TOM, THE MAYOR’s IMAGINED ONE MAN CRIME WAVE, REMAINS AT LARGE (BUT WHERE ELSE CAN A PHANTOM GO?) … plus … HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION PERFORMS GREAT DISSERVICE TO WADE, BIANCHI … MALUMPHY, O’LEARY TAKE OVER MEETING FROM CUTLER AND EMBARRASS THE CITY
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2014) — THE PLANET continues to shake up the city and make a difference. After a rash of what are being called “commercial burglaries,” the Pittsfield Police Department issued a report noting an “unusually high” number of robberies and break ins in April, double the previous month’s total.
Seems like TOM (The Only Man) is not only the world’s greatest criminal mastermind, but he’s the fastest working dude since Speedy Alka-Seltzer. He would have to be both if what The Empty Suit (TES) says is true. During a secret summit on crime held recently in the corner office, the mayor made the amazing statement that the current crime wave was not a matter for concern, since the work is all being done by one man (TOM). Crime will vanish when the police catch the guy. Simple.
Not even Jack Webb drew it up that fancifully clean. At least on Dragnet, the stories were true.
“Are you kidding?” That’s how one of the dumbfounded sources in that meeting characterized the mayor’s comments. Another called TES’ remarks “clueless.” The meeting included Chief Mike Wynn and others, including multiple representatives with heavy downtown interests. Needful of saying, the mayor’s head-in-sand comments struck participants as insensible, oblivious, and not at all helpful.
Police have yet to release May statistics, but a police source speaking on conditions of anonymity said May “probably doubled up again” from April. The exact number wasn’t available, but our source said s/he thought it would “top 100.” Even as we write this, we received word from a reliable source that TOM broke into Adrian’s Diner, The Graphic Shop, and “a couple other places too.” An attempt was made to break into Berkshire Fabric and Wallpaper, our source said, the “front door smashed by [a] lock.” That would place TOM in the Wahconah Street area. Perhaps a warning is due to the Pittsfield Suns to be extra careful with the cash receipts.
That TOM sure is a busy guy. THE PLANET advises the mayor to hire this guy once he gets caught. With a work ethic like that, the city sure could use him. The productivity gains alone will pay for the 40% pay raise TES is looking to award himself.
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HRC Wimps Out Again on Wade Case
The recently re-constituted Pittsfield Human Rights Commission (HRC) coughed up a hairball Monday night.
The HRC, in position after a month of evidence gathering to make a pronouncement on the validity of Medford resident Doreen Wade‘s accusation that Mayor Dan Bianchi treated her in a threatening and racist manner, decided instead to take a powder and wimp out.
Wade charges that during a meeting with Bianchi, the mayor threatened her verbally and made her feel unsafe with what amount to gesturing that Wade likened to a criminal assault. She also alleges that Bianchi used racially charged language when he dismissed her request for city help in starting a business in Pittsfield. She said that the mayor began “yelling and screaming” at her, accompanied by physically invading her personal space and shaking his finger in her face.
The mayor has denied those charges. Local NAACP President Will Singleton confirmed that Bianchi shook his finger.
Was Bianchi “yelling and screaming?”
“I wouldn’t say he was shouting,” Singleton said, but, “He was obviously angry.”
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The HRC women dominated Chairman Josh Cutler into near-silence and acquiescence Monday, according to one of THE PLANET’s spies at the meeting. One wonders how long We the People can keep buying the excuse of Josh’s tender age for his underwhelming performance in the public sector— or is that why Bianchi wanted him on the commission in the first place, to be hen-pecked into submission?
Commissioner Susan O’Leary said, “If two other departments much higher than this commission [the state AG and the federal Justice Department, which have received formal complaints against Bianchi from Wade, according to the Medford businesswoman] are investigating it, I’m sitting here wondering why we’re investigating it also.”
THE PLANET would respond that if O’Leary has to ask that question, she probably isn’t fit to serve on the HRC.
Then Pummelin’ Pam Malumphy, one of Bianchi’s political sweethearts, chimed in: “We’re a local body, and the reason that we’re here, as volunteers, is to look seriously at the complaints to determine if they need to go somewhere else. If we had known a month ago that you [addressing Wade] had already filed a complaint with a much higher body, with lots of paid employees who can look at that complaint, I don’t think I would be sitting here right now.”
Pummelin’ Pam not sitting anywhere where justice has to be decided in a case involving her political benefactor suits THE PLANET just fine. Malumphy’s illogic here is breathtaking. In effect, she’s taken the local governing body — which only has the most at stake here — out of the picture because the commissioners aren’t paid. Malumphy’s mercenary bent speaks for itself. Guess all the talk of payola in the city (pay raises, $5Gs for school committee members) has gone to Pummelin’s poorer judgment. Got to admit, though, that the name looks good on the letterhead and the resume.
What the women on the HRC never told you is that there’s a good reason why they should perform their own investigation, independent of the state and the feds. Do you want us to list some of those reasons? Very well:
(1) The recently reconstituted HRC must establish its legitimacy, given the many complaints from the city’s minority communities, particularly blacks, about unfair and racist treatment. This case gave it the perfect opportunity to do so, but apparently the HRC thought it could just sail through for a while without having to deal with a thorny one. The commission is acting like it’s overwhelmed, not up to the task. It seems tentative and panicky, two symptoms of a political and not a judicial body. You’ll recall that it failed to take action on the Wade case at its May meeting, citing the need to collect and study the evidence. Right.
(2) Compared to the state and federal bureaucracies, the local commission is in much better shape to deal with this matter in a speedy, comprehensive, and just manner. Commissioners are here on the ground, where the participants in the case live and work. HRC members know their way around the community and its politics. Instead of using these qualities to its advantage, the HRC whiffed. THE PLANET hopes Cutler’s softball at bats are going better than his HRC whacks. Under his directorship, the commission has been slow, superficial, and political in its two meetings thus far. He also shows signs of having lost control of the group. That tends to happen when Pummelin’ Pam gets going.
(3) The commission members need to establish that they will not be mayoral toadies. Unfortunately, their handling of the Wade case to date suggests they are afraid to assert their authority. We shall draw our own conclusions.
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Look, there are only two possibilities here: Either Wade is telling the truth about Bianchi, or Bianchi is telling the truth about Wade when he dismisses her accounts of their meeting. If the first is true — and if the HRC is a political front — one would look for precisely the delaying tactics we have seen so far. If the second is true, one would expect the HRC to have speedily briought the investigation to a conclusion, the opposite of the way it has acted.
In addition to the complaint to the local HRC, Wade has lodged her charges of racism with the state and with the feds at the Justice Department. That gave the third-down punters on the HRC another excuse to avoid dealing with what is a politically embarrassing issue.
Remember that the HRC members are Bianchi appointees.
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She said. He said. Wade vs. Bianchi.
The local HRC was given a great opportunity to establish its mettle and determine for itself the truth. If Wade is telling the truth, the HRC has perpetuated an injustice. If Bianchi is telling the truth, the HRC has left the mayor tainted with false accusations. Either way, the HRC has embarrassed itself and the city.