Article

PEDA DOESN’T PAN OUT; IT PETERS OUT … PITTSFIELD’S 52 ACRES OF NEVER NEVER LAND

BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION MARCH 15-17, 2019) — Wither, PEDA? Or perhaps THE PLANET can better phrase it as a declarative sentence: Whither, PEDA.

“Whither, vb 1: to shrivel; 2 to lose or cause to lose or cause to lose vitality, force, or freshness” (Webster’s New American Dictionary).

It’s been 21 years since the birth of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, created as part of the settlement with General Electric for the company’s 100 years of polluting the city while providing unparalleled prosperity that ended in the early 90s. The company got pennies to the dollar, taking the city to the cleaners (except for its environment) and giving $10 million hush money ostensibly for economic development and tax relief.

In the score and one, PEDA has precious little to show for its stewardship of the 52 acres of the former GE campus, ranking as a colossal bust. Here’s a current look at PEDA:

  • Corydon Thurston is still the director, even though he said he would step down in May 2017. Board members say he makes “almost no appearances” in the PEDA office, but still gets his $75,000 plus bennies.
  •  Thurston, you recall, is the guy who championed Pat Muraca and Nuclea. Tells you all you need to know about his business acumen, if not his sense of ethics and his judge of horseflesh.
  •  How much is PEDA working for the economic development of the city? The boards conducted no meeting in January. It canceled its February meeting. There are no meetings scheduled for March, May, or July.
  •  According to its website, the board’s most recent “presentation” was May 19, 2015.
  • When PEDA announced groundbreaking for the BIC center on East Street, it told us the building’s purpose: To “catalyze and accelerate innovation and growth on new and existing companies that will spur  economic growth, job creation, retention[,] and investment in Western Mass.” What does that scrambled hash mean? Who writes such nonsense?
  • The BIC, initially pegged at $3 million, will come in at nearly $14 million. It’s all public money, but not once has the board of directors explained what return taxpayers can expect.
  •  PEDA’s website is hopelessly out of date, keeping in place a 21-year history of secrecy.
  •  The funniest part of the website is the link for PEDA’s board of directors. These sad sacks ostensibly represent the crème de la creme of the city’s business community. These mugs look more like the creme de la crumb. Take a look. You’ll especially love when your mouse rests over a picture of Mike Filpi and identifies him as “Mick Callahan.”
  • Study this mug. It has “Pittsfield ‘Leader'” written all over it. Was he separated at birth from barrister “Won’t You Come Home” Bill Barry? Can you imagine

    MIKE FILPI (PHOTO: PEDA Website)

    business leaders from outside Pittsfield doing due diligence and gazing upon the “What, Me Worry” head of Laborer’s Local #473? Do you think they would be more or less likely to want to get involved with Pittsfield? Is it the face of confidence, of the type of assurance and acumen that would calm the concerns of companies thinking about taking the bold actions required for private investment? The face of aphonia, grinning the turnip-truck smile because “he’s made it.” He’s on the PEDA board!! The loosened tie. The obtuse profile that looks like a jest without a punchline, just a punch … or a blocked punt. Such are the subtleties Pittsfield “leaders” refuse to acknowledge let alone address, illustrated none better than the two-decades of flops from the brain trust of successive PEDA boards.

The docility of the Pittsfield community over such a sad state of affairs never ceases to amaze. THE PLANET wonder when will some elected official demand an accounting of the PEDA travesty.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

————————————————————————————————————————

“I like to make up lists or words and group them together when they were related to one another” — English physician Peter Roget.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

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75 Responses to “PEDA DOESN’T PAN OUT; IT PETERS OUT … PITTSFIELD’S 52 ACRES OF NEVER NEVER LAND”

  1. Reignbow
    March 14, 2019 at 8:33 pm #

    Dan,it’s all in the name. Pittsfield Economic Developement Authority.

  2. Johnny99
    March 15, 2019 at 3:31 am #

    The Pathetic Economic Development Authority! How can anyone be proud of their city with this pathetic eyesore and the fiscal misfeasance and malfeasance, and mismanagement to include the Biggest Idiots Club (BIC). If shame was road patch there’d be enough to fill every pot hole in this city some GOBs driveways.

    How much money would the city have in accrued taxes and investment income by now if Pissfield didn’t sell out to GE?
    To allow GE to not clean up the property but cap and run and not even remove foundations????? Uneffenbelievable

    And how many jobs were actually created with the big pissaway fund and how much interest has the city made on the measlesy 10 mil????

  3. Thomas More
    March 15, 2019 at 5:07 am #

    Kinda unfair to single out Mike Filpi when you could have a field day with every single one of them. Whatever happened to Coakley?

    • danvalenti
      March 15, 2019 at 8:44 am #

      THOMAS
      You make a good point, but for space considerations, I had to pick one board member to stand in for the rest. The mug shot of Filpi cinched it, especially when it’s captioned “Mick Callahan.” For me, it neatly summed up the entire PEDA situation.

  4. Edward R. Murrow
    March 15, 2019 at 5:14 am #

    Headline:

    O’Rourke Dems Best Beto

    • Spider
      March 15, 2019 at 12:57 pm #

      If O’Rourke is the best the Dems can do, then Trump has nothing to worry about.

  5. doomiedodger
    March 15, 2019 at 5:15 am #

    PEDA after 20 years is symbolic of the rest of the city. It is kind of the city mascot showcasing the duration and many levels of failure. This is what happens when special interests get too much power and cannibalize the infrastructure. Pittsfield is like a body without a skeleton and it can barely stand up any more.

    • Spagirl,
      March 15, 2019 at 4:12 pm #

      doomiedodger

      You hit the nail in the coffin. Good observation.

    • Spagirl
      March 15, 2019 at 4:14 pm #

      doomiedodger
      You hit the nail in the coffin. Good observation.

  6. Ted
    March 15, 2019 at 5:37 am #

    Can’t blame Filpi for Walmart walking away. That was your mayoral candidate Melissa Mazzeo.

    • Harrison
      March 15, 2019 at 7:34 am #

      Sorry Ted but you are misinformed. Walmart decided not to build anywhere in the northeast to concentrate on e-commerce. Look it up. It’s all out there.

      • Pat
        March 15, 2019 at 9:39 am #

        That may or may not be true, but Mazzeo and others gave zero encouragement for a Super Walmart to build here. Her supporters still come on this board thanking her for killing the deal. What’s that about?!?

        • Harrison
          March 15, 2019 at 11:30 am #

          Not may or may not Pat, it’s a fact. If supporters are suggesting Mazzeo killed the deal, then they would be wrong. Walmart could have cared less what Mazzeo wanted.

        • THE school committee
          March 15, 2019 at 12:14 pm #

          Mazzeo asked questions about walmart,she needs to apologize to Pat.They did not want to expand Pat.They would have closed their other store no net gain

  7. UAlbany
    March 15, 2019 at 6:26 am #

    as if the paltry 10 mil wasn’t bad enough GE duped our fair leaders into taking over 52 acres of dirty land…Doyle and Hicky’s poor judgment and short sidedness (a decision no doubt reached at the East Side Café) set Pittsfield back 75 years. Helloooo…the land is free and you don’t pay taxes…no takers ?? hmmmmm wonder why

    • Juicy Lucy
      March 15, 2019 at 6:33 am #

      DelGallo Restaurant 390 Newell St.where the decision was reached.

      • Barbados
        March 15, 2019 at 8:39 am #

        Yes. The back room at Remo’s. Where they used to store the cement bags. Lots of bad decisions made in that room.

        • Amanduh Brane
          March 15, 2019 at 9:35 am #

          Now the stupid decisions are made at Dotties dungeon.

          • Two Cents
            March 15, 2019 at 10:42 am #

            Totally True….Dotties is the new Del Gallo’s…Where baristas and narcissists become the new cogs in the city’s political machine.

          • Agent 86
            March 15, 2019 at 1:38 pm #

            Well we now know politicians on alcohol or caffeine doesn’t work out very well. Maybe we can get them to smoke pot somewhere. If that doesn’t work we’ll put them all on preparation H.

    • Johnny99
      March 16, 2019 at 1:31 am #

      Just a heads up it’s “short sightedness”, not “short sidedness”,
      and gettting the toxic land wasn’t a separate screwing, it was part and parcel, pun intended, of the of measlely 10 mil. In other words, GE gave us the 10 mil which was only at 1 mil per year for 10 years by the way, as a payment in lieu of property taxes, because they would be washing their hands of the toxic dump that is the PEDA property by getting Pissfiled to take it off their hands. Anyone with a modicum of common sense could see this was a horrible deal yet Mayor Doyle, Council President Hickey and a majority, if not all councilors at the time, took the bait.

      Anyone know who exactly voted for this and if anyone had the sense not to???

      • Johnny Absurd
        March 16, 2019 at 5:02 pm #

        You could ask Kerwood. He might remember.

  8. Tim J
    March 15, 2019 at 8:09 am #

    They lead you to believe we got a great deal with the consent decree,remember it well.

    • Johnny Absurd
      March 15, 2019 at 11:53 am #

      There is no evidence, zero, that there was any collusion or kickbacks.

      At least on paper.

  9. LW
    March 15, 2019 at 10:50 am #

    PEDA, Downtown Inc, BIC are all prime examples of why socialism doesn’t work. Taxpayers foot the bill and the GOBSIGs get all the money for little or no work and provide nothing to the people.
    If anyone knows of another 70k job where no work is required let me know.

  10. Jonathan Melle
    March 15, 2019 at 11:30 am #

    March 15, 2019

    PEDA will go financially insolvent within the next decade. It will eventually go bankrupt. There will never be a Fortune 500 company that save Pittsfield from its tanked economy. GE screwed Pittsfield without any lubricant. Then Mayor Gerry Doyle signed the Consent Decree and started PEDA. His tagline was “It’s Happening!” I believe the slogan “Blame GE” is accurate. While I am rooting for the lovely Linda Tyer for re-election as Mayor this year of 2019, I don’t see how the lovely Melissa Mazzeo would help matters. Pittsfield politics is a mess! High taxes with a diminishing tax base, shrinking population, and the loss of hundreds of living wage jobs. PEDA stands as a polluted monument to post-industrial Pittsfield!

    – Jonathan Melle

  11. Johnny Absurd
    March 15, 2019 at 1:52 pm #

    and the 4th of July parade is again having trouble with funding. Who remembers the year Doyle snatched $50,000 out of the taxpayers money and gave it to the parade committee? Hope this mayor does not pull that stunt especially if she is running for reelection.

    May be time to drop the parade or do it every other year. I stopped going years ago because people have become too damn rude to be around in that environment.

    • Petry
      March 15, 2019 at 2:08 pm #

      And to damn rude period. We are in a difficult time Johnny,everyone, is miserable.

    • Pat
      March 15, 2019 at 4:45 pm #

      I agree. If the money isn’t available, skip the parade until the next year.

      • Erin Go Braless
        March 16, 2019 at 9:39 am #

        Parade is a waste of $80,000 much of which goes into certain pockets. Why do you think there’s never enough money and never an accounting? Anyone who contributes is throwing money away.
        Happy St. Patricks Day from County Cork.

  12. Reignbow
    March 15, 2019 at 2:38 pm #

    What stunt? This isn’t the only giveaway under this administration. Who ever heard of giving 500g to a privately held company under contract. The Beacon is another sample.

  13. C. Trzcinka
    March 15, 2019 at 2:44 pm #

    The PEDA needs a mission statement generator. Try this one http://www.jonhaworth.com/toys/mission-statement-generator (My favorite was Dilbert’s but it is no longer available online. There has to be a good story why. ) Maybe it will help PEDA have more meetings. They could ask everyone who shows up to vote on which mission statement they like. It would be more productive than what their doing now..

    • Johnny Absurd
      March 15, 2019 at 2:53 pm #

      PEDA is a money distribution center.. PEDA cost how much in 20 years? How much money paid out for this and that resulting in NOTHING? But who DID benefit? Must be a few high profile names that came away with fatter wallets….

  14. Paul
    March 15, 2019 at 3:24 pm #

    I never met anyone who really knew what PETA did. As far as that BIC center goes it’s the same thing, nobody has a clue what it is for or who is going to use it.
    If I was a business person looking at that PETA sight and saw that picture of Filpi that would be the end of my interest in Pittsfield. The guy looks like he was out drinking not assuming the persona of a professional having their picture taken for a web site.

  15. 12 Gauge
    March 15, 2019 at 3:48 pm #

    Good article in today’s Gazette about Gaetani’s water treatment proposal. His proposed system is superior to the system the city has selected. His system treats everything the cities consultant’s system treats and disease causing organisms that the consultant’s system can’t touch. And it’s 40 mill less. Why won’t Tyer fight for a superior but less expensive option. It’s nothing short of crazy. Thank you Gaetani for being persistant on this. I want to spend less and get more. What do you all think?

    • Agent 86
      March 15, 2019 at 3:51 pm #

      I think Tyer is lost but she has a big ego that prevents her from thinking clearly.

    • Johnny Absurd
      March 16, 2019 at 1:09 am #

      Seems like sometimes contractors are already picked as projects are thought up. No real bidding process. Sometimes you wonder if the contractor thought up the job in the first place. Read up on how consultants work.

      • Agent 86
        March 16, 2019 at 2:18 pm #

        I’m well aware of consultant shenanigans. The question is why is the mayor so obtuse?

  16. X-Lachs Lounge
    March 15, 2019 at 5:34 pm #

    What follows is a poem written by democrat Beto O’ Rourke.
    He is a candidate for the democrat nomination to run against Trump.

    I need a butt-shine,
    Right now
    You are holy,
    Oh, sacred Cow
    I thirst for you,
    Provide Milk.

    Buff my balls,
    Love the Cow,
    Good fortune for those that do.
    Love me, breathe my feet,
    The Cow has risen.

    Wax my ass,
    Scrub my balls.
    The Cow has risen,
    Provide Milk.

    • Agent 86
      March 16, 2019 at 2:20 pm #

      Beto is a Bozo.

  17. Miles Bennell
    March 15, 2019 at 9:42 pm #

    I guess posters have been sleeping by pods lately.

  18. THE school committee
    March 16, 2019 at 2:27 am #

    McCandless is adding 25 new jobs and 25 new people to the healthcare system and 25 new retirements and he will be retired in Florida when we come up with by then 100k a year for these positions.Under no circumstances can we allow him to add 1 new job .The council has never responded to tax payers on budgets. McCandless is a DEPARTMENT head.Can you imagine another department going to the council and telling them they are adding 25 NEW positions…….This is perverse

    • Johnny Absurd
      March 16, 2019 at 5:32 am #

      and does he hold the power to decide who is the next mayor? Can he tell his union to vote for this one or that one depending on goodies promised?

    • LoneGunMan
      March 17, 2019 at 6:00 pm #

      Look at where the money is going!

      More VPs of teaching and learning

      $50k as a budget for our cultural competency coach. Aka the connected minority gets deep pockets

      Etc

      Etc

  19. THE school committee
    March 16, 2019 at 5:44 am #

    McCandless makes 165,000 per year.A three year contracts pays him 1/2 million dollars.Does anyone think he cares if his taxes go up 250 bucks.Yes Jake it now about your personal critical thinking.What in God’s name do you know about the people who pay you.You need to cut 25 on your current budget.Watch our CC kowtow to this out of touch 1%er

  20. Pat
    March 16, 2019 at 6:00 am #

    Why does Nancy Pelosi and fellow far left Dems want to lower the voting age to 16? To get kids in the schools to vote who have already been indoctrinated to believe that global warming will soon kill us all. That’s supposedly the main premise of the Green New Deal which is actually more about government takeover than climate change, but the school kids don’t need to know that. They just want to scare the life out of the kids into believing that they only have 10 to 12 years left to live.

  21. Pat
    March 16, 2019 at 6:01 am #

    I also disagree with School Committee who said this type of indoctrination doesn’t happen at the grade school level. It does. The crowd of kids confronting Diane Feinstein in absolute panic about the urgent need to pass the Green New Deal had grade school youth. The grade school kids were extremely frightened. You could see the fear in their eyes when they said, “We don’t have that long” in response to Feinstein saying the kids needed to run for office to get what they wanted.

    • danvalenti
      March 16, 2019 at 12:18 pm #

      IF anything, the voting age should be raised to 25.

      • Pat
        March 16, 2019 at 2:47 pm #

        I agree Dan. Raising the voting age to 25 might give the young a chance to detoxify themselves from the school system so they have a chance at thinking clearly. The far left needs voters whose thinking is at grade school level. This is why they need the youth vote and would probably go even younger than 16 if they could.

        • The school committee
          March 16, 2019 at 5:26 pm #

          George Bush said God wanted him to fight Iraq,Glenn Beck does not believe in global warming,or Limbaugh,or Hannity or Trump.Pat does not believe in global war ming so are you being indoctrinated by the media Pat….yes you are. Your told that science that points to global warming is socialism.You can’t make up.

          • 12 Gauge
            March 16, 2019 at 7:08 pm #

            Global warming is a hoax Mario.

        • Harrison
          March 17, 2019 at 3:21 am #

          Give me a break. If you are old enough to die for your country, you are old enough to vote.

          • Pat
            March 17, 2019 at 6:12 am #

            Being old enough to join the military means you are physically able to join, it doesn’t say anything about your reasoning abilities being fully developed to maturity at age 16.

            “The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so. In fact, recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part.”

            So technically, Dan V., you are correct about raising the voting age to 25.

          • Harrison
            March 17, 2019 at 7:11 am #

            So Pat, you are saying we let our kids enlist in the military when they don’t know any better? That’s sick.

          • Pat
            March 17, 2019 at 7:22 am #

            I think that raising the age of joining the military would be a GREAT idea. 16 is ridiculously young, but let’s face it, the young in the military are being directed by older commanders who are above the age of 25. Physical stamina is fine in a 16 year old, but the strategic moves are being planned by more experienced officers.

            So you are still OK with 16 year olds voting since I know you are avoiding the subject and maybe even grade school kids voting if the far left has its way since they want lawmakers to be persuaded to vote for the Green New Deal based on the thoughts and indoctrinated fears of these 8 and 9 year old children?

          • Harrison
            March 17, 2019 at 7:31 am #

            16 is too young, but raising the voting age to 25 is equally absurd. We all remember why it was lowered to 18 from 21. Sure let’s raise the age where you can enlist in the military to 21. I’m all for that. Maybe we will be less apt to start conflicts.

          • danvalenti
            March 17, 2019 at 8:25 am #

            Why should being “old enough” to die be correlated with the qualifications of voting? That argument, and old one, lacks on its merits.

      • Johnny99
        March 16, 2019 at 4:38 pm #

        Dan, I just so happened to be passing through your town yesterday and the kiddies from Berkshire Country Day were doing a stand out at the edge of 183 holding signs to save the planet from global warming. They’ve been force fed the koolaid like the kids in Jonesville.

        • Miles Bennell
          March 16, 2019 at 7:09 pm #

          Invasion of the mind snatchers.

      • Ted
        March 17, 2019 at 12:02 pm #

        I think we should bring back the land ownership requirement for voting.

  22. SisterGoldenHair
    March 16, 2019 at 6:09 am #

    Close Reid and Herberg and put the kids at PHS since the idiots don’t have enough sense to close that school and close 3 elementary schools and cut budget on both city and school side 3 percent each year for the next 5 years, above and beyond the savings from closing schools. Any dope tax should help offset property tax increases and No More GOBSIG Giveaways and no FREE home improvements. It’s time for the mayor and city council to step up and grow up and live within their means.

  23. pleblo
    March 16, 2019 at 1:33 pm #

    As I was driving by both police and fire today they had a block-off on Onota Street. As I was going to work, there were two policeman laughing and doing anything but directing their traffic, as I drove past the Fireman in the truck were sitting there, so I assumed it was a blocked road. Got home later in the day and had heard of the fire by looking on the Berkshire Eagle page, and read the incident. What exactly would police be in any mood but somber as I passed by. Awful conduct in my book !

  24. The school committee
    March 17, 2019 at 12:31 am #

    Our city is not maintained,our police are burning out,our school are falling apart and our CITY COUNCIL allows this because one department head never takes budgets seriously.When streets aren’t swept till July is a joke.Pittsfield should start sweeping streets now. McCandless is hiring a In Your Face to taxpayers funded 25 More jobs.This makes me sick.I may be done voting because politicians who desire to work with budgets cant add.The school are making kids sick.Our teachers are burnouts after 5 years because McCandless wont provide a teaching enviroment.Herberg school is causing Pittsfield to lose kids before entering High School.If Wahconah built a school near the CITY line with Pittsfield by Burgners farm they would get 3 to 400 Pittsfield kids in their new school.Build it big.

    • doomiedodger
      March 17, 2019 at 6:25 am #

      A large Wahconah is a great idea. In fact perhaps Dalton could annex the eastern third of Pittsfield (excluding the highly contaminated PEDA property) and collect taxes from those people to put towards that school. Let the residents vote on it.

    • Diet Red
      March 17, 2019 at 11:56 am #

      Why sweep streets now? Salty sand might continue to be spread well into April.

  25. Pat
    March 17, 2019 at 6:18 am #

    “It doesn’t matter how smart your teen is or how well he or she scored on the SAT or ACT. Good judgment isn’t something he or she can excel in, at least not yet.

    The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until he or she is 25 years old or so.

    In fact, recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part, but teens process information with the amygdala, the emotional part. And it’s the prefrontal cortex that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences.”

    Dan V., you are correct about raising the voting age to 25 and SCIENCE BACKS you up. People younger than 25 are NOT GOOD at predicting the long-term consequences of their actions”

    https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=understanding-the-teen-brain-1-3051

    • doomiedodger
      March 17, 2019 at 6:45 am #

      and therefore I should not want to be involved with a squad of 20-24 year old Army Rangers about to go into battle with ISIS. Lord knows what they might do.
      You should tell Donald about this cuz he has got a lot of them running around with guns over there in the mid-east. And they have got bad judgement according to you Pat.

      • Pat
        March 17, 2019 at 7:14 am #

        Maybe they should raise the age of being able to join the military based on this scientific evidence. 16 for the military is way too young in my opinion!!!

        Besides, this information is coming from the colleges that the far left liberals worship.

        • doomiedodger
          March 17, 2019 at 7:18 am #

          so are you now saying the information is unreliable? Often hard to tell what side of an argument you are on.

          • Pat
            March 17, 2019 at 7:25 am #

            No, I think, as you do, that colleges do get things right from time to time. They aren’t indoctrinating the kids 24/7. This info came from researchers in the colleges not from those on the front lines of youth indoctrination….who are mostly the teachers and administrators of the schools.

          • Pat
            March 17, 2019 at 7:28 am #

            I think that raising the age of joining the military would be a GREAT idea though since 16 is ridiculously young, but let’s face it, the young in the military are being directed by older commanders who are above the age of 25. Physical stamina is fine in a 16 year old, but the strategic moves are being planned by more experienced officers.

            Shall we stick to the issue of 16 year olds voting since as usual you change the subject to avoid the main issue.

  26. Reignbow
    March 17, 2019 at 3:25 pm #

    The sidewalk at the Common is filthy,clean it up please, before someone slips and breaks their neck.

  27. Thomas More
    March 17, 2019 at 4:36 pm #

    how about the issue of PEDA, i thought that this was what theme was about?

  28. Tim J
    March 17, 2019 at 7:14 pm #

    When I lived on Benedict Rd.p. The Bus wouldn’t pick up my kid because it was in walking range,wonder if still is the case?

  29. Fed Up
    March 20, 2019 at 11:01 am #

    I say get rid of all the incumbents. We couldnt do any worse than what we have. VOTE OUIT ALL THE INCUMBENTS.

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