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!PLANET EXCLUSIVE! !UPDATE! — MAZZEO NIXES COUNCIL VOTE! CLAIRMONT’s PETITION ASKS THE RIGHT QUESTIONS RE: SENSELESS MOVE OF CITY HALL OFFICES … VOTE WILL BE KEY TEST OF CITY COUNCIL … IF OKd, MAYOR (OR REP) MUST DISH ANSWERS AT SEPT. 2 MEETING

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

UPDATE, ADD 1

Just when you thought the city’s leadership would allow the tiniest sliver of hope for We The People, city council president Melissa Mazzeo has come in with the tweezers and attempted the removal of the annoying piece of wood.

THE PLANET shall have more on this Monday, but for now, let us be the first to tell you of an apparent fast one Mazzeo is trying to pull on citizens and taxpayers. THE PLANET, moreover, is virtually certain that Mayor Dan Bianchi is behind this latest attempt to screw Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, Pittsfield’s “average citizen” Little Guys.

Here’s the short and sweet. Mazzeo took Council Barry Clairmont‘s petition on “100gate” (see story below) and — under council Rule 27, Charter section 2-7 — referred it directly to the mayor, circumventing the council.  If this referral stands, it would avoid an up-down vote on Clairmont’s petition, something vitally necessary to determine where the council stands on Bianchi’s ethically challenged proposal regarding 100 North St. The proposed move to 100 North will cost taxpayers $126,000 in rent the first year, plus a boatload of other costs associated with the move. Total cost will probably exceed $400,000.

This has the mayor’s grimy fingerprints all over it.

Just when you though Pittsfield government couldn’t get any sleazier …

THE PLANET might add that Mazzeo failed to respond to our inquiry into this highly unusual and suspect move. We made the request at 11:10 a.m. Friday morning.

The plot thickens …

————————– 00000 ————————–

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEEKEND EDITION, AUG. 8-10, 2014) — After THE PLANET returned to the FORTRESS last night fresh off of another exhilarating hour of Planet Valenti Television, we went to the city of Pittsfield’s website, clicked on the city council link, and looked for the agenda for the upcoming meeting on Tuesday Aug. 12. Typically the agenda gets posted Thursday afternoon. This time, it wasn’t. We don’t know why.

[ED. NOTE: PV-TV will air today on Time Warner Access channel 16 at 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 11 p.m. It will also be available sometime soon on YouTube, search "Planet Valenti."]

We were eager to see this particular agenda for a petition filed by councilor-at-large Barry Clairmont requesting that his colleagues approve the forwarding of a list of relevant questions regarding Mayor Dan Bianchi‘s risible plan to needlessly uproot 40 percent of city hall offices into the second floor of 100 North St. THE PLANET has been referring to this episode at “100gate.”

TES: Missing in action.

In another of those remarkable coincidences that happen with remarkable frequency in Pittsfield, that is also the building citizen “Dan Bianchi” has his offices in his other job as manager for energy company Larry Global Mondello, a.k.a., Global Montello. The fact that an agenda had not been posted on Thursday must also be a “Pittsfield Coincidence.”

Undeterred, we went to the source (“of course, of course. He’ll give you the answer that you endorse”). THE PLANET contacted Clairmont, asking for a copy of the petition he filed. Clairmont responded immediately. Now that, my good friends, is transparency in government — not this phony business of campaigning on “transparency” only to win office and turn into a combination of Howard Hughes and DickensMiss Haversham.

Petition Lists Key Questions on ’100gate’

Here is Clairmont’s petition:

Clairmont “requests that the City Council, pursuant to the City Charter, Section 2-7, ask Mayor Bianchi to respond to the attached questions and any follow-up questions that may arise, in person, at the September 2, 2014 City Council meeting. Following the Mayor’s responses to the attached questions I request that the City Council vote to express its opinion to either support or reject moving city departments to an off-site location.

Here are the questions Clairmont wants his collegeagues to forward to Bianchi:

General Information:

1.Who is moving to 100 North Street?

2. What is the purpose for moving these departments out of city hall?

3.Will any of these departments maintain an office in city hall or their current location?

4.What specific data analysis was used in deciding that this move has merit?

5.What were the results of the cost/benefit analysis that was conducted prior to this decision?

6. How will the vacant city hall space be used?

7. What communities were surveyed to learn their permitting procedures?

8.When will this move take place?

9. Did you explore any city hall reconfigurations to accommodate all the inspectors inside of city hall?

10. How many permits were issued last year that involved more than one

department not currently located in city hall?

Request For Proposals:

1. What were the specific site location priorities contained in the RFP?

2.What was the process used to develop the RFP?

3.What locations did city officials look at prior to issuing the RFP?

4. What terms and conditions were discussed with any potential property owners prior to issuing the RFP?

5. How many responses did the city receive from the RFP and who responded?

6.Who reviewed the responses?

7.Who was awarded the lease?

8.What was the purpose of the $100,000 line item contained in the capital budget noted for renovations?

Lease

1. What are the terms of the lease? * duration of lease / * annual rental costs / *utility costs  / * insurance costs

2. What are the estimated costs of the physical move?

3. Are there any new revenues being collected to cover the costs of the lease?

4. What is the specific line item in the FY15 budget from which these lease payments will be paid?

On-Line Permitting

1.What on-line permitting software is being considered?

2. What is the cost for purchasing on-line permitting?

3.What are the annual license fees for on-line permitting? 4.What are the advantages of on-line permitting?

Conflict of Interest

1. What was the response from the State Ethics Commission regarding the potential conflict of interest relating to your private business being located in the same building in which you are now entering into a government lease agreement?

——– 000 ——–

BARRY CLAIRMONT: Asking the right questions. (Photo The Berkshire Eagle)

This list impresses with its comprehensiveness, its neutrality, and its avoidance of political considerations. It has no conspiracy of “grassy knoll” type queries, and this give both the list and the petition itself a deserving air of legitimacy.

Each councilor will have to go on the record  regarding this petition. THE PLANET cannot imagine anyone opposing the mere asking of questions of a poorly explained, highly questionable move. In fact, we would think the mayor’s most ardent supporters would welcome the chance to have the mayor state his case directly to We The People through their elected representatives.

After the council votes, the situation then branches. If the council approves the petition, the pressure shifts squarely to Bianchi. The city charter requires the mayor to respond.

 ”100gate” is probably not going at all like the mayor had first planned: a done deal consummated in the dead of night under an information “lockdown.” THE PLANET took care of that. It also appears that The Empty Suit did not want to have anyone on the council question this move. Clairmont’s petition handles that end. Political Lesson #1479 for Mayor Bianchi: Never buy a cigar at a joke shop.

Councilors Polled; All Respond except Mazzeo, Cotton

 THE PLANET sought input prior to the vote Tuesday on how councilors were leaning. Keep in mind that none of them had seen the specific questions included in the petition as of the time of their responses earlier this week. We present the comments as received:

Ward 1 LISA TULLY —  I do agree that Mayor Bianchi has a lot of explaining to do.  To me it seems more sensible to use the money “that was found” to purchase an on-line permitting software program than spend approx $126,000  a year for rental space.  I would have to see the questions on the petition before I agree to support any document but I am sure the questions will be fair.

Ward 2 KEVIN MORANDI — This is in response to your questions: (1) Yes I will support this petition. From what I know about the proposed move to 100 North Street which isn’t much other than what I read in the Berkshire Eagle article this petition is to ask questions and hopefully get answers from the Mayor.There has to be checks and balances in government and the taxpayers of this city deserve an explanation as do the city councilors. (2) I feel it is a waste of taxpayers money and the mayor went behind the backs of all eleven city councilors in doing this move to a private building. There was no due process. I would like to see the online permitting process utilized. Some communities in Berkshire County already provide this service. Let’s use all of our modern day technology to our advantage. All of these offices should stay under one roof in City Hall. Utilize all the space in that building if needed. (3) Where did the money come from? How much is in this fund? Because their wasn’t any communication from the mayor’s office on this there are only assumptions out there and in my opinion that is not what open government is about. It should answer to the people.

Ward 3 NICK CACCAMO — I need to see the wording of the petition before I comment directly on that. However, for something that has had no details presented to us, there is an awful lot of rumors of what might be happening. Moreover, the basement at city hall is not a very good working condition for any department. I feel sorry for anyone who has to work without natural light.

Ward 4 CHRIS CONNELL — See THE PLANET’s column of Monday, Aug. 3. Connell said he would support the petition in principle, pending a look at the specific questions.

Ward 5 JONATHAN LOTHROP — Well – yes I would support questions and an explanation for sure.

Ward 6 JOHN KROL — [ED. NOTE: PLANET'S QUESTIONS ARE LISTED. KROL'S COMMENTS ARE IN BOLD FACE] (1) In principle, do you support of such a petition? Based on what you know about the proposed move to 100 North St. at this point, would you support submitting the questions to the mayor requiring his answers?

I’m definitely in favor of the mayor answering basic questions about this. It’s something that Councilor Bianchi would have demanded of the administration. 

(2) Can you give me your opinion of such a move of city offices?
It’s difficult to comment fully on an issue on which we have received so little information. But, my initial thought is that this seems to be a 20th Century solution to our modern day problem. When people are efficiently and effectively conducting business with others across the country and around the world with the use of technology, I wonder if any other options were considered in the effort to streamline our permitting process. 
(3) What are your concerns, if any?
I’m sure there are some who have concerns about how the administration completely circumvented the council by design. This is an issue, no doubt. However, I’m mostly concerned about the return on investment for our citizens and those individuals the administration says that it is trying to help. If the sole purpose is to make the permitting process more efficient, were all options (like the use of online portals and other technology) considered? Was there a cost-benefit analysis conducted? These are all questions I have not seen answers to.

Ward 7 TONY SIMONELLI — 1. I haven’t seen the petition but in theory I believe there are some questions that need to be asked.  I’m not certain of the “particular” questions Councilor Clairmont is asking but am willing to take a look.
2. In my opinion, I’m not in favor of moving the City offices out of City Hall.  I believe other arrangements could be made to streamline the permitting process.
3. Concerns I have…the initial cost of moving out of City Hall, where it is currently rent free.  The on-going cost of maintaining the offices in a location outside of City Hall.
4. Finally, I have received several calls as well as approached on the street from citizens regarding this issue.  Not one has voiced their support for this move.

At-large MELISSA MAZZEO — Did not respond.

At-large CHURCHILL COTTON — Did not respond.

At-large KATHY AMUSO — I have not received information on this process yet.  I don’t feel we need to move into a new building with permanent fixed cost.  If we need to, I would be looking to renovate city hall to accommodate this.  I don’t know if there are issues with renovations in city hall – especially in the basement.  We do need changes to the permitting process.  I have heard complaints on this for years.

——– 000 ——–

You can make what you wish of the comments. Two general points stand out for THE PLANET:

(1) Based on these responses, a majority of the council appears ready to flex its muscle and give the mayor some sorely needed push back. Again, we will remind our Right Honorable Good Friends that they are co-governors of the city. Bianchi claims he does not need council approval for this move. He claims to have “found” the money for the dumb proposed move. TES needs to be reminded that he is not a king, a despot, a strongman, any any other head of an authoritarian state. If we want that, we’ll dial up The Generalissimo.

(2) Clairmont is simply requesting that the mayor do what he should have done voluntarily: Provide citizens with clear answers on this cloudy move. For some reason, though, Bianchi has acted with complete arrogance with respect to the council on the matter of “100gate.” Any councilor who opposes merely asking We The People’s CEO to report to them will run a high risk of severe political consequences. Disgust at Bianchi’s performance as mayor seem to be sharply on the rise. His “negatives,” as they say in the political world, are through the roof. Being tied to his coattails would not be advisable for any potential 2015 candidate who wishes to remain viable.

You might want to reserve your seats early for the Aug. 12 city council meeting. It’s going to be interesting.

Have a great weekend.

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“Send me the pillow that you dream on, so darling, I can dream on it too.”Dean Martin, 1960s.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

170 Responses to “!PLANET EXCLUSIVE! !UPDATE! — MAZZEO NIXES COUNCIL VOTE! CLAIRMONT’s PETITION ASKS THE RIGHT QUESTIONS RE: SENSELESS MOVE OF CITY HALL OFFICES … VOTE WILL BE KEY TEST OF CITY COUNCIL … IF OKd, MAYOR (OR REP) MUST DISH ANSWERS AT SEPT. 2 MEETING”

  1. Jonathan Melle
    August 7, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    Jimmy Ruberto spent tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on downtown revitalization during his 8 year regime over Pittsfield politics. Dan Bianchi wants to spend even more than his predecessor on Pittsfield projects like a new high school plus unnecessary rental expenses. Pittsfield’s finances are unsustainable! Pittsfield’s population has shrunk by many thousands of people over the past couple of decades. Pittsfield’s tax base is diminishing while Pittsfield’s taxes are growing. Pittsfield politics is heading towards a fiscal cliff (nilan)!

    • Jonathan Melle
      August 8, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

      Pittsfield politics sucks! It doesn’t matter who is in political office in Pittsfield. Pittsfield politics has sucked, still sucks, and will always suck. Pittsfield politics sucks!

      • Jonathan Melle
        August 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

        Another set of shootings in Pittsfield. What a suprise!

        Pittsfield should have a legal disclaimer: “Move your family to Pittsfield at your own risk!”

        NEWS ARTICLE:

        “Two men suffer gunshot wounds early Saturday in Pittsfield”
        By Phil Demers, Berkshire Eagle Staff, 08/09/2014

        PITTSFIELD — Two city men were shot at Adams and Second streets early Saturday following a memorial in honor of a man who died this time last year from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound.

        Seven pistol shots rung out just after 1 a.m., some of which struck the two men, who occupied a vehicle at the time, causing non-life-threatening injuries, according to Pittsfield Police Department.

        The pair drove the vehicle to Berkshire Medical Center, where one of the victims was treated and released and the second remains.

        Before long, the city saw more gunfire.

        An hour later, on Wahconah Street, police reported a fight outside Adrien’s Diner where a man was “knocked out in the street,” followed by “numerous” gunshots, according to scanner traffic.

        When authorities arrived, however, the area was clear, save for several shell casings found near the former Getty Station at 186 Wahconah St.

        Pittsfield Police Det. Marc Strout said the department has not established any connection between the two shootings.

        “It’s an ongoing investigation as to what occurred,” Strout said. “We’re following up on leads.”

        Several people witnessed the first shooting at Adams and Second streets, as it occurred around the time of a well-attended memorial for Chandler Lynch, a 21-year-old Pittsfield man who accidentally killed himself while playing with a handgun Aug. 7, 2013.

        Just before the shooting, police responded to a noise disturbance on Second Street to disperse the crowd.

        Police also responded to Berkshire Medical Center to disperse a crowd who’d gathered in concern for the victims following the shooting.

        The vehicle driven by the two victims was taken in by Pittsfield Police for a crime scene analysis.

        “We’re working hard on this case,” Strout said.

        Anyone with information concerning the events Saturday may contact Pittsfield Police Det. John Gray at (413) 448-9700.

        http://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/ci_26306927/two-men-suffer-gunshot-wounds-early-saturday-pittsfield

        • double up on methodone
          August 9, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

          TOM strikes again

    • Johnny2Shoes
      August 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      Old news Jonathan. How about keeping up with the here and now news that is affecting the taxpayers. We get that Roberto blew millions etc..

      • Jonathan Melle
        August 10, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

        Dan Bianchi is spending more money than Jimmy Ruberto did. That’s my point. Jimmy Ruberto’s spending was excessive, while Dan Bianchi’s spending is even worse. Pittsfield’s tax base is shrinking every single year. While taxes are growing every single year in Pittsfield. Who is paying the bills for Pittsfield politics?

  2. B
    August 7, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    I think that counselor Clairmont did a fine job with the petition that he wrote. Counselor Clairmont is a CPA and partner of his firm, he knows what type of questions to ask to protect our city from wasting our precious money. I am a retired chief financial officer and respect the questions that counselor Clairmont is asking and the mayor should be giving the answers. If the mayor tried to get away with what he’s doing at City Hall in a private sector position he would surely be fired. I believe that Attorney General Martha Coakley just filed a suit in court against Evan Dobel because of all the tricky Dicky things he pulled at Westfield State. Maybe Coakley should be looking very closely at what’s going on in Pittsfield and save us before it’s too late.

    • C. J.
      August 8, 2014 at 5:14 am #

      Agree; Rumors and innuendo are rampant. There is a very seamy underbelly to all this that reverberates retroactively for years within Pittsfield’s closed political cliques. Much of which remains verbal bravado by those who benefitted and think they got away with it.
      The AG may not be the disinterested investigative entity. I understand the Feds were here scrutinizing a prominent city dept. and results are not public yet.

  3. B
    August 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    I think Bianchi has bullied too many people in Pittsfield and the lawsuits are going to start piling up. I hope the lawsuits aren’t just against the city of Pittsfield (which is sad) but personally go after Bianchi himself. I feel for Bianchi to be acting the way that he is; he is truly a sick person and needs to be removed from office. These are just my thoughts but I think that someone higher up in the state government needs to look into this matter.

    • levitan
      August 9, 2014 at 8:01 am #

      What are damages to the worst complaint which is that the Mayor stood up and turned out to be taller than his guest?

  4. dusty
    August 8, 2014 at 2:01 am #

    These are great questions.

    No way in hell Bianchi stands before the council and answers them. He is not stable enough.

    Kind of glaring that Cotton and Mazzeo joined in the lock down regarding your question. Why is Cotton even on the council? Did Bianchi have his victory celebration at Mazzeo restaurant?

    • levitan
      August 9, 2014 at 8:04 am #

      Come on Dusty, you’re a smart guy. Have you ever seen or heard this Mayor be bellicose. I lived in North Adams almost a decade under Barret, and the rumors there were far worse, yet no one threatened to sue him nor accused him of being unstable.

      I maintain that even the worst accusation that Bianchi is ‘not nice’ is not a very strong charge.

      • B
        August 9, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

        TES, it’s more than not nice he’s intimidating, threatening and can cause someone to have a breakdown. These are all legitimate reasons to go out on Workmen’s Comp. until the problem is solved. Our insurance rates can go up sky high because of his behavior and I don’t think he can control it. He is turning out to be a very costly mayor, needs to go.

        • levitan
          August 10, 2014 at 9:55 am #

          TES, it’s more than not nice he’s intimidating, threatening and can cause someone to have a breakdown

          Thus far, we have heard nary a word from someone showing up at the clinic with PTSD. Not even a brief moment of breakdown. Horsepuckies.

          These are all legitimate reasons to go out on Workmen’s Comp. until the problem is solved

          Good luck getting a doctor to sign off on that.

          Our insurance rates can go up sky high because of his behavior and I don’t think he can control it

          You’re working it, B., but I don’t see you getting a date.

          • B
            August 10, 2014 at 10:07 am #

            I known of a few cases all from one company and different doctors. If you work for Hitler or Mussolini it can happen. I’m not saying that TES Is Hitler but close to it.

        • levitan
          August 10, 2014 at 9:59 am #

          In short, health insurance policies do not cover WHAAA-bulances.

          • B
            August 10, 2014 at 10:08 am #

            Not health insurance policies but workman comp.policies.

          • levitan
            August 10, 2014 at 11:08 am #

            Ok, B. you got me. I don’t really know how Workman Com policies work since I’ve been happy doing my own stitching in the employer’s bathroom.

            Does one collect by self-diagnosis or do you need a Doctor’s diagnosis.

            Do WC cover battered egos?

          • levitan
            August 10, 2014 at 11:11 am #

            They ought to keep a stretcher in the closet for all these fainting spells.

          • B
            August 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

            The mental stress can also cause physical illnesses. The person would have to be diagnosed by their doctor and or a psychiatrist. They will also have to have an appointment with the Workmen’s Comp. doctors. I know this because I was in charge of all insurance policies for the different companies that I have work for over the past 30 to 40 years. The people who must fill out a Workmen’s Comp. form at their place of employment. Should the company refuse to submit the Workmen’s Comp. form to the insurance company then file one with the state. The company that refused to file for you will be punished by the state with FEE and if they do it constantly it will be one heckuva fee.

          • levitan
            August 11, 2014 at 8:29 am #

            Ok, if one of these abused workers find time in their busy schedules to get a psych evaluation that is positive, then I’m all ears. Otherwise, I believe you need to recalibrate your Stress Meter.

  5. Ron Kitterman
    August 8, 2014 at 4:01 am #

    ” You can’t trust water: Even a straight stick turns crooked in it.” – W.C. Fields

  6. Sinatra
    August 8, 2014 at 4:05 am #

    Of all the Las Vegas type singers (which Bill Murray proved anyone can do), Dean Martin had the best voice.

  7. Broke er
    August 8, 2014 at 4:47 am #

    Is anyone selling any derivatives on whether or not the mayor will answer any or all of these questions?

    Smart money is on him saying this is political witchhunt and taking the 5th Amendment.

    If he did appear before the council and someone were to press a few buttons, it would cause him to have a full blown meltdown in public.

    My guess is he will cowardly send someone like DeAngelo or Degnan to cover for him.

    • levitan
      August 9, 2014 at 8:05 am #

      5th Amendment? Really – is this a Senate Hearing?

  8. Its your money
    August 8, 2014 at 5:09 am #

    So far we know:

    Costs of renovations to 100 north st.
    $100,000.00

    Just the first year’s rent
    $126,000.00

    Internet software to get permits online
    $100,000.00

    So, just to get this thing off the ground or out of the basement will cost we the people $326,000.00 +

    Do the math.

    Costs to leave things the way they are and have always been which is working and always has:
    ZERO

    Hit any potholes lately? Don’t plan on them getting fixed because the city says there is no money to fix them.

    • Down the road
      August 8, 2014 at 9:21 am #

      Do you realize that this over 1/3 of a million dollars?

      If Dan Valenti has never reported this it was slated to go through quietly, on a double lockdown gag order. This story was never supposed to see the light of day. To this day it is still shroudded in secrecy.

      How is it even possible for the mayor to spend over 1/3 of a million dollars and turn city hall upsidedown without the city council’s approval. Its mindboggling.

      Another thing is, if this goes through, the city will be on the hook each and every year hereafter and the city council will have to include it in the budget. So, the mayor acts alone on this and then in essence forces it into future budgets. Can the city council strike it out each successive year? Would they?

  9. Spider
    August 8, 2014 at 5:25 am #

    If Clairmont’s petition does pass….I believe the mayor will refuse to answer the questions. This assumption is based on his past stubbornness. And, of course, Degnan will back him up.

    Then what????

    • Tim
      August 8, 2014 at 6:48 am #

      Why should he respond? Council requests like this are routinely snubbed by PEDA and PPS.

    • levitan
      August 9, 2014 at 8:05 am #

      If answering is not required, would it be wrong for Degnan to inform him of that?

      • levitan
        August 9, 2014 at 8:06 am #

        (Ugh, I can’t believe I responded to someone one calls himself a spider.)

  10. Nota
    August 8, 2014 at 5:26 am #

    As lousy as TES has been. Krol should not be using a high school radio station to trash this or any mayor as a sitting council member. Nor trash anyone, this isn’t the intent of the station. and to LOW, just shut up, you’re worst than TES.

  11. Deuschland Politics
    August 8, 2014 at 5:41 am #

    So Madame President Mazzeo has ceased responding to The Planet?

    Perhaps a Furor’s famous finger wagging session has made clear to her that his new gag order press policy not to speak to Dan Valenti has neutered her.

    Whose your daddy Melissa?

    At least Barry took his “dressing down” and is still willing to stand up the tyrant.

    • B
      August 8, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      It seems that maybe Melissa is so afraid of TES that she won’t even send in her hubby to rescue her. Could it be that someone might have something on the other person?

      • Mad Trapper
        August 8, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

        Her hubby needs a B!tc#slap, and she needs to grow some cajones,.

  12. Bull Durham
    August 8, 2014 at 6:43 am #

    Councilor Clairmont should be lauded for asking these very specific, well worded and in-depth questions. The last one, however, is the most important. If there is a conflict of interest, and based on my reading of state statute, there absolutely is reason for the Ethics Commission to weigh in on this, then all of the other questions become moot. If there is a conflict, this should not be allowed to go forward.

    Also, watch out for how David Carver does business. In North Adams, he and his company own half of Main Street. He regularly uses a bait and switch lease arrangement with his tenants.

    There was a great little coffee shop in North Adams called the Appalachian Bean Cafe. The woman who ran it did a great business and had steady clientele. Carver gave her a decent lease cost the first few years, and then for a renewal he raised the lease cost by over 100%. When she said she had to close and went to the papers, he backed down and renewed her lease for another year at the lower rate, but then a year later told it would go up by 150%. She closed the restaurant, and since that time there have been ten other people in there with different businesses, all failing within a year or two because they can initially afford rent, but then when things are going well, they get hit with a large increase. It’s the Carver Way.

    • levitan
      August 9, 2014 at 8:19 am #

      I rented from David Carver on Main Street in North Adams from 2000-2006. He provided me Main Street space including utilities and public access for a very reasonable sum (>$250/mo). Annual increases were nominal and though he warned that furture years would see spikes, he was flexible (without my needing to harass him in the press). And response to trouble (heat, water, etc.) was fast and effective. Of course, first hand experience is not to be compared to third hand rumors.

      Regarding App. Bean: that business ran for several years. It was a corner lot, huge, and occupied key portion of real estate. If she could not afford to run it, she probably could have requested a cheaper spot. Also, her service was erratic in my experience. One time they left the meat off my sandwhich and was irritated when I asked them put it there. The bread was good, but somehow in my mind wheat with lettuce, alfalfa, and tomato alone was <i<not a turkey sandwich. They seemed to disagree.

      Observing Brewhaha, running a eatery requires more than space, a meat slicer, and a low rent. You need to provide consistency, value, and atmosphere. Not just for 1 month, a year, but for as long as you run your business. Perhaps those were lacking at the Appalachian Bean, and it’s not Carver’s responsibility to subsidize a business-in-training.

      Your post sounds somewhat defamatory.

      • Bull Durham
        August 11, 2014 at 7:01 am #

        Your experience with Mr. Carver was the exception to the rule. Many former tenants have spoken to me about the same pattern of lease increases, including those who tried to use that same space. And you pointing to Brewhaha as an example of dealing with business correctly in a Carver site… how does that explain that the owner of that business has purchased the old West End Market building, and has been seeking to move Brewhaha there. He lacks the capital right now to make the move happen, but has already received city permits for it, and he specifically cited that he could ‘no longer afford the rent increases by Scarafoni Realty.’ Nice try, levitan, but my discussions were not third hand rumors, they were directly with the business owners and were confirmed by both the current and former mayors.

        • levitan
          August 11, 2014 at 8:38 am #

          I heard the complaints too. And like me, most were ‘businesses-in-training’. Carver gives them a break for a few years, but I find it understandable that he really is itchy for tenants that can pay rent.

          Also, I can name at two other who had similar experiences to mine. I’m thinking that if you were not greedy for space and prestige, you could get a nice deal on Main Street. But, if you held out for a 4,000 foot space on corners, it was somewhat unrealistic and even unfair to expect to rent it decades into the future at $475/month.

          Brewhaha is a successful eatery that is perpetually packed. Ap. Bean couldn’t manage a low rent and never held more than 10 people at peak hours. I worked next to it, and for the period I was willing to support it, that has been my consistent observation.

          Too bad if Brewhaha is priced out of North Adams, though – but purchasing real estate is generally lighter on the budget. I’m not taking that bait.

          Second hand rumors are second freshness, you should demand a discount.

          • Bull Durham
            August 11, 2014 at 10:30 am #

            I don’t understand your comment about Brewhaha being “priced out of North Adams.” I would point out that where Brewhaha is moving is not ‘out of North Adams,’ it’s on the city’s west side and right on Route 2. At this time he has been unable to obtain a bank loan to complete the move, so for now he just owns the building and is waiting until he can get financing for the move.

            And when the Bean was on Main Street, she was paying $1,200 a month rent initially, not $475… and Carver first tried to raise it to $2,500 a month. Not rumor, fact. Barrett met with Carver and he lowered it to $1,500… for a year.

            A building owner can charge what he or she wants, that’s not the point, and my initial post was merely pointing out what Mr. Carver’s history has been, and perhaps this great deal the Mayor is trying to sell is not so great in the long-term.

            The revolving door of businesses that have gone into that same spot on Main Street in North Adams… and all failed after short periods of time… tells me that it isn’t all on the business owner’s side.

          • levitan
            August 11, 2014 at 10:50 am #

            I had not been following Brewhaha’s progress, but I accept the correction. Hard times hurt the strong businesses and destroy the weak.

            The App. Bean did not survive because Carver drove her out onto the street but because she did not have a viable image of what her business should be. All the rent tells me is that she could not afford overhead in spite of having an accurate forecast provided by her landlord.

            Again, she could have relocated or done something else other than run a groovy eatery. The question of Barrett driving rents is interesting though.

  13. D-man
    August 8, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    John Krol makes a very good point; “It’s something that Councilor Bianchi would have demanded of the administration.” You bet Councilor Bianchi would have been all over an issue like this, when he was a City Council member.

    It is a good thing City Hall is in “Lock Down” mode. It is going to take Bianchi weeks to try and figure out how to come up with creative answers to all of these questions, which support his position.

    Will Bianchi be able to come up with RFP’s and studies that justify the move, AFTER the fact? If he had done proper due diligence on this subject, as would be expected of someone in his position, the citizens of Pittsfield would have heard about this long before now and it would not have been left for Dan Valenti to “dig up” all of the details. “Transparency” at it’s best! Good job, Dan!

    My guess is that Bianchi will argue that he does not need to answer to the City Council and he will have some “legal advice” to back him up on this. Hopefully, the new City Charter does not allow Bianchi to get away with this “end around” on the City Council and allow him to push through another waste of (recently discovered) tax payer money!

  14. Mad Trapper
    August 8, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    Great work Dan!!! Kudos!!!!

    Lets move on to the water department fiAASco, the TES (sorry the the ). So wants to hide.

    If we keep the TES busy hiding his crimes WE can overwhelm his secrecy. And give the city back to the people, not the connected GOBs (can you hear us Collingwood?)

  15. CTrzincka
    August 8, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    What are the odds the move happens? one chance out of three? One out of five? if this petition passes, its one out of ten.The mayor will have to walk between his two jobs..

    • dusty
      August 8, 2014 at 10:58 am #

      Would not surprise me if Bianchi has the stuff moved out in the middle of the night this weekend. I think he plans on getting his way one way or another.

      • Spider
        August 8, 2014 at 11:46 am #

        He will defy the Council….no doubt about it. And the move will take place.

        What can legally be done to stop him?

      • Johnny2Shoes
        August 10, 2014 at 8:06 am #

        Under the light of the Super Moon Sun night? He would use that as a transparency guise talking point no doubt.

  16. Gene
    August 8, 2014 at 8:06 am #

    Excellent list of questions, truly professional and above boeard. Kudos to counclior Clairmont for his actions on our behalf, also to The Planet and DV for his amazing string of exclusives lately. Only game in town for media.

  17. Protest
    August 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    Is it legal to picket with signs outside 100 North?

    • Silence Dogood
      August 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

      the signs can’t be on wooden sticks (because of union violence in the 70′s)…….and you can’t impede foot or vehicle traffic

      • levitan
        August 9, 2014 at 8:21 am #

        Thanks Silence D, didn’t know about the wooden sticks. Gads.

  18. Mr. X
    August 8, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Today on the DTR radio show the Mayor called Barry Clairmont a quote “roadblock”. He also said that he doesn’t understand how John Krol can use a taxpayer funded facility to promote his own opinions. And some older lady called the DTR show. She went on to trash BC and said “Valenti” should stay in Stockbridge too. WTF?

    • Dave
      August 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      Donna Rivers has a show again?

    • ed shepardson
      August 8, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      Is this show available anywhere?

    • Nana
      August 8, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

      REDACTED. THE WRITER IS WARNED TO AVOID SUCH UNSUPPORTED ASSERTIONS IN THE FUTURE.

      • Carol W
        August 8, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

        And this has what to do with anything?

      • B
        August 8, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

        It sounds like this is something that the mayor could have come up with to change the topic on the blog. I wouldn’t put it past TES so he could take the heat off himself.

        • downtown dweller
          August 9, 2014 at 5:44 am #

          Yeah, I thought the same thing. A plant to divert one’s attention from the topic at hand. Since I’m at work when her show is on and can’t listen, did she allow that to continue or did she cut the call?

          • Deb S
            August 9, 2014 at 5:59 am #

            she let it continue DD, it had nothing to do with the conversation just to bash BC, Donna should of shut it down when the woman started spewing..

      • Crystal Clear
        August 9, 2014 at 5:54 am #

        Nana, your post is disgusting!!! No wonder good people don’t run for office.

      • levitan
        August 9, 2014 at 8:33 am #

        DV:

        I feel left out – I didn’t get to read this post. As your future Minister of Public Information and Riot Control, I feel I need to know the bad as well as the good.

        Please repost sans swear words, names, insults, and body parts.

        • Carol W
          August 9, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

          To leave out what you said would be difficult. I happened to save it. I can email it to you.

          • levitan
            August 10, 2014 at 10:02 am #

            Carol W., are you now playing Dan V? I addressed him, not you.

            If you are inclined to be generous, though, I’ll happily read it here on this blog. I save my email for the other solar system where my feet are anchored.

    • levitan
      August 9, 2014 at 8:24 am #

      Some older lady is not entitled to voice her opinion on the radio. I recall this site, during Ruberto’s tenure, had similar complaints about Krol using public funds to run a political radio program. That sounds corrupt to me.

      • levitan
        August 9, 2014 at 8:24 am #

        Meant, “Some older lady is not entitled to voice her opinion on the radio?”

        • On the Q-T
          August 9, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

          mr. levitan you are admittedly speaking from ignorance since you did not read the inflammatory post or hear the radio broadcast. The old lady did not give “an opinion.” She made slanderousclaims about personal behaviors of people that she cannot know or back up.

          i thank DV or the webmaster for the planet for taking it down right quick.

          the old lady went on wbrk and made these awful statements. It might lead to a lawsuit against wbrk and the host for allowing it to air. The host did not cut the caller off. Worst still at the end of the call DTR// thanked the caller. Quite a pickle for wbrk. they better hope the people named in the call do not decide to press this

          • maxwell edison
            August 9, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

            Don’t they have a delay at WBRK?

          • levitan
            August 10, 2014 at 10:14 am #

            mr. levitan you are admittedly speaking from ignorance since you did not read the inflammatory post or hear the radio broadcast

            First, it’s Mr. Levitan – proper nouns, and I’m a formal guy.

            Yes, I admit I did not hear or read the posts, hence I asked what the buzz is. You can have the point, but you didn’t even have a chance to serve the ball.

            So an old lady, derogatory – sounds like calling Gaetani an old man – calls the radio. She dishes out an opinion about people preoccupied by stream of conscience insults about those they never met nor heard. It’s her right too, so again, grab some tissues.

            She made slanderousclaims about personal behaviors of people that she cannot know or back up.

            But of course that’s unacceptable. It’s almost as bad as out-of-towners making slanderous comments they cannot back up about North Adams businessmen whom they never met.

            the old lady went on wbrk and made these awful statements.

            You transport me to a different reality, dude. I’m thinking, ‘Ok, Marlow, I’ve been on this skiff for a day now, when are we getting close to the Horror?’ Sure, DV can file a lawsuit. It can even be a Class Action lawsuit for all harmed egos in this alternate reality.

            The host did not cut the caller off. Worst still at the end of the call DTR// thanked the caller

            That’s the way the the World Turns. Scandalous behavior, such as polite words to strangers happen and good people suffer.

            I hope they do sue, for the record. It’ll be groundbreaking.

          • Carol W
            August 10, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

            Correct; the comments were slanderous. I have changed my position and will not share them.

      • levitan
        August 9, 2014 at 8:34 am #

        If you beat people into the shadows, they’ll plot your death there.

  19. Mr. X
    August 8, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    The Mayor also trashed the Eagle relentlessly and accused them of causing all the “drama” in City Hall by the things they print, and they are a big reason why positive things don’t get done in the City. He said he was running for sure next election, and that the Eagle has an endorsement letter all drawn up already to endorse whoever runs against him.

    • Mad Trapper
      August 8, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

      Vote for Moe Larry or Curly.

      They will do than Bianchi.

      Yuk yuk yuk!!!!!!

      • On the Q-T
        August 9, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

        my vote is for shemp.

    • nostrodumbass
      August 8, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

      It can only be a good thing if the Mayor takes on and trashes the Berkshire Eagle. Richard Nixon tried to muzzle the press and they turned on him and cruxified him. He ended up resigning the Presidency in disgrace. Now if only the Berkshire Eagle brings down this tyrant also.

      Imagine if when Dan Valenti takes out papers and runs against Bianchi and The Berkshire Eagle endorses him? Imagine Dan Valenti and The Eagle working hand in hand on stories that bury this Mayor. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the head?

      The Mayor’s new press policy gag orders and hiding information from the public who owns the local government should prove to bring to him down. So go ahead Mr. Bianchi and trash the Eagle for printing stories about you. Let’s see how it turns out for ya. With any luck you won’t even be able to run for dog catcher.

  20. Silence Dogood
    August 8, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    I heard Mr. no brains no class, Bianchi trashing Rosanne Freiri on the radio today…..where the hell does he get the right to discuss an ongoing personnel matter on a radio show? Maybe he was at his job at Lach’s Lounge before the show doing er….a…research

    • ed shepardson
      August 8, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

      Let’s not make Ms, Frieri a martyr quite yet.

      • Sillence Dogood
        August 9, 2014 at 11:54 am #

        even if everything Bianchi said is true it was a dumb move….you just don’t publicly talk about personnel matters in public until they are resolved….and at the conclusion of a matter there might be a nondisclosure agreement.

        Bianchi isn’t qualified to run the North St. hot dog cart.

        • levitan
          August 9, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

          I thought you wanted transparency.

        • On the Q-T
          August 9, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

          i agree silence. first the mayor and personnell director mr. deangelo suspend ro without pay verbally. bad enough but made worst by mr. bianchi talking about the case on the radio and sending press release out saying ro was suspended over financial matters. talk about leaving the city wide open. i under stand ro met with attorney yesterday

          • Dave
            August 10, 2014 at 5:48 am #

            So we should never accept the “I can’t comment , it’s a personnel matter ” excuse again.

        • Mad Trapper
          August 9, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

          Ernie for Mayor!!

    • levitan
      August 9, 2014 at 8:25 am #

      I thought you wanted transparency.

  21. Silence Dogood
    August 8, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    maybe a protest should be organized around city hall

  22. Silence Dogood
    August 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    why can’t Hibbard school be used for these offices if City Hall is so bad?

    We need a new police station much more than any new school….we have fewer students and more crime so I think the focus needs to be on reducing crime…..

    when the current police station is abandoned for the new one the people who just can’t work one more day in the city hall basement can move back from Hibbard to the old police station…..there is no need to give Bianchi’s crony 125K a year….that’s just crony welfare

  23. ed shepardson
    August 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    I wonder what would happen if Dan Valenti offered to do a show on WTBR. You know, the station formerly about the children, now hijacked by adults and used for all the silly things that adults do?

  24. Mr. X
    August 8, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    For what it’s worth…the DTR radio show is Tue. and Fri., 11am to noon, WBRK 1340AM…AND no where near as good as the Dan Valenti show was!

    • Silence Dogood
      August 8, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

      I think DTR let the Mayor reveal himself for the fool he is

  25. Mr. X
    August 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    iBerkshires.com has released a story “Veteran’s agent suspended over budget preparation”. Julia S. said they released the the story to “set the record straight” because of Rosanne F.’s recent comments to local media, and they “will not issue any further comment on the matter”. And the hits just keep on comin!!

    • Crystal Clear
      August 9, 2014 at 5:26 am #

      If it is true that Rosanne F was suspended over budget preparation, then why wait until August to suspend her? Her budget was due in April?

      • B. Clairmont
        August 9, 2014 at 8:17 am #

        That is what the Mayor is saying. I’m not defending Rosanne, as I don’t know all the facts, but it appears to me that process wasn’t followed. I hope this doesn’t cost the taxpayers a boat load of money.

        Barry

  26. Spider
    August 8, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    I must admit that I am totally shocked about Mazzeo’s actions on the petition.

    I have been a strong, long time supporter of the Council Pres., but I can’t condone her actions.

    This is wrong, wrong, wrong. She and the mayor cannot be allowed to get away with this!

    • downtown dweller
      August 9, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      When I read Mr. Valenti’s addendum about Ms Mazzeo’s action I thought she’s not shutting down Mr. Clairmont, she’s shutting down Pittsfield taxpayers. If they’re paying attention they should be packing the city council chamber on Tuesday demanding answers to the questions Mr. Clairmont presented.

  27. Nota
    August 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    is there any validity of the alleged trust, Barry?

  28. PopKornSutton
    August 8, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    This Diva Chick, when is her show on, what time and what day.

  29. B
    August 8, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Melissa has just ruined her chance of ever getting any further in the political field. Why is it that Mazzeo and TES are sooooo close, seems that they are tied at the hip? Do they have something going that we don’t know about? It makes YOU wonder, hmmmmmmm!

    • dusty
      August 9, 2014 at 4:41 am #

      What is Melissa s explanation of this move? Is there any way it can be explained that is not protecting and catering to the mayor? Is she secretly helping the mayor screw the people who pay excessive taxes already? What is in it for her? I use to be an admirer of her tenacity working for the people. Seems like she is getting dragged down by the Bianchi. Who else will he take with him on his way out the door.

      • Crystal Clear
        August 9, 2014 at 5:40 am #

        The Solicitor carrys the mayor’s water. She twists the law to fit the mayor’s whims. He’ll take her down also if she continues to make Bianchi’s illegal practices legal.

        • levitan
          August 9, 2014 at 8:27 am #

          Can lawyers even ‘twist the law?” Even understand how they are applied is hard enough.

        • B
          August 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

          She cannot make Bianchi illegal practices legal, all she can do is say in my opinion I interpreted it as blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. In my opinion all she does is pull crap out of her you know what hole.

          • levitan
            August 10, 2014 at 10:19 am #

            You do understand that Degnan is a lawyer, right? If there’s a concern for legality that she is not handling, then you need to consider the courts.

            What do you have to lose? The worst outcome could be that you’re wrong.

  30. levitan
    August 8, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Working without natural light is a human rights violation?

    • dusty
      August 9, 2014 at 4:42 am #

      It is cruel and unusual punishment I guess.

      This was one of the dumbest things I have ever heard out of a councilman’s mouth. Kind of tells ya where Nicks head is at.

      • Deb S
        August 9, 2014 at 6:40 am #

        have to agree with you dusty, I believe Nick is still wet behind the ears..

      • levitan
        August 9, 2014 at 8:30 am #

        I suppose they could pipe it in with mirrors like archeologists did in the nineteenth century while excavating Egyptian tombs.

        Otherwise, they can still sneak out to expose themselves to the radiance. There is a back door few know about.

    • B
      August 9, 2014 at 9:31 am #

      They make special lightbulbs that produce natural sunlight,I have several in my home and then work. Problem solved a few bucks versus several hundred thousand it is a no-brainer.

  31. PopKornSutton
    August 9, 2014 at 4:48 am #

    at Nana..was that really said about Clairmont? it would be incredible that it could be aired in public without fact. Barry, are you there?

  32. amandaWell
    August 9, 2014 at 5:01 am #

    The City Council President is the best thing that has happened in the City of Pittsfield, for me. She is entitled to run the meeting as she pleases, she IS, the President. Traditionaly, the President has always been on the side of the Mayor, maybe a couple of exceptions. Overall, I think she has done a fine job. You can’t please everybody, and No, I don’t agree with her all the time. But as long as LOW isn’t leading the Council, I am, very Happy!

    • Rocky Racoon
      August 9, 2014 at 6:19 am #

      Ms. Mazzeo started off good. She was for the people at first.
      However, it would seem she has been easily corrupted.
      The politics of Pittsfield is deeply entrenched and it appears it didn’t take much to make her a good old boy toy.

      Being President does NOT give her absolute power. There is entire city council which is supposed to represent and vote the will of each of its constituents.

      The power of the Mayor’s office and the power of the council Presidency have gone to heads of those who occupy these positions. However, it is that will of people that should prevail.
      Ask the people if they want city hall moved to a rented 100 North Street sweetheart deal over basic needs like fixing the roads and you should see clearly what is really going on here.

      The people cannot afford such a foolish move like this.
      Just wait until they set the new tax rates and see how the people will cringe. When Pittsfield finally does go bankrupt don’t say “How could this happen?” It will be too late then to do anything about it.

      “Her name was Mcgill and she called herself Lil but everyone knew her as Nancy”.

      • Dignified
        August 9, 2014 at 8:05 am #

        Her name was Melissa, she calls her self Pres, but everyone knows her as Missy

    • Bill
      August 9, 2014 at 6:29 am #

      I too had high hopes for Mrs. Mazzeo. At the start of her time on the City Council she asked many questions, and seemed to really try to understand what was going on, but unfortunately, like most (certainly not all) people that get involved in politics, the promises fade away, and of course there is no other way to fix a problem than to raise taxes. basically she turned out to be as phony as her husbands spaghetti sauce

      • Scott
        August 9, 2014 at 7:13 am #

        Bill, that’s hilarious!

      • dusty
        August 9, 2014 at 8:01 am #

        I actually thought that the city council president was supposed to act as a counter balance to the mayor in case he went rouge. Though it is true that in Pittsfield often you will only make it to council president if you are an insider aligned with the mayor.

        Not the way it is supposed to work for the people who elected them but if you want your fraud, kickback and tax skimming operations to go well you need all the power you can get behind you. So I hear from political watch dogs.

        • levitan
          August 9, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

          Mean to say, “charge of phony (as opposed to a specific thing)…)”

      • levitan
        August 9, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

        Bill, a friendly warning that charges of phony merchandise over a particular bad experience that you can document is material for libel. Why doesn’t DV clean that stuff out? As Minister of Truth and Propaganda, I will deliver strict stuff that will both amuse, incite, and be perfectly legal depending upon which Judge is sitting.

        • Bill
          August 9, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

          Well I guess you’re right “Levitan”, the food was actually there on the plate, and it was real…It just tasted like S***.
          As for “Tim”, I never said I loved her for being anti anyone or pro anyone, all that I’m saying is that I thought She had more potential than She really did.

          • levitan
            August 10, 2014 at 10:21 am #

            Just be sure to have the date of the offending dish journalized and you’d be best to redress the specifics above.

            Online commentators dissing commercial products are being sued for negative reviews, and many are losing.

          • levitan
            August 10, 2014 at 10:59 am #

            Bill,

            I do mean this as friendly advice given the line between public people and private business is thin. Also, tasting bad is not easily defended as most food served in restaurants tastes bad. My father in law routinely rejects bottles of wine, sends food back for rework and the like.

            Now, if the server deposited that stuff in your lap, you’d have cause for legitimate complaint.

          • Dont trust em
            August 10, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

            Levitan stop trolling. Offering an opinion on the food at a public restaurant is free speech.
            Consider yourself smacked down.

          • levitan
            August 11, 2014 at 8:46 am #

            Dont Trust,

            I’m trying to have an adult conversation with Bill who may not understand the changing world of online speech. Negative opinions that are not connected to specific dishes can land you in court. Burden’s on the plaintiff to prove, but burden’s also on the defendent to protect himself.

            I consider my words a favor.

            Free Speech? There’s also Freedom to Protect your commercial interests.

            here.

          • levitan
            August 11, 2014 at 9:55 am #

            Don’t Trust Em,

            Ok, I’m smacked down.

            Here, watch this – it’ll make you feel better.

            Click Here.

      • Tim
        August 9, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

        Melissa has been partisan all along, Bill. When she was anti-Ruberto you loved her. Now that she carries water for Bianchi you’ve fallen out of love. But she’s the same girl. You’re just a fickle constituent.

  33. C. J.
    August 9, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    Anyone know the status of Dan Collins’ (Berkshire Works) discrimination complaint against the mayor ?

    • dusty
      August 9, 2014 at 8:03 am #

      Guess you did not hear about the information lock down at city hall. Get with the program C.J.

  34. Spider
    August 9, 2014 at 6:27 am #

    When President Mazzeo pulled Councilor Clairmont’s petition and referred it directly to the mayor, thereby eliminating Council input, she took away the opportunity for the public to know where their elected officials stand on this issue.

    It may be legal under Council rules, but hardly ethical.

    There’s no doubt that this is politically damaging and will come back to haunt her and the mayor.

  35. B. Clairmont
    August 9, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    I have a personal friendship with the City Clerk. We socialize and have many mutual friends. Being attacked for my politics is to be expected but not for my friendships.

    Barry

    • Scott
      August 9, 2014 at 7:17 am #

      Barry, it’s clear “nana” is a blind Bianchi loyalist and a troll. Anyone who says such a thing on the internet under a fake name is a spineless coward who lives a life of fear. Don’t worry they’d never say it to your face. It’s def character defamation and slander maybe the police department can track the poster and file charges.

    • Tim bartini
      August 9, 2014 at 7:24 am #

      Barry Why bother replying to these idiots? Keep up the good work! Your doing a great job.

      • dusty
        August 9, 2014 at 8:07 am #

        You are building a following Barry…keep charging ahead. We are looking for one good man with the balls to stand up for the peeps.

      • Dave
        August 10, 2014 at 6:07 am #

        somebody get Timmy his new firetruck before he had a meltdown.

  36. Scott
    August 9, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    Golf game feels bad for anyone who has to work without natural light! Priceless. Maybe they can take some time every morning out on the links! Ha ha

    I will say if natural light, raydon exposure and humidity where bacteria thrive are a concern then it should be addressed. It is like a dungeon down there. Put the permit process online and have them work from home.

  37. Nota
    August 9, 2014 at 7:34 am #

    Do you think Nana gives a crap about her whereabouts? If anyone should be interrogated it should be LOw for impersonating a City Councilor

    • B
      August 9, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      Low is a very intelligent man and he should be the one that is the president of the Council.

      • dusty
        August 9, 2014 at 11:52 am #

        Thanks for your contribution Johnathon.

        • levitan
          August 9, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

          Can a council person impersonate a council person while actually in a room of councilpersons on council business?

          Wouldn’t it be kind of weird for two B. Clairmonts to sit at the same table, for example?

  38. Spider
    August 9, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Levitan….I hope the mayor rewards you big time….you are really busting your ass defending him.

    Wonder what the connection might be?

    • levitan
      August 9, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      And I still waiting to hear about the big scandal everyone is talking about here. I must be a good ‘ole boy, though. Pity there’s no financial or social benefit.

      Otherwise, I have expressed my antipathy for relocating city workers, hiring pointy haired managers, and overspending. I also support general trashing politicians who subscribe to Bloomberg’s MAIG. Unlike you, I don’t get a kick out of stream of conscience accusations.

      My reward is the satisfaction of clearing out mats of bad thinking. It’s a thankless job and quick to be undone, but it has its own rewards.

      • Spider
        August 9, 2014 at 11:19 am #

        Did you forget to mention that you are also working for world peace? Amen!

        • levitan
          August 9, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

          I’m still waiting for you to announce to me the big scandal. S. Bump stands accused of using her political office to promote her reelection. O’brien stands convicted of running a cash for jobs racket. Marth Milkcarton is understood she will only pursue common citizens who have no affiliation with Beacon Hill.

          But what about Bianchi? Where’s the beef?

          • Dont trust em
            August 9, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

            L where’s the beef? Guess you can’t see the meat through the pork. You need to start paying closer attention o-r stop schilling so much for the mayor.

        • levitan
          August 9, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

          Also, isn’t the fact tha Frieri, given public complaints of mistreatment of vets, more central to a scandal than Bianchi who has suspended her for failing to do her job?

          To me, it seems that the Treasurer had enough of handling her responsibilities and the Buck stopped at the Corner Office.

          • Dont trust em
            August 9, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

            L you are embarrasing yourself with your blind allegiance.

          • levitan
            August 10, 2014 at 10:50 am #

            I’ve embarrassed myself with far worse. It’s what gives me the strength to speak with untrustful folk.

            So, anyway, where’s the great scandal that brings blood to my head and darkens my face to livid grey?

            The move is a cause for complaint, but scandal? There’s needs be a crime.

        • levitan
          August 9, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

          Spider, you’re too easy. Give me something harder to chew on.

    • The Blue Hat
      August 9, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      He pays him to wash windows at city hall.
      That’s what Lev does, he’s a window washer.

      Thank goodness for the bell curve.

      • MrG1188
        August 9, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

        I love Levitans contributions. They are incisive, often witty, just a bit snarky (not meant pejoratively Lev) and usually thought provoking. A sane, coherent voice of opposition in a crowd is an excellent way to keep it from turning into a mob…at least a poorly thought out mob. Making people justify their anonymous positions is healthy.

        That said, Lev, Don’t you feel some of the questions in the original petition from Mr. Clairmont were well-considered and worthy of an answer? I mean, the mayor did campaign on a platform of transparency. His proposal to spend the money, and to continue to spend money for years to come, seems to have no real basis in logic or reason. The inspectors are, with an exception, already all in one place. The lengthy, arcane, permitting process problems have little to do with the time it takes to walk from office to office as it takes weeks…not hours, so moving these people will do nothing to address the underlying problems. If that’s the case, the “transparent reason” currently offered makes no sense. So either there are other, less transparent reasons, into which Mr. Clairmont’s questions delve, or it’s just a bad idea and the transparent mayor should say “Ooops,” admit that, take it off the table and move on to filling potholes and lowering crime. No?

        • levitan
          August 10, 2014 at 10:34 am #

          Thanks, MrG1188,

          I appreciate the compliment. I burned through one wife with said attributes and am making headway with another.

          That said, there are numerous layers to the ‘complaints’ regarding the City Hall move on this site. Most are irrelevant but are weirdly conflated into the argument. Regarding Clairmont, I support the petition, and I am completely opposed to moving the offices for the obvious reasons. Money, lack of need, wasted space in City Hall, dungeons are appropriate for City Halls, natural light is a corporate liability, and again money.

          Also, there’s no convenience to be found where you need to walk to City Hall to park, walk to N. St to file a form, then walk back to City Hall to pay the Treasurer or whatever.

          I can’t comprehend the move, but here’s where I differ. I don’t see cause for attacking third parties associated with it, such as Mr. Carver. The destructive attacks on personalities here is on one hand good, as in fishing with car batteries. But it’s illogical too. Say, next month Atty. Degnan gets fed up for some reason and accuses the mayor of towering over her causing her sleep disorders and PTSD.

          How will the crowd here respond? Will she now be a hero for standing up for the Truth?

          • MrG1188
            August 10, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

            Lol…it sounds like we are, then, in complete agreement! The pot stirring and additions of superfluous incongruities to the original a story do tend to distract, and people get carried away. Plus I think people like slinging personal invective anonymously because it gives them a sense of…power.

          • Linda
            August 10, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

            If Mr. Carver is the rental agent for 100 N St. he’s Bianchi’s landlord at Global. Red flag #one. If he’s friends w the mayor. Red flag #two. All this discussion has done was raise questions in this regard.

            Legitimate questions about information people need to know to have a informed opinion on the subject. Also remember if not for this website this deal would probably already have been done with No public discussion. Mr. Valenti has performmed great public good.

          • levitan
            August 11, 2014 at 8:57 am #

            MrG1188,

            yeah, carried away as in a tsunami. I get DV, and I like his experiment, in a weird way it’s better than experimenting on monkeys.

            If I were he, I’d be sore tempted to describe a personal meeting with Bianchi and tell of the moon rising, the room growing chilled and dark, and Bianchi and Sue Carmel growing dark oily bats wings, hopping to the window sill and flying off into the darkness.

            Crowds would show up at City Hall with garlic and stakes.

            Linda: I agree that a quid pro quo violates State ethics and conflict of interests.

        • levitan
          August 10, 2014 at 10:45 am #

          Also, I agree that crime strategy failed to materialize and urban maintenance is not evenly applied. Streets in the poor areas are decayed compared to mid-level, and that only serves to marginalize them as crime friendly regions.

          • MrG1188
            August 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

            Your above suggestion re: a vampire experiment is funny, and would be interesting except for one thing: so far I have seen no action as a result of any of the stories printed here! They are indeed often outrageous affronts, yet in the end, outside of retorts here, nothing happens. Nobody takes to the streets, no picket signs or protests, no recall petitions…nothing! Maybe I just don’t see it, but so far apathy seems to be winning. Or maybe the pain level or affrontery still hasn’t risen to the level required to cause a reaction.

          • levitan
            August 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

            True dat. Even vampires walk freely while good men do nothing.

            Why don’t you run for office? I’ll give you three votes.

      • levitan
        August 10, 2014 at 10:42 am #

        The Blue Hat,

        Washing windows is looking pretty good just now. Like most artists, I’m not snobbish about where my money comes from.

        • The Blue Hat
          August 10, 2014 at 11:45 am #

          The point was not to ridicule where you get you money.
          In fact its a humble way to earn a living and you work for your money.

          The post was in response to Spider’s inquiry on what the connection was between you and the mayor.

          The mayor pays you to wash windows at city hall and elsewhere. Of course you have to support the mayor because its a cash cow for you and you wouldn’t want to lose that.

          You have a vested interest in shilling for the mayor.
          That was the point.

          So now you can run to the mayor and tell him how you straightened everyone out on PlanetValenti. Maybe he’ll give you more work.

          • levitan
            August 11, 2014 at 9:03 am #

            Wish that were true, Blue Hat. In fact, whenever money just rains down on me like manna I consider it a good omen.

            Perhaps Bianchi’s contacting servers now as I type trying to find out who I am so he can rent space in my garage. Or my garden. City Hall has no garden. Or my pond. City Hall could use a fish or two. Or my kitchen. Heck, maybe he’ll hire me to manage J. Sabourin as mid-manager to the Manager of the Director. But of course I can’t run to him myself. He’s a volatile man, and this weekend’s reading will put my life and mind in danger should I show up now.

            You spoiled my calculations, dammit.

  39. Nota
    August 9, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    Maybe a lot of voters didn’t get the memo. President Mazzeo and the absent Trio just don’t and won’t get along. LOw and Krol are afraid of Little Missy Muffet, Barry, not so much, at least not lately. It’s not going to get any better because of the conflicts between the Solicitor and TES. So what does this all mean? lame duck Council with a lame duck Mayor, and everybody loses and nothing gets done.

  40. Kathy
    August 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    I have been reading and following all this controversy with Mayor Bianchi and his choices. I expect nothing less from him. I can only add this Pittsfield does not feel safe anymore. Also Melissa.. Deeply disappointed in you. I expected much more from you. You could have made a difference. You were in the beginning.

  41. PopKornSutton
    August 9, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    One good thing about this blog, we can count on Jonathan Melee to remind us for the umpteenth time that ” Former mayor Ruberto, has spent millions on the downtown”…whether or not you wanted to be reminded is another story.,/;%…???

  42. Mr. X
    August 10, 2014 at 5:43 am #

    Tim bartini- why do you bother to read what these idiots write?

  43. Dave
    August 10, 2014 at 6:33 am #

    I don’t have a problem with the referral of Barry’s petition. It gets done what is asked-it goes to the Mayor and requests that he respond at the next council meeting. If it got voted down the Mayor would not have to answer the questions. I’m sure when President Mazzeo asks if there is anything under rule 27 at the end of the meeting Barry will bring it up for discussion. He can probably ask for a vote also.

    • dusty
      August 10, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      That upcoming council meeting will be live on the air and taped for replay. No way Bianchi risks flipping his lid with hundreds of people watching and able to affirm that he went off. He only feels powerful when he is in the fortress of his office. No way he has the guts to face this challenge. He is pee wee Herman in front of an adversarial council.

      Even with Degan, Melissa and Saborin at his side he will not be able to muster the courage to be open with the public on this one because it does not hold water.

      • levitan
        August 10, 2014 at 10:40 am #

        But Dusty,

        When did Mayor Bianchi ever flip his lid? Think back on the stories recounted here – no one saying he did so actually observed it. Save for ‘lockdown’ which sounds like a joke, it’s only three people – all of whom are engaged in a dispute not related to behavior.

        #1: I didn’t get a job.
        #2: I didn’t get a job.
        #3: I may be losing my job.

        • B
          August 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

          If my memory serves me correctly I remember watching a councilman meeting on TV from my home, TES was having it out with Councilman Clairmont. I can’t remember if TES was wagging his finger or had his fists clenched and his thumb up in the air and wagging his fist. Anyway it’s all on tape from one of the councilman meetings.

          • levitan
            August 11, 2014 at 9:08 am #

            Why would I care if he wags his finger at Clairmont. Couldn’t Clairmong clench his fist at Bianchi in return? They’re are both independently elected.

  44. dusty
    August 10, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Actually Lev, I know a guy who worked at city hall when Bianca was in finance. He says he was loud and yelling even back then.

    • levitan
      August 11, 2014 at 9:07 am #

      Ok, that’s a start. Thanks Dusty. Not sure what it means though. Most people who work in finance are loud and yell a lot. I had to wear earplugs in my corporate experience as directors tend to put everything on speaker phone.

      Maybe he’s an emotional guy.

  45. PopKornSutton
    August 10, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    There was a time as a former finance director caught a former DPW chief with ….you fill in the blanks.

  46. justathought
    August 10, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    If Ms. Frieri job performance was poor, she was not doing her work and there were complaints why did she stay in her job for seven years? Why Bianchi didn’t terminate her earlier? Does anybody know if there were any warning, written warning, or a work performance evaluation and so on? If I’m not mistaken that would be the process or could this be another excuse for the Bianchi, DeAngelo and his legal team screw up. And by the way I remember watching the budget hearings and Ms Frieri was there presenting her office budget if you don’t believe me get a copy of the budget hearings.

  47. Nana
    August 13, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    DID YOU SEE THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING LAST NIGHT?
    HOW ABOUT BARRY’S CONFESSION?

    I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • levitan
      August 14, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

      Hmmm? I haven’t heard a peep out of you. And stop yelling, you’re abusing my human rights.