Tag Archives: Bob Croce

If elected, Bob Croce will pay for his own gas to work

5 Jul

(Bob Croce is the publisher of Eye On Peabody, and a candidate for State Representative in the 13th Essex District. Please vote for him in the Democratic primary election on Thursday, Sept. 8th)

By Bob Croce

Political candidates make a lot of promises while trying to get elected. But here’s one that you can write down, clip and save, share with all of your friends in West Peabody, Danvers and Middleton:

If elected State Representative, I WILL NOT have the taxpayers pay for my gas so I can drive into work each day at the State House.

As for my opponent? If he’s re-elected, he will continue to put in for a controversial gas reimbursement, and quite frankly, thinks it’s not that big of a deal.

Not only will he continue to make you and I pay for his gas each day so he can go to work, but in an article in today’s Salem News, Representative Ted Speliotis called the perk “minuscule.”

He said this, mind you, as Peabody was learning that it had lost $300,000 in state aid due to a Beacon Hill budget cut, money that was earmarked for full-day kindergarten, which means more will be coming out of property taxes to pay for that shortfall.

Meanwhile, it cost us $327,338 total last year for all of the legislators who put in for what Rep Speliotis calls a “minuscule” reimbursement benefit.

“Travel has been paid for lawmakers since the first days of the State Legislature. It’s been around for hundreds of years,” the Rep told the Salem News while trying to justify why he collected $3,384 from taxpayers last year while commuting the 20 miles from Danvers each day.

By the way, State Legislators put in for this reimbursement on the “honor system.” They don’t need to show receipts, or even prove that they actually came into the State House on the days they claim.

Speliotis’ reimbursement was the highest among all North Shore State Legislators. Some in the North Shore delegation, including Senator Joan Lovely, refuse to accept the perk.

If I win, count me in with that group, which refuses to force taxpayers to pay so elected officials can drive to work. Plain and simple, it’s abuse of power.

If you have to pay for your gas to work, so should I!

 

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.

 

 

Peabody should be proud of its chief elections official for doing the right thing

10 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

We spend some of our time in this space pointing out when those on our public payroll don’t do the right thing when it comes to the public trust.

So, it’s only fair that we also point out when public officials do the right thing. Today is one of those days.

I’ve always known Peabody City Clerk Tim Spanos to be both professional and honorable, and my positive opinion of the job he does as the city’s chief election official was affirmed last night when my wife Maureen and I went to vote at the Kiley School polling place.

Following some very bad behavior by poll workers at the Kiley when I ran for Ward 5 Councilor in last fall’s city election, Mr. Spanos not only took my complaint seriously, but he also acted to ensure that no candidate would ever have his or her bid for office jeopardized by unprofessional, and potentially illegal activities by supposedly unbiased election officials.

Simply put, he cleaned house at the Kiley. Poll workers who participated in campaigning for my opponent, Joel Saslaw, while on duty as election officials, are no longer working the polls.

Saslaw’s margin of victory was less than 90 votes, and the behavior of these rogue poll workers immediately questioned the validity of the outcome. Spanos also banned the use of cell phones inside polling places across the city, since the bad actor poll workers in question used their phones for their illegal electioneering activities.

This is the first time I’ve written about the episode, choosing instead to file official complaints with the Secretary of State, State Ethics Commission, and Mr. Spanos. I initially thought about legal action against the city, but Tim Spanos’ responsiveness and professionalism during that time gave me the confidence that I could trust him to take care of the situation.

He did, and now any future candidate who decides to run against Mr. Saslaw can expect a level playing field on Election Day.

It’s nice to know that Peabody voters can be secure in the knowledge that we have an honest and professional man as our chief elections official.

Hats off to Tim Spanos.

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Tom Grelish: ‘Croce has a right to be miffed’

22 Nov

(Editor’s note: The following “Just Thinking” column, written by Peabody Citizen Publisher Tom Grelish, appeared in this week’s edition of that newspaper, and is re-published here with permission.)

By Tom Grelish, Publisher, Peabody Citizen

VoteJust thinking as usual this week and offering the thought that Bob Croce, who recently lost the Ward 5 city council race to Joel Saslaw, is well within bounds to be more than slightly disgruntled concerning the shenanigans that transpired in the polling place during the election.

Malfeasance in the polling place is never acceptable, and make no mistake about it – what transpired was flat-out malfeasance carried out by a couple of birdbrained poll workers. The height of stupidity, no two ways about it.

For those of you who may have missed it, here’s what took place: the poll workers, while on duty as representatives of the residents of Peabody, saw fit to post massages on Facebook urging residents to scamper to the polls and vote for Saslaw.

You gotta be kidding me. Some folks have said that the incident was tantamount to no big deal, but I vehemently disagree with that assessment. It was a very big deal and borders on voter fraud. We cannot tolerate that type of stuff. End of story.

Candidates for office must remain at least, I believe, 150 feet from a polling place so that voters are not unduly influenced by them. That’s a good rule. Then we have a couple of pinheads violating that rule from inside the polling place?

Only in Peabody could this type of baloney go on. And Croce should be streaming about it – all he asked for was a clean election, and he didn’t get it.

Let’s not be naïve about this. Those Facebook postings did not alter the outcome of the election – Saslaw took home the prize by almost 90 votes, a safe enough margin of error even if a couple of voters did heed the efforts of the harebrained poll workers.

But that doesn’t detract from the seriousness of the situation.

City Clerk Tim Spanos is handling this mess the right way – he’s turned the entire ball of wax over to the office of Secretary of State Bill Galvin, as well as the Ethics Commission, to figure this thing out and what should be done about this quagmire.

The worst thing about the polling place game-playing is that it casts Spanos, Mayor Ted Bettencourt, and Saslaw, in a very bad light. And none of them deserve to have that black light focused on them, because none of them did anything wrong but will get swept into this kerfuffle nevertheless.

I have particular empathy for Spanos, who is a top-shelf city clerk and always does his utmost to run clean elections. Then to have a couple of poll workers stab him in the back like that just isn’t right.

Spanos has no culpability in this fiasco. All he can do is hire the parties he thinks are the right people to man the polls – then, he has to trust them to do the job properly. He can’t be everywhere, all the time, on the day of the election, and was completely blindsided by those poll workers.

Saslaw, too, receives a black eye for this and he hasn’t even taken office yet. The renegade poll workers were, after all, obviously supporters of his. But there is no way that Saslaw should take guff for this – he didn’t tell those pinheads to do what they did. No way, no how.

As for Bettencourt, he doesn’t need this malarkey. He had nothing to do with it but will nonetheless be held somewhat responsible because it was city workers involved in the transgressions. He has bigger fish to fry in his efforts to run the city, and can easily live without this nonsense.

As for Croce, he has apparently retained an attorney to assist him with this election disgrace. I don’t blame him – Bob Croce has to look out for the best interests of Bob Croce. No one is going to do it for him.

That being said, I’m not sure how an attorney will be able to bolster his case, short of demanding a new election, a scenario that is highly unlikely to unfold.

The lawyer will easily prove that malfeasance took place, but that’s not going to change the outcome of the election. It’ll be very interesting to see where the lawyer takes this matter.

If he is successful in getting a new election – which, as stated, if highly unlikely – all bets are off. Croce could win it the second time around.

Wouldn’t that he something?

No matter what the lawyer does, this is for sure – the city of Peabody should reimburse Croce for his legal fees.

It would be the only decent thing to do. After all, Bob Croce did not initiate this brouhaha. A couple of city workers did.

And the rest of us are responsible for making good on the missteps of city workers. It’s lousy, but it is also reality.

So I hope the city council walks the proper path on this and gives Croce his money back. All he ever asked for was an unfettered election, and he did not receive that.

Again, some people are of the mind that all this is no big deal. Let me reiterate – it is a very big deal. No two ways about it.

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!

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

Why I want to be Ward 5 Councilor: I’m in it to be a serious public servant for you

30 Oct

(Please vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5th. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

By Bob Croce, Ward 5 Councilor Candidate

Why am I running?

Well, it’s simple: I want to represent the people of Ward 5, and be on their side no matter what. It’s not complicated being an effective ward councilor: People call you with a question or concern, and you help them.

I’m not in this to take campaign contributions from attorneys of notorious developers, or to put campaign signs on the properties of some developers and some business owners who could care less about the rights of taxpaying residents. You’ll never see one of my signs on the Golden Banana either.

I love where I live. My wife Maureen and I raised two beautiful daughters right there on Goodale Street. We actually know that the little neighborhood elementary school the girls went to is spelled K-I-L-E-Y. It was named after two brothers who grew up in the neighborhood, joined the military, and paid the ultimate sacrifice to their community and their country.

I’m not running to be one of the “cool kids” either. This is about becoming a serious and dedicated public servant, and not “Sophomore Class President.”

There are a lot of issues that pose serious threats to quality of life, and these issues need the attention of a serious public servant, who will always return your phone calls, and always seek a solution to every issue no matter how large or small.

In the past seven months, I’ve visited over 1,000 homes in Ward 5, and I’ve listened. It’s these visits that taught me what the job of ward councilor is all about. It’s all about people who pay their taxes on time, and expect their quality of life to be protected, not trampled on. You learn these things not by waving at cars on a street corner, or by putting multiple signs in front of abandoned buildings, or gas stations. You learn these things by actually talking to voters.  On these visits to many of your homes, it amazed me to learn that I was the only Ward 5 candidate who visited to learn about what you felt was important.

This isn’t about “grasping at straws.” It’s about listening, and then making sure that I make it clear that it’s all about the residents, and not about me. This wasn’t “a good opportunity for me to run.” It was an opportunity to try and give back to a community that has given so much to my family and me.

No, I’m not in this attempting to win elective office to become one of the “cool kids” in town.

I’m in this always and only for you. I’m in this to serve.

If that’s the kind of Ward 5 Councilor you want, then the choice is pretty clear, and I would be honored to have your vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Sincerely,

Bob Croce, Your Candidate for Ward 5 Councilor

Signs of our times: More ugly billboards on the way

24 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

While we’ve all been focused on the battle against the giant billboard eyesore on Lowell Street near Route 1, outdoor advertising companies have been lining up to erect even greater monstrosities in other Peabody locations. If you think that the static sign next to the Subway sub shop infringes on your quality of life, wait until you see what’s about to happen elsewhere in Ward 5.

Two giant, flashing digital billboards have been approved for Route 1, and now comes a third, which will soon go before the city council for approval. Welcome to Peabody’s version of the Las Vegas Strip.

Cove Outdoor Advertising is hoping to win city council approval to erect a 14 by 48 feet digital sign on Route 128 near Jubilee Drive. The city, meanwhile, stands to make $25K annually on each one of these eyesores. I know that Peabody needs revenue right now, but are we willing to destroy our community aesthetically for this sort of incremental revenue?

It’s definitely time for the city council to come up with some guidelines on how many of these we’ll allow in our community.  It’s also important that they ask some serious questions when Cove comes before them for a permit on this latest sign.

Here’s the link to the full article in the Salem News.

Please let me know what you think in the comments section.

Triumph over tragedy in store for next year and beyond at the Boston Marathon

16 Apr

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

In what now seems like a lifetime ago, I was a sportswriter.  Long before becoming a 9-to-5 businessman, I covered sporting events for newspapers from Albany, NY, to Framingham, MA.  I not only wrote about high school sports and Little League championship games, but also about the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots.

But one event always stood out.  It made my job rewarding, even in the face of long hours and weekend shifts.

baaYou see, over the course of several Boston Marathons in the mid-1990s, my favorite assignment always included being at the finish line of the world’s most-famous foot race.  But I was never there very often as elite runners broke the tape in Copley Square.

My editors wanted me out there as this event evolved from a world-class competition, into an exhibition of determination, accomplishment, personal achievement, and … love.

The best stories at the Marathon truly do happen beyond the 4-hour mark. When I covered the Marathon finish area in the day, I interviewed and wrote about people who were always so happy to tell me, from their hearts, why they subjected themselves to four-plus hours of pain on race day, and untold hours training beforehand in all kinds of terrible weather.

It was all about personal triumphs over serious health issues, to honor a deceased loved one, or to simply give themselves one major life accomplishment that no one could ever take away. Listening to them, it was as if they were telling me how each step, from Hopkinton to Boston, washed away the bad times and put them on top of the world.

Long after my deadline had passed, and what I had written ended up lining the bottom of some birdcage, the memory of watching these runners embrace loved ones, who waited hours for them to arrive on Boylston Street, left me with my own little “life is good” feeling.

Terrorism, wherever it happens, is an abomination against innocent people, and it causes us to react not only with sadness, but intense anger. What happened at the finish line of yesterday’s Boston Marathon should unite the good people in the world – and there are way more of us good people than there are of them — in hoping that the perpetrators soon feel the full brunt of justice.

But after that, we know that we will all pull together to ensure that people are out there again next year, trying for that one shining moment.

Here’s praying that what returns beyond the 4-hour mark in future Boston Marathons is again all about personal triumph, step-by-step healing of mind and body, and … love.

A message from the publisher

22 Mar

Dear readers,

It has been a busy month for me with work travel, and the process of beginning my campaign for Ward 5 City Councilor, so I apologize for not posting very often lately.

As my campaign goes into high gear, it’s likely I will be posting less frequently, but I will also try to keep up with it the best that I can. Since starting this blog back in November, we’ve had almost 50,000 site visits, and I’m honored that so many people have found the content here interesting enough to visit.

Going forward my goal is to continue to bring you the best in hometown news and commentary. I just might not be able to post as often because of my personal time constraints.

But with that I’d like to offer all of our readers the opportunity to write and post as well. If you are a candidate who would like to get your message out, please feel free to submit a candidate statement.

But you do not have to be a candidate. I will consider submissions from everyone. All you need to do is email me at racroce@comcast.net, and I’ll consider it for publication. The only thing I can’t do in the main content area is use anonymously written content.

Thanks again for reading.

Sincerely.

Bob Croce, Publisher, Eye On Peabody

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