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DRY HYDRANTS IN THE CANDY STORE … or … A FAST GAME OF ‘MUNICIPAL “CLUE”‘

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION MAY 31-JUNE 2, 2019) — If a fire fighter hooks a hose to a hydrant and nothing comes out, does it make a noise? Answer: No. It means the hydrant is located in Pittsfield.

On Thursday last, fire consumed a home at 662-664 Tyler St. It was the third building gone up in blazes in two days. The other two were on South Onota and Wahconah streets. In those fires, 13 people lost their homes and several animals died. It didn’t make a noise, however, until THE PLANET and our commentators began asking questions. Then cacophony ensued, with mayor Linda Tyer, fire chief Robert Czerwinski, and DPW commissioner David Turocy calling an “emergency meeting” to “revamp the protocol” — gobbledygook for “We screwed up and are now back tracking and covering up, hoping it blows over.”

Who’s to blame? THE PLANET has been sifting through the ashes. In this game of Municipal Clue, we named the three leading suspects in the preceding paragraph. Other “persons of interest” were looked at and dismissed. We name some in the prose to follow.

———- ooo ———-

As with many Pittsfield screw ups, it’s hard to know where to begin. The honest chronicler finds himself rather like Ned from the third-grade reader in a candy store. So much dazzling variety.

That Pittsfield had no policy for privately shutting down fire hydrants confirms what many citizens believe: (a) City’s officials and the politics under which their bureaucracy labors care little about public safety, and (b) the chaos, confusion, and shambles in Pittsfield’s Department of Public Services threatens both quality of life and life itself. That puts Ned back in the candy store again, tempting THE PLANET to get into such side issues as poor lighting;  potholes; the downtown takeover by gangs, drug trade, and other assorted The Children of the Night; and the endless car-pedestrian rendezvous. Two more of the latter happened on Memorial Day, with peds being run over on the 500 block of North Street and at First and Lincoln streets.

———- ooo ———-

When developer David Carver, the anointed one, expressed fake surprise that the century old infrastructure of the St. Mary’s campus on Tyler Street was, well, century old, the city came to the rescue.

Of course.

They secured Carver millions in taxpayer money to upgrade water service to the apartments he is building at the former church complex — Pittsfield “capitalism” at work. The Kapanskis pay for the work, the “private” developer rakes in the money.

Carver or somebody hired Lenox Construction Company to do the water upgrades. Apparently, Lenox Construction turned off water to the hydrant in question, the one that wasn’t working last Thursday. Under Pittsfield’s shoddy system, that appears to have been legal. Here’s where the story gets sketchy. Between Plunkett and Tyler streets, apparently more than just the one hydrant wasn’t working and not because a contractor turned them off. That’s why fire fighters had to lug hose 500 feet to the nearest working hydrant. That’s the story that got buried.

City sources tell THE PLANET that the week before, work crews in that area found “several hydrants not online.” They say workers reported the information to Turocy, who dutifully passed the information to the mayor and fire chief, but nothing was done. If true, an entire section of the Tyler Street area was without fire protection for who knows how long. During that time, Tyler was a deathtrap, a firebug’s Neverland. As the Thursday fire proved, lives were literally on the line and lost (animals).

Forget Col. Mustard in the library with the candlestick. From what we can triangulate, it looks like the mayor and Czerwinski with the fire hydrant in their respective offices, with Turocy set up as the dupe. Ironically, Tyer charged Turocy with handling the investigation. Asked if there will be accountability for the life-threatening gaffe, Turocy said, “We’re not there yet.”

Right. And guess what, Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski: They, and you, will NEVER get there.

Turocy won’t assign blame and come out with what he really knows because he’s smart. He’s got a pension to consider. Instead, he announced his resignation, effective in October. Sources tell THE PLANET that Turocy and Czerwinski had a major row about the dry hydrants. They claim the fire chief “has been trying to wipe his fingerprints off the gaffe,” which, if true, would implicate Tyer under the Truman Doctrine of “The Buck Stops Here.” Nothing illegal was done, it would appear. No laws were broken. The only think broken were a bunch of hydrants.

Tyer called the blaze was “a powerful testimony to our community.” Is she secretly on the Committee to Elect Melissa Mazzeo Mayor? She’s proud because private citizens had to help fire fighters drag hose 158 football fields to find a hydrant that worked? Czerwinski  stuck to the sun-shiny status quo, claiming “the process has been working.” What “process,” chief?” It can’t be the city’s policy for fire protection. Maybe it’s the “process” that keeps your fat salary in place while you mark the days to fatter retirement on your pin-up calendar.

———- ooo ———-

The rock candy in all this has to be the turmoil currently gripping the DPW (formally the Department of Public Services, which includes Utilities and the Water Department).

  • Why has DPW superintendent Dan Ostrander been on paid leave?
  • If he’s coming back, why has Tyer named Vinny Barbarotta “acting superintendent.”
  • Why have several workers suddenly resigned, quit, or been dismissed?

THE PLANET is making inquiries, though the iron curtain is unusually unyielding. There’s a story, probably a huge one. You can be sure the crack investigative team at The Boring Broadsheet is on it.

Yeah, and tell Ned all the candy in the store is free.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

—————————————————————————————————————————

May something go always unharvested” — Robert Frost, from “Unharvested.”

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.

LOVE TO ALL.

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Herb Pease
Guest
Herb Pease

We’d be better off if Tyer hired Vinnie Barbarino and Horshack.

Benigno Numine
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Benigno Numine

Tyer should consider hiring Gus the fireman for fire chief and Norton from the Honeymooners for DPW head.

Sum Ting Wong
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Sum Ting Wong

Sad to say, but it looks like Tyer has a collection of Jackwagons working for her.

Jonathan Melle
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Jonathan Melle

The lovely Linda Tyer is the best Mayor of Pittsfield, EVER!

I hope Mayor Linda Tyer wins reelection in 2019!

No one is perfect, except Dan Valenti, of course.

– Jonathan Melle

X-Lachs Lounge
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X-Lachs Lounge

I hear the air escaping from your love doll.

ProxyDate
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ProxyDate

Ouch

Acute Angina
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Acute Angina

Isn’t the owner of the burned building married to a Tyer administration official. How will this play out?

Johnny99
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Johnny99

So a few Tyer Hydrants were shut off. The mayors press release was full of more smoke and mirrors than a fun house on Tyler Stree, on fire. How many hydrants are not working properly? How many are out of service? Who approves a hydrant being shut off for construction – the new policy is approval will be in writing. The old policy was verbal approval. Who approved the shut off of the hydrants that didn’t work? Who communicated what to whom? Tyers press release was all smoke and mirrors and never answered those questions. And Dan, no need to complain about lighting – City Hall will be lit up at night and Tyer is claiming night lights will be leading to new economic activity, not to mention collaboration blah blah blah.

Sojourner Truth
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Sojourner Truth

City Hall Lights and the colorful LGBT flag are definitely…. Dynamic, Vibrant, and Collaborative.
In appreciation of and to excite New Hampshire’s most irrelevant blogger, perhaps Tyer will declare a vinyl doll renaissance day and hang blow up dolls from City Hall windows.

CC The Maze Sun
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CC The Maze Sun

If Pittsfield were a Maze and your life depended on you finding the exit, do you think you could find your way out?

ProxyDate
Guest
ProxyDate

Some of this information is a little off. Turocy specifically met with the contractors and told them to shut the water off. The DPW had shut hydrants off in the past because several of them were leaking. There were two in particular that were leaking so badly that they were undercutting the street and sidewalk. Now the real smoke and mirrors in this isn’t just the contractor and Carver getting his free upgrade, it’s also about the millions that will be wasted on pedestrian improvements and why. Pittsfield is only about one thing, what you can see….Tyer is about facades, not actual real need or real work. Image over substance. The Beacon, a facade. There’s no real jobs there, millions wasted, but it looks good. Home improvement in rapidly declining neighborhoods, don’t mind the drugs and gang violence, that house over there in the… Read more »

Johnny Absurdo
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Johnny Absurdo

I have always said that our mayor seems to mirror Trump in many ways. Can we make that a proclamation please? Will she be his running mate in twenty-twenty?

Auto Phil
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Auto Phil

“Is she secretly on the Committeee to Elect Melissa Mazzeo Mayor?”

Ha ha haaaaaa. Now that was funny!

Tyer rhymes with fire. Dry rhymes with bye…

Johnny99
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Johnny99

She’ll coast to reelection. Mark my words.

Thomas More
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Thomas More

Agree..

Johnny Absurdo
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Johnny Absurdo

and hopefully somewhere on the Ivory coast

Johnny Absurdo
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Johnny Absurdo

So is this contractor on the same gravy train flow as the Beacon guy? And how do I sign up for that? Is Johnathon trying to get on the list? Is that how it works? What does one need to give in return?

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Streets not swept,lines not painted,road repair by Egremont exit is a gully should be higher and nobody checks road repairs.Get out of your mayor chair and go to the problem. Go sit all day in a Herberg classroom and watch your employees get verbally assaulted with your and Marchettis blessing.Seven million more this year and 8 million more next year and 10 million more in tear 3.Groundhog City.

The school committee
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The school committee

Schools take all the cash,other important departments go without.Mccandless will never reorganize or consolidate unless you lead him there.

doomiedodger
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doomiedodger

As you all know today marks the kickoff of cultural Pittsfield week hosted by the mayor. Lord knows how much this affair for the artsy fartsy crowd will cost Joe blue collar but don’t ask cuz finance question are locked up tight.

Which brings me to harp on which business s in Pittsfield are getting tax breaks that are made up by everyone else including the elderly on fixed incomes. The list of beneficiaries is apparently top secret but I was told the Suns at Waconah park are subsidized by the taxpayers. Anyone know if this is true and in what way?

Flogging Molly
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Flogging Molly

Dragged hose 158 football fields?? I dare suggest there isn’t 9 miles of hose in Pittsfield to drag that far.

Spider
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Spider

Please forgive my ignorance, but can somebody tell me what a “cultural competency coach” does at $50,000 (McCandless’ school budget).

Not to mention, of course, a “restorative justice consultant”.

Asking for another weary taxpayer.

Charlie
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Charlie

Restorative justice in the school system is something worth keeping an eye on. Theoretically, it’s a kumbaya, where involved parties sit down, hold hands and work it out. Unfortunately, it does not work in bullying cases, where the parties are not on equal planes, and can be quite damaging. Wonder how much the budget is to learn this lesson.

Two Cents
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Two Cents

Our 1st official Mayoral candidate, who is a former police officer with experience in the school department, has seen many 1st hand horror stories of how the restorative justice program terrorizes the victims to the point that silence becomes the only option, Hopefully, she will make this knowledge public during her campaign.

Mr. Fritz
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Mr. Fritz

My thoughts exactly, Spider. What a bloated school budget. Bunch of new positions added. No consolidation. Simonelli was the only councilor asking for budget cuts! Then McCandless called Simonelli “mean-spirited” for asking for a reduction in their expenses! Unbelievable. You Pittsfield taxpayers should be outraged by the schools’ unlimited spending spree!

Reignbow
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Reignbow

Is anyone paying attention? A section of the city was without working fire hydrants that was presumably known? Incredible.

Johnny Absurdo
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Johnny Absurdo

Most schoolkids don’t understand the concept of money laundering. Maybe it should be taught in grade school so they will recognize it by the time they are in high school.

The school committee
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The school committee

Has Trump been told by Puttin to destroy Obamas Economy

doomiedodger
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doomiedodger

By using Trump as his secret weapon Putin can seriously weaken or possibly destroy America from the inside out without losing one soldier of his own. Putin is a genius in this way.

UAlbany
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UAlbany

PITTSFIELD: Mayor Tyer has responded to the recent fires in Pittsfield, MA in press release issued Friday. “The fact that the hydrants were not working is squarely Dan Bianchi’s fault. He never liked fire hydrants or their yellow color. It’s a terrible reflection of our society and his administration. After 4 year how can my administration be blamed ? We just got here.”

doomiedodger
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doomiedodger

And has anyone heard how that fire even started? Did I miss something along the way? Kinda weird not to have heard anything theories for a week now.

ProxyDate
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ProxyDate

Second floor cigarette on the porch

Ron Kitterman
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Ron Kitterman

Pete Arlos use to say the PFD never lost a foundation yet.

ProxyDate
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ProxyDate

Just in case you are worried tomorrow mayor tyer will be diligently working she will lower the US flag and raise the rainbow flag over city hall for pride month festivities start at 11:30 will run until 12pm and are estimated to cost $4,800. Pittsfield Pride

Gigi
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Gigi

What account did the money come from to support this nonsense?

Johnny Absurdo
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Johnny Absurdo

Probably the bedraggled taxpayers fund for flamboyant and ostentatious political gratification account. And the caterers and party favors are probably provided by friends and donors. I betcha but don’t ask to see the receipts cuz it’s a personnel issue.

Non Essere Uno Stronzo
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Non Essere Uno Stronzo

And the local Gaystopo will be there.

Johnny99
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Johnny99

Got nothin against the gays and love rainbows but this crap don’t belong in government. Period.

Mr. Fritz
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Mr. Fritz

I agree.

Mr. Fritz
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Mr. Fritz

When is the festival for straight males? If tax dollars are spent celebrating the gay/trans/whatever lifestyle, I want equal time, money and publicity!

Jonathan Melle
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Jonathan Melle

May 31, 2019 In response to Rinaldo Del Gallo III’s letter regarding the flaws of MLK, George Washington, and Christopher Columbus in relation to the respective federal holidays named after each man, I ask that he answer the following question, below. The moral of the story is that people are more than their personal faults. It is a person’s goodness in his or her heart that matters far more than the flaws in their character. Candidate A and Candidate B, despite all of their flaws, saved the World from Candidate C. Please don’t judge a person by their proverbial book cover. Being a decent human being means having both flaws and a good heart! – Jonathan Melle Question: It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts. Here are the facts about the three candidates. Who would you vote… Read more »

Johnny Absurdo
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Johnny Absurdo

Did any of them give huge tax breaks to politically connected movie theater owners?

Auto Phil
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Auto Phil

I disagree that Tyer will Coast to re-election.

I certainly think it will be a hard fight between her and Mazzeo, (possibly quite literally. Mazzeo looks like she can knock a sucker out!)

I don’t think Mayor Tyer can stand before us and list all of the ways the City of Pittsfield has improved under her four years of leadership. She has, for all intents and purposes, already had two terms to get things done. I’ll be very interested in hearing about those accomplishments and the success of the last four years.

Pittsfield should be very worried about electing an administration that turns into another four years of decline.

Johnny99
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Johnny99

There’s not enough of a difference between them in my view. even Mazzeo supports the free home improvement program. They are both liberal progressive feminist whenners and while Mazzeo has made enemies along the way, Tyer has made friends in the right places with all her Kapanski Cash giveaways so she will be well funded. Plus she is a quintessential GOB. Add to that her strong organization and general congenial manner, and I don’t see Mazzeo coming close. And the other candidates are light weights in a prize fight between Tyer and Mazz. Not to say it won’t be a 12 round knock down drag out match, but I see Tyer reeelcted easily, unless a dark horse appears, “real quick” as they say.

Rellialto
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Rellialto

Feed the pig.

Spider
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Spider

As I have said before, the votes will be more ANTI the mayor than FOR any opponent.

Her so called list of accomplishments have for the most part been disasters.

Harrison
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Harrison

It will be as tight as Tyer vs Bianchi was.

The school committee
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The school committee

Watching McCandless makes you realize that you could give him 25 million extra dollars and hes buying another year .Removing abusive children from the schools will never happen.Mccandless will never tell you that keeping abusive cost Taxpayers 8 million wasted dollars and now he want 4 more million to buy 1 more year.Its alcoholics anonymous for budgets.He does it one year at a time.So 8 million plus 4 more million is now 12 million wasted.He also does not believe healthcare of new employees are his problem.He can’t do math .His goal is to retire on 150 k per year and he gets there 1 budget at a time.

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Next time you see a pothole,a deadly hydrant ,a burned out police officer,a rundown bus,a half vacant PHS ,unsafe roads with no lines painted,shootings,lousy lighting in the hood.No overtime to sweep streets at night just think….Schools are sucking the life out of your city.The tail wags the dog and you have no leadership except those drinking cocktails kissing each others ass….Theres 40 people in town laughing at the taxpayer as they make him or her homeless…voting for not Tyer voting for Next in line ? If Mazzeo is running to be Tyer lite whats the point….if I’m Tyer I’m caller her Tyer Lite

The Mause
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The Mause

Let’s hope the Mazes and Clermounts show up a The Beerfest are there also,you hever know when you get a few in ya.

doomiedodger
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doomiedodger

If Simonelli was the only one to propose school budget cuts perhaps it is he and not Mazzeo that should run for mayor. If Mazzeo could not see any waste in that bloated pig of a budget I sure as hell do not want her as mayor. She has just disqualified herself as having the guts to be a fiscally responsible mayor. Bye Lynn…buh bye now gonna have to vote for Gaetani again

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Mazzeo just said she will say yes to another 7 million next year and she really is Tyer lite.I had high hopes for her leading a financial turnaround for people who can’t afford to eat at her restaurant. I guess she’s running a popularity contest and not one of leadership.Gaetani is going to get votes as Trump got votes to get peoples attention.Mazzeo is going to need Gaetanis 1000 votes.She better start explaining.Is anyone out there good with budgets?

Ted
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Ted

Every election is a popularity contest.

Thomas More
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Thomas More

Agree, Ted

Shakes
Guest
Shakes

City of Pittsfield government has zero liability for houses burning down regardless of hydrant condition.

ProxyDate
Guest
ProxyDate

Not true. Liability for negligence could be both civil and criminal

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Itsbsaid then at Mary’s project shut them off,very fishy…a lawyer needs to explain this one

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

St Marys

JoePesci
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JoePesci
Ben Dover
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Ben Dover

They have a special injection for taxpayers.

Ted
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Ted

Failure is an orphan.

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Mccandless,Yon,Tyer,Marchetti are responsible for the record rate of pre foreclosures and foreclosure.You heard what McCandless said about extra state aid.That money is to help with school expenditures not add to the problem of not solving how we pay this problem…Mccandless already spent the money,who the heck is this guy?

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Extra state aid is to help alleviate the current budget problems not to create more next year.

Pat
Guest
Pat

Mazzeo promising another 7 million to the schools next year is just more proof that there is little difference between Tyer and Mazzeo when it comes to the school budget. The largest voting block in the city is the school personnel and their family and friends. The politicians know it and cater to their financial demands. The only way to break up the power of this voting block is to decrease drastically the number of school employees which they refuse to do since they have no motivation to do so. The school personnel and politicians in Pittsfield take care of each other. If more non-school people would vote that would help, but the only enthusiastic voters in the city are school personnel because they are getting lots of money for voting in politicians who will cater to their financial needs. The majority also live… Read more »

Teecha Teecha
Guest
Teecha Teecha

Never under estimate the power or stupid people in large groups. Even if they show up for the “fund our schools” protest in a Lexus like the biggest hack in our school system. B.S. (initials are fitting)

Aerin
Guest
Aerin

We all wondered how Andrea Harrington was going to be able to prosecute criminal cases without any experience. Thanks to today’s Eagle,now we know. She’s decided not to prosecute whole categories of crimes, particularly drug crimes. Instead she’s hoping a grant for $100,000 per year over 10 years will pay for the treatment programs we need.

Teecha Teecha
Guest
Teecha Teecha

I hope they treat her lack of common sense

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Mazzeo needs to show hard up elderly taxpayers why they need for their benefit vote for her.What is her plan.That 7 million should have been a reduction in budgets.Right now shes Tyer Lite.How do you stop being Tyer Lite?something fishy if there is no difference in candidates.

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

What makes Mazzeo different than Tyer?

Johnny99
Guest
Johnny99

Tyer is more congenial, better liked, has a better organization, is a GOB, is beholden to special interests, and will therefore be better funded. That’s about it – both feminist whenners, both want to use your tax dollars for home improvements, both are tax and spenders. In other words, they are like the lions in front of city hall that may or may not be there anymore, that Dan named Tax and Spend. And this is why I say Tyer will easily win re-election.

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

She will win unless Mazzeo offers a consolidation of schools plan .Rivers,White Moon,Caccamo have great wealth.Freeze taxes for life at 66.Foreclosing is a record rate.The financial collaspe engineered by Trump and Puttin is at hand.

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Tyer is wealthy,Mazzeo is wealthy,Marchetti,McCandless are wealthy. Kristian Behnke is wealthy,Joe Curtis is a buyer of software he thinks is cool

Johnny Absurdo
Guest
Johnny Absurdo

Maybe Mazzeo is a blocker. A puppet candidate “running” to discourage others from running. Maybe she is actually trying to help Tyer. A behind the scenes deal to further stuff the voters?

Paris
Guest
Paris

Gaetani will play the roll of king maker. He’s the best qualified of all the candidates.

Peter North
Guest
Peter North

Where does the Water Dept blame fall? If i’m correct the water dept just finished its annual hydrant flushing, so if a hydrant was not working when they did their flushing then why wasn’t it promptly repaired? I know for a fact that they have a stack of new hydrants stored at 901 holmes rd the home base for the Water dept. Why isn’t the water superintendent being questioned? typical City Of Pittsfield pass the buck. No one in a management position ever seems to be held accountable. As for the Highway superintendent why was he contracting out the street sweeping when the City has 2 or 3 brand new street sweepers at a cost of approx. $265k each? Sounds like he was getting kick backs from the bid winners he apparently never took his annual on line ethics tests that all employees are… Read more »

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