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MORANDI ‘SURFACES,’ RESPONDS TO ‘PROMISE’ and ‘MUSCLED’ STORIES

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By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 2015) — Ward 2 city councilor Kevin Morandi checked in with THE PLANET responding to our questions about a couple of stories that came to light following the city council 11-0 vote to approve $120.8 million in bonds for a new Taconic High School.

One story had Morandi telling seniors at the Froio Center that he would vote against the bonding. Morandi, of course, voted in favor, helping make a unanimous tally. The other story claimed Morandi switched positions because of outside pressure — muscle — from forces allied with the pro-school constituency.

Promises, Promises …

As for what he “promised” seniors on the vote, Morandi said, “The only thing I will promise anyone in my ward is that I will work hard for them, get them an answer, and return phone calls and e-mails. I just was discussing the pros and cons of the project and listening to the seniors’ input. I didn’t know how I was going to vote until I spoke and gave my reasons why I would vote yes just before the roll call vote was taken on the school bonding in the council chambers.”

As for the second question, Morandi said, “I wasn’t muscled by anyone. I am my own person as I have proved by my voting record. I have shown that I am not afraid to stand alone if I feel it is the right thing to do. This was by far the hardest vote I have had to cast as a councilor.”

There it is. According to our Right Honorable Good Friend, no promises were made and no one from Tony Soprano‘s outfit paid him a “friendly visit.”

THE PLANET takes Morandi at his word, though this episode illustrates the fraught, jittery nature of Pittsfield politics in this campaign year. It also provides a lesson in press relations. Over the past two days, THE PLANET sought comment from two councilors, Morandi and John Krol, on two developing stories. Because these two men were straightforward, responsive, and timely in responding, we were able to provide stories with updates in service to the truth while meeting the competing and complimentary needs of both readers and newsmakers.

Nixonian in Podunk

Contrast this to the paranoid, Nixonian method of press relations practiced by the mayor. He refuses to respond to our inquiries while at the same time forbidding city employees from talking to any members of the press without his office knowing. This policy would be expected in dealing with the NSA, for example, but for city affairs in Podunk? The mayor might as well gum his corn pone with a single tooth. He’d be taken more seriously.

This is the type of “leadership” we have now in the corner office. And you wonder why Corporate and Manufacturing America isn’t beating down the gateways to locate there.

Perhaps the mayor thinks if he doesn’t respond, we won’t get the story, but as THE PLANET has demonstrated countless times, that is not the case. Fact is, we have hot sources in every city department and in most offices. We know those who know. Same is true with out network of correspondents throughout the city, a group of local patriots we dub The Secret Squadron. You can count on it. If THE PLANET decides to go after a story, we will get it.

The Truth and Nothing But

In our pursuit of the story, we have one goal: the truth. In going after that sometimes elusive quarry, we have no personal loyalties, friendships, special interests, or favorites. THE PLANET doesn’t have bosses to please, advertisers to stroke, or owners to propitiate. We and we alone among local media can make a beeline to veracity. If there is an occasional explosion or two, let the chips fall where they may.

Why do we do it? it is our form of public service.

THE PLANET is not our living, but it’s a fair chunk of our life. We toiled a good number of years to get into this position, and we’re going to squeeze the agave out of the cactus.  We had a plan, and the plan worked out. We won’t be around forever, and we might end THE PLANET as you know it as the thief comes in the night. For now, revel in this unique journalistic experiment.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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“My kisses are his daily feast.”John Lyly, “Rosalind’s Madrigal,” (1632).

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

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amandaWell
amandaWell
6 years ago

According to LOw, not enough, Tammy.

Tammy Ives
Tammy Ives
6 years ago

I only ask because being paid so much you would think that they would actually do what the people want and that way they can save their job.

Tammy Ives
Tammy Ives
6 years ago

That is a crazy amount for doing nothing but making a mess out of things,and to think we hired these people to make the city better.What a waste of money!

Rotten Robert
Rotten Robert
6 years ago

As soon as I can sell my house, I’m outta here. This city with its losers on the council are either retarded or just plain nuts. I love the statement from our mayor that the new school will bring jobs and prosperity to Pittsfield. With the unaminous vote, this council believes Pittsfield is heading in the right direction. Jobs galore and infinite prosperity. The high crime in Pittsfield, just look the other way as our mayor has done, and maybe it will just go away.

Just remember folks, when you rob a bank you go to jail. When you lie and cheat the taxpayers, you get re-elected.