(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY JULY 25, 2018) — Once of anything is a fluke. Two is a pattern. Three a trend.

When the proverbial “They,” in this case the board of that erstwhile great institution formerly known at the Berkshire Museum, brought in a new executive director, “They” did it with a long-term plan. He would usher in a number of expensive changes, finance them by debt, sell off the place’s greatest treasures for almost $50 million, then “retire,” falling into a 5-star life after pulling the ripchord on the golden parachute the board made sure he got.

“They” did it again with the airport. Each time “They” wanted another multi-million “improvement” of the runways, “They” would bring in a new airport manager. This last apparatchik got hired, fronted the latest windfall, then left town after 16 months on the job, again, set nicely.

And when “They” knew a nearly $80 million “upgrade” to the sewer planet might be exploited, “They” made sure political sad sack Donna Todd Rivers got elected. “They”‘d need her vote. “They” got it, and Rivers landed in a plum no-show job.

This phenomena has become so commonplace in Pittsfield that it scarcely draws notice. So many city operations run that way, including, of course, politics. One favorite trick “They” use to perpetuate the gravy train and ensure the skeletons remain buried is electoral bait-and-switch. That’s where a Machine-backed stooge makes the usual promises, wins election, then bails out early (Peter Larkin, Chris Speranzo et al)to make way for the “They”-appointed successors. The new kid, undeserving as he or she may be, gets the job and the perks, with only one duty: Obey the Commandments, a list that invariably includes “Thou shalt keep covered the past and current scandals of this office.” More bluntly, “Follow orders, or else.”

Is that what’s going on with the early retirement of Berkshire County District Attorney? Many think so. Cape retires and, with the blessings of the governor, Paul Caccaviello inherits the prosecutorial crown. Now Cacc may be the best prosecutor since William Tallman, but the fact is he walked into office without an electoral blessing. He will seek the latter in September with a huge leg up (preferably not to piss on the trunk of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski), a large treasury, and backing of The Machine when he faces primary runoff against challengers Andrea Harrington and Judith Knight. That race IS the election, since there’s no Republican challenger.

Caccaviello’s election would preserve the long, gray line going back from Capeless, to Downing, to Ruberto — all the way back to and before Bernie Baron. One has to wonder if it has become an Absolute Tenet of the office that any newcomer must be fully vetted and sworn to secrecy. What devastating secrets must that office protect? It’s just a question: Are there Very Powerful People who would be embarrassed if an “anarchist” became DA, that is, someone willing to expose whatever hidden injustices that office has up-covered?

THE PLANET doesn’t know, but we can tell you that with every uptick in Harrington’s campaign, nerves are being rattled.

The question for Andrea Harrington becomes: How badly or goodly does she want to win? The vital clue: How does she campaign from here to September? All in or daintily? The first provides her only chance to win. The second polishes the incumbent’s crown.


“The author that interested me most was naturally Sirin. Across the dark sky of exile, Sirin passed … like a meteor, and disappeared, leaving nothing much else behind him than a vague sense of uneasiness” — Vladimir Nabokov, from his memoir Speak, Memory.



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  1. dusty
    July 25, 2018 at 12:16 am #

    Great article Dan. You and Gaetani are the only ones who are comfortable enough in their own shoes to rattle the cage. Thank you and I hope you can continue as I dread to think how much worse it could be without any voice of opposition at all. It seems that we are helpless to stop the machine but at least we know who many of the players are.

  2. Shakey Shakey
    July 25, 2018 at 6:06 am #

    Nostalgia is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

    Fix the wastewater treatment plant and stop polluting the Housatonic River. Maintain and manage the airport properly because it is an important community asset. Re-position the Berkshire Museum’s programming the future instead of rotting away in the past by establishing an operating and capital endowment from art sale proceeds

    Pittsfield is stuck in the past. Time for community leadership that rebuilds your local government from the bottom up so it is leaner, effective, and compassionate.

    • NIB
      July 25, 2018 at 9:09 am #

      The wastewater treatment plant upgrades will not stop pollution of the housatonic river. It will only reduce it, and not by much either.

      • Shakes His Head
        July 25, 2018 at 12:56 pm #

        The sewer plant improvements satisfy the Commonwealth’s expectations for Pittsfield’s municipal effluent. The Federal government only approves the permit the Commonwealth puts forward.

        Pittsfield pays 5% of Airport capital improvements, generally. State and federal funds will go to other municipal airports across Massachusetts. Personally, I could care less if the airport crumbles into the ground, but it will negatively impact the community if it does.

        The Museum Board is responsible for the Museum. Hold them accountable. The concept is sound and may be the only way to save the institution long term.

        It is Pittsfield so you will all F&%# it up anyways.

        • 12 Gauge
          July 25, 2018 at 5:38 pm #

          Very fake information

          • Shakey Shakey
            July 26, 2018 at 5:14 am #

            Refute it then.

  3. Wonkru
    July 25, 2018 at 6:19 am #

    Your first sentence has G E nosto written all over it.

  4. Baseball Man
    July 25, 2018 at 9:55 am #

    Great article that speaks to the type of painful truths that shakey doesn’t want to acknowledge. For example how much of the promised business did all the airport expansions/upgrades ect. bring to Pitts and Berkshires? Sewer upgrades will not have any impact on river. Too late for that. Museum defense? Surely oyu msut be joking.

    My daughter wrked there for a number of years. She told me of the waste and how the socalled directors and socalled leadership were hardly ever around. Left all the work to the grunts. Collected their fat salaries though.

    Thank you Planet for your work. At least one place to get the truth. That and Mr. Gaetani. By the way I’m vting for Ms. Harrington. DA office needs a change. Fresh air wanted.

  5. H
    July 25, 2018 at 11:19 am #

    Speaking of our next Mayor, the G Man…Show on tonight at six on channel 1301. If you want te truth be there or be somewhere in the Berkshires Honeymooning.

    • dusty
      July 25, 2018 at 11:29 am #

      Perhaps the G man can address the recent FBI report that says Pittsfield is the 8th most dangerous city in the state. People need to be aware of their surroundings when visiting the rolling hills of Pittsfield with its awesome arts and culture.

      and didja ever wonder why a community which brags about its awesome artsy facade would sell off its most famous art? With its leaders blessing? wtf

      • Jonathan Melle
        July 25, 2018 at 5:42 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.

  6. The school committee
    July 25, 2018 at 11:26 am #

    Trump caught lying again,hes our President and he will win again.The wealthy pervert is just what the average white man wants.America has changed as we are the most ignorant nation on earth.If I were the NFL players union I would have every player willing to do so kneel with a American flag

    • Doomiedoger
      July 25, 2018 at 1:47 pm #

      Trump wants them to kneel with a Soviet flag.

      • 12 Gauge
        July 25, 2018 at 8:09 pm #

        Mucho fako info

    • Ed Check
      July 26, 2018 at 2:50 pm #

      TSC, you ignorant slut (to quote Dan Akroyd in the old SNL) that he said to Jane Curtain.

      Get Greg Jarretts new book on the Russian Collusion story before you go off with more disinformation. Well documented and footnoted with facts.

      Maybe your eyes will be opened to reality.

      Ps. How can you post so much, I thought you guys are supposed to be getting the schools ready for the next school year.

  7. H
    July 25, 2018 at 2:14 pm #

    Trump wants us to kneel, to HIM

  8. NIB
    July 25, 2018 at 2:52 pm #

    The only collusion in the 2016 campaign was between Obama, Brennan, and Clinton.

    • Pat
      July 25, 2018 at 3:54 pm #

      I knew that Obama was behind the whole Russian collusion nonsense from the beginning. He let Russia get out of control on his watch and then set up President Trump to get the blame. The liberal media helped Obama by ignoring just how Russia was getting out of control…..bold enough to try to interfere in our elections since an extremely weak Obama was enabling Russia to do whatever it wanted. Obama was promising all kinds of things to Russia and was even caught on camera promising God knows what after the elections were over and he would have more flexibility…..the liberal media thought it was all beautiful and nothing to see here folks.

      • NIB
        July 26, 2018 at 5:23 am #

        Pat, it’s the progressives’ MO – screw up and then blame everyone else for their failures. Nothing is ever their fault.

  9. The Honey Mooners
    July 25, 2018 at 3:21 pm #

    Lets tell the President to eliminate Duck Boat Tours.

  10. Pat
    July 25, 2018 at 5:06 pm #

    My husband and I are voting for Caccaviello. From what little I have heard about Andrea Harrington, she would not be tough enough on crime and would focus too much on treatment programs. I’m not happy with the way Caccaviello was put into office, but he is the best choice of the three. The third candidate also sounds like she would be too lenient on crime.

    • dusty
      July 26, 2018 at 12:17 am #

      Sounds like you really did your homework. And that is why Trump loves people like you.

      • Pat
        July 26, 2018 at 4:34 am #

        There is little to make a decision about concerning Andrea Harrington. Like most politicians she talks in vague generalities rather than specifics except concerning drug treatment and lenient sentences. As Dan V. has said if Andrea Harrington wants to win she needs to really get out there, but she maybe thinks that the liberal votes from local teachers will be enough to get her elected. From what little she has made known about her plans if elected, I am not impressed.

        • dusty
          July 26, 2018 at 5:30 am #

          Do you think any “liberals” will vote for Caccavellio Pat?

          • Pat
            July 26, 2018 at 5:37 am #

            I think the most far left voters in this area (teachers) will vote for Harrington while more moderate liberals, conservatives (the few that exist here) and independents will vote for Caccavellio. Personally I wish a conservative or independent was running for District Attorney.

          • Booty Shakey
            July 26, 2018 at 6:39 am #

            Dollar for Dollar, treatment programs provide a better value and investment return to reduce crime than incarceration programs.

            So you really just want to spend more taxpayer money and not reduce crime.

        • Sara
          July 26, 2018 at 7:41 am #

          Perhaps the DA’s office is guilty of not tooting its own horn enough. For many years the DA’s office has had the leading drug prevention/education program for every school in the county.The DA and ADAs are constantly out speaking at community events on addiction and education, alongside reps from the Brien Center and other professionals from our county. Did you know they sponsor Juvenile Justice Roundtables regularly with school admins, police and social services to help young people who are at risk of involvement with drugs and the court system? Probably most important of all, they take down drug dealers who would look at the Berkshires as an low competition opportunity. We are tough on crime here and dealers know it. I would like to know what the other two candidates have done besides offer unrealistic, un-fundable suggestions. We need and would like more treatment programs. There is no money. If they want to do something to help why not help the Brien Center? I don’t believe I ever saw either one of them at a fundraiser.

          • Shakey Shakey
            July 26, 2018 at 7:46 am #

            ^^^ Add a few facts and this becomes a well articulated position It would probably cork up the challengers in a debate. When is the debate?

        • Hoyt Clagwell
          July 26, 2018 at 6:52 pm #

          Harrington is pure slime just like her handlers Krol and Clairmont.

  11. h
    July 25, 2018 at 6:01 pm #

    I will be writing in Paul Kersey from topix, he is the most qualified to get the job done.

  12. 12 Gauge
    July 25, 2018 at 8:10 pm #

    Mucho fako info

  13. Jonathan Melle
    July 25, 2018 at 9:13 pm #

    I am happy for the lovely Linda Tyer and Barry Claimont for getting married last Sunday, July 22nd, 2018. Mayor Linda Tyer is the best Mayor of Pittsfield EVER! I support her in Pittsfield politics because she stands up for Human Rights and Social Justice, as well as fighting the good fights!

    • Mr. Fritz
      July 26, 2018 at 4:53 am #

      You love her because she’s a Socialist, just like you.

    • Still wondering
      July 26, 2018 at 5:13 am #

      Getting married is something Jonathan will never do. Too afraid of women.

      • Jonathan Melle
        July 26, 2018 at 11:18 am #

        I am a man, therefore I don’t care if I never marry!
        If I was a Congressman, I would ask the lovely Linda Tyer if she would be my chief-of-staff. I support her and her ideals in politics!

        • Two Cents
          July 26, 2018 at 1:04 pm #


        • Non Essere Uno Stronzo
          July 26, 2018 at 6:54 pm #

          Now I’m lying here with Linda on my mind
          And next to me, my soon to be, the one I left behind
          And Lord it’s killing me to see her crying
          She knows I’m lying here beside her with Linda on my mind.
          Yes I know that I once loved her
          And I placed no one above her
          And I never thought I’d ever set her free
          But it just wasn’t in my plan
          The way Linda squeezed my hand
          The first time that I held her close as she danced with me.
          She said I’ve loved you for a long time
          But you’re married to a friend of mine
          And I tried hard to never let it show
          But my love for you is stronger
          I can’t hide it any longer
          And so I thought I’d better let you know.
          Now I’m lying here with Linda on my mind
          And next to me, my soon to be, the one I left behind
          And Lord it’s killing me to see her crying
          She knows I’m lying here beside her with Linda on my mind

  14. The school committee
    July 26, 2018 at 1:09 am #

    Obama helped Puttin who then helped Trump beat Hillary.Trump must sit in the Oval office and talk about just how stupid his voters are.

    • dusty
      July 26, 2018 at 4:28 am #

      I think Trump and Putin have a back channel where Putin gives Trump his “to do” list each morning. And then Putin goes out into the barn and he and his horse laugh like hell for an hour.

      • Pat
        July 26, 2018 at 5:32 am #

        Yeah, really funny dusty how President Trump will be taking away business from Putin with the new deals he is making with the EU. I’m sure Putin is laughing so hard he can barely breathe. President Trump even said during his press conference with Putin that Russia and the United States would be competitors for that region and sure enough that is what is happening. I didn’t think it would happen so quickly though! Great for this country and for President Trump!!

    • NIB
      July 26, 2018 at 5:24 am #

      And people with rational minds talk about just how stupid you are.

      • dusty
        July 26, 2018 at 5:33 am #

        Aww, come on now Mr NIBBS you are hurting my feelings and I know Trump lovers don’t like to hurt people.

        choke choke gag

  15. NIB
    July 26, 2018 at 5:31 am #

    Another example of the stupidity, hate, and racism from the left. To think people were dumb enough to give this guy money – it wouldn’t surprise me if some on this site wrote him a check. The liberal media had the original fake story on their front page. But the story it was all made up got buried on the back page.

  16. NIB
    July 26, 2018 at 9:21 am #

    BTW, this is how Obama treated reporters who did not support him.

  17. The school committee
    July 26, 2018 at 10:15 am #

    Trump,Fox News,Hannity,Russia’s Puttin are running America Ignorance is overflowing and our country is already gone.President Puttin and vice president Trump hate Europe and pat admires Puttins Trump card.

    • Still wondering
      July 26, 2018 at 11:16 am #

      SC is rapidly becoming the new Jonathan.

      • Jonathan Melle
        July 26, 2018 at 11:20 am #

        Unlike Trump, at least I don’t take away 3-year-old toddlers from their immigrant Mommy!

        • NIB
          July 26, 2018 at 11:28 am #

          Obama did the same thing. Where was your incessant whining then?

        • dusty
          July 26, 2018 at 12:07 pm #

          Right Jonathan. And that alone tells you that Trump has no heart. He is cold blooded, pathological and extremely dangerous. Governments the world over are on continuous high alert because they feel he is capable of anything and does not care who gets in his path. Children, animals or plants…nothing can or should feel safe.

        • Ed Check
          July 26, 2018 at 3:01 pm #

          Many of the “children “ are pawns, maybe even sold to these illegals trying to come here. They are held / separated until DNA results come in.

          If they truly are seeking asylum, they should request it at the first country, Mexico, that they enter. BTW, it would have similar language and customs.

          But Mexico transports them to the US. Long live the ICE agents for the work they do keeping us all safer.

          Trust, but verify…

          • Pat
            July 26, 2018 at 4:21 pm #

            True. The ICE agents are actually protecting these kids from people who may not even be their parents. How do we know? As usual the far left doesn’t even know what logic is anymore. Logic to liberals is like Krytonite is to Superman.

  18. The school committee
    July 26, 2018 at 12:47 pm #

    Shep Smith is the only journalist that has clearly told viewers that the 4th estate is here to protect our country and that Trump saying they are lying is just not true.Stated this moments ago.Lemmings will go off the cliff if they dont see this soon.

    • Pat
      July 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm #

      The far left lemmings have already gone off the cliff with their love of socialism. Socialism does nothing but destroy countries and government corruption runs rampant under socialism. Why? Because government has all the money under socialism and doles it out to the people as they see fit. Taxes are skyrocketing under socialism as well which is where government gets all the money. No, nothing could possibly go wrong under that system in a country as large as this one.

      • Mr. G
        July 26, 2018 at 5:26 pm #

        Pat, your lesson on socialism is almost completely wrong, as is often the case. You are describing pure communism, which never existed anywhere. With socialism, taxes are undoubtedly higher, but the bang for the buck is much greater as are services rendered. We already engage in quite a lot of socialism in the US. Some systems, like health care for example, are far too big, unwieldy and complex, and already too corrupted by the corporate money, to NOT need a socialist approach. Done properly and removing the profit motive and greed, we could have a much better health system than we have today.

        • Pat
          July 26, 2018 at 5:42 pm #

          I disagree with your take on this as is often the case. Services rendered may be greater under socialism, but people are much more dependent on government and that creates a relationship with the government similar to “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”. When government has all the power since they have all the money that creates a real imbalance. People may have more services, but they are limited in just how much they can have while government is unlimited in how much money it has access to. As you can see, this creates a situation in which corruption will run rampant.

          Please don’t mention how successful socialism is in some countries like Sweden since the actual numbers of large countries with successful socialism (meaning the people are very happy with their system of government) is very small.

    • Ed Check
      July 26, 2018 at 3:11 pm #

      That’s why MSM journalist credibility is way down and President Trump’s approval ratings keep climbing. We now have someone in office with common sense and street smarts. He is the equivalent of the G man taking over the mayor’s office in Pittsfield. Yes, he is upsetting all the entrenched power brokers, but think of the corruption and real treasonous behavior if HC had gotten elected.

      It is difficult to reverse the socialist brainwashing that has occurred in this country over the last several generations in public schools and colleges. The real Russian collusion in America is between them and a majority of college professors, maybe even high school teachers.

  19. Jonathan Melle
    July 26, 2018 at 5:44 pm #

    All of this bashing of Socialism, including calling me one, yet Pittsfield is one of the most economically unequal communities in the state and nation! In Pittsfield, you are either rich or rely on social services. Pittsfield has lost thousands of people to population loss. Pittsfield has lost thousands of jobs, too. Pittsfield is becoming another North Adams!

    • Two Cents
      July 27, 2018 at 8:40 am #

      But in the next breath you call Linda Tyer “The best Mayor ever” Jon’s wheel may be spinning but the hamster died a long time ago.