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.

Cole leaves Peabody voters perplexed over why she can’t finish the job

21 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

If it turns out that there is a personal or family issue for why Leah Cole — in a New York Minute – is resigning her State Rep seat, and leaving Peabody without a voice on Beacon Hill for the next several months, then I will offer a full and public apology to her for what I’m about to write.

Leah Cole: Waving goodbye this time to Peabody's Voters

Leah Cole: Waving goodbye this time to Peabody’s Voters

Look, I thoroughly respect the work done by nurses, physicians and all other healthcare providers. But is Obamacare such a disaster that Ms. Cole needs to immediately abandon her responsibilities to the residents of Peabody, and even worse, run out on those who believed in her enough to elect her to a second full term in the Great and General Court?

Unless there is another more personal reason I discover — which causes me to grovel for forgiveness — her resigning mid-term to focus on a nursing career and education all seems somewhat unprofessional, and maybe even a little bit immature.

Doesn’t it?

In addition to the obligation she had to Peabody and her always “enthusiastic” supporters, Ms. Cole has also left the Mass GOP crying in its beer (no doubt it’s Bud or Coors, though, since we all know that they’re not cool craft beer drinkers.)

When Cole, then 24, upset Beverley Dunne and Dave Gravel three years ago in a special election to replace the late, great Joyce Spiliotis, the stumbling and bumbling Mass GOP was the unlikely winner of a seat in the usually Democratic 12th Essex District.

Now, thanks to this almost-October surprised by Ms. Cole, the Republican chances of keeping this seat in a soon-to-be-announced special election are about as good as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ chances of beating the Patriots in Foxboro on Sunday.

I mean, let’s prove my point by looking at the potential field of prospects and suspects.

At the head of the pack, you have newly minted GOPer Anne Manning-Martin, a long-time Peabody Councilor At-Large.  She would be competitive, but at the end of the day, she’d have a tough time beating fellow at-larger Tom Gould, or even former rep John Slattery, who might just want to come out of “retirement” for this one. Not sure Anne could beat Dunne either.

After Anne, there’s no one else who could even come close to being competitive on the Republican side. You have Greg Bunn, who would be a terrific state rep, but – unless we have another Democrat masquerading as an independent in the special election — Greg just doesn’t have the Peabody roots nor the name recognition to beat anyone who would run with the D.

After that . . . there is no Peabody Republican that I know of who could “shock” the world as Ms. Cole did three years ago.

Essentially, barring an electoral miracle, the Mass GOP, “the gang that can’t seem to shoot straight” when it comes to electing people to our “wonderful” state legislature, will be singing the blue when it comes to this 12th Essex seat.

As for Ms. Cole’s political future, it likely no longer exists. Voters don’t forget silliness such as this, but maybe she truly doesn’t want a “political future,” which is understandable and certainly OK.

But she definitely “coulda been a contenda.” She could have been a Mass GOP rock star in a few years, and maybe even made Mayor Ted Bettencourt a little bit nervous that he could have a formidable foe in five or six years. But instead, as a nurse, she’s going off fulltime to do noble work.

It’s only too bad she wasn’t up to first finishing the job that Peabody’s voters wanted her to do.

In a curious move, Cole resigning Peabody State Rep seat

21 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Leah Cole

Leah Cole

In a move that could be described as “curious,” Peabody State Rep Leah Cole, who just won re-election last November, announced in a press release yesterday that she is abruptly resigning her seat at the State House, effective Sept. 28th.

“It has come to a point where I can no longer continue to be the State Representative, as well as pursue my passion of nursing,” the 27-year-old Republican said in the release. “I decided to get involved in public service because I wanted to contribute to our state policies and invoke positive changes, but I never intended for politics to be a life-long career.”

More to come on this, but clearly, this is one of the oddest announcements in the history of Peabody politics.

Councilor Anne Manning-Martin

Councilor Anne Manning-Martin

Although it seems noble that Ms. Cole would want to further her nursing career, why not finish out the final year of the term people elected her to serve? Unless there’s something personal here we don’t know, it’s definitely bizarre.

What this also means is another special election for Peabody. Early word on the street is that the Republicans are aren’t necessary scrambling to find a candidate, since they might have one already.

Long-time Councilor at-large Anne Manning-Martin, who once ran for State Rep as a Democrat — losing to Joyce Spiliotis — recently changed her party affiliation to Republican. Manning-Martin also worked hard to get Republican Charlie Baker elected.

“We will have a viable candidate. … We’re going to try to maintain that seat,” Brad Hill, the Ipswich State Rep, and leading Republican on Beacon Hill, told the Salem News.

Are Kinder Morgan workers now joining our opposition? :)

28 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Either Kinder Morgan employees are starting to come over to our side, or civil disobedience is commencing. Look at what I found today on a KM truck parked near the Independence Greenway bikeway in Peabody. Just some harmless, Friday afternoon hi-jinks! :)

Figured I’d post it so Allen Fore, Chief Propaganda Officer at Kinder Morgan, could print it out and glue it into his favorite scrapbook.

Please join our opposition, our critically necessary fight to protect resident safety, quality of life and to keep this Texas-based company from contaminating Peabody’s water supply.  Please sign up on the Peabody Citizens United website.

By the way, if you have photos of other acts of good, clean civil disobedience when it comes to fighting this unnecessary and dangerous proposed pipeline, please send them my way and I’ll post here for our thousands of visitors to see.


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.

Kinder Morgan’s deceitful propaganda campaign underway in Peabody

26 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Remember the covert campaign that Kinder Morgan launched to pay Peabody residents if they agreed to pose as fake pro-pipeline activists, and support its dangerous, disruptive and totally unnecessary high-pressure gas highway through our city?

Well, it looks like that campaign is now underway.

A Kinder Morgan-financed sign on Peabody city property

A Kinder Morgan-financed sign

The lawn sign image posted here is just one example. Someone planted it on Sutton Street. Well, I should say that — rather than revealing themselves by putting the sign on their own lawn — they put it on city property. It claims that the pipeline would lower energy bills, which is absurd in Peabody since our Peabody Municipal Light Plant uses very little gas to power its generators, and less than 40% of Peabody homes are heated by natural gas.

The website on the sign is financed by Kinder Morgan as part of Chief Propaganda Officer Allen Fore’s multimillion dollar plan to win hearts and minds with lies, damn lies and statistics when it comes to the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline project. The proposed pipeline would carry fracked gas from Northeast PA to the sea, where it would be loaded on LNG tankers, and shipped to lucrative European markets to increase KM’s already obscene profits.

This is why the propaganda campaign by this company, which has become one of America’s worst corporate citizens, is so important to KM. After all, if KM can’t trump up fake support and fake demand for this gas on a local level, then getting its permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will be much more difficult.

I mean, imagine how it would look if it came out that this pipeline’s main goal is export, and that the people of Massachusetts and southern NH are being put at risk so French or British companies can benefit from cheap fracked gas, and so KM CEO Richard Kinder can increase his $8.8 billion net worth.

What we wonder now is how much they are paying a small number of Peabody residents to be fake pipeline proponents.  Or, should I say, pro pipeline dupes?

Need another example?

Check out this laughable Letter to the Editor by a “citizen,” .He talks about the wonderful tax benefit that KM will offer to the city. Wonder why he didn’t also talk about how much Allen Fore was willing to pay him to write the letter?

The letter’s purpose is not only transparent, but its point is also absurd. Tax benefits from a pipeline that would endanger homes, peoples’ lives and our environment?  While we’re at it, why don’t we also build a toxic waste dump next to Peabody High? That would give us lots of tax revenue.

Risk the safety of our water supply for tax revenue? Sorry, not the community I want to live in.

Besides, the tax revenue (an estimated $400K a year) is puny. Heck, we can get that from allowing someone to erect another couple of billboards, which are roadside eyesores, but at least no one’s going to die.

Beware, Peabody, this greedy Texas-based pipeline company is trying to win your hearts and minds, and it’s using our own misgusided citizens to help them spread their lies, damn lies and statistics

National Grid reports that there are 151 gas leaks in Peabody

23 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

As we unite to fight against the unnecessary proposed Kinder Morgan Pipeline, this shocking map emerges from local gas distributor National Grid. It shows 151 unrepaired gas leaks in Peabody, the oldest going back to 1992.  Click on the image below, and zoom in to see if there are any leaks in your neighborhood.

By the way, five of those unresolved leaks are in the Glen Drive neighborhood, close to the path for the so-called Peabody Lateral proposed by KM along the Independence Greenway bike path. Now that this map has come to light, it’s a given that this Peabody neighborhood has even more to worry about should a breach and explosion in the proposed KM line come in contact with these other unresolved leaks.

It was definitely a shock to me to see an unrepaired leak right outside my front door too.

If you haven’t already, please join the fight against this dangerous and disruptive new Kinder Morgan gas highway. None of this gas will be used in Peabody, making it even less worth the risk. Let’s continue to tell this Texas energy company that we won’t allow them to endanger resident safety, destroy property, and contaminate our water supply just so it can make an even more obscene profit.



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