PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, FEB. 17, 2014) — From the mailbag, we share this letter. It deals with a subject that, coincidentally or not, THE PLANET had planned to take up today. Coincidence is convenience delivered by room service!

Our letter writer sends this:

——- 000 ——-

Downtown ‘Neglected’ Under Bianchi

Comments: I have never seen a downtown more neglected than I have recently during this past storm.  I feel sorry for the precious city I grew up in.  I feel sorry for the city that I have been raising my children in.

I hope people remember how harshly and inhumanly this downtown has been treated by it’s management (Bianchi) when it comes time to vote again.

I loved this city and I have faith it will flourish again, but it has to get out of the hands of the wrong people.

Thank you for letting me rant.
— Varsity Mom

——- 000 ——-

THE PLANET REPLIES: “Mom,” we had to venture downtown Saturday on a business visit. After parking in the Columbus Avenue deck, we walked to our destination in the “even” block of North Street, in the 70-90s range. THE PLANET can tell you, we were appalled at the lack of care evident to our eyes. There were signs of neglect everywhere, starting with the blowing trash — plastic bags, fast food wrappers, cigarette butts.

What got us the most was the snow. This was long after the storm had finished, yet, once again, “led” by Mayor Danny Donothing, snow kept North Street just shy of untenable as a destination for shopping, eating, or entertainment. Mini-mountains of snow lined both sides of the street, leaving poor pedestrians searching for a channel allowing entrance to or egress from the sidewalk. When channels appeared, they were often clogged with water and slush. Worst we saw was at the most vital intersection, the one that links Columbus Avenue, Eagle Street, and North Street. Pedestrians trying to cross there had to contend with mounds of snow, slush, water, and ice. It would have taken two city workers perhaps 30 minutes to clean the four entry/exit points. Instead, you had to find a sherpa guide and a goat to help you navigate.

Then we got to witness the effect the ridiculous bumpouts have on parking. The curved bumpouts themselves took away 1.5 parking spaces. With any amount of significant snow, snowplows cannot get clean into the curved corners, either side. As a result, plow jockeys must feather both before and after the bumpouts, losing two more spaces (one on each side). Thus, the terrible “Streetscape” redesign takes away seven parking spots for each two bumpouts.

When THE PLANET brought this point up a couple years ago, Deanna Ruffer, then head of the Office of Community Development, said no, we were wrong, without any support data to support her claim. In an infamous photo-op, her “Dukakis in the Tank” moment, Ruffer showed up on North Street with a tape measure. She claimed to have measured the bumpouts, on the both sides, the length of North Street, and made the unsupported and logic-defying claim that the bumpouts would actually increase the number of parking spaces.

Which leads us to the sober realization that the citizens of Pittsfield — except for a handful of GOBs and PBTs and other politically favored and connected” individuals — are Winston Smiths, living in the dystopia of 1984. War is Peace. Hate is Love. Snow is ___________________ . You fill in the blank, my dear friends.

Perhaps the mayor won’t be happy until a pedestrian or two are run down on North Street. Center and Depot is okay, but it’s not quite enough in the limelight … or snow shadow. When the next poor bugger gets it, we’ll send another scalp for the mayor’s wall.



Rex Sox infielders Xander Bogaerts, left, and Heiker Meneses work in fielding drills today at spring training workout. (Photo

Finally, we share this bit of brightening news. It should help everyone feel that spring is on the way.

FORT MYERS, FL — Red Sox pitchers and catchers had their second workout today at Fenway South, the club’s Spring Training and Player Development Complex in Lee County, Florida.  Workouts, which are free and open to the public, start at 9:30 a.m. and include 29 pitchers and six catchers.

Fans may enter the complex through the West Gate beginning at 9:00 a.m.  Additionally, tours of JetBlue Park are also available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cost six dollars per person. Tickets for tours may be purchased from the JetBlue Park box office.  Concessions and merchandise will be on sale during these workouts.

The team’s first full-squad workout is scheduled for Thursday, February 20. The Red Sox will have 57 players in camp, with 13 infielders and 9 outfielders joining the pitchers and catchers (including 17 non-roster invitees).

All practices from February 15-26 will take place at the Fenway South Player Development Complex, located at 11500 Fenway South Drive in Fort Myers. On most days, the workouts will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m.  Any changes to that start time will be announced.

Spring Training games begin at JetBlue Park on February 27 with a college double header at 1:05 p.m. against Northeastern University followed by Boston College.

DIRECTIONS TO FENWAY SOUTH: From the North: Take I-75 South to Exit 131 (Daniels Parkway).  Make a left off the exit and go east for approximately two miles.  Fenway South will be on your left.  From the South: Take I-75 North to Exit 131 (Daniels Parkway).  Make a right off the exit and go east for approximately two miles.  Fenway South will be on your left.


“If the sun had faded away, I’ll try to make it shine.” — The Beatles, “Anytime at All.,” (1964).





  1. dusty
    February 17, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    Those bump-outs certainly seem to be asinine idea especially in an area screaming for more parking. But let’s give credit where credit is due. I believe we can thank the wisdom of Mayor Ruberto for that mind boggling innovation. And apparently not one of his many assistants and consultants thought to question it.

  2. Varsity Mom
    February 17, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    Your article brought tears to my eyes. Thank you. And hopefully voters will remember this with voracity when it comes the time. Keep up the good work. You are a good man.

    • danvalenti
      February 17, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

      Thanks, MOM.

      • shakes his head
        February 20, 2014 at 9:25 am #

        What about the rediculous $2M expenditure to teat um North Street and Lower Wahconah after they just started reconfiguring it.

        • danvalenti
          February 20, 2014 at 9:29 am #

          Yup, point right on, SHH.

  3. Jonathan Melle
    February 17, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    Many tens of millions of dollars have been spent on downtown Pittsfield over the past decade. Meanwhile, thousands of people moved away from Pittsfield, and thousands of jobs were lost in Pittsfield. Who is paying the bills in Pittsfield?

    • danvalenti
      February 17, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

      The ones paying the bills are the remaining few. Shrinking population, diminishing tax base, rising cost of government: Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski gets hosed, year after year.

      • Jonathan Melle
        February 17, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

        I thought that the remaining Pittsfield residents are mostly on welfare. Those that work in Pittsfield depend on taxpayer dollars, such as the thousands of city, school and non-profit hospital employees. All of the money Pittsfield politics spent on North Street was misguided. North Street is still a place people avoid, especially after hours. I left Pittsfield a decade ago, but have followed Pittsfield politics via Dan Valenti’s blog and the Berkshire Eagle online. I was disappointed in former Mayor Jimmy Ruberto’s 8 year tenure because he made so many promises that he not only broke, but also, the opposite happened in Pittsfield. Thousands of lost jobs, thousands of people moved away from Pittsfield, thousands of people on welfare in Pittsfield. All of the spending that went on with Ruberto and now Mayor Dan Bianchi, with no one left to pay the bills. Pittsfield politics is a case study of how not to run a community!

        • joetaxpayer
          February 19, 2014 at 8:49 am #


  4. Giacometti
    February 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    Yeah…Mayor Jimmy Rubbertoes is off in sunny Florida basking in the sun and doesn’t have to deal with Pittsfield’s streets or stupid
    parking problems during the winter…what a dork.

  5. Dave
    February 17, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    Please stop complaining, budget season is coming. I can see it now…. Downtown Inc budget tripled-to support 2 executives to man the 2 new snowplow trucks included in the capital budget. We have to make sure the 5 new officers patrolling the downtown are not impeded by the snowbanks. Streetscape part 2 includes the intersection you mention, I say heated sidewalks on all four corners-you never see snowbanks around Berkshire Bank! How many parking spaces we losing to valet park the hobnobbers? Maybe the city wanted this year’s 10×10 festival to be the best ever 10 foot high X 10 foot wide snow “sculptures” for the ten blocks of North St! It is just as good as some of the s@@@ we have displayed as art before.

  6. Varsity Mom
    February 17, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    I don’t know how he sleeps with himself.

  7. Nota
    February 17, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    One eye open,Mom.

  8. Varsity Mom
    February 17, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    Liking your style!

  9. Williams
    February 17, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

    Agree with VMom on condition downtown re the snow. Also thank God for DV and Planet.. literally the only media that reports the truth.

  10. Thomas More
    February 18, 2014 at 7:20 am #

    A bigger shame than North St. is (are) Fenn St., Eagle St. and Melville St. The city plows the snow onto the sidewalks (illegal) and tells the property owners that they have 24 hours to clean it up, but don’t throw it back on the street (that’s illegal). Melville St. has snowbanks higher than the kids who run in and out of the Boys Club and up the street to the pizza store. Something will be done about this but not until a kid gets hit. That’s Pittsfield, a reactionary government that waits ’til something goes wrong and then fix it.

    • danvalenti
      February 20, 2014 at 9:40 am #

      Yes, I had the opportunity to walk from North Street, down Fenn, to East Street. It is as you say. The sad part is: There’s no need for it.

  11. Scott
    February 18, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    Hmmm intrresting I made a trip to RJ Sthore to pick up a jewelry repair/resize I found parking and chuckled to myself when a cop on the beat passed me on my return to my car with diamonds and gold. Perhaps downtown is more about perception. Don’t let the fear of your own mind control you. If you only look for the negative then that’s all you will see.

  12. Spectator
    February 18, 2014 at 9:56 am #

    The snow mess down here in Winsted CT is pretty horrendous too, but the difference is that the town’s former Finance Director stole several million $ from the town and blew it all the the casino, so the town is broke and can’t afford to pay for snow removal.

    • Scott
      February 19, 2014 at 8:43 am #

      Well looks like it’s time for the good citizens to pick up a shovel and take care of thier town. Show them the govt is not necessary.

      • danvalenti
        February 20, 2014 at 9:36 am #

        Excellent idea. Anything that can bypass government is an improvement.

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