CENTRAL BERKSHIRE RESPECTS DEMOCRATIC PROCESS, UNLIKE PITTSFIELD … plus … BEACON HILL HACKS APPROVE HUGE PAY RAISE FOR THEMSELVES
BY DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY FEB. 8, 2017) — In some places, citizens get a say in important financial matters. Not in Pittsfield.
When The Suits rigged the game to approve a $121 million new Taconic High School, a key part of the scheme included blocking citizens from the game. Politicians and local Big Shots gathered in secret to stuff the School Building Needs Commission with those who a priori had their minds made up to approve the project. Neither Mayor Linda Tyer, Peter Marchetti and the city council, nor Kathy Yon and the co-opted Pittsfield School Committee raised a question, and the big-bang project passed without a whimper.
Throughout this ordeal, THE PLANET, alone among local media, spoke up for We The People. We did so in two ways: First, we pointed out the cost. With the highest proportional tax rates in the state, huge debt obligations, and a dying economy, the last thing the Pittsfield could afford was a large, new building, one that will be under-maintained. Second, the project made no sense given a faltering school department, a drop in student enrollment, and more than $5 million lost each of the past two years to school choice.
When we managed to around public indignation by exposing the sheme, The Suits countered by scheduling public meetings at times and in places where the ordinary, working public could not attend. Not one public official demanded that this important a matter be subject to a popular vote. They were afraid of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski.
They don’t trust you. They haven’t for 30 years.
It’s nice, though, to see this shaming of democracy doesn’t hold throughout Berkshire County. For example, when the Central Berkshire Regional School District talked about addressing the needs of Dalton’s Wahconah Regional High School, it joined the Wahconah Building Project Committee in insisting to put the matter to a popular vote.
That ray of plebiscitic sunshine hasn’t been glimpsed in Pittsfield since Peter Arlos uttered his final syllables from Mount Olympus. Central Berkshire officials, more enlightened than their totalitarian counterparts in the county seat, agreed to send the measure before the seven towns comprising the district. They are Becket, Cummington, Dalton, Hinsdale, Peru, Washington, and Windsor.
Beacon Hill Hacks Vote Their Own Huge Pay Raise
Meanwhile, the well-heeled hacks in the Massachusetts Legislature voted themselves enormous pay raises. These bums are overpaid as it is. You know that. THE PLANET knows that. They know that. Nonetheless, given the power of the ultimate financial jerk-off, the jokers approved raises for every member of the 40-person senate and the 160-hack house. The House approved 115-44, Senate 30-9.
The raise will cost Bay State taxpayers $18 million.
All 18 Democrats serving Western Massachusetts voted for the raises. The four Republicans voted against. Berkshire County reps Gail “School Marm” Cariddi, Tricia Farley Country-Bouvier, Paul “Off The” Mark, and Smitty Pignatelli voted YES to help themselves to more of taxpayers’ money.
Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed the measure, but the Legs overrode. The measure includes two provisions that give cynicism a bad name. The first makes the pay increases immediate, going against the usual practice of delaying it until the current session concludes to avoid the tawdry matter of voting it for themselves. Second, by including judicial salaries in the pay hikes, the Legislature makes the raises immune from a citizens’ initiative petition.
The only possible hope for ordinary citizens and taxpayers is … wait, there is no hope. This is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This is Berkshire County. This is Pittsfield.
——– 000 ——–
Be sure to catch THE PLANET with new content each week in Pittsfield’s finest weekly, The Berkshire Courier, available at many locations throughout the city and county.
“Ninety percent of the politicians give the other 10 percent a bad reputation.” — Henry Kissinger
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.
The views expressed in the comment section or opinions published within the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not those of PLANET VALENTI or endorsed in any way by PLANET VALENTI. This website reserves the right to remove any comment that violates its Rules of Conduct, and it is not liable for the consequences of any posted comment, written word, or information from any source other than PLANET VALENTI as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and PLANET VALENTI’s terms of service. All users of the services of PLANET VALENTI agree to these conditions by virtue of this notice.