PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary 

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, JAN. 30, 2014) — THE PLANET can be the first to tell you that PHS baseball coach Bobby Moynihan will be getting his job back. The community outreach, spearheaded by this website, has convinced the appointing authorities that rehiring Moynihan not only makes sense on the baseball diamond but also politically. If Moynihan had been dismissed, there would have been a near riot. Neither the school department administration, the school committee, nor the PHS principal wanted to deal with that.

THE PLANET has learned that during the executive session held last night by a subcommittee of the school board, Moynihan withdrew his grievance in express condition that he would get his coaching job back. That should end the matter, with no vote necessary by the school committee.

All that’s needed to get Moynihan back in the dugout is for PHS Matt Bishop to approve a new pact and for Supt. Jake McCandless to give the papal blessing.

Trust us: All will happen. They have an offer they can’t refuse.



THE PLANET is heartened by the “not guilty” verdict in the trial of Scott Muir, the Stockbridge man who faced 19 counts of sexual assault in connection with his job at the Stockbridge Plain School from 2003 to 2006. We say this not to express any opinion, up or down, on Muir’s innocence or guilt. Rather, we mean to point to the system finding in a way not swayed by emotion. The verdict appears to have been one reached on the weighing of the evidence. Simply put, the jury found there was not enough evidence to convict.

The jury acquitted Muir on all counts after deliberating yesterday for a little more than an hour and a half. The criminal justice system worked as it should. It weighed the evidence presented by advocates for both the prosecution (atty. Joe Yorlono) and the defense (atty. William Rota), and a “jury of his peers” weighed the evidence in an impartial and objective manner — not easy to do when young women come forward with emotional claims. The jury was able to see through what it found to be the inconsistencies and improbabilities in the stories of the five accusers, who, outside of their own statements, had to back up their statements.

The jury system is imperfect. There is never a way in a case like this to decide the truth with certainty. That’s why our legal system has a great qualifier of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The jury found reasonable doubt here, and Muir is now free. The law has determined he was falsely accused. The accusers are free to pursue their complaints in civil court. Before doing so, they should ask themselves in the naked light of raw honesty, where is the truth?



At a meeting at Berkshire Community College hosted by the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Tuesday morning, PEDA, 1 Berkshire, the Chamber, and other interested parties gathered to “discuss” PEDA’s plans to issue a proposal to the state MBTA for an $850 million contract to build new rail cars.

Actually, we had to place “discuss” in quotes. It is a non-literal use. Discussion implies frank give-and-take, complete with devil’s advocates asking tough questions. That didn’t happen. A lot of cheerleading did happen, though. With $1 million of taxpayer money on the line, would it have been asking too much for more debate?

THE PLANET isn’t sure about the purpose of the meeting. If this was a serious strategy session, God help us. All that our spies saw was another “rah-rah” effort long on cotton candy and short on substance. The one jaw-dropping tidbit from the session came from Pittsfield state rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, who said that Berkshire County sends $30 million in taxes to Boston in support of the MBTA. If the local yokels are thinking of using that as leverage to convince Boston to send the contract here, forget it. That’s not how the game works. For political purposes, Boston governs as if the state ends at the western border of the city of Worcester.

Meanwhile, the office of one of the connected parties involved with the pact proposal — and we can’t say which one, except to identify it as a public office and one that knows the Hub landscape intimately — tells THE PLANET that its hearing from its connections in Boston that Pittsfield “doesn’t have a chance” of landing the MBTA contract. The reasons? In random order, Pittsfield’s reputation for parochialism, the city’s provincially poison politics, an unfriendly business climate, its distance from Boston, and its lack of political significance to Beacon Hill. Our source predicts the contract going to a firm decidedly east of I-495.

THE PLANET says this now: Pittsfield has no chance of landing this contract.



After The Beatles released the Sgt. Pepper album, we found out that they “know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.” Still unknown, however, all these years later is how much ready-mix it will take to fix all the potholes plaguing the streets of Pittsfield. How many Big Red Magic Pothole Machines will Pittsfield have to burn out to get the streets back to passable?

Pothole season usually doesn’t happen this soon, so how come the city’s streets are resembling a war-torn traverse in Syria? Pothole damage will be setting a record this year, judging by how many people who’ve told THE PLANET they’ve been “gotcha’d” on Pittsfield’s moonscape streets. Of course, potholes have to be expected to some extent. Water seeps through cracks in asphalt, expands in cold, then shrinks when it thaws. The result? Potholes. You can sense a “however” coming, can’t you?

However …

… Add the corrosion of salt to the mix (the cheapest grade you can get) as Pittsfield has done in record amounts, and you have potholes graduating from spacious to cavernous.

Pittsfield dumped Pittsfield Sand and Gravel for its sand and salt this year, going with a low bidder out of Vermont. The bidder initially delivered a product that had to be rejected because it didn’t meet spec, and the city had to scramble to meet the its road needs for the winter. Could this be a factor in why there are so many potholes, so early, and of such giant size?

A former DPW worker who says he “keeps in touch with the guys” weighs in with a decided “yes.” He says the “rogue mix” includes straight sodium chloride (the cheap stuff) and sand. Without an emulsifier, the salt will definitely exacerbate pothole formation, he says. He then pointed south, to our neck of the woods. Stockbridge buys road-treatment mix that includes a lower salt-content modified by molasses. It not only smells good enough to eat, it keeps the roads in good shape without a lot of damage.

The road salt in Pittsfield is eating up the roads, literally, by breaking down concrete and asphalt. The salt displays a similarly ravenous appetite for metal, which it satiates by eating road vehicles and munching on infrastructure such as bridges and rebars.  This salt will kill vegetation, kill wildlife, and contaminate ground water and soil.

The ultimate cost to taxpayers will be astronomical compared to the cost if the city had procured the more-benign molasses mix. It would cost more in the short run to buy the good stuff up front, but this would pay for itself and then some over the cost of a winter. When you calculate the ancillary damage done by the ruinous type of road treatment Pittsfield uses, the molasses mix would pay for itself many times over.

Ah, but that would require strategic thinking and good management. These two commodities have gone missing in Pittsfield, if you haven’t noticed, and can only be found on the side of milk cartons.


 “I cannot see her, since the mist’s pale scraf / Obscures the dark wood and the dull orange sky; / But she’s waiting, I know, impatient and cold, half / Sobs struggling into her frosty sigh.”D. H. Lawrence, stanza 2, “A Winter’s Tale.”





  1. dusty
    January 30, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    I think the airing out of gob politics regarding baseball in the city was what made that situation do a 180 degree turnabout. I think the Planet gets two thumbs up for this one. Usually you cannot embarrass a politician but this time it seems to have worked.

    Regarding the road salt. Pittsfield has the whitest streets in the county for sure. Those who can, need to rinse the bottom of their vehicles because that salt will chew right through your brake lines and gas tank. Driving through puddles helps a lot but watch out for the ones with big holes under them.

  2. Ron Kitterman
    January 30, 2014 at 4:32 am #

    TFB would be wise to stay mum on how much of our Berkshire cash is shipped off to Bean town, the Beacon Hill crowd would find that amount a pittance in the investment scheme situation they have going for them and ask us to pony up some more of our fair share.

  3. GeoSims
    January 30, 2014 at 4:53 am #

    “The law has determined he was falsely accused”

    Actually, the law has determined there was not enough evidence to convince a jury he was guilty.

    • levitan
      January 30, 2014 at 5:09 am #

      …and therefore innocent. Let’s say ‘wrongly accused’ then.

      Good luck Mr. Muir trying to rediscover ‘normal.’ You’ll have Martha Milkcarton, Capeless, and a horde of other invidious politicians trying to build their careers on your sore back.

      • Edconnect
        January 30, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

        Sore back. I like that. Did he give one to many piggyback rides?

        • levitan
          January 30, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

          Remember the Alamo Barans & Amiraults.

          Innocent or not, accusations of sex crimes leave the accused permanently guilty by virtue of doubts. Can you meet me there?

      • danvalenti
        January 30, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

        We hope Muir is allowed to resume his life on peace and in one piece.

    • danvalenti
      January 30, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

      Good “pernt,” GEO.

  4. amandaWell
    January 30, 2014 at 5:04 am #

    You gotta luv the eighteen wheelers driving by you, splitting all that cheap salt-sand in a cloud of smoke. What gives with the pot holes in front of Spice, not only do you hit the hole but the steel cover exposed really gives you a thud.

  5. Eugene Smart
    January 30, 2014 at 5:13 am #

    Justice is served. Bullying is not allowed in are schools after all. Thank You Dan for exposing this .Pittsfield be proud. We have all helped in saving two good men their jobs.PHS baseball is in good hands. I’m Eugene and i am smart.

  6. Ron Kitterman
    January 30, 2014 at 5:43 am #

    Good catch by GeoSims “The law has determined he was falsely accused” there is a huge difference between falsely accused and acquitted. The fact is that five victims made the allegations of sexual assault and the Commonwealth was not able to convict. Sort of like a Bill Clinton thing he was impeached but not convicted.

    • danvalenti
      January 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

      Yes. I agree. The accusation did not result in a conviction.

  7. Spider
    January 30, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    Regarding the missing prom money from PHS, several school dept employees have told me that the matter “has been taken care of”. What does that mean? Swept under the rug? And why?
    Is this cover up going to set a precedent for any future robberies at the school?

    • danvalenti
      January 30, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

      Do your contacts in the PSD want to talk to THE PLANET? We can assure strict confidentiality.

  8. Rafael
    January 30, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    Just think what that salt mixture is doing to your car too.

  9. Bill Sturgeon
    January 30, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    Don’t forget DanValenti is going to be on Good Morning Pittsfield, John Krol will be hosting – TOMORROW MORNING – 7:30 AM – PCTV channel 16! It should be a great show !!!!

    I just have one comment about the GOB’s. A great deal had been written about Ruberto and Doyle having a network of GOB’s. Well, now the current Administration has created its network of GOB’s just as I said it would on my radio program 3 + years ago.

    It has been my experience that “every” policitcal, etc. administration creates it GOB’s group!

    • joetaxpayer
      January 30, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      Maybe Dan could try to get Mr Krol to speak about how 1 million dollars is a “drop in the bucket”. That’s the problem with him and the rest of the City Council. Every time someone comes up with a idea to cut anything out of the budget, they always say what’s the point it’s only a drop in the bucket. Then they turn around and use the same anology when they add to the budget. It’s time to start pulling those drops out of that bloated bucket.

      • billy
        January 30, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

        I agree its way over due Joe. Lee is doing all the right things and is going to be way ahead of us budget wise and on firm fiscal footing future generations.the towns folk have said they are done with budget increase ndthe sacred cow (school dept )is gonna get right sized and going to live within it’s means

        • joetaxpayer
          January 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

          Billy, We are a much larger City and already have 43 boards and commissions. From Agricultural commission to Zoning board of appeals. But not one Committee to deal with our 132 million dollar budget. Why not have a committee that soul purpose is to look for savings. Population keeps going down budget keeps going up,something got to give.

          • levitan
            January 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

            Best bet is another Charter Review and cut the Council in half. The failure to address the size of the council is the largest (and only) failure there.

          • danvalenti
            January 30, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

            Excellent point, JOE THE T. All these boards and commissions, but not one citizen’s watchdog committee. Now why do you suppose that is? Do you suppose that whenever there was talk of that in the past, those involved faced retribution. FEAR is the glue that holds to nervous “peace” in the good city.

          • Billy
            January 30, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

            I would love that but ego is rampant as well as self promotion in this city. I don’t know how it could be done. Lee is able to do it cause they had enough of living in Disneyworld and said if we want to leave something for our children we have to sacrifice now or our children will be burdened with our sins. I have lived in Pittsfield a long time and what keeps us from being great is our inability to see value in other peoples opinion and work
            on common ground.

    • danvalenti
      January 30, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

      Right you are, BILL. “GMP” should be lotsa phun.
      We gotta get THE PLANET on your new show on PCTV.

  10. maxwell edison
    January 30, 2014 at 8:05 am #

    Congratulations Coach Moynihan, but now I’m going question Conant’s motives on every vote that comes before him. These big hotel deals coming before Conservation Commission recently? No opportunity for dirtiness there I’m sure.

    • danvalenti
      January 30, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

      Questions are good. In Pittsfield, the GOB views them as unpatriotic and evidence of disloyalty. We should question not only Conant’s motives but those of every critter who is acting in the name of WE THE PEOPLE.

  11. scott
    January 30, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    I dont see how they found reasonable doubt when a young woman went up there and testified that he digitally raped her but hey the Eagle must have missed something in the relay of info. Even Eric Holder knows the system is broken. Its all about who has the most expensive lawyer that can convince the jury or give the pretense of reasonable doubt. Thats why it would be better if we just let fathers handle delicate situations of this nature. He’ll offend again. Until then the jury has spoken but the jurys decision holds no weight in the balance of the universe.

    • Bull Durham
      January 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

      12 people, men and women, certainly some of them parents, sat on that jury, and in 45 minutes they found reasonable doubt galore, otherwise they would not have come back so quickly with the verdict. Unless you sat in on the entire trial, how can you judge how compelling, or not, the ‘victims’ testimony was? He may very well have committed the acts they described, but if he did, there was little if any evidence, and the people who testified against him did not make their case convincingly. I’ve served on juries before, and 45 minutes is extremely fast. It means every one of those 12 people almost immediately upon entering deliberations expressed doubts and came to a not guilty conclusion.

      Blame it on poor preparation by the prosecution, blame it on poor testimony, blame it on a very good defense lawyer, but Dan is right, the system worked, and in this case it was not broken.

      • scott
        January 30, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

        It looks like Hall is going to walk too. These DA’s were good at putting kids in jail for two years over some pot while murderers and child molesters walk free. Its better 10 guilty men walk rather than one innocent man suffer I get the ideology. It seems like its backwards which is why Eric Holder isnt a death penalty supporter.

        • Magic
          January 30, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

          Scott, I have been following the Hall trial on I am truly scared that he is going to be allowed back on the street. And one by one so will the other two.

          Coach Moynihan, congratulations

          • Dave
            January 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

            I wonder if Adam Lee Hall is regretting getting rid of Mr.Rota. If he can get someone off (no pun intended) with five people saying he did it, imagine the chances of an acquittal with no DNA found anywhere, no weapons found, mostly circumstantial(albeit a mountain of it) evidence. I think a conviction is coming, but the defense case has not started yet.

          • levitan
            February 1, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

            I think a conviction is coming, but the defense case has not started yet.</i?


            The defense threw in the towel at the outset of the trial and has presented a single witness. A forensic specialist who did not review physical evidence and is rebutted by a forensic analyst who did.

            All but a minor complaint by the defense were dismissed by the judge. The last move now are closing arguments. Get ready; Black will argue that you can't convict Hall because lumpy is 'weird' (both true and relevant) and no blood was found. (notwithstanding a host of testimony to the effect he was terribly busy destroying evidence.)

            Beyond which, the evidence is not circumstantial since Casey place Hall with the bodies which were retrieved. Not heresay, nor deduced.

        • Magic
          January 30, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

          Scott, I have been following the Hall trial on I am truly scared that he is going to be allowed back on the street. And one by one so will the other two.

          Coach Moynihan, congratulations

          • outfox
            January 30, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

            Levitan explained this really well yesterday, about how the preponderance of circumstantial evidence can be used to convict. Did I mis-read MassLive, or something, because they way Buffy reported it, it sounds like they found blood all over the Elantra but did not test the blood in the Elantra? The Capeless crusader’s case seems iffy to me, but he does have Casey as a direct witness to Hall and the bodies.

        • levitan
          January 30, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

          Can’t speak to the competence of the argument, but Capeless does have Casey and those women. It will astound me if the jury discounts them.

          I believe Hall will be unpleasantly surprised to learn that destroying physical evidence is not anti-conviction insurance. Additionally, the Judge rejected all but one or two of Black’s objections.

          But fear is always legitimate – there are no guarantees in court.

          • levitan
            January 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

            Postscript – Hall’s undoing beyond the non-secretive behavior was leaving the bodies to be found.

            Absence of weapon is minor when the body tells the story.

          • levitan
            January 30, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

            Post post-script: In fact, the difficulty in destroying evidence is determining just how much to destroy.

            For example, Hall had an ongoing relationship between Glasser and the other defendents, but absolutely nothing physically connects him to any of them. The jury will likely decide it all went down the Housatonic, witnessed by 5 bystanders.

      • danvalenti
        January 30, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

        Thanks, BULL. You get the point I was trying to make and well expressed it.

  12. rob
    January 30, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    A response in regard to Coach Moynihan….

    A decent guy, and years ago he was a good enough coach. Longevity often gets you many awards. Tom LaSorda was a GREAT manager. Do you want him managing NOW? No! You can’t take that approach!

    This absolutely IS NOT only about playing time. Far from it. There have been numerous complaints over the last several years and only now with a new administration are they taking these complaints seriously. I wish these people from the class of “1980-whatever”, who keep writing letters in support, would have come to a game in the last 5 years to see the “leadership” that’s taken place.

    Do you want YOUR son throwing nearly 160 pitches in a game?? 160!!!! Mr. Moynihan did that in 2013. Major League managers wouldn’t subject their pitchers to that kind of physical duress and they have the best professional conditioning in the world! Mr. Moynihan could have ruined that kid that day.

    Were any of the supporters (including The Planet) present any of the countless games over the last few years when PHS players, after grounding out or popping up, would throw their helmets, drop “F bombs” & “C words” in front of grandmothers and little kids watching from the hill at Clapp Park only to go undisciplined by this “legendary coach”?

    What leadership does this man show when one of his captains gets caught by the police doing “donuts” in a truck on his home field?? Again only to go completely undisciplined? What message does that send to the rest of the team?

    The amount of talent that has worn the PHS colors over the past five to six years that I’ve followed the team is incredible. What does the team, under Moynihan’s leadership, have to show for it? A handful of seasons with slightly better than .500 records.

    The administration isn’t trying to strip him of the accolades he received in the past. They just want him to finally go away. It’s an appointed post. They don’t want him anymore. End of story.

    it doesn’t matter how many people from the class of 1980 come to his defense. Ask the people who he directly has effected in recent years, the players, and, in my opinion, they’ll tell you it’s time for a change.

    • danvalenti
      January 30, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

      Thank you.
      This is the “other side” of the story.
      Of course, if Principal Matt Bishop believes Coach M has lost control of the team, Bishop should have been out front and make his case. That I could respect.
      If you know any players who would like to share with THE PLANET their views of Coach M, let me know.

  13. Sonny
    January 30, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    What I don’t understand is how did Jungle Jim Conant have the power to create this situation if what I have read here is true. Did Alf go along with this new rule to reapply every year, Terry Kinnas or that Mrs Amuso who is chairlady now? As a former coach i would assume Mr Elias would have been against this. Mr. Moynihan can now go out on his own terms which is what he deserves. Peter Bell deserved the same thing. Sad to see these backroom decisions affecting so many good peoples lives. To many people i grew up with around her forget where they came from when they are put in positions that their actions can affect others.

    • Gene
      January 30, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

      Mrs. Yon is chairwoman not Amuso, who is on the city council now. DV you helped coach Bobby and Buddy P too. Your story brought the shady doings into the sunshine. While the Eagle folded the Planet took care of business.

      • levitan
        January 30, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

        Yon is Chair?!

        Now, isn’t that Democracy at its best?

    • danvalenti
      January 30, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

      Alf supported the measure to have coaches reapply. Elias supported it also. He told me it was a mechanism whereby schools could more easily get rid of bad coaches. Of course, as we’ve seen, it’s also a way to get rid of ANY coaches, good or bad, for cause or for politics. The back-room deals are the routine order of business in the city. People would be shocked white if they learned how bad it truly is. This has affected all aspects of community life. The local economy, for instance, is dead in large part because any company worth its salt will do its due diligence if they even entertain the possibility of a move to the Pitts. You think they want to step foot in this tarpit?

  14. #nomorebianchi
    January 30, 2014 at 7:50 pm #


    As someone who regularly drive the city streets for my job let me be the first to tell you thT it’s not just potholes. It’s also the frost heaves and some roads Are just in bad shape. Some are extremely bad. To the degree that if ur wasn’t for my seat belt holding me down I bet you I would have fallen out of my seat and had my truck go through someone’s living room window. I’d hope that this mayor, or lack there of, would get the roads fixed but he’s to busy ordering his council buddies to do what he wants them to do.

    I like the idea of a board or commission to look through the budget and suggest cuts. But isn’t that the council*s job?

    • danvalenti
      January 30, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

      NO MORE
      Mayor Do-Nothing seems also to be too busy working his day job to be a full-time mayor. The city roads are deplorable, something out of the third world. We should start a contest: Where’s the biggest pothole? There’s a beauty going east on Linden Street just past the Polish community hall. When you cross North Street through the lights from Linden and onto Maplewood, there’s another beat on the right, in front of St. Joe’s. Who has others?

      • GeoSims
        January 31, 2014 at 5:12 am #

        The road condition is reminiscent of the early 1990’s when the potholes were so numerous and deep that hubcaps would line the gutters. In front of A&P on Elm is one vivid memory. Have never seen them like that since but we seem to be getting there now.

    • levitan
      February 1, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

      Have you considered avoiding them or slowing down? Flying out of your truck would be pretty embarrassing.

      Personally, I would prefer that streets not be plowed at all. No salt to ruin your car, and you drive it only where you know it can go. We should be tougher than to whine about potholes.

      Here’s another thing, I had a heat shield that was rattling in a most annoying fashion. Last November I errantly hit a large pot hole and heard several pieces of my car clatter off behind me. Never heard from the piece of metal again and saved $40 at the muffler shop..

  15. italia
    January 30, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    Does anyone know if the former ward 3 councilor has gone to court yet or has the matter been droped? I thought it was supposed to be Jan. 6th.

    Also, did the Moore family ever file a civil suit against Ms. Nilan?

    • danvalenti
      January 30, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

      TO the best of my knowledge, the case against Capitanio has not been dropped. Where it stands, not sure. The Moore family has not yet filed a civil action against Meredith Nilan. It remains to be seen if, going forward, they do or don’t.

      • levitan
        January 31, 2014 at 7:46 am #

        That is amazing, regarding the Nilan case. Mr. Moore, twenty -thirty years hence will be needing the settlement/award should he suffer the complications of brain spinal injuries.