THE EMPTY SUIT: CLUELESS AS USUAL, THIS TIME ON CRIME … MAYOR REFUSES TO ADMIT, LET ALONE ADDRESS, CITY’s OUT-OF-HAND LAWLESSNESS
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
EPISODE 6 of Planet Valenti Television was our most ambitious yet. It is available on the PCTV website and will be up on YouTube sometime soon. The YouTube link for all out shows is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjP38gC2WQcYx71Cz0tjwoQ/feed
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(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEEKEND EDITION, JUNE 13-15, 2014) — Let’s see: Dottie’s, five break-ins and counting. Mission Tappas: Four break-ins and counting. The Colonial Theater and the Berkshire Museum Gift Store: robbed. Two more shootings in Springside Park. This is just a mere representation of the tally.
Gunfire, stabbings, and beatings the order of the day for “certain parts” of the city formerly known as Pittsfield.
Welcome to Dodge City.
You won’t find Matt Dillon in the marshal’s office. Instead, how about a chief who’s interim or “acting” standing of many years has become a standing joke. Look, either Mike Wynn is good enough to be your chief or he isn’t. That would require an intelligent executive decision, however, on the part of The Empty Suit that occupies the corner office on Allen Street.
Meanwhile, on Pittsfield’s Mean Streets …
The influx of gangs, hoods in hoodies, drug pushers, cheap heroin, and other assorted critters of the night — who come here from other cities because living off of taxpayers is so easy — has combined with the lack of good jobs, the shrinking “citizen population,” the outflow of young people, and the aging and passing of The Greatest Generation to create a volatile scene, especially in downtown and environs. We spent the morning yesterday on North Street, first for a meeting and second, spending time talking with merchants and store owners.
To a person, we heard disgust, dismay, and displeasure at the level of inaction and, as one put it, “outright deceit” that came from the mayor and from Pam Tobin, the paper pusher who most recently headed Downtown Pittsfield Inc. and did next to nothing but collect a salary. Pam, we hardly knew ye.
Please don’t lecture us about how crime is “happening all over,” because (a) it’s not and (b) it’s irrelevant. We don’t care about “all over.” We care about Pittsfield.
What matters is that lawlessness and violence have become an accepted part of life in this once proud and prosperous city. What matters is that little by little, the scum have not only taken over, but the city itself invites them here as a condition of most of the state grant money that acts as municipal heroin. These do-nothings and deadbeats consume taxpayer dollars, the public resources supported by that money, and contribute little to nothing in return.
Please also don’t push for “more money for the police.” That solution won’t solve the problem:
“As hard as it may be to believe, there is no direct relationship between the number of police officers and the rate of crime in a community” (Richard Moran, The New York Times, Feb. 27, 1995). More recent studies confirm what common sense can see — Professional police departments, which are barely 150 years old in America, have not lowered, and do not lower, crime rates. Adding man (and woman) power to a police force does not reduce the incidence of crime. As Moran puts it, “[D]oes anyone seriously believe that a cop on patrol can do anything about the social, political, and economic causes of crime?”
Economics is the Ultimate Cause of Pittsfield’s Decline; Fiscal Restraint and Bel-Tightening is the Solution
Of these three — “social, political, and economic causes of crime” — lawlessness in Pittsfield has as its ultimate cause the failure of a generation of political leaders to rebuild the local economy after GE packed up the left town. Year after year, politicians played a “short game,” pursuing politicies only popular for winning the next election. That amounted to blindly granting pay raises, percs, and benefits to the Big Three public employee unions: Teachers, police, and fire, in that order. It also meant what it means to this day, that local officials will not admit there’s a financial emergency, will ignore the looming unfunded-liability crisis, and will continue with the political short game until the city goes belly up.
That is certain, unless the city begins, now, this month, to begin cutting the cost of running government in a town where services, population, and jobs are shrinking while the municipal budget and tax rates are rising.
Throwing money at the problem of crime (and at the dum-dums running the city’s failing schools) hasn’t worked. All it’s done if inflate these three budgets past the point of taxpayers being able to sustain them. Nonetheless, taxpayers keep hearing knee-jerk calls for more dollars to be indiscriminately thrown to the local cops. It won’t help one bit. Almost all police work involves showing up after the crime has been committed. The number of arrests and convictions are not a measure of successful crime fighting but of failure of local offices to react swiftly enough to a social and moral breakdown.
Again, from Moran: “The number of criminals sent to prison [or jail] does not depend on how many people police arrest but on how much space there is in prison.”
Indeed, in 1992, there were 14 million arrests nationwide, even though the total space for local, state, and federal pens stood at 1.2 million. About 850,000 of those cells were occupied. In 2005, there were 2.3 million people in American prisons. Today, the number is almost 2.5 million. The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners.
There’s only one proven solution: Rebuild the local economy. That could be done, except that in Pittsfield, the very people charged with doing this — the mayor, councilors, PEDA, all the various jobs think tanks, resource centers, and agencies — refuse to do it. Why they refuse is a tantalizing question. Would you believe the answer involves politics and not having the stomach, the guts, or the political will for digging up a lot of long-buried “bodies?”
Beautiful: The City’s Head-in-Sand Mayor Thinks All This Crime Is the Work of One Man
All seriousness aside, as Steve Allen used to say, Pittsfield residents can breathe easy on crime. Why? Because we all know that every bit of the recent downtown crime wave is being accomplished by The One Man (TOM). Once we catch TOM, all the crime, the gang activity, and the drug use and drug running that fuels them will instantly go away. Take a puff, Pittsfield: It will be 1958 all over again! Pop the corks! Bring on the dancing girls! Call the roller of fat cigars!
Pittsfield, your idiot mayor has spoken.
THE PLANET can report with confidence that the Mayor actually blamed the recent downtown crime rash on one man. He said this said at a recent secret meeting involving the police, business leaders, and politicos regarding the Wild Wild West that has become the city. We got this from sources who were in the room when The Empty Suit made the remarkable statement.
The mayor told the stunned room that [paraphrasing] that “one man was responsible for all the breaks ins.” He told Chief Wynn to “catch this guy and the problem will go away” [again, not the actual words but accurate to the gist of the words, as sources, plural, reported them to THE PLANET].
We humbly suggest to our Right Honorable Good Friend, the ostrich mayor, a crime-fighting option that may be more suited to his taste. How about he stations Nick “Ball Bag” Caccamo up on the top of the Legacy Bank building in the heart of beautiful downtown North Street. Arm him not with a Glock or assault rifles but with a big bucket of golf balls and a three-wood. When the next burglar tries to break into an establishment, Nick tees up a ball and drives it into the back of the burglar’s skull. The city is safer and Caccamo gets to work on his golf game. The mayor can propose adding Nick as “golf pro crime coach” to the police department. Let’s start him off at $100,000 a year.
Seriousness Through Humor
Last night on Planet Valenti Television, we aired a PSA spoof. We showed a hand holding an egg labeled “Pittsfield.” The voice over intones: “This is Pittsfield.” The holder breaks the egg on the metal edge of a stove and releases egg and yolk into a small pan sizzling with olive oil. The egg instantly creates a crackle of cooking and immediately the egg begins frying. The voiceover again: “This is Pittsfield on Bianchi. [PAUSE] Any questions?”
Ladies and gentlemen: Imagine yourself as one of the following:
(a) a business owner looking for a new location so he or she can expand;
(b) a recent college graduate looking not just for a job but for a career;
(c) a responsible, clean, law-abiding family wanting a change of scenery;
(d) or almost any other case where one might consider moving into Pittsfield or becoming involved with it professionally.
Knowing what you know about the city’s politics …
… and knowing what you do about Pittsfield’s present part-time mayor and Global Montello worker…
… and knowing that, since he has a $100-a-plate fundraiser upcoming he will be seeking re-election, this time to a four-year term, in 2015 …
would you for a second consider the move? Would you come to the city?
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Until city leaders begin dealing with the fiscal vice that will, unless stopped, squeeze the economic life out of the town and into bankruptcy, the gravy train will come to a painful, screeching halt within 10 years, and maybe five.
For that to happen, of course, Bianchi must go, and in his place a Deliverer. We’ll take a Dictator at this point … benevolent, of course.
Have a great weekend!
“And I made a rural pen, / And I stained the water clear, / And I wrote my happy songs / Every child may joy to hear.” — William Blake, from the introduction to Songs of Innocence, (1789).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.