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(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, JAN. 7, 2015) — The three baseball diamonds at The Common have gone the way of Crazy Annie and Red the Drunk. In their place, paved walkways, rolling grass, water sprays, and pavilions, a $5 million waste of taxpayer money. So if they’re not playing ball, what are today’s kids doing when not glued to a screen? If they’re young males, they mess about on skateboards and bikes.

You can see them on public ways, steps, rails, and anywhere there’s an obstacle that exceeds their abilities and a old person to buzz and terrorize. To get The Little Darlins’ out of harm’s and pedestrian’s way, city mothers created a skate park out of sight in a dark Common corner. Brilliant! Suddenly, The Common became uncommon, as people became afraid of going there.

The Common skate park quickly became a hot drug market attracting users, dealers, and riff-raff at what used to be the Flea League diamond. The city ignored the misdoings until the sheer volume of incidents and violence demanded that something be done.

Some additional taxpayer money later, the city destroyed the tennis courts on East and Appleton and installed a skate park. Brilliant II! The city does not staff the park, and the high school has no jurisdiction over what goes on there. Did you ever think the northeast corner of The Common would start looking good?

Emboldened by the city’s lack of resolve in cracking down on its young troublemakers, gradually, perps frequenting the East-Appleton park recaptured the old trade in drugs, weapons, violence, and other accoutrements of anarchy — you know, just kids having fun, Pittsfield style.

Trouble waiting to happen finally ran out of patience and hiding. Recently, five youngsters got into a confrontation at the skate park, leading to a near-fatal stabbing during school hours.The combatants were PHS students and kids from New York state. Drugs were involved. Your shocked. Shocked. The school over-reacted by ordering a “shelter in place.” That means that instead of not learning in their regular classes, the students practiced surfing their Smart phones for texts, games, and porn in a quarantine.

Later, instead of applying common sense, the Ship of Fools known as the Pittsfield School Committee engaged in cretinous hand-wringing, overlooking the most obvious solution: ending PHS’ “open campus” policy, rescinding off-site lunch privileges and going back to a closed campus. Too many kids are abusing the privilege. The daily lunch-bunch features hordes of kids, too many of whom assume that the “right” to leave the campus unescorted grants permission to litter, jaywalk, do drugs, and more.

The idiots on the PSC, led by Lady Boots, called the skate park a gathering place for scholars and adults. Translation: “We have lost control. The kids are in charge.”

Roll call, Madame Secretary.

Lady Boots Yon, 83 Vista Street, 499-1278, — The Woman from Densa. Present.

Josh Cutler, 16 Taconic St., 464-2541, —  Neutered and half-witted by fear. Past.

Tony Riello, 26 Shore Drive, 822-8931, — Badge-less and half-baked. Future.

Pam Farren, 101 Brighton Ave., 212-1337, — Venus Hums because she can’t remember the words. Pluperfect.

Cynthia Taylor, 200 Wendell Ave., 822-0901, — Cosmetic but cracked. Imperfect.

Dan Elias, 000 Anywhere St., 555-5555, — Nothing but net. (Full disclosure: We know his brother Tom). Future perfect.

The inability of the city to manage something as simple and straightforward as a skate park recedes when one looks at the larger picture. The more important aspect of the stabbing incident is one of control. Who controls students when they are in the classroom and otherwise on school time? Clearly, it’s no longer teachers or the administration. The former have had their hands tied by the latter, who fear to 1-in-100 quack parent who’s ready to sue at the first drop of a piece of chalk.

The answer here is easy, and it doesn’t involve giving the PSD more millions.

  1. Keep the park open.
  2. Keep the campus closed during school hours.
  3. Police the park, and crack a few skulls when the troublemakers decide to act up.
  4. Adopt uniforms for all city high school students.


“Tears of the flower man, fill the sea — give me a chance to fly away.”Uriah Heep, from “Simon the Bullet Freak” from the album Salisbury, (1972).



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Biff Q
Biff Q
7 years ago

While watching the video of the Peaslee Armed Robbery you could see the terrified clerk holding his sandwich through most of the process. Must be great sandwich’s!

7 years ago

Planet is number one!

Juan Pittsfeld
Juan Pittsfeld
Reply to  B
7 years ago