PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2014) — As one of THE PLANET‘s most astute commentators put it, where does one begin? Joe Pinhead‘s astute query does point out a tough one: With so many things crashing down now in the city, and particularly around its increasingly weakened and besieged mayor, it’s tough to know where the launching pad is located.

PLANET VALENTI: Rock solid for The Truth.

We choose to begin at where the buck stops. That’s the corner office in Pittsfield, now occupied by a petty man consumed by political paranoia and engaged in a panicked attempt to block this website from reaching a group of largely innocent victims he has held hostage for far too long. The hostages are those who work inside City Hall at 70 Allen St.

They are the grunts, left out of the mayor’s pay raise proposal that includes all managers, department heads, and, of course, himself (he’s put in for a 40% pay hike).

Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s blockage of this website has taken what was already low morale and pushed it so far down, it’s beginning to look like up.

We have sent an e-mail to the mayor expressing our reaction to this development and, again, inviting him to engage in dialog. We shall be publishing that e-mail soon, plus any response we might get. When the mayor doesn’t respond, we will share that with you!

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Meanwhile, as The Empty Suit (TES) was spending time obsessing over THE PLANET’s rising influence in the city as his rapidly wanes into what appears to be unofficial “lame duck” status, the current crime wave has accelerated. Since Friday, there have been at least three shootings, several stabbings, and numerous other “incidents” — most unreported — plaguing downtown Pittsfield.

Apparently, Pittsfield has reached the tipping point with street crime and violence. The police department cannot keep up with it and that the mayor, in a complete state of denial, has only accelerated to odds in favor of the thugs on the street. At this point, anyone connected with the city who gives the petrified company line about how great everything is in the downtown will be exposed as either a toady, out-of-touch, or ignorant.

The best advice one can give anyone — native but especially visitor and tourist — is to stay out of Dodge. If you must go, go in small groups and preferably in the daytime. At night, be particularly wary of walking to a parked vehicle. The situation wouldn’t be so bad if only citizens had the sense that the city’s nominal “leader” grasped the situation.

As you recall, as reported here exclusively, Mayor Bianchi stated at a recent (and “secret”) “crime summit” that the wave of violence was caused by one man. We’ve tabbed him TOM (The One Man). Bianchi said, to the astonishment of participants in the meeting, that the crime wave was the work of this lone dude. He told downtown leaders that after the cops caught TOM, all the problems would be over and it would once more be the sun come a-shining on the sweet upstreet harvests.

Thus, the legend of TOM was born.

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THE PLANET, and you, our dear readers, know differently. The downtown crime is the result of a confluence of factors:

* A lack of a strong, local economy (rising cost of government, shrinking tax base, the failure of PEDA, etc.)

* The influx of all sorts of needy, scammers, mentally challenged, drunks, homeless, welfare recipients, illegals, and others who will consume huge amounts of local services and contribute nothing back in return. Want The View? Take a stroll up and down North Street, with eyes wide open.

* Drug traffic from New York City, Hartford, Springfield, and other locations.

* Gang activity that follows the drug market as surely as the sunlight follows the rooster’s crow.

* The assorted riff-raff (prostitutes, hustlers, and the like) that follow such a scene the way vultures circle a carcass.

Consider: With all this, Dan Bianchi’s GREATEST CONCERN is …

to make sure no one in city hall can access this website!

If this wasn’t true, you would accuse us of resorting to fiction.

With that, we present the following story. We credit Andrew Amelinckx for his reportage and The Boring Broadsheet for presenting it with large print above the foldThe BB has been showing faint signs of life, and THE PLANET hopes it continues.

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Three shootings, one stabbing within 6 hours overnight in Pittsfield

By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff,

POSTED:   06/20/2014 02:22:10 PM EDT
PITTSFIELD — Police responded to three shootings and a stabbing within the span of six hours overnight Thursday and Friday. No one was hit by the gunfire, but a man was treated for stab wounds.

Detective Capt. Patrick F. Barry said the shooting incidents took place between 9 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the area of Dewey Avenue, North Street and Burbank Street in Pittsfield. The stabbing also is believed to have occurred on North Street.

No arrests have been made in connection with these incidents.

In the stabbing, an 18-year-old male was treated at Berkshire Medical Center for “non-life threatening wounds,” according to Barry.

On Thursday, at about 8:50 p.m., police responded to the area of Dewey and Robbins avenues for reports of shots fired, but were told by area residents it was only fireworks. Investigators later learned that a shooting had occurred.

A witness told police the shooting was on Dewey Avenue.

Barry said a silver sedan was seen turning onto Dewey Avenue from Linden Street “at a high rate of speed” at the time of the shooting.

“The vehicle is believed to be involved in the shooting,” he said.

No physical evidence was recovered from the scene.

Less than two hours later, police responded to the vicinity of the Family Dollar Store at 631 North St. for reports of shots fired and a stabbing. But when they arrived, neither victims nor perpetrators were located at the scene.

A short time later, the 18-year-old turned up at the hospital with stab wounds. Barry said the teen was “less than cooperative” with investigators.

Police believe the stabbing happened in the store’s parking lot.

There were bullet holes in the store’s window, said Barry, and both shell casings and projectiles were recovered at the scene. Investigators are treating the shooting and stabbing at this location as related events.

Barry said it was too early in the other shooting investigations to determine if they too are related to the stabbing and shooting on North Street.

The third shooting occurred at 3:22 a.m. in the area of Tyler and Burbank streets.

According to witnesses, two black males were seen walking east on Burbank Street arguing, the shots went off and the men fled the area.

No physical evidence was recovered.

The 3 a.m. shooting marked the ninth confirmed incident of gunfire in the city this year.

Police are asking that anyone who has information about these crimes to call them at (413) 448-9700.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:,
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx

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The story received several comments. Here’s the best, from Jeff Ferrin:

Of course in the ever increasing violence I have yet to hear from “ANY” City officials from either the corner office or any other agency to include the DA’s office on what is being done in a proactive instead of reactive manner to address this problem. It is not only drugs and gangs driving the violence, but absolute stupidity amongst our youth of today.

This topic could be discussed for weeks on end with plenty of blame to go around regardless of race. The City of Pittsfield is circling the drain and nobody seems to care as much about that as they are about promoting the damn arts and downtown.

With no jobs, loss of businesses, the largest population loss of any city or town in the commonwealth, influx of transients, drug dealers and thugs coming in from all over, illegal and more often than not stolen weapons, increased burglaries, and other thefts, huge increase in the use of Heroin, more and more babies being born into poverty and so on and so on.

Pittsfield is slowly becoming another Chicago. We have mayors wanting 40% raises while still holding a job with the employer he worked for while campaigning but no money for true infrastructure work or fire trucks. The priorities of this city are so far out of wack. Criminals within the city management structure who have bilked this city for millions over the years and got away with it.

When does it end?
When do parents take responsibility as parents?
Kids be respectful?
Leaders be held accountable?
The younger generation stop believing they are entitled?

I agree with Anna. The violence is of the whole human race. But we as humans are the only specie who has the ability to control and stop that violence in our own corner of the world. True leadership, involved parents, involved clergy, involved youth and mentors and judges who were not so damn easy on sentencing of repeat offenders sure would be a good start.

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The only other thing we can say at this point is that if you are concerned with the turn of events that has put a once-proud city on the brink, contact the mayor’s office.

You can also share your opinion regarding his decision to block THE PLANET from city hall. He can be reached at:

— City hall, Mayor’s Office, 70 Allen St., Pittsfield 01201 … 413-499-9321 …

— Global Montello (where he works his other job), 100 North St., Suite 301, Pittsfield 01201 … 413-442-1967 …

— Cell … 413-441-2387.

Good luck!


“Yes, that heartless chase / Of trivial pleasures was a poor exchange . For books and nature at that early age.”William Wordsworth, “The Calling” (1805).




  1. Luke
    June 22, 2014 at 10:54 pm #

    News from the land of tortured dreams…

    The mayor said that he was unable to comment on the recent crime wave as it is a Personnel Matter and unable to be shared with the public.

    ” City HR Director, John DeAngelo said the city’s posting for Director of Crime Wave Activities was posted for only 7 days to expedite fillng the position. He continued to reiterate that only outside criminals will be considered, due to the city’s policy of not promoting from within..

    The Berkshire Bugle said that recent untoward activities have been noted but that details were unavailable..

    In an update, the Mayor has appointed a select subcommittee of the city council to look into the matter and increase the school budget to purchase 7 new school buses to remove the non-criminals from the City.

    Several council members commented that the recent events were just city workers taking what was theirs given their lack of raises. They commented that the mayor’s raise will ensure that he does not take part in any such events.

    or maybe I dreamed it….it’s so easy to confuse reality and fantasy in the city of Pittsfield..or is it the town of Pittsfield, since, at this rate, it won’t be a city much longer.

  2. nostrodumbass
    June 23, 2014 at 4:19 am #

    The good thing is that the hospital (BMC, former PG) is located within minutes of these crime infested areas. Also good is police response time is 20 mins to 1 hour.

    If you get stabbed or catch a stray bullet, you have a good chance of surviving. Provided it does not hit a vital organ. Chances of bleeding to death are reduced due to the location of emergency services.

    Also thankfully, due to Romney/Obamacare, you cannot be turned away from care due to your life threatening need of medical services.

    Cell phone technology and 911 can bring help much faster. Can you imagine if all this happened in the 1950’s or 60’s? You would have to crawl to a pay phone and hope you had a dime. Then again, TOM was not a problem back then.

    Once the mayor catches TOM, the streets of Pittsfield can return to Mayberry USA. Thanks to the mayor, those in need of a daily “fix” can avail themelves of the “free” methadone clinic convieniently located in downtown Pittsfield.

  3. Rafael
    June 23, 2014 at 6:50 am #

    Nothing proactive will ever be done about the crime in Pittsfield. You see, being proactive requires foresight, intelligent planning, and outright hard work. And we all know that’ll never happen.

    • C.J.
      June 23, 2014 at 7:19 am #

      Pittsfield’s Acting Police Chief, who after the Mayor is accountable for the public safety, is a myopic young man, who honed his crime fighting strategy and skill ( as well as his generous six figure salary, new city vehicle, and very generous pension), on the mean streets of Pittsfield. He is well educated, articulate, and rhetorically skilled at piblic speaking.He is very proactive in the acquisition of the latest high tech crime fighting gadgets. He has hired a prognositcating crime analyst .His new wave approach to law enforcement will eventually catch the bad guys and make the city safe again….Right ???

  4. levitan
    June 23, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    Clever – you remove all responsibility from the PPD, Judges, and the State Government that likely pushes the thugs to poor cities and dump it all on one man. (As if one Mayor of a small city could be responsible for 20 years of social decline. “Oops! I broke the Social Fabric!”)

    Why didn’t you just provide a link to the Berkshire Eagle report?

    • Not true
      June 23, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      The mayor is the dumping it all on one man – TOM.

      There is a chain of command. A hierchy. A pecking order.
      The Mayor gets the credit or all the blame.
      The guy acting as the chief of police answers to the mayor.

      Is this horrible economy all Obama’ fault?
      Of course not, but he gets all the blame.
      Its all Bush’s fault. Right?

      This mayor has see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil policy.
      Putting cops on walking beats is one thing he could do.
      But that would be too dangerous.
      For the cops that is.
      Besides what cop wants to walk a beat when he can drive a police car and stop at Dunkin Donuts.
      At least this acting chief does allow concealed carry permits unlike the former chiefs.

  5. B Scofo
    June 23, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    This is awful, there’s no doubt about it. There needs to be action, of course. But I think it’s important to maintain context. Crime happens EVERYWHERE. A lot of people like to play the “Pittsfield card” as if nothing bad ever happens anywhere else. My daughter spends time in Boston and frequently feels unsafe in her surroundings. Look at this log from various neighborhoods of Boston:

    Crime is not discriminatory. Do things need to change? Yes. But they need to change everywhere. I’m proud to live here. And I will continue to spend time downtown and give business-owners patronage. You should all do the same.

    There’s a lot to be proud of in our community. Let’s keep working on it together, make change, go to meetings, contact our representatives in government. RUN for city government if you so choose. Unhappy? Do something. Walk to the walk. Contrary to popular opinion here, there are a lot of wonderful people doing great work for the people in this area.

    I’m glad to have a forum here to talk about such issues, but let’s maintain the reason why we talk so much about it: we care. Let’s not be cynical and sensational 24/7.


    • Magic
      June 23, 2014 at 9:28 am #

      Mr. Scofo

      I too am downtown daily (because I work here) will never come alone at night. Personally, I have lived here all of my 70 years, grew up on the West End, which I don’t even drive through after dark and seldom during the day. Never shop downtown, there is nothing here for me.

      Your daughter in Boston is probably safer than we are, sorry Mr. Scofo, this is not Boston, Springfield, Albany, NYC. I want to feel safe here and I do not

      • B Scofo
        June 23, 2014 at 9:59 am #

        I will politely disagree with you. My daughter is absolutely not safer in Boston. Bodies are constantly pulled from the Charles, muggings happen everywhere — including inside college campuses. Serial rapists in Back Bay AND the North End. My daughter was groped by a man on the Red Line, part of the city’s public transportation, just a few months ago.

        The facts speak for themselves. The crime rates in three of the cities you mention (Boston, Springfield, Albany) are far higher than Pittsfield. And it’s per capita.

        • Gene
          June 23, 2014 at 11:36 am #

          My daughter lives and works in Boston. She ha never had a problem there and feels safe wherever she goes.

          “Bodies are constantly pulled from the Charles River …” That type of exaggeration shoots down what had the makings of a good post. The other thing I will never buy is saying things are comparitivtely better here by finding some other place real or not that someone else claims is worse. The point of this discussion is to take the first step in solving a runaway problem on crime, that is to admit the problem exists, which the city and mayor aren’t doing.

          • B Scofo
            June 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

            I’m happy your daughter feels safe, believe me. But mine doesn’t.

            “Crime is not discriminatory. Do things need to change? Yes. But they need to change everywhere.”

            I said that above. I’m not about complacency.

            And yes, bodies ARE consistently being found in the Charles. Just go a quick Google search for “body in Charles River” if you don’t believe me. Just a few days ago, a severed head was fished out. It’s not sensational, it’s fact.

    • Rafael
      June 23, 2014 at 10:20 am #

      B Scofo,
      CComparing Pittsfield to Boston is downright ridiculous. Nice try at smoke and mirrors. Why don’t you compare Pittsfield to North Hampton, both small cities of simlar size within 40 miles of each other? Oh that’s right, NoHo’s crime rate is much lower than Pittsfield’s and would make your argument impotent.
      And by the way, NoHo’s property tax rate is lower than Pittsfield’s and has a better school system, safe/beautiful downtown, alot of very nice restaurants, nice parks, the list goes on and on.
      Also, I have reached out to both my ward councillor and the at-large councillors on this ridiculous bloated budget put forth by our part time mayor and they can’t even bother to get back to me. So, you see, people do try but Bianchi and his cronies just don’t listen. They have their own agendas and to hell with the people.

      • B Scofo
        June 23, 2014 at 10:38 am #

        I don’t know what your definition of “much” is.
        It’s not smoke and mirrors.
        Northampton is 253.3
        Pittsfield is at 266.7
        The US average is 297.4

        I’m aware the mayor could do much more. I’m not really a big fan of his. I just hate seeing all the sensationalized postings.

        • levitan
          June 23, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

          Thanks, B Scofo, nicely said.

          It does come down sensationalism – a byproduct of cartoon style simplification.

          Gene: bodies are pulled from various rivers in Boston and violent crime against the public is a benefit of living in a large anonymous city such as Boston.

          In Western MA, we pack heat – perhaps that’s why the muggings are few and far between.

          • B Scofo
            June 23, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

            Thanks for your comment, Levitan. I don’t know if firearms are the reason, but nonetheless, it’s worthwhile to look at the data and see the realities.


        • Rafael
          June 23, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

          B Scofo,
          Why don’t you (and others on this blog) research how many shootings and murders there are in Pittsfield vs. how many in Northhampton, instead of putting up a bunch of meaningless stats? The difference is startling. Remember, it’s violent crime we are speaking of here.
          I therefore find you guilty of “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.”

      • B. Clairmont
        June 23, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

        Rafael, I heard your message, and understand your points.

        But to be fair, you NEVER asked anywhere in your e-mail for a response back to you. You just asked that we not vote for the budget.


        • Rafael
          June 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

          Mr. Clairmont, I believe asking a coucilor to vote for or against anything should get a response. You seem to have no problem responding to my blog entry, even though I did not ask for one, right? Regardless, it’s common courtesy to at least send back an acknowledge to an email – your third line above would be all that I could ask for.
          But no worries, I knew all along my email was a total waste of time as this budget will pass.

        • Indoctrinaction is not Education
          June 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

          Wow Barry reads your site Dan.
          I bet the mayor does too.

          I bet all the coucilors do and all city hall employees do too.
          Especially now that TES made such a big deal about it.

          Dan, the media has noticed the comments section of their sites is having a huge impact on the people’s thinking. So, now they are removing it

    • Pat
      June 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

      Nobody is being cynical or sensationalist. The facts speak for themselves. Pittsfield is a dangerous place and the powers that be should be adressing the issue rather than trying to sweep it under the rug because it doesn’t make them look good.

  6. Iggy Rat
    June 23, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Heroin is flooding in from Afghanistan. The demand on the streets for these opiates and other drugs is very high.
    As long as this exists, so will crime.

    If there was no demand then there would be no problem. The economics of supply and demand are at work here.

    Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs and that was how many years ago? The problem is far worse than it was then.
    Something is not working.

    The users of these drugs aren’t talking because they don’t want to loose their supply. The dealers aren’t talking because they are making lots of money.

    Think about it. Would you rather make $3,000 – 5,000 USD a day. Cash. Tax free. or Work at the family dollar making $80.00 a week?

    Joining a gang like the Bloods or the Crips affords one an opportunity for strength in numbers. Armed protection. Protection of turf.

    The street thugs from NYC and New Jersey have found a virtual paradise in Pittsfield. They are fulfilling a need although be it illegal, the temptation far outweighs working a nothing job.

    Keeping the stats out of the news and banning Dan’s blog do nothing to solve the problem. In fact even help the problem.

    • Spectator
      June 24, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      $3000- $5000 a day? You must be HIGH.

  7. Scott
    June 23, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    One small point. If anything people like to do what they’re told not to. So in effect if your site was blocked from the city hall server then it would only spark talk and curiosity thus people will just read it when they get home. Also the mentally challenged/homeless shouldn’t be lumped in with the drug dealers, prostitutes, junkies/drunks and gang bangers.

  8. Jonathan Melle
    June 23, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Pittsfield politics sucks. They raise taxes, while thousands of people leave the area. They spend many tens of millions of dollars on North Street, while the criminals run the downtown with multiple shootings and stabbings.
    When I was a young man, one of my biggest fears was for me to end up on North Street, Pittsfield, because I somehow screwed up in my life. As a middle-aged man, I feel blessed to have moved far away from Pittsfield. I kiss the ground in thankfulness that I don’t have to live in Pittsfield.

    • Still wondering
      June 23, 2014 at 10:22 am #

      Yeah, so now you hang around downtown Manchester, New Hampshire.

      • Jonathan Melle
        June 23, 2014 at 11:05 am #

        I haven’t lived in Manchester, NH, in over 5 years. I moved out of Manch in early-Feb of 2009. I live in Amherst, NH, now. I moved away from Pittsfield over 10 years ago now. Part of me misses Pittsfield because that is where I grew up. But then I read about all of Pittsfield’s problems and I am happy I don’t live in Pittsfield anymore.

        • levitan
          June 23, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

          If you’re reading about Pittsfield’s problems is primarily PV, you just might be getting a skewed perspective.

          Sure, toss the bums out – sweep them clean, but do it for the right reason – adventure, fun, and experimentation are the best justification for revolution.

          • Jonathan Melle
            June 23, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

            @levitan (anagram of valenti) –
            Planet Valenti uses facts about Pittsfield politics:
            * Taxes are raised every single year
            * The tax base is shrinking every single year
            * Over three thousand people have moved away from Pittsfield over the past 14 years since the year 2000
            * Pittsfield politics is totally corrupt!
            * The vested interests totally control the system in Pittsfield
            * The Good Old Boys serve the special interests
            * Mayor Dan Bianchi has not changed anything in Pittsfield over the past 2.5 years
            * Downtown Pittsfield is crime-ridden with violence, drugs, and gangs
            * Most people avoid downtown Pittsfield, especially at night
            * Pittsfield public schools are underperforming and overpriced
            * Pittsfield’s public school bureaucracy is excessive with excessive salaries
            * Teen pregnancies double the statewide average in Pittsfield
            * There are thousands of people receiving welfare in Pittsfield
            * There are no living wage jobs in Pittsfield
            The question any community should be asking is:
            “Would the average middle class family want to move to our community?”
            A second question any community should be asking is: “Are we business friendly?”
            I agree with Dan Valenti about Pittsfield politics!

          • Gene
            June 23, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

            If anyone is reading about Pittsfield from only one source, of course that information will be slanted. Smart people use many sources, as I do.

            It just so happens that when all is digested, this site most often nails story after story in terms of truth, importance influence on local community etc etc.

          • levitan
            June 24, 2014 at 8:33 am #


            Of course there are living wage jobs in Pittsfield and in its environs. Maybe not enough to support all who’s looking, but where isn’t that true?

            Dom Enterprises, Berk Bank, hospitals, medical services, and various manufacturers including Leneco.

            Teen pregnancy is a problem, and you can lay the blame for years of importing welfare bums into town from larger cities to take advantage of State money. Government and Free Market do not make savory bedfellows.