Headlines tell much of the story

CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union resigns: Every time an otherwise good man makes a mistake, my heart sinks.

Apparently, Angelo Stracuzzi made some bad choices but he also made major contributions to his community and to his business. One can only feel for the man, his family, his friends and his neighbors. The allegations are not good but equally offensive are the bottom feeders and hate mongers who have tried to make Stracuzzi’s mistakes into an indictment of the good people who run the city of Pittsfield. That won’t work.

Too often, the people who do nothing but spew bile and malevolence can make life a living hell for the rest of us. We don’t know what motivates this kind of schadenfreude in some people but as sure as cancer devours the body, this kind of burning hatred destroys those who live only to hurt others. Some of these people are raising children and I can only fear for the progeny of hatred. I watched as these carnivores set upon Eliot Spitzer and former Comptroller Alan Hevesi in New York.

They, too, made some terrible choices. The question, of course, is whether the haters have made bad choices in their own lives. As sure as the sun rises and sets, we know that they have. Maybe that’s what this is all about.

In sheriff debate, styles differ: With Carmen Massimiano leaving the scene, Berkshire County will have a new sheriff. I have known and liked Dan Bosley for many years.

I do not know his opponent, veteran Pittsfield Police Det. Thomas Bowler, and I was interested in their recent debate.

Bosley made the point that in his position in the state’s House of Representatives, he was responsible for developing major budgets. That skill will be necessary in these tough budgetary times when it comes to a big bureaucracy. The man they call “Bose” said that he knew a lot of important people in Boston and Washington and, reading between the lines, indicated that he could bring home the bacon, something he did for the people of North Adams and Berkshire County for years. Like it or not, that’s the way things work.

His opponent, Bowler, said that he saw the sheriff’s department as a paramilitary organization, that he had been dealing with the criminal element in Pittsfield for years, and that he could glean a wealth of information from the inmates at the House of Correction to help clean up crime in Pittsfield.

Apparently Bowler and Bosley disagree about one thing and that is the amount of money that should be devoted to rehabilitation programs.

In “West Side Story,” Officer Krupke mocked the social workers and do-gooders who tried the progressive approach to criminals and juvenile delinquents. In elections like this, as the public is experiencing a level of fear, the candidate who promises safety over rehabilitation programs often wins the day. But Pittsfield has had its share of crime and horrendous outcomes. I am sure Bowler has worked hard. Nevertheless, the outcomes have been less than spectacular as have the efforts of the Legislature that Bosley now leaves.

As for the paramilitary idea, I think it is always a good idea to have a non-military person overseeing the workings of the military for obvious reasons.

The differences between the two men seem pretty clear. It will be fascinating to see what the voters do. From a geographical perspective, Bosley has a huge following in the north of the county. The liberals in the south are likely to like what he has to say. Bowler should do very well in Pittsfield and my bet is that turnout will mean a lot. Right now, Bowler is in the better spot.

BP: Sorry, agrees to pay $20B: Most of us know that the huge corporations such as banks and oil companies have a bad side. Profit becomes king and other considerations, like safety, are marginalized. That’s what clearly happened in this case. So now, the BP folks have been dragged into the White House and Congress for a humiliating, public horsewhipping.

Fine, but the other day when the Swedish Chairman said that President Obama and BP were trying to help the suffering “small people,” the press went after him with typical vengeance.

The words really weren’t that bad. Most of us in this country are “small people.” We have a lot more to be angry about with the BP chairman than his choice of a few words. Our ocean is filled with oil. That is the important thing to keep watching.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 6/19/10

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