PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, JULY 10, 2014) — THE PLANET, through a variety of means, is privy to a lot of information and what the National Security State imaginatively calls “intelligence.” Much of it comes to us raw. From there, we examine and, if called for, turn it over to our various experts from among the Few and the Brave in the Secret Squadron for decryption, analysis, and commentary.

The raw data hits the desk all over the place — up, down, over, under, around, and through. Some of it is quickly dismissed as being evidently dismissible, especially information that comes from the certifiably “Bat-Shit Crazy” among us, an official designation in the “Psychiatry” section of the Physicians Desk Reference.

Some of the surviving material gets the once over but quickly falls to the wayside of insignificance or irrelevancy. Still more of the items, though factual and true, never get published for one reason or another. Additional  happenings only indirectly make it into our reports here on the web or on PLANET VALENTI TELEVISION for the way they inform or add to a specific item on which we happen to be reporting. Still some other news tips are used as backgrounder, serving as wedge-and-lever with which we can move otherwise inaccessible information from its hiding place or prison.

This leaves us, then, with a small few items that actually deserve (and therefore receive) THE PLANET’s full attention. One recent example is The Empty Suit‘s “outed” media policy. As we have conclusively demonstrated, TES, the mayor of Pittsfield, drew up the moth-eaten plan in panicked haste, intending it to remain secret and having as its dual purpose to (a) gag his department heads on the matter of press relations and (b) instill fear in every city employee that if they dare speak to a member of the press without permission, especially any newshawk with the initials D.V., they will be called right quick before the Gestapo on Rug Row, corner office, 70 Allen St.

THE PLANET has devoted much coverage on this site to the media policy. Last week, we gave it a full hour of treatment on PV-TV (to view, go to YouTube, and in the search engine type “Planet Valenti;” it’s the show from June 26).

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Then there are a few items that fall into the potentially and potently “Significant” or “Big” categories. These are stories with the capability of becoming “Huge,” depending on what happens (d’ya like these technical terms). THE PLANET usually gets apprised of them straight from the Mr. Ed‘s mouth, with the proviso that we cannot break the news unless (a) our source(s)  gives us the OK or (b) until the source(s) themselves take the first step to release the story.

At the moment THE PLANET sits on two such interesting numbers. As we just said, we have given our word to embargo the stories until certain times that only we and the other parties know. Most likely, you won’t be hearing about them from us first, though we will point out that we were the first among the local media to learn of the two potential bombshells.

We can tell you this much. The first story has to do with information (in the form of serious allegations) that currently sits before a regionally supreme adjudicating authority.

The charges involve a current city official. The back-up material in support of the allegations appears to be well sourced, documented, and detailed.

If the allegations prove true, they could be ruinous of reputation and career.

The second story has to do with (what else?) water. H2O has been making news regularly in Pittsfield for some time, most recently the raw-sewage dump.

No. It’s not the state DEP’s investigation into the leakage of raw sewage from the Pittsfield Water Treatment plant.

The effluence poured unabated for some time into the badly-abused Housatonic River and onto adjacent farmland from what appears to be an entirely preventable lapse in competency from management there. An aside: Just how much harm will humankind inflict on the those innocent waters?

As high as those stakes are, we’re talking about ones higher.

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Consider this a clue … or not. You might be interested to know that in terms of cost to taxpayers, the most expensive city departments are:

1. School Department — $56,524,399 officially budget to PSD but, adding costs hidden on the city-side ledger, topping $100 million.

2. Police Department — $8,550,093

3. Fire Department — $6,545,997

4. DPU Waste Water — $4,288,204

5. DPU Water Treatment — $4,117,686.

Why the city does not treat the two DPU cost centers as one, we don’t know. Both are water costs under the management of the Department of Public Utilities, Bruce Collingwood, head. Combining them into one, we have $8,405,890, just a shade under the cost of the police. But wait. There’s more.

You also have to add $412,686 from the sewer enterprise fund. This brings the total to $8,818,576!

That makes the DPU’s water facilities the second most expensive part of the city for taxpayers. Bet you didn’t know that.

For that $8,818,576, Pittsfield citizens have received and are receiving — if the mounting anecdotal evidence proves accurate — incompetent management that takes unprofessional blundering to astonishing levels, even by Pittsfield’s standards.

If and when these two stories break, pretend like you’re surprised, because you didn’t hear it here first.

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Finally, THE PLANET is approaching what may be a break-through in the identify of the recipient of the largesse that former Greylock Federal Credit Union loan officer Michael Dicenzo is accused of providing. Dicenzo faces nine criminal charges, including four charges of tax fraud, according to documents filed last month in U.S. District Court. Court papers allege that the charges are connected to a kickback scheme involving “a Pittsfield-area businessman.”

For some mysterious reason, the documents did not name the businessman.

THE PLANET is getting close to the identity of “a Pittsfield-area businessman.” There is still more “due diligence” needed. No one has yet provided a good reason why the name of the “businessman” was kept out of the public proceedings. If there is such a reason, we would like to hear them. Short of that, well, we see a curtain. We hear a distant echo: “Don’t look behind that curtain!”

You know what we usually do when we hear that order!

We will ask the reader to refrain from naming names. If you think you have information on this subject, please contact us privately! THE PLANET puts you on your honor, ladies and gentlemen, as ladies and gentlemen.

Stay tuned.


“A boy and his dog, when out looking for the rainbow. Oh, what did they learn, since they did that thing together?”Van Morrison, “Under the Redwood Tree,” (1970).





  1. nostrodumbass
    July 10, 2014 at 5:22 am #

    Interesting stuff Dan.

    Very interesting that this mystery businessman’s name is being hushed up, even kept out of court documents. Unless something happens to Dicenzo or his case is dropped, at some point the name will have be released as he was the one allegedly giving the kickbacks to Dicenzo. Only makes everyone even more curious as who he is.

    Water. “Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” I think water will take front and center stage soon. California is facing the most severe drought in history and they selling water at record high prices. Detroit has shut its water off to many of its citizens who can no longer afford to pay for it. Fracking all over this nation is contaminating untold amounts of underground water supplies including peoples wells. They are mixing tons of toxic chemicals with water and injecting it into rocks at high pressure to get a little more gas out of the ground. All for a few more bucks. Its also sucking all the rivers dry. Some people’s tap water is now flammable, right from the tap.

    Something tells me good clean water is going to become very expensive. This nation started off with pristine quality water everywhere. The Hoosey can not take much more punishment. The mayor has stated that Pittsfield dumps raw sewage into it at least 3 to 4 times a year. The Hoosatonic river is loaded with PCBs. Silver lake, well we all know what happened there. Even rain water now has in it chemicals that it never did before.

    Water is essential to life itself. Filters, distillation and treatment is now necessary. Good god, what have we done to this planet? All in the name of corporate profit. There was enough good clean water for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.

    That city official in deep doggy doo, well, we will just have to see. Its almost expected these days that corruption is rampant among city officials. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

  2. Linda
    July 10, 2014 at 8:41 am #

    Dan the two stories are intriguing. I am taking a guess on the first one and I think I’ve got it. I’ve lived in Pitts. since the 80s and never have seen the city so mismanaged, so corrupt so untrustworthy.

    We appreciate your work. Only hope other in the local media follow. Can’t they see that this kind of investigative work is what people(readers listeners viewers etc) want?

  3. Luke
    July 10, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    DV, An article about what is NOT said.. a real first and the ultimate teaser.. Only in Pittsfield can there be an article about the NEXT scandal BEFORE it breaks… It is a tribute to your diligence and to the trust your readers have in you that you can break a story before it breaks!!

    Congratulations – opening your column each day is an anticipation of always intersting development!

  4. Spider
    July 10, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    Dan: Are you able to clarify the “current city official” further? Is he/she an “elected” official?

  5. Jonathan Melle
    July 10, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    The bottom line in Pittsfield politics is that Pittsfield will never change for the better, it just gets worse and worse, a never-ending downward spiral. There are no jobs in Pittsfield. Thousands of people have moved away. The people who still live in Pittsfield are either on welfare or living off of a fixed income like Social Security. Pittsfield politics is totally corrupt. PCBs poison the ground, water, and air in Pittsfield. Downtown Pittsfield is crime-ridden with violence, drugs, and gangs. I wish I wasn’t born and raised in Pittsfield.

  6. Two Cents
    July 10, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    Has anyone noticed that PCTV is now charging per hour to watch live on-line stream coverage of city government meetings(and other programming like Dan Valenti) and that includes cable subscribers who already pay a fee for PCTV on their monthly bill. Something smells fishy here. Nice racket though…the longer the wind bags on the council and school committee talk, the more PCTV makes. The term “Public Access” television is now a joke in Pittsfield. Kinda like City Hall transparency.

  7. A personal matter
    July 10, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Dan, still no hire at Berkshire Works eh?
    I sincerely believe you have your finger right on the pulse. Your speculation about Nick was right on the money in my opinion.
    What was supposed to be a one week opening where the fix was in, advertised on obscure website, has shut down.

    I think what you effectively did was throw a monkey wrench right into the gears. It broke off the cogs and tines off the sprocket of the mayors machine.

    Perhaps he is waiting for it all to blow over (giving Nick the time to work on his golf game) and put Nick in anyway but he must know the immense damage that would do to him politically.

    I think you did spook him and he’s freaking out over it.

    • Johnny2Shoes
      July 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

      When Nick Mulligan stated he didn’t even apply for the position, it was only after and because DV exposed the possibilities of the outcome which sure looked and sounded as a backroom deal was in the works.

      • CJ
        July 10, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

        These comments = clueless. First off how does someone who is 27 years old with a few years of experience in the school system pass through the public as the Director of an Organization. Also the Mayor appointing a sitting city councilor to that position. Clue less that would never pass

        Second Dan Bianchi doesn’t not like or speak to Nick. Its very clear to anyone who knows anything about Pittsfield politics.

        Third Nick did Exactly what the planet asked him to do and that is resign to eliminate the conflict.

        I offered $1000 to anyone to show any proof of these claims iin Berskhire Works. To date no one even the Planet has been able to furnish that. Why would I put that on the line because I know for a fact there isn’t any.

        Second I bet that there would never be an application submitted by Nick. I was mocked on this website for that. Turns out I was correct.

        To date…No proof…No Application. Win for me.

        P.S. Golf Game Caccamo can swing a club quite well.

        • A personal matter
          July 10, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

          Allen. That’s like saying prove the government had anything to do with the Kennedy assassination. No proof. Win for you eh?

          Yet 70% of the American public believes the government did it and you’ll never convince them otherwise. The CIA and FBI files are sealed until they believe no one will care anymore. Its doubtful they will ever see the light of day.

          Ok you are friends with Nick and Bianchi and you shill for them. We get it.

          The mayor did have the fix in place and Dan Valenti’s reporting derailed it. You lose.

        • danvalenti
          July 10, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

          Appreciate the input, CJ. If you go back and look at what I wrote, I never seriously put forth Nick for the BW job. It was the satiric closer to a story that separately discussed the two issues. It did, though, take on the proverbial like of its own. That being said, if Nick was Fixed for the BW job, he wouldn’t have had to apply for it. He would get the nod, secretly, and then, at the last possible second, supply the application. It’s like if you ask a student to furnish an outline of an essay. They write the essay first, then create an outline that perfectly matched it.

    • danvalenti
      July 10, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

      I don’t know if Nick was the choice or not. I do know that our coverage of the Monterosso matter and the after-effects, including the hasty posting of the “nationwide search,” threw a big monkey-wrench into the process. Based on circumstantial evidence, there is reason to believe the Fix was in again, but our coverage prevented another “Monterosso”-type hire, which would only happen in darkness and with little accountability. Still, there are some interesting rumblings about what Plan B is. We shall have that before long.

  8. DowagerHat
    July 10, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    Nick and mayor Bianchi became friends on Facebook today?!

  9. amadaWell
    July 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    PCTV should be paying the Generalissimo!

    • danvalenti
      July 10, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

      Rumor has it that there is weekly, um, “tribute” that gets channeled into the Gen’s Swiss bank account. Just rumor, mind you.

  10. Winston
    July 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    Berkshire works (an oxymoron) cannot survive another political appointee.. People need whatever the best help there is that can be delivered. THe people are suffering so that the politicians cannot appoint their incompetent friends..

    Whatever happened to government of the people…

  11. Dave
    July 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    CJ(in black) along with anyone else who really gets Pittsfield politics knew that the Nick to Berkshireworks job was only a headline catcher with 0 % chance of happening. I love reading but I don’t take every feeler Dan sends out as fact, especially when it makes no practical sense. As CJ(in black) points out Nick stated that he never applied for the position, and why would anyone doubt that? I agree that Nick was brought in, backed by some powers to win the Ward seat, but the powers were anything but Bianchi supporters, so why do posters here still think that Dan squelched this back room deal? Remember, the reason the bus deal went through wasn’t a “Nick thing”, it was a switched vote by another. ….let me put out a DV special-Lisa Tully’s hubby for Berkshireworks Head…. is he qualified?

    • Mark Tully
      July 10, 2014 at 4:56 pm #


      Thank you for suggesting my name, but I respectfully decline your nomination. I am not qualified for that position, nor could I afford the pay cut.

      • Dave
        July 10, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

        Mark, I wasn’t suggesting but thanks for playing along. Now if Nick’s innocent golf game comment got the the reaction it did, your pay cut comment will surely get you a fancy new moniker.

      • danvalenti
        July 10, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

        Always knew you were a wise man, MARK!

    • danvalenti
      July 10, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

      Thanks, DAVE.

  12. Nota
    July 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    When looking at a position at City Hall, first and foremost one MUST be from out of town, that is key!

    • dusty
      July 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

      and ya better be able to follow the rules. Even if they are rules that seem to bend against your principles.

    • Silence Dogood
      July 10, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

      we don’t hire people dumb enough to live here

  13. Nota
    July 10, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    Maybe Caccamo could be an ambassador. We could create a job as official laison for the Sister City get togethers. Maybe he could join the European Tour as a pro. When his buddy Kerry leaves he can then be the New Secretary of State and join the world tour.

  14. Scott
    July 10, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    Love the Mr Ed reference and Van Morrison! Pitts water sucks and a connected GOB caught being shady what else is new. These people molest children, steal, deal/do drugs drink and drive consider me desensitized to pitts politics. On another note our rep TFB wrote me estatic about the dumping of new gun legislation and rewording of the new bill stating gun owners are better off with it than they were without it of course she was told this by by a third party I have no idea of her actual opinion I’ll wait for a reply and provide up dates on specifics. It makes me wonder how things would be if we went back to 1980. Thier own statistics prove gun crimes have risen since new laws took effect but they want us to believe just one more law and we will be ok. Yeah right.

    • danvalenti
      July 10, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

      Where else can you get Van the Man and Mr. Ed in the same place?

  15. PopKornSutton
    July 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    In all my years, I don’t ever remember drinking unfiltered water from my tap?

  16. amandaWell
    July 10, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    Concerning the pay for School and raise in Councilors pay endorsed by LOW. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and if it is, don’t let LOW fix it!

    • dusty
      July 11, 2014 at 1:46 am #

      LOW reminds me of Boenher

  17. Jonathan Melle
    July 10, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    Dan Valenti quoted in a news article!

    • Scott
      July 11, 2014 at 4:03 am #

      The last paragraph in the article says it all!

      “Mayor Bianchi did not return a call for comment in time for this broadcast.”

      • Jonathan Melle
        July 11, 2014 at 10:03 am #

        “Bianchi’s transparent gag order”
        The Berkshire Eagle, Letter to the Editor, 7/11/2014

        To the editor of THE EAGLE:

        In his letter defending his press policy (July 7), Mayor Daniel Bianchi conveniently ignores two important facts. First, he never meant for this policy to be made public. When he first issued it (June 24), he did so in a memo to department heads on hard copies that were hand-delivered. He wanted no electronic copy to exist, to prevent use of the “Forward” button.

        Second, because the policy was meant to be strictly internal, the intention wasn’t to “be efficient and responsive,” as the mayor claims. Rather, it was to serve as a gag order on department heads, who were instructed to refer all press inquiries into the mayor’s office. There, the mayor would decide who could respond and what to say, a lame attempt to block “negative” news in favor of the positive spin.

        After I obtained a copy of the policy and made it public, only then did the mayor acknowledge its existence. Prior to making it public, his office denied such a policy existed. When I called the mayor’s office and began reading from the policy, Julia Sabourin, his assistant, became flustered. Everything the mayor has said or written about the policy since then has been an attempt to cover his tracks.

        The last topic this mayor should ever address is “transparency.”



        The writer is an investigative blogger ( and TV host.

        This letter was updated on July 11, 2014 to correct the author’s hometown.