PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, FEB. 6, 2014) — One of THE PLANET‘s loyal readers offered this interesting tidbit on “Wrestling Mania,” wherein the Pittsfield School Department saw fit to suspend wrestling coach Matt Chamberlain from his post without giving the taxpaying public a proper reason for the action.

We received this from Thomas More (no, not the author of books on spirituality and not the almost-famous Irish poet; they use two “o”s in the last name). This TM is one of our most attuned readers, ready to tell us what’s wrong with every post we author! Anyway, Thom wrote:

You’re getting closer. Scrap the left behind story. I’m amazed that your wizards haven’t dug it out. It’s a pretty entertaining story but I don’t want to be the one to let it out just in case it never does get out. Some things are perhaps better left to die.

He obviously knows more than he’s telling, but he’s not comfortable sharing it with us. In answer to More’s his last sentence, Joe the Taxpayer retorts: “The truth should never be left for dead.”  We’re with Joe the T on this one.

The easy thing would have been for Mr. Moore to spill what he knows, but perhaps he feels comfy thinking he knows something we don’t. Actually, we found out a whole lot more than The Boring Broadsheet did on this story. The BB‘s sports editor, Matt Sprague, was content to report Chamberlain’s suspension but not press the school department flacks for the reason behind the action. Sprague obediently swallowed, unquestioningly, what they fed him. THE PLANET terms that sort of  timorous reporting Jell-O Journalism.

THE PLANET has learned more about the Chamberlain situation. More is right, more or less: We can rule out the “leaving the kid behind” story. That leaves us with the “unauthorized person traveling with the wrestling team on the team bus.” THE PLANET thinks we know what our commentator means by “pretty entertaining.”

Our sources are telling us:

* The person who traveled with the wrestling team on its bus taking it to an upcoming match was none other than “the girlfriend of one of the wrestlers.” She hitched transport without permission, our sources say, traveling to and from the team meet in Rhode Island.

* Apparently, word of the stowaway girl being on the bus with the wrestling team got back to one or more of the kids’ parents, and that led to what one source called “the parents freaking out.”

* One source says the Dalton police were notified. Another source thinks but isn’t sure that the police may have driven down to Rhode Island to escort the girl back home.

* This isn’t the first time unauthorized kids were riding the team bus, according to a source, “especially if they have a job to do like keeping the scorebook or something [like that]. The fact that the game was out of state is the big deal, I guess.”

THE PLANET has inquiries into members of the Pittsfield School Committee and Taconic High School principal John Vosburgh. As of press time, we had not heard anything official.

Girlfriend? Team bus full of wrestlers? Out-of-state venue? Has all the elements of ring-a-ding-ding.



On Tuesday night — the night before Panic in the Year Zero caused by less than a foot of snow … in February … in the Berkshires … causing Pittsfield to Declare A State of Emergency — our Right Honorable Good Friends on the City Council held a subcommittee meeting.

Churchill Cotton chaired a meeting of the Community and Economic Development Subsommittee. Members include Melissa Mazzeo, Nick Caccamo, Lisa Tully, and Jonathan Lothrop. Attending in the peanut gallery, a small but interested group included councilors Barry Clairmont and Chris Connell, plus the omni-present citizen watchdog Terry Kinnas on behalf of We The People.

Before them sat a trio of no less interested parties representing PEDA: Mayor Dan Bianchi, executive director Corydon Thurston, and Doug Clark, the head of the Office of Community Development. THE PLANET scoured PEDA’s website about information of the meeting. Nothing. The latest news release was dated June 26, 2013. This is the agency, that is the mayor, that has made “transparency” a hallmark.

So called.

PEDA sent more than 40 pages of documents to councilors late that same morning. The documents only had to do with PEDA’s intention to blow … rather, use … $1 million of taxpayer money in an attempt to land a railcar manufacturing contract from Boston’s MBTA. Councilors, frankly, had little to no time to prepare. That’s the way it happens when the skunks don’t want expenditures of this sort to be done in deliberation. Remember EV Worldwide?

Not much of import happened at the meeting, but there were nuggets there for the careful observer. That would not include The Boring Broadsheet, which apparently does not think a potential $1 million giveaway in taxpayer money is worth sending one of its inkstained wretches — our colleagues! — to the meeting. THE PLANET shall be pleased to note for the record that the ever-intrepid Jonathan Levine from The Pittsfield Gazette attended on behalf of the weekly he publishes.

As we said, nuggets …

First, credit J-Lo for his aggressive questioning of the PEDA Trio (not to be confused with The Nairobi Trio). Lothrop wanted to know what conditions PEDA would impose on any company accepting the $1 million bribe … er, inducement … to build MBTA railcars in The Berkshires. Thoughts of EV Worldwide and Workshop Live! (Dead!) must have flashed through the ether. Councilor-at-large Barry Clairmont also did yeoman’s work in putting to the panel some effective questions.

In the ensuing discussion, it came out that PEDA has no clue as to how many jobs the railcar manufacturing contract would bring locally. What happened to the much-touted 250 jobs? Vanished into thick air. 200 jobs? 150? 100? 10? No one offered an answer, which leads us to wonder: Just how thorough or professional has been PEDA’s due diligence?

We also learned at the meeting the nature of the “fast one” PEDA is trying to pull about the potential jobs themselves. One of the promises given by PEDA is that the jobs would pay a minimum of $35,000 a year. Lothrop’s questions exposed the voodoo math PEDA used to arrive at this number. PEDA was counting benefits as part of the $35,000 compensation. The benefits package is roughly $15,000, and thus PEDA was willing to cave in for jobs paying $20,000 a year. You can flip burgers, butter popcorn, bus tables, and turn down beds for more than that.

Tomorrow, THE PLANET shall explain how PEDA tried to run the “hurry up” offense on the council, but fortunately, there were enough councilors aware of the tactic. That and much more as we wrap up the weekend on the hottest media outlet in the area.

That would be THE PLANET, of course.


“If you ever go down Trinidad, they make you feel so very glad. Calypso sing and make up rhyme, guarantee you one real good time. Drinkin’ rum and Coca-Cola, go down Port Koomanah. Both mother and daughter workin’ for the Yankee dollar.” — “Rum and Coca-Cola,” The Andrew Sisters, (1945)




  1. dusty
    February 6, 2014 at 2:07 am #

    Glad to hear Terry Kinnas is still out there.

  2. Scott
    February 6, 2014 at 5:25 am #

    I hope you had a more reliable source than “Andrew Stevens” on the wrestlinggate “story”.

    A govt group ramming something through during a “state of emergency” well that’s the type of politics America has become accustomed to.

    The snow storm worked in my favor I wasn’t expected by my client and was able to get an early spot in at the dentist. The roads were fine you just have to drive a lot slower something people don’t like doing. Why take personal responsibility and leave earlier for work when you can blame your tardiness on the weather?

    • danvalenti
      February 6, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

      The panic caused by a little snow is all about people afraid to take personal responsibility for their lives.

  3. Thomas More
    February 6, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    The historical Thomas More (it’s not spelled Moore) is a Roman Catholic saint who was beheaded for opposing the marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon. See ‘A Man for All Seasons’. As for the rasslers you’ve got as much as I. As for the entertaining part you’ve got to get to the kids. Young love will always find a way to accomplish the near impossible. Its unlikely there was any hanky panky.

    • danvalenti
      February 6, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

      More on More: He was born on Milk Street (London) and he was buds with Erasmus — my two favorite things about him.

  4. Spider
    February 6, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    The wrestling story is getting ridiculous. If there was an infraction of the rules, those involved should spit it out, admit it, apologize and get on with it! The longer everyone remains silent, the situation looks worse than it really is, with rumors abounding.

    So many unanswered questions: The free school given to a school dept. secretary……$10,000 prom money missing from PHS, Did I miss any others?

    • Scott
      February 6, 2014 at 8:51 am #

      When was the last time you heard about the booze cruise and the football team. Things to go away if you remain silent. Look at steroid gate for another example. Is it really a conspiracy to corrupt and defraud the tax payers as well as justice if everyone’s doing it or are we just on the horizon of a new social and political norm?

    • Spider
      February 6, 2014 at 8:52 am #

      Make that “free house”.

  5. Nota
    February 6, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    Free School,Spider?

    • Spider
      February 6, 2014 at 8:55 am #

      Thanks for the correction, but strange things happen in this city!

  6. Nota
    February 6, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Cool, I make more mistakes than anyone.

  7. MrG1188
    February 6, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Just be a bit careful with what you’re implying Dan. There are wrestling teams (and hockey teams) in the county that are co-ed. Girls travel on the buses with the boys and there is no hanky panky. Even if a young lady volunteered to be manager/stat keeper for the day I don’t have a problem. Only fly in the ointment would be if she didn’t tell her parents and just disappeared or something. THAT’S a problem.

    • danvalenti
      February 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

      Not implying anything. Just laying out the facts and the reasonable questions that attend them.

  8. dusty
    February 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    If these coaches had stolen prom money nobody would be concerned. The whole discussion would gone away as quickly as it came up.

  9. chuck garivaltis
    February 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    I always read comments by Thomas More because they are smart and witty. A while back I read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. If memory serves me correctly Saint Thomas More was beheaded with permission from King Henry VIII who was also known as the Royal Bull. Henry ‘s 20 plus years of marriage to Catherine of Aragon was ending because he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn and Thomas More would not consent to this marriage. Catherine got dumped, Anne became queen, and Thomas More now had a vengeful enemy. For Henry to marry Anne there was an Act passed establishing Henry as the supreme head of the Church of England. More disagreed with this and he now had Henry as an enemy, too. His fate was sealed and he lost his head. A few years later Anne Bolyn lost her head when she did not produce a male heir and Henry’s wandering eye was on another lucky(??) lady who would become queen.

    To the modern Thonas More: I think that is how it went.

    • B. Clairmont
      February 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

      And, Ann Boleyn gave Henry a daughter, Elizabeth, who took the throne after her half sister “bloody Mary” died. Elizabeth became one of the most loved queen’s of England.

      • chuck garivaltis
        February 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

        Yes, indeed, one of the most loved queens because her rule propelled England into world dominance primarily by defeating the Spanish Armada, thus sinking Spain into obscurity from 1588 onward.
        Bloody Mary was also a powerful female ruler. She was the daughter of Henry and Catherine of Aragon.
        It is interesting that Henry dumped 2 wives mainly for reasons they did not give him a male heir but each lady produced a dominant female queen who were among England’s greatest rulers – even though religion was a virulent factor at the time.
        Barry is right. Elizabeth was loved and a great ruler.

        • danvalenti
          February 6, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

          TO say nothing of what she did for the acting career of Bette Davis!

        • Dave
          February 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

          Yes, I learned this useless information too while in class. Now I wish I was in auto shop learning how to change my own oil-life skills could have saved me money, who really cares about this crap-no offense intended

          • chuck garivaltis
            February 7, 2014 at 4:03 pm #


        • B. Clairmont
          February 7, 2014 at 9:44 am #

          Odds are that Bloody Mary had her 1/2 bother killed as well.

          • chuck garivaltis
            February 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

            No proof but she shed no tears, that’s for sure.

  10. Jonathan Melle
    February 6, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    GE gave PEDA a lot of money as part of the flawed Consent Decree. PEDA is in the pocket of the toxic waste PCBs polluters: General Electric Company! Instead of “PEDA pulled a fast one”, rather: “PEDA is the fast one”!

  11. Crystal Clear
    February 9, 2014 at 6:58 am #


    Correction needed. Lisa Tully was not at the subcommittee meeting. She was on vacation. Not to worry, Bianchi keeps his friends the Tully’s informed of what they NEED to know.