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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.

On bad snow jobs, signs of our times, and Democratic justice

19 Feb

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Cleaning out the Rolodex of the mind today while wondering when we’ll ever see the grass again …

Wanted to start by thanking two neighbors who last week helped push out my car after I slid into a snowbank at the corner of Curwen and Jordan Roads.  The reason I got stuck? Well, despite six inches of snow on the ground, the city’s DPW still hadn’t deployed any plows.

Of course, just as they pushed me out, a plow did come by and almost run over the female neighbor who was helping me.  Fortunately, she got out of the way just in time. But when we looked up to curse at the driver, we noticed he was texting on his phone and couldn’t see us flipping him the bird.

If you haven’t noticed, city snow removal hasn’t exactly been stellar this winter. Many of the city’s side streets are in deplorable condition, and there are dug up lawns everywhere. Might be time for the city to evaluate some of these private contractor plowing clowns, and not offer them anymore work.

Sign us up for the moratorium!

Mayor Ted Bettencourt

Mayor Ted Bettencourt

I have to laugh when I hear city councilors, and even Mayor Ted Bettencourt now talking about putting a “moratorium” on special permits for new billboards. I mean, these are the same guys who got us into this problem with billboards in the first place, right? Most recently, the mayor sent a letter to the council saying enough was enough and that we should now stop approving these special permits. Of course, he sent this letter after begging the council for two more billboards on city land that netted us a cool $50K in permitting fees.

By the way, if the mayor and the city council wants a “moratorium” on billboards, they’ll likely need to go back and change the zoning again. And, just for the record, the reason we’re being overrun with these roadside eyesores is because the city council and the mayor worked together to change the zoning in the first place to allow unlimited billboards on Route 1 and elsewhere. Don’t blame the billboard companies for this getting out of control. As Bill Shakespeare once wrote, “The fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

Bring on the clowns … there have to be clowns

We hear that Stonewood Tavern owner Sal Palumbo will go before the city council on Monday night to not only renew, but to expand his entertainment license. Now he wants comedians and clowns for kids birthday parties to go along with the 8-piece R&B and classic rock bands. It seems that these days Stonewood wants every form of entertainment. Well, short of strippers and … 3-piece jazz bands, we guess.

Sweet caucus justice by a legendary Peabody Democrat 

Mr. Democrat, Dick Jarvis

Mr. Democrat, Dick Jarvis

Hats off to my “You Make The Call” partner Dick Jarvis for holding some scoundrels accountable at last week’s Democratic city caucuses. City Dems met to elect delegates to June’s Democratic State Convention, and Jarvis managed some justice when it came to those Democrats who refused to support the ONLY Democrat on the ballot last spring in a special election to replace the late, great State Rep Joyce Spilliotis.

When the name of someone who openly supported unenrolled candidate Dave Gravel in the special election over Democrat Beverley Dunne was put into nomination as a delegate from Ward 3 last week, Jarvis opposed the nomination, and his claim was backed up by  “Rule 20″ in the state Democratic Party charter. Essentially Rule 20 states that you can’t be a delegate if you openly work against the party’s nominee in a previous election. her name was taken out of nomination.

File this one under sweet revenge. It was very interesting too that once Jarvis blocked this particular delegate wannabe, no one dare put Councilor At-Large Tom Gould’s name into nomination. Gould, as you’ll recall, also supported Gravel.

Dick and I will be discussing these and other issues on tonight’s live “You Make the Call Show,” 8-9 p.m., on PAT Channel 99. Please join in and give us a call.

Dunne’s in, are Cole and Gould out when it comes to Peabody State Rep race?

20 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

We know Beverley Dunne is in, but who will join her in the race for State Rep?

We know Beverley Dunne is in, but who will join her in the race for State Rep?

I thought we’d have some Peabody political insider fun this afternoon, and talk about what the Eye is uncovering in what could become another very interesting race for the State Rep seat in the 12th Essex District (Peabody Wards 1-4, Ward 5 Prec. 1 & 3).

Less than a year after Republican Leah Cole’s stunning special election upset win over Democrat Beverley Dunne and unenrolled candidate Dave Gravel, candidate names are being floated as the seat gets contested again this November.

Dunne has told several people that she’s going for it again on the Democrat side, and we’ve heard speculation that Ward 1 Councilor Barry Osborne is contemplating a run as an unenrolled candidate.

But here’s what else The Eye is learning …

Incumbent Cole is leaning away from running for re-election to focus on her nursing career, and another source tells us Councilor at-large Tom Gould is leaning against running too. Gould considered running last year for the open seat after Joyce Spilliotis passed away, but then decided against it to focus on his business.

The Cole thing could change quickly, though, once the Mass GOP gets wind of it and starts doing whatever it can to convince its Golden Girl to run again, including a promise to help her build a campaign war chest north of $100K.

It all does make you wonder, though, if the Peabody Democratic City Committee is going to step up this time and support the Democratic candidate. Osborne is really a Democrat, and so too was Gravel last time. But the party insiders were divided, and with Dunne and Gravel splitting the vote, it made things much easier for Ms. Cole to pull off the upset.

Let me know in the comments section what you think will happen here.

Lyons making credible challenge for state rep seat held by Ted Speliotis

26 Dec

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

spel

Can Ted Speliotis overcome at tough, new challenger?

With a very active 2013 for local politics just about over, 2014 is already shaping up as an even more interesting year.

Come fall, we’ll have another highly contested race for State Rep in the 12th Essex District as rookie state legislator Leah Cole goes for re-election. Meanwhile, Congressman John Tierney faces a tough primary battle against centrist Democrat Seth Moulton, and then maybe another down-and-dirty battle with Republican Richard Tisei.

But also emerging is another interesting race for State Rep in the 13th Essex. Tom Lyons, a very credible candidate on the Republican side, says he will challenge long-time Rep Ted Speliotis, whose district covers all of Danvers and West Peabody.

We don’t currently know a lot about Mr. Lyons, but the thing that instantly makes his candidacy interesting is the place where he grew up, and the place where he now lives.

He’s a Danvers native, who graduated from Danvers High in 1981, and he now makes his home with his family on Glen Drive, West Peabody. One street over from him is the town of Middleton, which is also in the 13th Essex. But the real impact of his candidacy will be felt in conservative West Peabody (Ward 6 and Ward 5, Prec. 2) and Danvers.

In recent years, Ward 6 has been one of the best voting areas in the city, and is also known for its vast number of independent, more-conservative voters. Speliotis is considered one of the more liberal members of the Great and General Court, and seemingly has never seen a tax increase that he didn’t vote “yea” on. Speliotis’ “progressive” style has cost his problems in his own town of Danvers too, where a few years ago he almost lost to Republican Dan Bennett.

More to come on all of this, but it looks like West Peabody voters will definitely have a choice for state rep come November.

Democratic City Committee Chair Mike Schulze resigning

20 Dec

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Some Peabody political insider news a few days before Christmas, but it looks like the Peabody Democratic City Committee will be seeing new leadership in 2014.

cole

Republican Leah Cole’s win in last spring’s special election for State Rep may have been aided by a divided Democratic City Committee

Mike Schulze, who some feel helped Republican Leah Cole get elected State Rep during last spring’s special election because of his lack of support for the Democratic candidate, has resigned as chair of the city committee.

Although Schulze technically declared that the PDCC was endorsing Democrat Beverley Dunne  in her effort to fill the seat previously occupied by the late Joyce Spilliotis, his own actions spoke volumes to the contrary.

It wasn’t that Schulze himself had a direct impact on the outcome, but as leader of the PDCC he did nothing to help to avoid the schism that developed after Councilor At-large David Gravel left the party and ran for state rep as an unenrolled candidate.

Let’s be honest here, the endorsement of Dunne was half-hearted at best, since Schulze clearly supported Gravel.

Many feel that Gravel’s decision to run as an unenrolled candidate split the vote between he and Dunne,  which allowed a previously unknown, 24-year-old Republican to pull off the upset by 73 votes.

But then again, Schulze certainly doesn’t deserve all (or even most) of the blame here for Dunne’s defeat. There were other so-called Democratic movers and shakers,  whose endorsement of Gravel, or total lack of action, also led to Cole pulling off the upset.

And a Republican winning this seat held by a legendary Democratic public servant such as Joyce Spilliotis, was a local equivalent  to Scott Brown winning the US Senate previously held by Ted Kennedy.

In an email to city committee members today, vice chair Deb Ryan told PDCC members that she will serve in the interim as acting chair. Ryan will convene a meeting on Jan. 11 for the full committee to make some go-forward decisions.

Poll: How do you feel about taking voting out of the schools

14 Nov

Some members of the Peabody School Committee, citing student safety and disruption of the educational process, would like ban the city from using schools as polling locations on Election Day.

How do you feel about the issue?

Please join us tonight for live ‘You Make The Call’ show

13 Nov

SAMPlease join my partner Dick Jarvis and me tonight as we discuss the Peabody issues of the day on a new, live “You Make The Call Show,” 8-9 p.m., on PAT Channel 99.

This is our first new show since the election, and on our list of topics tonight will be the latest with the expansion and entertainment license of the Stonewood Tavern in South Peabody, the issue of using public schools for voting, and much more.

It’s always open lines on YMTC, so we’ll entertain and comment on whatever is on your mind.

Please tune in and give us a call. You can also follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/calldickandbob

- Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Lesson learned for all Peabody Democrats? For the sake of the party, we hope so

3 Apr

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Peabody Democrats from Lynnfield to Lake Street came to realize earlier today that the sun did indeed come up on this frosty cold, un-spring-like morning.

But while sticking with this celestial theme, what we should have been thinking about was this lesson from Bill Shakespeare:

 “The fault, dear Democrats, is not in our stars … but in ourselves.”

Leah Cole, Peabody's State Rep

Leah Cole, Peabody’s State Rep

Before I go any further, I want to congratulate Peabody’s new State Rep, Republican Leah Cole, and urge all of my Democratic colleagues to do themselves a favor today and STOP with the excuses. Cole won fairly, and if you look at the campaign she ran, you immediately come to the conclusion that both Beverley Griffin Dunne and David Gravel likely never saw this coming.

The Dunne and Gravel campaign teams were solid, and worked their tails off throughout the weeks leading up to this special election. But all of us underestimated and mis-calculated when it came to Ms. Cole.

All we saw, and I’m as guilty as anyone else, was a 24-year-old, first-time candidate with zero name recognition on Day 1, and all we thought was … “this is a kid with no chance.”

What didn’t we see?

Well, we didn’t see that she was backed by an aggressive, very experienced, and battle-tested statewide professional political organization.  Ron Paul’s Liberty Movement showed once again that it can not only organize, but also infuse a candidate with the Mother’s Milk of Politics: Lots and lots of cash. They were also able to keep her focused on the populist message that government takes too much from us, wastes our money, and is now asking for even more from Peabody’s working classes.

Although I’m sure the mainstream Mass. GOP is crowing this morning about winning a seat which the Dems have held for decades, they don’t deserve the credit and still have no credible, grassroots process for building a “farm team.” This victory belongs to the sons and daughters of the Liberty Movement, who are sort of like the Tea Party, only with younger members and fewer far right zealots.

Oh sure, there is a lot of evidence that leads to the conclusion that had Mr. Gravel not been in the race as an unenrolled candidate, Ms. Dunne would have won this seat back for the Democrats. But he was in, and as Democrats shouldn’t we have all known that it would split our vote? Shouldn’t we have seen more unity and support among Dems behind our only Democratic candidate in this race, especially from some of those who call themselves Peabody Democratic Party leaders?

For weeks, all I heard was speculation on who Cole would hurt more yesterday, Dunne or Gravel. Did anyone really ever stop to consider how much Dunne and Gravel would hurt each other?

 But once again, the fault, dear Democrats, is not in Dave Gravel … it’s in ourselves.

Seventy-three votes was the difference. As a party couldn’t we have united enough to find 74 more votes?

Maybe. But this should also be a moment of clarity for us. If you can learn from it, sometimes losing isn’t a bad thing.

It’s time for us to realize that we need to get back to the principles that made fiscally conservative working class people in a city like Peabody embrace Democrats like our late, great State Rep Joyce Spilliotis?

Why have Peabody people suddenly begun turning on us Democrats, and voting for the Scott Browns, Charlie Bakers, and Leah Coles?

Our party has swung too far to the fringe, and people who work for a living are tired of losing more of their paychecks to support tax increases that feed a wasteful, bloated state government. By the way, I’m not talking about Beverley Griffin Dunne or Dave Gravel here. I’m talking about Democrats such as the State Rep from western Mass., who yesterday told me she felt that Governor Deval Patrick’s bloated budget proposal and tax increase don’t go far enough.

Both Dunne and Gravel stated during the campaign that they opposed the Governor’s tax increase. But it didn’t matter, the big-spending stench surrounded them just enough to have people pass on connecting the line next to their name. Guilt simply by association, perhaps.

As Peabody Democrats, it’s time that we adopted a message that we are the party that helps people who need help, but part of that responsibility includes ensuring that struggling working class people aren’t smothered by onerous tax increases designed to fund wasteful spending.

Isn’t it possible as a Democrat to be socially moderate or progressive while at the same time be fiscally  conservative? Most people, after all, want to be helped, but not hurt by government.

Aren’t those the type of principles under which Joyce Spilliotis operated?

And isn’t that what the voters of Peabody told us loud and clear yesterday?

Message sent, for sure.  But what still remains is,  as Democrats, what are we going to do about it?

Get out and vote today: State Rep Special Election, polls open until 8 p.m.

2 Apr

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Today is the Special Election for State Rep in the 12th Essex District  (Peabody Wards 1-4, and Prec. 1 and 3 in Ward 5).

PLEASE: Do your civic duty today, and get out and vote. Polls are open until 8 p.m.

Here are the candidates:

Leah V. Cole 369 Lynnfield Street Republican
Beverley A. Griffin Dunne 10 Colfax Street Democrat
David C. Gravel 20 Tara Road Unenrolled

Here’s a listing of all of Peabody’s polling places. If you are not sure where you vote, please call the City Clerk’s office at 978-538-5756.

Ward 1
1-1 Saint Ann’s Church 140 Lynn St.
1-2 Woodbridge Assisted Living 240 Lynnfield St.
1-3 Saint Ann’s Church 140 Lynn St.
Ward 2
2-1 Welch School 50 Swampscott Ave.
2-2 Welch School 50 Swampscott Ave.
2-3 South School 16 Maple St. Ext.
Ward 3
3-1 Our Lady of Fatima Church 50 Walsh Ave.
3-2 Our Lady of Fatima Church 50 Walsh Ave.
3-3 Wilson Terrace Rec Hall 15A Wilson Ter.
Ward 4
4-1 Higgins Middle School 1 King St. Ext.
4-2 Higgins Middle School 1 King St. Ext.
4-3 Peabody Vets Memorial High School 485 Lowell St.
4-3A Macintosh Clubhouse 300 Brooksby Village Dr.
Ward 5
5-1 Kiley School 21 Johnson St.
5-3 McCarthy School 76 Lake St.
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