Article

MEETING ON STONEHENGE PRODUCED SOME ANSWERS AND RAISED MORE QUESTIONS … LOSS OF TAX REVENUE A MAJOR ECONOMIC STORY

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

A PROGRAM NOTE: THE PLANET WILL BE JOHN KROL’S GUEST FRIDAY MORNING FOR THE HOUR, ON “GOOD MORNING, PITTSFIELD.” WTBR-FM AND SIMULCAST ON PCTV.

THAT INTERVIEW IS AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING ON THE PCTV WEBSITE. FOR RE-BROADCAST ON TV, CHECK THE PCTV LISTINGS. 

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEEKEND EDITION, MARCH 14-16 2014) — THE PLANET has received several inquiries from interested parties asking about what happened at the meeting Tuesday among Berkshire Family and Independent Resources (BFAIR) of North Adams, residents of Stonehenge Drive, and representatives.

As you may know — and you know it only because of the coverage provided by this website — BFAIR swooped in and signed a 30-year lease with the Corporation for Independent Living (CIL) of Hartford, Conn., to operate a group home at 71 Stonehenge Drive. From the transaction records, it appeared BFAIR signed its lease the same day CIL purchased the house from a couple, in mid-January. The sellers had about two years earlier purchased the single-family residence from Angelo Stracuzzi. The red flags began going up faster than a snow-cone melts in Death Valley.

As we have explored in previous stories, the transactions appear legal. However, they underscore a disturbing trend that’s happening in the city of Pittsfield: Too much once-taxable property is disappearing from the tax rolls because of the booming business in “non-profit” and “not-for-profit” companies. This has taken millions off the tax rolls.

Yesterday, THE PLANET made general reference to the meeting at BFAIR headquarters in the old Eagle building on Eagle Street. After hearing from sources, we have more. We can report the following:

* Attendees included B-FAIR executives, Ward 4 councilor Chris Connell, and Pittsfield state rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier.

* Eighteen residents of Stonehenge Drive showed up, according to one source. That’s an impressive number, given that Stonehenge has 16 residences — 15 if you don’t count the future group home at #71.

* We heard through sources that BFAIR was expecting six residents to show up. They got triple that number.

* One account of the meeting called the company’s stance “defensive.” For example, when asked why BFAIR had chosen 71 Stonehenge out of all the properties in the city, the answer was that federal and state law allow them to. In other words, the company appeared vague and evasive. If that’s true, one has to ask why? Why not answer in a straightforward and specific manner? Why not say, “We selected 71 Stonehenge because of A, B, and C.”

As one resident put it, “If they can’t tell us straight out why [they selected 71 Stonehenge], then it makes the whole thing look suspicious. It also raises a lot of other questions in my mind.”

Connell had this to say about the meeting, “I think the residents felt some concerns were [adequately] addressed, but the questions in regards to resale value and questions in regards to the future after the contract expires remain. In other words, some residents felt better about the situation than they did before the meeting and some did not.”

Farley-Bouvier said there was “no legislative action available” to keep the home from Stonehenge. “I think the Stonehenge neighbors came away from the meeting with many of their questions answered and, on one level, are satisfied with the immediate future of who their new neighbors will be.  It would not be accurate, however, to say that they all are satisfied.  Many expressed frustration over the process over the lack of prior notification.  Others are very concerned about resale value.  And a few did express that they felt more comfortable after learning the facts, though they did so quietly afterwards.”

She said, “It is important to note that BFAIR works with individuals with autism, brain injuries, and developmental disabilities.  They do not work with people suffering from addiction or have primary mental illness.” She also shared some personal experience: “I understand their concerns.  I had a similar situation in the neighborhood I previously lived in.  After initial concern, all the same concerns these neighbors have, all turned out well.  That home is fully, yet quietly, part of the fabric of the street.  When my family outgrew our home there, we sold it at a profit.”

At the meeting, BFAIR pledged to residents that they “would be good neighbors.” They gave their phone number in case of questions or concerns.

——- 000 ——-

THE PLANET Unearths Answers

THE PLANET has inquired more extensively, and we have learned from a reliable source the following:

* Why #71? — BFAIR says it chose 71 Stonehenge because of the size, four bedrooms; that is has a level lot, and that is is a single-level home. BFAIR has claimed that there were only two homes on the market in Pittsfield that met these criteria: 71 Stonehenge and a home on West Street. It apparently rejected the West Street home because the condition wasn’t as good as the home on Stonehenge.

* Renovation — One source tells is “the house is being extensively renovated to make it fully handicapped accessible, including two full baths.”

* Who Will be Living There? — According to sources, the group home will house four women with traumatic brain injuries.  The women are all current Pittsfield residents living in nursing homes. Each will have a separate bedroom. There will be “a minimum” of two staffers on site 24/7.

* Contract — BFAIR’s initial contract to operate this home will be for nine years beginning in May. That’s the contract Connell referred to in his comments to THE PLANET, above.

Another commentator yesterday asked why The Boring Broadsheet hasn’t done anything on this story? The simple answer is that we cannot speak for the editorial decisions of The BB.  It does seem odd that a daily newspaper would shy away from what is obviously a major economic story — though not a happy one — for the city. Could that be it? The loss of millions of dollars in taxes doesn’t line up with the “All is Fine and Dandy” approach The BB takes in its “coverage” of the city. Is it something else?

One more observation: THE PLANET commends councilor Connell for the hard work he’s put in representing his constituents in the matter of 71 Stonehenge in this “corporate takeover” from a North Adams non-profit. The deal appears legal and above board, and there’s little he could do to stop the group home from moving in there. Connell appears to have done what he can, which is to serve as a conduit to providing information to residents, organizing the Tuesday meeting, for example. The larger question for him and his council colleagues centers on the economic implications this tsunami of non-profits have had, are having, and will have on Pittsfield.

‘Non-Profits’ Rob City of Tax Revenue, $$ That Bianchi Intends to Place on Backs of Homeowners and Small Businesses

One final point to add is that in our calculations of the financial impact 46 group homes have, we were conservative — perhaps too conservative. THE PLANET figures an assessed value of $150,000 for each property. The average assessment in the city is above $170,000. Many of the properties are worth much more. Moreover, for a tax rate, we figured a mix between residential and commercial, but the companies that are moving into Pittsfield are commercial enterprises, albeit “non-profit.” It would therefore be more accurate to apply the commercial tax rate.

Thus, an average assessment of $250,o00 at the commercial tax rate of $35.17 yields $8,793. Multiply that by 46 group homes and you get $404,455 in lost taxes. Now take a depreciation for each of those properties of 12%. Total valuation is $11.5 million. You’re out another $1,380,000. For each year, the city loses approximately $1,784,455. In 10 years, the city loses nearly $18 million in taxes. Mayor Dan Biachi will call upon Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski plus the small business owners who are handing on by a thread to make up the difference.

Meanwhile, city “leaders” — in this order of complicity: the mayor, city council, superintendent of schools, and the school committee — keep inflating the city budget. You want to know who makes up the difference?

Gotta mirror?

Bottom line is where the buck stops, and since the days of Harry Truman, We The People have learned it stops with the CEO. In Pittsfield, unfortunately, that would be Bianchi. He’s the one who will submit the overall city budget. He will plug in a number for the schools, based on what the superintendent and the school committee send to him. Keep in mind that Bianchi is under no obligation to accept the school’s number. He could throw it back and tell Jake and the Bunch to sharpen the pencils and tighten the belts.

He could.

Of course, he won’t.

Nice to dream, ain’t it?

Have a great weekend, everybody!

——————————————————————————-

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely nights dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you

When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
Ah but that was long ago
Now my consolation is in the stardust of a song — Hoagy Carmichael, “Stardust.”

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

83 Responses to “MEETING ON STONEHENGE PRODUCED SOME ANSWERS AND RAISED MORE QUESTIONS … LOSS OF TAX REVENUE A MAJOR ECONOMIC STORY”

  1. Sparkie
    March 14, 2014 at 5:11 am #

    Sorry for being off topic however Welcome back …..To the one and only “Sparkie Land” where “Sparkamania” lives and runs wild; this post is local political satire at its BEST, meant to be used as humor only. Trust me; you can’t make this stuff up! So now, Ladies and Gentlemen, like the sands thru the hour glass, these are the days of our Pittsfield City Council. Before we present our report card of a very lackluster meeting the Sparkie Man would like everyone to consider an observation surrounding the magnificent 11.

    Umpa Lumpa lawyer crazy Kathy Degnan, was called upon by Chris (what-not) Connell to provide clarity and a concise opinion on Bold Barry’s call for a Charter Objection. Bold Barry asked Umpa lawyer, “Did you read the Charter before it went to the Legislature”? Umpa lawyer replied, “I don’t believe so”. Barry, “Where did you get your information about the opinion you wrote,” Umpa, I googled it and we’re not going to make any opinions in a vacuum, were just going to make them up as we go along, this is the starter set. I don’t know about all of you out there, but I’m set now, I think it’s clear and concise, Degnan doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She is trying to make gray out of black and white.

    Prez Maz (C) I really appreciated the way you started the meeting Prez, announcing the Mayor was down in Washington doing the good works for the citizens of Pittsfield. I certainly hope for national security purposes you cleared it with Mark Tully before making your announcement. I was really routing for you Prez, and you almost made it all the way through the meeting with no mistakes, and then that dreaded item #18 comes up. Missy, New Business does not need to be taken off the table because it’s never been put on the table. Keep trying you’ll get it someday even a blind squirrel finds a nut.

    Connell (F) We asked you last week to do a little homework on your, alright, OK, right, OK, alright, you know, right, and what-not’s. So from now on, every time you catch yourself saying what-not and alright you need to put a quarter in the jar. At the rate you’re going, you’ll be able to join Mayor Danny do little on his next trip to Ireland, Italy, Washington or What-not, and by the way, you owe it to the citizens to tell us which two lawyers from the Charter Commission agreed with Umpa’s opinion; me thinks, this is going to blow up in your face.

    Amuso (C) Glad to see you figured out how to raise your hand and speak out on city council issues, except when the council was setting precedent for the next 80 years you sat silent, I guess it’s more important to know we got that Thank you note out to the Lyons family.

    Bold Barry (A) Right on Bold Barry, once again you were right on. Good handling of Missy’s reprimands, of course Motor Mouth Mazzeo never talked on any subject more than 10 minutes.

    Cotton (B) Church you lost a grade for not participating in the Charter discussion, but you hit it right on the nail with the Tyler St. lighting discussion.

    Tully (A) You and Mark did a great job on your homework assignment. Your life-size cutout looked real. See I told you no one would notice if you weren’t there, do I dare ask how are things in Florida?

    Morandi (F) Kevin, Kevin, Kevin, you Scrooooy Wabbit. You’ve been working on The Tyler St lights for a year? Where ya been working on them in Lee? No wonder the Tyler St Business Group had to put a petition in. And Dude, can you please explain your comment about the traffic light on Silver Lake Blvd; “there’s a lot of lights that haven’t been in used for awhile, or don’t have to be in used, so I won’t support it.

    Caccamo(C) Good question on the Affirmative Action, however the traffic light at Silver Lake is in your Ward, what’s up?

    Lothrop (A) Best statement of the night! We are setting precedence for the next 80 years, it’s important to get it right. Do you think it’s an issue that Missy, Bianchi, and Degnan are the ones setting the precedence? NAAA

    Krol(C) John you seemed a little nervous and squirmy the other night. Could it be because Tony‘’ the goon “Mazzeo was in da house and was ready to carry out his threat on you about writing dat stuff on da computer about his wife? Or was it because the other Maz goons Donnie “da sandbox”, Pettie ‘’ da pistol ‘’ and Glen “da mouth” were circling city hall in black caddies?

    Simonelli (B) Good job on a rather simple agenda. Good questions on the Silver lake Blvd traffic light. Did you go to the school adjustment councilor on your own? Keep up the good work.

    • Spider
      March 14, 2014 at 6:01 am #

      Sparkie: You are good! Great commentaries. Please keep them up!

    • Scott
      March 14, 2014 at 11:08 am #

      Sparkie, you should have your own column.

    • Jim Gleason
      March 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      Sparkie: [REDACTED. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM INVECTIVE OF THIS SORT — WEBMASTER]

    • danvalenti
      March 14, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

      SPARKIE
      Satire at its best, a form of “criticism-via-humor” that has for millennia been one of the best tools in the rhetorical toolbox.

  2. Spider
    March 14, 2014 at 6:27 am #

    Dan: Great conversation today between you and John Krol on his show.

    The Stonehenge Rd. situation is terrible. Our City Council HAS to do something with the zoning laws to protect this city since the state has no jurisdiction over this,

    What assurance is given that in the future the type of clientele would not change from “non-threatening” to “dangerous”. If they didn’t feel it was necessary to notify the residents of the street that they were coming, what makes you think they will tell them of any changes. Quite frankly, I don’t trust these organizations.

    And lastly….how unfortunate that Krol has to be subjected to threats from the spouse of another council member. Are we living in Chicago?

    • billy
      March 14, 2014 at 6:42 am #

      Well they are starting with their lets get Barry Clairmont smear campaign first letter in the Eagle today. I guess if your not on the short bus with those guys. they circle the wagons and attack. Barry keep it up,they don’t want free exchange of ideas,they want push through rubber stamp government .I think we have witnessed their attempts the last few council meetings and it is not pretty and it sure doesn’t serve the city well now or for the future.

    • danvalenti
      March 14, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      SPIDER
      Yeah, I thought it was a good one, too. Agree on Stonehenge: City must retake the reins on the precedence of zoning regs. As for the “threats” issue, we intend to bring it to light at some point soon. We need more info.

  3. Shakes His Head
    March 14, 2014 at 6:38 am #

    The City will be losing more than tax revenue if it attempts to eliminate group homes through zoning restrictions. How do you think Dengan will fare against DOJ lawyers in Federal court?

  4. Bill Sturgeon
    March 14, 2014 at 6:43 am #

    Dan: As you know as rule I don’t get up before 9:00 am, but today I woke-up “EARLY” to watch you on the GMP. I thought that it was a very good show. Now, if you don’t mind I am going to take a nap!!!!!

    • danvalenti
      March 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

      BILL
      Many thanks. Please let me apologize on your behalf to The Polish Princess for having disturbed your morning pattern. Enjoy your beauty sleep!

  5. Mark Tully
    March 14, 2014 at 7:26 am #

    Ah yes, the great omnipresent, omnipotent and omnsicient Sparkie has spoken! Once again he appears from the ether skulking, squawking and stalking. Along with his supporters Spider and Billy always at the ready to jump in and defend. He’s ready to criticize, but unwilling to reveal his identity Sparkie, you need to go back and let the grapes ripen, your wine is very sour.

    • B
      March 14, 2014 at 11:04 am #

      Sparkie, Spider and Billy GOT IT RIGHT!

      • Jim Gleason
        March 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

        Another wonder B heard from. They got WHAT right?

    • Jim Gleason
      March 14, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      Mark, most of the people on here don’t have the balls to reveal their identity. They like to comment or criticize in anonimity so they don’t have to face criticism under their own names. I believe there are only a couple people on here under different pseudonyms to advance the GOB agenda which Krol and Clairmont, along with Lowthrop and Caccamo are a big part of.

      • Scott
        March 15, 2014 at 6:19 am #

        I think it’s less about balls and more about being stalked and harassed by creepy weirdos. You guys all know who I am but i don’t use my full identity anymore online anywhere. Although I have had people say I agree with your post online in person I haven’t been slandered since the BB dropped topix.

    • danvalenti
      March 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

      Nice response, MARK.

    • Scott
      March 15, 2014 at 6:21 am #

      Mark I understand you’re upset sparky did venture on the line of creepy, stalker weirdo by releasing private info. Sparkie say you’re sorry.

  6. GMHeller
    March 14, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    You write: “According to sources, the group home will house four women with traumatic brain injuries. The women are all current Pittsfield residents living in nursing homes.”

    Why are people, who are currently in the care of nursing homes, being transferred to the care of state-subsidized BFAIR?

    • Richard Allen
      March 14, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

      Most likely because they do not require nursing home care adnwill be better off in a home. If you had a sister, wife or daughter with TBI where would you want them to live? In a nursing home? If they don’t require that level of care? People have the right to live in the community until they forfeit that right. That is the law.

  7. Scott
    March 14, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    I do agree from the lost tax revenue point of view. The whole non profit status is not being used I assume as it was originally intended and should be reformed. I think it’s great those people will be be able to live in a nice safe area in a home setting as opposed to the nursing home.

    • danvalenti
      March 14, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      SCOTT
      Great point. There’s a legitimate community purpose for “non-profit” and “not-for-profit” status, but I agree with you. In Pittsfield, the GOB has abused that status to grant special privileges to the Special Few. As THE PLANET wrote a couple years ago, the city is long overdo for a “Not-for-Profit” status check. That would be 1.) Finally provide taxpayers with an inventory of all businesses, agencies, and organizations enjoying this special privilege … 2.) Review each one on a case by case basis … 3.) and decide which ones meet the legitimate needs of the N.P. status and which ones don’t. 4.) The ones that don’t should be put back on the tax rolls. There is a mechanism for that in the law. If not, a new law needs to be granted via home rule that will allow citizens, through their reps, that power.

      • Dave
        March 14, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

        If I remember correctly, there was a study group of some sort or a request sent out to the non-profits to see if they had the ability to voluntarily contribute monies to the city to cover part of the services that they receive from the city (roads, police, fire). How did that work out? As Dean Wurmer told Blutarsky 0.0!

    • Tom Sakshaug
      March 14, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

      I believe that there was recently an ad-hoc committee or commission which was supposed to consider the possibility of PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) for Pittsfield nonprofits.
      I think that they decided it was too complicated or difficult to even ask any of them to chip in. There may be more to the story, but it was, as usual, pretty well buried.

      • danvalenti
        March 14, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

        Believe you’re right, TOM. That lame effort was initiated after THE PLANET helped spur a community discussion of the issue of non-profits, PILOT, and other related issues. The effort disappeared as mysteriously as that Malaysian jet. We heard if was after some of the “non-profits” made certain phone calls to certain offices. All of a sudden, pOOF! Vanished into thin air. The cover story was something along the lines you mentioned: It’s “too complicated” or “too difficult.” Truth is, our political “leaders” shied away after a little pressure to do so. They caved to The Suits instead of acting on behalf of the bedraggled We The People. Pittsfield desperately needs an honest, independent look at the “not-for-profit” situation to assure that is has not become a scam.

        • skier1
          March 14, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

          I was at quite a few of those meetings as an observer. The deck was stacked against going forward with PILOT. Too many non-profits were on that committee. One whole meeting was just listening to non-profits say what wonderful things they do for the community and how much any type of payment would be detrimental to the services they provide. Salaries of some of the non profit CEO’s, CFO’s were presented and were eye opening.

          • dusty
            March 15, 2014 at 2:33 am #

            Some of the biggest players in town are connected to these non-profits. It would be almost impossible to gain any traction getting them to pay a fair share back to the community. Some of them may be doing a needed service to the community but they are doing a greater service to the people who are in charge of them. And that may even be the main reason some of them exist.

  8. Nota
    March 14, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    @ Mark Tully. Check out the teacher’s report card of President Mazzeo. Sparkie states he aw really ROUTING for you prez? What is ROUTING SParkie?

    • Gatos
      March 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      Maybe hee hoo live in glass house should not throw stones, Nota. Your posts are frequently laden with spelling and grammatical errors, as in this case.
      And yeah, the first sentence here is on purpose.

      • Jim Gleason
        March 14, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

        @Gatos. Are you Sparkie, Billy and Spider too/ Probably!!

        • danvalenti
          March 14, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

          JIM
          I don’t reveal identities of commentators to THE PLANET, but I can tell you this much. I can assure you that GATOS is not any of the three you mention.

          • Gatos
            March 14, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

            And I feel really good now…Jim Gleason doesn’t like me!

  9. Compassionate one
    March 14, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    a few women with TBI being cared for in a warm and welcoming home in one of our city neighborhoods…..this, to me, is what defines COMMUNITY. Unfortunately, this whole episode smacks of a good old fashioned southern Klan rally. Bottom line here: Uninformed fear mongers hiding behind perceived erosion of property values. We should all be worried that the biggest threat to our property values is non-investment in a community that outsiders feel has no soul.

    • danvalenti
      March 14, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

      COMP ONE
      Thanks for your point of view.

    • Scott
      March 15, 2014 at 5:59 am #

      Spot on compassionate one.

  10. Nota
    March 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    I’m not grading like know it all, Sparkie.Hee hoo have subject, should know what subject is before writing, about subject. Goon, that is an insult and vile name.Sparkie gets an F for originality, someone else does the grading on here. Hell, everyone will be grading pretty soon!

    • Sparkie
      March 15, 2014 at 10:50 am #

      Merriam-Webster Dictionary; definition of “goon”
      2a: a man hired to terrorize or eliminate opponents
      Nota, I agree with you the act of threatening elected officials is vile.

  11. amandaWell
    March 14, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    @Planet, remember Gooffellas Jimmy Conway remark when he was shaking down the trucker for his load of cigarettes. You might know who we are, but we know who you are.

  12. Nota
    March 14, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

    The bottom line here is the three bad asses are not chairs at subcommittee level and aren’t on the committees they prefer. That in itself, is going to make for a long, long, two years. A long two years.

  13. GMHeller
    March 15, 2014 at 2:16 am #

    Mr. Valenti,
    You write above that:
    “According to sources, the group home will house four women with traumatic brain injuries. The women are all current Pittsfield residents living in nursing homes. Each will have a separate bedroom. There will be “a minimum” of two staffers on site 24/7.”

    Despite your source’s current claim that Stonehenge’s proposed residents will only be four women with brain-injuries — a selling point that seemingly makes the whole matter as un-threatening as possible to the neighborhood — the fact is that once the Stonehenge property becomes a state-recognized ‘Group Home’, its operator (BFAIR, CIL, or whomever) has legal right to put whomever and however many that operator decides it wants into that facility (the number limited only by Pittsfield’s loose zoning ordinances as to occupancy).
    Today, it’s to be four women with brain injuries, tomorrow it could just as easily be eight convicted sex offenders on work-release, or perhaps twelve ‘ex’ heroin and crack addicts with no place else to live, or persons suffering from schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder who cannot find living accommodations because private landlords don’t want to deal with the risk.
    Federal and state regulations not only guarantee BFAIR and CIL (and operators in the same business as BFAIR and CIL) the ability to put into a facility whomever the operator wants, but those regs also protect the operator from having to disclose just who is in the facility, what criminal history those persons may have, or from what psychological maladies those residents may be suffering.

    One more thing: In re this question of openness and transparency:
    If BFAIR, CIL, the City of Pittsfield, or the Mass. Department of Mental Health (the state agency likely supplying ‘guests’ to BFAIR) truly want to show just how open and transparent they are, then let each release the addresses of every Group Home that now exists in the Pittsfield area. That is information that IS legally obtainable and CAN be released.

    This way Stonehenge residents can canvas and survey homeowners in those other Group Home neighborhoods in order specifically to determine for certain just how much impact those other Group Homes have had on their respective neighborhoods (re: property values, crime, parking, etc.).
    This would enable Stonehenge residents more accurately to determine the likely effects of having a similar facility placed in the Stonehenge neighborhood.

    • Spider
      March 15, 2014 at 5:35 am #

      Heller: My very thoughts (as I said before). There certainly is no assurance that the number and type of resident in these homes will not change in time.

      I especially like your suggestion that a list of all group homes and their locations in our city be made available.

    • Scott
      March 15, 2014 at 6:14 am #

      Ok you can start with me there’s a group home right around the corner and nothing ever happenes. Once I stopped fearing the man with crooked legs and a leather jacket who walks to town I considered volunteering time to help with their vegetable garden. The building and property is well kept.

      • GMHeller
        March 15, 2014 at 7:02 am #

        Scott,

        Please supply the precise address for the specific Group Home about which you write. Feel free to post the information right here on Planet Valenti so that Mr. Valenti and others may start the process of checking with neighbors and abutters as to the impact on that respective neighborhood.
        Thank you for your cooperation.

        • Scott
          March 15, 2014 at 11:58 am #

          Absolutely not. You’ll have to take my worrd for it. I’ll go for a walk and ask people who live next door. I even painted
          The new house next to it. No one attacked me and I never felt threatened or heard any noise while working there so close to imminent danger.

  14. billy
    March 15, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    I’ve supported the Mayor when he has done good things .look back in the planet.. I have also talked just issues. That I don’t agree with but then if I don’t agree with the powers that be I’m insulted for free speech. Go ahead look back in here I’ve talked issues and at one point Dan honored me by highlighting one of my post in his blog. If your going to insult me then do it with facts on a issue. I respect DV forum and I like talking issues ,but I’m not gonna be bullied on here or anywhere else into following the crowd. I did not say anything above except that Barry defending the charter objection and getting it right before we have 80 years of getting it wrong. Nick Caccamo barely speaks but as seen from a above post because he is a independent thinker now he is a G O B. Dan ask John Krol What free speech gets you in Pittsfield these days or being a free thinker.

    • Mark Tully
      March 15, 2014 at 7:29 am #

      @Billy

      I hope your comments are not directed towards my post, for if I have offended you or made you feel bullied, I sincerely apologize.

      I agree that everyone should be able to freely express their ideas, but just remember the excellent observation written by Mike Ward the other week. He stated “The cloak of anonymity usually brings out the baser instincts in people even if they think they’re playing it straight.” (I love that prose)

      An example I would like to point out to you, Billy, is your statement above,

      “I guess if you’re not on the short bus with those guys…”

      I am sure that you would not write such a pejorative metaphor using your real name because it would not reflect well on you. (We all know that the short bus refers to special needs children on their way to school.)

      Therefore, Billy, if you would like to be taken seriously, I advise you to express yourself anonymously in the same manner as if you posted under your real name.

      • billy
        March 15, 2014 at 8:08 am #

        that is a figure of speech, if i had to watch for every politically proper word it would end up being if and or but.I want my city to wake up and i have the right to expect more than talk from elected reps

  15. billy
    March 15, 2014 at 4:22 am #

    Dan
    today’s Editorial about the fiscal disaster in North Adams is a omen we refuse to accept is coming to rear it’s ugly head in our own city. The mayor as well as those councilors that talk about how they understand what families are going through yet pass School budgets we can’t afford or pensions that are destroying our ability to maintain what we have or replace Infrastructure that is crumbling. They all keep saying the same thing avoiding the fiscal cliff we will fall over because of their lack of fiscal bravery.

    • dusty
      March 15, 2014 at 5:10 am #

      Its called taking care of number one

    • GMHeller
      March 15, 2014 at 7:13 am #

      Funny how neither North Adams officials nor the BB editorial writer have in their collective vocabularies the words “cut spending”.

      Why is it the NA populace must brace itself for overrides and higher taxes; why is not the option of drastically-reduced public spending — especially on salaries and pensions for NA’s public employees — ever presented as a viable option by the city’s public officials?

      Are you listening, Pittsfield city officials?

      Oh, and by the way, to which political party do the bulk of North Adams elected officials belong?
      And to which Pittsfield’s elected officials belong?

  16. Scott
    March 15, 2014 at 6:09 am #

    It’s interesting a bunch of people with anonymous names want to have a list and address of every group home and it’s residents. Let’s not forget these peoples only crime is being disabled. We should consider the potential safety issues of the people in the homes could they not be targeted and victimized? If you’re worried about sex offenders the police have to give you photos addresses and places of employment just go online or to the police station and request a complete list of level, 1, 2 and 3 sex offenders in all of Berkshire county.

    • Spider
      March 15, 2014 at 6:16 am #

      Scott: It’s not always as benign as you would like to believe. The factual info that Heller provided in an earlier post, from various newspapers, was an eye opener.

      • Scott
        March 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

        That doesn’t give him a free pass to now invent sensational propaganda as the debate goes on.

    • GMHeller
      March 15, 2014 at 7:28 am #

      Scott,
      A person suffering from schizophrenia, off his/her meds that day and in a confused emotional state can create a great deal of carnage in a neighborhood with mothers and kids.
      Why do you want to expose Pittsfield’s quiet family neighborhoods to such increased risk?
      Further, the breadwinners in those neighborhoods pay stiff property taxes that pay all those state and city officials’ salaries, health plans and cushy pensions.
      Whereas, no one — NO ONE — living in or affiliated with any of those Group Homes pays a dime in real estate taxes.
      Further, the facilities’ operators, being ‘not-for-profit’, pay NOTHING in property taxes nor corporate taxes to the city, state, or federal governments.

      “He who pays the piper calls the tune!”

      • Scott
        March 15, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

        I agree the not for profit status needs reform. It needs reform as far as the top people banking off it with out discriminating against people suffering disability. One part of the new law I would stand behind being no sex offenders in with disabled people as they can be victimized and any person that is dangerous should have the immediate neighbors notified to call in of they’re seen out without supervision. The issues can be addressed civily without violating the rights of people in what’s supposed to be a free society.

        • GMHeller
          March 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

          Scott,
          You seem to be under the mistaken impression that residents of a Group Home are somehow “supervised” when outside the Group Home.
          Please correct me if I’m wrong, but under federal and state law, residents of Group Homes are not constrained from having the freedom to come and go as they please on a 24/7 basis.
          Good to know that a paranoid schizophrenic who didn’t take his meds that day might be wandering the Stonehenge neighborhood at midnight.
          Lock your doors!

          • Scott
            March 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

            I’d lock my doors at night anyways. But then again locks only work with honest people. Or folks as our chief would say.

  17. Nota
    March 15, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    My scenerio of Stonehenge is When the neighbors found out the Maine incident, Maine offender wasn’t welcome in the hood anymore. Probably payback for this is to get a nice group home on a beautiful street, all legal. fon’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    • Toland
      March 16, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

      Yes I would agree with that, Nota. Have a friend who lives on the street. He says the same thing, a parting ‘gift’ from ‘the Maine man’ so to speak.

  18. amandaAwell
    March 15, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    Planet exclusive….Planet exclusive…Something went down somewhere last evening. BMC was inundated with injured people last night. maybe a brawl?

  19. joetaxpayer
    March 15, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    Sorry all groups involved have lost my trust. Make no mistake they can and will put anyone they want in that home. Unfortunately sometimes people with mental health issues hurt innocent people. Also find it funny that our state legislators call it a local issue,but there the one’s who subsidies these nonprofits. They hold the purse strings,and could craft legislation that doesn’t give these groups free reign to do whatever they want. With the house being on a 1 acre lot, don’t be surprised if there is a expansion to the home in the future.

  20. Spider
    March 15, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Mark Tully: I am sure that this will offend you…..everything else seems to…..but why are you fighting your wife’s battles? She’s the elected official, not you.

  21. skier1
    March 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Last year someone who was “supposed” to be under supervision defecated on his neighbors lawn. That was the beginning of it. A few years ago this same person took out papers to run for mayor.

    • B. Clairmont
      March 15, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

      skier1,

      He was’t in a group home. Just goes to show you that someone doesn’t have to be in a group home to be weird and do strange things.

      Barry

      • ed shepardson
        March 15, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

        Mr. Clairmont. When you hide behind a phony name, as skier1 does, you can also deal in phony facts.

        • skier1
          March 16, 2014 at 9:50 am #

          I didn’t say he was in a group home. Ed, Dan may use my real name. What is phony Ed?

          • skier1
            March 16, 2014 at 10:20 am #

            I guess I didn’t explain myself thoroughly. The point I was trying to make was this man was under supervision with people staying with him at his home when this and other incidents went down. As I said in above post Dan may use my real name. Maybe this will start a trend!!!! Time for Sparkie, Billy, etc. to use theirs also.

          • ed shepardson
            March 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

            Skier, use it on you own.

          • ed shepardson
            March 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

            Skier1 is not a phony name?

    • ed shepardson
      March 16, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

      And how was this man supposed to be supervised? And by whom?

      • skier1
        March 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

        Ed, I worked with the homeowner that this happened to. The man lived in his family home and had 1-2 people stay with him. I don’t know if his family paid for this or tax payers did. He was NOT supervised well. If you’ll re read my above post I gave Dan permission to use my real name. Don’t know what part of that you don’t understand. You called me out on not using my real name but I don’t see you calling out others. If you look in Eagle files you can find his name and cross reference it with names of people that took out papers to run for mayor. Have a nice night!

        • ed shepardson
          March 16, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

          Skier1. I know the episode you are referring to. Williamsburg Terrace, I believe. You still leave me wanting to know who was supposed to be supervising this man and why you need Dan to reveal your real name. And I do call out people, all the time, who do not use their real names.

          • danvalenti
            March 16, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

            GENTLEMEN
            I thank SKIER1 for permission to use the real name, but I would prefer that SKIER1 do it, should that be the preference.

  22. Winchester 73
    March 15, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Memo to Mr. Bianchi and everyone else whose will get his/her paws in city budget: “TIGHTEN THE BELT FOR @!!!!!! ONCE”

    • joetaxpayer
      March 16, 2014 at 8:44 am #

      Winchester73 couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately they will play bucket budget, that’s when a cut is proposed it is deemed just a drop in the bucket and is shot down. Then when a increase is proposed it passes because it is only a drop in the bucket. That is usually when I puke in the bucket.

      • danvalenti
        March 16, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

        JOE THE T
        That’s a unique way of referring to the feigned nature of the “business as usual” budgeting process in Pittsfield. When they take more $$ from taxpayers, it’s a “drop in the bucket.” When they add more to the bloated budget, it’s the same “drop in the bucket.” When you add citizens “ability to pay” Podunk is the poorest community in the entire state. When you do the cost of the budget as a ratio of services received, the city has the most expensive in all of the Commonwealth. The shell game, if left intact, cannot continue for too much longer — 10 years or less.

  23. amandaAwell
    March 15, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    I prefer the Planet Code of Ethics:
    Transparecy in Government
    Sunshine is the best disinfectant
    Hold on to your wallets.

    • danvalenti
      March 16, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      AMANDA
      This Code would be far superior to the one in official Pittsfield:
      Opaqueness in Government.
      Darkness is the Best Cover-up.
      Open your wallets.

  24. Quentin
    March 16, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    The common theme is how the small group of insiders including Bianchi (he likes to pretend he’s not) are robbing the city blind. They think “I got mine. Screw everyobdy else.”

    • danvalenti
      March 16, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

      Q
      I cannot argue with that statement.

  25. amandaAwell
    March 16, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    Pecks Rd. is untravelable, who is the Councilor..Pecks and Onota..80 block of Pecks and across from St Joe Cemetery is awful. You Councilors should be ashamed.

  26. Nota
    March 16, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    is Johnny’s B C open tonight, I’m thirsty for a brewski, I’m buying.