TAXPAYERS BEWARE: IS PEDA RAIL-CAR PITCH A “TROJAN TROLLEY CAR?” … GOB WANTS $1 MILLION OF YOUR MONEY, BUT FOR WHAT AND FOR WHOM? … AFTERMATH OF THE COACH BOBBY MELODRAMA … ‘BORING BROADSHEET’ PRICE GOUGE HAS READERS LEAVING IN DROVES … plus … HAS BB NO SHAME? MORAN STORY SEEMS TO ANSWER: ‘NOPE’
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, JAN. 31, 2014) — Kissing January goodbye means we’re that much closer to spring, although if truth be told, THE PLANET is immensely enjoying this winter. The hard cold, the right amount of snow, the crispness in the air, the translucent blue in the sky, the diamond facets in the white blankets, the transformation of the leafless woods — we would miss them terribly if they weren’t part of our daily experience.
PEDA Pitch for MBTA Pact a ‘Trojan Trolley Car?’
Earlier this week, THE PLANET reported on the meeting held at BCC Tuesday supposedly for an airing of PEDA‘s plan to make a play for the $850 million contract from the MBTA (Boston’s famed “T”) to build trolley cars. Our spies were there.
1Berkshire touted this meeting as an opportunity “to obtain a better understanding of both the breadth and depth of the regional supply chain capabilities.” Clue #1: When “They” start talking in mumbo jumbo” (regional supply [no hyphen for compound adjective!] chain capabilities”), you know they’re trying to snow you.
The 1Berkshire website informs us that “To accomplish this, we invited local manufactures [sic] and business owners to meet with us for an information exchange” on the Jan. 28 date. They present such illiterate information and then expect to be taken seriously?
Anyhow, as we reported, the meeting was nothing more than a pep rally. The rah-rah, sis-boom-bah from David Curtis, introduced as “resident economic development specialist” (whatever that is), consisted of little more than pretty pictures. Essentially, where one had reason to expect at least a modicum of sophistication, attendees were “treated” to visuals — the “comic book” approach with graphics straight from the best high tech the 1980s could produce.
Pittsfield taxpayers, via the city council, are being asked to approve a $1 million incentives package as a bribe for the MBTA to award PEDA the pact. There are only a few problems:
(a) Our sources, including those with heavy-duty connections to the Boston political scene, tell THE PLANET Pittsfield has “no chance, zero” of landing this contract. PEDA knows this, 1Berkshire knows this, Mayor Danny Do-Nothing knows this, and Ed Caveny (wherever he may be) knows this.
(b) There is not an available building in Pittsfield, let alone the PEDA site, with enough crane tonnage required for rail-car manufacturing. The nearest building that comes remotely close is the old Beloit-Jones facility in Dalton.
(c) No one has adequately addressed the transportation problem. How can Pittsfield, 120 miles away, pretend to compete with manufacturing within a chaw’s spit of Boston? The cost to build, then have to ship, rail cars 120 miles will be astronomical.
(d) If this is such a good investment of $1 million taxpayer dollars, with such great returns, why is any private capital looking to get in on the deal? You know why: Because the deal is fake. It’s a loser.
So what gives? If the “Powers Behind the Scenes” know there’s not a chance of landing this pact, why bother. There seem to be a couple competing theories:
* This pitch for a contract is purely political. It serves its purpose by making it look like PEDA and company are actually doing something.
* This pitch, which the hurlers know will fail, is actually a “Trojan Trolley Car.” In other words, when the bid fails, PEDA will have $1 million approved by the city council to award to a company said to be “waiting in the wings.” The company will magically appear at the proper time, and the ever-inept Corydon and Friends will try to ram through the million bucks to the Chosen Company, which, according to the theory, has played ball with “the right people.” THE PLANET has no more information than this, but we are sharing it because if there’s even the slightest chance the “Trojan Trolley Car” theory is correct, we want to smoke it out and have it running into the open, as all liars do, with its pants on fire. The idea is to kill it with fresh air and sunshine before it gets any farther.
AFTERMATH TO THE COACH BOBBY M. MELODRAMA
In the aftermath of the Bobby Moynihan experience, THE PLANET has received several notes for our work in exposing the story, especially after the Boring Broadsheet spiked it and, from what our sources tell us, played deaf-and-dumb in order to perpetrate a conspiracy. Chalk it up as another great piece of “Jell-O Journalism” from the BB.
Here’s one of the letters we received:
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‘They Wanted Coach Moynihan Out of the Way’
[TO THE PLANET]:
Thank you, sir, for your crusading on behalf of Coach Moynihan. Let me be honest. We have not often been on the same side of issues. We may disagree many times to come. But the work you did in revealing how the school system was trying to get rid of Coach needs to be applauded. You acted with the highest journalistic standards going underneath the story to dig out the truth.
They wanted Coach out of the way because there was a[n] “favorite son” ready to take over the coaching duties. He was someone with political connections wit[h] the present administration (mayor etc.). This attempt to take Coach, a man who’s given a generation of his life to teaching and coaching young men, has to do with his age and that he bucked (stood up to) certain people who have political pull. They though they would easily dispose of Coach and put “their boy” in.
Dan you have earned my respect and I can see now why you are so good at what you do. You are read by everyone with an interest in government. This includes the ones who try to pervert it to serve their own selfish ends. They fear you the most. That is a high compliment. Keep at it.
PLANET RESPONDS: We thank PHS Booster. One of the side effects of what we do here has been to show how good journalism should be done. Our first obligation is to tell the truth. Our strongest loyalty is to our readers. We believe we must remain independent of those we cover. We want to provide a forum for public ideas, including criticism of policy, politics, and government. We want to make our coverage entertaining. We want to keep our coverage proportional. We will exercise personal conscience. We will not be bought or sold.
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Speaking of the Boring Broadsheet, have you noticed the exorbitant price increase they are demanding from their ever-shrinking number of readers?
THE PLANET shares two letters from readers:
GAD! Just received a bill for the Eagle. Two days of the print version and full online version. Last year, I paid $57. The bill for this year, $208. I’ll bet you can guess what I will do … — JB
And this one:, from a former BB editor:
TO THE PLANET:
Just a note for your Boring Broadsheet files…
I was “sticker shocked” but not entirely surprised this morning when I received my subscription renewal notice from the Eagle.
Since the last billing cycle, the 52-week subscription price jumped 65% (from $205.50 last September to $312 now); the 26-week rate 43% ($118.04 to $169) and the 13-week rate 30% ($69.29 to $89.70).
Sure looks like Digital First is taking steps to discourage long-term subsciptions to the “paper” by geezers like me who prefer the print edition on my doorstep. — DASH 30 DASH
THE PLANET RESPONDS: JB and Dash, does anyone need more proof that the current “business plan” at the BB is to run it into the ground, take the tax write-offs, and then completely fold — yes, abandon Pittsfield. They have taken prices through the nine spheres of the stratos, drastically reduced content, loaded the paper with fluff’n’stuff, and become the dying definition of “irrelevant.” For all that, they want you to pay anywhere from 30% to 300% more. People are responding in droves the way you guys are: Telling the BB where to stick its offer.
Then there’s this. You may have noticed The Boring Broadsheet‘s Kevin Moran bragging about an “honor” that no self-respecting journalist would ever want, an “honor” no decent newspaper would allow. Moran had a self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing piece on the front page of the BB (“All the News that Quits”) about how he accepted Congressman Richard Neal‘s invitation to attend the President’s State of the Union Address.
THE PLANET laughed in derision and scorn at the piece, privately giving it our best Matt Foley “Well whoopdie-friggin’-do.” Even we didn’t have the heart, though, to pile on after the BB had so humiliated itself. Leave it to a fellow scribe, however, to take up the true honors.
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TO THE PLANET:
Not sure if you caught this: Rep. Neal’s “honored guest” at the SOTU was the Eagle’s VP of News, Kevin Moran. Can’t say I remember everything I learned in Journalism 101 a long time ago, but I’m pretty sure that news organizations are supposed to report fairly and transparently on elected officials and ask them tough questions, rather than be “honored citizen guests” who snap publicity photos of members of Congress and ask them no questions.
There was, as far as I know, no news report by Moran in the Eagle itself after the SOTU.
Call me old-fashioned.
Hope all’s well,
PLANET RESPONDS: My good fellow Mug, you have once again nailed it. This type of acumen tells us that you are not only a better journalist that Moran but would be a better congressman than Richie Neal.
Have a great weekend, everybody!
“The wine is warm in the hearth; / The flickers come and go. / I will warm your limbs with kisses / Until they glow.” — D. H. Lawrence, “December Night,” (1917)
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.