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PLANET SAVES TAXPAYERS $9 MILLION … SCORES WIN OVER THE EMPTY SUIT ON BUDGET … PUBLIC’S HOSING BY MAYOR STILL BAD, THOUGH … WILL COUNCIL DO THE RIGHT THING?

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

PROGRAM NOTE: You can watch all four episodes of Planet Valenti Television — PV-TV now, on demand, at YouTube. Simply 1. go to YouTube. 2. In the search window, type “Planet Valenti.” 3. Enjoy. Our show is catching on, and we are having more fun with it than allowed by state law. If you’ve seen what we’re doing, you are only now barely believing your eyes and ears. If you have not check out PV-TV, you owe it to yourself, your children, your children’s children, and every four-flushing action taken by government and The Suit, in your name, that causes you to lower your head in embarrassment. 

——- 000 ——-

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2014) — THE PLANET starts today with a victory lap.

Bianchi blinked.

We share the following e-mail, which in its original bore the name and address of a city worker who toils in an executive capacity in an office at city hall. This person has a daily view of The Empty Suit (TES), the “mayor” who has in less than two and a half years has not only killed whatever momentum stirred upon his taking office but has since then degenerated into “municide” — the killing of a city.

Dan Bianchi: City murderer.

Here’s the e-mail:

——- 000 ——-

Mr. Valenti, your coverage of [the mayor's FY15] budget plan has already scored a win for the people you call Mr. and Mrs. Mary Jane and Joe K[apanski]. The first iterations took the plan above $150 million.

As you have noted, when the mayor presented to the school committee, it was ‘down’ to $148 million. That’s when you started hammering on the blog and TV.

On Friday, the submission order called for $141 million in new spending. I did not agree at all with the original budget and I can tell you from having been in on some of the discussion that the mayor cursingly and grudgingly reduced it to $141 mm because of you.

I don’t care what kind of denial he will make I’m giving you the truth. I witnessed one mayoral meltdown against you to know this is the truth.

Sincerely,

[NAME WITHHELD]

PS He has also given an order to all city workers not to speak to you or return your inquiries.

——- 000 ——-

My dear friends, you can’t make it up. We can laugh this away, but we do remind you that an administration has the responsibility to communicate with the public through the press. TES apparently has the naive notion that (a) if he stops talking to us, we won’t “find out” what he’s trying to pull, and (b) if he orders people to dummy up, they will. The mayor obviously doesn’t know about (or chooses not to believe in) our vast network of sources throughout the city and its government.

It’s nice to know THE PLANET has had this affect on The Empty Suit. In doing so, we have saved the city taxpayers $9 million. Without our coverage, the city would be looking at a $150 million plan.

Of course, the existing $141 million budget plan is bad enough. It calls for millions of dollars of increased spending with no cuts or consolidation and no demonstrated process for an improvement in services. THE PLANET can only mock The Empty Suit’s phrasing of this extravagant and unaffordable spending plan: TES calls it a “level services” budget.

“Level services” budget.

So that’s what this pathetic excuse for a leader has been reduced to: He can’t use the phrase “level-funded,” and so he must invent a misleading term.

“Level services” is TES’ euphemism for the likely irreversible municipal decline he has set in motion. THE PLANET, for one, doesn’t believe for a moment that services will be “level” based on the contraction of services we’ve seen since TES took office. However, for the sake of argument and giving all the benefit of reasonable doubt, let’s assume services will in fact be level. What does this mean?

It means:

(a) Streets will continue to deteriorate into moonscapes.

(b) Gangs and drugs will continue to strangle neighborhoods.

(c) Shootings will keep respectable people away from the downtown, especially at night.

(d) City properties will be allowed to corrode, crumble, and oxidize into the Phantom Zone.

(e) Schools will eat up tons more money while half-a-thousand parents pull their kids out of the city’s public schools, costing another $3 million to $4 million.

(f) The tax base will continue to shrink.

(g) The population will continue to drop.

(h) Your taxes will continue to go up.

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As we have pointed out, Pittsfield’s last best, realistic hope, and a desperate one it is, lies in the 22 hands and 11 bodies of the city council. Our Right Honorable Good Friends can do the right thing, which is to identify substantial cuts in The Empty Suit’s spending proposal and then throw it back to him to find more.

Or …

We know what that means. It means:

“Bend over and assume the position.”

THE PLANET does not engage in melodramatics when if says of The Empty Suit’s budget passes as is, it will be the economic tipping point from which Pittsfield as we know it will never recover. The long-term economic trends, when cross-sected with the city’s and area’s demographics, guarantee this. Pittsfield either takes a fiscal and fiduciary stand now, for the FY15 budget, or it essentially throws in the towel and quits.

Because so much rides on the council’s actions in their budget review, THE PLANET has contact all 11 of them: Lisa Tully, Kevin Morandi, Nick Caccamo, Chris Connell, Jonathan Lothrop, John Krol, Tony Simonelli, Melissa Mazzeo, Church Cotton, Barry Clairmont, and Kathy Amuso. We have invited their thoughts going into their review. THE PLANET has given them a deadline of Tuesday at 9 a.m., and we shall, of course, share their offerings.

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“Give me my scallop-shell quiet, / My staff of faith to walk upon, / My scrip of joy, immortal diet, / My bottle of salvation, / My gown of glory, hope’s true gage, / And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.”Sir Walter Raleigh, (1604).

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

28 Responses to “PLANET SAVES TAXPAYERS $9 MILLION … SCORES WIN OVER THE EMPTY SUIT ON BUDGET … PUBLIC’S HOSING BY MAYOR STILL BAD, THOUGH … WILL COUNCIL DO THE RIGHT THING?”

  1. Nota
    June 2, 2014 at 5:05 am #

    The budget got slashed, but my taxes are still going up! What a joke!

  2. Stephen King
    June 2, 2014 at 5:06 am #

    Dan,

    Thank you for uploading your show to youtube.
    Now those of us who used to live in Pittsfield but got out can enjoy your show.
    Nice.

    Welcome to the 21st century.

    • Two Cents
      June 2, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      Without PCTV streaming live, Time Warner is effectively holding access to city government hostage unless you subscribe. Let the “cord cutting” continue!

  3. EddieP
    June 2, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    Either this mayor is in way over his head or is smart like a fox.
    He took 9 million right off the top. What services got cut from the 9 million? Was this this his private “piggy bank” buried in the citys finances? That’s a lot of discretionary funds to have lying around.
    Without facts, everything is subject to speculation. I wonder how much the school dept. has buried that can be cut? Keep digging, Dan. We are starting to see results.

    • danvalenti
      June 2, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

      EDDIE
      We shall keep digging. We have turned up to many “coincidences” not to.

  4. Andy
    June 2, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    Hey Dan,
    I hate to out a damper on your celebration. But, the total revenue on the budget proposal is still $148 million. The $141 million is the schools, enterprise and city operating spending plans. Then there is about $6.5 million in other revenue to be raised for an array of things outside of those specific budgets.

    -Andy

    • danvalenti
      June 2, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

      Thanks, ANDY. This is an important piece of the puzzle. We shall be discussing it tomorrow.

  5. Scott
    June 2, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    Dan, I hope you took steps to confirm the person from the mayors office is who they say they are.

    • Tim Bartini
      June 2, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      Scott. I must not have gotten the memo about who I can or cannot talk to from the Mayor.

      • Gene
        June 2, 2014 at 10:40 am #

        The order was only directed to certain department heads. You are not a department head, Mr. Bartini.

        There was no “memo” or DV ceratinly would have obtained a copy. This was an order given at a dept. meeting by the mayor.

        • danvalenti
          June 2, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

          Thanks, G. That is my understanding of it. If it was in writing, I may or may not have received a copy. My guess is that I would have, based on my source(s).

  6. amandaWell
    June 2, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Did i hear correctly that 300g had been set aside for pay raises? When was it set aside? Who set it aside? On who’s authority was it set aside? Was this discussion done or set aside before the matter was even brought up?

    • danvalenti
      June 2, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

      Great questions, AMANDA. TES has no answers.

  7. Jonathan Melle
    June 2, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    Pittsfield politics raises taxes year after year no matter who is Mayor or on the City Council. When a candidate runs for Mayor or City Council, they all say the same (right) things, but end up doing the same (wrong) things. Pittsfield has a diminishing tax base. Pittsfield relies on Senior Citizens on fixed incomes to pay a majority of its taxes. Most of Pittsfield’s youth rely on welfare assistance. There are no jobs in Pittsfield, unless one is connected to the Good Old Boy network. Over one decade ago, I looked for a job — any job — for over one year of my young adult life in Pittsfield, and nobody offered me employment in Pittsfield. I was better of on welfare than working in Pittsfield!

    What is wrong with our country? More and more people are relying on the government to survive than working for a living wage job. The corporate elite and top one percent are making all of the financial gains, while the working stiff is getting poorer. There is no fairness and equity in our economic system!

    • Magic
      June 2, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      Jonathon

      You say you don’t live here anymore. I wonder if you are so watchful of the politics where you are and do you have a job now?

      • Jonathan Melle
        June 2, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

        I have a 6 figure job at a Fortune 500 corporation. NOT!
        I follow New Hampshire and Massachusetts politics.
        I like reading Dan Valenti’s blog about Pittsfield politics.

      • thomas more
        June 2, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

        Neither Jonathan nor Dan Valenti live in Pittsfield. It’s unlikely that he is as watchful over the politics where he lives or that DV is as watchful over the the politics of the town he lives in.

        • Jonathan Melle
          June 2, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

          I lived a majority of my life in Pittsfield, which is where I was born and raised. I love Pittsfield. What is wrong with following Pittsfield politics if one lives in another community. I like my new town, which is Amherst, New Hampshire. My family moved to Southern NH over one decade ago. I feel that Pittsfield has become much worse off since we moved away from Pittsfield in September of 2003. Thousands of people have moved away from Pittsfield. Hundreds of jobs have been lost in Pittsfield. There are thousands of people on welfare living in Pittsfield. Teen pregnancies double the statewide average in Pittsfield. Pittsfield has a crime-ridden downtown, especially after hours, with violence, drugs, and gangs. Pittsfield politics is ran by the Good Old Boy network. Dan Valenti is one of the few people who write about Pittsfield who doesn’t have his head buried in the sand!

    • Wilson
      June 3, 2014 at 1:30 am #

      Candidates’ campaigns are aimed squarely at the unions, they don’t promise residents anything except more taxes

  8. Silence Dogood
    June 2, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    Dan V works in Stockbridge and Dan B works for Larry Global Mondello…… not so much as Mayor except payday

    • danvalenti
      June 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

      Correct. I moved my offices to Stockbridge in 2008 after 28 years with offices in downtown Pittsfield. Like the “Larry Mondello” reference, an echo of one of my TV shows, where we did the “Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. TES” skit.

  9. billy
    June 2, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Lol 300 thousands. They worried how to pay for it. Are you kidding me they are small compared to the school dept and we can’t afford either.
    It’s amazing some city worker gets a raise of 5 percent and they still won’t make 13.00 dollars and their up in arms ,but won’t blink a eye by giving a one time 1.3 million to school heads ,that they will have to come up with for the foreseeable future ,
    Because the stimulus. Only that allowed has gone away.
    Shame on this mockery of transparency and fairness.
    We are going the way of North Adams .Mangers get huge pay raises and city workers don’t get cost of living increases or reasonable raises.

    • danvalenti
      June 2, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

      billy
      It cannot be stated better: “Shame on this mockery of transparency and fairness.
      We are going the way of North Adams .Mangers get huge pay raises and city workers don’t get cost of living increases or reasonable raises.”

  10. billy
    June 2, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    Meant the stimulus that allowed it has gone away

  11. Scott
    June 3, 2014 at 2:52 am #

    I just heard a story about a guy who invested $500 thousand in property off industrial drive to put in an injection mold shop and said the city screwed him and prevented him from doing it. He said it was crazy he invested the money to create jobs and the city wanted nothing to do with it. I’ve heard similar stories about doing business with Pittsfield. They used zoning to stop him. The cities zoning and ordinances are a joke. You can’t have chickens without jumping through hops and no front yard gardens. I think the case can be made the city of pitts is violating people’s constitutional rights by interfering with people’s right to life liberty and happiness.

    • Rafael
      June 3, 2014 at 6:27 am #

      I guess that guy’s last name wasn’t Petricca.

      • Spider
        June 3, 2014 at 6:52 am #

        Speaking of Petricca….doesn’t he own the land that the new Taconic would be built on? Or is that just a rumor.

  12. B Scofo
    June 3, 2014 at 5:38 am #

    Hey Planet, think you could look into this?: http://www.law360.com/cases/50a16afe3e15cd69af0042de
    Maureen Boino v. City of Pittsfield, Tracey Benson, old PHS principal. Over employment discrimination.
    Boino is currently a “teacher” at PHS but has been extremely unpopular throughout the years with everyone — teachers, students, parents. It’s warranted in my opinion. Just stumbled across this last night and couldn’t find anything else.

    -B.Scofo