(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY JUNE 17, 2018) — Contempt should only be spent on someone you take seriously. For the lightweights, pick from among ridicule, mockery, and flicking of the kind you do to an insect — three forms of abuse that cozily fit under the heading of satire.

Come on down, Donna Todd Rivers.

Here’s the timeline:

  • Mayor Linda Tyer tries to ram through an upgrade to the Pittsfield sewer system that will cost taxpayers $74 million.
  • This despite indications that the federal EPA will rescind the overstepping of the Boston regional office and not require the upgrades. Testimony from hydro engineer and designer Craig Gaetani argues convincingly that the upgrades, if needed at all, could be done for a fraction of that cost.
  • The city council, in a rare display of independence, defeats the proposal 4-7, one vote short of the required supermajority. The four dissenters are Kevin Morandi, Chris Connell, Melissa Mazzeo, and Rivers.
  • Despite the council’s vote, the mayor works “behind the scenes” (interpret this as you wish) to make sure the item is resurrected, even though it’s stinking worse than Lazarus fresh from the tomb. It’s the only time Jesus cries.
  • Tyer produces a threatening letter from the Boston EPA, “ordering” the city to do the upgrades or else face large fines.
  • What’s not made public is that the mayor essentially asked the EPA to write the letter, done in a meeting to which no opposition councilors or the public are invited.
  • In April, Rivers magically receives a make-work public-sector job — county jobs czar — at $75,000 a year, all in taxpayer money. The job offer and Rivers’ acceptance are not made public t the time. It takes iBerkshires and THE PLANET to dig up that buried truth. Again, the rotting corpse assaults the senses.
  • When the sewer vote comes around the next time, everyone on the council holds pat except Rivers. She miraculously “gets religion” on the sewer upgrade. She suddenly leads the league in self-righteousness, “explaining” that she kept an open mind. Before you can say “thefixwasin,” Rivers flip-flops. She is the deciding vote on already-overwhelmed city taxpayers being on the hook for an additional — and NEEDLESS — $74 million. At $75,000 a year, The Suits got DTR’s services cheap.

After failing in a brief stint as assistant city attorney and flopping with a downtown business, Rivers has carefully worked her way into the inner’s circles outer limits, that space reserved for glorified coat holders and coffee fetchers who sell themselves cheaply and taken themselves lightly. These people share a combination of characteristics dangerous to healthy, personal spirituality but irresistible to The Suits. They want everyone to love them, don’t appear happy with themselves, lack inner resolution, constantly need the approval of Adult Types and Father Figures, you know, people like Peter Marchetti, Adam Hinds, Peter White, Tricia Farley-Bouvier … you get the drift.

In an honest town where the game was more evenly tilted, such people would never win, and if they did, they would be too ashamed to show themselves in public. In Pittsfield, they walk and talk proudly because their master, The Suits, throw them the drippings — for example, the $75,000 price for turning a $75 million trick.

They are good people at core as we all are, but they (a) don’t seem to know it and (b) even worse, don’t want to trust it. They have ability but lack confidence. It comments most profoundly on the state of the city that these are the types who win elections.

They try to project stability but seem weak with loss.

We do not walk in their Guccis, but they have a mein that exudes with the saddest loss of all, a loss of Self.

It would suck to be like that.


“Everything is possible until proven otherwise” — Sherlock Holmes.



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  1. Spider
    June 17, 2018 at 6:05 pm #

    What DTR did is disgusting! I believe that scenario completely!

    And I hope the voters will remember at the next election.

  2. Jonathan Melle
    June 17, 2018 at 7:13 pm #

    This is Pittsfield! What jobs? The average worker in Pittsfield cannot find a full-time, living wage job! Instead, they rely on social services and part-time jobs with no benefits. The only way to get a plum job in Pittsfield is to do what Donna Todd Rivers did. The only people who are well taken care of in Pittsfield are the Good Old Boys and the vested interests they serve.
    Why would DTR’s plum surprise anyone? This is Pittsfield! The average worker is working poor who dreams on winning the state lottery jackpot – terrible odds!
    Pittsfield is one of the most economically unequal communities in the state and nation. That is because there are no living wage jobs in Pittsfield for the average worker!
    In a way, I congratulate DTR! She will have job security and financial security in Pittsfield, which is not an easy accomplishment.

  3. Jonathan Melle
    June 17, 2018 at 8:21 pm #

    The Good Old Boys club explained –

    The following is how Pittsfield politics works in one paragraph:

    A post by “Eric”, on August 22, 2008:

    “The problem with local politics isn’t partisanship. We have a [former] mayor [Jimmy Ruberto] whose brother was DA [the late-Anthony Ruberto]. We have a [former] DA [David Capeless] whose father was Mayor. How many votes did Jerry Doyle Sr. buy [former Mayor] Jerry Doyle Jr. with driveway aprons and apartments in public housing? [William] Smitty Pignatelli’s father was County Commissioner. [Chris] Speranzo’s grandfather was a Democrat mover and shaker and union [boss]. Ben Downing’s father [the late-Gerard Downing] was DA and his father enough of a political hack to have an industrial park named after him. [Andrea] Nuciforo’s [II] [late] father [Andrea Nuciforo I] was a [State] Senator [and then a Judge], Uncle [Tom Wojtkowski] was a State Rep and [late] Aunt a Mayor [Anne E. Wojtkowski]. [Kevin] Sherman’s mother is a Del Gallo. The problem around here isn’t partisanship so much as nepotism and incest.”

  4. Jonathan Melle
    June 17, 2018 at 8:23 pm #

    Stay off of:
    North st.
    Tyler st.
    Lincoln st.
    First st.
    Second st.
    Linden st.
    Dewey ave
    Cherry st.
    Burbank st.
    Kent ave
    Madison ave
    And Seymour st.
    And you might survive.

  5. dusty
    June 18, 2018 at 1:42 am #

    It was probably 50 years ago that I saw a disturbing episode of Bonanza. It starred Lee Marvin as a prospector working an old mine in the Nevada hills. Adam, who is traveling to somewhere has his horse come up lame and he has to stumble on in the desert on foot. He comes upon Lee Marvin and asks to borrow a horse. Long story short Lee makes Adam work his mine in return for the horse to the point where Adam comes to hate the man because it comes to the point he is being held hostage and made a slave.

    The only way out is for Adam to kill the prospector but Adam is too moral to take a life. Lee Marvin laughs at him for being weak and says “every man is capable of doing the unthinkable if the price is right”.

    And politicians know well how cheap the price of a some mens morals.

    • The school committee
      June 18, 2018 at 6:06 am #

      The Republican Senators and Congressmen and Rivers

      • Still Wondering
        June 19, 2018 at 5:11 am #

        There are no republicans in Berkshire County.

    • 12 Gauge
      June 18, 2018 at 7:03 pm #

      Dusty , when is the show going to start. You should call it Pearls of Wisdom with Dusty..

  6. Bozz Tweeter
    June 18, 2018 at 4:11 am #

    DTR is now corrupted by the system and can be considered part of the problem not a party to any solution. Corruption and Greed and political pay back is the norm. Mayor Tyer wants a costly project to reward favored contractors and vendors all of which will be entwined within the political spectrum. The mayor owes homage to this group and feels the heat of losing a super majority council vote freeing their future revenue. The mayor then openly brags about having one of the dissenting councilors in her pocket ($) and eludes confidence that she will win the next vote because of it.
    The mayor appoints the Director of Berkshire Works. And where is the voting favor returned ? Again; Follow the money.
    Mayor Tyer now has eight council votes always in her and her cronies’ pocket. Sorry State of affairs.

  7. Spider
    June 18, 2018 at 5:19 am #

    DTR is getting $75,000 for a made-up job including benefits. Talk about collusion!

    And our CC goes bonkers when new hires are paid one step above the normal beginning rate.

    This is corruption in the highest form! All her future votes have been bought and paid for!

  8. Shakey
    June 18, 2018 at 5:38 am #

    Gaetani couldn’t argue his way out of a wet paper sack, let alone convince the EPA that they should abandon their legal right to NPDES permits.

    • H
      June 18, 2018 at 10:21 am #

      Dow is down again and Wal-Mart not here at PEDA either. But the G-Man keeps a Rollin on !

  9. The school committee
    June 18, 2018 at 6:14 am #

    Now watch Rivers voting as she like Tyer and Marchetti only pretend to be interested in how the WW2 veterans, Vietnam, Korean,and Desert storm,Iraq,Afghanistan veterans taxes are spent.The working poor pay taxes and must live in neighbor hoods affected by Schools stealing the money from police who could make neighborhood s safe….Curtis,Yon,Taylor,Behnke,McCandless are also to blame for drug violent streets stealing money from police…..Fakers

  10. dusty
    June 18, 2018 at 8:14 am #

    there should be a cut-off age where seniors who have not ever had children in the school system get some percentage of tax abatement.

    If Stanley can get 10 years of tax breaks for his movie theater why the hell should seniors on fixed incomes have to subsidize him. and that is exactly what is happening.

    • Magic
      June 18, 2018 at 9:08 am #

      Thank you I am one of those seniors who have always thought that at a certain point we (seniors) should not have to pay for the school system..
      Also agree Mr. Stanley’s theatre doesn’t need my help and neither does Hotel on North

      • dusty
        June 18, 2018 at 11:21 am #

        Nor Haddads, nor the Spice conglomerate nor how many other city hall friends and family? Can we see the list please and if not why is it so secret if it is fair?

        Uh Gee, I dunno…

    • Thomas More
      June 19, 2018 at 2:38 am #

      At what age would you cut off the payment? If you never had children it seems you should be pretty well fixed financially.

  11. Mr. Fritz
    June 18, 2018 at 9:42 am #

    Collusion indeed! Thank you Dan for doing a column on this. These people need to be voted out. Are there any conservatives in Pittsfield who are willing to run for office?!

  12. The school committee
    June 18, 2018 at 9:46 am #

    Hancock Shaker Village the City Council gifted 450 k to redo the administration offices and they after getting the gift repurposed it….just ask any councilor why and they will look at you like your stupid.Can we also get 350k back from the Pittsfied museum for air conditioning,they lied and said many new work would come with air control…that never happened….Mrs Behnkes end of the yearspending spree of 150k could have gone for police OT….
    Nobody even asks anymore as the CCthinks your stupid.

  13. Kevin Manley
    June 18, 2018 at 9:59 am #

    250,000 for senior center marquee
    150,000 for clapp park bathrooms
    400,000 for Springside house

    Now DTR has an 75k salary on TOP of a 85k salary for a Biz development position a few months back.

    Enough is enough, It’s time to take control of our city government’s reckless spending and padded puff jobs.

    • LoneGunMan
      June 19, 2018 at 5:02 am #

      I was going to mention there was already a “jobs czar” wasn’t there? That guy from south county?

      Would love some follow up on DTR having two VERY cushy salaries for do nothing appointments.

      Where’s Johnny Boy with the collusion PR

  14. CosbiesLadies
    June 18, 2018 at 10:32 am #

    Most people couldn’t polish Gaetani’s boots. He has brought the sewer topic conversation to this point, and he will be coming in for the kill shortly and very soon to kill the water project also.

    Thank you Mr.Gaetani for all you do for us, the intelligent know of your efforts. We also know that you are the one and only person who can kill these two outrageously priced public works projects. Go Get em G Man !

  15. Spectator
    June 18, 2018 at 10:48 am #

    You talk about 75k like it’s a fortune. It’s just about median income about an hour and a half drive South, East, and West of Pittsfield.

  16. mi
    June 18, 2018 at 11:30 am #

    Gaetani’s the water expert of the Planet and the brains.Who’s to argue. Admit it? When is comes to specifically water and laws, who is the go to ? It’s Gaetani ! What’s with it with you clowns, he’s not a used car salesman, he is the builder of the Plants. Flip Flop Flipped again and only the Planet knew in an article what a flipper she was, again!And Planet called it before the eagle had any idea what time to release the story.

  17. V P of Lurning
    June 18, 2018 at 11:46 am #

    Did you really expect the Eagle and Drain to put anything in here about the water rates and possible increases. I think Dan has figured this out,Lookout. And I also commend the Wizard on his work and his Show, it takes a lot of effort for no monetary gain, right Attorney?

  18. U
    June 18, 2018 at 12:25 pm #

    The Ultimate Praise…The Planet!!!!’We bedraggled taxpayer’s also thank you Wizard!!

  19. Bill Q
    June 18, 2018 at 12:54 pm #

    The Planet is surveying the edges and is warming up to the G Man, we all have our flaws Dan,but Must SUPPORT the sacred cows,Joe and Mary Jane. The Lemon is Worth the Squeeze.

  20. Trumped Up
    June 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm #

    Planet is the Modern Day Martin Luther King. What’s alarming is DTRFF was the neglect by the GOB to announce in April. Funny?

  21. dusty
    June 18, 2018 at 1:46 pm #

    iBerkshires has new story about McCandy and school consolidation. I think he just can’t wrap his head around the logistics and would like to kick the can down the road. that would be work and cuti nto vacations

  22. The school committee
    June 18, 2018 at 2:40 pm #

    If the Pittsfied schools adopt a year round schedule get ready to lose 1000 more kids

    • U
      June 18, 2018 at 3:03 pm #

      I’m thinking housing for the kids and parents,bus pick up to jobs, medical dental,three squares, nanysitting,and a cell for the delinquents. Oh, they altready have that.

  23. EddieP
    June 18, 2018 at 3:07 pm #

    McCandy says the new school had provisions for an addition at a later date. So did the Columbus Ave. parking deck. How did that work out?
    He admits to not having enough staff to adequately run the building. Hang on to your wallets.
    The addition, if built, would go where the old school is now.
    I’ll just bet that…………………

    • Pat
      June 18, 2018 at 4:10 pm #

      Where is all of the money coming from for a new Crosby, an extra addition to Taconic and his other new school building projects? Would McCandless consider a salary reduction along with all of the teachers?

      • Mr. Fritz
        June 18, 2018 at 4:40 pm #

        What happened to the consultant who was hired last year by PPS to analyze possible consolidation plans? Where is that report? Why is the school district allowed to spend spend spend? All I’m hearing is more new buildings materializing, and no plans to close buildings & cut staff despite a drop in the student population. Outrageous!

    • NIB
      June 19, 2018 at 8:27 am #

      The teacher and construction unions are licking their chops.

  24. Sonny
    June 18, 2018 at 3:13 pm #

    The attorney general should look into the hiring of Rivers. Where’s Dennis Powell complaining that no minorities were considered for this position. Oh forgot he is in the sty with these pigs. No complaints from Krol-White-Marchetti wonder why. Not really.
    If the engineering firm stands to make 7.5 million on this water deal how many of these pigs are getting extra slop this year from this deal!

    • Moon River
      June 19, 2018 at 7:40 pm #

      Our AG is too busy with nonsense lawsuits against Trump to do any real work.

  25. H
    June 18, 2018 at 3:41 pm #

    Sonny…Gaetani warned the Council two years ago that the consultants should be fired and a very competent D P W Commisioner be brought on board. If this had occurred, 9.7 million dollars we already paid the consultants would still be in the taxpayers pockets.

    Gaetani is close to the finish line and the only way he can lose would be for corruption in this City to continue, but he will deal with that also. Gaetani has a lot of experience dealing with corrupt companies.

  26. The school committee
    June 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm #

    Trump is steal moms and dads from kids.

    • 12 Gauge
      June 19, 2018 at 9:40 am #

      Take another toke

    • Disappointed tax payer
      June 24, 2018 at 8:40 am #

      Maybe if moms and dads didn’t break the laws of our country there would not be these consequences.

      Follow the law, get in line and enter our country in the proper legal manner. Or break our laws and risk loosing your children and face incarceration and or deportation.

  27. Shelly Liver
    June 18, 2018 at 7:41 pm #

    Under-over for lying DON is at 4050. FFR Fipping at five, on water -sewer

  28. The school committee
    June 19, 2018 at 3:48 am #

    Why does Rivers job pay 75k,Why? It sounds like a minimum wage position at best or a volunteer a couple of mornings a week or a politically connected payoff

    • Spider
      June 19, 2018 at 6:46 am #

      This pay off to Rivers is so blatant!

    • NIB
      June 19, 2018 at 8:25 am #

      It sounds like a part time job, taking up maybe 10-20 hours a week at most. And from what I read in iberkshires she’ll be focusing on getting out of town connections jobs when local residents won’t get any of her attention at all.
      Perfect example of everything that is wrong with govt.

  29. Halo
    June 19, 2018 at 10:28 am #

    What a City. Council debating last week about cutting a vehicle, at nauseum.. Don’t make it look like you’re really doing something, because your notI. Just cut the damn thing and vote on it.

  30. H
    June 19, 2018 at 11:09 am #

    Dow down Again! Oil up, gasoline up.

  31. mi
    June 19, 2018 at 11:16 am #

    Mazzeo said we are trying to save taxpayers money? You can’t. Impossible.
    The only way to save taxpayer money is going to a Manager style of government, the only way. With that being said the citizens should be able to have checks and balances with a vote, not typical procedure.

  32. Bill Q
    June 19, 2018 at 11:22 am #

    The City at any time change the budget on a dime. For instance, if accounts in salt goes up due to a harsh winter or not harsh, a transfer would be needed and there goes the whole kit and
    Kavootle as far as budget constraints and conserving for free cash,there are many others. many.

    They could cutti a paper ribbon with a blow torch.

  33. Trumped Up
    June 19, 2018 at 11:27 am #

    Does anyone e know who might be running for Mayor,City Council,State rep,State Senate? Any rumors?

    • May Hemm
      June 19, 2018 at 2:01 pm #

      Let’s hope someone like Charles G or Chuck V types run.

    • Make Pittsfield Great Again
      June 19, 2018 at 7:37 pm #

      Bouvier will move on after this term. She has a hack job lined up. Donna Todd Rivers will be the good old boys choice to occupy the seat.

  34. amandaWell
    June 19, 2018 at 11:53 am #

    City Council Budget Revue Grades

    Connell: Has the question, doesn’t have the votes A
    Moon: Just goes along F
    Rivers ordained F
    White does what he’s told A
    Krol next Mayor A
    Persip struggles A
    Caccamo smart, could improve A
    Simonelli is his ward being chip sealed? A
    Marchetti rules rules rules A
    Mazzeo looking for higher A
    Morandii he tries A

    City’s worst, Cindy Karhy, Dr. Cam

    • dusty
      June 19, 2018 at 2:42 pm #

      Pretty high grades for a council that could not chop any gravy off a gravy laden budget.

      There is no help coming people. Zillow has over 300 homes for sale in Pittsfield…people are beginning to do the math and realize this is no place to raise a family if you want to be able to give them the better things in life. If you stay and you are middle income you will be chasing bills your whole life and telling the kid, .” sorry no money for a vacation this year”.

      • Milt Plum
        June 19, 2018 at 7:34 pm #

        Tyer can stick all the illegals in these homes and DTR can find em jobs and we can all live happily ever after knowing that we collaborated and were dynamic and vibrant.

  35. Gigi
    June 19, 2018 at 6:09 pm #

    Just read in iberkshires about our local social justice warrior, Mayor Tyer, calling for action on the border separation of families. If only our anti-Trumper mayor knew the facts!

  36. Trumped Up
    June 20, 2018 at 12:02 pm #

    She might have illegally raised assement property and lessened free cash to raise the ceiling? G Man is looking into a lot of stuff today in springfield.

  37. Trumped Up
    June 20, 2018 at 12:03 pm #


  38. Ben Weldon
    June 23, 2018 at 9:46 am #

    The big question now is will Tyer seek a 2nd term? I believe Pittsfield’s finances have been damaged beyond repair.