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SALT OF THE EARTH POURS DOWN ON CAPITOL HILL, PITTSFIELD’S DPW BUDGET, ROADS, & TAXPAYERS

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

[ED. NOTE: To inaugurate our updated site, THE PLANET will be publishing daily through the rest of the week. Today is one of the bonus columns. Make sure you tune into F this week then M-T (Election Day). It’s our way of again thanking our readers for building this site into the region’s most “traffic-y.” 

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY OCT. 31, 2019) — Salt. It’s as old as humanity and as common as crime.

Salt. Jesus makes clever references to the mineral in his parables. Inquisitional nasties used it as a Vaporub to sharpen tortuous wounds. Cities including Pittsfield use it to keep roads safe in the winter.

Today THE PLANET writes about these two uses of salt. First, the Inquisitional kind employed by Democrats looking to impeach the President because of a phone call to the Ukraine, even though they know they can never convict. The effort, though, isn’t about conviction. It’s about the November 2020 election.

President Trump asked “Where’s the whistleblower,” referring to the State Department source — a known Trump hater — who made the claims. Great question, Mr. President. Where IS the dude? It’s been nearly six weeks since this informer blew on Trump’s call to the Ukrainian president. Congressional committees have called a phalanx of witnesses since, everyone from Gen. Tom Thumb to Marshall Mathers as the Beaver. The one person We The People have not seen, heard, or even known by moniker is the person who started this latest “gotcha!”

From  ABC News:

In a letter on Wednesday [10/23/19] to [House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam] Schiff, Reps. Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes and Michael McCaul said they were surprised by [the] announcement that they will not receive testimony from the “anonymous intelligence community employee whose complaint initiated the so-called impeachment inquiry.”

“You had earlier committed that the employee would provide ‘unfiltered’ testimony ‘very soon,’ only to reverse course following revelations that the employee had a bias against President Donald Trump and that you had received a secret, early account of the allegations,” the letter from the ranking members of the oversight, intelligence and foreign affairs committees said. “As the so-called impeachment inquiry gathers information that contradicts the employee’s allegations, we ask that you arrange for the Committees to receive public testimony from the employee and all individuals he or she relied upon in formulating the complaint.”

Sen. Richard Burr … claimed the whistleblower’s attorneys are not cooperating with his own panel’s inquiry.

“This is a very serious charge the whistleblower has made,” Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday. “I cannot envision a scenario where we would not want not want to have legal counsel staff talk with the whistleblower in person.” Burr, who said the Senate committee had specifically asked the individual for an interview, said the lawyers “haven’t even offered to make them available. They haven’t been specific as to their reason,” Burr said, later adding he didn’t know “how to put into context the whistleblower’s claim. I’ve read the transcript. Is that a high crimes and misdemeanors, the conversation that went on? I don’t see it.” he said.

The refusal of Democrats to produce a tattler known to have a bias against Trump pours salt into the open wound of government — cynical, divisional, dysfunctional government.

The second salt is road salt. In Pittsfield, last year’s MILD winter mysteriously produced a salt-budget deficit of millions. Why so much salt for so little winter? Mr. Clutch, a DPW employee source, says some “play-ball” plow jockeys were told to “keep the chutes open,” instructed to dump their loads off-road. This agrees with a then-puzzling complaint we received earlier this year (in winter) about a load of salt dumped off outer East Street.

Clutch (no relation to Clutch Cargo) says salt was dumped on roads needlessly, in rain and after-plowing clean-ups, in a plan designed to produced what he called “the big payoff” in the form of Mayor Linda Tyer’s FY21 budget: An extra $2.5 million for salt. At least, the line item ostensibly will be for salt. We think here of the classic tool of investigative reporters and muckrakers going back to Bierce and Mencken: Follow the money. The rumor mill, as ever, is rife with tales of bribes, kickbacks, cash-filled envelopes, mysterious exchanges, and back rooms. While this case admittedly provides a speculative basis for such bantering, THE PLANET has seen no hard evidence for it.  Of course, as soon as we try to probe more deeply and word gets out, everybody gets deaf and dumb.

There are certain things official Pittsfield can’t seem to do these past four years. Parking, anyone? The other is reasonably handling city streets in winter. This year, when the first 1/100th inch of snow falls and you see the plows sparking the asphalt laying down a thick layer of Morton’s, remember the motto: “When it rains, it pours.”

—————————————————————————————————————–

“One touch of nature and the world is kin”William Shakespeare.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

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Zimmerman Ehrman
Guest
Zimmerman Ehrman

One other item, how many days was it cold enough for the salt to melt the ice? Something doesn’t add up.

Dutchess Brantmyre
Guest
Dutchess Brantmyre

Prove salt wasn’t laid down on snow or bare roads during rain, you can’t. If there was hanky panky good luck proving it. Methinks there was.

Jonathan Melle
Guest
Jonathan Melle

Trump is innocent until proven guilty. Let all of the evidence come out during the impeachment process.
Per Pittsfield politics, the lovely Linda Tyer is not that bad! She inherited a mess.

Shakes
Guest
Shakes

Tyer inherited the mess from MMaz’s Clowncil presidency.

Edward R. Murrow
Guest
Edward R. Murrow

How much power/influence does the council president have? Someone in here tried to say that MelMazz was council president during the great snow plow debacle under Mayor Bianchi.

Seems like almost all of the power in this town in vested in the mayor.

Vote MelMazz for a change in office.

gorats
Guest
gorats

History Tonight. Nats Winn all four road games..

Johnny99.
Guest
Johnny99.

“There are certain things official Pittsfield can’t seem to do these past 4 years? “

You mean like safe streets, proper fiscal management, and safe schools? Parking is just the cherry on the salt pile, speaking of which, is it the honor system with these subcontractors or is someone watching the rock candy store?

SallySays
Guest
SallySays

If the republicans did to Obama, half of what the dems have done to Trump, the mainstream media would have cried racism and cried foul . Trumps the duly elected POTUS and the ballot box is the remedy for change. We are supposed to be a democracy for cryin out loud.

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Trump used 400 million as his blackmail for Ukraine to dig something up on the Biden family.The Ukraine needed it to defend against Russia…..well what do you know.It is impeachable.

Tax&Spend
Guest
Tax&Spend

Stop being so negative Dan and stop picking on Linda. Just because she blamed Bianchi 4 years ago doesn’t mean she’s responsible now, and besides we’re vibrant and dynamic and a city on the move, haven’t you heard?

Edward R. Murrow
Guest
Edward R. Murrow

Taking bets:

1. Even money that the House brings any article of impeachment to the floor for a vote, maybe even never get into and out of the House Judiciary Committee.

2. Even money that Biden drops out before Iowa.

Johnny Absurd
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Johnny Absurd

Vegas is giving odds that Putins girlfriend will be picking out new furniture for the Whitehouse by this time next year.

Edward R. Murrow
Guest
Edward R. Murrow

Yes, Absurd, that is absurd.

But easy to forget that the Left’s game all along has been to try to shame Trump into resigning, which ain’t going to happen.

Only possible way to get the most powerful man in the world to give up his office voluntarily is if he doesn’t have the votes in the US Senate and is facing certain conviction and removal, as I’ve repeated reminded you about Nixon’s case.

I mean, the arrogance of these people–“We’re so important and smart that we can get the guy to resign.” Not so smart, after all.

Johnny Absurd
Guest
Johnny Absurd

perhaps, but that may not change the strong possibility that Putin may decide to change the Whitehouse décor to his own liking. The Americans may not be able to remove Trump but when Putin packs Trumps shit up and tosses it outside the Whitehouse fence Trump will know he better get to steppin

The school committee
Guest
The school committee

Trumps allowed to defend himself.This is what he wanted.He will never lose the cult believers

Shakes
Guest
Shakes

The new white house furniture is all vinyl. Easier to klean up comrades’ golden showers

Edward R. Murrow
Guest
Edward R. Murrow

Two informed and intelligent posts . . .

Brian C. Marquis
Guest
Brian C. Marquis

We can only reason from what is; we can reason on actualities, but not on possibilities – Thomas Paine.

kinda puts to-day’s Eagle endorsement of Pittsfield’s mayor into perspective!

Sojourner Truth
Guest
Sojourner Truth

The Eagle has never, in recent memory endorsed Mrs. Mazzeo however she wins without it. The most prolific endorsement for MMazz , ironically is the ubiquitous endorsements of her opponent by Mr.s Marquis and Melle.
BTW, speaking of “Crybabies”, have you heard the one about the UMass student from Lanesborough who sued his professor in federal court because he earned a C and he wanted an A ? Although this student is a self proclaimed legal professional; he lost. The lawyers lounges in Springfield still ring with laughter about this case.

Brian C. Marquis
Guest
Brian C. Marquis

Again, I’m forced to address this decades-old issue. For yours and everyone else’s info: I won that case; University lawyers ceded with a middle ground comprise; instead of an A- (which I earned outta the box), we comprised on a B. And I am not a “self-proclaimed legal professional”. I do have a bachelor’s in Legal Studies and in Paralegal Studies – if that helps. along with a couple of advanced degrees and an associate’s from BCC. But thank you for pointing out my lawsuit to Dan’s audience. In case (pardon the pun) you’re interested, I can hold my own when my interest conflict with others – only when required too! Oh, by the way, I happened to catch a glimpse of Tom Bowler in Pittsfield District Court yesterday. Interesting, because he went into an emotionless glare when our eyes met; this, of course,… Read more »

Ichabod Crane
Guest
Ichabod Crane

I almost forgot to thank Dan for yesterday’s needed perspective on what pub school teachers face, a perspective sorely needed in here, as I have tried to offer myself.

James
Guest
James

A serial sex offender walked free in Great Barrington yesterday. What is the record of the district attorney’s office under Harrington?

Auto Phil
Guest
Auto Phil

This is disgraceful.

Auto Phil
Guest
Auto Phil

During the At-Large debates, Earl Persip said that the council deliberately underfunds that line item (which is allowed by the state). Did I hear that correctly and if so, why would this be the practice?

Auto Phil
Guest
Auto Phil

An interesting observation – I’ve been taking a look at Facebook reactions and comments. A couple of “notable” Pittsfield insiders shared the BE article endorsing Tyer for mayor. The interesting part is the LACK of likes on their post. Now this could be due to Facebook’s audience algorithms, or timing, or whatever. But these are people that usually get close to or over hundreds of likes on other posts they share…

Could be nothing…could be telling…

A favorite quote posted here…”if lawn signs could vote…”

Hendrix
Guest
Hendrix

This is going to be real interesting. I feel like a ton of the support Mazzeo is going to get doesn’t sit on Facebook all day. I also found it interesting the turnouts between both campaigns during their respective fundraisers. Mazzeo packed Berkshire Hills… seriously line out the door… and Tyer had a small handful of tables at the legion, mainly filled with the usually political insiders….

Johnny Absurd
Guest
Johnny Absurd

As soon as one of them reads your comment there will be a robo call going out and Tyers soldiers will be giving thumbs ups galore.

Hendrix
Guest
Hendrix

For all the taxpayers out there…. Here is how your hard earned tax dollars are being used. A city employee with a history of social media use promoting a candidate during the work day… at it again…. “Roberta Mcculloch-dews -Khan Marquis – you are not a resident of this community nor do you work in – Pittsfield. Yes, it is true I live in Hinsdale. That just happened to be the place where we found our home. However, my entire social and professional life is in Pittsfield. I have been a member of Price Memorial AME ZION church on Linden Street for the last nine years. Two of my children attend Pittsfield Public Schools. I am a part of a mentoring program, the Rites of Passage and Empowerment Program, which serves a great deal of Pittsfield young women. So please inform your self of… Read more »

Pittsfield Talks
Guest
Pittsfield Talks

Just like Teamsters Local 404 endorsing her. Many of the employees had no vote nor did they know about the endorsement taking place… not to mention half these guys are from Springfield. Wonder where that $2 million over budget ended up… sounds like its in their pockets

Mr. G
Guest
Mr. G

I cannot understand for the life of me why otherwise seemingy-perfectly reasonable people continue to shill for this president, or how they justify it. Regardless of the whistleblower’s identity, which needs to be protected, or their “personal bias” against Trump which is a complete, concocted lie, do you support what Trump did? The “claims”, and cause for deep alarm, have been corroborated by several others already, including Taylor and Vindman who are beyond reproach, and also historically profoundly Republican. EVERYONE was distressed, at some level, by what transpired on that call, and in the hasty cover-up that ensued. Is what he did impeachable? Well that’s what the process is for. Impeach the SOB and let’s get on with it. I find his conduct in this, and many other regards, indefensible. But his impeachment is NOT a coup attempt. It is the constitution working as… Read more »

Mr. Fritz
Guest
Mr. Fritz

#1 – no one is beyond reproach
#2 – did you read the transcript of the call? What exactly did Trump do to deserve impeachment??
#3 – why should a “whistleblower’s” identity be kept secret? Turns out he is a CIA Dem plant placed in the White House by Brennan
#4 – not a coup? Where have you been, living under a rock? The Dems have been trying to overturn the election for three years! The problem is, they have no reason to impeach!
#5 – President Trump has committed NO CRIME!
#6 – Biden has violated the Hobbs Act, a felony, for his actions in Ukraine! He’s the one who should be investigated!

G, turn off CNN!

Mr. G
Guest
Mr. G

I read a heavily redacted partial transcript. What he did was to use money approved by Congress to blackmail Ukraine officials into digging up dirt o a domestic political opponent. Do you know the identity of the whistleblower? Who told you he was a Democrat plant? Everyone ON the call was a Republican and many of them were horrified enough by what transpired on the call, enough so to do something career-risking. An impeachment is definitively NOT a coup. It is a constitutionally provided method for remedying serious criminal breaches by the chief executive. And if you dont like blackmail or seeking foreign intervention in a domestic election as grounds for impeachment, how about war crimes…like looting (“we’re keeping the oil, $45 million a month”!) Or violation of emoluments? The man is a crook, a penny ante gangster who has tarnished the US reputation… Read more »

Mr. Fritz
Guest
Mr. Fritz

You read “ a heavily redacted partial transcript” from which you have decided Trump should be impeached??
You’re worse than most mainstream journalists. Come back to the discussion when you’ve read the transcript word for word!

Mr. G
Guest
Mr. G

You do realize the impeachment process is the trial, right? He’ll now have his due process, and it will be interesting to see how many Senate Republicans grow a spine and follow their conscience rather than the money Trump throws at them…which by the way is another impeachable offense in my book; in any ethical person’s book.

On the local side, I do not see how Tyer can possibly hang on, but I dont believe Mazzeo will bring any significant change.

gigi
Guest
Mr. G
Guest
Mr. G

And really gigi? A Breitbart take on Vindman’s testimony accusing him of wrongdoing and chicanery in the first 2 sentences?!? Please. As I said, the Republicans are eating their young, denigrating war heroes, accusing highly respected REPUBLICAN experts of wrongdoing and calling anyone who is against Trump human scum instead of being honest with themselves.

Shakes
Guest
Shakes

Let’s hear the tape.

Mr. Fritz
Guest
Mr. Fritz

Great column today Dan. Looking forward to the “ one-a-day” program – you are spoiling us!
In regards to the Dem witchhunt, President Trump has committed no crimes. Quid Pro Quo Joe Biden, on the other hand, is on video openly violating the Hobbs Act which could result in a 20 year sentence in the slammer. When will the inquiry begin into the Bidens?

In regards to the mayoral election – where is the inquiry into the millions “lost” by the DPW? We need an audit! Mayor Tyer should be held accountable for this loss during her time in office.

Johnny Absurd
Guest
Johnny Absurd

She would rather you do not bring this up sir, especially at election time. Also, the Stanley giveaway for his failing Beacon theater or her failing school system and other tax breaks given to friendly business s. (the ones she and they absolutely want kept secret) But if you only knew!

Truthsayer
Guest
Truthsayer

Dan,

You called it on The Eagle’s endorsement weeks ago. Spot on. If the Berkshire Birdcage Liner’s endorsement of Tyer goes the way of their other endorsements in competitive races, Tyer is toast. The only time this rag gets it right is when the candidate is unopposed or the incumbent’s opponent is total crackpot.

Dutchess Brantmyre
Guest
Dutchess Brantmyre

Deacon….What was more probable the Nats winning the four on the road? Or neither team winning at home?

Mr. G
Guest
Mr. G

Hey Dan, was I redacted? Or did my quote from the National Review trigger your spam filter?

Jonathan Melle
Guest
Jonathan Melle

The Berkshire Eagle endorsed the lovely Linda Tyer because she is the best Mayor of Pittsfield, EVER! I am endorsing the lovely Linda Tyer, too!

Auto Phil
Guest
Auto Phil

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that cancelling Halloween was Mayor Tyer’s proverbial nail in the coffin. The natives are restless in the land of social media and they are out for blood. How ironic.

(Yes, I realize most of them probably won’t vote, but it still is an interesting twist.)

In other news, has anyone heard of a big layoff at LTI Smartglass? I’m still trying to ascertain what qualifies as “big” but I hear they let go at least ten people yesterday with more to come.

Again, still trying to get the full story. I imagine it’s possible that this is seasonal, but one person I spoke to said this hasn’t happened in years.

Johnny2Shoes
Guest
Johnny2Shoes

Just curious, did the Eagle endorse LT when she ran against DB for mayor?

Tax&Spend
Guest
Tax&Spend

Does a bear poop in the woods?

Auto Phil
Guest
Auto Phil

Yes. Quite a few noteworthy lines from 4 years ago…. Our Opinion: Linda Tyer for mayor of Pittsfield Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2015 4:26 pm The Berkshire Eagle If Pittsfield is to successfully confront its challenges over the next four years while moving forward as a community, a team effort based upon openness and mutual respect will be required. For that to happen, there must be new leadership in City Hall. Mayor Daniel Bianchi is certainly not unskilled. His financial acumen is proven, his budgets are on time and well-defended, and the tax increases he has proposed have been justified. He would be a good city manager. As a leader, however, he has fallen short, and those failings are rooted in his defensiveness and intolerance of disagreement. Ward Councilor Bianchi regularly challenged mayors but councilors who challenge him are written off as dissidents, creating… Read more »

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