Article

!! EXTRA!! ROCKWELL SONS SUE BM … $1 MILLION IN PUBLIC MONEY TO ‘BIC’ WILL TURN INTO ‘BITCH’ FOR TAXPAYERS

BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

EXTRA!! Norman Rockwell’s three sons filed suit today (10-20) in Berkshire Superior Court to enjoin the Berkshire Museum’s planned auction of art work. The action comes as the state attorney general’s office moves closer to issuing a halt on the proposed Sotheby’s auction. Things are popping. Stay tuned to this developing story, especially now that THE PLANET has given it via room service to the local mainstream press.

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(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION OCT. 20-22, 2017) — As the leaves fall, so does Pittsfield. Thank you, Mayor Linda Tyer. Thank you, city council.

For nothing.

With her tax increases, fat budgets, ribbon cuttings for garbage cans, and support of the abominable betrayal of public trust being attempted by the incompetents running the Berkshire Museum (BM), we’ve come to expect it from Mayor Trashcan. That the council would follow suit on derelict “leadership” also shouldn’t come as a shock, although THE PLANET offers faint (and feint) praise for its objection to the rape of the BM. We realize, though, that this rare and sensible group action bedazzles a meek observer the way a blind squirrel will occasionally stumble upon a nut or the manner in which Longfellow’s broken “Clock on the Staircase” gave the great poet the correct time twice a day when he lived in Pittsfield.

The latest affront to Pittsfield’s bedraggled taxpaying public comes in the form of a $1 million grant Tyer proposed and the council approved. Grants — ye be the devil fer Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski. Grants — Reminds THE PLANET of our favorite joke: “Who’s buried in Grant’s tomb?” Answer: Pittsfield. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

The latest futile giveaway, this of the GE settlement money, will be thrown down a sinkhole with the fancy sounding name, the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC), to be built in the wasteland euphemistically known as The William Stanley Business Park. We like the moniker, although given this latest mistake, we propose one even fancier: the Berkshire Innovation Center for Taxpayer Harrassment (BITCH).

The BITCH represents another example in the long, grey Pittsfield line of a nearly bankrupt public sector financing what the Dreaded Private Sector should be willing to do on its own. The BITCH, so the propaganda goes, would offer high-tech manufacturing “resources” and training that small- to medium-sized businesses cannot afford using their own money. That’s the spin, and it betrays the fundamental flaw of this proposed center. Stay with us on this one.

Private-sector businesses who made a product in demand by the marketplace will gladly invest in such equipment and upgrades if they believe it will be profitable. They then go to private lenders who, being greedy, gladly furnish venture capital, providing, that is, that they judge the company’s proposal to be a sound one. You know, private lenders require such picky details as sound business plans and evidence of responsible management. Folks, beware of any venture that uses public money to fund private manufacturing. It means banks aren’t willing to take the risk.

That’s when “Politicians” (in every sense of the word) like Mayor Trashcan and most of the councilors step up to the plate. They will gladly blow the public’s money, because it keeps them in good stead with The Suits, which in turn helps them win votes in elections which in Pittsfield have become exercises in masturbation by the only entities that vote, meaning the special interests.

The BITCH was first proposed in the Lincoln Administration … or does it only seem like four score and seven years ago? The initial price tag came in at $3 million, but you know how these things go in The Land of Benigno Numine. The costs for this planned “not-for-profit” boondoggle mysteriously jumped to $9 million, then $12 million, leading to a multimillion dollar funding gap. Finally, the state had to step in and ask: “What in hell are you yokels doing?” You know the stink is on the turd when lily-white Boston has to bother itself with Pittsfield’s own special brand of corruption.

Want to know how redolent this deal is? Community development director Deanna “We’re Baaaaaaaaack” Ruffer is involved. That should be enough to jolt the bolts off Frankenstein‘s neck.

But noooooooooo, as Steve Martin used to joke.

Councilors OK’d Trashcan’s $1 million pillage of the dwindling GE settlement money. It doesn’t stop there. The mayor said she wants another million. That would be $2 million thrown away, money that could and should be used to lower taxes for businesses and homeowners.

Trashcan said the state “wants to know we’re committed.”

Yeah, so do we, and THE PLANET will gladly sign the papers.

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“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether [the city], or any [city] so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure”Abraham Lincoln, modified.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The Usual Disclaimer.

 

 

66 Responses to “!! EXTRA!! ROCKWELL SONS SUE BM … $1 MILLION IN PUBLIC MONEY TO ‘BIC’ WILL TURN INTO ‘BITCH’ FOR TAXPAYERS”

  1. 12 Gauge
    October 19, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

    Lincoln’s mentor, Henry Clay was all about this type of give away. He’d love it here. Also I’ll bet old stink breath was the brains behind this.

  2. Jonathan Melle
    October 19, 2017 at 9:14 pm #

    What does “economic development” truly mean in Pittsfield?
    The answers include:
    * Welfare caseloads
    * Social services programs
    * Criminal Justice and the Jail
    * Corrupt political hacks who raise your taxes
    * A 19-year-old polluted-PEDA with 0 private tenants
    * A Boston-centered state government who gives their crumbs to Western Massachusetts
    * The vested interests (or the “Big 3”: Police, Fire, & School Unions) being taken care of financially
    * A financially constrained municipality with a high debt load
    * A new Taconic High School project that will cost well over $121-million
    * Several Level 5 public schools
    * All K – 6 public school students receiving free lunches
    * The Berkshire Museum selling its art collection to fill its coffers with tens of millions of dollars
    * A revitalized downtown that still has murders, shootings, violence, drugs, and gangs
    * Dan Valenti bitching and moaning about Pittsfield politics never-ending downward spiral

    • The school committee
      October 20, 2017 at 4:33 am #

      The cost of school buildings in Pittsfield is killing taxpayers.Close Crosby because its not fit for children or teachers health.Millions spent just fixing what breaks and thats true at PHS

    • Jonathan Melle
      October 20, 2017 at 7:03 pm #

      Letter: “Pittsfield must wake up to its crime problem”
      The Berkshire Eagle, October 20, 2017

      To the editor:

      With the second armed robbery in less than a week it’s about time Pittsfield officials come to grips with the fact there is a major crime/drug issue in Pittsfield. The city needs radical change to deal with the crime/drug situation. The police chief is totally ineffective and the administration is abysmal.

      The city is best known for its medical marijuana dispensary, methadone clinic and crime — surely not something to be proud of.

      How does the saying go, “the first step in dealing with a problem is to first admit there is a problem”?

      Jeffrey M. Costa, Pittsfield

      • SojournerTruth
        October 21, 2017 at 6:34 am #

        Mentioned to a veteran PPD officer that I’d like to speak to the chief about some unresolved and ignored issues. Was told “good luck finding him”. It seems the acting chief avails himself to numerous vacations, out of town training seminars, meetings, and conventions. On the city credit card and expense account, presumed…..But who can blame him, the odds of being mugged are greater if he remains in Pittsfield.

        • danvalenti
          October 21, 2017 at 9:54 am #

          The rotten fruits of little to no accountability. That’s totally on the mayor.

  3. dusty
    October 20, 2017 at 12:36 am #

    and yet many of the roads are in pretty bad condition.

    Can we get it put into the city charter that all government candidates have had to take money management courses? And ethics training?

  4. dusty
    October 20, 2017 at 1:01 am #

    iberkshires has a detailed but foggy story about the Pittsfield parking kiosks. Apparently the parking meters are raking in lots of money but the city is still losing money? Does not mention anything about if fines are part of the revenue or where that money winds up. I do know several people who have just said to hell with North st.

  5. Paul
    October 20, 2017 at 1:39 am #

    Interesting story about a large solar complex to be built out on East St. Is what I found interesting is the power from the project is to be sold to the Springfield School System and will reduce their electric bill by 20 percent. Now get this, the savings was first offered to the Pittsfield School System. However they apparently had no interest in reducing their electric bill by 20 percent.
    Big surprise!

    • The school committee
      October 20, 2017 at 4:35 am #

      The schools electric bill is 1 million dollars.

    • dusty
      October 20, 2017 at 4:39 am #

      May i ask where you read this story? Was it in the Pittsfield paper and if not why not I wonder.

      • Paul
        October 20, 2017 at 5:42 am #

        Dusty, it was in the Eagle yesterday.

  6. The school committee
    October 20, 2017 at 4:40 am #

    Lets save the Halloween parade and move it out of the violence of Tyler street.Syringes in the street.You can watch from Zenners or from the Liquor store or from the surveillance spaces usually reserved for State police……stand up if you voted to move the parade to the most dangerous part of Pittsfield

  7. War Pigs
    October 20, 2017 at 5:13 am #

    BIC = Nuclea Technologies Part 2

  8. Shakes His Head
    October 20, 2017 at 5:20 am #

    Frankenstein’s monster had the bolt’s on his neck, not the good doctor himself.

    • dusty
      October 20, 2017 at 5:50 am #

      Are you saying the doctor was not on Franks neck?

    • danvalenti
      October 20, 2017 at 11:00 am #

      SHH
      True, but THE PLANET employed the idiomatic vernacular. Over time, the name of Frankenstein has been applied to the monster. The technical inaccuracy has been repeated so many times that calling the big stiff “Frankenstein” is acceptable usage.

  9. Spider
    October 20, 2017 at 6:06 am #

    Many people I know are fed up with the kiosks. You have to search for the nearest one, That will be fun this winter.

    These folks are finding other ways to do business. Just ask any North St. business. I know for a fact that many are very disappointed in the results. But, of course, Matt Kerwood and the rest of the Mayor’s admin. will deny this.

    • dusty
      October 20, 2017 at 7:17 am #

      Rule number one in politics….Never tell the truth. Obfuscate and deflect when you can but if that does not work lie and then lie to cover up the first one.

    • acheshirecat
      October 20, 2017 at 10:32 am #

      It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of the parking kiosks. If you recall when the city got money from the State for the Mckay St. garage renovations, there was the stipulation that Pittsfield would have to get metered parking. Done deal. Nothing the Kapinski’s can do about it. I did enjoy Finance Director Matt Kerwood’s imitation of Sgt Shultz, “I don’t know who came up the revenue numbers. I don’t know how the numbers were calculated”. I know nothing.

      • danvalenti
        October 20, 2017 at 10:52 am #

        CAT
        Good point. The grant money always comes with conditions. It took the decision out of the city’s hands. That being said, however, Pittsfield should have invested in a much lower-tech system. They are cheaper, more reliable, less prone to software problems, hack proof, and more profitable.

      • War Pigs
        October 20, 2017 at 11:58 am #

        Achesire, I think someone here posted a few days ago that the state did NOT stipulate the city had to get metered parking, but rather that they had to find some source of revenue and the city decided to turn to metered parking.
        If anyone knows which is true, I’d really like to know.

        • acheshirecat
          October 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm #

          Here is one article War.

          http://www.pittsfield.com/story/55015/Pittsfield-Metered-Parking-Generating-Revenue-Below-Estimates.html
          And here is the quote from the article:

          “The idea behind the meters would be to have a program which would pay for itself and then some. The parking plan was developed by a requirement of the state for its investment in repairing the McKay Street Garage. The state wanted a program to maintain the garage.”

          Also it paints Mr. Kerwood as a liar or memory challenged. In a most recent article he says he doesn’t now who came up with the revenue numbers or how they were calculated. In the article I provided from July 10th it clearly states it was Denis Guyer in September 2016.

          • War Pigs
            October 21, 2017 at 6:36 am #

            Thank you – that pretty much confirms that the state did not say it has to be parking meters per se, that they city itself came up with that in order to meet the mandate to come up with revenue to maintain the garage.
            So now the question is, which politician or public employee is the company that makes the kiosks in bed with?

    • danvalenti
      October 20, 2017 at 10:58 am #

      The kiosks have been a bust. They are on track to lose about $30 grand this year. If they are “profitable,” where is all the money going? Hint: track Big Data. Who is reaping income from the sale of information harvested every time a driver feeds one of these Big Brothers?

  10. Tricksie
    October 20, 2017 at 6:49 am #

    12 million for a free lab for local plastic co’s – when the initial technology becomes obsolete, where will the $$ come from to upgrade the facility ? you guessed it….DV on the ball !!!!

  11. Mr. G
    October 20, 2017 at 7:29 am #

    This is a fascinating conundrum though Dan. The question is, hasn’t the city already put in a pretty substantial ante for this BIC program? When it started didn’t they have to throw a million dollars on the table as a…gulp…public-private partnership? Didn’t the state put in a crapload too? If that is the case, the thinking must be that they feel they can’t let that initial investment go to zero with nothing. If this is the proverbial throwing good money after bad, do you see a different road out? It does seem nuts. What I always say, whenever I drive past and see the “Berkshire Innovation Center – Coming Soon” sign is, “$9 million dollar sign. Probably the most expensive sign ever made!

    • War Pigs
      October 20, 2017 at 8:06 am #

      It’s best to cut your losses and get out before losing even more money. But that would be admitting the initial investment was a mistake and we all know these egotistical politicians will never do that. Both Nuclea and BIC have been called economic engines. And they are – for scam artists and the special interests.

      • danvalenti
        October 20, 2017 at 10:52 am #

        All true, WP.

    • danvalenti
      October 20, 2017 at 10:56 am #

      Great questions, MR. G. I don’t know how much $$$ have already been contributed/thrown away on the BITCH. The bucks being bantered about have to our knowledge been proposed but not sure earmarked. I would agree on cutting the losses while they are relatively small. The other part of this story is that in Pittsfield wanting to erect the building, the city confirms that PEDA has been a flop, unable to lure genuine, full-blooded companies from the Dreaded Private Sector. I would put this on failed leadership and management and not on the property itself.

  12. Cosbies
    October 20, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Who collects the cash from the kiosks, what account is it distrusted In and what is the mechanism for the final tally of what is collected. Is there a manual transaction?

  13. H
    October 20, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    Tyer is the worst Mayor in the History of the City. Yes, worst than Gerry Doyle, Bianchi,Reilly,Smith, Woitkowski,Hathaway,Butler,DelGallo, even Ruberto, who is a close third.

    • dusty
      October 20, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

      but all seemed to have enriched themselves and friends

      and that is what counts in politics

  14. The school committee
    October 20, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    Tyer white Marchetti demand young kids play inthe hood with syringes in the gutter and gunfire at any time….its time citizen s wear Kevlar vest to the hood parade

  15. Dave
    October 20, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    Does anyone know if PCTV is running the election statements from each candidate this year? I admit I haven’t been paying attention like I used to, and haven’t subjected my wife to channels 16-18 unless I’m surfing and catch something of interest. I haven’t heard or read hardly any position of anyone on anything and the election is 3 weeks away! Is the gazette guy having his debates at BCC? I guess it really doesn’t matter, Pittsfield has given up and is selling out. I admit I am part of the problem by giving up the fight by going deaf, blind and dumb, but damn they too good at the game.

    • H
      October 20, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

      Well, unfortunately I have subjected my Wife and have seen the Candidates ‘read their statements’. Politically amatuerish at best. One of the candidates was talking about a personal problem with his insurance? Probably the worst candidates speech were the newcomers. I thought Simonell was the best, Moon the phoniest.

    • CosbiesLadies
      October 20, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

      Moon was mentioning her affiliation with refugees and Veterans. So, I guess she’s going to work for those causes.S ….Taxpayers.

      • Joe Blow
        October 20, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

        When Moon came to my house looking for a vote she was clueless…she thought GE left less than 10 years ago. Nothing more than a full blown SJW snowflake.

        • The school committee
          October 20, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

          Shes a Republican snowflake,completely not aware.

          • 12 Gauge
            October 20, 2017 at 6:15 pm #

            She is a registered Democrat.

        • acheshirecat
          October 20, 2017 at 5:43 pm #

          She was technically right. The GE had a crew (about 20) to maintain the buildings they stilled owned. They had a few white collar guys too. They were in Building 56 until about 2 years ago.

  16. Len X Abhorant
    October 20, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    Pete is rolling over in his grave.

    • Spagirl
      October 20, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

      There is no one like him. He worked tirelessly.

      • mi
        October 20, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

        As opposed to Tyerlessly.

        • Spagirl
          October 21, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

          mi
          Checkmate!!

  17. Wild In the Streets
    October 20, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

    The Bitch, love it! Or, Itsa Bitch.

  18. dusty
    October 21, 2017 at 12:24 am #

    The big white garbage truck with the two flat tires, that signified the hopelessness of Pittsfield, has been moved to a new location.

    the hopelessness however is still there

  19. Spagirl
    October 21, 2017 at 5:13 am #

    Pittsfield proposed to host Amazon’s second headquarters and the 50,000 jobs ithat would accompany it in Stanley Business Park.
    This should be in Ripley’s believe it or not.!!!
    GO!

  20. The school committee
    October 21, 2017 at 6:24 am #

    Amazon Needs mainline rail service ,needs affordable housing,needs colleges nearby,needs junior colleges,needs airport withing 45 min drive,needs local goverment fast track permitting,needs quality of life…..We have a 60 acre industrial site ready to go…..We also have a Mayor who knows nothing about this search by Amazon

    • dusty
      October 21, 2017 at 6:34 am #

      So Pittsfield could have Amazon and Walmart, two of the countries mega company’s, fighting for the PEDA site?

      That would be awesome if we were not heading into world war 3 this month. Hope everyone is stocking up on canned goods and peanut butter.

      Oh yeah people..it’s coming at ya for real this time…we left the madman in too long

  21. Shelly Liver
    October 21, 2017 at 8:47 am #

    Amazon should explore the Hess Forest site.

  22. Spagirl
    October 21, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    Pittsfield,Ma estimated population 2017. 43,403
    These suits are dead serious. I am truly belly laughing.

  23. Dilly Dally
    October 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    You have as much chance of Amazon coming here as I do buying a new home in a gated Community.

  24. Len X Abhorant
    October 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

    G e ain’t coming back and neither will Amazon come here,we are freaky arts,slush funds art sales,and crime up the yin yang. And trash cans and kiosks and Chesnut seeds and Tifs.

  25. gocometti
    October 21, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

    The Berkshire Museum is wrong to try to sell the works of Norman
    Rockwell in its collection but is also wrong to sell the works of French Classical Painter William-Aldolphe Bouguereau one of the
    Finest Classical Realists of the Nineteenth Century. These are works of art that are world famous and part of our community.

    • Jonathan Melle
      October 21, 2017 at 8:25 pm #

      Who is benefiting from the auction of BM’a 40 pieces of art? Why are all of the local political hacks, including Jimmy Ruberto, for it? How will all of the legal court cases turn out? How much money will be spent on Attorneys and other legal fees?

      • dusty
        October 22, 2017 at 12:05 am #

        Let us just say that it is a nice pool of money to have control over. Someone will be sleeping with a large smile on their puss.

  26. Len X Abhorant
    October 22, 2017 at 10:05 am #

    Americana was Rockwell’s theme Disgraces the memory of the beloved Rockwell. His Art currently is one of the most sought after.

  27. H
    October 22, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    Berkshire Museum should be taken down if they can’t control their management constraints, the offensive part is, we can see Rockwell at the Rockwell Museum,send it back where it belongs

    • Arial Black
      October 22, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

      you’re saying raze the building because the board had a dumb idea?

      • H
        October 22, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

        If it goes through, yes.

  28. Voytek Gobsigski
    October 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    check it out…..http://d12pkcpt8jjevs.cloudfront.net/TRMSVOD/28175-WardStatements-Medium-v1.mp4

  29. mi
    October 22, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

    GoytaniI for Governor and Mayor.