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EVER-INCREASING SINGLE-FAMILY PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS ‘UNSUSTAINABLE,’ WITH A BAD RIPPLE-EFFECT TO BOOT

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION JAN. 10-2, 2020) — Today, THE PLANET present the second part of Mark Tully’s two-part guest piece dissecting the assessment process in Pittsfield. Part 1 received heavy traffic, a testimony not only of the assiduousness of Tully’s work and research but also of the fevered interest in a topic that hits every property owner in the purse and wallet.

FY2020 Single-Family Home Assessments and How They Affect Us

BY MARK TULLY

Special to THE PLANET

There is a simple calculation I make to determine a community’s ability to pay their real estate tax bills.  I divide the “per capita Income” by the “average single-family tax bill.”  I am pleased to see new DLS reports using the same calculation.  For FY2020, Pittsfield’s ratio is 14.55%.  That means that if I am an average wage earner and the sole owner of my home with an average value, I would pay 14.55% of my income in real estate taxes.  While 14.55% is not out of the range for Massachusetts, 10 years ago, in FY2010, the ratio was 11.93%.  This means that Pittsfield has been increasing residential taxes at a rate higher than income increases.   It is unsustainable to expect Pittsfield single family home owners to continue to hand over a higher portion of their income each year, yet that is what’s happening.

What is the solution for us?  Move to Hancock, Richmond, Windsor or Cheshire, where the ratio is less than 10% but stay away from Williamstown and Lanesborough with the 2 highest ratios at 19% and 18% respectively.

To put this increase into a monetary context, the Pittsfield per capita income grew $4,000 from FY 2010 to FY2020 — $22,321 to $26,323.  During the same time period, the average single family tax bill increased by $1,166, from $2,663 to $3,829.  In 10 years, the tax increase outpaced the income increase 44% to 18%.

The FY2020 assessments were based on 2018 real estate sales.  The “at-arm’s length” transactions showed that 2/3 of the sales were for homes below $200,000.  It is reasonable to assume that this is the range most Pittsfield home owners can afford and banks are willing to lend.  Because of the demand for this price range, the prices were higher overall. This in turn increased the assessments by almost 5%.  Many single-family homeowners in this category will see tax increases they were not expecting and for which they had not budgeted.

The point I hear most often is “You should not complain that your property is increasing in value.”  This is a moot point, since it only benefits certain situations, such as:

  1. I plan to flip my property, move away to a lower cost area, and pocket the profit.
  2. I need to borrow against the fictitious equity in my home to pay bills and taxes.
  3. I’m dead and my out of town heirs are selling my house at a nice price.

To further dispute that point, if I want to cash in on my increased value, upgrade my home, and remain in the community, where would I move?  Wouldn’t all the other properties have increased as well?  If my $150k home is now worth $200k and I want to upgrade, would another $200k home be an upgrade or would it be the same as my home?

Prediction for the future in Pittsfield

I would like to predict that the fiscally responsible leaders will reign in the municipal budget to match the resident’s ability to pay.  I would also like to predict that Pittsfield will see an influx of new residents purchasing houses and fulfilling the open positions available in Pittsfield.  These, however, would be predictions based on fantasy.

Unfortunately, based on past performance, my predictions aren’t optimistic:

  1. Pittsfield single-family home owners will continue to bear an increasing share of the Tax Levy.  This in turn will cause people to move out to lower-cost communities.
  2. Businesses outside the area looking to expand will continue to ignore the community with the 2nd highest commercial tax rate in the state, unless significant tax incentives are offered.
  3. Other commercial investment will continue to decline because skilled employees will continue to leave the region.
  4. The school department will continue to increase their budget to accommodate more special needs students while more students choice-out to other school districts, further costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
  5. 58% of the voters in Pittsfield will continue to abstain from our local elections, allowing the status quo to continue.

In order to turn around this downward spiral, we need to change our form of government to a City Manager system.  It is apparent that the mayoral system has brought us to the point where we are now.  A professional city manager, hired and reporting to the city council, hopefully could take politics out of leading the city.  In order for this to be considered, it is imperative for the 58% abstaining voters to become engaged.

———- ooo ———-

Tully’s final point is well taken. If somehow, a significant portion of that 58% can be persuaded to “become engaged,” the legal scam could be ended and quickly.

THE PLANET thanks Mark Tully for his column. We welcome your thoughts on the topic or whatever else interests you.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

——————————————————————————————-

“Life is only matter crumbling, souls of moral conscience tumbling down”Al Cooper.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

The views and opinions expressed in the comment section or in the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not necessarily endorsed by the operators of this website. PLANET VALENTI assumes no responsibility for such views and opinions, and it reserves the right to remove or edit any comment, including but not limited to those that violate the website’s Rules of Conduct and its editorial policies. PLANET VALENTI shall not be held responsible for the consequences that may result from any posted comment or outside opinion or commentary as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and this website’s terms of service. All users of this website — including readers, commentators, contributors, or anyone else making use of its information, hereby agree to these conditions by virtue of this notice. When PLANET VALENTI ends with the words “The Usual Disclaimer,” that phrase shall be understood to refer to the full text of this disclaimer.

 

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SallySays
SallySays
7 months ago

Move to Lenox like renaissance Ruberto

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  SallySays
7 months ago

O.K., SallySays. Sarcasm: It is my plan to move from Amherst, NH back to Pittsfield (Mass.) in 2023, and run for Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. I will say all the right things. “I will cut taxes, retain and create living wage jobs, I will reduce crime. I will invest in public education. I will grow the city’s decades-long declining population by creating incentives for small businesses.” BUT THEN, I will really be yet another Good Old Boy and only serve the vested and special interests. As Mayor of Pittsfield in 2024, I will really raise taxes by large margins, I will see the few remaining living wage private sector job disappear until there are no more living wage jobs left in Pittsfield. I will bury my head in the sand while the criminals and underclass run the inner-city streets. I will throw 70% – 80% of the city’s budget at the under-performing public schools to make the union bosses happy. After 8 years of being Mayor of Pittsfield, I will retire in mid-50’s. Then, I will buy a half-million dollar condo in Lenox.

SallySays
SallySays
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
7 months ago

Good for you Jonathan.

Bumper Sticker Bob
Bumper Sticker Bob
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
7 months ago

Melle for Mayor

Jumpin Joe Curtis
Jumpin Joe Curtis
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

2023 is going to be the Battle of the Pee Pee’s

White v. Marchetti. I’m glad Jonathan would like to stick his in the race too

裴吉瑞
裴吉瑞
7 months ago

Pittsfield’s best days are ahead of her.

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
Reply to  裴吉瑞
6 months ago

Just like in The Road!

裴吉瑞
裴吉瑞
Reply to  Kermit Frog
6 months ago

More like All the Pretty Horses

Gobsig
Gobsig
Reply to  裴吉瑞
6 months ago

thanks peggy

Johnny Dimentia
Johnny Dimentia
Reply to  裴吉瑞
6 months ago

Just like Hong Kongs

裴吉瑞
裴吉瑞
Reply to  Johnny Dimentia
6 months ago

Hong Kong’s ARE.

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
Reply to  裴吉瑞
6 months ago

Was it horse thieves who shot the guy at the Berkshire Mall? I’m guessing it was another drug deal gone wrong? Probably best that doesn’t happen in front of the bars North St anymore.

CC The Maze Sun
CC The Maze Sun
7 months ago

“I was never told about the sorrow

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again”
– The Bee Gees

“Where do broken hearts go?
Can they find their way home?
Back to the open arms
Of a love that’s waiting there”
– Whitney Houston [we have a problem]

“And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in YOU
That a hero lies in YOU
That a hero lies in YOU”
– Mariah Carey

CC The Maze Sun
CC The Maze Sun
7 months ago

“I don’t really want to stop the show
But I thought that you might like to know
That the singer’s going to sing a song
And he wants you all to sing along
So let me introduce to you
The Act you’ve known for all these years
sgt peppers LONELY HEARTS Club band

Enjoy the show”

“We hope you have enjoyed the show
Its getting very near the end”
– Re-Prize

CC The Maze Sun
CC The Maze Sun
Reply to  CC The Maze Sun
6 months ago

“She Loves You, Yeah (1) Yeah (2) Yeah (3)
She Loves You, Yeah (1) Yeah (2) Yeah (3)”

“Bright are the Stars that shine
Dark is the sky
I know this love of mine
Will never die
And I Love her”

One Kiss from the one who truly Loves her and she will awaken from her deep sleep
And the spell will be broken
– Sleeping Beauty

“One Kiss will break the seal”
– The Bee Gees (One)

Game Over!

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
7 months ago

The rich get richer, and Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski get poorer.

Shakes
Shakes
7 months ago

So what is the answer? What will it take to revive Pittsfield?

裴吉瑞
裴吉瑞
Reply to  Shakes
6 months ago

It will take a positive outlook, substantial effort, and a great deal of patience.

Johnny Dimentia
Johnny Dimentia
7 months ago

There are several great Yogi Berra quotes that apply to Pittsfield taxpayers.. One is “if you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

Thats because”nobody goes there anymore, its too crowded.”

Johnny Absurdo
Johnny Absurdo
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

You can observe a lot just by watching

Gobsig
Gobsig
Reply to  Johnny Dimentia
6 months ago

Yogi made many of those comments on the Common in 1791.

Spagirl
Spagirl
7 months ago

Pittsfield’s Status Quo is obnoxious and blatantly ignores City taxpayers interests. It is time to hire a City Manager.

Truthsayer
Truthsayer
Reply to  Spagirl
6 months ago

Agreed! 100%!!!!!

Pat
Pat
6 months ago

The only issue that motivates locals to rush to the polls in droves is the presidential election which proves that they are capable of voting, but they just choose NOT to vote in local elections. The city is literally falling apart around them, but they only care about the presidential election. Pittsfield voters need to be seriously educated about the importance of local elections in order to motivate them to vote.

Pat
Pat
6 months ago

Local media doesn’t encourage the 58% to vote in our local elections. They intentionally want to maintain the status quo. Just look at our mayoral race a few months ago. It was late August and nobody in the media was talking about the important Pittsfield mayoral race in just a few months. Crickets. August turned to September and there were some lukewarm article in the Berkshire Eagle about the candidates running. The local radio had each candidate state their positions sometime in October.
Finally the 2 candidates met face to face in October, but with no hard hitting questions. No excitement was generated about the race and no spelling out of any differences between the candidates. Contrast that to local coverage of President Trump. Ever since he appeared on the scene there have been endless put downs in local media. Even state candidates like Liz Warren have endless puff pieces in the local media. Liz and the Green New Deal will be our saviors. Liz and her Trillion dollar health care plan will bring heaven on earth. No mention of the down sides though of the Green New Deal or the trillions that Liz wants to spend. Our local media is as sneaky as the national media in trying to keep the masses of people under control.

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

You hit the nail on the head on the voting Pat. They want only the cronies at the polls.

Hendrix
Hendrix
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Why would they cover something as important as the mayors race when they are helping solve a current crisis in Pittsfield? You haven’t seen the rampant racism in our local businesses? Just read the headline! “Calls for empathy abound in community conversation about discrimination in Berkshire businesses”

One could expect there would be a number of people from the minority demographic in attendance to raise concerns, but of course it was just a bunch of old white women and a couple members from city council for the photo op. You really can’t make this stuff up.
comment image

Trump Fo Evah
Trump Fo Evah
Reply to  Hendrix
6 months ago

The Arts and their Community is taking over. The Mayor will have an armed escort for any backlash concerning taxing and gobsig issues. The Museum will become the playground for the Out of Towners.

Gobsig
Gobsig
Reply to  Hendrix
6 months ago

Helen Moon and the local moonbats!

Teecha Teecha
Teecha Teecha
Reply to  Gobsig
6 months ago

At least she smiled for the camera. Take note Dina

Cheshire Cat
Cheshire Cat
Reply to  Teecha Teecha
6 months ago

That’s a smile?

Police Report
Police Report
Reply to  Hendrix
6 months ago

The more things change the more they stay the same. Minorities in the back, on a discussion about racism. Then again in the back you have better access to the door and can leave early.
The Eagle is so tone deaf, they don’t even understand the implications of their “white splaining” picture.

Teecha Teecha
Teecha Teecha
Reply to  Police Report
6 months ago

They are experts on saving minorities. Noah the editor deleted an entire rant on FB and proclaimed himself defender of the dark

Teecha Teecha
Teecha Teecha
Reply to  Hendrix
6 months ago

They have Bea Arthur pissed off front and right and Captain Fuzz Fro back left

Progress has been made.

Gobsig
Gobsig
Reply to  Teecha Teecha
6 months ago

good one

UAlbany
UAlbany
6 months ago

we will never be able to move to a city manager scenario in Pittsfield until we have a mayor that the Berkshire Eagle does not approve of. Since the Berkshire Eagle picks the mayor then this column should be forwarded to Fred Ruttberg for his consideration.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  UAlbany
6 months ago

The Berkshire Eagle is a rag. Many decades ago, it was a model newspaper of good journalism, but not anymore. Also, Pittsfield politics is ran by a one political party system. The Democrats rule, and everyone else can pound sand as Pittsfield politics always raises taxes, while the tax base shrinks due to the city’s distressed local economy.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  UAlbany
6 months ago

Fred was a bad judge and is a worse newspaper owner.

The Left Winged Parrot is a disgrace

Police Report
Police Report
6 months ago

The solution to a renascence in Pittsfield starts with a real reduction in crime. Not the progressive DA Andrea Harrington approach to ignoring lifestyle crimes, not the encouragement of junkies to come visit for our “safe shooting up spas”, not the millions wasted on shot spotter, it takes a real DA and a real “tough on crime” police Chief, unlike Chief Wynn who is learned and thoughtful but clearly not making the impact on crime Pittsfield needs.
As crime diminishes, businesses and investment will come back. The problem being that you need a competent executive in the corner office to get the job done. Mayor Linda Tyer isn’t that person, and quite frankly there are few in Pittsfield that could do a better job. Mazzeo would have been a change but would she have been any better? I think she just would have been different. The city needs to move to a weak mayor/weak city council and strong city manager dynamic.
The mayor is the president of the city council, the city council hires the city manager, and there are objective and unwavering criteria for the city manager position. A masters in public administration or public policy, x number of years experience, The manager gets a two year contract with a one year probationary clause. Upon successful complication of two two year contracts (four years), they would be eligible for subsequent three year contracts.
Each year the city council would conduct the review of the city manager in public and allow for public input at these sessions.
Salary increases for the manager would be tied directly to objective criteria and the performance of the city.
This manager would also direct how TIF and grant programs and any PEDA monies are directed. As the managers job is tied to performance not the patronage model of the current mayor, Mayor Linda Tyer, it would directly benefit the manager to only endorse programs that would seem to be more viable.
With all these things in place, we would see and increase population.
It is a very simple hierarchy of needs; safety and security, financial stability, new growth.
The problem is Pittsfield is so deep in trying to fix the deficiency needs, they can’t begin to satisfy the growth needs. Mayor Linda Tyer is too stupid to understand this and consistently tries to imprint the success of new growth before satisfying the minimal needs of the citizens in Pittsfield.
More colloquially, “Mayor Linda Tyer is putting pearls on swine and lipstick on a pig” with her ill thought out programs.

Johnny Absurdo
Johnny Absurdo
Reply to  Police Report
6 months ago

Has the mayor come right out and explained to the people of Pittsfield why certain crimes are no longer crimes or being logged as such? Has she actually explained the logic behind it or is she dancing around it like she does so much else. And if the police or courts don’t deal with criminal behavior will vigilante justice fill in the gaps? I ask because sooner or later people are going to get pissed off. And are we still paying for a high tech crime data person to track crime that is not crime? Isn’t that aq waste of money? And it no longer seems like we need a new police station but perhaps rather reduce the force. Maybe Andy and Barney can take it from here.

EWendt
EWendt
Reply to  Police Report
6 months ago

Don’t hold your breath for crime reduction. Crime increases when people who are supposed to enforce the law do not do so. We need only look to Dallas, Baltimore and Philly, home of the Sorus-funded Progressive DAs extraordinaire.

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
Reply to  Police Report
6 months ago

While I think it’s an interesting concept – town administrators around the area are usually a recycled lot of useless. For some reason there are only 3 people, who appear to be staggeringly incompetent and completely corrupt, who move between Stockbridge, Richmond, GB etc. Surely an election is better than that? I wouldn’t trust the City Council to do anything right and they are elected so frankly if hiring or elections can’t result in competence in the words on Greta Garbo, we are doomed.

SallySays
SallySays
Reply to  Kermit Frog
6 months ago

Got any fActs to back up your assertions?

Kermit Frog
Kermit Frog
Reply to  SallySays
6 months ago

There were ethics issues in Stockbridge, a criminal embezzlement indictment (town treasurer?) in GB, The GB and Richmond town admins switched jobs if I understand the news. There was the horse racing controversy, the fire chief controversy in West Stockbridge, who knows what else … So, I don’t know if an Administrator/City Manager is more effective at good management based on what I read.,

Johnny Dimentia
Johnny Dimentia
Reply to  Police Report
6 months ago

While the mayor does not come across as overly bright I am not sure she qualifies as stupid. She knows where her bread is buttered and by aligning herself with the special interests she will never be without the luxuries of life. Sadly, the people she took an oath to watch over are less fortunate with even darker clouds forming on their horizons.

Gobsig
Gobsig
6 months ago

What needs to be done to convert to a city manager system?

Pig Skin Pickem
Pig Skin Pickem
Reply to  Gobsig
6 months ago

You GOBSIGS won’t allow it

Mark Tully
Mark Tully
Reply to  Gobsig
6 months ago

The City Charter would have to be changed requiring voter approval.

Plato Plun
Plato Plun
Reply to  Mark Tully
6 months ago

So I give Tully the address yesterday and got a big fat nothing response. Why ask?

Mark Tully
Mark Tully
Reply to  Plato Plun
6 months ago

While I am under no obligation to respond… I did reply. I said I did not know why that property decreased. There were a few others that did as well. Sorry to not have been more informative.

Gobsig
Gobsig
Reply to  Mark Tully
6 months ago

Mark, what steps are needed to change the charter?

Mark Tully
Mark Tully
Reply to  Gobsig
6 months ago

A petition needs to be brought forth to and approved by the City Council to have the question added to the ballot. If the City Council refuses, a citizen’s initiative petition with signatures representing 5% of the voting population can be filed and force a ballot question. I’ll let you know if I get one going. https://ecode360.com/27967509?highlight=ballot,ballots,initial,initiative&searchId=2975946194728526#27967509

Auto Phil
Auto Phil
6 months ago

Another mistrial declared in another violent Berkshire crime under DA Harrington’s watch.

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/attorneys-conflict-sparks-mistrial-in-north-adams-assault-case,594282

Harrington blames the defense:

“This is a textbook example of `justice delayed is justice denied,'” said Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

“Defense counsel had two and a half years to investigate but waited until the 11th hour and uncovered an alleged conflict of interest on their end in the middle of the trial,” she said. “This delay by defense counsel is unfair to the victims waiting for justice, unfair to the taxpayers, and unfair to the public who expect timeliness in their justice system.”

But if the burden to pursue justice falls on the prosecution, how can defense be blamed? Hasn’t the defense done its job, thus far?

“[Judge] Agostini acknowledged the “incredible frustration” on his part and on that of the DA’s Office about the way the case had been handled and that this kind of information wasn’t uncovered during the long period before the case went to trial.”

Whose at fault here?

Donn Flabergastinuztsonabich
Donn Flabergastinuztsonabich
Reply to  Auto Phil
6 months ago

Shouldn’t any questions concerning any-defendant be read and dispersed by the Judge? Now D A’s represent the defendant. Not Good, or legal.

Police Report
Police Report
Reply to  Auto Phil
6 months ago

If DA Andrea Harrington had any clue about how to do her job, this wouldn’t have been an issue. The Defense did an excellent job, the DA did not. And when I say she did not, she didn’t do anything except whine that it was unfair.

the school committee
the school committee
6 months ago

Get rid of at large councilors right away and consolidate wards into 5 councilors with each ward representing 9 thousand people. This puts more responsibility on the council for city budgets.

Johnny Absurdo
Johnny Absurdo
Reply to  the school committee
6 months ago

Yup. Twenty thousand less people means we need less councilors. There should be no debate on that. Common sense way to cut the budget. There are at least five of them that are dead weight and would not be missed.

The Dream Team
The Dream Team
Reply to  the school committee
6 months ago

How about we eliminate the health benefits and pensions for city councilors? Let’s see who then wants the job!

Hoyt Clagwell
Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  the school committee
6 months ago

The other side is often one floor above you

Gobsig
Gobsig
Reply to  the school committee
6 months ago

The school committee should be elected by ward not at large.

Pat
Pat
6 months ago

I completely agree with President Trump that our intelligence showed Soleimani was planning to attack 4 US embassies. Democrats tell us to trust our intelligence reports. Can you imagine if all 4 embassies had been attacked, there would have been an unbelievable loss of life and the far left would be crying, “President Trump knew and he did nothing”. Just like they did with President Bush on 9/11 by accusing him of reading stories to schoolchildren and knowing about the imminent attacks and doing nothing. That story went on and on by the left that Bush knew and they kept making fun of him for reading to schoolchildren when it happened. Soleimani is dead versus thousands that may have been killed if all 4 embassies were attacked. Job well done President Trump!!!!! Benghazi was horrific so I can’t imagine 4 embassies being under heavy attack.

Info
Info
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

First, when you say you agree with our intelligence it sounds as if you somehow are privy to top secret information. Second, our president has repeatedly discredited our intelligence community throughout his campaign and administration. Additionally, does assassinating a foreign general necessarily stop this proposed attack or does it simply add fuel to the fire?

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Info
6 months ago

He was the mastermind of the most recent attack and of the proposed future attacks. He was also the mastermind of the Benghazi attack which the press has attempted to keep hidden, but it’s obvious that he liked to attack the US embassies. Other generals may take his place, but President Trump could not stand by and let these attacks happen. There was a near miss the first time so I’m sure they would have been better prepared for future attacks. When I say “Our Intelligence” obviously I mean the intelligence of our country. I’m not an employee of our Intelligence Department

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Info
6 months ago

Iran has been increasing attacks against us for some time. Attacking our ships and even recently killing an American. They want to drive us out of Iraq so they can take it over.

Johnny Absurd
Johnny Absurd
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Remind me why we are still there? Trump was going to defeat ISIS and get us out of there. He said he defeated them 100% so why do we need to be there anymore except to steal their oil? He also said we were 100% energy efficient so supposedly we do not need Arab oil? What is Trump telling you Pat?

Johnny Absurd
Johnny Absurd
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

Just imagine what we could do with the energy and resources we have wasted over there. What good has ever come of our being there? We defeated ISIS? Not such a big accomplishment if you consider we created ISIS. They formed because we were there and they want us out. Just like if some big macho country decided to build bases in our country and try to tell us what kind of government we should have and who was going to be in it. All of our nation building has failed miserably and backfired in our faces. Consider all the American blood, sweat, tears and money we have expended there. Add in all the anguish of the soldiers families that will continue for decades.
One thing is for sure. War is big business and with over a trillion dollars being spent in the mid east over the last twenty years some powerful people in the shadows of American government are rolling in money. Other than that I have no idea why we continue to force ourselves, at such an enormous cost, into places that we are not welcome.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Johnny Absurd
6 months ago

I actually agree. Let’s get out of these foreign countries and put America first. Think of all the wealth we would have if we were not spending it in foreign countries. Our far left state department is behind a lot of this involvement with other countries since they set up Civil Society 2.0 which I do not agree with at all and I don’t think most people would if they knew what it is all about. We no longer need the oil, we are energy independent. It’s the globalist movement that wants us involved in other countries. The ultimate goal of globalists is to have one person ruling over the entire planet. They don’t want separate and independent countries.

Truthsayer
Truthsayer
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Last time we really did this, we got World War I. The next time, World War II. It doesn’t work that way in 2020. What we need is to be civil to each other first. I am neither Democrat or Republican. On some issues, I’m a tiny bit left of center, on others, right of center. But I try and respect others positions and feelings. This is now a global economy. We can no longer survive on our own. Welcome to the 21st century. Enjoy it. BTW, there will come a day when there will no longer be artificial borders. It will take a planetary disaster for this to occur, but it will happen.

Pat
Pat
6 months ago

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry should give up any royal money if they want to take off on their own and earn their own income. If they want to snub the queen and royal family, then so be it, but they shouldn’t have all that money. It’s obvious that Meghan likes a very fancy upscale lifestyle without any hassle from anyone. She wanted all the perks of royal life without having to deal with the royal family of Prince Harry. Most of us have to deal with any problems involving in-laws and other relatives of our spouse and we do it without basking in wealth and luxury. They had a luxurious place to live that had just been renovated for millions of dollars so it’s not like they were stuck living with Prince Harry’s relatives. It sounds selfish to me, but if that’s what she wants (since it’s obvious that she is making the decisions in the family and not Harry), but she can’t have it both ways. Personally I don’t give the marriage very long. Marriage sometimes involves sacrifice for ones spouse and it sounds like Meghan is not willing to make any even though she is living in the lap of luxury.

Meg Aritch
Meg Aritch
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Are you aware that Harry and Megan have their own money?

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Meg Aritch
6 months ago

Then why do they need money from Harry’s father Charles in addition to all the money that Harry inherited. Great if they want to earn their own money, but it sounds like they want to have the best of both worlds.

Corny Vandaleesehuron
Corny Vandaleesehuron
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Pri Di left millions to the little bastards.

SallySays
SallySays
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Frankly my darling, I don’t give a damn about any of the royals.

Johnny Absurd
Johnny Absurd
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

What about Ivanka basking in luxury and living high on the hog off you and me? Same with Erico and Donnie Jr. The country could fix all of its roads and bridges with the money we pay for their food, travel and security.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Johnny Absurd
6 months ago

Donald Trump doesn’t receive money from a royal family. Meghan agreed to be a royal and only attempted it for a year. This is a completely different situation. Lots of wealthy people out there and that’s fine with me. They should keep their money and NOT give it to big government. People Magazine is saying that if Meghan and Harry came to America, they could earn millions. People Magazine suggests they could books about the royal family. That would be a slap in the face to the royal family, but who knows. They want to be financially independent and that should mean cutting financial ties with the royal family because otherwise how can they say they are financially independent?

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Johnny Absurd
6 months ago

President Trump isn’t paid for being president. He refused the salary. Wow.

Truthsayer
Truthsayer
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Meanwhile, he’s spent $115,000,000.00 on golf, $550,000 on cart rentals alone, and taxpayers pumped this money into his personal properties. Trump has spent the equivalent of 287 years of presidential salaries. What a bargain!

Rocks 4 Jocks
Rocks 4 Jocks
Reply to  Truthsayer
6 months ago

Where do you get these numbers? From your source in NASA out in uranus.

TellitLikeitIs
TellitLikeitIs
Reply to  Biloxi Bob
6 months ago

It already is Bob. The only difference is, Pittsfield doesn’t question itself, about this, or anything that matters.

Shakes
Shakes
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

Pittsfield isn’t comparable to Ithica.

Shakes
Shakes
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

I know Ithaca NY just fine. There is zero demographic comparability to Pittsfield MA.

To your other point, any place on this earth can self police. Is there evidence the PPD has an investigation backlog suggesting they need a similar department audit as what Ithaca NY just completed?

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

I liked the M37 Ithaca

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Biloxi Bob
6 months ago

Pittsfield has homeless all over the place already. Camping out all year long in public parks and asking for money nearly everyday by Price Chopper in the worst weather.

Rudee Stybeltcomsayer
Rudee Stybeltcomsayer
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

That could be included in the Mayors failed blight policies. Remember the Planets summer weed whacking tour before the mayor race? Promises Promises..

Gobsig
Gobsig
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

I understand the homeless tend to use the area around the library to defecate. They must check out a good book and come back and squat.

TellitLikeitIs
TellitLikeitIs
Reply to  Biloxi Bob
6 months ago

Already is. Dan I think calls North St social service alley. Walking zombies. And why is the juvenile court lettering off the building? Did it move, or is it part of The Mirage?

Johnny Absurd
Johnny Absurd
Reply to  TellitLikeitIs
6 months ago

Most juvenile crimes are no longer crimes. Whadda we be needing a court for? This DA might not have a job much longer if there is no more crime.

Pat
Pat
6 months ago

Now the far left is claiming racism made Meghan Markle run from England? England is more far left than our country so I highly doubt that and the royal family would have objected to the marriage in the first place if the queen is a racist.

Johnny Absurd
Johnny Absurd
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Maybe we should sent in Trump and Pompeo to solve the Royal crisis. They could bring their drones. Should prolly take along Kushner being as how well he has done solving the mid-east problem in the three years he has been in charge of that.

Royal Dunston Skareemavick
Royal Dunston Skareemavick
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Royals are no more than a dictatorship,something our President earned on his own. Down with Royals.

Gigi
Gigi
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago
Pat
Pat
Reply to  Gigi
6 months ago

Great article. Is Meghan channeling Princess Diana or what? Her life is hard and a struggle?!? After one year of marriage? She was setting up leaving the country probably soon after taking the wedding vows. Diana was authentically a very vulnerable and sensitive person. When Meghan and Harry start saying they want to take a “More Progressive approach” to being royals, warning signs should be going off all over. The far left in Britain has wanted to topple the monarchy for a long time while most people in Britain seem to love the queen and all that she represents. A survey yesterday showed that most British think Meghan and Harry should have their titles taken away and they should pay back the money spent on them (millions spent on renovations made to Frogmore Cottage and lots of private jet travel to promote climate change) if they do not want to participate in and continue the royal traditions.

Truthsayer
Truthsayer
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Who cares?

Pat
Pat
6 months ago

Iran now admits they shot down the plane with 176 people in it. How could they deny it? We have it on tape. This is why the aggression of Iran needs to stop and they need to join the world community as a peaceful neighbor. President Trump says they could be a great country….just stop the aggression. I agree.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

Glassed sand Iran

Johnny Absurd
Johnny Absurd
Reply to  Pat
6 months ago

At least they admitted a mistake. Trump is quite sure he has never made a mistake in his life but even if he ever does he sure as hell ain’t gonna admit it.

Saviij Embryo
Saviij Embryo
Reply to  Johnny Absurd
6 months ago

Everyone knew who did it? Imperial data not needed.

Johnny2Shoes
Johnny2Shoes
6 months ago

Mark,

Excellent letter to the Eagle.

Letter: What are pot store owners doing with wealth?
Posted Friday, January 10, 2020 3:54 pm
To the editor:

I read with interest Friday’s Berkshire Eagle article “Pot taxes help Pittsfield save for rainy days.” The article states that in the past six months, Pittsfield has received $448,000 in tax revenue from two recently opened marijuana dispensaries. The article further states that “Cities and towns can also choose to impose an additional 3 percent excise on establishments within their borders to help fund local needs.”

While I am not a rocket scientist, I can do basic math. If $448,000 represents up to 3 percent of marijuana sales in six months, then the gross sales are almost $15 million. Are these figures correct? If so, I would be very interested to read a story in The Eagle about these two new marijuana stores. Who are the owners and what do they plan to do with their newfound wealth? After all, the possibility of opening a store and immediately enjoying $15 million in sales is akin to winning the lottery.

Mark Tully,

Pittsfield

MMNS
MMNS
Reply to  Johnny2Shoes
6 months ago

The mayor should immediately move to use all of the money for a new police station and request all marijuana businesses contribute extra money towards it in a side agreement, and same with all the supposed non-profits around here. All this Marijuana Money should be for a New Station (MMNS)

Cheshire Cat
Cheshire Cat
Reply to  MMNS
6 months ago

Does anyone else care about this?

Escorounge T Beliensterio
Escorounge T Beliensterio
Reply to  Cheshire Cat
6 months ago

Tully.

Cheshire Cat
Cheshire Cat
Reply to  Cheshire Cat
6 months ago

The police station, I mean.

JohnnyTwoCents
JohnnyTwoCents
Reply to  Cheshire Cat
6 months ago

Yes. A new station is needed way more than a new high school was. The old Taconic was built in the 70’s. The station was built in the 30’s. It’s a shithole, and the mayor knows it, and so do thousands of others. And a new station would cost a fraction of what a new high school would have cost. Furthermore, there is now an opportunity, with the marijuana economic engine, which is only going to drive crime up further, to use the revenue stream for a new station.

Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider
Reply to  JohnnyTwoCents
6 months ago

What an idea! !!! Although I advocate a basement

Truthsayer
Truthsayer
Reply to  Cheshire Cat
6 months ago

Nope!

Mark Tully
Mark Tully
Reply to  Johnny2Shoes
6 months ago

Thanks- that was published fast. I fired it off yesterday!

Johnny Absurd
Johnny Absurd
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

I would like to know what the mayor is doing with her portion. This should be used for roads or something that benefits everyone not to reduce the taxes of her friends.

Behrnard N Planeveuz
Behrnard N Planeveuz
Reply to  Johnny Absurd
6 months ago

Keep it far away from kufflinks. He’ll lose track anyway.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  Johnny Absurd
6 months ago

January 11, 2020

A post by Jonathan Melle

Re: Marijuana’s new public revenues is blood money!!!!

Marijuana FACTS!

Marijuana or Cannabis – Increased and Substantial Mental Health RISKS! – It is a Predatory and multi-billion dollar Industry!

Marijuana, specifically the psychoactive chemical THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), has the potential to do significant harm to public health.

Marijuana today contains more THC, making it more harmful. Highly concentrated marijuana/THC products available today can be more than 90% THC.

Marijuana use during pregnancy may result in altered brain development in childhood.

Marijuana today is actually very addictive, especially for teens. As many as one-third of users develop a diagnosable addiction, especially with strains of marijuana that have higher THC content. Many people believe that teen marijuana use is not harmful. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marijuana slows brain development in adolescence. Teenagers have more CB1 receptors than adults do for THC to bind to, and THC also stays in the CB1 receptor for longer than it would in an adult. While THC is in the CB1 receptor, it blocks the process of learning and memory and slows, or stops, adolescent brain development. It makes kids really high. The damage is irreversible.

As of 6/22/2018, 29 states + D.C. have medical marijuana; 9 states + D.C. have recreational marijuana. There are three proven conditions that are treated by medical marijuana: (a) Chronic pain, (b) Neuropathic pain, (c) Muscle spasticity associated with M.S. The medical research is not there to support evidence for the treatment of other symptoms. There hasn’t been a long-term study of cannabis on the brain. There is some risk to marijuana use, especially among young people. Age: Teenagers more at risk to be addicted than adults. How often a person uses marijuana matters. Long-term daily use can use can lead to more negative impacts such as difficulty thinking or worsening anxiety. The concentration of THC in the cannabis matters. One in 10 people who are adults will become addicted to marijuana. There is a strong association between marijuana use and increased use of alcohol and other drugs.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) calls Marijuana a mind-altering drug. The DEA says no marijuana overdose deaths reported.

The Marijuana Plant contains more than 400 chemicals. The main chemical component is called THC is believed to produce the high users experience. THC produces a psychoactive effect. CBD does not produce a high and may treat some symptoms; may have medicinal benefits.

On December 5, 2019, Massachusetts state authorities explicitly linked the vaping-relating lung illnesses to cannabis vapes purchased at legal stores and dispensaries.

Car crashes were up as much as 6% in states where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, according to studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute.

A study reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found employees who tested positive for marijuana had 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries and 75% greater absenteeism compared to those who tested negative.

SallySays
SallySays
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

Sush Up Johnathan. Don’t cha know it’s an economic engine, for the GOBSIGS, that is.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
Reply to  SallySays
6 months ago

You hit the proverbial nail directly on its head! Marijuana blood money will only benefit the GOBSIG’s, not the common people such as Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski!

Gobsig
Gobsig
Reply to  SallySays
6 months ago

Does Barry own part interest in a Pot store or not?

Deer Antowjuan
Deer Antowjuan
Reply to  danvalenti
6 months ago

Yeah,pulltze stuff

Shakes
Shakes
Reply to  Johnny2Shoes
6 months ago

Probably repaying their investors?

Harrison
Harrison
Reply to  Johnny2Shoes
6 months ago

If Pittsfield is going to rely on cannibis for renevue, I hope we can get some signage directing stoners where to go. I have seen some crazy driving going on east bound Dalton Ave in front Berkshire Roots. I can’t imagine even being straight and following Google Maps from Tyler. Check it out. It has you going all the way up to Crane Ext. taking a right toward S&S and THEN DOING A U-Y on Merrill, heading back toward Dalton, to take left back west on Dalton. It’s crazy man.

Merry & Bright
Merry & Bright
Reply to  Harrison
6 months ago

Harrison – Totally agree with you. Between Berkshire Roots on Dalton Avenue and the Spectrum Methadone Clinic on Merrill Road the driving in that area has turned into total white knuckle driving. Take it from someone that lives in the Allendale neighborhood. Have seen drivers put their vehicles in reverse and back down Dalton Avenue so they can go into Berkshire Roots driveway even though cars are coming up on them going 60mph. Also, don’t know what is in the methadone that they administer to over 650 recipients a day at Spectrum, but it seems to allow them to no longer see traffic signals and speed limit signs. When I purchased my home a few years back I thought I was going to be living on a quiet street, it is now a major raceway for pot buyers and methadone receivers, and doubt any of them are paying real estate tax or water bills. Thankfully General Dynamics has succeeded somewhat by installing stop signage on Plastics Avenue, which has helped some. As far as the City of Pittsfield’s concern, forget it! Never see any police presence. Of course the neighborhood has also complained to the City about the skunk odor from the growing of pot at Berkshire Roots and the only response we have received is that the present City Administration doesn’t know who is responsible, the Health Department or the Building Inspector, they just don’t care. Beginning to think that Lovely Linda and her beau Bare Bare are silent owners, probably how they can afford two houses each valued over a half a million.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Johnny2Shoes
6 months ago

Nuciforo and Demonrat crooks

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

January 11, 2020

Re: Open letter to Patrick Fennell

Hello Pat,

Do you think that Massachusetts taxpayers are being played as suckers? According to the Boston Herald’s editorial staff, 16,599 U Mass and other state workers made over $100,000 last year of 2019. A total of 46 state employees earned $100,000 or move in overtime. Two U Mass employees made $1-million. There was a nearly 11% one year jump in the state government payroll in 2019.

How come the hard-hit taxpayers, who blogger Dan Valenti calls Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, always get the shaft, while the politically-connected bureaucrats are well taken care of in Massachusetts state government? Isn’t democratic government supposed to serve the people? Who does the Massachusetts state government really serve? I believe we both know the answer!

Best wishes,

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

January 11, 2020

Re: Family dynasties, billionaires, and partisan hacks

Dear Alan Chartock,

I read your recent op-ed in the Berkshire Edge regarding 38-year-old Joe Kennedy 3’s predicted victory against 73-year-old Ed Markey in the September 1, 2020 Massachusetts Democratic Party primary election for U.S. Senator. Both Joe and Ed will compete for the title of biggest partisan hack. Meanwhile, the people of Massachusetts will be an afterthought in Capitol Hill’s inside the beltway politics.

Also, we have 3 billionaires running for U.S. President. Donald Trump was once a pro-choice Democrat, who is now a pro-life Republican who had a daughter named Tiffany out-of-wedlock with his mistress then second of three wives Marla Maples. Michael Bloomberg is a running as a Democrat, but he also ran for political office as a Republican and an Independent. Billionaire Bloomberg is whatever political party that suits the occasion. Billionaire Tom Steyer is running as a reformer Democrat who will bring progressive change to Washington, D.C. All three billionaires believe they can buy their way into the Oval Office.

I wonder if the people will buy into any of it? Joe Kennedy 3’s family dynasty; A Kennedy never lost a statewide election in the history of Massachusetts politics. Three billionaires who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy votes. All off the other presidential candidates competing to be the biggest partisan hack. Where do the common people fit into all of this? Why can’t we have a candidate for U.S. President who will stand for democracy that serves “We the People”?

Best wishes,

Jonathan Melle

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

Malarkey has been an embarassament since Silvio Conte died. He hates America and supported the Iranian terrorist, that Sotero protected. Treason, Malarkey.

Kennedys are drunks and/or philanderers.

Silvio was the LAST politician/congressman/senator who gave a rats ass about the people of mASSachusetts.

The school committee
The school committee
6 months ago

Stockbridge Ma. Population has gone from 1,500 to 1200 or 20%.People just dont want to live anywhere in the berkshires.

Police Report
Police Report
Reply to  The school committee
6 months ago

Population is based on full time residents.
What you may be seeing is that 20% of the population has shifted to being part time or residents of another locale.

Johnny Absurd
Johnny Absurd
Reply to  The school committee
6 months ago

Does that count second home owners?

The school committee
The school committee
Reply to  Johnny Absurd
6 months ago

Yes

Truthsayer
Truthsayer
Reply to  The school committee
6 months ago

Wrong! Williamstown’s population has grown. Only town to do so.

Shuhane Shane
Shuhane Shane
Reply to  Truthsayer
6 months ago

Great movie on 81-Shane. Ends at 4 30

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
Reply to  Truthsayer
6 months ago

Students

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

January 12, 2020

Re: Dan Bosley’s support for undemocratic TCI tax proposal

Retired North Adams State Representative and current State House lobbyist Daniel E. Bosley is back in his familiar role as “Bureaucrat Bosley” again. Ten days ago, on January 2, 2020, Dan Bosley wrote an op-ed in The Boston Globe in support of Governor Charlie Baker’s “The Transportation and Climate Initiative” (TCI) proposal, which would be an increase in the state government’s gas tax by a factor of 2 in the very questionable name of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This proposed gas tax hike would happen without a vote by either the Legislature or the people. In short, it is totally undemocratic! Moreover, it would hurt the state’s working people who commute to work the hardest.

Dan Bosley is a total hypocrite on public policy because he is a complete and total bureaucrat who was an imposter as a Legislator and now makes thousands of dollars a year as yet another hack lobbyist on Beacon Hill. When my dad was a Berkshire County Commissioner, Dan Bosley was the delegate in the State House to abolish Berkshire County government. My dad told him that Boston’s “Big Dig” had multi-billion dollar cost overruns, but Rep. Bosley chose to target county government instead. Then, years later, there was a lot of news media coverage about “The Bosley Amendment”, which as a secret bill to give wealthy multinational corporations huge tax cuts without any debate in the State House. The irony is that Dan Bosley represented northern Berkshire County where there are no such entities in his legislative district.

What is most distressing about “Bureaucrat Bosley” is that he was a big supporter of Speaker Tom Finneran. Speaker Finneran ran that State House like a dictator! Then, Speaker Finneran became “Felon Finneran”. After that, “Bureaucrat Bosley” was a big supporter of Speaker Sal DiMasi, who also became a convicted Felon, and he is now suing Secretary of State Bill Galvin to become a Beacon Hill lobbyist. It is State House politics at its worst!

In closing, if there is a special interest deal to be done, there is no one better to call upon than Dan “Bureaucrat” Bosley!

– Jonathan Melle

Bobby Stantoasobich
Bobby Stantoasobich
Reply to  Jonathan Melle
6 months ago

I believe it was Bosley who proposed the law between Ma. And the State of Vernont double Jeopardy concerning oui drivers and licenses if free nes weren’t paid by both states infraction.

Mad Trapper
Mad Trapper
6 months ago

https://dailycaller.com/2020/01/07/elizabeth-warren-texas-church-shooting-conceal-carry/

Lizze Warren took an axe gave Constitution 40 wacks.

When she saw what she had done, the Bill of Rights got forty one.

Gobsig
Gobsig
6 months ago

Does Barry own part interest in a Pot store or not?

Johnny Absurd
Johnny Absurd
Reply to  Gobsig
6 months ago

I am sure he has read this. and he is not denying it.

Jumpin Joe Curtis.
Jumpin Joe Curtis.
Reply to  Johnny Absurd
6 months ago

Considering essentially only those with political connections and millions can pass the permitting and licensing phase, I wouldn’t be surprised. Lots of people have WANTED to open businesses. Essentially only one has, no one goes to temescal but New Yorkers.

裴吉瑞
裴吉瑞
6 months ago

Pittsfield’s best days are bound to come. It has too much going for it. What is required is a positive outlook, substantial effort, and a great deal of patience.

Sonny
Sonny
6 months ago

I think M Tully deserves credit for a well researched and thought out piece. Any middle class home owner who has been around here for awhile kind of knew the gist of this. My feeling is there isn’t a lot of hope for Pittsfield. Our schools are way over budget for the amount of students we have and the number of students we lose to school choice. Too many people want nothing to do with the schools in this city which is a very bad omen for taxpayers. The Democratic party is a mess so living in a blue state now is a real detriment to the working persons quality of life. Look at the gas tax being proposed in the name of climate change or the sex education classes there trying to force into the schools. As the left goes farther Left the needle goes towards socialism.
Government has to function with some type of business mentality or you are on the highway to bankruptcy. Pittsfield is headed there
with new water projects and unfunded liabilities among other problems. There are mass migrations leaving blue states is it because of good leadership? No high taxes and ridiculous Liberal policies.The sky is dark grey.