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Question 1: The Road you should take is to vote yes

29 Oct

(This is the second in a series of posts bringing you the The Eye’s view when it comes to the state ballot questions in Nov. 4th’s election. Today, we look at Question 1, which if passed would keep the state’s gas tax from rising with inflation.)

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Opponents of Question 1 try to make the argument that inflation means less buying power, and in a few years — if this question passes — we might need to rename the Tobin … London Bridge.

Tobin Bridge is no London Bridge

Tobin Bridge is no London Bridge

Settle down there Question 1 opponents. If this thing passes, which it’s likely to do in Tuesday’s State election, Tobin Bridge is not falling down.

For those still unaware, a yes vote on Question 1 will over-turn a vote taken by our solons to tie or index the state gas tax to inflation. In other words, if inflation rises, the gas tax automatically does too.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the scary TV ads put out by AAA about how a yes vote will create some sort of roadway apocalypse from Stockbridge to Boston. It’s ridiculous, since if Question 1 passes, 24 cents of every gallon of gas you purchase will still go toward exclusively paying for roadway construction, repair and maintenance in Massachusetts.

Look, I don’t think many people are arguing against a much-needed gas tax to pay for these repairs. What we object to, though, is allowing our elected officials off the hook when it comes to raising our taxes.

If Question 1 fails, our representatives on Beacon Hill will be free to wring their hands and say how it wasn’t they who raised your taxes. If was that nasty ole inflation!

Let’s keep holding those who consider raising our taxes accountable. If they need more money for roads and bridges, let them stand before we the people and justify that while voting on the record.

Let’s not keep this index, which is essentially a form of “taxation without representation.”

Vote YES on Question 1.

Who will benefit from recent negative campaigning, Moulton or Tisei?

21 Oct

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Is it the case of a candidate just “playing defense” in the wake of his opponent’s recent negative TV ads? Or, has the race for Congress in the Massachusetts 6th Congressional District simply turned nasty on both sides?

Well, I will say that — if Democrat Seth Moulton is just playing “D”  — he appears to have chosen a rugged style that would make Zdeno Chara smile.

Just days after Republican Richard Tisei’s campaign released an attack trying to portray Moulton as being in the pockets of Wall Street bankers — in other words, making him look more like a Republican than Tisei himself — the Democrat’s campaign released the ad below.

But both candidates are definitely guilty at this point of taking one of the nasty pages out of John Tierney’s playbook. As you might recall, Tierney two years ago tried to paint the moderate Tisei as an agent of the “evil” Tea Party, and it almost cost the incumbent Congressman the election.

By the way, with two weeks to go, polls are pretty much showing that this race is a dead heat, so negative campaigning at this point is most-definitely a risky venture.  The tactic sometimes isn’t bad for catching up, but most people deplore crazy attacks, and the strategy has a tendency to backfire with polls showing the final outcome within the margin of error.

You’ll recall that Moulton had an 8-point lead a few days after the primary, so maybe the negative tactics by Tisei are working. But for Moulton, I feel that going negative is a much riskier proposition. Tisei is a likable guy, and isn’t seen as a crazy right winger by most of those voters who live their lives in the sensible center.

Here’s the negative Moulton ad to which I refer. Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Which candidate for Congress has the better strategy in his latest ads? Let me know

20 Oct

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Interesting approach here by both campaigns as we close in on Nov. 4th, and  the final election for Congress in the Massachusetts 6th Congressional District.

Looks like Seth Moulton’s campaign is going with the more positive approach, while Richard Tisei — who this space has always seen as more of a nice guy than a pitbull — is going in the opposite direction after two pretty negative ads.

Take at look at the latest ads from each of the campaigns, and let me know what you think. I’m going to hold my fire for now, and then weigh in based on your comments.

Here’s the latest Moulton ad:

Here’s the latest Tisei ad:

Welcome to the ‘Bizarro World’ of Tisei the ‘Democrat’

17 Oct

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Up is down. Down is up. We say goodbye when we arrive, and hello when we leave.

Welcome to the Bizarro World of North Shore politics, where a “Republican” is trying to make himself look like a Democrat, while portraying the real Democrat as evil, shady, and out of touch with the little guy. Superman, where are you now that we need you?

Confused yet?

Will the real Richard Tisei (right) and the real Seth Moulton, please stand up? (Photo from CBS. Channel 4, Boston)

Will the real Richard Tisei (right), real Seth Moulton, please stand up?
(CBS. Channel 4, Boston photo)

Well, I definitely am after viewing a new video put out by “Republican” Richard Tisei’s campaign. (see below).

In it, Tisei’s camp paints Democrat Seth Moulton, who he opposes in the MA 6th Congressional District election on Nov. 4th, as some shadowy character right out of a vampire movie.

Not only that, but Tisei the “Republican” tries to confuse us further in the ad by insinuating that Moulton is aligned with Wall Street instead of Main Street.

Hey Richard, I know that it’s tough here in Blue Mass. to win as a Republican, so maybe I understand this tactic. A little anyhow. But this truly is the Bizarro World moment of your campaign.

I mean, what are you saying? That, if elected, you won’t be voting with the same  Republican dudes who are famous for putting billions of dollars in the pockets of Wall Street bankers, but that Moulton the Democrat would? Great. Speaker Boehner is going to really enjoy introducing you to his buddies in the Cloakroom.

Just when Mr. Speaker was wondering how he was going to explain to these intolerant Neanderthals that Tisei was gay and married, now he has to tell them that the freshman Congressman from Massachusetts is against corporate welfare?

Steve Chabot will really be thrilled, especially after he also learns that Tisei  won’t join in on a coup to impeach the President.

By the way, in the ad, one of those scary announcer voices also asks  who is Seth Moulton and who is “behind his campaign?”

I’m not sure that Tisei knows that answer himself.

A couple of weeks ago, after I wrote a positive piece here about Moulton, I got a call from one of the leaders of Tisei’s campaign. During our conversation, he told me that I was all wrong about Moulton being pragmatic, and that the former Marine Capitan and Harvard-educated businessman was actually some sort of stealth extreme left winger.

I wasn’t buying it, but now I’m really confused after this ad. Does the Tisei camp now feel that Moulton is a stealth Republican? Or, is it simply a case that they had Marissa DeFranco write the video script as part of her endorsement?

Maybe what we should be asking at this point is: “Who is the real Richard Tisei?”

Time for a little ‘Kumbaya’ between fellow Democrats Tierney and Moulton

16 Oct

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Has John Tierney turned his back on a fellow Democrat?

Has John Tierney turned his back on a fellow Democrat?

It has Democrats, even reformed ones like me, wondering when we should file the missing persons report, and use his official MC head shot on the side of the milk carton.

Where have you gone John Tierney?

And, more importantly, why haven’t you endorsed Democrat Seth Moulton for the seat you’ll vacate come January?

Me thinks our current, long-term Congressman — the Liberal Lion of Lynn, the Sage of Salem, the Peabody Professor, the Baron of Beverly — is more than a little reluctant to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” with his fair-haired successor.

After a brutal primary season, during which each campaign participated in a lot of nasty “nah, nah, boo, boo” antics in mail pieces and television commercials, the iciness continues as Moulton battles an old Tierney nemesis, Republican Richard Tisei, just 20 days before Nov. 4th’s final bout in the MA 6th Congressional District.

As is tradition, when Moulton upset Tierney in the primary, the victor and vanquished called each other to congratulate and console. But we’re hearing that the Congressman wasn’t too pleased with the level of sincerity when Moulton called him to try and smooth things over after the two spent so much time tossing haymakers and upper cuts.

The story goes that, during a call, Tierney perceived that Moulton was trying to distance himself from the nasty attacks made on the Congressman during the campaign. Those weren’t Moulton’s true feelings, Congressman.  That was strategy!

Not having been on the call myself, I’m not sure if Tierney has a good case for interpreting Moulton’s message that way, but I do know one thing:

Gentlemen, there was enough nastiness to go around on both sides. You both did what you could to win, and at times it just wasn’t pretty. But Moulton won fairly, and it’s time for some “Kumbaya.”

A while back, one of my Irish-American relatives asked me if I ever heard of a condition known as “Irish Alzheimer’s.”

“Irish Alzheimer’s?” I responded in quizzical fashion.

“Yeah,” said my relative. “You forget about everything except your grudges.”

Unless John Tierney wants to go the Marissa DeFranco renegade route and endorse Tisei, it’s time for him to forget his grudges and do the right thing as a Democrat.

It’s time for Tierney to tell his still very large base of supporters to unite behind Democrat Seth Moulton.

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

A nice ‘problem’ to have for the voters of the 6th District

16 Oct

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

When the primary was over, and Seth Moulton’s raiders had stormed the castle, those of us for whom politics is like an intoxicating drug, went to bed that night all giddy. We had what we figured was a “dream” candidate for Congress in the MA 6th District.

John Tierney, the anachronistic liberal, was history, and Moulton, the Clean Marine with the multiple Harvard business degrees was a new type of Democrat, headed off to save the day in our dysfunctional capital. We political junkies with the “D” next to our names rejoiced, and looked forward to a victory on Nov. 4th.

Seth Moulton

Seth Moulton

Richard Tisei

Richard Tisei

Overall, I still feel that way. After all, for quite some time. I’ve  been a Democrat in exile. As pragmatic leaders of my party were replaced by far left ideologues, who cared more about the rights of polar bears and illegal immigrants than the needs of America’s middle class, I drifted away from my party.

But Moulton’s upset of Tierney brought me back into what suddenly again felt like a “big tent” of ideas for we wayward Dems. Oh sure, Moulton campaigned against Tierney while leaning on the dreaded “progressive” label. But as a conservative Democrat, I’ve been OK with that, since I also see a huge level of pragmatism with this candidate. I truly believe, after all, that Seth Moulton feels it’s better to focus on getting our struggling economy going and protecting the homeland,  than it is for us to all hold hands and hug a tree.

Now, though, as we creep within 20 days of the election, there’s a problem, Peabody, for those of us who were looking forward to a Moulton coronation:

Republican Richard Tisei is not only an impressive candidate, he’s a really good guy. Like Seth Moulton, I feel he’d be an excellent and effective Congressman.

Last night, Tisei made an impromptu appearance on my “You Make The Call” television show on Peabody Access Telecommunications. I gave up my chair and my co-host Dick Jarvis interviewed Mr. Tisei for a little more than 30 minutes. By the end, we were all impressed with Tisei’s answers, and his genuine likability. We were close or in full agreement on several important issues. We spoke after the show too, and both Dick and I left the studios with a favorable view of Tisei as a person.

Immediately after the show, I received a text from a friend, who’s a big Tisei supporter. It read: “How can you not vote for him? He’s awesome.”

I couldn’t disagree, although there are so many things that also make me still feel that Seth Moulton will be an outstanding Congressman for the 6th District.

This is why now, as the giddiness of primary night fades, I feel that many voters will have a tough time choosing a candidate on Nov. 4.

In the end, though, it’s one of those proverbial nice problems to have.

After all, this is one of those rare times in life where you can’t go wrong.

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

As endorsements go, this one is peculiar, but we’ve come to expect that from DeFranco

15 Oct

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Pardon me for using this old cliché, but politics do indeed make strange bedfellows.

Actually, maybe strange is the wrong word here.

How about bizarre? Or, oddly peculiar?

defranco

Marissa DeFranco changes teams

Perennial fringe candidate Marisa DeFranco, who many would argue makes Bernie Sanders look like a Tea Partier, is endorsing Republican Richard Tisei for Congress instead of Democrat Seth Moulton.

Fresh off not being even a minor player in the Democratic State Primary in the 6th District Congressional race, during which Moulton ousted incumbent John Tierney, DeFranco’s latest cry for attention seems, well …

I like “oddly peculiar, since it fits DeFranco perfectly.

So far, she’s tilted at windmills while running for Peabody councilor at-large, US Senate and Congress, all while taking stances on issues that make her more akin to Khrushchev than Kennedy.

And now, she’s endorsing a … gasp!  … Republican?!

Oh Marissa, you’re making your buds in the SEIU cry!

But, he’s a “commonsense Republican,” DeFranco says of Tisei.

Good grief! Lenin must be spinning in his Red Square crypt now that Comrade Marissa has sold her soul to the Party of Lincoln, Reagan and two Bushes.

Could a pundit job on Fox News be far off for fair Marissa?

Of course, leave it to the Moulton campaign to come up with the perfect response to this “shocking” turn of events.

“In the primary, Seth was accused of being a Republican — turns out it was actually Marisa DeFranco,” Moulton campaign spokeswoman Carrie Rankin told the Salem News.

By the way, just a tip for the Tisei campaign: Whatever you do, don’t bring Marissa campaigning with you at the Peabody Portuguese War Veterans Post.

Back in 2001, most female candidates, including former Democratic State Rep Joyce Spilliotis, weren’t bothered by the tradition of a men’s dinner at the Post. It wasn’t that big of a deal, and out of respect for these men who bravely served their country, most female politicians used commonsense and met voters at the bar.

But not looney Marissa. She brought suit and took these veterans’ money when it came to damages, and legal fees. As women’s rights victories go, it wasn’t exactly Roe v. Wade, but it was Marissa’s “Rosa Parks Moment.”

Who knows?

Now that Marissa DeFranco is a Republican fellow traveler, maybe she’ll look the other way next time when some old dudes try to leave their wives for a night to have dinner with their war buddies.

If anyone knows when Marissa will be co-hosting with Megyn Kelly on Fox, can you please let me know?

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Cleaning out my mind: Cole on (blog) message, signing off, and don’t mess with a mom

15 Oct

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Cleaning out the notepad of the mind today while while contemplating where I can buy a hazmat suit to protect myself from Ebola …

It’s always rewarding, and also entertaining, when this space is able to force a candidate off message to respond to what’s written here, by me, a guy who’s just some snarky know-it-all from the neighborhood.

Leah Cole  loves this blog!

Leah Cole loves this blog!

You see, that’s exactly what happened last night to Republican State Rep Leah Cole, who spent much of her debate against Democratic challenger Beverley Griffin Dunne not talking about her accomplishments as a state legislator, but defending herself against what’s been written here in The Eye.

Although Cole didn’t mention this blog directly during a forum for 12th Essex District candidates at the Peabody Access Telecommunications studios, she might as well have.

After all, instead of talking mainly about her humble accomplishments the past 18 months as as Peabody’s freshman solon on Beacon Hill, there was a lot of “beep, beep, beep.”

She attempted to defend herself against me writing how she is less experienced and qualified to be State Rep than Dunne, and how Cole’s right wing tendencies make her an even less effective elected official when it comes to bringing home the bacon to Peabody.

“This time I’m the candidate with the most experience,” the 25-year-old said of her long 18 months as an elected official, a contention that I’m sure drew more than few snickers from the control room.

But the best moment in my mind came when Leah huffed that it was a “false attack” to say that she was in with the highly conservative wing of the GOP on Beacon Hill.

Come on Leah, be proud of who you are. America’s a great country, where you can be anything you want, including an angry, intolerant, sky-is-always-falling right winger. Those are you heroes, embrace them openly. After all, even some of my best friends are Neanderthals . . .

Sign of our times is going, going …

Pole dance:  This sign is going, going ...

Pole dance: This sign is going, going ….

I haven’t been past it myself yet, but a few of my “moles” today have told me that the obnoxious, giant billboard hard by Lowell Street and next to the Subway sandwich shop is finally coming down.

But while I’m sure you’ll be seeing victory dances by credit-grabbing elected officials, I’ll remind you again that the only reason it’s coming down is because the city struck a deal with Outdoor Media Corp to give them two new locations for their dirty signs.

And while we bid adieu to the Subway billboard monstrosity, we’re still dealing with other billboards, including the obnoxious digital one that somehow got approval behind the Hess gas station. That sign is just a few hundred yards away from the one that’s coming down, so enjoy your hollow victory, folks. …

This makes us all very Epi!

Kristie DeLoreto for School Committee?

Kristie DeLoreto for School Committee?

Never, ever mess with a determined mom on a mission! That’s the message I’m taking from the Peabody School Committee’s decision last night to approve the installation of Epi-cabinets in all of our schools.

These cabinets will contain Epinephrine, a drug used to save the lives of people having severe allergic reactions.

Getting the Epi-cabinets approved, and making our schools safer for children with severe allergies, was the culmination of a crusade by Kristie DeLoreto, a mom who has personal experience with the dangers faced by children who can become severely ill because of allergic reactions.

Although she had help from several moms during their campaign, DeLoreto is the driving force behind the Allergy and Asthma Awareness Initiative of Peabody.

The group fist brought this to the attention of the school committee back in January, and kept on our elected officials to get it done.

“Peabody is going to be a pioneer in the raising awareness around asthma and allergies,” DeLoreto wrote on her Facebook page this morning. “The support we have received from the Superintendent, the Mayor, the school committee, the school principals, the school nurses, the teachers, staff and parents and students is nothing short of remarkable, and I’m so proud of all that we’ve been able to do!”

Now, here’s hoping that Ms. DeLoreto, who’s involved in several Peabody activities when it comes to improving quality of life for young families pulls papers next spring to run for school committee herself.

Great job, Kristie and company!

New live ‘You Make The Call’ show tonight

Got nothing to do tonight betweem 8 and 9 p.m.? Then tune into PAT Channel 99 for a new, live “You Make The Call” show. I plan to take that curmudgeon Dick Jarvis to task on several issues. :)

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Question 2: Yes vote is giving big-spending pols more of your money to waste

13 Oct

(This is the first in a series of posts bringing you the The Eye’s view when it comes to the state ballot questions in Nov. 4th’s election. Today, we look at Question 2, which would expand the current bottle law to include deposits on all non-alcoholic drink containers)

 By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Thirty years ago, when the bottle law was enacted in Massachusetts, it made sense to enforce a nickel deposit on soda and beer bottles and cans. It cleaned up our roadways, and even gave some enterprising, “urban pioneers” a means for making some extra cash to buy some cheap adult beverages.

We won't need to give pols more of our money. We already know how to recycle

We won’t need to give pols more of our money. We already know how to recycle

But here we are in 2014, and more than 90% of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns have comprehensive curbside recycling programs. Not only don’t we need to expand the bottle law, we should be repealing the law we enacted in 1983.

Make no mistake. This is no longer about keeping our roadways clean. It’s more about a larger pig fest by our state government. Per usual, the more money we give state government, the more it spends, and when people don’t return their empty bottles to their local stores, that money goes into the state’s general fund.

Last year, that meant spend-crazy state elected officials got more than $40 million of your hard-earned money after you decided to avoid a major, messy hassle and simply put your returnables into your curbside recycling bin.

No wonder why careless-spending State Reps such as Ted Speliotis are drooling over the prospects of Question 2 passing,

Don’t believe the red-herring from far left extremist groups such as MASSPIRG that Question 2 is designed to clean up our environment.

Voting yes on Question 2 is no different than voting to raise your own taxes.

Moulton: It’s not about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about We The People

4 Oct

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

There’s a line at the end of a recent article in the Newburyport Daily News that caught my attention, and made me again feel that Seth Moulton is the most-impressive local candidate for office I can recall in my lifetime.

Seth Moulton

Seth Moulton

The article was from coverage of a Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce event, and during his speech Moulton recalled something that stuck with him after meeting an elderly voter at the Agawam Diner in Rowley.

“My host took me over to an older gentleman who has met many, many candidates over the years,” Moulton recalled during his speech.

“He told me, ‘Don’t go down there (to Washington) as a Democrat or as a Republican. Go as an American.’ And that’s what I will do if elected.”

If you’re reading this right now, and don’t find that refreshing, my only guess would be that you’re so caught up in either your own far left or far right ideology that you have lost sight of what government should be there to do for us.

Doing the business of people isn’t about ideology and obstructionism. It’s about being pragmatic, and ensuring that all Americans are allowed their own pursuit of happiness.

No pragmatic American wants the government to be interfering with every aspect of their lives. But at the same time, unless you simply don’t care about other people, we understand that it’s necessary for our society to take care of those who truly can’t take care of themselves.

No pragmatic American wants the government starting wars over the interests of multi-national corporations. But, unless you insanely think that terrorists can be negotiated with, then you understand that America needs to use its military to fight tyranny wherever it exists, and make our homeland safe.

No pragmatic American really wants to see every illegal immigrant, many of whom are working menial jobs just to make a few bucks to send back home, arrested and thrown in chains. But every American should care about securing our border, and about ensuring that our tax dollars are not being gobbled by illegal immigrant welfare cheats with multiple EBT cards.

I could go on, but I won’t, other than to say that I feel strongly that people want a government that works so well that you hardly even notice it’s there.

Elected officials shouldn’t tax us to death, and be wasteful in their spending.  But we get it too. Taxes as necessary when it comes to providing for a national defense, ensuring that our roads and bridges are safe, and taking care of people who truly can’t do it on their own. Taxes are necessary in a civilized society.

Federally elected officials also need to leave us alone locally when it comes to public education, and stop fighting old battles, on the left and the right, when it comes to social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion.

Personally, I’m opposed to abortion, but I also believe that a women’s right to choose should never be taken away.

Personally, I feel that government should leave “marriage” to religious institutions. Yet, I also feel it’s time for people to stop fighting against same-sex marriage laws. That battle is over, and society has not fallen into an abyss sent from God.

It’s time for commonsense to prevail, and for us to pull together as a society.

It’s time to make government work, and to do so, we need new people in Congress like Seth Moulton. He’s pragmatic and gets it.

It’s not about Democrats. It’s not about Republicans. It’s about elected officials working for We the People.

Well said, Seth.

 

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