Article

PLANET DECIPHERS THE TRUE MEANING BEHIND THE BB STORY: ‘STATE APPROVES $9.7 MILLION GRANT FOR PITTSFIELD LIFE SCIENCES CENTER’ … UH, WE HATE TO SAY THIS, BUT TAXPAYERS, YOU JUST GOT WHACKED AGAIN

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014) — First off, see you at 7 p.m. tonight on Planet Valenti Television — PV-TV. Our call-in number for Episode 3 is 445-4234. As the show evolves, we have to figure out if we want to continue with call-ins.

Actually, you have to figure that out. Two episodes do not for us at PV-TV a conclusion supply. If you call in with enough quality (more important than volume or frequency) we shall be inclined to continue with calls. If you express no interest or if the calls are not of sufficient quality, we shall turn the full hour over to Dan Valenti, who tells us he is more than pleased to carry the honors. In the abstract, THE PLANET cherishes free speech and thus inclines toward call-ins, but the decision will be made in the practicality.

PV-TV does know one thing: We shall never supply boring, talking-head TV, which is the mainstay of local access. Our motto: “Anything but boring.” Along those lines, you will never guess what we have planned for The Empty Suit segment. TES and THE PLANET ”shall become one.” That is all we can say. The rest will be in the viewing.

——- 000 ——-

Today’s lesson in cryptography shall be in reading the contour map of how the mainstream press reports local news. They do so c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y. In this care, the local media are not mindful of you — its readers, viewers, and listeners — but of its bosses, who are mainly owned by advertisers. Once again, it’s “You against The Suits.”

Case in point, a newstory yesterday in The Boring Broadsheet titled, “State approves $9.7 million grant for Pittsfield life sciences center,” written by our colleague and friend Tony Dobrowolski. The story explains how on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center awarded Pittsfield the money to be applied to construction of a building at the PEDA site.  THE PLANET credits Dobro with doing about as much as a reporter possibly could after being told not to stray from “The Party Line.”

Now on with the content analysis. THE PLANET suggests that in reading, watching, or listening to local stories produced by the tamed mainstream media, you concentrate on three factors: Location, Key Phrases, and Ambiguous Quotes.

— LOCATION

The story received two kinds of placements. In the print edition, which is mostly dying and consumed by an aging demographic, The BB played the story as its lead on page one. The newspaper’s web page, however, buried the piece. To find it, the reader would have to search hard. This provides clue number one: For the reader demographic with whatever disposable income exists in the city of Pittsfield, The BB presents the “all the good news, all the time” version. For its younger and less engaged readers on the web, it assumes they will not care.

Conclusion: The newspaper (a) has no faith in its readers as a whole, (b) the newspaper doesn’t know who it is or what it wants to become, and (c) it finds itself in this dilemma because of management’s refusal to go to the truth that always resides in between the lines of the Official Press Announcements that come from the various agencies involved, in this case the city of Pittsfield, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and PEDA.

— KEY PHRASES

Stories of this kind contain trip-strings that the careful reader will trigger, releasing the truth that lies hidden in between the lines. Key phrases are often repeated, sometimes with the same words and, as in this case, sometimes slightly reworded. In this case, we read the following sentences, with the “key phrases” underlined:

Sentence 1“[MLSC President Susan Windham-Bannister] said city officials reassessed their funding needs in the final presentation by gauging the regional impact such a facility would have and the need for private-public partnerships that would make the initiative work.”

Sentence 2 — “You never know if you don’t ask,” said Corydon Thurston, the executive director of [PEDA], the quasi-public agency charged with developing the business park.

The underlined phrases — “private-public partnerships” and “the quasi-public agency” — suck the Botex off of the rhetorical facelift to reveal the wrinkles and liver spots underneath. The dreaded “public-private partnerships” rarely work out well for taxpayers. In Pittsfield, they never do. These alliances are partnerships in name only. The “public” part provides all the venture capital … and risk. The “private” part consumes all of the booty. If the venture works out, the private interests benefit. If the venture fails, as it usually does in Pittsfield, taxpayers get stuck with the check. Folks, the recent history of Pittsfield is littered with the rusting shells of dead “public-private partnerships” (EV Worldwide, Workshop Live, and so on). In fact, PEDA itself is a good example.

Conclusion: Glowing stories about “public-private partnerships” are actually more about the dead and dying local economy than it is about economic growth. Folks, there’s a reason why cities such as Pittsfield fall prey to these typically phony alliances. The private companies cannot get traditional backing from private risk capital, and they therefore gravitate to locations that are desperate to provide them with “free” money simply so that the politicians and Suits can maintain the illusion that something is happening.

AMBIGUOUS QUOTES

The third and final major indicator in reading what a snow-job story actually means is to look carefully at what the quoted principals in the piece are saying.

THE PLANET presents the key quotes from Dobrowolski’s story:

Quote 1. “All of these earmarks are placeholders,” said MLSC President Susan Windham-Bannister. “They represent a vision, and some good thinking at the time.” — Even in context, this quote says nothing. The proper reaction is, “Why isn’t she talking straight to us. What’s she hiding?”

Quote 2. “It turned out that the project they identified cost more to implement,” Windham-Bannister said. “We never say at the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center that this is all you can have. What we really want to see are good projects. What their team came up with was more money, but it was a very different vision. We were very happy to give them the extra money.” — What the Hyphenated Lady is actually saying is that “We don’t care how much we give away. It’s taxpayers money, and we can be as irresponsible with it as we like.” Again, a higher dollar figure in a “gee whiz, everything’s great” story like this, according the The Suits’ GroupThink, plays as better than a lower one and again makes it look like they are “doing something” about jobs, about the economy. As astute readers will know, this is an illusion.

Quote 3. After the already-lifted “You never know …” from Thurston, we find this gem: ”That’s what it costs to build” the structure, Thurston said. “It was just today’s costs versus what we originally anticipated.” — Again, an admission that taxpayers are getting screwed. Corydon is actually saying that his group just inflated their needs by 50%. Naturally, he produced no data or information on which to justify this outrageous increase.

Wait! It gets better!

Quote 4. “We weren’t trying to slip the project through the budget,” he said. “We’re trying to do one that would make sense and accomplish our mission.” — That’s Corydon speaking again. Whenver they tell you “We weren’t trying to slip the project through the budget,” you can bet your bottom, top, and middle dollars in between that they “were trying to slip the project through the budget.” My dad has a lovely phrase that captures the essence of this type of Suit Hypcrisy: “God-damned phony bastards” (GDPB).

Quote 5. “I think it will have a tremendous impact on our region,” Bianchi said. “The model that we’ve come up with for the innovation center fosters growth for existing companies, and also contains the impetus to grow new companies as well.”I’m very pleased,” he said. “It was a lot of hard work and it was certainly well worth it.” — TES speaks of the “tremendous impact.” Translation: “It gets me a favorable headline. I’m very pleased.” GDPB.

——- 000 ——-

Finally, ladies and gentlemen, if the project will have such a dramatic economic impact, ask yourself why the private markets are not beating down the doors to get in on it. They like making money, you know. The reason, of course, which the story actually “says” without saying it, is that the private money is too smart to stay from losers like this.

Truth in advertising — What else can we say?

See you on the television tonight.

————————————————————————————-

“Mrs. Brown you’ve got a lovely doe-tah. Girls as sharp as her are something rare.” — Herman’s Hermits, “Mrs. Brown,” 1965.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

88 Responses to “PLANET DECIPHERS THE TRUE MEANING BEHIND THE BB STORY: ‘STATE APPROVES $9.7 MILLION GRANT FOR PITTSFIELD LIFE SCIENCES CENTER’ … UH, WE HATE TO SAY THIS, BUT TAXPAYERS, YOU JUST GOT WHACKED AGAIN”

  1. dusty
    May 22, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    We can assume that management at the Eagle is the reason the paper is such a half-assed piece of work. But who is or who are these people? Who writes all the anonymous editorials? Who wrote the anonymous editorial in last Sundays paper that knocked people who talked anonymously on the internet blogs? Do all articles have to go before a screening committee made up of city hall officials, advertisers and anyone else that might be offended by truth?

    I know for a fact that if you write a letter to the editor they may choose not to print it at all or modify it if it criticizes an advertiser or special interest.

    • Joe Pinhead
      May 22, 2014 at 4:30 am #

      Dusty,
      Please don’t think for one minute that “we the people” have the same rights as “those the self-anointed” regarding anonymity or anything else for that matter. I didn’t read the editorial and wont as I don’t buy the paper and try my best not to shop or use the services of those who advertise in it.
      I know it hurts the small businesses but I suggest to everyone I talk to do the same. Sorry but they bear a responsibility in the situation as well. After all if I’m only get a half a story or an approved press release as a news story how can I possibly believe an advertisement?
      If it wasn’t for the planet we would be further in the dark. You would think that an editor would see the popularity and importance of great reporting along with a well-rounded story representing all sides of a situation. If they followed suit they could build a base instead of tearing down a community from within.

      fleecing the public is ok as long as you proclaim “its for the children”

      • danvalenti
        May 22, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

        Deft and detailed, JOE P, as always.

      • Bull Durham
        May 23, 2014 at 9:54 am #

        Joe, if you don’t buy the paper and don’t read the paper, why does an editorial IN the paper bother you so much? (Also, if you don’t buy it or read it, how do you know who advertises in it so you can avoid them?)

        I don’t watch Bill O’Reilly, and I know he says a lot of things I think are idiotic, but I don’t feel the need to write endless comments about him, because I really don’t care what he thinks. You feel the same way about the Eagle, so stop letting it bother.

        • Joe Pinhead
          May 23, 2014 at 11:00 am #

          Bull,
          I don’t buy the paper but it isn’t that difficult to see who advertises in it. There used to be an orange wrapped bag thrown in my yard ok near my yard in the vicinity of my yard in the gutter or somewhere in proximity to the house on Thursdays that contained the ads and classifieds that was one way, thankfully those are no more. Now call me old fashioned or at least old I often do my shopping in person I tend to stay away from chains if possible and I go in and ask the management / owner if they advertise in the paper or look for the flyers they pass out etc. its not difficult but I am glad that you asked though to clear that up. Now for world peace and a $148.1million city budget.

        • Tim Bartini
          May 23, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

          Bull great reply!

    • ed shepardson
      May 22, 2014 at 7:08 am #

      Dusty, Mr. Pinhead,
      The person responsible for the Eagle’s editorials is considerably less anonymous than you two.

      Bill Everhart, Editorial Page Editor @BEediteditor
      Read Bill’s bio here (413) 496-6271

      • dusty
        May 22, 2014 at 11:58 am #

        The difference being that myself and Mr Pinhead are not knocking others being anonymous like your buddy in his newspaper column.. But just out of curiosity, why does he not sign his name if he is not trying to be anonymous? Did you just out him?

        • B. Clairmont
          May 22, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

          Come on Dusty, you have been known to knock people here. I like you, but lets be honest.

          • dusty
            May 22, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

            Yes I knock. I said he was knocking people for being anonymous while being anonymous himself. That specific point.

        • ed shepardson
          May 22, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

          Not my buddy. Never met him, and he outed himself on the list of contacts of Eagle employees on their website. He assumes responsibility for every editorial that appears in the Eagle whether he personally writes them or not. Most papers function the same way. And you don’t consider your posts anonymous posts?

          • dusty
            May 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

            I do Ed. But I am not knocking others for being anonymous while being anonymous myself. Everhart may be known as the writer of the editorials to you but not most people.

          • Joe Blow
            May 22, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

            Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

        • ed shepardson
          May 22, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

          Dusty, as you don’t really exist and you’re difficult to reason with, I’m going to stop trying, but I’ll leave you with one last bit of info. If you go onto the Eagle’s website, you can find Bill’s email address and and I already gave you his phone number. Let him know how you feel. I’m pretty sure Bill Everhart is his real name. But, you never know.

          • ed shepardson
            May 22, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

            Joe Blow, I would expect nothing else from Joe Blow. How predictable.

      • joetaxpayer
        May 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

        ed, does Mr. Everheart write every single editorial in the Berkshire Bird Cage? If so, that is alot of bullshit for one man I tip my cap,he will be missed.

        • ed shepardson
          May 22, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

          Why don’t you man up and either call him or email him and tell him so.

          • joetaxpayer
            May 22, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

            Ed I was asking you do you think he writes every editorial? Man up and answer it!

          • Joe Pinhead
            May 22, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

            I am sure you are aware one person does not write every editorial at the paper. Who writes which one is kept confidential, while I agree with your premise that one Mr. Bill Everhart is responsible for the content on that page hence the title you provided us with “editorial page Editor” nothing more nothing less. We have no idea who pens each editorial for all we know one, some or many have been written by those in this or any other administration. Or they could have been written by staff or e-mailed in from Fiji. However I agree with Dusty as well as Joe Blow in each case. Neither myself nor Dusty has or was blithering about people posting anonymously. Posting using a Nom de plume is as old as democracy itself. Franklin, Jefferson and others routinely used different names should we look back on the founding of this great country and challenge them on this? I know it isn’t possible that they thought about this type of thing when discussing, drafting and implementing the First Amendment. There is much settled case law some going as far as the Supreme Court.
            I can only imagine that someone who is so ardent about positive id is either compiling an enemy’s list of sorts or has NEVER been in the trenches exposing political greed and corruption and has NEVER experienced what people in power are capable of doing to protect said power. Like the wind from the north and his one trick pony we have one here who can’t see the forest for the trees and can only recite a line from a Skynyrd song.
            It’s the First Amendment Citizen up

            after all Its for the chldren

          • ed shepardson
            May 22, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

            Of course he doesn’t write every editorial.He approves every editorial so why not complain to him directly rather than complain here?

        • ed shepardson
          May 22, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

          Mr. Taxpayer,
          Why don’t you call Mr. Everhart at the number I have provided and I’m sure he would be happy to explain his decision making process better than I.

          • danvalenti
            May 22, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

            Let me in on this chain: Bill Everhart is the editorial page editor. Fact. His role, however, is up for grabs. Does he write all of the editorials. Probably not. Does he write some. Likely. Does he write any of them? There’s no way of knowing, but likely so. I have never liked anonymous editorials, thinking them to be at the same time presumptuous and cowardly. How many of the BB’s editorials are “canned?” Any? Some? Most? We don’t know that he has the power to “approve every editorial.” That’s speculation based on the assumption that The BB is run like a newspaper. It’s not. It is just as likely that he merely runs what’s handed to him and writes what ordered. As for posting anonymously or not, both ways are fine. JOE P is correct: Franklin posted as “Mrs. Silence Dogood.” Did that make him any less “Benjamin Franklin.” The political revenge that JOE P mentions in this town is real. Hence, the need, often, to post anonymously. On the other hand, THE PLANET has great respect for those who use their real names. We will allow both.

          • joetaxpayer
            May 22, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

            If I thought it would make a difference I would, the man is set in his ways and its his one way side of every issue the reason I bagged the eagle. Funny how you and others on this site bash people for not identifying themselves yet the eagle editorial department does the same thing. Dan is our editor, we merely contribute.

    • Dennis
      May 23, 2014 at 6:29 am #

      As I read this over and over I replace PITTSFIELD with NORTH ADAMS and low and behold we too are getting the same kind of story.The paper kisses the mayors butt and the radio has no news and the mayor steals money from the ice rink hoping no one notices.The state puts money into H /STATE PARK,private money takes the state money then backs off with city holding the bag.

      • danvalenti
        May 23, 2014 at 10:35 am #

        You point to an interesting correlation, DENNIS. Thanks. Alcombright seems to be becoming North Adams’ “Empty Suit.”

  2. Rafael
    May 22, 2014 at 5:55 am #

    One can easily tell from all the catch phrases Corydon and Bannister use and lack of details they provide (aka generalities) that this is yet another BS project and a waste of taxpayer money. But don’t worry, those politicians involved will benefit from it.

  3. Still wondering
    May 22, 2014 at 5:57 am #

    The BB is in its death throes. Compare subscription prices from 2 years ago to now. The cost has more than tripled. I used to get the Sunday edition only and paid 11 dollars every 12 weeks. Now they want 42 dollars. I can’t think of a better way to drive away customers.

  4. C. J.
    May 22, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Slick pontification from Williamstown’s own family made millionaire, Peda CEO, Corydon Thurston ? Can’t be. Isn’t this the astute negotiator that took the state’s hand shake only on the long procratinated Woodlawn Ave. bridge funding ?
    Does this Life Science Business Innovaction Center (LSBIC) create jobs of its own ? Is it a merely a cooperative high tech lab available to politically connected private and public organizations Ie: BCC and MCLA, that provides expensive equipment in place of their own private investments ?
    If the LSBIC funds are not released untill 2017, can PEDA maintain, as all GE funding has ended and PEDA continues to draw down its own cert. of deposits and receives what meager lease income it has with Mountain One and Nuclea ?
    What is Peda’s long term plan, when the $$$ dissipates ?

  5. C. J.
    May 22, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Slick pontification from Williamstown’s own family made millionaire, Peda CEO, Corydon Thurston ? Can’t be. Isn’t this the astute negotiator that took the state’s hand shake only on the long procratinated Woodlawn Ave. bridge funding ?
    Does this Life Science Business Innovaction Center (LSBIC) create jobs of its own ? Is it a merely a cooperative high tech lab available to politically connected private and public organizations Ie: BCC and MCLA, that provides expensive equipment in place of their own private investments ?
    If the LSBIC funds are not released untill 2017, can PEDA maintain, as all GE funding has ended and PEDA continues to draw down its own cert. of deposits and receives what meager lease income it has with Mountain One and Nuclea ?
    What is Peda’s long term plan, when the $$$ dissipates ?

    • danvalenti
      May 22, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

      PEDA’s long term plan is to continue the shell game until just before the whole thing goes up in smoke, so that The Suits will have bailed out just in time. The plan counts on taxpayers always being there to both enable them and, later, to clean up the mess.

  6. DowagerHat
    May 22, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    Is this building/enterprise another nonprofit? My concern is will this entity be paying taxes to the city in the same way that G.E. did? This city needs entrepreneurial enterprises and a sound economic tax base, not another nonprofit entity. I am usually very astute on economic matters and this just doesn’t seem to add up. It’s terrific that the state wants to help the city out but somehow this just doesn’t make sense, but then again there is TES leading us forward.

    • Foxy Lady
      May 22, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

      There is no entity. All that’s being done is that they are putting up a building (glorifeid shell). Hope that will attract…just who exactly? Another BS project as someone said earlier.

      • danvalenti
        May 22, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

        My guess is that it will not be paying taxes. As FOXY LADY says, the city is merely getting slush money from the state to put up a building. There’s no company involved.

  7. Dave
    May 22, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Ribbon cutting alert. Tomorrow for the walkway around Silver Lake. I hope they invited Mr. Welch, Bring your fishing poles, inner tubes and a picnic lunch.

    • Johnny2Shoes
      May 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

      Talks are underway for a new business to locate @ the PEDA site. Should do well here. The mayor is backing this one like no tomorrow.

      http://www.grandopeningstore.com/

      • joetaxpayer
        May 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

        Johnny, great company for Pittsfield, who knows maybe expand into trophy’s.

    • Scott
      May 23, 2014 at 3:13 am #

      Oh my the mayor sure is busy. He cut the crap out of the ribbon at arrowhead the way it lay there afterwards was stunning he has a true gift. If I were him I’d quit being mayor and cut ribbons full time.

      • joetaxpayer
        May 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

        Scott the man already has 2 part-time jobs, no room for a full time one.

  8. Pat
    May 22, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    “Folks, there’s a reason why cities such as Pittsfield fall prey to these typically phony alliances. The private companies cannot get traditional backing from private risk capital, and they therefore gravitate to locations that are desperate to provide them with “free” money simply so that the politicians and Suits can maintain the illusion that something is happening.”

    I agree DV because the actual truth is that nothing is happening. We have to endure the cheerleader types who insist that things are booming in the Berkshires when the rest of us know otherwise.

  9. amandaWell
    May 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    I guess you could take an I inner tube to Silva Lake, reach out with a cup and drink a scoop of water it’s so clean. Not to long ago, rumors were abound about a three eyed fish in the stink hole.

  10. Carolyn Barry
    May 22, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Two months ago I wrote a letter to the editor to the Eagle and it was printed. I was shocked when someone said they saw my letter in the Berkshire Courier. I NEVER sent it to the Courier. They took it from the Eagle and printed it without my permission. I sent a letter to the editor of the Berkshire Courier stating I couldn’t get them on plagiarism because they printed my name but suggested the Eagle could get them on copyright infringements and that it was shoddy journalism. They refused to print it!!!!!! I notice that a lot of letters once they are printed in the Eagle appear in the Courier. The next time I write a letter to the Eagle I will put a disclaimer at the bottom saying the Courier does NOT have my permission to print it.

    • joetaxpayer
      May 22, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

      Carolyn why not get your opinion out to as many people as possible. Plus the Courier is a much better paper.

      • Carolyn Barry
        May 22, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

        Nobody picks up the Courier. It’s not he old Courier that was in Gt. Barrington. They have no circulation, is bulk dropped and not consistently. For full disclosure I work for the Pittsfield Gazette and would NOT want a letter in a competing newsweekly that would like nothing more than put us out of business. They printed something I never sent them and wouldn’t print what I did send. No principles.

        • ed shepardson
          May 22, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

          If you work for the Gazette, why didn’t you send your letter to them, rather than to the Eagle?

          • Carolyn Barry
            May 22, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

            Because the publisher (as a conflict of interest) won’t publish a letter written by an employee. I would think since you have worked for numerous papers Ed Shepardson you would agree with this.

          • ed shepardson
            May 23, 2014 at 8:01 am #

            Ms. Barry,
            In your position, I would suggest that the Eagle is an even greater competitor and I would see no problem running your letter as long as it is not a personal vendetta and is fact checked as all letters should be.

        • Tim Bartini
          May 22, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

          Ms. Barry. I totally agree.

        • ed shepardson
          May 22, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

          The Courier offers an alternative voice. That’s not a bad thing.

        • joetaxpayer
          May 22, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

          That’s weird when I didn’t get it at Friday as usual was sold out by mid week. Carolyn don’t worry always get the Gazette too, its a informative newspaper.

  11. Tim Bartini
    May 22, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    Dan. It’s too bad that your blog is beginning to be like Topix. I respect people who stand by their name. The bloggers that hide behind stupid made up names carry no weight with most . Ps. Stop with the empty suit on your show, it makes you look immature . Just my opinion . Tim

    • ed shepardson
      May 22, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

      Tim, you are correct. I’m thinkin’ that Ed Shepardson is a pretty stupid name. I think I’ll now go as the writer formerly known as Joe Pinhead. Ooops already taken. Ok, how about Dusty? Also taken. Aaah, Levitan. That’s it. Shit, that’s gone too. I guess I’ve got some thinking to do. But whatever name I come up with, I hope I address the most serious issues facing us at the national, state and local level. The condition of the Berkshire Eagle is insignificant to what is facing all of us.

    • danvalenti
      May 22, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

      TIM
      Thanks for your input. As for The Empty Suit, your comment has given me this great idea: Do you want to come on the show? I’ll dust off the hot seat just for you. We’ll put you there instead of TES. You ready to man up and be my guest, substituting for The Empty Suit? If so, let me know. If not, Keep watching!! As I said tonight on the air, my critics are among the most loyal of my followers.

      • Tim Bartini
        May 22, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

        Dan I have no problem being on your show. I’ll probably be your most boring guest. I’m not making excuses for the Mayor I just think the empty suit has lost its glitter. Regards Tim. PS notice I use my real name not like some of the big shots on your blog.

        • danvalenti
          May 23, 2014 at 10:40 am #

          If you want to be on, send me an e-mail and we can get ‘er done. Don’t worry about being “boring.” That can never happen given my interview style. Thanks for the input on TES. And yes, I do notice you use your real name. As we’ve said in the past, we have to respect that and do. We also respect those who want anonymity.

  12. Giacometti
    May 22, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    When asked if he read the Berkshire Eagle the Aging Greek God one said ” I never have and I never will….I’d rather be uninformed than misinformed “,

    • Tim Bartini
      May 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

      Giacometti back in December of 1985 when I was appointed to the PFD by the city council. Mr Arlos during the council meeting was either reading The Eagle or sleeping during the meeting . People actually voted for this clown!

      • joetaxpayer
        May 23, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

        Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey now that’s some serious clowns.

  13. Dave
    May 22, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    What a hoot.. to compare the courageous editorial positions of the Berkshire Eagle with freedom of speech for anonymous speakers… In the first instance the author is paid to present the position of his employed and advance their interests. There is no threat to his economic interests. In the writing of all here there is likely risk to personal or economic interest. There is no comparision between an editorial writer for the BE doing his job and writers here who speak out.

    What IS of interest is the editorial policy of the Berkshire Eagle which rolls over on the responsibility of a free press to keep government honest and the public informed so they can be informed citizens. The people of Pittsfield and Berkshire County deserve more of a free press. Were it not for Planet Valenti we would all be in the dark on the political machinations of the suits who work at odds with the best interests of the people.

  14. Pat
    May 22, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    People should stop making such a big deal about those who don’t want to use their real name on this site or any other local site. If diversity of thought was celebrated in this area then perhaps more people would use their real name, but until that happens the people who choose to remain anonymous should be respected.

    • ed shepardson
      May 23, 2014 at 5:11 am #

      Anonymity would not be a problem if all the information posted here was accurate.

      • Tim Bartini
        May 23, 2014 at 6:14 am #

        Ed. Totally agree with you. People say outrageous things here anonymously without having to back it up with their real name.

        • Joe Pinhead
          May 23, 2014 at 9:26 am #

          Tim,
          Interesting comment from one protected by the union and all the protections of the City IE paid leave as the former director of Berkshire works. I’m willing to bet that you haven’t spoken to “most people” who read this blog but throw out the term most people. I know I have spoken to more than a few who have stated that they skip your posts as it is typically nothing more than you fetching water for the special interests and many question if in fact you are rewarded for doing so. While I respect your right to post your opinion, for your being a lap dog well not so much.
          As for becoming like topix sorry once again a baseless accusation, so if everyone doesn’t agree with the official position as stated by the special interests and reinforced by Tim Bartini we have a topix on our hands? Tim there is a whole big world out there and many people hold different opinions in the words of a City Campaign “Celebrate Diversity”

          Do tell us Tim who suggested you post that Topix remark?

          • danvalenti
            May 23, 2014 at 10:18 am #

            ED, TIM, JOE P, ET AL
            You folks have started a most interesting thread. It will be used to weave a tapestry of greater citizen involvement with government. There’s no downside to that.

          • Tim Bartini
            May 23, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

            Joe P. I will respond to your response if and when you back up your words with your name. Man up or girl up what ever. By the way your blog name suits you just fine regards Tim

        • danvalenti
          May 23, 2014 at 10:37 am #

          You’re correct TIM, and that’s the point. They have the freedom of “free speech.” The public discourse should push the limits. As for the latter, any objective look at the overall tenor of our comments versus topix will instantly establish our high standards, thus, our the higher quality of the discussions here vs. there.

          • ed shepardson
            May 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

            You’re right Dan, an interesting thread. We are all fiddling as Rome burns. And I thought it was interesting that Joe Pinhead, anonymously, could comment on Tim Bartini’s union protection, unkindly, when we don’t know who protects Joe Pinhead. If Tim had used a phony name Ol’ Joe would have never had that opportunity. Semper Fi Tim.

          • Joe Pinhead
            May 26, 2014 at 8:13 am #

            Ed,

  15. Scott
    May 23, 2014 at 3:20 am #

    Using your real name may feel good to your ego but based on expirience from someone who used to use his real name everywhere it’s actually pretty f’n stupid to do so. There’s a lot if whack jobs out there.

    • ed shepardson
      May 23, 2014 at 6:38 am #

      I think ego does plays a big part here Scott, for a bunch of anonymous “wannabe journalists” providing information that is sometimes accurate, sometimes not and is oftentimes slanderous. And please don’t misunderstand me. I, like most of you, am not happy with what is happening in the city and I’m certainly not happy what the Berkshire Eagle has become. But posting here is like pissing in the wind. You’re all here just to complain, not actively trying to change things. Get out and encourage people to register to vote. Find and back qualified candidates. That will make a difference.

      • Spider
        May 23, 2014 at 7:04 am #

        Ed…While I always respect your opinions, I disagree with some of your last statement.

        To say that those of us who do not use our real names are “not actively trying to change things” is wrong. You have no idea what many of us are doing “behind the scenes” in political endeavors, to change Pittsfield in a good way. Enough said!

        • ed shepardson
          May 23, 2014 at 7:17 am #

          Of course I wouldn’t know. How could I? That’s the point!

          • Joe Pinhead
            May 23, 2014 at 10:09 am #

            Ed,
            Why be so negative towards people you don’t even know. Many of us have done more things to affect every level of government that you have no idea of. What each of us as citizens do as part of our daily life, in our past or are gearing up to do in the future is completely unknown to you. I will tell you this I have registered more than 5000 people to vote and am not done yet.
            So Ed please don’t be so negative all the time I can’t imagine it’s a good way to go through life. Hey there’s your new name from the prior post you know Joe Pinhead taken etc. Mr. Glass now half full?
            It does have a ring to it, the name not the glass.

      • danvalenti
        May 23, 2014 at 10:34 am #

        ED
        There may be a tad of what you say going on, but on the whole our posters aren’t “a bunch of anonymous ‘wannabe journalists.’” They’re just citizens who are taking advantage of contributing to a forum that provides them a blessed alternative to the BS of other local media. As for “oftentimes slanderous,” I would ask you to point to specific examples — not isolated ones, should they even exist, but frequent ones — that would be actionable. THE PLANET is proud of the higher standard we have set here as opposed to the topix site that Tim Bartini referred to in one of his comments.

        • ed shepardson
          May 23, 2014 at 11:14 am #

          Dan,

          I respectfully disagree. A good example occurred today. Your story started with the 9.7 million LS grant. The first two posts ignored that subject and chose to Eagle bash. The purpose of that would be to??? And as far as slanderous comments go, here’s my vote from this just one post, this one. And again, please remember, you started this post by writing about Life Science’s 9.7 million dollar grant.- “Nobody picks up the Courier. They have no circulation,” If I start going back into the archives, I’m going to need to go on the Planet’s payroll. Or at least get an expense account.

          • danvalenti
            May 23, 2014 at 11:33 am #

            ED
            Excellent response. My, my good friend, allow my counter: I can’t say what the purpose would be to BB bash. I would speculate that it’s pent-up frustration over being so short-changed by The BB. They compare my coverage with The BBs and see that the first is the exposed, raw truth (admittedly, as I see it) and the second is largely PR and BS. As for the so-called “slander” in “Nobody picks up the Courier. They have no circulation” I don’t see it. Or, put this way, I would not want to argue in court that such a remark is “slander.” Just a note on usage: Actually, I think you’re referring to “libel” not “slander.” Libel involves the printed, published word. Slander involves the spoken word. As for putting you on our payroll, I can make a call to my friends on Salem Street in the North End.

          • ed shepardson
            May 23, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

            I stand corrected professor but I put blog postings somewhere in the middle of the written word and the spoken word. And libel, slander, untrue statements, half truths, inflammatory statements, etc., “a pile of dog shit, by any other name would smell as………well, as bad as a pile of dog shit.” Author unknown

          • danvalenti
            May 23, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

            Perhaps, but it isn’t “libel” (written word) or “slander” (spoken word) unless it is (a) actionable and (b) found to be that way in a court of law operating under the blessed freedoms of the press and of speech that we have in this country.

          • ed shepardson
            May 23, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

            Then we should be allowed to yell fire in a crowded movie theater.

      • Scott
        May 23, 2014 at 10:54 am #

        Ed I vote, write letters to the editor and discus the importance of community involvement amongst the people I interact with. I know what you’re saying and I know it wasn’t directed at me plus you know where I live and I know where you live.

        • ed shepardson
          May 23, 2014 at 11:15 am #

          Good news Scott,
          I’m old enough that is I ever knew where you lived, I’ve forgotten it.

  16. Scott
    May 23, 2014 at 3:21 am #

    Dan keep the empty suit! That’s just what he is. Maybe you can slump him over a ribbon.

    • danvalenti
      May 23, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      We intend to keep TES.

  17. amandaWell
    May 23, 2014 at 3:26 am #

    Last nights episode was the best yet. T E S was spectacular!

    • dusty
      May 23, 2014 at 5:54 am #

      It was very good and shows potential to be great. Lots of information as well as humor. I am sure the taxpayers would never get this in your face view of the budget otherwise. If the taxpayers knew just how badly screwed they are getting perhaps more would band together and revolt.

      If the mayor could outsource the ribbon cutting perhaps he would have more time to spend looking for budget cutting options. The city’s exploding budget should be a major embarrassment for a supposed financial guru like the mayor. In the past I have felt that ex mayor Doyle was the most incompetent and dysfunctional person to ever head the city but Bianchi is gaining on him big time. Gerry may have to hand over the trophy by the end of summer at the rate we are going.

      • danvalenti
        May 23, 2014 at 10:37 am #

        Thanks, DUSTY. We aim for greatness, however elusive it is.

    • danvalenti
      May 23, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      Muchos gratia, AMANDA. We pushed the envelope, not sure of the outcome, but behold: It opened! Glad you enjoyed it.