SHE JUST WON’T GO AWAY: PUMMELIN’ PAM GETS BEAU FRANZ ON INSIDE TRACK TO CHARTER REVIEW ‘GLORY’ … plus … CHRIS CHRISTIE’S A ‘BRIDGE BUILDER,’ ALL RIGHT
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, JAN. 14, 2014) — Well, what do you know, folks? Pummelin’ Pam Malumphy, loser of her last five attempts to win election for public office (city council, mayor, state rep, first assistant associate deputy dog catcher), simply refuses to go away. Like old gum forever cemented on the bottom of a high school desk or squishy doggie-do you step in with your new sneakers, she just won’t go away. We admire such persistence and hold it as an honorable character trait.
Not long ago, THE PLANET brought you the exclusive on Pummelin’s role in trying to arm-twist Donna Todd Rivers into challenging the at-large balloting in the most recent city election. Rivers refused. That doesn’t mean, however, that Malumphy has stopped trying to stick her nose into We The People‘s business. Of course, as a citizen, she has every right to do that, and we not only encourage but support the individual’s actions in participatory democracy. No citizen, however, has the unfettered right to attempt to browbeat and bully behind the scenes or use her “insider” position to push an agenda. Is that what Pam’s doing? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.
When we reviewed the names put forward to serve on the Ordinance Review Commission, whose job it will be to reconcile city laws with the new municipal charter, we saw one “Franz Forster.” Immediately, Franz not being a common name in this part of Scandinavia, we thought of the only Franz we had heard of short of “Saturday Night Live” and some piano player named Liszt. That would be Pummelin’ Pam’s live-in … live-in what? Pick one: ( ) Lover ( ) Soul Mate ( ) Significant Other ( ) Insignificant Other ( ) Partner ( ) House Mate ( ) Husband ( ) Other. In these days of alternative “lifestyles,” one is pressed to find the term that will (a) satisfy everyone and (b) get as close to the truth as possible.
Pam is Berkshire regional director for the state Office of Business Development, and she’s as effective in her job as was Matt Kerwood, one of the previous holders of this make-work plum. Pummelin’ is a Democrat. Kufflinks is a Republican. The title of regional rep comes as a reward to party loyalists who might otherwise trouble finding work, especially in the Dreaded Private Sector. Take Malumphy — please. Her previous employment includes stints at three non-profits, including the Berkshire Creative Economy Council, whatever that is. The chief duties of the OBD’s local rep include fetching the governor’s coffee when he visits the Berkshires, counting the pubic hairs of the Bionic Woman (also known as paper clips), and saying “yes” whenever the state party bosses sniffle. The job has as much to do with “Business Development” as moth balls do to garden hoses.
As for Forster, he, too, is a player, having served on public numerous boards, committees, commissions, and clubs. Here’s a bio from cyberspace (http://www.berkshirerealtors.org/page.taf?ID=707#.UtXfpViA0Rw) that dates itself with the mayoral reference: “First licensed in Massachusetts in 1990, Franz went on to open FJ Forster Real Estate located in Pittsfield. He obtained his BA from Rutgers University and his Juris Doctorate from Western New England College School of Law. Born in Bern Switzerland, Franz came to the US as a child and currently resides in Pittsfield with his two children and his partner, and current mayoral candidate, Pam Malumphy.”
From 1980 to 1990, Forster was director of something called the “Consumer Protection Office.” We don’t know where, what consumers, or how much protection.
These credentials would seemingly make him a defendable candidate for the rules review body, but one has to question if there will be a Dragon Lady or a Lady McBeth behind the scenes. William Shakespeare did not return THE PLANET’s request for comment. As of press time, we hadn’t learned if our Right Honorable Good Friends approved Franz. THE PLANET will take a wild guess that they did in a tally of 7-4 or better.
MEET CHRIS CHRISTIE, ‘BRIDGE BUILDER’
Last week, we posited “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” as the theme song for this term’s new city government. The Taconic High School choir had rehearsed and planned to sing this song of friendship and support until the mayor’s wife got involved and decided “nope.”
Little did we know how suitable the song would end up being for a certain blowhard governor not all that far south of us. You’ve heard the one about the guy who sold the George Washington Bridge? Chris Christie is the guy who closed the GWB.
New Jersey Gov. Christie denied knowing anything about the plans launched by his chief of staff and her underlings to shut down two of the three lanes leading out of Ft. Lee in an act of political revenge. Christie, touted as the leading candidate for the GOP in the presidential race in 2016, has portrayed himself as a bridge-builder (pun intended), a man who could “reach across the aisle” and bring Dems and Repubs together. As such, he heavily courted all the Democrats he could find to endorse his candidacy. So much for that strategy.
In not endorsing Christie, the mayor of Ft. Lee, a Democrat, brought havoc upon his city. Christie’s staff hatched a plot to shut down bridge traffic. The ensuing traffic jams were of biblical proportions. They began on the first day of school in September, lasted days, and caused untold damage in lost hours on the job, late appointments, hinderance of safety vehicles, and many other annoyances too numerous to mention. One woman, who went into cardiac arrest, died before public safety officers could negotiate traffic and get to her.
Christie says he knew nothing about this. You mean to say his chief of staff, the person with the most important job in the state after the governor and the one responsible to managing policy governing 65,000 state employees, could hide from her boss something as serious as an order to shut down a key piece of infrastructure connecting to the nation’s largest city? What does this say about the governor’s ability to choose responsible staffers? What does it say about the Christie’s management style? After that, he thinks he can be trusted to become The President? The alternative, of course, is that Christie is lying, and that he knew all about this, which is just as bad.
In an embarrassing, two-hour, self-sanctifying press conference, Christie referred to himself as the victim. More than 1,000 times, he uttered the words “I, me, mine” and variants. Once again, this self-inflated fathead made it all about him, not about the many people who were not only inconvenienced but also betrayed.
People like Christie are why folks are right to never trust a politician.
“Life has an object [that] transcends man’s comprehension, and the service of this inaccessible aim is man’s destiny.” — Leo Tolstoy, “The Meaning of Life,” (1902).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.