Thursday, March 31, 2011

Salem Wharf / Blaney Street Update

Work continues to progress on the new Salem Wharf being built on the Blaney Street pier. I have a dog, and frequently walk him around this area. I have to say, the amount of activity down here is pretty impressive. At the same time, there's also a pretty prime example of the typical ego stroking that goes on with these taxpayer funded projects. But first, the progress.

I snapped this shot on Saturday, March 19th. You probably can't see them, but there are several workers out towards the end of the pier, working on a Saturday. Yes, Saturday work on a public project. Impressive, yet, I wonder what that cost us. Notice the empty area to the right of the picture. We'll be talking about that in a second.

Saturday work? Shocking!

 I found myself down this way again one evening early this week. Look what has now appeared in the empty space in the photo above! An ego-stroker for public officials. What makes this one such a galling waste of money is that it is located at the water line, probably about 60 feet from the "Danger Construction Area Do Not Enter" sign and usually locked gate. You really can't read it at all.

All you can really see from gate is the fun new Salem logo

On this particular evening they seemed to have forgotten to lock the gates, so I ignored the "Do Not Enter" warning and went to get a closer look at this new sign.

I'm shocked that Ted Kennedy, Scott Brown and Jason Silva were somehow left off
 Clearly this sign is nothing but a waste of money, as it's not legible from outside the construction fence, meant to stroke the egos of people, mostly pols, who also clearly don't need the ego stroking. Their egos are plenty healthy. Couldn't we have saved the, oh, probably $750 it cost to make and install this sign?

Feel free to go check it out for yourself, but you may want to wait a few weeks. You see, though it hasn't really been publicized, the city is closing all of Blaney Street starting tomorrow, April 1, 2011, for a period of at least two weeks. Big deal, right? Well, There are at least 15 or so cars that park on Blaney Street, or in driveways accessed by Blaney Street. That's right, the people who live there have all been told they won't be able to reach their homes or buildings during this two week period, and will have to find elsewhere to park. As I was working on this blog post I received the following from a loyal reader:

Subject: Blog

I think you should do a story on how there is already such limited parking in the area surrounding Blaney Street and now they are closing off Blaney Street for (at least!) two weeks and suggesting that everyone who usually parks on Blaney Street AND everyone living in the condo building, apartment house and Mr. Mackey have all been advised to use the White Street "lot" which holds -- maybe -- six cars, if everyone parks perfectly. This is going to be super convenient. And maybe throw in how construction people and Salem PD have felt free to use the private driveways on this street as a private parking lot for the past several days. Even saw a cop give a resident attitude when they politely asked, "May I help you?" when the resident came home in the middle of the day to find two strange men sitting in a strange vehicle IN HIS OR HER OWN DRIVEWAY. I mean, it's not like methheads have been using these parking lots at all -- OH WAIT, yes they have.

I can't imagine living in one of the several properties that has frontage on this project. Can't be fun at all.

Adding to the fun, the current rumor is that Witch City Segway is moving into the empty commercial space at the corner of Derby and Blaney. I'm sure that Derby Street is the right place to teach novices how to ride Segways. That's a great idea. Have to give it to them though, first site coming off the Ferry is a Segway rental? Smart. Dead customers, not so much.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Crime Watch

Javon Farmer-McFadden, congrats on ruining your life at the ripe young age of 19. Seems like what you probably deserve. Savage.

Mr. Farmer-McFadden, of Beverly, while attending a party on Ocean Avenue in Salem, thought it would be a good idea to violate a restraining order and smash his ex-girlfriend in the head with a brick multiple times, apparently because she refused to take care of his urges. He also tried to break her neck. He was already facing domestic violence charges having to do with this same victim. (I won't talk about whether or not it was wise for her to agree to go outside with him.)

There's a special place in hell for men who abuse women. While in prison, they usually learn about their own special place. Enjoy!

The other unsurprising thing here is that Mr F-M had no problem getting physical with this woman, but when neighbor Nathaniel McDonald yelled at him and approached, he turned tail and ran. Little piece of human excrement.

Unfortunately, the address on Ocean Avenue hasn't been published, so we can't give a special shout out to the resident who invited this trash into our city.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Truth in Advertising

Was walking down Derby Street this weekend and passed the Dunkin Donuts near Beer Works. It's currently closed for remodeling (shrinking). The sign in the window was about the truest thing I think I've ever seen.

We definitely would be better served if there were a few fewer Dunks around, and we all ate fewer donuts..

Friday, March 25, 2011

UPDATED: Miscellaneous ramblings

UPDATE: Received a tweet from Salem Patch reporter John Zorabedian that the city council intends to override the mayor's veto of the Pinto Jobs Plan. I hope, but don't expect, that they have a good explanation for why this is a good piece of legislation for the taxpayers of Salem, and not just a good piece of legislation for the 11 city councilors. This makes them all look bad.


It sounds like the principal at Witchcraft Heights Elementary School wants nothing to do with Jim Fleming's proposal to rename that school. See Salem Patch for more info. He's not just the principal, he's also an alum.

Speaking of alums, there is a Facebook group for alums of Witchcraft Heights. Did you go to Witchcraft? Join up. There is currently a small discussion about the renaming proposal going on there.

My guess is that the proposal dies in committee. The timing is bad with the cost involved, and I'm not hearing anyone who is really gung ho about it in the first place. There are probably other, less expensive ways to give Lenny O'Leary his due.


Mayor Driscoll recently vetoed Councilor Pinto's City Coucil Jobs Plan (not the official name) legislation that would make it legal for councilors to jump straight from council into a city payroll position. His position here baffles me. He can't come out of it looking good. The mayor, in her letter to council, proposed that council amend the legislation to allow a councilor to sit on a city board (usually low or no compensation) immediately, but keep the restriction of a one year wait before they could take a full time city job. She cites this rule as a check on the mayor, which makes sense. Council can't act on the veto for seven days. Driscoll's proposal was sent to committee.

Under Pinto's proposal, the mayor could, for example, say to Councilor Lovely, vote my way on the St. Joe's Senior Center proposal, and I'll make you the new City Solicitor (has Joan finished law school yet?). Or, for a more timely example, could say, Joan, don't run against me in the next election, and the solicitor job is yours.

On the other hand, Councilor Pinto (I only use him as an example because it's his proposal) could say to a department head, hire me into your department, I will get my friends on council to fund it, plus a 20% bump in your department's operating budget.

Why make horse trading easier? Are these councilors in service to the city, or to themselves? Perception is reality, and the perception here is dirty.


I watched the city council meeting last night, and shared some of my thoughts on Twitter. Here are my observations:

1. Wow, Teasie Riley-Goggin loves to hear herself talk. Also, she REALLY finds a lot of importance in podiums. Anyone want to bet how many consecutive city council meetings she speaks at?

2. Jerry Ryan looks much better without the facial hair. It doesn't make you look older Jerry, just creepier. You don't drive a panel van, do you? Shave it off.

3. I think Sosnowski may have admitted that he doesn't really keep on top of his council mail. He lost his budget reports.

4. If you asked Tom Furey how the weather was, I think he'd answer with, "I'd like to thank the mayor for providing us with this beautiful day." He's turned boot licking into a science.

5. The council approved the hiring of a budget analyst who reports to the council. I think this is a good move, and hopefully will help council identify needless spending in the budget. (I know, who am I kidding?) It should also help them understand the budget. Paul Prevey's comment that he doesn't know a fraction of what the budget is about is truly frightening. Apparently it was a long time project to get this position approved. Joan Lovely stated that she'd worked on it for years. To hear the council go on and on you'd think they had just won an Academy Award. It was funny how proud of themselves they were.

6. If it took ten years for council to hire an analyst, how long do we think it will really take for them to find a permanent home for the city hall annex? Does anyone have less than the three years that was the opt-out in the proposed lease for 120 Washington? Anyone? Bueller? Not a chance. Flush!

7. The Furey proposal to change the rule Pinto used to stop the mayor from speaking was sent to committee.

8. Where was John Ronan last night? His job is to be there. Also, Pelletier was late. Shows disrespect to the citizen speakers.

9. I knew Rosemary O'Connor years ago. Good to see she's still at it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Who is Mike Blatty?!?!

As I've mentioned before, you can email me.

I received the following e-mail today.

Who is Mike Blatty?!?!



to keepitklassysa.
show details 3:35 PM (5 hours ago)

Dear KIKS,
Are you Mike Blatty?
Are you his Tyler Durden?
If not, who is Mike Blatty and why does he comment on everything?
Is he my mother?
I'm so confused.
Please put your investigative skills to the test on this and blow this whole thing wide open.
Thank you,
a concerned reader
I've never met Mike Blatty, exactly. I've known him on Salemweb for years, though he doesn't realize it.

Here's what I can tell you. He has run for Ward 3 City Councilor several times (maybe 3) simply because he thinks voters should have a choice, I think. At the same time, he doesn't actually appear to campaign. But he does put his name on the ballot.

He is also a prolific web commenter. For a while he was about the only Salemweb poster. He's clearly the most frequent. He also is one of the only Salem News posters left. A similar conversation is taking place there now.
His father is the author of The Exorcist, as well as several other novels.

On the issues, we agree maybe about half the time. When we do, I'm even more sure than usual that I'm right. (I'm still sure I'm right when we don't.)

I'm hoping he'll jump in and provide a better answer.

Nothing better to do?

As reported by Salem Patch, school committee member Jim Fleming (he of the 66% attendance rate) last night proposed renaming of the Witchcraft Heights Elementary School after former City Council member Lenny O'Leary. It's a nice thought, though as Patch explains, may violate school naming rules.

I have two questions here. First, is this really the most important thing before the school committee? Have they nothing better to do? If not, I know exactly where I stand on their proposed raise. Second, what will it actually cost to rename the school? I'm betting Fleming hasn't considered or investigated it. My guess is that it's more than you'd think.

Interesting that Fleming thinks that those outside of the city won't get the reference in the current name. Really?

Check out this picture at Salem Patch, and this one. How many more signs are there with the name of the school on it? They would all have to be redone. Is the name of the school on the gym floor? Cha-ching!

We'll end up paying to redo the logo.

This will have to be changed:

How many more instances like this are there? Could the cost of renaming the school actually exceed the amount of money the city wasted this year on 120 Washington Street? I think it might, when you factor in every piece of signage, Web site work for the school, disctrict, and city, reprinting stationary at the school and district level, business cards, logo design, report cards, and who knows where else it will have to be changed. and Patch have both covered Fleming's proposal. I've talked about it. Do you think the Salem News will get around to mentioning it? Maybe tomorrow? It's 2011 Snews, you can update your Web site.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Continuing yesterday's trend

Continuing yesterday's trend of stepping slightly outside of Salem, let's visit Danvers. St. John's Prep will host a flag that flew atop one of the buildings across the street from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The flag bares the scars of that day.

My guess? Peabody police have already asked for tomorrow to be a paid holiday to commemorate this visit. Strangely, none of the heroes being honored tomorrow hail from the Peabody Police Department. I guess Lieutenant Bettencourt wasn't available.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Across the Bridge

I'm stepping just a tiny bit outside of Salem today, but you can see this property from several points in Salem.

When I was house hunting, one of the properties I looked at was at Tuck Point Condominium in Beverly. The year would have been 2004 or 2005. The place seemed nice, but wasn't really my style. I have a feeling I dodged a major bullet. From the sound of it, the condo board over there is a real piece of work. Read this article about them using loopholes in the law to steal the home of an owner who dared to question them. Definitely a must read for anyone considering buying at Tuck Point.

Considering buying a condo? I'd consider asking if the trustees are represented by Marcus, Errico, Emmer & Brooks, and running hard the other way if the answer is yes. Just one person's opinion.

Another interesting read is this environmental assessment done at the request of a Tuck Point Condo resident. The assessment makes mention of the chemical problems presented in the first piece, lending it credence.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is here III

In yet another sign of spring's arrival, preparations are underway for another season at the Lobster Shanty. Unfortunately for them, they just learned that their sound system has "died." After an off-season of no cash, they're a little strapped and are asking for assistance in purchasing a new one. All they want you to do is help "sponsor" the new system by purchasing a gift certificate. They're even doing a sponsor plaque that can have your name on it.

While I assume that the system died of natural causes, this news got me thinking. Does Shirley Walker have an alibi for when the system died, of natural causes I assume. She does, after all, have quite the history with downtown noise.

Spring is here II

Drove by TitS this morning.

All of their outdoor tables and chairs, as well as their outdoor heaters are out. Spring is in. Pay no attention to the snow currently falling.

I have really mixed feelings about the Tavern. As far s the food goes, it's a glorified TGIFriday's or Applebees. There are numerous, much better fare options available within 300 steps. But hey, the yah dude, kid, and guy types need a weekend meat market, and I'm sure this fits the bill. Additionally, it takes some of those less interested in food quality out of some of the better restaurants around it, and makes room for me. Additionally, it has breathed life into what was a blighted location. The old building that was there was just terrible. I'm pretty sure it was a crack den.

The Tavern also added outdoor seating, spending about $75,000 to build an outdoor patio. In fact, it's arguably the nicest looking outdoor seating section in the city. While one Salem State professor hilariously talked about the profound sense of loss he would feel at the loss of two trees that were removed, most would agree that the area actually looks better than it did before, when it was frequently "brown space."

View Larger Map
Before the patio

David Moisan has a great picture of what it looks like now, here.

It's a city street corner that now isn't a resting spot for drunks. Everyone wins, right? Not really. Due to an archaic Massachusetts law (I feel like I say that phrase a lot) the Tavern must close the sidewalk when the patio is being used, because alcohol may not cross an open city sidewalk.

Big deal, right? There's a sidewalk that goes right around the patio, and actually ends at the crosswalks. Not so fast, please. Big deal to me? Not at all. I could use the few extra steps. Big deal to someone who faces different physical challenges? Sure. David Moisan captured the argument against closing the sidewalk much better than I ever could. Check out his blog post here. They truly are valid points. Why don't the needs of those living with disabilities matter here? $$

So even when this behemoth of downtown dining (I think they have the largest legal capacity) does something good, the little guy gets hurt. I blame the state law for this one.

Friday, March 18, 2011

10 Federal Street not an option?

Yes, beating a dead horse.

Councilor Pinto stated that he was against renewing the 120 Washington Street lease because 10 Federal Street was a much better location. Interestingly, he may have know that 10 Federal wasn't an option, as he said it.

In a letter to the editor, 10 Federal Street owner Spiros Flomp states that if a new RFP were issued, 10 Federal Street wouldn't submit as they no longer have the space available to meet the city's needs.

He stated: "At no time was a re-bid or renegotiation of terms ever discussed. Councilors that we met with who ended up voting for the mayor's plan, and those voting against, were well aware that should a new bid be solicited we could no longer meet the space requirements of the city."

This addresses an allegation previously discussed here, that councilors were bypassing the RFP process, which would be illegal. Glad to hear it. What is really interesting, is that if Flomp is telling the truth, and I have no reason to doubt him, then Steven Pinto was continuing to say, no, we should move to 10 Federal, while knowing that it was no longer an option. Why would he do such a thing? What if the council had said, OK, Steve, let's go?

Washington Square Fire

I happened to have today off and was walking home from downtown when a Salem Fire engine flew by. A few minutes later a Marblehead engine flew by. About 30 seconds after that a Danvers engine followed. I checked Facebook on my phone, and Northshore Patch was reporting that there was a large fire on Washington Square, so I headed over there armed with my iPhone. Fortunately all of the residents of this large apartment building made it out safely.

This is the unfortunate seen that I witnessed.

Not long after I arrived, the crew from Salem Patch showed up.

Salem Patch writer and salemweb message board contributor Bil Legault, and Salem Patch editor Aubry Bracco

I also managed to catch some video.

I also took a walk around the location of the fire on East Washington Square, and caught some eerie images of smoke filled, darkened streets in the Salem Common neighborhood.

 The far end of Andrew Street

A few streets over, on Boardman

Smoke flies over Boardman Street

I returned to the scene, and captured this rainbow image, which was oxymoronic, considering the destruction that occurred.
One of our little birdies was present as well. You can check out her pictures at clang creative.

One final note, congrats to the douchebag channel 7 cameraman for harassing the clearly distraught resident who told you she didn't want to be recorded. Way to go, big man, and no, I won't get out of your way so you can continue it, go ahead and call the cops, will see if me holding my hand 12 inches in front of my face, but 2 feet from your camera constitutes harassment. Asshole.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring is here!

Destination Salem reports that Rockefellas has opened their outdoor seating section the afternoon. That will be great, at least until around 5, when the temps are supposed to dip back into the 40s. But hey, there is hope!

EXCLUSIVE: Mayor's Office Investigating Whether Charter Was Violated

I can confirm exclusively that the Mayor's Office is looking into whether or not Steven Pinto's actions at last Thursday's City Council meeting violated the City Charter.

I emailed a link to this post to the mayor and her top aide, Jason Silva, yesterday, informing them of my belief that the City Charter guaranteed the mayor the right to speak at City Council meetings. I just received a response from Mr. Silva thanking me, and letting me know that they are, in fact, looking into it. You heard it here first.

Still, the Salem News is silent.

Salem News Drops the Ball

The Snooze has two editorials on the 120 Washington St lease agreement (or disagreement) and last week's council meeting today.

First, this either really late, or you're beating a dead horse. (I know, who am I to talk?)

Second, you're still dropping the ball here. Was Usovic correct in stating that the mayor always has the right to address city council, as I covered here? The News published the Usovic quote, yet has never addressed whether or not he was correct. What does section 19 of the charter mean? It's definitely in question. You'll notice that in the comments on my previous post that Mr. Blatty and I disagree. (I still think, I'm right, but I'm sure he still thinks he is, as well.)

I think the Salemweb poster WillowsJim makes an excellent point regarding what Steven Pinto is doing to himself with his stand on this issue. Read it here. (currently second from the top) I've seen numerous examples of people who take little interest in Salem politics who have become aware of this issue and immediately take issue with it, especially the wasting of an extra $42,000 a year on rent for an office that we aren't leaving in the next several years. Taking a stand stating that we should pay more rent doesn't make for a good soundbite, and we very much live in a short-attention soundbite world. Good luck with that. Even if he were right (I don't believe he is), it's easy in politics to win a battle that helps you lose the war.

He could easily have given the mayor 5 minutes, not looked like a dink, and still voted to spend extra on rent, as he did.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Patrice Tierney is Free ... Kinda

Patrice Tierney has been released from prison.

This is extremely good news for the brothers Eremian. This is, after all, one of the busiest times of year for the family business, with the NCAA men's tournament starting today.

Hope her company car is gassed up. She'll be on home confinement soon. There isn't a second to spare.

It still amazes me that the prosecutor actually admitted that the reason he didn't seek jail time was that she was married to the congressman.

Did Pinto violate the law when he refused to allow the mayor to speak?

The Salem News published an article today about Councilor Furey pushing to amend the rule that allowed Councilor Pinto

Section 18 of the General Provisions of the Charter addresses the fact that City Council will set rules for the proceedings. Part two of section 18 reads:

2.   The city council shall, from time to time, establish rules for its proceedings. (emphasis added) Regular and special meetings of the council shall be held at a time and place fixed by ordinance. Except as otherwise authorized by section twenty-three A of chapter thirty-nine, all sessions of the council shall be open to the public and to the press, and every matter coming before the council for action shall be put to a vote, the result of which shall be duly recorded. A full and accurate journal of the proceedings of the council shall be kept, and shall be open to the inspection of any registered voter of the city.

Clearly this authorizes council to institute the rules for council meetings, including the one that allows a single councilor to object to a suspension of the rules to allow a non-councilor to speak. But does that apply to the mayor?

Section 19 of the General Provisions, is as follows:

19. Mayor to provide information to council; attendance at meetings of council; addressing the council.

The city council at any time may request from the mayor, or, under Plan D or E, from the city manager, specific information on any municipal matter within its jurisdiction, and may request him to be present to answer written questions relating thereto at a meeting to be held not earlier than one week from the date of the receipt by the mayor, or, under Plan D or E, by the city manager, of said questions. The mayor, or, under Plan D or E, the city manager, shall personally, or through the head of a department or a member of a board, attend such meeting and publicly answer all such questions. The person so attending shall not be obliged to answer questions relating to any other matter. The mayor, or, under Plan D or E, the city manager, may attend and address the city council in person or through the head of a department, or a member of a board, upon any subject. (emphasis added)

This provision of the charter doesn't permit council to prevent the mayor from addressing them. It expressly authorizes the mayor to address council regarding any subject. Therefore, Pinto (and council's rule) may have violated the city charter with his actions. So which takes precedence? The City Charter is basically the City of Salem's version of the constitution. A rule of council in their handbook that violates the Charter wouldn't be permissible, and would therefore be invalid. Don't believe me? Consider this example. The Charter lays out that there will be 11 City Councilors. If City Council decided to vote to increase that number to 13, without amending the Charter, do you think that would fly? Surely it wouldn't. So without amending section 19 of the charter wouldn't Pinto's action also be illegal.

I'm no lawyer, so if I'm missing something, someone please enlighten me.

One question: Why couldn't the Salem News provide this level of detail? Too much work?

One other question after reading the news piece. Does Mike Blatty have a better memory than anyone else? In the Salem News article, Usovic, who pointed out that the mayor has the right to address council, says he can't recall it ever happening. During the meeting, O'Keefe (Okay, sometimes he seems a little confused) stated that it never happened. But Mr. Blatty has stated in several places (including his comment on the article) that Mayor Driscoll has previously been banned from speaking at Council. Strangely, he never states what the subject matter was. Enlighten us, Mike!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Warlock is Coming to Boston!

The event of the century is coming to Boston. "Charlie Sheen LIVE: My Violent Torpedo of Truth" will be at Agganis Arena on April 12. The description reads as follows:

My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not An Option Show is coming for you.

I'm going on the road. LIVE.

Will there be surprises? Will there be guests? Will there be mayhem? Will you ask questions? Will you laugh? Will you scream? Will you know the truth?

This IS where you will hear the REAL story from the Warlock.

Bring it. I dare you to keep up with me.

You'll notice that yet again Charlie has used to forbidden W-word. We know two things as a result. That binding phooey that went on a few weeks ago really stunk, and I'm predicting it here first, a Christian Day led protest of some sort will be held outside of Agganis on April 12. My guess is a picket line complete with signs, and spells. Thoughts?

Salem Restaurant Week Approaches

Salem Restaurant Week is almost here. The twist? This year it's two weeks. Check out Salem Patch for all the details.

Restaurant week can be a nice way to try out some of Salem's newer restaurants, or just check out a place you haven't been. For example, somehow I've never been to the Lyceum or Nathaniel's. I'd also like to try newer spot Cafe Polonia.

Speaker DeLeo classes up St. Paddy's day breakfast

Somehow, I don't think that House Speaker Robert DeLeo will be invited back to our state rep John Keenan's annual St Patrick's Day breakfast at Finz next year. Last Friday, DeLeo ripped Salem, basically calling it a shithole of a city. His funniest, truest, line was reserved for recent KIKS target Christian Day. DeLeo said, "You have a guy trying to figure out whether Charlie Sheen is a warlock or a warlord. What an intellectual city.” The speaker went on to exclaim that he can do whatever the fuck he wants, because he's the speaker. Klassy. Accounts are that his act didn't play well. (He later issued a clarification/appology, which really wasn't necessary.) I get it, it's a roast. Still klassy.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo

Let's look at the man who is throwing bombs at our city. Remember, Speaker DeLeo scuttled the entire gambling proposal last year because his district wasn't guaranteed at least a slot parlor. Yes, a slot parlor. Because adding a slot parlor to Revere wouldn't make it a bigger dump. Slot parlors exude class, as you can see below.

Slot parlors are klassy

Before Speaker DeLeo speaks ill of other communities, he should probably sweep some of the skeletons out of his closet. He has been implicated in the probation hiring scandal, with a record of numerous "recommendations" for hirings. He appears to be in it up to his waist, only beaten by this guy, who DeLeo appointed as Speaker Pro Tempore after he helped get DeLeo the speakership. A review of his record will show that it wasn't Tommy Petrolati's legislative achievements that got him the gig. He's not exactly a legislative heavyweight. Keeping him around shows that DeLeo isn't straying far from Speakers past. (He was finally forced to not seek reappointment after the Globe investigative series.)

If you look at recent history, it is a statistical certainty that he will at some point in the near future face criminal charges. Probation is just the current leader in the clubhouse. Who knows what will be next. Speaker DeLeo, feel free to not darken the doorstep of this fair shithole again. Thanks in advance!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Salem News gets it right ... almost

I've found plenty to disagree with in the Salem News, but today they got one close to right. Go read today's editorial, Council's not-so-fab four making Salem look foolish. Also make sure to catch the comment by Mike Blatty.

I agree with most of this editorial. However, I think that Mr. Blatty is also correct. I don't buy that councilors voted the way they did "primarily to make mischief." I believe that Sosnowski, for sure, has Salem's best interests at heart. I just think he's wrong frequently about what is in Salem's best interest. For now, I feel the same way about Ronan. I have no reason not to, and give him the benefit of the doubt.

As for Prevey and Pinto, I'm less sure of their motives. Let's look at each of them individually.

Prevey's actions regarding the purchasing agent are certainly suspect. The role of council is to confirm the appointment of the mayor, making sure that they are qualified. That's it. They aren't supposed to be vetting non-appointed candidates, interviewing candidates, or picking one of their own. Deciding whether or not the mayor's choice is qualified can be done by reviewing the qualification of the candidate for confirmation alone. The mayor has the right to choose the person the mayor is most comfortable with, as long as they are qualified for the job. Additionally, if Councilor Prevey truly wanted to see the other applications, he could have visited the city's Human Resources office to do so. I can only conclude that what he really wanted to do was make a ruckus, and a name, with a power-play where his power was really limited. I very much wonder if Prevey fancies himself as future mayor, and uses things like this to get his name out there, and position himself as the anti-Driscoll candidate. I hope I'm wrong.

I've documented much of Pinto's strangeness in the last week. Voting present, with no explanation, on the purchasing position was strike 1. His simply strange quest to make it easier for himself to obtain a taxpayer funded job was strike 2. His creating a dysfunctional relationship between the mayor and city council, and wasting taxpayer money with this annex issue, after stating that he was running for council because he was sick of his annual tax increase, is strike 3. His motive? I don't really know. He pretty much always refuses to explain why he's thinking what he's thinking.

One other issue I take with the News editorial is that if, as alleged, some of these councilors negotiated with another landlord, off to the side, they would not be merely unethical actions, as the News states, but would actually go beyond that and border on the illegal. The RFP process is in place in government to avoid exactly the impression of favoritism or back room dealing, as could be the case there.

I'm just deathly afraid that a faction on this council is dead-set on making our downtown just like Peabody's. Plenty of parking, because nobody wants to be there.

Interesting footnote: Op-ed editor Nelson Benton tweeted the following: "Fallout from Driscoll snub: Furey wants to rescind rule that let single member (Pinto) stop mayor from addressing council."

Here, here!

I noticed watching this meeting that several of the councilors seemed really appalled and disgusted with Pinto's actions. Why couldn't he just let her speak for a few minutes, and then ignore her and vote the way he was going to? How about a little decorum and respect?


Here's a completely unrelated "fun" fact. The Pilgrim Power Plant in Plymouth is set up identically to the first reactor that failed at Fukushima Daiichi. Same GE reactor, same cooling and containment system that failed. It was built in 1974, and is older than me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Councilor Puta ... err Pinto

UPDATE: Salem Patch has a video montage of some of the high (low?) points from last night's debacle. I think editor Aubry Bracco shot this video herself.


I've seen it all now.

I was watching the Salem City Council meeting last night (usually like watching paint dry) when the subject of the lease agreement for the City Hall Annex came up again. The mayor wanted to sign a five year lease on 120 Washington Street, that would save the city $42,000 a year, or $210,000 over the five year term. Council rejected the lease, then passed it, modifying a clause that the landlord didn't agree to modify. This was a third attempt at passing a variation of the lease agreement.

The mayor came to the council meeting last night, hoping to address their concerns and explain the importance of the savings, as well as the upgrades to the offices included in the lease. For the mayor to speak at the council meeting requires a suspension of the rules to allow a non-councilor to speak. The suspension can't be granted if one councilor objects. That is exactly what klasshole councilor Pinto did. It was one of the most disgraceful, disrespectful things I've ever seen. Several of the other councilors pointed out that as the mayor, she should be allowed to speak. Dean of the council, councilor O'Keefe (hey, I disagree with him too, sometimes) stated that he'd served under four different mayors and that he had never seen anyone refuse the mayor an audience. The mayor herself pointed out that she'd never refused to speak to any of the council. Councilors Pelletier (he stepped out ill before the vote on the lease) Lovely and Furey all urged him to retract his objection. Pinto's act was, in a word, shameful. City council appears to be going further and further off the reservation, and Pinto is playing a major part in that.

During his intial run for a council seat, Pinto told Wicked Local, "What gave me the incentive to run was that I felt betrayed, because taxes have doubled in the last seven years, and yet we’re still $3.5 million dollars in debt." Well councilor, let me tell you, I certainly feel betrayed. But by you. My property taxes have gone up over $100 a year every year you've been in office. What have you done about it? Yesterday you helped flush the entire property tax bills of 10 plus Salem households down the toilet on extra rent we didn't have to pay. As they like to say in Wisconsin right now, "SHAME!" I hope you at least wiped your ass with it first.

Pinto wasn't done. Later in the meeting, he demanded a hearing with the director of the board of health for an "update" on the hiring of a permanent Health Agent. This is a position that the council has no role in filling, and doesn't even come to the council for confirmation, unlike the purchasing agent who Pinto refused to confirm after months of bickering, voting present with no explanation. Several councilors correctly made the point that they had no business in this, and that it seemed like a fishing expedition. Pinto claimed he had received a few phone calls asking questions about it. Remember, there are 40,000 people in Salem. If a few people report to him that he should resign, will he do it? I intend to email him a link to this entry, and let me be clear, you should resign!

What is Pinto about? It seems that he's about himself. Later in the meeting he again brought up his foolhardy motion that council change an ordinance that bars them from being employed by the city for one year after leaving office. There are great reasons for such a law. For example, councilor Pinto could say to one of the department heads, "hey, I'll fund a raise for you, and give your department more money, if you hire me to work there." A councilor could quite literally end up receiving the very funds that they approved a month ago. It's a bad idea, but he's fighting for it tooth and nail, talking about how councilors shouldn't have to miss out on opportunities. He refuses to state whether he has a vested interest in getting this waived, but it's hard to believe he's sitting around thinking about it for no reason. This idea should have died in November, but he's bringing it up again. One must certainly question his insistence here.

Steven Pinto, you are an embarrassment to us all. Congrats on the most disgusting display in the history of the Salem City Council.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Prayers for the president?

The below sign was in the window of an unmarked (gee, I wonder why?) commercial van spotted in downtown Salem by one of our little birdies on Monday.

Photo courtesy clang creative

Klassy, eh? I love a good political debate, but praying for harm to come to our president is just disgusting. In case you're curious, verse 9 reads, "May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." As you see, the meaning is unambiguous. The driver of this commercial van is praying for the death of a sitting president.

Here's the license plate. Anyone know what business it belongs to?

Photo courtesy clang creative

Monday, March 7, 2011

Christian Day a fraud? Answered!

UPDATED: View the entire failure of a binding ceremony! Also, yet another Charlie reference to himself as a warlock weapon today.

"fastball; Cuban, a mad genius, proclaimed every brain cell in ths Warlock brain 2 B a weapon of mass destruction. U've been warned; by him."

The Charlie Sheen binding ceremony took place at 3 P.M. yesterday afternoon, at Crow Haven Corner.

Last night, around 10 P.M. Salem time, Charlie Sheen tweeted the following:

This Warlock is in the breach. Poised. T - minus 51 mins. read my tigerblood dripping lips; you've been warned. c

Strange, right? I guess this answers the questions about the power of one Christian Day. Better try again. This one didn't take. What's your lame excuse?

View the video:

Charlie Sheen offends Salem warlocks:

In light of the obvious failure of this "ritual," can we call it out for the hocus pocus, dress-up playing BS that it is?

More video, including an interview can be seen here.

Nice guyliner.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Christian Day a fraud?

This is very strange.

Christian Day promised to bind Charlie Sheen so that he couldn't speak of Warlocks any more.

Yet, Charlie Sheen just said that he chipped one of his warlock fangs on a great white shark he had to murder.

Could it be that Christian Day is full of shit? He's not the great and powerful Oz of witchcraft that he claims himself to be? This doesn't bode well for the reality show he's pitching.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Christian Day's flair for the dramatic

Anybody walk past Omen on Thursday? If so you might have caught the show.

A very trusted little birdy passed on this tidbit about the scene they witnessed while out for a walk:

"I totally saw him on his cell phone outside Omen today. He was pacing and having a meltdown. He was yelling that he had three shows today and two tomorrow and that ONLY ONE person should be managing his schedule 'until this blip passes.' His eyes were darting around like crazy. I'd bet he was being dramatic and hoping someone would recognize him from TMZ. Anyway, klassy."

Well, judging from his decision to contact TMZ, rumors that he's been pitching a witchy reality show featuring himself, constant diatribes in and about the Salem News, whoring himself out to Ghost Adventures, and rumors about him getting slapped in court for harassing a store owner, we'd say that Christian's flair for the dramatic has never been stronger, and his hunger for attention has never been more consuming.

While there IS some resemblance, we think that the closer match is MTV darling Bam Margera.

What do you think?

UPDATE: He posted this on Facebook himself. Nuff said.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lions, tiger blood, warlocks (Oh my!)

Christian Day's self-promotion knows no bounds. He's now in on the Charlie Sheen thing. Klassy.

Strangely, no mention of the rumored legal problems he recently faced. Was he really chastised by a judge in a courtroom and told to stop harassing another shop owner, and to avoid him or her going forward? Just a little something in the wind on Salemweb. Not sure if it's been confirmed, so take it for what you will.

Christian better also avoid this lady ...

Guess there wasn't enough self-promotion to be gained by going after her.

Two interesting comments from the TMZ piece:

"Um, maybe I am an old school witch, but male witches are called witches. Warlock among witches and other magical types means 'oathbreaker'. Basically he is saying that he is not dependable and does not honor his resposibilities if he is a warlock. The again, calling himself that might be the most honest thing he as said about himself in a while..."


"Christian Day is nothing but a self proclaimed media whore. He's as arrogant and pompous as he is whiny and back stabbing. He's been tryin to pitch a "Salem Witch" reality show (with him as the star of course) to different cable outlets and this is just a lame attempt to get them to notice him."

Christian, a reality show? Really?