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.
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(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2014) — THE PLANET starts today with a victory lap.
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:
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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.
PS He has also given an order to all city workers not to speak to you or return your inquiries.
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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?
(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.
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.
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.
“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.