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Moulton now has Tierney’s attention; did the incumbent get caught flat-footed?

26 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

As the race to become the Democratic nominee for Congress in the 6th District gets more interesting by the day, North Shore political pundits start to wonder if maybe incumbent John Tierney and his team got more than a little complement following some rosy polling data last spring.

Suddenly, incumbent John Tierney (right) can't simply ignore challenger Seth Moulton

Suddenly, incumbent John Tierney (right) can’t simply ignore Democratic challenger Seth Moulton

At the time, an internal campaign poll showed the incumbent leading challenger Seth Moulton by 47 percentage points, with just 20 percent undecided. It looked like the Tierney campaign could start spending its dry powder on “evil Republican” fundraising emails aimed at a November re-match against Richard Tisei, who lost to the incumbent by just one point two years ago.

Fast forward to today. Moulton, a Salem businessman with three degrees from Harvard and a resume that includes four combat tours in Iraq as a Marine captain, is hard-charging toward the Sept. 9th primary. He’s spending more than a million dollars on mail pieces and TV commercials, and at this point has all of the momentum.

The Moulton TV ads are clearly working, and this morning the Tierney camp was hit with some further “shock and awe” when the Boston Herald endorsed Moulton, writing “Tierney continues to run his stealth campaign, and we continue to be amazed that anyone would vote for him when there exists in Seth Moulton a smart, fresh-faced alternative.”

So what happened here? Did Team Tierney get caught flat-footed and all giddy following that April poll? Or, was it simply some of that legendary Tierney arrogance that allowed Moulton to make it a race.  Certainly, Tierney himself didn’t take Moulton seriously following that poll, and now watches in horror as Captain Seth races up from behind.

Whether Tierney will end up the Democrats’ version of Eric Cantor, still remains to be seen.

Moulton’s message is clearly resonating with Democrats, who are looking for new, bright leadership, and are fed up with the Pelosi Gang in Washington. But the question is whether there are enough of these type of pragmatic, centrist (and progressive) Democrats to overcome Tierney forces that are made up of the Tierney toadies who infest the Democratic city and town committees across the 6th District.

We shall see if Mr. Clean Marine can come all of the way back here, but at this point one thing is definitely clear:

Seth Moulton now has John Tierney’s attention.

‘Team Tierney’ proud of association with Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank

26 Aug

TierneyBy Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

At first, I thought this must be a joke. Perhaps, even, another one of those usually funny parodies by the fake news site The Onion.

But it wasn’t, and now I wonder if it’s about time that “Team Tierney” fired the person who writes these utterly laughable fundraising emails. Is the Committee to Re-Elect John Tierney to Congress serious here?

Do they really think that attaching their guy to two or the most-notorious and unpopular members of Congress in the history of our Republic is good strategy?

Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank?  Are they saying Tierney is cut from the same cloth of politicians who are so far left partisan, so divisive that each could be poster children for our highly dysfunctional government? (Click on the photo to check it out for yourself).

Who’s going to endorse Tierney next?

Al Sharpton?

How about Bill Ayers?

Although I do realize that these emails are mainly meant to squeeze money out of lefty loons and those with plenty of cash left on their EBT cards, to those of us in the mainstream (e.g., the real working classes), this sort of thing makes us wish we had more aggressive SPAM filters.

It also makes many mainstream Democrats wonder where they can donate to Tierney’s Democratic challenger Seth Moulton, or even Republican challenger Richard Tisei.

Speaking of Tisei, he too was the subject of another laughable Tierney campaign email that begged for money. Earlier this year, many of us received a Tierney message claiming that Richard Tisei was in cahoots and total agreement with some right wing members of Congress, who are vehemently anti-gay and anti-same-sex marriage.

Only problem with that particular garbage email was that  Tisei is gay and  married.

You just can’t make this stuff up!

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:

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.

Sighting a local hero and some curious political creatures at re-scheduled Ward 6 party

21 Jul

 

Sgt. Steve O'Hara, wife Jessica, and their children accept the Ward 6 "Heroes Among Us" award, flanked by Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz (left) and Mayor Ted Bettencourt

Sgt. Steve O’Hara, wife Jessica, and their children accept the Ward 6 “Heroes Among Us” award, flanked by Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz (left) and Mayor Ted Bettencourt. (Photo submitted courtesy of Doug Finnegan).

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

The re-scheduled Ward 6 Fourth of July party at Symphony Park this past Saturday featured a huge crowd, the traditional patriotic bike parade, the honoring of a local hero, and much more.

But it was also a day of some interesting sightings of local elected officials, and other political wanaabes.

Please read on, and we’ll get to the political stuff, but first it was wonderful to see a local hero honored for the work he’s done as a police officer.

West Peabody resident, and MBTA Transit Police Sgt. Steve O’Hara was acknowledged for his work in the areas of hostage negotiation/crisis intervention.

O’Hara, who received praise and a certificate from Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz and Mayor Ted Bettencourt, was recognized for talking a suicidal man out of jumping  from the top floor of an MBTA parking garage, and his work helping the family of a fellow officer, who was seriously wounded during the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers.

When Officer Richard Donohue was shot, it was O’Hara who was charged with informing the fallen officer’s wife, Kim. Kim later, in an emotional Facebook post, talked about how O’Hara’s wonderful approach to informing her, brought great comfort to the family.

Honoring O’Hara was part of an annual tradition of honoring a local hero at this ward party. It’s an awesome moment at what is always a terrific, well-organized event hosted by the Ward 6 Councilor.

But as I wrote off the top, it wasn’t only about bike parades and ceremonies for heroes.

***

As local politicos know, Ward 6 these days has one of the largest voter turnouts in the entire city, and showing up at Symphony on July 4th (or in this case, July 19th), is a must.

Here were some of my observations and sightings …

  • The biggest battle for the hearts and minds of Ward 6 voters will come in the race for State Rep in the 13th Essex District, and it wasn’t surprising to see both Democratic incumbent Ted Speliotis and his challenger, Republican Tom Lyons, in attendance. Both men thoroughly worked the crowd. Speliotis, who didn’t make an appearance at this ward party last year, seems to suddenly be shifting into campaign mode. Lyons may have held a slight home park advantage on Saturday, since he lives in the ward.
  • Good to see Congressman John Tierney in attendance. I say “see,” since he wasn’t doing a lot of mingling, and it was definitely noticeable when he didn’t say hello to party host Sinewitz. Wonder if that has something to do with the Ward 6 Councilor endorsing Tierney’s opponent in September’s Democratic primary, war hero and Marblehead businessman Seth Moulton? Moulton, who had planned to be at the party on July 4th, couldn’t attend the makeup date because of a family wedding.
  • Even though it’s not an election year for city councilors, it was nice to see Councilor At-Large Tom Walsh come to the party.
  • State Rep candidate Beverley Dunne shows off her basketball skills

    State Rep candidate Beverley Dunne shows off her basketball skills

    It was also nice to see candidate for State Rep Beverley Dunne show up, especially when you consider she’s running in the 12th Essex District, which doesn’t include Ward 6. The long-time school committee member clearly thinks community first, but it’s a good thing that she’s running for state rep and not hoping for a career in the WNBA. Her performance in the women’s free throw shooting contest was, well … let’s just say that at least she didn’t do any worse than fellow school committee member Brandi Carpenter. They both tried their hardest, even if they didn’t win the prize.

  • Showing off some nice basketball skills in the free throw contest was a Bettencourt. No, not the Mayor himself, who once starred for the Holy Cross basketball team. Peabody’s First Lady, Andrea Bettencourt, used a smooth follow through to take second place in the women’s free throw shootout.
  •  Finally, for those who care, I did have a “reunion” with an old political foe. Ward 5 Councilor Joel Saslaw chased me down across the basketball court to say hello, and give me an indication that he’s a big fan of this blog. “Bobby, Bobby, just wanted to say hello, even though you keep taking pot shots at me (in The Eye),” said Mr. Saslaw.

…  Oh, did I also mention that Curious Creatures brought some snakes to show the kids?

 

Pulling voting from Peabody’s schools continues to be a silly, waste-of-time issue

14 Jul

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

As far back as anyone can remember, residents of Peabody have been voting in schools. And as far back as anyone can recall, student safety on Election Day has never been an issue.

VoteBut that can’t stop Brandi Carpenter from wasting more valuable Peabody School Committee time on an issue that just isn’t an issue at all. The School Committee member, after all, is on a quest, a crusade, a hunt for justice and enlightenment.

Since 2008, it has been her primary and defining issue as an elected official:  She wants to move some of the city’s polling places, currently and conveniently located in school gyms, to alternative locations. 

How about supermarkets?

Or the North Shore Mall?

Hey, I have an idea, maybe we can have people walk barefoot, five miles uphill in the snow just to vote. I mean, we have such wonderful voter turnout these days, so inconveniencing people on Election Day couldn’t possibly be a problem. Right?

This “Carpenter Crusade” surfaced again today in a Salem News article by John Castelluccio, who set out to write about the city’s need to temporarily move the Higgins Middle School’s Ward 4 polling place while the new middle school was constructed. But John ended up poking Ms. Carpenter again on one of the silliest issues in recent school committee memory.

“It’s a long uphill battle,” Carpenter told The News of her quest to take voting out of schools, again making us all wonder … when, exactly is another member of the school committee going to ask Ms. Carpenter to move on so they can focus on REAL issues concerning our schools?

Well, the fact is, according to Ms. Carpenter, she and her esteemed school committee colleagues are giving the city’s election commission a little time to work out the current Higgins polling issue, but then … watch out! We’re coming right back at you Peabody election officials on this bigger, more cataclysmic issue.  That’s right, Carpenter says the school committee — with member Beverley Dunne being the only responsible dissenter of the six —  will waste more time next year on trying to force the city to move polling locations to places such as Hannaford Supermarket.

I can just see the wording on the ballot now: Vote for three for school committee, and while you’re at it, make sure you pick up some apples. They’re on sale four for a dollar.

Of course, I am being a little silly about the apples, but then again, a silly issue deserves some silly commentary. And how ironic and silly is it that Ms. Carpenter has suggested that voting be moved from some public schools and into at least two churches and temples that have children onsite for their own preschool programs?

Look, in all seriousness, no one is against safe schools.  If there is a real safety issue in Peabody’s schools, then we should be addressing fixing that problem first and foremost. But if we’re going to say that voting in schools causes a danger, why don’t we just totally give up right now, and lock the little darlings in a bubble in their bedrooms? That’ll keep ‘em safe.

There has never been a safety issue with people voting in Peabody schools, and the odds against there being one in the future are slim and none. And slim just left the building. You could actually argue that Election Day is the safest day of the year in Peabody’s public schools. After all, it’s the only day of the school year where there is at least one police officer onsite, on duty from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you have any common sense at all, you come to the quick, frightening  conclusion that those sick vermin who seek to hurt children are not going to wait until Election Day to do so. Early in this debate over taking voting out of Peabody’s schools, the tragedy of Sandy Hook was inappropriately evoked during one debate. Was it a scare tactic? Perhaps. More likely, though, it was an over-reaction by school committee members who need to focus on real issues.

Aren’t maniacs  less likely to strike on a day when there are police officers and lots of law-abiding adults around to potentially stop them?

Is there a true safety issue in our schools that we don’t know about? And if so, why don’t we address that instead of finding bad people amongst Peabody best citizens, who are only trying to conveniently exercise their ultimate right as Americans?

In these days when voter turnout continues to drop at an alarming rate, moving voting from our schools will only further confuse and inconvenience voters. The city’s election commission, including Peabody City Clerk Tim Spanos, is against uprooting voters, and so too are most of the city’s election officials.

It’s time for Ms. Carpenter to drop this silly crusade and move onto more important issues. Maybe the voters will even thank her come her own re-Election Day when they’re not inconvenienced by traffic trying to get to the mall to vote . 

Too bad Ward 3 residents, who voted for Moutsoulas, can’t ask for their votes back

10 Apr

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

If I were a Ward 3 resident who voted to elect Jim “Demo” Moutsoulas Ward 3 Councilor last fall, I’d be knocking on City Clerk Tim Spanos’ office door this morning to ask him … “where do I go to get my vote back?”

Why?

Jim Moutsoulos ... running on empty.

Moutsoulas: running on empty.

Well, apparently Demo doesn’t really want the job he’s held for just four months. Word is out that the current Ward 3 Councilor, who some refer to as the “bad penny of Peabody politics,” is planning to announce next week that he’s running for State Rep.

Then again, maybe this is just Demo being Demo. We’ve seen this from him in the past, so perhaps, we’ll hold fire – a little at least – until he ACTUALLY brings back his nomination papers. After all, this guy has a habit of pulling papers for an office, and then finding some bizarre reason in the end NOT to run.

But if he is serious this time, clearly this is a slap in the face of those who supported him in his Ward 3 run against Bill Toomey and Tom Serino last November.

What is Demo saying here?

He never really wanted the job to begin with?

It’s like accepting a new job in January, and then telling your boss in April that you were giving your two-week’s notice. Some commitment, eh?

Or, is Demo hoping to “double-dip” here?  That is, hold both the state rep and his Ward 3 seat so he can someday collect TWO taxpayer-funded pensions?

I mean, it’s not like the state rep seat just opened up this time, like it did with the untimely passing of Joyce Spilliotis, which promoted a special election a year ago. This time, it’s a regular cycle election, which all of the candidates for office knew when they pulled papers to run in the city election.

If Moutsoulas gets into the state rep race, he’ll join Democratic challenger Beverley Dunne and Republican incumbent Leah Cole in a three-candidate field.

And if Demo is in, would he run as a Democrat?

Who knows? He’s capable of anything.

Maybe he should be the candidate of the “Rent’s Too Damn High Party.” Or, better still, the “Mickey Mouse Party.”

Is Leah Cole following the Mass GOP toward the lunatic fringe?

26 Feb

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Leah Cole ... working toward the fringe?

Leah Cole … working toward the fringe?

At the end of the day, and even though I personally view “marriage” as something that government should leave only to religious institutions, I don’t get why some politicians continue their fight against same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. After all, since becoming law in 2004, God hasn’t sentenced the residents of the Commonwealth to eternal damnation. Nothing bad has happened, and the Red Sox have even won three World Championships.

People who are devout when it comes to their personal religious beliefs have a right to be against gay marriage, and we should respect their beliefs.  But it’s also time for us to all admit that, after almost 10 years, same-sex marriage has become one of those big whoopty-do type of things. Most people don’t really care either way, and want their elected officials to focus on REAL issues such as the economy, schools, and improving our crumbling infrastructure.

It’s time for our politicians  to finally realize that the war is over on the issue of same-sex marriage, and that it’s time to move on.

That’s why it was so puzzling to see that the Mass State Republican Party has submitted a 2014 party platform with the following language in it’s “values” section:

“We believe the institution of traditional marriage strengthens our society. There should be no infringement on the rights of the people of Massachusetts to vote on ballot initiatives..”

Sounds to me like the Mass GOP is encouraging crazy people to attempt to put a referendum on the ballot that will seek to ban gay marriage. And what’s most bizarre here is that Peabody State Rep Leah Cole, who is up for re-election this fall, appears to be an ardent supporter of this plank in her party’s platform. That’s right, Ms. Cole’s own  legislative aid is on the Mass GOP platform committee, and voted for this anti-same-sex marriage language.

So what’s up with this? Has the Mass GOP decided to cozy up to lunatic right wing Republicans elsewhere?  And if so, how do socially liberal-to-moderate Republicans such as Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei feel about their party’s new platform? Tisei is openly gay, and supports same-sex marriage. Wonder how he feels about this platform language?

I haven’t talked to her, but certainly the actions of Ms. Cole’s aid speak volumes here, since he does work for her. I never really viewed her as a far right crazy, and really like her opposition of the big pig tax policies of the Patrick Administration.

But if Cole is going to start working stances on social issues into her playbook, good luck to her getting re-elected in the 12th Essex. Peabody is most definitely a fiscally conservative community, and it’s a big reason for Leah Cole’s success in last spring’s special election. It’s also the reason why, in the past 5 years, Scott Brown, Baker, and Tisei have also won here. But while we Peabodyites like to protect our hard-earned money, we also have a phrase for politicians who adopt far right stances on social issues:

Welcome to the lunatic fringe, Ms. Cole.

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