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CLAIRMONT’s GRILLING OF TES: RARE AND WELL DONE

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By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

Part 2 of 2

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, OCT. 21, 2014) — THE PLANET resumes its account of the exchange between councilor-at-large Barry Clairmont and the mayor with a general observation. In this age of political correctness, sweeping generalizations are seen as indictments to be avoided, lest we paint with too wide a brush and step on feelings. On certain occasions, however, the generalization must override the specific instance.

Thus, when THE PLANET brands the Pittsfield city council as lacking intestinal fortitude (translation: “no balls”), we can except certain members. On Tuesday, Oct. 14, Clairmont, Jonathan Lothrop, John Krol, and Nick Caccamo were the specific instance. They actually represented We the People. Kevin Morandi, Chris Connell, Mazzeo, Kathy Amuso, and Churchill Cotton were the generalization, folding before the pressure of the mayor and the situation. Lisa Tully and Tony Simonelli were — conveniently or not — missing in (in)action.

As one of THE PLANET’s commentators noted, when members are not present, the council president typically makes an announcement at the beginning of the meeting. President Mazzeo, however, made no mention of these two councilors. Why?

‘They’re Gonna Put Me in the Movies’

You could have bet the house that the mayor’s stupid example of movie makers seeking permits would come up for questioning. It’s already had a Jed Clampett “heapin’ helpin'” of much-deserved ridicule and mockery. In his (or Julia Sabourin‘s) written response to Clairmont, The Empty Suit implied that Pittsfield had overtaken Hollywood as the movie capital of the world. Steven Spielberg on Monday, Francis Coppola Tuesday, George Lucas on Wednesday, Martin Scorcese Thursday, and James Cameron Friday.

Clairmont asked TES why he used a movie permit as his example. The mayor was ill-prepared. A city hall source commented on the movie moment: “What I found interesting is that I don’t think Bianchi even read the answers to the questions. I’m sure his staff wrote the answers, which is fine. But he didn’t seem to know that the ONLY example provided on the permitting process was about pulling a permit to make a movie. He even asked Clairmont if that was the only example provided. When Barry said ‘It’s the only one I see; please point to another,’ Bianchi just shrugged his shoulders. If he read the answers, he would have known that.”

Clairmont then asked the mayor how the move was going to shorten the [permitting] process from 4-5 weeks to 1-2 weeks.  The mayor said he didn’t know, only that the building inspector said it would.  Clairmont said he couldn’t understand how a physical move would shorten the application acceptance phase. The mayor had no answer for this.

Did the Mayor Lie on ‘Other Buildings’?

When Clairmont asked the mayor if the city looked at properties other than 100 North St., the mayor said yes. Clairmont asked which ones. The mayor again dodged, telling Clairmont he [the councilor] would have to ask the building inspector. Why was 100 North St. looked at five months before the RFP went out to bid, Clairmont asked. The mayor ducked, saying the purchasing agent (Colleen Hunter) told him that was the usual procedure.

Why, Clairmont asked, did the RFP look like it was written specifically for 100 North St? The mayor said Clairmont was wrong about that. TES said there were other buildings that had 9,000 feet of space for rent within two blocks of city hall, naming the Verizon Building on Wendell Avenue Ext. and the Cooper Center at Fenn and North streets. THE PLANET finds that most interesting, since the owner of the Cooper says there is no such space for rent. As for the Verizon building, an employee there says the company doesn’t rent space “due to the need to protect the network.”

On the question of the mayor’s personal offices at 100 North Street for Global Montello energy, the mayor said he no longer had office space there, per the disclosure he made to city clerk Linda Tyer. Clairmont asked the mayor when did he move out. April or May, the mayor answered. He wasn’t sure, because he had accumulated so much stuff. Clairmont then asked if Bianchi’s new Global offices were in another building owned by Scarafoni Associates. The mayor responded to the effect of “What new offices?” Clairmont asked the mayor if he had given up his job with Global Montello. TES didn’t answer. He just said he didn’t have new offices. Hmmmm …

100gate Doesn’t Add Up; What Aren’t We Being Told? What Don’t We Know?

THE PLANET can tell you this much. The mayor says he moved out of 100 North St. in April or May. Nonetheless and notwithstanding, a member of The Secret Squadron visited 100 North St. on Thursday, Oct. 16. On the building’s two directories, the mayor’s name is still listed for Global Montello, Suite 301. Six months is a long time for a building manager to keep a vacant space listed as occupied by a pervious client, especially if he or she were looking to rent the space.

Instead of providing satisfactory answers for a nearly-$500,000 move of city offices to 100 North St., the mayor’s gives dodges, feints, indirectness, and non sequiturs. This only increases the suspicion regarding 100gate. The worst part of this move is how city and taxpayers were left completely out of the loop. The mayor claims executive privilege, since the lease is not more than three years. Even if he has a technical right to act this way, why would he want to handle it in such a tight-lipped way — especially if the move is, as he claims, such a great deal?

Folks, the bottom line is this: Following the mayor’s presentation to the council, 100gate looks more fudged than ever. We sense, as unreliable as senses sometimes are, that there’s more to this story than the mayor has told and a more still to be uncovered.

It just doesn’t add up.

—————————————————————————————–

“The kitchen table exists because I scrub it.”W.H. Auden.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

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Ron Kitterman
Ron Kitterman
6 years ago

I’m sorry, I only know what I read in the paper and may not be up to speed on the common core math situation, but if Lisa Tully and Tony Simonelli were absent how could the vote be 7 to 4 ? Pittsfield Gazette October 16, 2014 (City council endorses move of municipal offices off- site page 13 )
” The city council endorsed the move passed 7 to 4 with Lothrop, Krol, Clairmont and Nick Caccamo dissenting ”

dusty
dusty
Reply to  Ron Kitterman
6 years ago

Perhaps Melissa had proxy privileges to vote for them.

Ed McClelland
Ed McClelland
6 years ago

Another successful (yeah right) economic endeavor by TES’ cadre of the same old tired political cronies: The MBTA railcar bid goes to Springfield. Even $2 million, plus local financial institution pooling incentives made Pittsfeld attractive.Maybe an infusion of new local talent and fresh ideas, next time ? Well, at least Westinghouse was in the same business of GE.

downtown dweller
downtown dweller
6 years ago

No, no, no, Dan. Lacking “intestinal fortitude” is “no guts”. Lacking “testicular fortitude” is “no balls”. Sadly, with few exceptions, they seem to be lacking both.

Thomas More
Thomas More
6 years ago

Tony Simonelli recently had hip surgery. That keeps you grounded for a month, at least.

B. Clairmont
B. Clairmont
6 years ago

You won’t believe this…

For those of you who may not know, I made a public records request to obtain information concerning the move to 100 North Street. I was charged $63.95 to obtain the information. Considering this request was made in my capacity as a City Councilor, I submitted a request for reimbursement. I found out last Wednesday that my request was sent to the Mayor’s office and that I needed to talk directly with the Mayor.

On Friday, the Mayor called me back. This is how the conversation went (I kid you not).

When I answered the Mayor identified himself. I asked him how he was doing, and in a very angry voice he said “What do you care and what do you want”. I was completely taken back by his words and his tone.

I went on to tell him I was told I needed to talk to him about my request for reimbursement. The Mayor told me he “Wasn’t inclined to give me a red cent”. I told him that was his prerogative, since the city doesn’t have a policy regarding this matter. He told me that we could work together, but I choose to make it difficult. He would have given me what I asked for at no charge if I had just asked him (I see no difference from asking him vs. making a public records request, except the request REQUIRES him to comply, whereas asking he could leave things out if he so chose).

At this point I informed the Mayor that I would submit a petition and a draft Ordinance for the next council agenda (I assume President Mazzeo will put it on the agenda) that says “Municipal elected officials shall not be charged a fee for obtaining any information or documents made through a public records request…”

The Mayor then did the most childish thing I’ve ever heard from an elected official…he said “you are such a Scumbag”.

Given the way he started the call and his junior high name calling, how can he think this provides an atmosphere where we could “work together”?

Around six months ago, in the front hallway of city hall, he called a fellow councilor a “Swarmey little a**hole”. He did this because he learned that councilor had told someone that the Mayor was working another job; which he himself has since admitted.

So now you have two councilors that he has called names and tried to bully. It makes we wonder if this is a pattern given all the other complaints that the Mayor has bullied them. He claims not to be a bully; but I wonder?

Barry

B Scofo
B Scofo
Reply to  B. Clairmont
6 years ago

Oh man. We all know Bianchi’s a mess, but this is so blatant. Time to make some serious moves. People need to know about this.

Scott
Scott
Reply to  B. Clairmont
6 years ago

Barry thank you for asking questions and representing what’s in the best interest of the city. I appreciate it! This mayor I think has let the authority go to his head. I’ve gotten the same abrasive notion when sending questions to his office. They take praise very well but get very defensive when you question a particular topic. This is the govt knows best mentality. That’s not America an we need to vote any bum out with big brother mentality. Thank you again!

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
Reply to  B. Clairmont
6 years ago

Barry, thanks for sharing your experience with Mayor Dan. Seeing he was acting so childish, I think a wedgee or wet Willie was in order. When they renovated his office at City Hall, they must of widened the doorway to get his fat head in there.

Gene
Gene
Reply to  B. Clairmont
6 years ago

I’m now wondering given this public statement from a sitting councilor of a recall is in order of Mr. Bianchi. I never thought I would come to this point. I’m there now.

el douche
el douche
Reply to  B. Clairmont
6 years ago

Would you like some cheese with that wine Barry? You know what is more childish than your “conversation” with the mayor? It’s YOU using this blog as an outlet to solicit pity, sling mud, and to further your ego. I hope your petition fails. Grow some b*lls will ya??

Scott
Scott
Reply to  el douche
6 years ago

Grow some balls says the anonymous poster! I’ve exchanged email with Barry and though on one issue we didn’t agree it was still a respectful exchange. Your fear tactics behind annonymimity have no place here or in politics. You’re what’s wrong with America you grow a set, sir.

Guess what
Guess what
Reply to  el douche
6 years ago

At least he’s not afraid to confront this person who thinks that he’s the king of the throne. He’s got no respect for those that have a different opinion. I wish there were more city councilors like Barry. It’s time to take a hard look at their voting record and vote them out as we vote them in.

downtown dweller
downtown dweller
Reply to  B. Clairmont
6 years ago

Even before you posted this I began to think that the other allegations about his bullying behavior were on target. I saw most of Tuesday’s Council meeting. You could see and hear that the mayor was annoyed at being questioned. I don’t believe for a moment that he doesn’t know when he moved out of his office at G-M. My company moved us out of our old location almost ten years ago and I remember the date. He can’t remember a few months ago?!

This mayor has allowed power to go to his head and will continue to grab for more. He does need to be removed.

Scott
Scott
Reply to  danvalenti
6 years ago

Yeah Dan like you say when the phone doesn’t ring…

Sonny
Sonny
Reply to  B. Clairmont
6 years ago

Mr Clairmont this Captain Queeg of a mayor needs to be taken
down. Along with Mrs Mazzeo who has allowed this situation
to reach its boiling point. She is inept as a leader and not intelligent enough to realize the council she is president of has
been taken out of the govermental process and bypassed. My feeling is Bianchi must have broken some conflict of interest
laws concerning 100 North St. The rfp was a set up pure and simple.

Fubar
Fubar
6 years ago

Barry, I am sorry that the mayor treated you in such a manner. Keep on fighting the good fight, hopefully more councilors will grow a spine and join in.

Ron Kitterman
Ron Kitterman
6 years ago

Beginning to sound more a scene from A Good Men,
Col. Jessup’s: You can have the transfer order if you ask me nicely
Lt. Kaffee: Can I have the transfer order, please.

Spider
Spider
6 years ago

The mayor’s treatment of Clairmont is deplorable. I can’t understand why the rest of the City Council does not stand up and be counted and demand respect by the mayor for one of their own.

What he is doing and acting is shameful and it’s equally shameful watching our City Council do nothing.

What a bunch of wimps!.

Sparkie
Sparkie
Reply to  Spider
6 years ago

Spider what is shameful is watching Melissa Mazzeo, Kathy, Amuso, Kevin Morandi, Lisa Tully, Chris Connell, Tony Simonelli, and Churchill Cotton defend and reinforce the Mayor’s crazy, disrespectful, incompetent behavior.

dustbunny
dustbunny
6 years ago

Sounds like he is close to going over the edge.

Why any other councilor would tie their wagon to him is beyond me. They may very well be pulled under with him.

Pissfield Believer
Pissfield Believer
6 years ago

If thats how the mayor speaks directly to a councilor, imagine how he speaks about Dan Valenti behind his back.

“I am not a bully. That’s not my style”.
– Mayor Dan Bianchi 2014

Its beyond time for a recall.
I believe the mayor is mentally ill.

k.

Bea Breef
Bea Breef
6 years ago

What treatment? TES has been dissing Clairmont for years, this isn’t something new?

Oxford
Oxford
6 years ago

Dictator Dictionary;

Work together: Rubber stamp everything the mayor damn well pleases.

Scumbag: Dare to question the mayor on his decisions.

“Controlling your tongue is 90% of the mayor’s job”
– ancient chinese guy

Fubar
Fubar
6 years ago

If the mayor ever called me a “Swarmey little a**hole” he’d get a piece of my mind. In a non violent manner of course. Then I’d invite him outside to settle it man to man. In a non violent manner of course.

spagirl
spagirl
6 years ago

So Barry Clairmont..how can this idiot be removed from Office?

spagirl
spagirl
6 years ago

Barry you should record any conversation with Dan Valenti…and so should anyone else that meets or talks with him.

spagirl
spagirl
6 years ago

I am sorry of course I meant Dan Bianchi

Magic
Magic
6 years ago

Mr. Kinnas you have restored my faith at least a little

Pat
Pat
6 years ago

Where are the adults in Pittsfield? Why do so many act so childish? We need a new mayor and new city council. They should all go. They are deplorable and embarassing.

Pat
Pat
6 years ago

It’s official!!! The MBTA rail cars will be built in Springfied, MA. Pittsfield sure could have used those jobs, but Springfield needs them too as it is not exactly a booming area either.

Bea Breef
Bea Breef
6 years ago

Clairmont’s a Ray Crow wannabe.

Nota
Nota
6 years ago

Nilan is still sitting on the Park’s Board.

Scott
Scott
Reply to  Nota
6 years ago

That’s ’cause he’s a respectable member of our community, NOT!

Jonathan Lothrop
Jonathan Lothrop
6 years ago

So to elaborate on Councilor Clairmont’s recent post about the Mayor’s verbal swearing at him, I can attest to the fact that I was the recepient of the Mayor’s previous unprevoked swearing attack.

The reason for the Mayor’s anger towards me was the fact that I had mentioned to. Third party that the Mayor is in fact often working at his previous job, even though he promised the public that he would be a full time Mayor. It was clear that I had “blown up his stop” by outing his “little secret.” Too bad he can’t take responsibility for his own deceit.

Of course, months after this swearing incident, the Mayor finally admitted that he DID still works at his old job. I love being sworn at by the Mayor of our City for telling the truth!

Jlo

Fubar
Fubar
Reply to  Jonathan Lothrop
6 years ago

JLO, thank you for sharing that with us. The mayor’s actions are deplorable. You did nothing wrong in sharing that information. And then he went on the air and stated that he was still working at Global on his “own time”… unbelievable.

amandaWell
amandaWell
6 years ago

Isn’t that the point!

dusty
dusty
6 years ago

I am pleased that Barry Clairmont chooses to communicate with the taxpayers through this venue. I wish more of them felt comfortable doing it. . More probably would if they were not in fear of corner office wrath.

Barry I hope you don’t stop just because of Bianchis one friend got nasty

BeaBreef
BeaBreef
6 years ago

Someone ought to tell LOw he is insignificant when it comes to his vote on anything. LOw, you have morphed into a former Three Amigo’s syndrome, with the swinging chair’ golfer-former school employee as the fourth vote.

GeoSims
GeoSims
6 years ago

Thank you Councilor Clairmont, abusers rely on the abused being silent.
It’s quite apparent this mayor is a bully. Coupled with his ineffectiveness to move the city forward, he needs to go away.

spagirl
spagirl
6 years ago

Jonathan Lothrop…I have to tell you that I have never enjoyed anything more than your last presentation at the City Council Meeting…both about the issue with the Mayor, and standing up to Melissa Mazzeo. It was the “Best”. YOU are a Gem. Thankyou.

Sparkie
Sparkie
Reply to  spagirl
6 years ago

Totally agree with spagirl; everyone knows you should be the Prez. Weak minded people voted Mazzeo in because of politics not qualifications.

GeoSims
GeoSims
Reply to  spagirl
6 years ago

Thank you Councilor Lothrop. You do your research and your contributions reflect it.

Gatos
Gatos
Reply to  spagirl
6 years ago

Jlo does his research without bragging about it as though it were a unique trait. Thanks Jonathan!