(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY APRIL 15, 2019) — Happy tax day while the government steals you blind. We can report, however, good news.

The gangs just up and left. Drug dealers have turned their wads to plowshares. Crack addicts gave up the Caspar. Robbers lie down with Realtors. Crips are seen buying Bloods beers at The Highland. North Street prostitutes flock to noon Mass at St. Joe. Pittsfield has witnessed an end to crime.

Something drove the bad guys out of town.

What caused this miracle? THE PLANET, seeing reports of lawless hordes getting neck burns from Exit signs, wondered as well. With the help of our spies, we got to the bottom of this exodus.

Pittsfield’s Police Advisory Group (PAG) conducted its first meeting.

(SAID REVERENTLY) And Lee surrendered.

———- 000 ———-

The nascent PAG, just another election-year gimmick, recently met with Mayor Linda Tyer. That proved enough for the city’s bad elements. Who wouldn’t be scared of a toothless board composed of do-gooders, good-for-my-resume types, and suck-ups such as the ubiquitous budinski, Drew Herzig. And you didn’t even know he was Polish.

For those keeping score at home, here’s the list of PAG-a-teers:

  • Herzig
  • Ellen Maxon
  • Lynn Wallace
  • Sheila Sholes-Ross
  • Alf Barbalunga
  • Ivan Victoriano
  • Michael Feldberg
  • Sloan Letman

Al Capone wouldn’t stand a chance.

———- ooo ———-

Sources say police chief Michael Wynn met with Tyer before the group’s formation. He wasn’t happy. The mayor appeased him by appointing  to the PAG “friends not foes,” preferably those without knowledge of policing. A local barrister told THE PLANET that Wynn agreed to publicly support PAG only after Tyer assured him the group would have:

  • no review powers
  • no authority to independently investigate
  • no ability to discipline
  • no access to internal documents
  • no subpoena power
  • and no access to personnel records


  • It can’t conduct hearings.
  • It can’t be a part of internal investigations.
  • It can’t adjudicate.

Actiing city solicitor Stephen “Pag” Pagnotta, “Pag” confirmed all this.

To justify this whitewash, Tyer and Wynn cited “concerns with civil service law.” Right. Local attorneys familiar with municipal law tell THE PLANET the PAG could have been given authority to do all of the above without concern with civil service issues. They also said the feint of “We can’t discuss this; it’s a personnel matter” could “easily” have been dealt with by language in the PAG’s constitutional documents. Speaking of which, PAG’s enabling documents haven’t been made public. Are there even such papers? Sources aren’t sure. We think not which, if true, leaves Pittsfield with a powerless advisory group that has no defined mission. Perfect.

Wynn, though, made good on his promise of public “support.”

“We were not in any way opposed to the formation of the board,” Wynn said. Talk about your ringing endorsements. That’s like the general manager of a slumping team expressing “full confidence” in the general manager. Anyone familiar with bureaucratic psychobabble would know Wynn’s statement means the opposite, and he will make sure the eunuched PAG keeps its nose out of his department. Seems the rabbi in this case deliberately chopped off a little too much.

Tyer called the PAG “a useful tool” that would provide more transparency (as if there was some to begin with) into the workings of the PPD. That’s all Pittsfield needs, another “useful tool.” Actually, the PAG has become another ax whose fall widens the deep division with the PPD in deep division. You and Aunt Edna’s pet poodle can be sure that whatever paper the PAG produces to justify its miserable existence will be promptly fingerprinted, booked, and sent to the circular file.

Think of the crumpled papers as job security for janitors.


“God sends his teachers unto every age”James Russell Lowell



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  1. As the Krol Flies
    April 14, 2019 at 8:14 pm #

    Ziggy Herzig will be in charge of fake hate crimes.

    • As the Krol Flies
      April 15, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

      Herzig is the biggest joke in Pittsfield. Why does Tyer put him on every board and commission ?

  2. Johnny Absurd
    April 15, 2019 at 1:00 am #

    Tyer seems to have styled her management approach much like Donald Trumps. There seems to be a lot of things happening behind the scenes and she appears to abhor oversight.
    And since this seems to be a 180 from her past campaign promises can we believe anything she says anymore?

    Will her campaign workers be wearing red hats with the bold MAGA logo?

    • Brody Hooper
      April 15, 2019 at 8:05 am #

      You really need to get over your Trump hatred. He is your President. Get over it

  3. The school committee
    April 15, 2019 at 1:57 am #

    How is news about AOC reported by media real and bad news about Trump always FAKE…..The GE cleanup of PCBs really never took place.Trumps EPA said GE is done with the Hudson river and in Pittsfield it only went 1 mile plus to Fred Gardner park on Pomeroy ave.In N.Y. ground water is mixed with corporate chemical for drinking so that your family’s can get cancer.Keep up the good work Don because followers of you philosophy of goverment always knew a week EPA was an answer to clean evviroments.They never could digest the science of cancer causing ground water.Probably fake reporting or bad science.

    • Fake News
      April 15, 2019 at 7:16 am #

      Very fake news.

  4. JoePesci
    April 15, 2019 at 2:24 am #

    Dam straight Dan, Gotdam civilians got no business tellin’ da cops how to do their job. I say we have a SAG (School Advisory Group), to tell the school department how to do their job, with less Gotdamn money, and how about a MAG (Mayors Advisory Group), because God knows she needs some advice and how about a FAG (Firefighters Advisory Group), so a bunch of uninformed nitwits can tell the fire department how to do it’s job. And hats off to Harrington who is filling another campaign promise, in forming a citizens advisory group soon. Perhaps you should apply Dan, but not sure as an older, white, straight male, you’ll have a chance unless perhaps you’re “trauma informed”.

  5. The school committee
    April 15, 2019 at 3:13 am #

    You may have seen the Albany cop brutally beating a man with his baton.The usual mistake in any oversite is the players are not independent. Why. so the oversite committee can do the coverup,let’s be real.

  6. Mr. Fritz
    April 15, 2019 at 4:37 am #

    Great article, Dan. “Eunuched PAG” – I love that. Anytime I see Drew Hertzig listed as a member of any committee I immediately write them off as ineffective and useless.

    Joe, I agree we need a SAG – especially after reading the iberkshires article about McCandless cutting his money request by a half million. Waaat? Make a real cut – more like 6 million and let them figure out where to spend the remains. Close some elementary schools! Let’s get real here!

    • danvalenti
      April 15, 2019 at 6:04 am #

      Thanks, MR F.

    • Spider
      April 15, 2019 at 6:19 am #

      Yes, Fritz, McCandless just pulled an old trick. Always ask for more than you actually need or want. And then look like a hero to the tax payers by cutting that amount.

      We’ve seen that before

    • Johnny99
      April 15, 2019 at 7:39 am #

      Yup, smoke and mirrors Fritz, as Dan has explained before – They request millions more, cut a meager half mill out of the millions more, after the mayor protests, and then they all go to council saying what a responsible budget it is, how they all worked together to come up with “the cut”, etc, when it is really an addition of several million more.

      • Johnny99
        April 15, 2019 at 10:07 am #

        Oh, and I forgot to add that McCandles spent sleepless nights wrestling with this. Yea, right.

  7. Edward R. Murrow
    April 15, 2019 at 4:59 am #


    What are the odds that four of your five closest competitors will double-bogey the 12th hole?

    And then Frankie Molinari hits the ball too high on a short pitch into the 15th green and clips a tree?

    No way.

    Must be Russian collusion.

    Someone told me that someone heard that someone made up that Tiger had once looked at picture of Vlad Putin.

    I don’t mind Tiger winning, and I’m not surprised at all, but can someone grow a pair and put at least one of those in the hole when it counts?

  8. doomiedodger
    April 15, 2019 at 6:43 am #

    Great news that con man McCondless has trimmed his asking price by a half million down to 3.4 million IN ADDITIONAL FUNDING. Is he building a Goddamn wall?

    As a citizen I want an independent audit of the Pittsfield school system and I want it done by someone from a country with a school system that excels and actually put the children’s education before the financial well being of the school personnel. This is beyond ridiculous and should be compared to an actually functioning school system in Japan.

    • Spider
      April 15, 2019 at 7:11 am #

      Doomie – I love your idea of an independent audit of the Pittsfield school system.

    • Wilson
      April 15, 2019 at 7:36 am #

      More like fake news since the insurance and pension benefits for the dozens of new positions he has added are billed separately to taxpayers.

    • Pat
      April 15, 2019 at 9:13 am #

      McCandless also said the usual nonsense about cutting out more paraprofessionals which is what he said last budget time and they were all rehired. They also happen to be the lowest paid so you notice they never get rid of the higher paying jobs which is where the problem is NOT with the paraprofessionals. They should lower some of the extremely high salaries.

      He tries to make it sound like it’s good that it’s down by half a million when in fact they get a lot more money every year including this year not to mention the extra money from Charlie Baker. What a scam.

      • Spagirl
        April 15, 2019 at 10:08 am #

        Everybody knows what is going on with the School state funds. Why can’t the citizens of Pittsfield unite. Demand school consolidation, and a responsible budget, and also start the process and conversation of conversion to a City Manager. Start eliminating these entitled egotists who close their ears to the Citizens of Pittsfield.

      • Larson E. Hall
        April 15, 2019 at 5:56 pm #

        The CAG (common sense advisory grup) reccomends that 3/4 of the Mercer building be fired. What do you think Bill Cameron? You have a brain.

  9. LW
    April 15, 2019 at 7:08 am #

    Tyer is right though. PAG is a useful tool. But for her reelection efforts only.

    • Johnny Absurd
      April 15, 2019 at 9:04 am #

      This PAG is one example of people in a high positions trying to pull the wool over the peoples eyes. One can just imagine what goes on that we do not know about if they are willing to pull this crap right out in the open.

      Obviously there must be things they don’t want seen or they would not have gone to such great lengths to make the board totally impotent.

      thanks mayor…great job

  10. Hung Wang
    April 15, 2019 at 7:22 am #

    What Pittsfield needs is BAG, buffoon advisory group or GAG, gobsig advisory board.

    • JoePesci
      April 15, 2019 at 7:45 am #

      A PAG, a SAG, a MAG, a FAG, or a BAG or a GAG, or even a HAG – what do they all have in common? – The person appointing the members has a an obvious conflict, and therefore the appointees will likely be biased, and they are all advisory groups only. Dog and pony, smoke and mirrors, look at me, what do we see? – nothing but a show, and nothing to show for it.

  11. Reignbow
    April 15, 2019 at 8:14 am #

    I can give you three teet employee currents over 190 g in pension payments combined,that’s just three. Whovever heard of making more with pension than actually working? Tyer keeps playing these Monty and shuffle games,ask for more, reduce and make it look like you’re giving a break? Look at the two cent tax break,my taxes are still the highest in history,stop playing games!

  12. Silent Majjoritee
    April 15, 2019 at 9:20 am #

    The next thing’ the mayor will be telling us is how much money we saved on health insurepance because of the cuts in hiring more paras. Can you say smoke and mirrors. The end results should be another cut in health insurance by the ratio for people employed not those who won’t be employed,that isn’t a sacrifice Mayor. Why should we private working taxpayers have less of an insurance package for those we pay for? Through our taxes?

  13. Shackle
    April 15, 2019 at 9:43 am #

    Terrible the way she uses the media Iberk ak,Eagle,pctv,photo ops,proclamations,terrible mayor as well as human being,goldigger to boot.

  14. Reignbow
    April 15, 2019 at 11:20 am #

    Le Cahthederal ain’t Notre Dame in France is on fire.And Trump is still telling lies.

  15. The school committee
    April 15, 2019 at 11:57 am #

    Mccandless,Yon ,Tyer are spending 3 million more on his Pitts field experiment .It will not work.He should not be hiring.We need last year’s budget cut by 1,000,000 and he needs to spend the rest of the year working with teachers to figure out how to remove behavior problem and keep them home..We can add Yon and McCandless to the Kim Grady I’m not qualified to run anything but I can look it up on the internet. Even Kroll is leaving town .Tyer will leave town on her removal

    • Spagirl
      April 15, 2019 at 3:10 pm #

      And you know what is going on and have been saying it for a very long time. Do you work in the Schools?

  16. Timmy Litt
    April 15, 2019 at 2:22 pm #

    Look on the bright side,N D is burning down but Hess still stands.

  17. Spagirl
    April 15, 2019 at 3:10 pm #

    And you know what is going on and have been saying it for a very long time. Do you work in the Schools?

  18. Joe Blow
    April 15, 2019 at 4:09 pm #

    NYT Fact Check: Actually, the Overwhelming Majority of Americans Got a Tax Cut, Despite Democrats’ False Propaganda

    It’s tax day in America, and if Democrats had gotten their way in 2017, the vast majority of Americans would be paying higher taxes this year. Every single Congressional Democrat voted against the GOP-passed tax reform law that slashed tax burdens for approximately 80 percent of all households — including an even higher percentage of middle-income families. The Left has deliberately and repeatedly lied about this reality, with minimal and perfunctory fact-checking from the media. As a result, only a fraction of the country realizes that their overall federal tax bill went down, based on recent polling. It’s important to set the record straight, and today is a good opportunity to do so. According to the Treasury Department, fully 90 percent of US workers experienced higher take-home pay in 2018 thanks to the new law. And here are the overall numbers, courtesy of the left-leaning Tax Policy Center:

  19. The school committee
    April 15, 2019 at 5:24 pm #

    I did not get a federal tax cut from Trump it the same number give or take that is was with Obama.He gave the 1.7 trillion to corporation so the stock buy back would raise the growth on Wall Street.
    Mccandless,Yon,Curtis are throwing good money after bad.He is completely responsible for our situation.Pittsfields people of poverty are stuck with more debt.The city council cant tell them How to spend but they Can tell them How much they are getting.Marchetti is the answer for the poor.

    • Fake News
      April 15, 2019 at 6:03 pm #

      More very fake news from you. Please stop.

  20. Sgt. Bazooka
    April 15, 2019 at 6:05 pm #

    Even TSC should be able to understand this video.

    • Joe Blow
      April 16, 2019 at 2:04 pm #

      Reminds me of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand….great stuff Sgt.!!! o7

  21. Johnny Absurd
    April 16, 2019 at 12:24 am #

    And I resent the way the article in iBerkshires is written as it seems to suggest that McCandless is actually being fiscally responsible when in fact he is further gouging the taxpayers..AGAIN!! It comes across like something out of the FOX news boardroom. Why are these news outlets aiding and abetting a lie?

    Why doesn’t this guy advocate to take 5 million out of his bloated budget to be used to fix the roads so his kids don’t have to bounce their heads off the school bus ceilings on their way to school? Can’t be easy to learn when your head is throbbing.

    Has P. T. Barnum been reincarnated and living and working in PIttsfield?

    • Brody Hooper
      April 17, 2019 at 8:53 pm #

      Again, can you post anything without going after your President or Fox News? Just try, for all of our sakes

  22. The school committee
    April 16, 2019 at 3:56 am #

    Thanks Sarge,where was the part about my grand kids paying the bill for the guys with money.Do you believe income tax bill should be a socialism bill where we all pay the same.

    • Sgt. Bazooka
      April 16, 2019 at 6:05 am #

      Once again more nonsense from you.

  23. Ted
    April 16, 2019 at 8:21 am #

    This week on The Planet. Expect a satirical treatment of Restaurant Week including a lengthy lambasting of the Downtown Pittsfield Inc. Foot Traffic Committee, possibly including a dissection of the physical characteristics of its members if a photo is available.

    • Johnny Absurd
      April 16, 2019 at 11:25 am #

      Right, and see if you can get all the health inspection reports, if there are any.

      • Brody Hooper
        April 17, 2019 at 8:54 pm #

        Why so negative all the time? Rejoice we have Trump in the White House

  24. Joe Blow
    April 16, 2019 at 2:07 pm #

    In other news…

    Electronic surveillance isn’t spying; it’s much more powerful

    Attorney General William Barr used the “S” word in front of Congress and the world last week, and organized fainting spells commenced.

    “I believe the government spied on the Trump campaign,” said Mr. Barr in a town where semantic directness is simply not practiced among the political pharisees and their pilot fish in the media who seek to preserve a certain order by obfuscating true intent.

    His use of the word “spy” was as blunt as his everyman face. Its stinging connotation was validated in direct proportion to the contrived outrage of opposition politicians and cable news mannequins flopping to the ground and clutching their knees like European soccer players.

  25. The school committee
    April 16, 2019 at 3:12 pm #

    Mayor Tyer gave Yon ,McCandless ,Elias Taylor an extra 2plus million.Mccandless is stealing cop money.We live the drug addicted Berkshire hills,need cop not paras.

    • Joe Blow
      April 16, 2019 at 3:49 pm #

      On this we agree….The gangs are running the streets right now, it seems the Pittsfield Police are fighting with hands tied behind their backs. When will enough be enough?