PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, JULY 21, 2014) — There was delicious irony displayed a couple weeks ago when Northeast Public Radio WAMC ran its story (on air and website) on the Pittsfield mayor’s gag order that is trick-or-treating as a “press protocol,” “media policy,” or whatever tired phrase the corner office may be using in its latest attempt to present a swine’s snout as a lady’s finger.

WAMC reporter Jim Levulis included this closing note to his report:

Blogger and former newspaperman Dan Valenti says his website was blocked on City Hall computers and has since been unblocked. Sabourin denies that ever happened. Valenti, who refers to Mayor Bianchi as “The Empty Suit” on his website and talk show, says he has been denied interviews with Bianchi for asking tough questions.

“If the city decides through the mayor that a certain reporter, broadcaster or member of the media is quote unquote unfriendly, they’re not going to get a call back,” said Valenti.

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

Savor that last line.

——– 000 ——–

A mayor who seeks to prevent every other city employee from talking to the press cannot be reached for comment and didn’t return a reporter’s call!

The Empty Suit is showing his age … 62 looking like 82. Causative factors? Hard to say. Lack of exercise? Junk food? Avoidance of Truth?

The Empty Suit has been peddling this gasoline-soaked press “policy” as a way to make city officials “more responsive” to the media. Sure. Reminds you of Orwell‘s 1984, where “Hate is Love” and “War is Peace.” This Owellianism, from a mayor who stands publicly accused of racism (Doreen Wade) and bullying (Craig Gaetani), can also be branded ironic.  Consider this remark that Julia Sabourin, the mayor’s mouthpiece, made to Levulis:

“Things have been running a lot more smoothly and we’ve been getting I think a lot more people involved in the press than were before,” Sabourin said. “Sometimes reporters have relationships with certain people in City Hall and they don’t always get to hear all sides of the story so we’ve been able to connect reporters with everyone involved in a project.”

As Orwell might have said, “Incommunicado is Communication.”

Sabourin, Miss Scopes Money Trial of 2013, occupies the position of Barbie Doll in the mayor’s outer office.

“Things have been running a lot more smoothly …” Barbie assures us. What “things?” “[M]ore smoothly” compared to what, exactly? As for the “relationships” that “reporters have with certain people in City Hall,” that has continued in spite of the policy. At least it has with this reporter.

” ‘… we’ve been able to connect reporters with everyone involved in a project.’”

What reporters? What projects?

Barbie doesn’t say.

——– 000 ——–

Then we come to this part of Levulis’ story:

“We always try and get every side of every story,” [Eagle editorial writer Bill] Everhart said. “And the best way to get every side of every story is with open communication and complete transparency to whatever extent is possible. So if the mayor has that concern his policy is not going to address it. It will probably make it even more difficult to get every side.”

An Eagle editorial published five days before the mayor’s letter questioned why the policy came about now during Mayor Bianchi’s second term.

“It’s really no secret that the mayor is not a great fan of dealing with the press [and] is suspicious I think of The Eagle in general,” said Everhart[.]

TES, forcing a smile, what they call a “s–t -eating grin.” (Photo: Commonwealth Magazine)

Bianchi is “not a great fan of dealing with the press.” Understatement rides again. THE PLANET concurs, more proof that the mayor has been in over his head since Day 1. The press policy has dragged him down further, or are the rumblings of a recall effort just the repetitious chirping of bluebirds?

——– 000 ——–

On Friday (July 11) The Eagle published this letter from THE PLANET:

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.

These comments are representative of the reaction our letter drew:

  • westernmassman • an hour ago

    Nice work Dan.

    Just too bad the Eagle couldn’t or wouldn’t do that.

    Than again, isn’t that a journalists job?

    And to think, he did it for free.

  • Mikes9152 • 8 hours ago

    Whenever politics is involved you know common sense will never Prevail!

  • Very good Mr. Valenti, keep up the good work, it’s all about Transparency

  • Sukoto • 15 hours ago

    Spot on.

——– 000 ——–

The mayor, hard at work, caught on a rare moment when he wasn’t working at Larry Global Mondello. (Photo iBerkshires)

People have caught on to Bianchi, whose entertainment of re-election at this point borders on the delusional.

There are more things coming down the pike than are dreamed of in TES’ philosophy.








“The great effectiveness of irony as a literary device is the impression it gives of restraint.”William Flint Thrall, professor of English, University of North Carolina, 1936.





  1. Ron Kitterman
    July 21, 2014 at 12:54 am #

    The last line in the article is my second favorite quote from the mayor ever, “Mayor Bianchi did not return a call for comment in time for this broadcast. “

  2. dusty
    July 21, 2014 at 1:40 am #

    Exactly how much time does Bianchi need to fulfill his pension obligations? Does he need another term or does this one cover him?

    • Spider
      July 21, 2014 at 3:08 am #

      He doesn’t need another term, but sources very close to him are saying that he most definitely will be running again!

    • Wilson
      July 21, 2014 at 3:12 am #

      Not going to get rid of him that easily now that each term is worth half a million dollars. And after that the million dollar term will probably be within reach.

    • danvalenti
      July 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

      Actually, yes! And hand-written notes.

  3. Ronnie
    July 21, 2014 at 6:57 am #

    I for one will never vote for Bianchi again. Never. Anybody but him. That’s my choice next yr. for mayor.

  4. Franz Kafka
    July 21, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    This policy of stonewalling will bring the mayor down.

    If all information released to the public has to be filtered through the mayor, can you truly trust ANYTHING he says?

    To think that he put it in writing and signed it and then intended for the people to never see it, is mind-boggling.

    Thank goodness for a true patriot, Dan Valenti, who exposed this.
    Anyone who votes for Bianchi in the next election, truly has to be out of their mind.

    • danvalenti
      July 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

      I appreciate the nod. You raise the crucial point: The mayor crafted and disseminated the policy in secret. Our “network” caught him red-handed.

  5. tito
    July 21, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    We would thank people like the Krofta Company for trying to save Pittsfield a great water system.

  6. nostrodumbass
    July 21, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    Why is it that the people are always faced with voting for the lesser of two evils? The lesser of two evils is still evil.

    Why are elected officials never held accountable for their campaign promises? Why is it that once in office, they do what they want and the people be damned?

    Bianchi has painfully proven he is in this for the money and not the people.

    Ah, therein lies the answer. Its always “follow the money”. He who has the “gold” makes the rules.

    Even when a leader gets elected and does the will of the people, his brains end up splattered all over a public street. Or, they are just ignored. Case in point: Ron Paul won Massachusetts by a landslide in this past Presidential election. That’s a fact. Yet the Republican national convention refused to seat his delegates. They gave Ron’s votes to Romney, illegally. How was there ever allowed to happen?

    Does that not call into question whether the whole election was even legitimate? Was Obama really elected or selected?

    Those in power never do the will of the people. Once you become council president, the whole concent decree becomes a non-issue. The people of Pittsfield voted not once but twice to have Mall on North St. Both time overwelmingly YES. However, there is no Mall on North St., nor will there ever be one there.

    The suits proped up boards on the front of the Berkshire Antheneum telling the public we needed a new library. They got it and all of a sudden the old building is fine after all. Is that paid for by now?

    The people are still on the hook to pay for all the older school buses plus a whole fleet of new ones.

    We needed a state of the art “pothole machine” right? Is that paid for?

    Now they say we need another new fire truck and a new high school.

    At least twice the people of Massachusetts voted NOT to have a seat belt law. They just keep bringing it up over and over until they get what they want. Just look at how they got the new buses.

    The people of America overwhelmingly were against ObamaCare and still are. Yet it is now the law of the land and the supreme court has ruled it as a new tax – the biggest ever in the history of this country.

    Obama says he has a pen and he’s not afraid to use it. He bypasses Congress and now writes executive orders on almost a daily basis.

    A government by the people and for the people simply does not exist.

    • danvalenti
      July 21, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

      Your comments, NOSTRO, make salient points and ask great questions.

  7. Gene
    July 21, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    The Krofta technology is real and could save Pittsfield millions. Why would the mayor and his crew possibly want to spend millions more? That question troubles me.

    • dusty
      July 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

      Why did they need a bigger airport? Why did they need to do over the Colonial? Why are they doing over the Common? Why do they want to build a new school? Why do they like mega buck projects? Because there is much more money to get lost between the city accountant and the contractors. Start with your consultants. Do you think anyone would ever be allowed to see the total books on any of these projects?

      Do you remember the Big Dig? Well Pittsfield is just a whole bunch of smaller but quite lucrative “big digs”.

  8. Jonathan Melle
    July 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    Pittsfield politics is a case study in how NOT to govern a community!
    Thousands of people have fled from Pittsfield over the past couple of decades.
    Thousands of jobs have been lost in Pittsfield, too.
    Pittsfield is known as a place with very high taxes, zero economic opportunity, and thousands of people on welfare with teen pregnancies doubling the statewide average every year.
    No middle class family would choose to move to Pittsfield, unless they came from someplace worse….if there is someplace worse than Pittsfield.
    Pittsfield is NOT business friendly. PEDA has attracted nearly zero business tenants since 1998 – 2014.
    Pittsfield will never change for the better. Pittsfield is only going to get worse and worse. Pittsfield politics is totally corrupt and on a never-ending downward spiral!

  9. Dave
    July 21, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Time for a change! RISE

  10. Nota
    July 21, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    It cost money to send kids to college, two jobs and the wife working might make ends meet. a five hundred grand contract seems feasible.