Sunday, November 1, 2009

Election 2009 Thoughts

Ward 2 Polling Place Change

As we prepare for another municipal election,  I’ve never made endorsements as such on the blog, but here are my thoughts.

First of all, I and the rest of Ward 2 have a new polling place, or really, an old place being used again:  The social hall at St. John’s Church, just next door to me.  It was used in 1995, but later polling was done at Salem Heights.

Ward 2's polling place for 2009

I hated and resented that for years.  Now it’s back to St. John’s.  I can’t blame people in Salem Heights or in Precinct 1 for hating this, too.  I wouldn’t begrudge them for the hate one bit.  The polling places have been consolidated this year so most wards go to one place for both precincts except for Wards 5 and 6.

I’m obliged to investigate handicapped access;  this lack of access was why St. John’s was dropped in the first place.  I asked around and was told there would be a ramp.  There’ll need to be three;  there’s one up to the entrance, one down to the foyer, and one into the hall itself if I recall correctly.

We’ll see how it goes Tuesday.

On to the candidates. Wards 3 and 5 are the only contested ward races, so for most voters, the at-large candidates are the only ones they’ll focus on. 

That brings me to Teasie Goggin, the highest-profile candidate in all the city, running for at-large.

I respect Teasie.  I’ve talked with her about one of her campaign goals, increased transparency in government.  It is something I’ve talked about, and lived.  If she is elected she will learn what I have learned firsthand!

Unfortunately, Teasie and I have never talked about the big issue that divides us, the senior center.  I fear that if I elect her, she will seek to delay the project such that we’ll be arguing it when I’m 60.  She and my ward councilor are opinionated to a fault with this.

What of other issues?  Boston St.?  I can cite another example of the transparency she is asking for in the Salem Redevelopment Authority controversy over Tavern in the Square.

Respect Teasie as I may, I can’t give her my vote.

I also feel unable (or unwilling) to vote for Tom Furey.  I don’t believe for a moment that he was deliberately malicious when he wanted to ban smoking in public housing, but that is an issue he could have dealt with differently if only he had some forethought.  I’ve learned not to expect that from many councilors, but that is no excuse.

I will vote for Joan Lovely in the at-large.  I almost always disagree with her, but respect her professionalism.  (I appreciate the hand written note on your election mailing, Mrs. Lovely.  Thanks.  But I had decided my position before getting it.)

I like Steve Pinto but don’t feel connected to him, nor to Arthur Sargent, nor to the “new” candidate, Mike Allen (ex-School Committee).

I will not cast a vote for my ward councilor, nor for Mayor Driscoll, for reasons I’ve already explained earlier in the yearI’m also concerned about her support for casinos, a issue that has been virtually undiscussed.  Mayor Driscoll, like too many in Salem, want to think our recession is a bad dream and soon over.  On the other hand, it’s very much real and may never be over soon, as long as we depend on the quick fix of gentrification.

(Aside:  I’ve thought Shirley Walker’s very public shit fight with Murphy’s restaurant was done out of frustration;  I think she wanted to flip her condo at Derby Lofts like she did in Quincy and wasn’t able to do so.)

By my account, Mayor Driscoll is still depending on gentrification to make her and Salem go.   Not for me.

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