Article

‘COMMUNITY CONNECTION’ GRANT — A HUNDRED GRAND OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS — HAS ONLY ONE TRUE PURPOSE: TO MAKE ‘TES’ LOOK LIKE HE’S DOING SOMETHING ABOUT A PROBLEM THAT HE HAS LET GET TOTALLY OUT CONTROL

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

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WATCH EPISODE 2 of PLANET VALENTI TELEVISION — PV-TV, now loaded at pittsfieldcommunitytv.org (go to “Show Search” and type in “Planet Valenti Television” to access the show). It’s also available on YouTube and Google. Seach “Planet Valenti TV.” Re-broadcasts on Friday, 5-16 at 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 10 p.m. It probably breaks city law to have as much fun. We love the fact that among our most loyal viewers are the ones whose balls are getting roasted! Keep those cards and letters coming, fans!!

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(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEEKEND EDITION, MAY 16-18, 2014) — They had the first Third Thursday last night, and unlike what happened the last time, the event wasn’t marred by “roving bands of restless youth” rioting and rumbling in the downtown. That’s Pittsfield’s version of progress. It might even inspire The Empty Suit (TES) to cut a ribbon,  issue a proclamation, or visit a fourth grade science class.

After Third Thursday dispatched, however, cops had to handle a full moon of calls, most related to the human debris and detritus that is the sad adjunct to youth gangs. And brother and sisters, under the current mayor, the gang problem has gone from an afterthought to the after-burners.

Naturally, the city’s response is to throw more tax dollars at it, a problem in itself that we call “ganggrant.”

Ganggrant is to a city much what gangrene is to a human limb. It begins with a wound. The wound spreads to an infection. The infection leads to either an amputation or death.

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City, Mayor Admit Failure in Battle Against Youth Gangs

Ganggrant occurs when a city has lost the battle of the urban landscape to the street gangs, who are the instantaneous and concurrent wound, disease, and infection all in one. The condition signifies that the local authorities, in this case the officials “leading” the city of Pittsfield, find themselves out of answers in how to combat the dross of male youth, young thugs who have gradually taken over whole neighborhoods in the city. To some extent, they have taken over the city itself, as seen in the widespread perception of fear that keeps healthy, well-adjusted, law-abiding citizens away from downtown and its environs.

This is how government bureaucracy grows. It fattens itself on grant money, every cent of which is as much “your tax dollars” as the ruinous personal and business rates you pay for the privilege of being underserved in Pittsfield. The $100,000 grant comes from the Shannon Community Safety Initiative (SCSI). That’s state money. SCSI dollars aim to reduce youth gang violence. Those are your dollars. You had no say.

THE PLANET to Pittsfield: While the grant money may erect the facade that the mayor’s office and local officials are doing something, the decision to join a gang or not join a gang resides in the human heart. Government will never be able to “grant” such problems away, although, countless trillions of dollars after the fact, bureaucracy in the U.S., on all levels, still thinks it will be able to do so. What’s that they say about the definition of “insanity” — repeating the same action and expecting a different result.

The SCSI money “use[s] data to help guide and assess collaborative efforts to reduce gang violence.” Excuse us for asking, but isn’t that why Mayor Dan Bianchi hired a 25-year-old wunderkind as a “crime analyst” for the police department? Isn’t she supposed to “use data” to fight crime? That position couldn’t be another political patronage hire, could it? The joke of it all, as well as the wonder, lies (and we mean “lies”) in the fact that the totally whipped and beaten down citizens of Pittsfield put up with all this crap.

It’s interesting that when our colleague and good friend Jim Therrien of The Boring Broadsheet wrote up the story  (at his editor’s orders, no doubt), he mentioned several times how the grant money would be used to address youth crime and gang activity in “a handful of vulnerable Pittsfield neighborhoods.” That quote was from Adam Hinds, a chap hired by Bianchi in march to coordinate Community Connection, whatever that is. We do know it’s another of those “big government” programs that creates jobs not to get a job done but to buy political loyalty (any doubt that TES is going to try for the four-year term in 2015?).

Pity is that this kid Hinds probably thinks his employer believes in him. Hinds doesn’t know he’s being set up to fail, but at least the temporary post will look good on the resume when he has the good sense to high-tail it out of the city.

’5 City Neighborhoods’ at Risk, Fine … But Which Ones?

Therrien mentions how the program has already surveyed several “city neighborhoods.” Resources, he writes, will be applied on the basis of “crime reports, poverty and unemployment rates, and thus far five neighborhoods located around the general downtown area …” Hinds says the program will “deep dive into those neighborhoods and streets.” There is talk later in the article about “neighborhood support groups.”

Astute reader: Do you detect the missing element in all this?

Nowhere does Hinds identify those five neighborhoods. You’d think that information would be up front, in the lead, something like:

“The city has identified five Pittsfield neighborhoods, all in or near the downtown, as gang-ridden. They neighborhoods, according to Adam Hinds, are 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.”

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That’s the story here, that the city admits that the neighborhoods in and around the downtown are crime ridden and unsafe.

Of course, the clue that they are in “the general downtown area” explains this otherwise baffling omission. It seems clear that Bianchi has told Hinds not to mention specific neighborhoods, because the mayor is trying to create a desperate fiction that he lords over a healthy, prosperous downtown. Bianchi isn’t the Adolph Hitler of mayors. He’s not that much of a warped genius. He’s not even the Dan Quayle of mayors. Bianchi can at least spell potato. Nope, he’s the Kim Jung Un of mayors, the inept dolt who runs the gulag state of North Korea. According to Kim Jung Un, North Korea is the happiest country on earth. That’s what the mayor wants you to believe about Pittsfield.

Those who live there, who work there, who are trying to raise families there, who are trying to survive there, and who are dying there know otherwise. They see through the lies.

Advice to Tourists: Enter Downtown After Dark Only at Your Own Risk

THE PLANET’s advice to any summer tourists thinking of coming downtown for anything: Don’t. They are mean streets these days. Want theater? Go to Shakespeare and Company? Attend the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Both companies have many stages, and they at least offer you the peace of mind that you won’t be mugged or worse as you leave the theater to walk to your car after the final applause has died down. We love The Barrington Stage and wish them well, but it seems just a matter of time before there’s an incident after a play ends and the patrons walk back to their cars. Best way to leave The Barrington Stage is to walk in groups. The Colonial, on downtown’s fashionable and safer south side, doesn’t have this worry. It also has well-lit, adjacent parking.

Thank you, Mayor Bianchi, for another job not well done — in fact, not done at all. That’s why you are known as TES: The Empty Suit. You made another hilarious appearance on PLANET VALENTI TELEVISION Thursday night, and you shall be our guest each night forward until you yourself agree to sit in the hot seat. (There’s a secret part of us that hopes you never do!).

TES — THE PLANET had no desire to saddle you with that nickname. As you recall, for more than a score of years, we practically propped you up as a fighter “for We The People.” You remember the battle of the Civic Authority, for example. That was when you pretended to care about the rights of citizens as they were in danger of being trampled on by The Suits and the Special Interests. In our naivete, we took you at face value. Turns out, the face was the face of Janus, the two-faced Roman god.

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Let’s bare the facts now, shall we.

We made you.

THE PLANET practically got you elected to your first term at councilor in Ward 6 all those years ago. You were unknown, desperate for exposure. THE PLANET had you on our talk show. We wrote about you in newspaper columns both in the Eagle and the Gazette. We put you on the local map, because we believed in you, and it wasn’t only because you knew the secret Mt. Carmel handshake or that you were in our graduating class at PHS.

We believed in you, because we thought you cared. We gave you time on our show, hosted debates in which you participated, and even had you in one election evening as our co-host and analyst. We fell for that fake smile and the Eddie Haskell polite act. You yourself said you wouldn’t have been “no one, nowhere” without THE PLANET’s backing.

THE PLANET made the same mistake in 2011, when you ran for mayor against the odds-on favorite, Peter Marchetti. We endorsed you. Show’s you how vacuous we can be at times. That endorsement made all the difference for you in your 106 vote victory over Marchetti. You yourself told us that.

Let’s be clear, because we can hear the state-sponsored criticism that is coming our way about how we operated behind the scenes to “rig” or “steal” the election on your behalf. Don’t flatter yourself, and tell your stooges not to bother. We had no intention or interest in being a “kingmaker.” We never have, don’t now, and never will. That’s the kind of politics in which you believe.

THE PLANET, though, is a hopeless idealist, still believing along with the late Gore Vidal and the late Christopher Hitchens in the “reasonable facsimile thereof” of democracy as it’s been practiced in the United States from the 19th century onward. That’s why we carry in our pocket copies of The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Like Vidal with his cousin Al, and like Hitchens with his support of the invasion of Iraq, we got suckered into a game of political Three-Card Monty.

Since we’re in a confessional mode, we will admit it leaves us feeling a bit like Dr. Victor Frankenstein, who never got over his experiment. The good doctor, with the best of intentions, created a monster, a beast with an evil brain. That monster terrorized the countryside. That’s how THE PLANET feels about you. We made you, and it weighs heavily on our conscience that we stuck good, hard-working, taxpaying citizens with the after-effects of your callousness, cold-hearted, uncaring brand of politics. You even stand now, as we write, accused of being a racist.

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And so we issue you this direct challege:

We challenge you to come on our next TV show and be our guest. We shall dust off  the hot seat for you and let you have your say, your defense. You can tell us why we are wrong and why you are right. This is a personal challenge, man-to-man.

Folks, if you want the mayor to accept, please let him know.

By mail write — Mayor Dan Bianchi, City Hall, 70 Allen Street, Pittsfield 01201.

By e-mail — dbianchi@pittsfieldch.com or dbianchi@globalp.com

By phone — (413) 499-9321 (city hall) … (413) 442-1967 (Global Montello) … (413) 441-2387 (cell)

If you accept, we shall treat you with utmost respect. Think of it as a first step to repairing a friendship that you, for political reasons, decided to destroy. One last thought to bear in mind, and we said it last night on the TV — As a person, we love you, and that is said sincerely. That will never change, but as a mayor, well, it’s time for Aloha on the steel guitar.

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“Oh, Dolly Mae, how can you hang up on me this way? On the phone you said you wanted to run off with me today.”Jimi Hendrix, “Wait Til Tomorrow,” from the album, Axis: Bold As Love, (1968)

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

43 Responses to “‘COMMUNITY CONNECTION’ GRANT — A HUNDRED GRAND OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS — HAS ONLY ONE TRUE PURPOSE: TO MAKE ‘TES’ LOOK LIKE HE’S DOING SOMETHING ABOUT A PROBLEM THAT HE HAS LET GET TOTALLY OUT CONTROL”

  1. Mad Trapper
    May 16, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    Dan ,

    When we had the problem of thugs/robbers as youths, we took them to the vicinity of the center of October Mountain at night , and left them without shoes or socks, to think about their misdeeds, while walking home. We did talk about wild dog packs, bears, hillbillys and deliverance, and Jesus, on the way.

    Now we would be kidnappers of the poor foul spoor known as gang baggers.

    Best MT

  2. Kate Dempsey
    May 16, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Hey Dan, you are partially correct about TES and the gang issue. My friend’s father used to be a Pittsfield Cop before he retired. We would complain to him about the growing gangs in the Pittsfield Schools, but he told us that former Mayor Ruberto did not want any mention of gangs (of course the The Buzzard went along), so it would destroy his downtown utopia. Maybe to make TES happy, the PPD could tie their yellow crime tape at different areas throughout city hall. He could go around a “ribbon cutting ceremony.” TES: “Ah, the left corner of the northern entrance, I had a great idea there, but then I had a brain-fart and forgot it”-cut the ribbon.

    • DowagerHat
      May 17, 2014 at 6:49 am #

      Kate you are right. There was a drive by shooting on Lincoln St. back in 2005 and it was a cover-up. Since then this city has only gotten worse. It is unfortunate but until the problem is addressed by this administration directly and not with a “ganggrant” but with some real undercover work. Maybe a look into the mirror with the cover-ups in our police department would be a start. We need a leader like former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York to get us out of the mess that we as a city are in.

  3. Pat
    May 16, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    The BB has an article today on Jake McCandless trying to understand why 531 Pittsfield residents attend school in other towns. Many of them, of course, are wealthy people who send their children to private schools in Lenox and the surrounding areas where they insure that a smaller ratio of teacher to student will insure their children a better education and get them into an exclusive college. This part wasn’t in the article, but we all know that many wealthy people will only send their children to private schools. No all, but many. Other parents, however, are not comfortable that the Pittsfield school system, even with all the money that is put into it, will give their children a great education.

    Interesting that the school administration is finally trying to do something about the falling number of students or at least to try to understand it. Could this be because THE PLANET has given the information to the general public about the unbelievable amount of money spent on a school system with a rapidly declining number of students? I think we can thank THE PLANET for this. Are the administrators now realizing that it will be difficult in the coming years to continue to convince the public to pay more money each year to a school system that has declining enrollment numbers unless they are able to boost those numbers? Are they worrying that the “gravy train”, as DV calls it, might come to an end? This is thanks in large part to Dan Valenti taking the blindfolders off the eyes of the general public regarding this situation. So many never realized until THE PLANET exposed it that 70% of the city budget goes to the public school system.

    • Mad Trapper
      May 16, 2014 at 10:10 am #

      Despite what Lenox Selectmen, School AdminisTRAiTORS, and School Committee (yes men) say:

      Lenox TAXPAYERS are fed up with school choice and getting $6K in choice money than paying out $16K for choice students.

      • Still wondering
        May 16, 2014 at 11:14 am #

        Same in Lanesboro.

        • Scott
          May 16, 2014 at 11:23 am #

          Lanesboro, has awful teachers. It took three years of private school and thousands of dollars to reverse the damage they did to my kid. They’re not all bad over there but if I did what top people suggested I’d have a drugged kid with a low iq. Now with a little money and a lot of involvement I have a functioning drug free kid who excels as much as he wants to just not in pitts school either. But I do know for the tax lanesborough people pay they should have top quality school and faculty. I have fam in lanes the tax rate is rediculous.

      • Carolyn Barry
        May 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

        This Lenox taxpayer is fed up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • MrG1188
      May 16, 2014 at 10:21 am #

      In Berkshire Hills District, where we take IN about 5x as many as choice out, we still wanted to understand why we were losing those we were…so we did a survey! Not hard, didn’t hire a firm or pay consultants. The disrticts HAVE all the addresses. Just mail them a survey asking them why they choose to go elsewhere and if there’s anything that could be done that would make them come back. The overwhelming response we got when we did this was gratitude for asking…for caring enough to ask why, and what could be done. I would’ve thought this would be a matter of course for any district these days…especially one so far on the losing end of the spectrum. Maybe they didn’t want to really know the answers!!

    • Scott
      May 16, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      No it’s not because of the planets coverage they just deny the truth as it’s in thier nature. The real pain comes when the student walks out the door and x amount of dollars goes with them. They tried asking for more money and billboards but nothings working.

      • Jamie
        May 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

        The Planet Scott has provided the hard numbers to the general denial of truth from the schools. That has made the big difference.

  4. C. J.
    May 16, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    Off topic, but socioconomically germane; Yesterday was the anticipated announcement of the MBTA rail car assembly RFP, inclusive of various site selections.
    Was Pittsfield one of the potential locations ?

    • DowagerHat
      May 17, 2014 at 6:52 am #

      Silence from the corner office. Is it another faux pas or will TES surprise the City on Monday with a ribbon cutting?

      • danvalenti
        May 18, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

        Our bet is on another ribbon cutting. Don’t be surprised if that activity figures on a future episode of Planet Valenti Television.

  5. Sparkie
    May 16, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Its my understanding that Mayor Do-Little is forming a committee that will give him a recommendation if he should accept your invitation to come on your show. President Motor Mouth Maz will submit 10 names to the clowncil and 6 individuals will be chosen. Rumor has is Lisa ”Flip-Flop” Tully has the inside track to chair.

    • Scott
      May 16, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      Sparkie, would you call MM motor mouth in front of her husband?

  6. Thomas More
    May 16, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Yesterday was the annual meeting of Downtown, Inc. These are the people who are the most familiar with downtown and it appears nearly everything is fine and getting even better. The parking consultants gave an overview of the parking problems that are more perceived than real. They told us how Haverhill solved its problem though it wasn’t a really fair comparison because Haverhill is somewhat smaller than Pittsfield. Haverhill has but 61,000 inhabitants. It was really a great meeting with much back slapping and many compliments handed out. Even the mayor himself told us how super everything is. Mutual admiration was the word of the day.

    • dusty
      May 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

      The city of Pittsfield has been studying parking for 30 years. I imagine every study and consultant has a kickback so every mayor wants to do one.

      When they put the movie theater in there they gave it a waiver on the needed parking. Same with several other North street business s. So what the hell did they expect? It was irresponsible but I am sure it paid off well for all involved.

    • Jamie
      May 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      My wife was there! Her quote: ‘what a croc’ when I assked her how it went.

      There is no leadership at all no accountability and deadbeats like DTI suck up $50K of my (your) money.

      • thomas more
        May 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

        Who’se DTI?

        • Jamie
          May 16, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

          downtown pittsfield inc.

  7. Scott
    May 16, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    Today is Friday, May 16th 2014.

  8. Sal
    May 16, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    Sparkie what’s the matter with Councilor Tully? I think she spends all her free time on Ward 1 issues and not city politics. She just did a great job for us on Sadler Ave. The no parking signs divided our neighborhood and she didn’t take sides. She actually mailed everyone on the street a ballot to return anonymously in a stamped return envelope! It must have cost her $100 to mail all those letters and return stamped envelopes. I didn’t get my way, the signs are coming down, but I can’t complain because I was in the minority and I respect my neighbors. I also respect Tully for her initiative, I have never had a ward 1 councilor be so concerned.

    • Scott
      May 16, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

      What makes you think she used her own money? Here nor there I agree if she engaged the community she did her job. It’s admirable of you to say so even though you didn’t get your way.

      • Sal
        May 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

        Thanks Scott, it wasn’t too big a deal for me, but some on our street are still upset about the signs. I assumed Tully paid for the mailing because she was passing out flyers last weekend on our street for a neighborhood watch meeting and they’re raffling off a security system she’s donating. I asked her how much an expense account she had. She said none and that she uses her council salary for these things.

    • billy
      May 17, 2014 at 4:01 am #

      Sal
      The traffic commision had a reason had a reason to have them there,they also had a reason to vote to keep them there.I would worry more about gangs,drug problem,taxes,531 students leaving the schools with their money and only I think it said 18 opting in ,the endless school raises,crumbling infrastructure and the the growing pension liability, school buses coming out of the city budget and not the school budget. Oh yea plenty of foreclosed abandoned homes too . I would worry more about those issues because if they don’t get addressed soon Sal,You will have plenty of parking.I would ask Mrs Tully to address those issues

  9. Ron Kitterman
    May 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Dan we’ll Mayor Bianchi on the McLaughlin Report with Pat Buchanan before he comes on your show, Where did you learn your persuasive skills from Don Corleone. Last week you beat the daylights out him with a baseball bat and this week you suspended him from the ceiling. What’s next a horse head in his bed ?

  10. Mark
    May 16, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Lastest rumor is Mr. Mayor has hired a consultant for $25,000 to determine if he should go on PVTV.

  11. Mark
    May 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    Latest…duh

  12. Ron Kitterman
    May 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    @Mark if that is accurate I have a creative financing deal that could save the Mayor $24K and would a far better return on his investment.

  13. DowagerHat
    May 17, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    Dan I just caught your first PVTV segment on the PVTV facebook page. NICE BALLS. Brilliant.

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

      Many thanks, DH.

  14. Silence Dogood
    May 17, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    Just saw episode 2 of your TV show…..the empty suit ascending to the music was priceless

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

      We knew it was funny when the crew burst out in laughter.

  15. amandaWell
    May 18, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    On the city website is an accomplishment of sorts, a LOon Raft has been constructed at the Cleveland Resevoir. Hopefully it will attract new LOons to that particular area.

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

      It’s true. That is the lead story on the city’s glorious website.

  16. Sillence Dogood
    May 18, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    loons seem to have no problem finding our fair city:(((

  17. Dave M.
    May 18, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    If you missed Show 2 – complete with a followup interview of the empty suit, you can view it (and show 1) on Planet Valenti Television YouTube Channel at

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjP38gC2WQcYx71Cz0tjwoQ

    Just cut and paste the link in your browser. – Then bookmark the site!

  18. Nota
    May 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    Noted some peculiar attire while traversing North by Linden Sunday night, very peculiar!

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

      NOTA
      When you point such things out, The Suits will say you’re being “negative.” They want to maintain the fiction that everything is hunky-dory. We know you speak the truth, however.

  19. amandaWell
    May 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    The ratio in the insurance coverage for employees can save millions. is that what we’re hearing?

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      This is an idea I have put forward. Pittsfield pays 85-25. That needs to be adjusted to the taxpayers’ benefit. By law, city must provide 50-50. The correct rate is somewhere starting there and a little above. I’m thinking 60-40.