Things getting interesting (and close) in race between Moulton and Tierney in the 6th Congressional District

20 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

We’re suddenly getting an answer to when  the Seth Moulton for Congress campaign will begin it’s frontal assault. After pacing incumbent John Tierney for more than a year when it comes to fundraising, the Moulton campaign is suddenly using a barrage to get its message of change out to those who will vote in the Sept. 9th Democratic Primary.

I’ve received no fewer than four, glossy  mail pieces from the Moulton campaign in the past week, and lawn signs are popping up all over Peabody and elsewhere in the 6th District. And now,  Moulton TV ads are starting to inundate the local airwaves.

The full-court press is on, and no doubt the polls are tightening up. Back in the spring, Tierney’s internal polling gave him a large lead over Moulton, but we suspect any day now we’ll be hearing about an independent  poll showing that the embattled Congressman might actually be “on the ropes” in his battle against Moulton.

Either way, it’s shaping up to be a difficult campaign season for Tierney, who — if he survives Sept. 9th’s primary —  will need to deal with Republican Richard Tisei. And Tisei came within a hair of defeating Tierney two years ago. It’s no wonder that many national pundits have deemed Tierney as being one of the most-vulnerable incumbents this Congressional election cycle.

For those who really love the game of politics … this is getting very interesting! Here’s one of Seth Moulton’s latest TV ads:

Best wishes on a fast recovery for Councilor At-Large Anne Manning-Martin

18 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Councilor Anne Manning-Martin

Councilor At-Large Anne Manning-Martin

Over the years, we’ve been friends and foes, agreed on some issues, disagreed on many others. But one thing I will always say or write is that Anne Manning-Martin always votes in the best interests of those residents she serves as a councilor at-large.

So, with that, I just wanted to wish Anne a speedy recovery from major back surgery, and hope that she’s back doing the business of the people of Peabody soon as possible.

After all, let’s face it, there are only two current Peabody City Councilors who are always on the side of the people they represent: Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz, and Anne.

By the way, the back surgery Manning-Martin underwent, was no minor matter.

“I really wasn’t supposed to walk again. It was kind of a Hail Mary operation,” Manning-Martin told the Salem News this week. “I just consider myself lucky and blessed.”

And Peabody residents will be lucky to have her back in there fighting for them again real soon.

Dunne accepts offer to appear on ‘You Make The Call,’ Moutsoulas declines

18 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Will talk to voters on "You Make The Ca;;" on Aug. 27th

Beverley Dunne: Will talk to voters on “You Make The Call” on Aug. 27th

The intention was to conduct a forum between the two Democratic candidates for Peabody’s State Rep in the 12th Essex District. But it looks like just one will accept the invitation to speak to Peabody residents on the “You Make The Call” cable access show on Wednesday, Aug. 27th.

School Committee member Beverley Griffin Dunne has accepted the invitation to talk to Peabody residents, while Ward 3 Councilor Jim Moutsoulas declined because of what he called conflicting engagements.

Although we’ll still welcome Moutsoulas on the show, should he change his mind, right now it looks like the entire hour (8-9 p.m., on PAT Ch. 99) will be spent talking exclusively with Dunne, who is making her second run at the 12th District seat,currently held by Republican Leah Cole.

We also plan to post a video of the Aug. 27th show here on The Eye, and on Facebook.

Dunne and Moutsoulas will square off in the Sept. 9th Democratic primary, with the prize being a match up with Cole in November. We also plan to invite the finalists for the seat on a future show following the primary.

Please continue passing the word about this opportunity to see and hear from at least one candidate for Peabody State Rep. We’ll be taking your calls that night. We’ve also been asking for questions here in the comments section.

Independent fiscal watchdog group critical of job done by Rep Ted Speliotis

17 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Call this another public service message from The Eye, but the flyer below came in the mail yesterday from the non-partisan and politically moderate Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a watchdog group that rates the performance of all members of the Massachusetts Great and General Court, no matter what their party affiliation. 

This weekend, they brought us this report on State Rep Ted Speliotis, who is being challenged for his 13th Essex District seat in November by Tom Lyons. A big chunk of the 13th Essex covers West Peabody.

Here’s what the MFA presented. I’ll allow our audience to read it and judge for themselves. As always, please let us know what you think in the comments section.

TEDS

FYI: 6th District Congressional candidates square off in debate

15 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Because of the format and poor production value, you might find this footage from this debate between the 6th District Congressional candidates at Middlesex Community College in Burlington about as exciting as watching a 5-hour game between the Red Sox and the Houston Astros.

But I present it here today anyhow as a public service. It’s just a shame that the format is terrible, and that they also included the two irrelevant lunatic fringe candidates. Let’s face it folks, the Sept. 9th Democratic primary is really only a contest between Marblehead war hero and businessman Seth Moulton, and incumbent Congressman John Tierney.

Also, why are they holding debates in podunk parts of the district?  I mean, who goes to Burlington for anything other than to visit a mall?

You can click on this link, or the image below to watch and read about the full debate:

debate (2)

State Rep Democratic candidates invited to debate on ‘You Make The Call’

14 Aug

By Eye on Peabody

Dunne

Beverley Dunne

Jim Moutsoulas

Jim Moutsoulas

“You Make The Call,” Peabody’s longest-running public access cable show on local politics, is inviting the two Democratic candidates for State Rep in the 12th Essex District to debate the issues live on Wednesday, Aug. 27th, 8-9 p.m. on PAT Ch. 99.

YMTC co-host Bob Croce will moderate the forum between School Committee member Beverley Dunne, and Ward 3 Councilor James “Demo” Moutsoulas, who will square off in the Sept. 9th Democratic primary, with the winner facing Republican incumbent Leah Cole in November’s final election.

The format for the forum will include calls from the viewing audience.

We’re also soliciting questions from our Eye on Peabody audience, so please use the comments section to let us know what’s on your mind.

We’ll have more details here as they become available.

Declare victory and go back to work: Time for Market Basket crisis to end

13 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Like most of the general public, I was with them. Power to the people, and all that stuff. But it should be over now. Their bosses have been patient while watching their business circle down the toilet.

The powers-that-be at Market Basket Supermarkets got the message, folks. Store shelves went un-stocked, and long-time loyal customers went elsewhere for deals on bread, milk and Spaghetti O’s.

The family-owned chain lost millions of dollars, with more losses to come.

MBBut now, and while this isn’t likely to make me popular saying it, it’s time for these people on picket line, from Middleton to Maine, to go back to work.

After making their point, and showing how much they love some now-seemingly mythical former CEO they call Arthur T, the protest needs to be over.

Why?

Because, as mom told you that day you came home from first grade — and said how little Suzy got a star on her paper and you didn’t — life’s just not fair.

The current members of the MB board of directors could be the worst bosses in the history of American capitalism. I really don’t know.

But I do know one thing: It’s THEIR business, and they have a right to fire anyone who refuses to go back to work. It’s gone on for several weeks, and while the media likes to spin the MB board as sweatshop monsters, the reality is that they have been incredibly patient. No one has been fired.

What other company would have allowed a major segment of a non-union workforce to walk off the job, picket and protest, and yet still keep their jobs?

Tonight, we hear that there might be a resolution to this epic supermarket crisis, but even if there isn’t, it’s time for people to do what’s right for their families.

You made your point, and now you need a paycheck to pay the mortgage and for the kids’ braces. It’s time to think about yourselves rather than some now seemingly-mythical dude they call Arthur T. Declare victory, and go back to work.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments section.

Just wondering why so many Peabody elected officials snubbed an American hero

5 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

When a person of American historical significance visits Peabody for any event, it’s the obligation of our elected officials to do what they can to make an appearance, and represent our community.

Mayor Ted Bettencourt welcomes retired Gen. Stanley McCrystal (right) to Peabody yesterday. Democratic Congressional candidate Seth Moulton (left)

Mayor Ted Bettencourt welcomes Gen. Stanley McChrystal (right) to Peabody yesterday. Democratic Congressional candidate Seth Moulton (left)

Mayor Ted Bettencourt got this yesterday. So too did Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz, and Ward 3 Councilor Demo Moutsoulas.

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the Norman Schwarzkopf or even the Dwight Eisenhower of his generation of American military leadership, yesterday spoke to veterans at the Peabody Elks, and it was definitely noticeable how many Peabody politicos were missing in action.

After all, Peabody politicians have a reputation for being invasive creatures, who would show up at yard sale, if they knew there would be lots of potential voters to preen before.

So, why was it that the Mayor and just two city councilors were in attendance for McChrystal, whose last assignment was as commander of US forces in Afghanistan?

Well, for some of our elected officials it might have been a conflict, such as work or a summer vacation.

But I also wonder if political cowardice had anything to do with it.

After all, McChrystal, an American war hero, who could someday be presidential timber, was not only there to speak with veterans about his experiences.

He was at the Elks to endorse a fellow American hero and former Marine, Democratic Congressional candidate Seth Moulton.

Gen. Stanley McCrystal (left) with Ann Mitsopoulos, chair of the Peabody Ward 6 Democratic Committee, and Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz

Gen. Stanley McChrystal (left) with Ann Mitsopoulos, Chair of the Peabody Ward 6 Democratic City Committee, and Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz

Moulton is boldly launching a credible challenge to long-time Congressman John Tierney in the Sept. 9th primary, and the last thing the “fearless”  men and woman who serve us in Peabody want to do is tick off the powerful sitting MOC.

Mayor Bettencourt had no such problem. Ted’s not endorsing  Moulton, but he recognized that it was proper, as Peabody’s chief executive, to greet McChrystal,  the man who led the truly brave American men and women keeping us safe by fighting the War on Terror.

Moutsoulous, who is running for State Rep, was there as a candidate, and that was smart, considering how many Peabody veterans were in the room. But he also gets credit for representing as a Peabody City Councilor.

Sinewitz, meanwhile, showed the most political courage. He not only introduced Moulton to the crowd yesterday, but he is also endorsing the candidate, who would represent a new, independent generation of pragmatic Democrats should he upset the famously, far left, highly partisan Tierney in five weeks.

But politics aside, Bettencourt, Moutsoulas, and Sinewitz all did the right thing yesterday. They represented the City of Peabody when a man of American historical significance came to town.

I wonder where the rest of Peabody’s politicos were hiding out.  Maybe they were out bar-tending, or eating some ice cream?

Or, perhaps … they just went fishing?

More housing downtown doesn’t equal a sensible plan for revitalization

1 Aug

Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

If you saw the local Beverly-based “newspaper” with Salem at the front of its name this morning, you might have thought that Peabody Square is now a trendy place to live,just like South Beach in Miami, or in one of those million dollar lofts above some shop on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

SquareThere is was, a huge spread, complete with room-by-room photos of new postage-stamp-sized apartments at 11 Main Street. But there are granite countertops, so who am I to talk?

There are also panoramic views of Peabody Square out the windows , where you can watch the sunset over lovely beauty shops, liquor stores, and vacant store fronts. I’m sure this will cause young professionals to flock in a frenzy to rent these new digs.

First off, congrats to developer Norman Lee for talking the local bugle into a huge kiss-ass spread on what are essentially 11 small apartments that might be occupied by middle to lower-middle class residents who are looking for affordable housing. Then again, as someone who previously worked for small, struggling newspapers, my guess here is that this article  was one of those “bought-and-paid-for” services. The newspaper in question, after all, is on death’s door, so why not disguise paid content as real news once in a while?

But I digress.

The reason for my rant this morning is that, what you see at 11 Main Street is right now Peabody’s idea of how we should re-vitalize the downtown. Let’s jump at every chance to allow willing developers to turn old, dilapidated spaces into small one-bedroom apartments. Yeah, right, that’ll bring people with money to spend into the downtown.

We’ve seen this before with those ugly apartments on Walnut Street, and seen other greedy, slip-shot developers come and go before the city council requesting special permits to build “lavish” apartments. As a way to re-develop downtown, this strategy has failed miserably while adding to the city’s stock of Section 8 housing.

I’m not saying that  Lee is “slipshod” or “greedy.” After all, he’s a businessman, and he saw an opportunity. These teeny-tiny apartments look kind of nice from the kiss-ass photos I saw, but why would “young professionals” want to live in Peabody Square right now?

I come back to this again and again in this space, but the beat goes on when it comes to Peabody not having an overall strategy to turn things around downtown. Someone in community development needs to FINALLY understand that turning prime locations in the downtown into lower income housing is NOT the way you create economic development that will have a positive impact on our tax base and our community.

We continue to have what amounts to ill-advised patch-work tactics rather than an actual, sustainable, actionable community development plan. We have a passionate mayor who I feel truly wants to get things rolling downtown in an effort to create more revenue for the city, and take some of the burden off residential payers. But then we also have a community development department that totally lacks vision.

So, we all watch as our taxes rise, and we continue to approve unsightly billboards as a way to create much-needed revenue for infrastructural  improvements, a much-needed new middle school, and to pay for a regional vocational school that is part grandiose educational facility, part scam to feed the state’s hack-o-rama.

So, congrats to Mr. Lee on his wondrous new apartments, which I hear have a trendy new address: 17 Peabody Square. After all, it’s not his fault that this is what passes in Peabody for sensible city planning.

Update: All-Pro given yet another chance to clean up its messy situation

24 Jul

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

The saga continues in the case of All-Pro Landscaping, which — courtesy of Peabody’s good ole boy political network — got  treated with kid gloves again last night.

tank

A large chemical storage tank on the All-Pro Landscaping property.

The Conservation Commission says it will give All-Pro Landscaping, which is polluting wetlands with asphalt and other debris, another 45 days to clean up its mess. While All-Pro has been ignoring  calls to clean up its mess, the city has allowed them to continue operating behind Latitude Sports Club.

For those keeping score, the Con Com issued the same exact edict on All-Pro at its June 11th meeting. But move along … there’s nothing to see here.

There was also a further smoke screen laid down last night by some Con Com members, who tried to deflect responsibility from All-Pro by asking  if they should instead fine the actual property owner. All-Pro is just a tenant on the property.

So why is the city dragging it’s feet, and  sitting on it hands here with what seems like a fairly straight forward set of violations?

A lot of people are wondering if it has anything to with the fact that the ALL-Pro owner and his family are as politically connected as it gets in Ward 5, where this situation exists. For months, the ward councilor has been working behind the scenes to ensure that certain city departments take it easy on All-Pro, and last night the same councilor was at the Con Com meeting trying to smooth things over again.

I guess that’s the type of personal constituent service you get for putting up hundreds of his campaign signs, and working behind the scenes to ensure that developers get on board and help elect a guy who will keep the good times rolling up on Route 1.  With this councilor, it seems like the rights of developers come first, and your quality of life isn’t really all that important. But we Ward 5 residents are used to it. After all, that kind of approach has been going on here for more than 25 years.

If you are a developer or a  buddy of the ward councilor, you get what you want. If not, it’s like a scene from Oliver Twist. “Please sir … I want some more.”

Last night, they even brought in another one of the ward councilor’s buds, a Pine Street neighbor, who told  the Con Com that the owner of All-Pro was a wonderful neighbor. Yeah, we hear he rescues cute little stray dogs in between spraying lawns with chemicals.

By now, feel free to say that my rant here is also politically motivated. You may be partly right, and that’s OK to say.

But then there are those pesky little things called the facts:

DelNegro  isn’t involved with Peabody politics, and is just trying to do her job, which is to protect our environmental health and welfare. She says that All-Pro is NOT in compliance with the law, and hasn’t been for several months. She seems frustrated over the situation, and who could blame her at this point? The woman is just trying to do what we pay her to do.

So now, All-Pro gets one more chance.

Who knows? Maybe in 45 days the Con Com will give them another chance, and another 45 days. And when they do, maybe they’ll tell the All-Pro guys this time we REALLY mean it!

I guess there really are two sets of rules in Peabody. One special set for those who are politically connected, and another set for the rest of us.

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