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Make a final pitch for your Peabody State Rep Special Election candidate

30 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

voteAfter just over three months of wintertime campaigning the five party-affiliated candidates in the special election for State Representative in the 12th Essex District, will leave it up to the voters in Tuesday’s two primary run offs.

Call it the Battle of Groundhog Day!

Today, as a public service I’ve put this post here for you to comment on the race. Who will you vote for and why? And, if you want, please feel free to make a final pitch for your chosen candidate. All I ask is that you keep the conversation focused on candidate qualifications and key issues, and not lob any personal attacks.

Please go out and vote!

But first, here are the vitals:

  • 12th Essex District primaries, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016
  • Polls are open 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • You are eligible to vote in this election if you live in Peabody, Wards 1-4 and Ward 5-Precincts 1 and 3
  • If you are enrolled as a Democrat or Republican, you must choose your party’s ballot
  • If you are unenrolled in a party, you may choose either ballot
  • The winners on Tuesday will go onto the March 1st final election ballot, along with unenrolled candidate Chris Gallagher

Tuesday’s contestants!

DEMOCRATS

Moutsoulos

James Moutsoulas

walsh

Tom Walsh

welton

Craig Welton

REPUBLICANS

corriveau

Jaclyn Corriveau

Peach

Stephanie Peach

NED pipeline would imperil Ipswich, put North Shore drinking water supplies at risk

26 Jan

(Bob Croce is Chair of Peabody Citizens United, and a candidate for State Representative in the MA 13th Essex District.)

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

I’ve used this space over the past year to talk about the critically important homeowner rights and safety issues surrounding Kinder Morgan’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline. But today, I’d like to bring up a concern that should be front and center, not just in Peabody, Danvers and Middleton, but throughout the North Shore.

Protecting our public drinking water supply.

riverWe should remind ourselves of the tragedy of Flint, Mich., and come to a consensus that locating this pipeline within the Ipswich Watershed District is just too much of a risk for the half million North Shore residents who draw water from this endangered river. Now is the time for our North Shore elected leaders to unite and lobby the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to not approve this new gas pipeline infrastructure for an area so vital to the health and well being of our communities.

Here are the facts on the pipeline and the river from the stewards of the river, the Ipswich Watershed Association:

The proposed Lynnfield and Peabody lateral sections of the NED pipeline will be constructed within the Ipswich River Watershed, and it will:

  • Traverse the watershed for more than 11 miles, cross the river and dozens of named and unnamed tributaries
  • Traverse more than two miles of wetlands, alter dozens of vernal pools
  • Be built directly on the riverbank for more than two miles
  • Be built in the immediate proximity of seven public permanently-protected water supply intakes and traverse hundreds of acres of permanently protected conservation areas, including several parcels protected by Article 97 of the Massachusetts State Constitution.
  • Temporarily clear 131.5 acres of land during construction and permanently alter 65.8 acres in the required pipeline easement. The pipeline will significantly disrupt the underground hydrology of the watershed, which is critical to its function as well as the hundreds of public and private water supply intakes in the immediate vicinity of its route.

Once constructed, Kinder Morgan will continuously use herbicides to keep the pipeline right-of-way clear of vegetation, and there are no studies showing what negative effects that could have on the source of our drinking water. Then there’s the danger of leaking pipes allowing toxic methane to seep into our water.

If anyone thinks the dangers here only affect “a couple of streets” in Peabody, think again. The proposed NED pipeline should be a regional concern.

 

 

Speliotis owes taxpayers an explanation on why he helped developer get special treatment

20 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Let’s call it what it is and all agree that it was a questionable deal that allowed a developer to get a no-bid contract to construct a state-of-the-art sports complex on the grounds of the Essex Technical Regional High School in Middleton.

Ted

Ted Speliotis

The developer, a company named Edge Sports, was not only granted the rights to build the $11 million facility on public property, it won the contract with no competition. Instead of following state law, which requires that taxpayer rights be protected through an open bidding process on such projects, Edge was granted the contract through a line item added to a larger spending bill on Beacon Hill, according to the Salem News.

Was that legal? Well, the Office of the Inspector General and the State Ethics Commission will need to decide, and a source tells us that state oversight officials are looking into whether there was a violation here.

For now, though, Ted Speliotis – our State Rep, who co-sponsored the legislation that gave Edge the edge outside of the open bid process – has some explaining to do to the taxpayers he represents in West Peabody, Middleton and Danvers.

Not only didn’t he help his constituents receive the protection of the open bid process, he helped pass essentially an “earmark” that will give Edge Sports the opportunity to lease the property at our vocational school for free.

There is a lot that smells with this deal, and so far, we the taxpayers should not be satisfied with the response from Rep. Speliotis.

According to the Salem News, Speliotis said in a phone interview this week that he did not pay close enough attention when the deal was being negotiated.

“I did go along with it, but it was really my colleagues who amended this thing” to require that the lease be awarded to Edge Sports without a competitive bid process or review by the state Inspector General, Speliotis told the Salem News.

Instead of “passing the buck” on this one, Ted, how about giving the taxpayers you represent a real explanation on how you just didn’t look out for our best interests?

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.

charest

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

hochman

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.

 

Poll: Who will you vote for tomorrow in primary for Congress in 6th District

8 Sep

If you are planning to vote in tomorrow’s (Sept. 9th) Democratic Primary, please take our poll to let us know your preference. Note: This poll is not scientific, and only a reflection of the opinion of readers of the Eye on Peabody.

Congress

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.

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

18 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let the kids play: Basketball hoop, hockey net ban would be ‘wicked stupid’

22 May

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

When we were young, not that long ago, the streets of Peabody this time of year were filled with kids playing street hockey, games of “twenty-one” on a basketball hoop hanging from a telephone pole, or killer games of “cell block” and “hide-and-go-seek.”

hoopParents actually encouraged kids to go outside, and “blow the stink off ya,” and you were happy to oblige once winter shuffled off its mortal coil, and the air on these late spring nights filled with the scent of lilacs and fresh-cut grass. The thrill of that grass, which you would roll around in while wrestling with friends, before setting up a killer three-on-three game under that street lights until being called home for some homework.

Other than the sound of early evening lawnmowers, today the streets are pretty much quiet. Void of laughter. Void of kids debating whether their line drive off the shed was fair or foul.

Despite our still very safe Peabody neighborhoods, kids, for the most part, stay indoors now.

What’s changed?

Well, certainly high-tech fun is winning out over the low-tech fun of our youth. Video games have replaced games of HORSE, and water balloon fights in the backyard.

But that’s not the only reason.

You can also blame it on the adults.

First we condition our kids to believe that it’s not worth playing if you don’t have a coach or a fancy uniform, or well-polished basketball court. We don’t let them experience the joy anymore of sacrificing the skin on their knees to invent new moves to the hoop on the Peabody’s well-worn asphalt streets.

And now comes even more lunacy when it comes to the adult killjoys.

In a move that would further discourage kids from playing outside, the Peabody City Council is considering creating an ordinance that would ban street-side basketball hoops and street hockey games.

Why?

Well, Councilor At-Large David Gravel brought the issue to the council after one of his grouchy neighbors on Tara Road began constantly complaining about a MAJOR “crime” in her neighborhood. That’s right, balls were inadvertently bouncing into this woman’s yard

To his credit, Gravel responded to a resident’s concern, but maybe what he should have done instead was tell her to calm down, and be a better neighbor. Of  course, since this story broke, we’ve heard from other Nitwit NIMBYs, who are now citing child “safety concerns” over curbside baskets and street hockey nets. Good Lord! Why don’t we all just give up already, and have our kids live in plastic bubbles?

Gravel has done his job and responded to a resident. Now the city council should do the right thing, and not even bring a formal motion on this to the floor. It is, after all, in the words of Peabody’s kids, “wicked stupid.”

Let the kids play.

Here’s how Boston TV news station Fox25 covered the story:

 

On bad plow 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.

Thanks to you, 1 year later, EOP blog is still standing

16 Nov

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

eyeResarch shows that the average lifespan of your average citizen blog is less than three months, and many burnout in the first couple of weeks. That’s why I’m proud to come to you today bragging about the “longevity” of Eye on Peabody.

Today marks our First Anniversary. Exactly one year ago today, I launched with this post.   Twelve months later, and following two city elections and special elections for State Senate, State Rep, and US Senate, we’re still standing while keeping you informed on the issues that matter most for our hometown of Peabody, MA.

We had a little bit of a sabbatical while I ran recently for Ward 5 Councilor, but our visitor statistics have bounced back up the past two weeks as we’ve gotten back into keeping you informed. Since our debut on Nov. 16th, 2012, we’ve had more than 62,000 page views, and more than 15,000 unique visitors. What that means is that more than 15K different people have viewed at least one page of EOP the past 12 months.

Thank you for visiting and reading. Considering that life happens, it’s not always easy to keep content coming your way, but I’ve enjoyed bringing you each and every post, and I’m committed to keeping it going.

So just for fun, here are some other details I’ll share.

What was our busiest day for visits? 

That would be Nov. 29, 2012 when we announced the tragic  passing of State Rep. Joyce Spilliotis. In tribute to our friend Joyce, more than 900 people read our coverage that day, including 600 who read this post, and many who left comments in tribute.

What was my favorite post of the year?

It was one that also made me feel great, and I published it on the night these kids came to my door.

Of course, there are several other posts I’m proud of, but to choose between them would be like asking me which are my favorite children. So, I invite you to visit our archives and let me know which were your favorites.

Here’s to the start of another great year!

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