(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION DEC. 22-24, 2017) — Welcome to official winter.

This time, it appears a national search was enacted, which might be the most significant story to hit The Berkshires since O.B. Joyful shelled his last boiled peanut. As you know, a position of “executive director” at a Pittsfield not-for-profit usually goes to Joe’s brother-in-law, legacy and all. And so it came to pass that Jesse Cook-Dubin, the precocious president of Downtown Pittsfield Inc., announced Cheryl Mirer as the group’s top exec.

Mirer: THE PLANET has a good experience with that name. Back in the Pleistocene Age, when the New England Patriots were stumblebums and before the Super Bowl was renamed The New England Patriots Invitational, their futility earned the top pick in the NFL draft. They desperately needed a quarterback, and not just a good one. They needed a stud. The two top rated at the position for that 1993 draft were Washington State’s Drew Bledsoe and Notre Dame’s Rick Mirer. Bledsoe or Mirer dominated the discussion not just in New England but across the league and nation. “Bledsoe or Mirer?” went the raging debate. When the time came, Patriots coach Duane “Bill” Parcells, a fair judge of horse flesh, selected Bledsoe. With that pick, Parcells brought the Patriots back to relevancy. Bledsoe earned All Pro honors, took his team to the 1997 Super Bowl, and wars the red jacket of the team’s Hall of Fame. Mirer fizzled, flopped, and failed.

Cook-Dubin told THE PLANET that DPI’s selection committee put out a national call for applicants and received more than 100 resumes from various parts of the country. Eight made the finals, with Mirer winning the competition. Let’s hope for Pittsfield’s sake that Cook-Dubin has the same eye for talent that Parcells had. THE PLANET thinks he does. At DPI, he’s done more with less than the defenders at the Alamo, circa 1836.

Mirer passed the first test when she said all the right things to the press. She described herself as a problem-solving people person, “adaptable, flexible, and creative.” Her strong points include having local experience but, as far as we can tell, not a lot of local connections. To succeed, Mirer has to survive Pittsfield politics, and that can only be done with a strong stomach and even stronger spine. She will learn that the right thing to do is often frowned upon by The Suits, whose “vision” extends no further than the nose tip. The DPI leadership post can be likened to walking a tightrope over a pit of roiling lava while jugging a buzzing chainsaw, a toaster, and a puree catseye marble — if, and it’s a big one, the person truly wants to succeed and isn’t doing it simply to “get along” and occupy time before her next gig.

That bears watching. Mirer has a peripatetic streak. She attended UMass, Amherst. Next stop Ghana via the Peace Corps. Back to Amherst to work for a building supply company … to Boston to get a master’s at BU in arts administration … to Brighton and Whole Foods … to the Pioneer Valley and a job at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington … to Hub-Bub in South Carolina (a “downtown revitalization” program; sound familiar?) … ten months later to Potsdam, N.Y., at the public library … to Clarkson University as “coordinator of corporate and foundation relations” (putting the pinch on rich alums for $$$) … to DPI.

Hmmm … we get wanderlust, but DPI doesn’t need another director with happy feet. It needs someone willing to stay and expend the effort.

She failed her second test when she posed in The Beacon Cinema‘s new taxpayer-funded loungers with the mayor, councilor John Krol, kiss-up Ty Jackson, and others in a ridiculous photo-op. Think Mike Dukakis in an Army tank wearing a Snoopy headset in the 1988 presidential campaign. Yes, it was that bad.

Another thing to watch: how she handles the disproportionate attention now given to “the arts” versus ignoring downtown merchants, the majority of which are small companies with one, two, or a handful of employees. Previous DPI leaders catered to the arts, with the resulting imbalance having business owners feeling ostracized. Official support for downtown needs to help businesses. For example, proactive assistance from DPI might have helped prevent The Lantern grille from going under when an overly punctilious fire inspector threw his weight around.

Talking to merchants, THE PLANET gets a unanimous message: They don’t get enough support. They need imaginative promotions that will help sell their products and services. The position of executive director for DPI needs to be rebranded. It needs to be an advocate of business.

THE PLANET extends our best to Mirer. We will be eager to see how this one works out.

Have a great weekend, everybody. Be sure to click on THE PLANET Monday for our special Christmas Carol to readers.


“I’m really a happy guy. It’s just my face can’t smile” — Ringo Starr.



The Usual Disclaimer.



  1. Ron Kitterman
    December 22, 2017 at 9:32 am #

    I’m sure she’ll fit right in, if she continues to look for ways to continues the New Ways to Light Up Downtown…

    • danvalenti
      December 22, 2017 at 11:22 am #

      Thanks, RK, a man comfortable enough to post under his own name.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours.

      • Col. Angus
        December 22, 2017 at 8:22 pm #

        What’s the upside to using your name?

        • dusty
          December 23, 2017 at 2:25 am #

          Those guys are more comfortable. Probably own recliners.

      • The school committee
        December 23, 2017 at 8:14 am #

        Ron must not need a job.

        • Cos
          December 25, 2017 at 7:18 pm #

          He has never been arrested. And is not evil.

  2. Dustin
    December 22, 2017 at 11:37 am #

    Everyone MERRY CHRISTMAS and how wonderful it is to say that!

    • Mr. G
      December 23, 2017 at 5:36 am #

      Have you been forbidden from saying it in the past?

  3. mi
    December 22, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    Anyone see the advertisement in th Eagle with Steve Martin and Martin Short appearing at Tanglewood,its not a big deal, but it says, AN EVENING YOU WILL FORGET FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?

    • acheshirecat
      December 22, 2017 at 8:34 pm #

      “AN EVENING YOU WILL FORGET FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?” is what they named their tour. Merry Christmas!

      • dusty
        December 23, 2017 at 2:27 am #

        Might as well forget about it before you go and save your money.

      • h
        December 23, 2017 at 7:26 am #


      • mi
        December 23, 2017 at 11:58 am #

        Yeah, that’s what it said?

  4. dusty
    December 22, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    Careful on the roads peeps. Getting slippery and given the recent history of the city heads there may not be any sand or salt on the roads even though they know people are doing their last minute Xmas shopping. You may be on your own out there so drive slow.

    • May Hemm
      December 22, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

      Thanx dusty, just avoid one in front of the high school.

  5. Jonathan Melle
    December 22, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    Over the past 13 years, Pittsfield politics has spent tens of millions of taxpayers dollars on downtown revitalization. Moreover, then Mayor Jimmy Ruberto spent over $2 million from GE’s settlement account on downtown Pittsfield projects.
    The G.O.B.’s praised Ruberto’s excessive spending on Pittsfield’s so-called renaissance. Meanwhile, thousands of people (who pay local taxes) moved away from Pittsfield. Moreover, hundreds of living wage jobs were lost in Pittsfield. Once a living wage job is lost, it is not coming back in our lifetime.
    Ruberto bet it all on a revitalized downtown, and he LOST big!
    What went wrong over the past 4 decades?
    The downtown mall proposal was rejected.
    The new downtown ballpark for a double A minor league baseball team was rejected.
    The children’s museum was rejected.
    The Pittsfield bypass was rejected.
    The Good Old Boys ruled under a one political party system that suppressed dissent or alternate viewpoints.
    PEDA will be 20 years old next summer (2018) with 0 private tenants and tens of millions of remediation work in cleaning up toxic waste industrial chemicals called PCBs.
    GE and other big industrial employers closed shop in Pittsfield.
    A majority (about 70%) of local residents live in or near the poverty level due to the lack of living wage jobs. To illustrate, all K – 6 public school students receive free lunches.
    North Street is also known as “Social Services Alley” with high per capita welfare caseloads.
    Downtown Pittsfield has seen a mass shooting, other shootings, murders, drugs, prostitution, gangs, and the like.

    • dusty
      December 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

      You are right Johnathon. And while they were spending those tens of millions of dollars on North street they were letting the rest of the roads go to hell. Once again, that is what happens when you hire your no nothing friends and family to do jobs that should have gone to qualified people. It is all in my new book… HOW NEPOTISM RUINED A CITY.

      • The school committee
        December 24, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

        Lenox finally fixed their roads in the past 3 years,if you drive around Pittsfield roads are better thatn most of southern berkshire and the state takes care of their 1 main road throug each town

  6. May Hemm
    December 22, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    The Mayor thinks North Street is the greatest venue in the United States.

  7. Jonathan Melle
    December 22, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    December 22, 2017

    Re: Open letter to Alan Chartock

    Dear Alan Chartock,

    You wrote: “State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli will be signaled out by a statewide organization as THE example of what a state rep should be. A citation will be issued saying, among many other things, that Pignatelli is always there to help.” Source: Alan Chartock/I, Publius: New Year’s predictions offer a fanciful look ahead to 2018”, By Alan Chartock, The Berkshire Eagle, December 22, 2017.

    I point out the following facts about Smitty Pignatelli’s public record:

    He voted for the pay raise bill earlier this year. It doubled the pay and pensions of the House Speaker and Senate President on Beacon Hill. The pay raise bill was political hack business of the worst order!

    He wrote an op-ed in the Eagle pointing out all of the lost population and jobs in Berkshire County in support of shared municipal services. First of all, he is a career politician who has been in state government political office since 2003 through present day. One would think he would take a share of the blame for the economic blame and financial constraints on local governments and taxpayers! Secondly, he is vocally against a return to county or regional government. One would think that Berkshire County would have a county or regional government when a majority of Massachusetts’ 14 counties have such entities.

    His first vote in state government office was a vote for Speaker Tom Finneran. While many legislators voted “present”, he fell right in line like a “good” bureaucrat and voted for Finneran. Shortly thereafter, he hosted the then- Speaker [Finneran] for a hometown fundraiser with a big smile on his face published in the Eagle. He then voted for Speaker Sal DiMasi. Like Finneran, DiMasi is a convicted Felon! The current House Speaker, Bob DeLeo, ended the term limit law on the House Speaker to become “Speaker for Life.” Pignatelli votes for these top-down, entrenched so-called “leaders” term after term.

    He proposed legislation to give youth a criminal record if they possessed marijuana near a youth center, school, and the like, after the state voted to decriminalize marijuana. Instead of helping youth, he wanted to give them criminal records. His proposal was undemocratic because it went against the will of the people!

    He is a career politician who will serve in state government office for as long as he can. He runs in non-competitive “elections” every two years. He followed in his father’s political footsteps like so many Pittsfield area politicians, who are also known as the “Good Old Boys”. His public record is more of a bureaucrat than a legislator. He votes for hack pay raise bills, top-down House Speakers, has job security as a political insider, points out his constituents’ economic pain without taking a share of the blame, wants to give youth criminal records, and gets rewarded for following orders. In closing, Smitty Pignatelli represents top-down politics of the banal!


    Jonathan Melle

    • Pat
      December 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

      Chartock goes into raptures of praise over anybody who is a Democrat. He praises Democrats to the skies.

      • Jonathan Melle
        December 22, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

        Smitty Pignatelli reminds me of Darth Vader. He was once a good man who had good intentions in state and local politics before turning to the dark side of the Force and becoming an agent of evil. Unlike Darth Vader, Smitty Pignatelli cannot be turned back to the good side of the Force. He will always take care of himself and his fellow G.O.B.s, while the common people “eat cake”.
        Alan Chartock is being played as a fool by the likes of Darth Vader/Smitty Pignatelli.

        • Pat
          December 23, 2017 at 6:06 am #

          When it comes to praising Democrats, Chartock doesn’t need any prodding to act like a fool. I remember his gushing praise about Obama.. “Oh my God the guy is a genius.” This went on for 8 LONG years of worship and adoration. Nothing Obama did was questionable or deserving of any kind of criticism.

          • Mr. Fritz
            December 23, 2017 at 8:55 am #

            I agree Pat, that guy is a piece of work.

      • 12 Gauge
        December 22, 2017 at 8:21 pm #

        Chartock solicits gift cards from restaurants for charity auctions then keeps them for himself.

      • dusty
        December 23, 2017 at 2:29 am #

        But you balance it out Pat with your snarling denunciation of their very right to exist in your country.

      • The school committee
        December 24, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

        Whatch Fox propaganda Pat,they are planting the secret seed in your brain that will set you off if Trump is not cleared by FBI

  8. Shakes His Head
    December 22, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

    Assalaamu Alaykum, Merry Christmas, & Shalom Aleichem. To all my Planet compatriots, even creepy sleazebag Dustin.

    • Col. Angus
      December 22, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

      Io, Saturnalia!

    • Dustin
      December 22, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

      No need for you or your politically correct BS first greeting. It’s Christmas time

      • Shakes His Head
        December 23, 2017 at 7:40 am #

        You do realize the Bible is fiction, don’t you?

        • Dustin
          December 23, 2017 at 10:28 am #

          You do realize Islam is not a religion of peace. Stop trying to placate the animals. And leave

          • Shakes His Head
            December 23, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

            The Quran is also fiction.

            You’re a classless hick that epitomizes why Pittsfield is not going to survive.

          • Dustin
            December 23, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

            And you are a thief and habitual liar. Gotcha

          • Shakes His Head
            December 24, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

            Still not Matt, douchebag

          • Dustin
            December 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

            You are a thief and liar. Leave

          • Shakes His Head
            December 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

            You just don’t quit, loser retard.

          • Dustin
            December 24, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

            I always win against lying thieves like you

  9. Milt Plum
    December 22, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

    This town could use Vito “Babe” Parilli.

  10. Madame Du Barry
    December 22, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    To my good friends the Trumps and all here on the Planet, Merriest of Christmas, GO Wyoming!

  11. NIB
    December 22, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

    “adaptable, flexible, and creative.” really means a yes person who won’t have a spine and won’t rock the boat or make tough decisions.

  12. Mr. Fritz
    December 22, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

    I will nominate Ms. Mirer for sainthood if she can get rid of those dang parking meters!

  13. gocometti
    December 22, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

    Has anyone noticed that the self photo Chertock uses for his column in the BB is at least thirty years old….come on Mr. Chertock you’re an old man…nothing to be ashamed of…just get real.

  14. The school committee
    December 23, 2017 at 3:29 am #

    Bouvier is trying to get sanctuary cities designations in Ma. Only for her political resume.She would only let her children associate with the so call upscale kids of Lenox Ma.
    Watch Bouvier as she in fact is looking for the next candidate to latch on to is her pursuit of some national coattail ride to Washington.
    Bouvier has not brought 1 job to central berkshire.Smitty wants to tell people that G E is not coming back so deal with it.Smitty has not brought 1 job to the southern berkshires.

  15. The school committee
    December 23, 2017 at 3:35 am #

    Fox news has gone white right regressive and is a commercial against what America is.Fox is the white news channel. You can see the fear of America in the on air personalities.Murdochs are losing ratings as their legit status as conservative white news has now gone away and been replaced as a Nationalist Party channel

  16. The school committee
    December 23, 2017 at 6:19 am #

    Fox Nation is now reporting that the Federal Bureau of Investigating gets information .If it wasnt for Fox news I would probably not assume this investigation is more about the lies that the Trumps allinging with Russia to overthrow the American election process.I now believe its about the Trumps and Puttin building a partnership of who will now run the World…. .

    • dusty
      December 23, 2017 at 6:51 am #

      That is deep. Pat may know if it is true or not.

    • 12 Gauge
      December 23, 2017 at 11:11 am #

      More blah, blah from Mr. Gibberish.

  17. Shelly Liver
    December 23, 2017 at 7:39 am #

    Baron Trump will change his name to Bannon Trump and run for Senator of N Y one day. It will be the clean version of a Trump as a politician. It’s a Mother thing..

  18. The school committee
    December 23, 2017 at 8:17 am #

    Trump is putting on alot of weight,normal for the nervous.

    • 12 Gauge
      December 23, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

      More blah, blah from Mister. Gibberish.

  19. The school committee
    December 23, 2017 at 8:19 am #

    Bob Kraft and Pat thanked Trump for the tax winfall,how much did you get Pat?

  20. Trisha Trasha
    December 23, 2017 at 9:03 am #

    Koch Brothers get about 200 mil and you will get about 20.00 after taxes. But Corporations are going to open up the Floodgates to new jobs, you watch.

    • CosbiesLadies
      December 23, 2017 at 9:09 am #

      Try 600 mi Trashy.

  21. Co
    December 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

    Pat a d I will get about 15 apiece dollars.

  22. acheshirecat
    December 24, 2017 at 6:46 am #

    Are things getting so bad that every time a top organizational position comes up in Pittsfield or Berkshire County , there has to be a nation wide search to fill it. Are there no qualified people out of the 125,000 people who live in the County? Or is it the political climate?

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

    • Wilson
      December 24, 2017 at 1:37 pm #

      “They” like to bring people in from out of the area since they don’t ask questions and don’t care care about what happens to the city

  23. Mr. Fritz
    December 24, 2017 at 6:47 am #

    Another great commentary by Matt Kinnaman in today’s Beagle – “And The Soul Felt Its Worth.”

    • Pat
      December 24, 2017 at 8:11 am #

      I agree. His commentary really brings the true message of Christmas to all of us…it’s not about the presents and the parties.

      The BB, on the other hand, give it’s typical editorial, “America Must Win War for the Truth”. It’s a typical put down of Trump. Tricia Farley Bouvier is right to turn this area into a sanctuary city. You get the picture. It’s the BB’s version of the truth.

      • 12 Gauge
        December 24, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

        80% of illegal immigrant women are raped crossing the Mexican border. So by encouraging them to come to Massachusetts Tricia Farley Bouvier encourages rape.

        • Thomas More
          December 25, 2017 at 9:50 am #

          Very logical.

  24. Pat
    December 24, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    I meant to say “its typical editorial not it’s.

    Merry Christmas to All!!!!

  25. Gigi
    December 24, 2017 at 9:34 am #

    Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ!

  26. Pat
    December 24, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    Avoid Pecks Road. It is riddled with BAD potholes. It’s hard to avoid them during the day, but night time would be impossible. Potholes are deep and wide. I know because I hit one. I thought I was avoiding it, but it is so large that I didn’t. Hopefully I only lose some tire pressure and possibly need an alignment, but be warned!!!!

    It’s only December and the roads are quickly turning hazardous. West Street isn’t allowed to get this bad. Why should Pecks road be allowed to deteriorate like this? Why don’t people who live in that area complain?

  27. The school committee
    December 24, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    Pecks road is 40 years into bad road

  28. The school committee
    December 24, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

    Trump is warm and wealthy and misses Puttin sworn enemy of the United States of America as is trump who want to fundamentally tear down the institutions that gave poor people power and made America great.KKK has a Trump for it President

    • 12 Gauge
      December 24, 2017 at 1:16 pm #

      You tell em’ Captain Gibberish.

  29. mi
    December 24, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

    I didn’t see that on here, but thanx anyway, the pot hole looks like a huge crater right across from the Cemetery gates going east. Where is the famous pothole Tomy, he’s had to have had complaint?

    • Cos
      December 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

      You can beat the rain in Winter. potholes are a science to an Art.

  30. SisterGoldenHair
    December 25, 2017 at 12:39 am #

    Merry Christmas to all my fellow Planeteers and to Dan The Man. Enjoy the snow.

  31. dusty
    December 25, 2017 at 1:51 am #

    Merry Christmas to everyone and take your time getting places.

    • Trisha Trisha
      December 25, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

      A Merry Christmas first,someone knocking at my door this morning around 8 no clue,