(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY MAY 24, 2018) — First, THE PLANET‘s congratulations to the Italian fraternal organizations who spoke out against the Pittsfield School Committee’s utterly ridiculous vote (in January) to kick Christopher Columbus out of Oct. 12 in favor of “Indigenous People’s Day.” The committee voted unilaterally, with no public input, for this politically correct monstrosity.

Committeewoman Cynthia Taylor defended the vote with a laughable glop of verbal slop, actually claiming the move reflected the committee’s concern with historical accuracy “for the children.” THE PLANET doesn’t have the time, space, or inclination to give Taylor a history lesson or to explain to this la bella densa the purpose in honoring Columbus. No “correct” fictionalization of history can or should dismiss Columbus as anything but a world-historical individual who changed more lives (and for the better) than any other western figure.

Now on to garbage of a more literal kind. Testimony and voluminous complaints unearthed the incredible latest bungle of Mayor Linda Tyer and trash pickup. It turns out that Republic Services took it upon itself to overthrow city government. Seems Reupblic has gotten awfully smug since Tyer gave them a new five-year contract. Get this: After the city rewrote what were simple and effective trash-collection protocols, turning them into heiroglyphics beyond translation of the world’s best Egyptologist, Republic usurped the mayor. Call it a Curbside Coup.

Let’s see. What is it about trash removal companies? Hey, aren’t such firms caricatured for being mob owned (see “Sopranos, The). Not that we would ever, evah suspect such a thing in this case. Banish the thought. Wrap it up in yesterday’s Boring Broadsheet and hope for the best.

Republic took it upon itself to write, print, and distribute to all its drivers violation policies, instructing them to enforce the new garbage “laws.” It has no power to do so, not that such a little thing matters in the city that time forgot. Not one citizen knows what to do or not do to avoid getting cuffed and beaten by the Garbage Nazis, but that didn’t stop the company from its pogrom out of the muddy blue and with NO WARNING. The worst part is that Tyer admitted Tuesday night that she had no clue that Republic had done this.

“At no time did I authorize any kind of soft enforcement,” Tyer said. “I don’t disregard the public to that degree.”

Truly? We then respectfully ask the mayor, to what degree DOES she distrust the public?

That why citizens found their garbage uncollected (a violation of the contract) or pasted with colorful “VIOLATION” stickers.

And for that, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, your taxes, your service fees, and the cost of everything in your lives supplied by government are going up, Up, UP. Well, at least city hall installed a gym in the basement that not long ago city “leaders” told you was full of dangerous radon levels.

THE PLANET wonders how such a communication beak down could occur? How could the corner office operate in such a fashion, on an issue that it has been daily dealing, as to let a private contractor think it was OK to make policy and enforce the law?

“We’re just as stymied as you,” Tyer answered.

You can’t make this stuff up. Speaking of communication breakdowns, councilors said they were not aware that Tyer and Republic entered a new contract. That would normally be a lead story in most towns ( and all those run on the upright), but in Pittsfield, the gaffe stands as little more than an aside.

THE PLANET plumbed our city hall sources, who say heath director Gina Armstrong, with a Cousy-like assist from public services commissioner, did an end run around the mayor following the conclusion of Republic’s new deal with Pittsfield. Sources didn’t know the particulars, of who, if anyone, “got what,” if anything, but they did say the deal  wafted foully to low heaven. We can reasonably infer, then, that whatever Armstrong and Turocy did, Republic took it as carte blanche to launch its Cubrside Coup.

Good luck, mayor, in now getting the public behind what was already a flawed garbage plan. Good thing you won’t be seeking re-election.


“Growing spring flowers reflect Truth beyond recall — ancient, Now. And that is All” — Sir Tiberius Fruitjuice.



The Usual Disclaimer.




  1. 12 Gauge
    May 23, 2018 at 9:37 pm #

    oN THE GARBAGE tYER IS A LIAR. tHE ORIGINAL DIRECTIVE CAME FROM HER OFFICE WITH HER NAME ON IT. Councilors posted it all over facebook but it strangely disappeared. She must have arm twisted to have them remove it.

    As far as the Columbus day thing. I recall watching the meeting where the decision was made. Who could forget nit wit Dennis Powell giving a speech on black cowboys? As if that had anything to do with Columbus Day.

    • Two Cents
      May 24, 2018 at 9:00 am #

      Spot On…The directive-or more accurately the resulting enforcement- was even posted on the mayor’s own Facebook page before being removed. Republic did in no way act on its own. A representative of the company publicly worked directly with the health department in developing a list of violations that would be stickered. That list was discussed during an open meeting of the board of health and during a resource recovery commission meeting, where board members discussed the coming enforcement with the Republic Representative and then patted themselves on the back for being so proactive. The company implemented the enforcement truly and accurately believing that it was what its customer-the city-wanted. If I hear one more time that the company acted on its own, I’m gonna scream. It’s the same situation as when the administration promised a developer he would have no problem with a tobacco permit, when the health department already announcement, there would be no more new ones. The mayor has no clue what is going on within the departments she has purview over!

  2. dusty
    May 24, 2018 at 12:47 am #

    Firstly I do agree with the mayor that the city has a garbage problem. Too much of it blows away before it gets picked up and people could do a much better job at recycling.

    I see recycling bins piled high and on windy days it blows all over the roads and neighborhoods. Why does this happen? Bins are too small and uncovered. The part of the mayors toter plan I agreed with was to have a large covered toter for mixed recyclables which I figured I would need to drag out once a month. Could this be implemented without the regular garbage toter?

    Lots of education is needed on recycling and should be taught in schools, on public TV, Krols personal show, mentioned at city council meetings and in flyers mailed to citizens. I do believe many people are clueless as to the purpose and benefits of recycling.

    Looking at the garbage on my street this week I noticed the following. Recycling bins with almost nothing in them. Some were so full things were falling out of them. There needs to be a choice for larger bins and people need to know they don’t need to put out a bin every week if they only have two cat food cans.

    Also, crows and squirrels have figured out that they can chew easily through the white plastic bags and I see this in action almost every week. This leaves a mess. Curiously they do not seem to go for the black bags as much.

    And then some people are just assholes and throw their garbage willy nilly at the curb. These are the ones the mayor needs to lean on first. But I do not know anybody who can get by with just one 32 gallon garbage can even on a good week.

  3. Spagirl
    May 24, 2018 at 3:22 am #

    One 32 gallon container is not reasonable per household.. Just use the common sense rule. dusty is right. Go after the blatant offenders, and enforce.

  4. Gigi
    May 24, 2018 at 3:55 am #

    Great column, Dan. When I read the iBerkshires article about the citizens’ revolt against the Columbus Day name change, I wanted to stand up & cheer. With our failing schools, budget issues, etc. – all important problems – and Ms. Taylor wants to focus on holiday name changes – give me a break. Next election, vote out Taylor, Powell and Cutler!
    The Tyler administration is a mess, so shame on the city councilors – past & present – who voted to change the city charter / mayor’s term to four years. This needs to be changed back to a two year term. Next election, we need a successful business person to run for mayor, and I’m NOT talking about Krol or Marchetti.

    • Thomas More
      May 24, 2018 at 4:44 am #

      The people themselves voted to change the city charter. There was plenty of time to read it and meetings to attend. The people who contribute to this blog seem to be the most critical and its unknown whether they attended those forums because no one knows who they are.

      • Pat
        May 24, 2018 at 5:55 am #

        It was school department employees who voted for the city charter since they are such a large group and can easily sway the elections in their favor. They vote in a mayor who they know will increase the school budget each year and by approving the city charter that is 2 extra years they don’t have to worry about having a mayor in charge who will NOT approve the ever growing school budget. It was a matter of convenience for them more than anything else.

        Mostly everyone on this board was against the city charter especially when the Berkshire Eagle came out in favor of it, we KNEW that it was NOT to be trusted.

        • The school committee
          May 24, 2018 at 6:45 am #

          35 % of teachers live out of town.Thr rest cant be bothered to vote.Ward 3 and 4 run the show and the other wards dont vote

          • Pat
            May 24, 2018 at 7:31 am #

            80% of teachers and school administrators live in Pittsfield…’s a very high percentage.

    • tom
      May 25, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

      Maybe Mazzeo or Connell for Mayor? They both seem to have the residents interest at heart.

  5. Paul
    May 24, 2018 at 6:02 am #

    Pat, I agree, the city and school employees, stack the deck on our elections. Without those unions there is little chance of being elected.

  6. Charles Trzcinka
    May 24, 2018 at 6:19 am #

    The “Indigenous People’s Day” is really stupid but then so is the trash roll out. Here in Bloomington Indiana we had exactly the same problem with trash at the same time. The mayor managed to solve it without all the problems of Pittsfield. Bloomington’s mayor has screwed up everything from expansion of the city’s borders to the ordering of a Bearcat from Lenco in Pittsfield Mass (!) but his administration. We now call the Columbus day holiday “Fall Holiday” and Good Friday holiday “Spring Holiday” both are only slightly less offensive than “indigenous People Day” but again, they got the trash right.

    • Thomas More
      May 24, 2018 at 6:53 am #

      Totally agree CT from an old CYC coach. Since we’re giving Columbus the bums rush why have anything. Fall is the time of year when the kids are most receptive to learning because they don’t have their teachers figured out that early in the year. Before Christmas break we have Labor Day, Columbus Day (oops), Election Day, Veterans Day Thanksgiving Days, teacher training and with any luck a snow day or two. Then in the spring we’re strapped trying to figure out how to get the kids out by Independence Day.

      • danvalenti
        May 24, 2018 at 8:46 am #

        Excellent, my good friend.

  7. Bull Durham
    May 24, 2018 at 7:22 am #

    The War on Holidays continues. First we had to change Washington and Lincoln’s Birthday to Presidents’ Day, because God forbid we neglect the incredible achievements of Millard Filmore, James Buchanan, Warren Harding and all of the other names that our young people say, “Who?” Christmas has become Holiday. And now Columbus Day is Indigenous People’s Day… because Indigenous People discovered America. Which is odd, because America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, who I don’t think was a Native Amerigan. But I digress. What’s next? Thanksgiving can’t be Thanksgiving because it only promotes the rampant murder of turkeys. St. Patrick’s Day must be removed because it only stereotypes the Irish for their alcohol consumption (and I am Irish so I’m allowed to say that). Independence Day has to be banished because it’s not inclusive… there were only 13 original colonies and the other ‘states’ have no right to lay claim to that holiday. If we do include them, we’d have to change it to either Louisiana Purchase Day or Westward Expansion Day, but then we’re stuck again with all of the ugly stuff about how we’ve treated Native Americans. New Year’s Day really has to be changed, because it’s not New Year’s Day in China. Did I miss any?

    • Spider
      May 24, 2018 at 7:39 am #

      Charles T and Bull – So well written and so accurate!

      • dusty
        May 24, 2018 at 8:37 am #

        Since I have been getting older I am having trouble with Mondays. Seems like it comes up every damn week. And who the hell was this Monday named after that he gets 4 days a month?

        Don’t even get me started on Sundays because some times it is cloudy and that is pretty confusing by itself

        • danvalenti
          May 24, 2018 at 8:44 am #

          Monday was named after Rick Monday, the first player ever to be selected in the first (1965) MLB draft (Kansas City A’s). Tuesday was named after cutie actress Tuesday Weld. Wednesday after Wednesday’s Child. Friday after Jack Webb (does anyone get it?!). I agree it is offensive that there are so many white, European males.

          • dusty
            May 24, 2018 at 9:23 am #

            You know Dan, I was thinking the same thing but it just seemed too obvious. I think Thursdays was named after Third Thursday and was invented in Pittsfield.

        • Etymology
          May 24, 2018 at 8:57 am #

          Mondays are named after the Moon. Moon-day. Luna homage. Lunatic day. The construct that holds sway over your consious mind.

          Sundays are paid to the Sun. Sun-day. The object that all religion holds homage to. The projection of the physical.

      • danvalenti
        May 24, 2018 at 8:45 am #

        THE PLANET agrees. CT and Bull can be counted on for absolute keepers.

    • danvalenti
      May 24, 2018 at 8:46 am #

      You won me at the mention of Vespucci!

    • Harrison
      May 24, 2018 at 10:19 am #

      Columbus day should be named Buy a Car Day at Haddad’s Day. Same with Presidents Day. Memorial Day could be Let’s Get Drunk It’s Summer Day. St. Patrick’s Day could be As if I Need Another Excuse to get Drunk Day.

      • NIB
        May 24, 2018 at 11:37 am #

        4th of July could be Drive By Shooting Day or Yet Another Unsolved Murder Day.
        Patriots Day could be Public Workers Do No Work Again Day.

  8. Mr. Fritz
    May 24, 2018 at 10:12 am #

    “Curbside Coup” – great description. Would love to know what is in the 5 year contract.

    • dusty
      May 24, 2018 at 10:30 am #

      You mean like collusion and kickbacks? Not in Pittsfield I tell ya. Squeaky clean as Mom used to say when she washed my ears.

  9. H
    May 24, 2018 at 10:42 am #

    Dow Down Again.

    • danvalenti
      May 24, 2018 at 1:06 pm #

      Up or down, NO MORE DOW REPORTS. Please adhere to this new directive. THE PLANET thanks you in advance.

  10. NIB
    May 24, 2018 at 11:43 am #

    Re parking kiosks. Kerwood is looking into relocating some of the ‘underperforming’ ones. I’m sure it won’t be cheap to move them, and seeing how they were put in the wrong place to begin with, why should we believe they’ll choose the right place this time around?

    • danvalenti
      May 24, 2018 at 1:05 pm #

      Love that. “Underperforming ones.” Actually, that daffy definition includes every one of the Daleks. None of them are performing as advertised.

  11. Gary Wood
    May 24, 2018 at 12:12 pm #

    Speaking of Holidays. It’s time we changed Patriots Day to GIANTS day.

    • danvalenti
      May 24, 2018 at 1:04 pm #

      Yes, but you must have heard. The Giants left for San Francisco in 1958. By the way, I still say you were better than Ralph Guglielmi.

  12. May Hemm
    May 24, 2018 at 1:05 pm #

    Bob Kraft should have a Holiday named for him .How about how to build a Dynasty Day?

  13. H
    May 24, 2018 at 1:15 pm #

    Scump cancelled summit deal. And that stupid OLLI still exists at B C C.

  14. Spider
    May 24, 2018 at 2:31 pm #

    Mr. Fritz – So would I!

  15. Cos
    May 24, 2018 at 2:33 pm #

    Thank goodness Ward Two @ PEDA didn’t get that Wakmart fiasco.

  16. Dawes
    May 24, 2018 at 3:57 pm #

    Love her or hate her you have to credit Melissa for squashing that bad idea.

  17. Jonathan Melle
    May 24, 2018 at 6:11 pm #

    Pittsfield does not know how fortunate it is to have the best Mayor EVER whose name is the lovely Linda Tyer! She has my full support. Furthermore, I hope that the lovely Linda Tyer funs for a 2nd term in 2020!

    • Mr. Fritz
      May 24, 2018 at 7:13 pm #

      Name 5 accomplishments of Mayor Tyer.

      • Jonathan Melle
        May 24, 2018 at 7:25 pm #

        1. She is not a G.O.B.
        2. She inherited a mess from the “Doyle debacle”, the “Hathaway hack”, the “Ruberto regime”, and the “Bianchi bust”.
        3. She believes in good ol’ Pittsfield as a vibrant and dynamic city.
        4. PEDA is going to turn 20 this summer 2018 with 0 private investment and it is still polluted with PCBs.
        5. The Berkshire Museum heist or shakedown.

        • Mr. Fritz
          May 24, 2018 at 7:37 pm #

          Those are not accomplishments.

        • Mr. Fritz
          May 24, 2018 at 7:40 pm #

          Go to bed Jon & sleep on it. Maybe you’ll come up with something after a good nite’s rest. And don’t list the Tyler Street trash cans as an accomplishment, either.

          • Two Cents
            May 25, 2018 at 10:35 am #

            Someone please explain how one could possibly judge what kind a job a local mayor is doing when one lives in an entirely different state? That’s like sipping pina coladas in Bermuda and telling everyone how great life is in Syria!

  18. The school committee
    May 24, 2018 at 6:57 pm #

    Casino Hotel on PEDA is the only thing that would go great.The berkshires are for relaxing and entertainment…..Casino is the answer for 20 years of fake hope.If you build it they will come.Many dollars to Tyler street

    • Jonathan Melle
      May 24, 2018 at 7:01 pm #

      PEDA casino owned by Donald Trump so he can declare his 5th business bankruptcy!

    • Dave
      May 26, 2018 at 10:25 am #

      Too late, Springfield will be open for 5 years before the ground is broken. But maybe a slots parlor built within the BIC. Teach maintenance of slot machines for future employment options. If they did that you could throw in pinball machine technicians too. I used to be a pinball wizard but you can’t find one anymore.

  19. EddieP
    May 24, 2018 at 7:16 pm #

    You got that right Jon. She is having lots of fun now and will have even more fun if she gets to a 2nd term.

  20. The school committee
    May 24, 2018 at 7:43 pm #

    Trump and Fox news and pundits undermining this country.We will never be the same .Our country is doomed as they have successfully divided a nation.Well done but so sad what Trump has done.Memorial day weekend will never be great again.

  21. Ghost Rider
    May 24, 2018 at 10:23 pm #

    Back in the early ’50’s I remember going for “rides in the cah,” when we’d go out East Street and in the 1800 block my Gram would say “There’s the white elephant!” as we passed the City incinerator.
    I always looked for the white elephant circus animal well into the sixties until I learned it was a City screw up name for a failed system.
    After then, I rode with the local M.S.P.C.A. Agent to the land fill and helped him toss dead (+/-) animals into the land fill. They were gassed from a 283 cui Chevy exhaust in a box made of rr ties after being injected with some lethal liquid.
    Believe me, they were still 1/2 alive when we tossed them into the landfill and I cried myself to sleep at night, hearing the last meows and whines of the dogs and cats that were going to be buried alive, in a pile!!!
    I hug my pet cats and sometimes weep at what I saw!
    That was some 56 years ago, It still bothers me to this day and STILL the City can’t get a handle on their refuse OR the Animal Shelter.
    Progress my ass!!!!!

  22. h
    May 27, 2018 at 4:56 am #

    One of the department heads said Antheneum website is made with LOVE.