before Sherman? It could even effect a connected business if people get turned off too much. So this person must respect the populace.

  2. billy
    January 3, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    not close to Branchi ? lmao! they hold election parties together. and thats real independent .talk is cheap as the air we breathe

  3. Pat
    January 3, 2014 at 7:03 am #

    I understand how you feel about Barnes & Noble closing early…very frustrating, but of course businesses do that to not save the customer, but to save money for the company.

    I have also made a new year resolution to never apply to another job for the City of Pittsfield. I have applied to so many over the years, but the lastest was the most frustrating. By some miracle, I was actually called for an interview (only the 2nd interview I’ve ever had for a City job), this after having applied for at least 20 or so jobs over the last few years for which I am qualified. I went to the interview and was given the usual line that there were still others left to interview, but the decision would be made within the week. I waited 2 weeks and never heard a word. I called back several times and was told the person I needed to speak to was out of the office. I finally gave up calling and have never received a follow-up letter saying thank you for interviewing, but the job has gone to someone else which is the courteous thing to do after going for an interview. I’ve even had some nice companies send me a letter that I didn’t get the job even without going for an interview. This is all good because it lets you know what is going on with the jobs you are applying for.

    Another time I went for an interview for a City of Pilttsfield job in which the woman interviewing me seemed to be trying to talk me out of the job. Going on about how there was a high turnover rate for this particular position and actually saying that “I don’t know about you, but if I see a job that keeps showing up over and over in the newspaper, I will not apply for it”. This particular job did have an unfortunate tendency to keep appearing in the paper every 6 months or so, but I was very desperate to get a job so I applied anyway. After this strange statement she then went on to say that she was a great friend of Mayor Bianchi and he listened to everything she said. I filled out the application she gave me after the interview, but by this point I had real doubts about this particular job which ironically were put there by the interviewer. It seemed that the interviewer really did not want the position to be filled at all or at least not by me. So needless to say, I refuse to apply for any more jobs for the City of Pittsfield.

    • danvalenti
      January 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

      If that experience happens even once, it’s no wonder the city has trouble hiring (and holding onto) good people.

  4. Billy
    January 3, 2014 at 7:54 am #

    Dan
    Did you did you read the article about the school enrollment. The spin Jake McCandless put on it. If you read it by the end of the article it basically says the population still going down. We will. See. How. Effective the new council is that is a big issue. There is a great article in Kiplinger Magazine this month. Erskine Bowles. Part of the deficit dynamic duo said ” We have to get federal state and local pension more in line with The private sector,that includes military as well. It is a must read on Page 52.Erskine says small changes can overt a crisis but time is running short.He said the spin must stop cause if the interest costs continue to rise we will have no money for other programs.Please if you can find it online post it. I’m not a computer genius. He says we got a serious day of reckoning if we don’t Get are fiscal ship in order and stop spending our kids future now. Remember it’s for the children. Lmao

    • MrG1188
      January 3, 2014 at 8:17 am #

      Hey Billy…I actually left a question in the Eagle at the end of the school enrollment article. There were just too many numbers. The 6,161 was the high water mark. then Jake said it went from something like 6005 to 5997 or some such. What happened to the 6161?!? He said the measurement date for the end point was the problem; whether it was 6005 or 5997…but where & when was the 6161?!? That is the real question? Were they using 2 year old data or has enrollment dropped that precipitously since the start of LAST school year?

    • danvalenti
      January 3, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

      BILLY
      There’s a whole lotta spinning going on. It’s part of what’s going on now in public education, which is, in essence, a sham.

      • Billy
        January 3, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

        Dan
        There is a steady stream of students leaving for more fiscally responsible towns and school systems. Jake knows if he can confuse you with numbers, that it will make the day of reckoning not arrive but their is no right way to fix this problem except by downsizing the school system . We have lost enough students to fill two elementary schools yet the teacher population grows and the standards Are not being met for what the impoverished taxpayers are getting crushed with.

        • danvalenti
          January 4, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

          Right you are. Public education in general, and the Pittsfield public school system in particular, is a sham. By that, I mean the Vested Interests (far too many administrators, teachers, politicians) are pretending all is well. They are counting on public apathy, for who will actually investigate to examine the claims. Meanwhile, standards have declined, budgets continue to rise, and we continue to turn out “graduates” not equipped for higher education of the work force. THE PLANET shall continue to publish the truth about public education, a story on which the Boring Broadsheet has totally whiffed.

  5. MrG1188
    January 3, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    And another thing! Vis a vis the weather. WHat IS it with that?!?! Even on a normal day the local news devoted WAY too much time to it; perhaps 8 – 10 minutes out of 22 minutes of actual news content (Not including ads). On a day like yesterday weather was the focus of just about everything but sports…and they STILL got it way wrong at 11 PM!! With all the technology, how can they tell us, at 11 PM, that we’ll have 18″ by 8 AM…and we get 6? And they are ALWAYS wrong! Then to go to the ridiculousness of actually NAMING a snowstorm?!?! C’monnn…anthropomorphizing the weather, turning it into a character to increase viewers and sell ads…shameless. As both you and my daughter said; it’s the Berkshires, it’s January, and it snowed. Although the lunatics passing me on unplowed, dark Rt. 22 in NY at 60 MPH as I drove back from the train station deserve a special place in Hell.

  6. mike r
    January 3, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    Some areas of Massachusetts have gotten 2 feet of snow with temperatures dropping to -25 degree wind chill. The storm has claimed the lives of 9 people. Its affecting millions of ppl’s lives right now. That’s pretty news worthy. If certain measures weren’t taken more would have been dead. Better safe than sorry.

    Source
    http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2014/01/03/much-country-pounded-by-winter-storm-system-2300-flights-canceled/

    • joetaxpayer
      January 3, 2014 at 9:07 am #

      Here in Pittsfield 4″ of light fluffy snow. That’s a 2 day total winds not very strong.This is not Eastern Ma. on the coast.
      The media is great at over blowing stories, W2K, Global warming, Duck Dynasty and the list goes on. I am thankful that Comrade Patrick didn’t shut down the City.

    • danvalenti
      January 3, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      The forecasts for snow clearly indicated that Pittsfield and the Berkshires weren’t in for anything like two feet. That was reserved for the coastal area. As for January cold snaps, it’s something we’ve been dealing with for a long time. Common sense and warm clothing neutralize the cold. I’m not buying into the weather hysteria.

  7. Payroll Patriot
    January 3, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    If government is shut down, then why do we have to pay sales and gas taxes on this day?

    • danvalenti
      January 3, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      Great point, PP. For each snow day declared, taxpayers should get a pro-rated tax credit.

  8. baby baby
    January 3, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    C’mon lets be real Melissa. Are you actually trying to tell us that you’re worried about election laws? If that’s true then why the obsession with the examining only the at large ballots? If you’re sincere about fairness to voters then every ballot should be examined.

    Everyone knows you and your stooges hate Clairmont. It was so obvious during the entire campaign that you wanted anyone who wasn’t with you and Bianchi out. You don’t get to revise history now. I’d respect you if you were honest about it.

    This phony concern of yours will be just like your promise to re-open the consent decree. You’ll never follow thru.

    • Billy
      January 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

      Nice one baby, snake oil is being sold for anyone naive enough to buy into it. Pummlin Pam is her close friend. People who have to do this instead of their jobs are not gonna get much done.If you can’t work with your colleagues. If they don’t agree with you, what makes you think a business man is gonna wanna take his hard earned cash and risk it on how our supposed leaders feel about them on a given day about a issue. Examples: Marriott and Waterstone .
      PluS ask the mayor. How much taxes Nuclea biotech is gonna pay and put it in writing for the 800 grand we lost with loss of the Marriott. And Waterstone . I would also bet that parents and businesses. We’re dumbfounded how we lost The 200 Million dollar school grant and the usually talkative School department still hasn’t Explained that big goose egg.

      • Billy
        January 3, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

        Nuclea is in the Eagle they want to go into the Buisness Park but will they make up for what we just threw away

      • danvalenti
        January 4, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

        Thanks, BILLY. Yeah, we’ve tried numerous times to “ask the mayor.” He continues to hide from us. Tell me, is that the way a “leader” behaves?

        • #voteoutbianchi
          January 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

          Dan,

          the mayor isn’t hiding from you. If you are trying to contact him at city hall and hes not there its cuz hes at his other job at 100 North St.. or he’s at a elementary school reading to kids.

        • Billy
          January 5, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

          No Dan
          It’s not, a man with no ideas of his own and insecure. Attacks others. He surrounds himself with Pliable non independent people to do his bidding. And runs from the people who he swears on Inauguration Day to serve under oath..If he is working another job he should be ashamed of such a deception we have huge issues that don’t need a part time mayor trying to stuff himself with cash. I hope you stop giving Mazzeo A free pass cause she has shown such a disregard for free debate that was given to her under the previousCouncil presidents. If you people support those keystone cops please list their accomplishments

  9. smh
    January 3, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    The “whenever the intent of the voter can be reasonably determined” language seems pretty clear, and as a bonus, doesn’t happen to fly in the face of sound public policy. Quite frankly I’d be really surprised if this situation didn’t already allow for some discretion on the part of election officers. So not sure why our clerk chose to take the low road. Going forward the simpler and proper path is just a very minor tweak of 54.04(10).

  10. Thomas More
    January 3, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    As for B & N the least they could have done was to say that they were closing so their employees could get home safely. Then we’d all believe them. As for the VP of the council, the position is an imaginary one. Read the charter, nowhere does it provide for a veep. The good news is, the Eagle and the Transcript are merging.

  11. joetaxpayer
    January 3, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    As far as the big consolidation of the 2 papers goes. Merging SH with IT, well you know where I’m going with that.

    • danvalenti
      January 3, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

      Hard to top this one, JOE!

    • dusty
      January 4, 2014 at 2:42 am #

      Garbage in garbage out

  12. Mad Trapper
    January 3, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    2nd time the Devil has declared a “State of Emergency” (the sky is falling, the sky is falling………) for a non-event here in the Berkshires.

    Voters you got what you asked for, THE NANNY STATE!!!

    Now OBEY your NANNY, and go stay inside until springtime…….

    • mike r
      January 3, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

      The Devil? Comrade Patrick! Wow this blog just keeps going into the sinkhole.

      • joetaxpayer
        January 3, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

        Sorry, not everyone is a moonbat, drinking the Big D kool-aide. Nobody said you had to hang out in our “sink hole”. Your missing out on NPR , wasting your precious time on this blog.

        • scott
          January 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

          I just got done reading the battle of Athens. I’m not saying Pittsfield needs to resort to armed resistance at the ballot box’s it just made me really solidify the ideals behind the importance of voting and a brand new appreciation for my right (my duty) to cast my say in elections. Plus the special response team would turn the five of us who actually show up to vote into swiss-cheese. (For those who are slow some of what I’m saying is tongue and cheek, obviously.)

  13. The Artist formerly known as Teecha
    January 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Fyi,

    The school closings had minimal to do with snow and more to do with the temperature drop. While it was premature to close, i personally can tell you i have students who must walk to school and/or stand at a bus stop. Many a parent dont make sure they are dressed properly and hypothermia sets in. Ive had a student in theast who got minor frostbite from walking to school (gloves would have helped that, but i digress) . Plus roads freeze and driving a bus is a tad more difficult than a car. Its more about liabilities. So we missed a two day school week. It would have been a waste of time anyways. Nothing is accomplished in that short of time especially after a vacation.

    • Richard Allen
      January 4, 2014 at 8:20 am #

      Agreed. I have many students whose parents let them walk to school in sweats and who don’t have or where coats. I was extremely concerned that if school was opened we would have had a very dangerous situation. The days will be made up. Case closed.

      • danvalenti
        January 4, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

        RICHARD
        Thanks for your thoughts. I would respond this way: Parents who let the kids walk to school in sweats without coats is not the school system’s problem. It’s also not the responsibility of taxpayers. If the number of deadbeat parents is such that we have to close schools when it is not necessary to close them, then that is an admission that “it’s over.” Civil society has lost to the deadbeats, the “takers,” the riff-raff, and the Gimme Groups.

    • scott
      January 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

      I used to walk from Lincoln St to Herberg in sneakers, jeans and a winter coat. Unless we’re talking about children under 10 wheres the responsibility of the kids come in to dress appropriately for weather, whether going to their friends house or school? The thing people are missing which is the planets point is we’re all becoming wards of the state slowly incapable of and conditioned to listen to the collective who view us as helpless sheep not responsible enough to make the right decisions for ourselves in our routine mundane existences.

  14. Teecha teecha
    January 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    Posted under a humorous name and didn’t post…simply being checked first or a glitch?

  15. amandaWell
    January 3, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    I find it humorous that LOW states an alleged conversation with the Mayor touting Low to be the best choice for Council President? Is there any evidence other than LOW, that this conversation ever to place?

  16. amandaWell
    January 3, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    Councilor Mazzeo will make a fine President. As a long suffering Jets Fan, myself, her mother must have been a Saint. Who didn’t like Broadwya Joe! Also,Connell seems to be an excellent choice.

    • baby baby
      January 4, 2014 at 6:13 am #

      Why because she is a Jets fan?

      Go a little deeper please.

      • danvalenti
        January 4, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

        BABY
        Fair comment. Someone can express the opinion that Madame X or Mr. Y will be an effective leader. All well and good, but such a view must be supported with specifics.

    • mike r
      January 6, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      Connell is not the sharpest bulb. He can join Morandi, Tully as the bumbling, stumbling Bianchi stooges.

  17. Gene
    January 4, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    I think Melissa will make a good council president because I think she will be independent and will encourage lots of discussion. Also I give her lots of credit for opening herself to DVs queestions.

    • billy
      January 4, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

      you never watched a council meeting. she lectures her fellow elected officials.and if she doesn’t get he way she doesn’t stop talking.lol independent? she don’t know the word. you need to watch old meetinsg from last year you’ll see what im talking about and you might be surprised

  18. amandaWell
    January 5, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    TO Planet, et al…someone asked about the Saint comment? Mom, in y opinion, was a Saint for being a Jet Fan in the day and passing it on to her daughter. With respect to Councilor Mazzeo being C C P, she brings a new perspective,in my opinion,of being more active in debate. If it does concern some that she might be bias, we will definitely be able to distinguish it when she gets into debate. Anything is better than the President wanna be, who clearly made a shambles as acting President, albeit with orchestrated comments from his fellow lackeys of how el LOWquent he was.

  19. Bill Sturgeon
    January 5, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    I would just ask that we all give the Mayor and Council Members a chance! Same goes for the School Committee. We all will have plenty of time to agree or disagree with all the people involved.

    • Thomas More
      January 5, 2014 at 9:08 am #

      A chance? Not here, not a chance of it.

      • Rivetor
        January 5, 2014 at 11:28 am #

        As far as a chance the Planet has been more than fair with every politician to come down the pike. He will do the same here.

    • danvalenti
      January 5, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

      The chance begins the moment they take office. They campaigned as being ready for the job. So be it. THE PLANET takes them at their word.

  20. Bill Sturgeon
    January 5, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    Thomas: If what you believe is correct – it’s sad.

    Rivetor: I agree with you. I am addressing the “New” people to public life! Dan in my opinion has been fair and hard hitting when he had to be.

    • Billy
      January 5, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

      Bill are you kidding. Look at their behavior in the last year stop being so political open your eyes

  21. chuck garivaltis
    January 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    I know better than to get in front of a 18 member focus group on homeless issues. My intent is to shed light on past actions that may help a current enigma.

    1) It may have been 1984 when the United Way chief, Fritz Heinemann planned and organized a Berkshire County effort where in a shared responsibility each community deviced
    a plan to care for their homeless population. The United Way may have these files.

    2)the idea for a shelter with an agricultural program is one Pittsfield had in the 30′s and 40′s. This was a Pittsfield program located on outer West St exactly where Berkshire Community College is located. I’m sure city hall has file information on this program.

    3)Federal and state housing services have expanded beyond their original purpose which was housing for seniors. This is safe, clean, plumbing, hot water now. And most communities strugglig with homeless problems have these housing services. Along with other options why not look at this?

    • scott
      January 5, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

      Chuck I agree and for those people who would use programs like that as a stepping stone to their own success is what America is all about.