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Recount confirms Charest win in Ward 4, Hochman will further contest results

19 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Although it’s not quite as significant of a news story as the 2000 Florida Presidential Primary dispute, it appears that last night’s recount of the vote in Peabody’s Ward 4 Councilor election wasn’t enough to settle matters.


Ed Charest

For the record, there was no change following a professionally managed recount by City Clerk Tim Spanos and his team. As was determined on Election Day just over two weeks ago, Ed Charest still held a four-vote lead over Jarrod Hochman.

But while Charest celebrated with his supporters, including outgoing school committee member Dave McGeney and his family, Hochman continued to dispute the final results.

We’ll follow this as we can, and bring you more details, but for now, here’s what Jarrod Hochman posted on Facebook this morning to his supporters:

From Jarrod Hochman via Facebook


Jarrod Hochman

The recount occurred last night. The Clerk’s office and staff as well as the Election Commission and staff performed their functions admirably and with class and dignity. I thank them all for that.

I also wish to thank my supporters and observers for taking time from their already too busy and complicated schedules to volunteer on my behalf, I am flattered and humbled by their generosity in time and affection.

While the “count” did not change for my opponent or myself, good and valuable information developed before and after the recount. Sufficient ballots are under protest, as well as numerous procedural and legal questions remain that are not able to be addressed at the recount phase, which exceed the differential in this race. We have solid grounds to bring this matter for judicial review and that is precisely what will occur. The result is still in question.

I will provide updates as things proceed.

Thank you again for all of your support, it is heard and appreciated!

More potentially interesting developments to come. Stay tuned.


Withdrawing recommendation for Ward 4 Councilor

2 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

People can like, hate, or be totally disinterested in what I write here, but the last thing I ever want them to say is that I lack integrity. So, tonight, based on information I just learned and confirmed today, I can no longer recommend that you vote for Jarrod Hochman in tomorrow’s election for Ward 4 Councilor.

I’m going to decline at this point to reveal why, but it involves something I learned today that started as gossip, but then was confirmed by an official source. When further details emerge from official sources, I will write about it here, but for now I can’t in good conscience endorse Mr. Hochman.

Hochman’s opponent in tomorrow’s Ward 4 election is Ed Charest.

The rest is up to the voters of Ward 4.

Here’s a look at our final endorsements in all of the races in tomorrow’s election. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Our recommendations for Tuesday’s Peabody City Election, please vote

29 Oct


By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

election-2015Come next Tuesday, Nov. 3, another Peabody City Election day will be before us.  That day, there are many interesting races, and several new candidates competing for your votes. The following are this blog’s straight-forward recommendations for who you should consider. Polls are open 7 8 p.m. that day. Please go out and vote!

Ward 1 Councilor

South Peabody has two very solid candidates from which to choose, but I recommend that you cast your vote for neighborhood activist Jon Turco, who has worked tirelessly on his campaign since late last winter.

Turco is my pick because I feel that he truly understands what the job of ward councilor is all about. Although having a noteworthy resume as a businessperson is always an asset on the city council, what Turco would bring is more important to the role of ward councilor, the most-local of all elected offices in any community. Turco has the regular-guy appeal, and passion to defend the neighbors on all quality of life issues. He’ll be easy-going and approachable, and those are the right qualities for a ward councilor.


Councilor At-Large

Tom Walsh

Tom Walsh

Each of the five incumbents have had a very good year so far when it comes to defending the quality of life of residents, and because of that I recommend that Tom Walsh, Tom Gould, Mike Garabedian, Dave Gravel and Anne Manning-Martin get your votes.

The lone challenger in the race, Ward 5 resident Peter Bakula, is a good guy who has worked hard to make Peabody a better place through his involvement in different community activities, but it’s hard to argue against the performance lately of the five incumbents.

School Committee

With the guarantee of at least two new members being added to this embattled board, voters will have a chance to create huge change. This is one reason why I recommend that you use your three votes on the following three new candidates:

Brian Addesa

Brian Addesa

Brian Addesa is a highly qualified educational leader and dad, who is the most-independent of all the candidates competing for these three seats. He’ll bring a straight-forward, yet professional approach to school issues, and always and only be on the side of parents and taxpayers.

As an attorney and CPA, John Olimpio has the professional business experience that has been sorely lacking by the current school committee members. Although the educational aspects of what the school committee does is ultimately the most-important part of the job, school committee members also need to understand their role when it comes to looking out for precious taxpayer dollars.

Finally, educator and dad Joe Amico is worthy of one of your three votes. Amico gets it when it comes to all of the important issues, and while I feel he’s a little too fiscally liberal, in the end it’s my opinion that he’ll be an independent thinker on a school board in dire need of new ideas.

Turco tops primary for Ward 1 Councilor; Barrett second

29 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

turcoJust a quick post tonight to let everyone know that Jon Turco beat Brian Barrett by 26 votes today to top the ticket in the primary for Ward 1 Peabody City Councilor.

Ann Quinn placed third.

Turco and Barrett will now square off in the final election on Nov. 3rd for the seat left vacant by Barry Osborne.

Run Tom, run: Peabody needs Walsh on Beacon Hill

29 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

If you know him, call him. If you see him on the street, encourage him.

Tom Walsh for State Rep

Tom Walsh for State Rep

Peabody needs Councilor At-Large Tom Walsh to run in the soon-to-be-announced special election for State Rep in the 12th Essex District.

Since the passing of Joyce Spiliotis three years ago, Peabody has struggled when it comes to getting the assistance and resources it needs from the State Legislature. But Tom Walsh would not be a back-bencher. He would not quit in mid-term. He would give Peabody what it needs in the Great and General Court:

A mature adult, who would command respect from the leadership on Beacon Hill, and use his experience and intelligence as an elected official to help Peabody get the local aid it needs, and constituents get the help and services they desire.

No offense to announced Republican candidate Jaclyn Corriveau, who I feel is smart and has a bright political future in Peabody, but Walsh has way more experience and would be way more effective at this stage on Beacon Hill.

No thanks to announced Republican candidate Stephanie Peach, the former aide to Rep Leah Cole. Cole is causing Peabody to go without representation in the House for the next six months, and is costing taxpayers the price of yet another special election. Cole quits at mid-term and her aide Peach takes over? Fool us once, shame on you, fool us twice . . .

And no way to perennial State Rep candidate Jim Moutsoulas. Hey Demo, how about concentrating on doing the job of Ward 3 Councilor a few more years, and then calling it career.

Tom Walsh, Peabody’s former State Rep, who then did an outstanding job as a school committee member, and now Councilor At-Large is what Peabody needs.

He has the experience, and he’s a responsible adult.  He gets it. Like the late-great Spiliotis, he knows what is required to give Peabody the representation it needs now more than ever.

So … call him, encourage him. Tell Tom Walsh that we need him on Beacon Hill.

Republicans ‘pulling the chute’ when it comes to State Rep special election

22 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Yesterday we learned that Leah Cole would give her employers – the taxpayers of Peabody – just one week’s notice while quitting her job as State Rep.

It appears that Peabody's Republicans will be flying this flag in the upcoming State Rep special election

It appears that Peabody’s Republicans will be flying this flag in the upcoming State Rep special election

And today, we hear that her friends in the city’s Republican Party won’t put up much of a fight when it comes to allowing the seat Cole is abandoning at mid-term to turn blue again.

On Monday, Ipswich State Rep and Mass GOP leader Brad Hill said in the local dying daily newspaper that his party would have a “viable candidate” for the seat once held by legendary Democrat Rep Joyce Spiliotis.

But after hearing about what came out of the Peabody Republican City Committee’s “emergency meeting” last night, it makes me wonder if Hill had been misquoted by a reporter who has a reputation for getting things wrong.

After all, it appears that Peabody City Republicans have – like Ms. Cole – pulled the chute.

They’re giving up by backing two totally unknown candidates to defend the seat won in fluke-like style three years ago after city Democrats “ate their own candidates.”

It’s always great to see young people get involved in politics, but after an undistinguished three years at the State House by one twentysomething rep, I’m not sure Peabody voters have the stomach to let another one take her place. But that’s what the Republicans are selling while looking forward to a primary “showdown” between a couple of pretty much unknown young women named Stephanie Peach and Jaclyn Corriveau.

But it’s not only Peach and Corriveau’s lack of experience, and clearly I’d rather have one of them in office than some of Peabody’s current elected officials. It’s more a case that neither has ANY all-important name recognition, which brings me to this point:

Where is newly minted Republican Anne Manning-Martin?

Ms. Corriveau joining the race means that the Peabody City Councilor won’t run now for the seat being deserted by Cole. After all, Anne is Jaclyn’s friend and political mentor. Corriveau is Manning-Martin’s campaign manager.

Peach, meanwhile, has been serving as Leah Cole’s aide on Beacon Hill.

Barring Dave Gravel or anyone else jumping into the fray as a “third-party” candidate, the Democrats are likely to easily take back this seat in the soon-to-be-announced special election.

If popular City Councilor Tom Gould wants to be state rep, he can have the seat by just bringing back the required signatures on his nomination papers. Gould vs. Peach or Corriveau? That would be like the Patriots playing Peabody High.

City Councilor Tom Walsh would win in a romp too over Ms. Peach or Ms. Corriveau. So too would Beverley Dunne, who would have beaten Cole handily three years ago if Gravel didn’t split her vote.

It’s clear that the Peabody Republicans have decided to not field a competitive candidate, which leaves us continue wondering why Ms. Manning-Martin changed her D to an R.

No need for primary after Wojcik drops out of race for Peabody School Committee

28 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Travis Wojcik

Travis Wojcik

The only Republican in the Peabody School Committee race — who made fiscal responsibility one of his themes during the recent televised “You Make The Call” candidate forum — has saved the city money by dropping out of the scheduled Sept. 29th primary.

Travis Wojcik, 19, announced yesterday that he was ending his campaign for school committee.

That eliminates the need for a primary, which would have trimmed the field of candidates from seven to six. The primary would have cost the city roughly $25,000, according Peabody City Clerk Tim Spanos. Per city charter, it’s required that the final school committee ballot only have six candidates.

Candidates Brian Addesa, Joe Amico, Andrew Arnotis, Michel Bonbon, Brandi Carpenter and John Olimpio each automatically advance to the final election ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Levine hits the jackpot as Peabody’s interim schools superintendent

27 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

File this under the category of things that make you want to scream as a taxpayer.

It has come to light that Peabody’s School Committee – on top of the $100K-plus fully loaded settlement with deposed superintendent Joe Mastrocola – is paying Herb Levine $158,400 to serve as interim super for the 2015-16 school year.

Herb Levine:

Herb Levine: “Mr. Interim Superintendent”

Not a bad take for Mr. Levine, a Peabody resident who has made a very nice living lately as an interim super. But, alas … there’s more!

According to his new Peabody contract, Levine, 67, will also receive 30 days paid vacation, up to 20 sick days, and a free trip (I say it’s a free vacation) to the annual superintendents’ junket in Phoenix in February.

But it gets even better! “Tell him what else he’s won, Don Pardo.”

Well, Herbie, of course, also gets to keep collecting his $118K a year taxpayer-funded pension as a retired full-time super.

And, then there’s a nice big piece of “cake” for Herb’s buddy, Charles Chaurette, who served as Levine’s second-in-command during their days together in Salem.

On Levine’s insistence, Chaurette – who already receives a $115K a year taxpayer-funded pension – will work three days a week and be paid $50,000 for the school year as interim school department human resources director.

Let’s face it, as jobs for retirees go, this certainly beats Levine and Chaurette having to collect the shopping carts at Hannaford, or hand out smiley face stickers at Walmart.

If you’re keeping score on this, so far the school committee’s decision to not keep Mastrocola for the final year of his contract will cost Peabody taxpayers — with all benefits and Chaurette’s salary included — almost $200,000 extra for the 2015-16 school year. Think about that the next time your kid says that the teacher needs you to donate boxes of Kleenex for the classroom because there isn’t enough money in the school’s supplies budget.

So why are we fleecing the taxpayers by automatically handing the interim job to Levine, a man who clearly has no concept of the phrase “hometown discount?” Well, by now, if you don’t feel that something stinks here, then maybe you should have your nose checked.

Peabody advertised the interim superintendent’s job this summer on an education job site, posted the job internally, and received 18 applications. But after this “nationwide search,” they interviewed no one while making Levine one of the wealthiest men in Peabody. The vote to hire Levine was 6-0, but Jarrod Hochman was the only member to vote against the odious contract everyone’s favorite educational hired gun eventually received.

The School Committee then sent out retiring member David McGeney, who no longer risks political peril, to do the dirty work of telling the Salem News that the application process was simply “procedural.” Apparently, none of the 17 other applicants were even worth talking to, since we all know that Mr. Levine has scary brilliance that makes him an overwhelming, without question, choice for this big pay day for he and his buddy.

Wonder why member Brandi Carpenter didn’t speak for the committee on this “brilliant” decision, which will now cost taxpayers an extra almost $200K this year? Wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that she’s battling for her life right now in an election year, and wants to run for cover from this decision that will have taxpayers — especially those seniors on fixed incomes — screaming for her political demise?

Brandi needs to realize that more than 80% of those who vote in every election are over the age of 60, and no longer have kids in Peabody’s schools. They are also the ones who haven’t exactly been thrilled to have their property taxes go up each year for the past 15 years.

But the voters shouldn’t ONLY blame her. Current school committee member Ed Charest is asking to be elected Ward 4 Councilor this fall. Great, just the type of fiscal irresponsibly we need on the City Council too!

The only saving grace for the taxpayers at this point is that at least two new faces will be on that school board come January, since two members are leaving. Hopefully, we the taxpayers can make it a clean sweep with three.

Has the phrase “time for a change” ever had greater meaning in a Peabody election?

Not in this lifetime.

These 5 only candidates worthy of your school committee votes

20 Aug
School Committee candidates (from left) Brian Addesa, Joe Amico, John Olimpio, Andrew Arnotis and Travis Wojcik

For School Committee: Brian Addesa, Joe Amico, John Olimpio, Andrew Arnotis and Travis Wojcik

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Officially, there are seven candidates running this fall for one of three seats on Peabody’s School Committee.  But in my opinion, only the five shown here are worthy of one of your three votes.


Well, each of them came on the “You Make The Call” cable show last night, and made themselves accessible to the voters of Peabody. It’s an important point, considering that the current school committee members haven’t exactly earned high grades lately for their communication skills.

As for the two who didn’t show, and didn’t make themselves accessible to the voters, it was their loss. And it could be a very big one. One of the no shows was this race’s only incumbent, which made us all wonder whether she needs to develop a thicker skin. Thankfully, most of Peabody’s elected officials understand that part of the job includes maturely being able to deal with the slings and arrows of public comment.

The five who came on last night are an impressive group, maybe the most-impressive I’ve seen when it comes to being at ease with answering questions and handling themselves under the lights.

Each of the five was totally at ease, and I’d personally feel comfortable voting for any of them.

If you missed it and would like to see these guys in action, we’ll re-run the program next Wednesday (Aug. 26), 8-9 p.m. on PAT Channel 99.

There’ll be a primary election on Sept. 29th to trim the field from seven to five. Just my opinion after last night, but the only candidates you should consider that day for your three voters are Brian Addesa, Joe Amico, Andrew Arnotis, John Olimpio and Travis Wojcik.

Candidates for school committee vie for your vote tonight in TV forum

19 Aug

‘You Make The Call’ show will air at 8 p.m. on PAT Ch. 99

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Brian Addesa

Brian Addesa

After a decade, we’re finally on the verge of an era of new ideas and independent thinking.  The upcoming city election will ensure that change is inevitable for Peabody’s School Committee.

Joe Amico

Joe Amico

By January, we’re guaranteed to have two new members of that board, and maybe three should current member Jarod Hochman win his race for Ward 4 Councilor.

Travis Wojcik

Travis Wojcik

But don’t dismiss the possibility that we could change four of the six seats this year, as several very viable and competitive challengers seek to not only fill the two currently vacant seats, but also go after incumbent Brandi Carpenter this November.

Tonight, on our “You Make The Call” television show (8-9 p.m., PAT Ch. 99), co-host Dick Jarvis and I will introduce and quiz the challengers for school committee. Five of the seven candidates for the three seats this fall will appear, as you the voter get to hear from Brian Addesa, Joe Amico, Andrew Arnotis, John Olimpio and Travis Wojcik.

Andrew Arnotis

Andrew Arnotis

John Olimpio

John Olimpio

If you ask me, the above five gentlemen should be the only ones you consider worthy of your three votes. After all, each has enthusiastically accepted this opportunity to speak to you, the voter.

Meanwhile, Carpenter has declined to appear on the show, and challenger Michel Bonbon has neither accepted nor declined the invitation. Make of that what you will.

But we hope you can tune in to what will be an excellent opportunity to hear from candidates who will change – hopefully for the better – the way Peabody’s School Committee operates.


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