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EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s funny, and we’ll share the joke on us with you. We’ve been off a day all week due to Labor Day, to say nothing of crossing four times zones twice. In our purple haze, THE PLANET posted this column early Sunday morning thinking it was Monday morning. You know how the song goes: can’t trust that day. So we’ll leave this column up until Tuesday. Enjoy!

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, SEPT. 14, 2015) — Tombstone, Arizona had The Gunfight of OK Corral, a 30-second bust in 1881 that myth transformed into a Kirk Douglas oater. Tonight at 7 p.m. in Room K-111 at BCC, Pittsfield can witness The Waterpistol Rumpus at the Not-OK City.

THE PLANET and the PV-TV cameras will be there to record some of the foliage, which we will broadcast Thursday for the next live edition of PLANET VALENTI TELEVISION.

The Lineup: BAT WAG

The code word for this mayoral event is BAT WAG. That’s not the name of a new dance. It’s not a hitting style preferred by Latino baseball players. It’s shorthand for the characters who will bump heads tonight: Bianch and Tyer (BAT) plus Walto and Gaetani (WAG).

For those keeping score at home, THE PLANET presents these candidate thumbnails. As a general note to get started, note that the BATs have had little to say thus far in the campaign. This is textbook political strategy. They are heavily favored to advance to November and have jealously kept their powder dry. Both sides are saving their best for the general election. Remember, too, voters, that your next mayor will serve a four-year term for the first time in city history. You won’t be able to do a thing about it until November 2019. By then, who knows if there will be one stone left upon another?


DAN BIANCHI— The incumbent wins the inside track. Bianchi started off well but lost his shine about


six months into his first year after Spectrumgate blew up in his face. The city had won three times in court against Spectrum Health Services and the downtown methadone clinic.  Bianchi inherited a winnable case from Jimmy Ruberto and city attorney Rich Dohoney. New city solicitor Kathy Degnan, however, handed the decision over to Spectrum plus $100,000 to boot. Bianchi never found his footing after that. For three and a half years, people have wondered: Where is the Dan Bianchi the city thought it knew, the fighter who served for 10 years as Ward 6 city councilor? Will be show up tonight? Bianchi is the Ultimo Persona Enterada in this election: The Ultimate Insider.

LINDA TYER— She has amassed a decent record of public service as a ward councilor and city clerk. As clerk, she has run the city’s most responsive department. Tyer presents an open,


approachable attitude that contrasts with the mayor’s reticence. She comes off as capable, alert, and willing to listen. Her negatives provide the counterbalance. She’s seen as an Insider, a fair claim. There is a perception that if elected she will simply serve as the marionette for either Barry Clairmont, Ruberto, or both. THE PLANET has seen no evidence to give this credence, but it can’t be known for certain without Tyer winning. She has held her fire in this preliminary phase, sticking to innocuous press statements and scripted photo ops regarding blight and parks. It will be interesting to see her strategy for tonight: Does she lay low or does she begin her assault on Mt. Bianchi?

DONNA WALTO— With her fourth attempt at the corner office, she has become the punchlline to the


following joke: “Who is Pittsfield’s answer to Harold Stassen?” You can go back to her statements from the 2005, 2007, and 2011 campaigns, and plug them into 2015. It’s her “Back to the Future” style. Aside from one press release on economics, Walto has been invisible. If her campaign was the title of a movie, it would be Run Silent, Run Shallow. As she’s done three times previously, Walto’s running a token campaign. No lawn signs, stickers, buttons, or literature. No fundraisers. No ads. No nuthin’. She’s sitting in Schwab’s Drugstore waiting to be discovered. Ain’t gonna happen. It’s another, “Where’s Walto?”


CRAIG GAETANI — Take a hurricane, wrap it in a Nor’easter, put it in a Vitamix,


coat with nitroglycerin, and you have Gaetani. He has been flooding the campaign with his ideas on how to improve the city. No one has been as visible or vocal. He’s written letters to the editor, issued press releases and petitions, appeared at council meetings, started a TV show, and carved wedge-shaped hieroglyphics in cuneiform. However, when he flooded THE PLANET with long-winded rants written in ALL CAPS and increasingly hostile tones, we had to cut him off. We felt like Joe the Bartender having to tell Mr. Donohey he’s had one too many. Gaetani’s a car spinning its tires in a snowbank, expending a lot of energy but getting nowhere. He refuses to spend a cent to push his cause, all the while insisting he will win in a landslide. Acts of God aside,  the only thing that will “slide” is his campaign into electoral oblivion.

——– 000 ——–

Tonight’s debate is sponsored by The Pittsfield Gazette. THE PLANET thanks Jonathan Levine for keeping up with his paper’s electoral tradition. We also thank the Bianchi campaign for his photo and The Berkshire Eagle for the photos of the other three candidates.


“A politician is someone who promises to build a bridge even if there is no river.”Nikita Kruschev, (1962).



The views expressed in any comment section are not those of PLANET VALENTI or endorsed in any way by PLANET VALENTI; this website reserves the right to remove any comment which violates its Rules of Conduct, and it is not liable for the consequences of any posted comment as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and PLANET VALENTI’s terms of service.



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5 years ago

Sturgeon was embarrassing. DV should have been handling this. The entire debate was a humiliation for the city, beginning with Bill Sturgeon. What an amateur. Awful. Mayor Bianchi won it. Not even close.

5 years ago

Something is missing. Where are yesterdays comments and where is today’s blog?