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!PLANET EXCLUSIVE! WE HAVE A COPY OF THE MAYOR’S ETHICS DISCLOSURE ON ‘100GATE’ … plus … THE FIRST STEP ON A LONG JOURNEY: ADDRESSING THE CITY’S GANG PROBLEM

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By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, OCT. 15, 2014) — Here is a copy of the disclosure form that the mayor filed with city clerk Linda Tyer. He filled it out in response to questions made by THE PLANET first and later, city councilors, most notably councilor-at-large Barry Clairmont.

Mayor Bianchi – Disclosure

THE PLANET submits it without comment, at this point, so that we may get your reaction. If you witnessed the “100gate” portion of the city council meeting last night, perhaps you might want to triangulate this document with both the council’s questions and the mayor’s responses. It will add up to a big, fat … well, that’s what we’re inviting you to answer with your comments.

Please do.

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Here is a column first published a couple weeks ago in the comments section of THE PLANET. Its author, local talkmeister Bill Sturgeon, sent it to us after saying The Boring Broadsheet had no interest and exercised its option on first refusal. We responded by asking our good friend for permission to run the piece as a featured column. He agreed. THE PLANET instantly saw the value in the piece and found that it deserved the added exposure.

It’s interesting to note what happened next. After THE PLANET publicly stated it would re-run the column again on the main site as a featured piece, the editors at The BB suddenly became convinced of its worthiness. Does The BB respect our editorial instincts above its own? Did our putting the spotlight on it force a second, more considerate look? Is it another case of PLANET Do, EAGLE Do? We can’t say. We can, however, deny the rumor that Dan Valenti has purchased the newspaper.

Giving The Eagle its due, we have waited a piece before living up to our word to feature it on THE PLANET. The essay addresses a vital topic, one that continues to plague the city and suppress its progress. This problem continues to wreak its havoc on the local economy, destroy families, disrupt schools — and that’s just the surface. Gangs, drug culture, and such pernicious activities form of a collective death wish, one that the city has only dared to admit.

This lack of admission on the part of the city and The Suits that run it has only aggravated the problem.  Our guest author addresses that and a host of other aspects of this topic.

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First Step on a Long Road

By BILL STURGEON

Special to PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

Gangs, Drugs, Guns, and Violence create a destructive sociological cycle for the people, families, and communities involved. The City of Pittsfield has, in my opinion, taken the first step in what is going to be a very long journey to addressing these complex problems. It recently held a public meeting to inform the citizenry of the problems.The “Powers-To-Be” in the City are asking for community support and assistance in facing these very real problems that are causing such pain and suffering in our City. The realities of these problems are that they have very deep roots that are all intertwined!Why do young people join gangs? This question has many answers. There is the standard answer that poverty is a major cause of gang membership.Well, if that is the case, in the year 2014, how can we explain middle class adolescents and younger children joining gangs? Then there is the he/she got involved with the gang when he/she got into drugs. O.K. I can accept that as a reason for joining the gang. I might, however, ask what came first, the drug habit or the gang membership.Then there is the violence associated with both gang membership and the drug sub-culture.I would like to say a word about the drug sub-culture. It is considered a “sub-culture” if you buy drugs on the street. Yet, if you buy your (prescribed) drugs at a pharmacy, you are part of the 21st century “normal” culture.Violence is an integral part of the gang and drug cultures. Once again, there are as many answers to why people resort to violence, as there are fish in the sea. These include poor home life, poor parenting, poverty, abuse, poor nutrition, learned trait, etc. etc. etc.In my 40 years in the criminal justice system, what I have observed, been part of, and written about, is that violent behavior and gang activities are synonymous; where there is one you will find the other.As I mentioned previously, the City of Pittsfield has taken the first step by admitting that these problems exist. Now, the community needs to start working together to solve the problems of gangs, drug abuse and violence. Be active, be involved and if you see something, report it.

What can a community do to address its gang and drug problems? I believe that Pittsfield has taken the first two steps:
1. It has admitted it has problems.
2. It is reaching out to the people – the community, and asking for assistance.
Steps 3 through Infinity are:
3. Involve the community is developing solutions.
4. Dedicate the funds necessary for enforcement and intelligence.
5. Involve agencies such as drug treatment facilities, schools, diversionary, rehabilitation programs.
6. Conduct classes for parents, teachers, clergy, etc., on early detection of gang involvement and drug use.
7. Let parents know that all the good will or wishing it away will not address either gang membership or drug abuse. They have to reach out for help.
8. Establish “Tattoo Removal” programs and funding to support these programs.
9. Use the Criminal Justice system to its fullest – Sometimes going to jail / prison may save someone’s life. I had one Youthful Offender tell me, “If I wasn’t in prison, I would most probably be dead.”

More steps will follow as programs, activities, awareness, enforcement, and actions progress.

Keep in mind, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Lao-tzu – Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

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“When I look forth at dawning, pool / Field, flock, and lonely tree, / All seem to gaze at me / Like chastened children sitting silent in a school.”Thomas Hardy, “Nature’s Questioning,” (1870).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.
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spagirl
spagirl
6 years ago

The Mayor of Pittsfield is a Condescending ,Unethical, phony. Mr. Lothrop and Mr. Clairmont have his number and the taxpayers need them. It is disturbing to watch this Mayor snip at anyone who questions him.

Ron Kitterman
Ron Kitterman
6 years ago

Amazing How Quick you got the Disclaimer of Conflict of Interest Report so fast compared to your other FOIA requests and interesting how quickly his former office was closed ???

MrG1188
MrG1188
6 years ago

Did that office actually close? If so, when?

MrG1188
MrG1188
6 years ago

I mean, when this doc was filed, on 9/12, the lease process had apparently been in progress for, what, 8 months? It’s not even always about actual conflict. Appearance of conflict is almost as Damning.

Tom
Tom
6 years ago

So what’s to prevent the mayor from doing Global Mondello business out of his new “city” office at 100 North St?

No one will be monitoring what he does there.
No checks and balances.

This whole deal, shrouded in secrecy, has the appearance of a huge conflict of interest.

One way to insure he does not suceed is vote him out next election.

Scott
Scott
6 years ago

If helping the police is making a call and laying down and dying waiting for them to get there you can count most people who want to live out. Engage your children take a martial art with them! Kill your tv! Be involved with thier education! Point out the silliness of glamorized drug use and violence.

D.A.R.E.
D.A.R.E.
6 years ago

The DARE program has worked so well at keeping kids off drugs.

If there was no market for drugs, the problem would not exist.

Good thing we got a methadone clinic in downtown Pittsfield. They need new patients all the time to keep it going.
Drug dealers provide this influx of new methadone addicts.

Fubar
Fubar
6 years ago

The mayor no longer having an office there (if true) does not mean there is no conflict of interest. The past and current personal relationship between him and the landlord is what really matters.

Fubar
Fubar
6 years ago

Also, the mayor states HE does not have an office there. What about Global Montello where he is, as far as I know, still employed?

dusty
dusty
6 years ago

Sounds like somebody is weaving a tangled web.

Ethics anyone?

Knows the Truth
Knows the Truth
6 years ago

Funny how this is allowed where clearly his relationship was parlayed into him getting benefits for moving but filing a disclosure months after the fact makes it ok. Maybe no office there anymore, but says who?

But Jimmy gets dinged for a frigging baseball ticket. The city and our CLOWNCIL should be ashamed for letting this guy get out of control. YIKES!!!

Ron Kitterman
Ron Kitterman
6 years ago

Obama canceling the fundraisers is like Bianchi canceling a ribbon cutting ceremony

Bill Sturgeon
Bill Sturgeon
6 years ago

Scott:
I agree with you when you promote getting more involved with kids. Too many parents have left the parenting of “their” children to others.

Ed
Ed
6 years ago

Kinder-Morgan pipeline transports natural gas to key distributors and consumers of natural gas. Global Montello, and its affliates are distributors of natural gas.
The mayor profts from the sale Global’s natural gas. He has publically proclaimed his support for the pipeline.
As a Global employee, is he an expert on natural gas wholesaling, sales, and distribution, or is his office’s support of the pipeline a conflict of interest ?

dusty
dusty
Reply to  Ed
6 years ago

Looks like he has his hands in all the pies huh?

Evian
Evian
6 years ago

Man there are a million questions with the mayor’s statement. All of a sudden, no office at 100 n St? There’s something fishy going on here. The mayor has become radioactive, polutted as Silver Lake before the cleanup.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Evian
6 years ago

What clean up?

Just Saying
Just Saying
6 years ago

#9 in Mr. Sturgeons list includes the quote from a young “offender” saying prison saved his/her life. My question is how many of these young people are released and return to their old ways? Perhaps society would be better off without them. The drugs they sell destroy lives and families. I have little to no empathy for these poison pushers. Let them kill each other, a civilized society is better off without them.