Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A former resident makes a good point, a tourist missed the boat

I wrote about the Ferry announcement debacle here. Former Salem Resident Dave Bilodeau makes a very good point in the comments on that post that I think warrants repeating. Here it is:

Dave Bilodeau said...

As a former resident, I think some of you at times are too close to the situation to appreciate what seems to be some very good things happening in the city. I visit very little these days while I'm in Florida, but when I return there is always something new and good happening, especially in the downtown. The mayor deserves credit of course, but people sometimes overlook the long-time contributions of councilors who make a big difference. I'm speaking of course of Joan Lovely, who in my view has been as good if not better than any member of that body in the past 50 years.

Try not to focus on the day to day trivial dramas going on and be happy you have things like traffic and interest in the ferry. It's a good sign.

To Dave's point, I hope that I've been clear that I very much support the improvements that are being made to Blaney Street. As someone who lives nearby, and walks my dog there daily, improvements that discourage some of the sketchier activities that have been witnessed there is great. The same is true for improvements that make the ferry more attractive to commuters and tourists. Ferry ridership that has increased annually should be celebrated, especially now that their daily arrival won't create a dustbowl for the neighborhood.

My only point here is that the handling of the announcement of the delay was terrible. This was illustrated to me again when a friend and I were walking our dogs on Blaney Street Saturday morning, and we encountered some confused people from New Hampshire. They stopped us and asked what was going on with the ferry. We explained that the season had been delayed due to the construction. They were upset, as they had driven, as they put it, "100 miles to take the boat to Boston for the day." They also said that they had checked the schedule on the ferry website Wednesday night. We explained that the announcement wasn't made until Thursday. They were good sports about it, but were also annoyed at the late announcement. Their spirits were lifted when we told them they'd probably be able to catch a commuter rail train within an hour. It's people like this who are affected by things like this, and may remember Salem as the city that didn't tell them the boat wouldn't be running.

As to traffic, I've long held that a downtown traffic and parking problem is a good problem to have. Ask Peabody if they'd like to have people looking for parking spaces.

I also think Joan Lovely does a great job. She's not caught up with being pro-Driscoll, or anti-Driscoll, as several of her counterparts seem to be. She seems to just be pro-common-sense.


  1. May we, the commentariat, please refrain from blaming this on Kim's psychological profile?

    Transparency is not a magic pixie thing that I can hire Christian Day to do.

    When Kim appeared before my Commission (of Disabilities) exactly two weeks ago, she was certain Blaney St. would open on schedule. Certain of it.

    I don't know if she drives by on her way from work (it would be out of her way) and I'm not sure if she or I could see the heavy equipment there and say oh that'll not be done on time.

    Of all the criticism people have of her, not a one person has talked about the contractors.

    What about them?

    What do they report? And to whom?

    Do people really think that they can accept the contractors saying "oh we're done signoffonitnow kthanksbye!" at the end of the project?

    That's the true failure of transparency.

    To think it is a pixie wand that Cabot can wave, is nearly an insult to those of us who have been working for transparency for I could tell you first hand how hard it is.

    I didn't even vote for Kim and I never will. I have no love for the Council or my own Sosnowski (excuse me, the SCNA's own Sosnowski).

    (You know, Mike, even if it isn't your ward, it is in your area of expertise, you know, the noble job you partly left so you could court with snobs. You could very well give experienced judgements and observations that we could all benefit from. You chose not to.)

    And what would Tom Dalton do? Nice man, he gave me my moment of fame a few years ago. But really, his salary depends on what he writes and exactly what he writes and what his masters in Alabama want. Please.

  2. I understand your point, David.

    At the same time, everyone who lives nearby has heard the contractors say that they were behind. Many of us reported as much. I also posted pictures that made it pretty clear to anyone who viewed them that the amount of work left was massive. I communicated as much directly to the mayor, and Jason Silva. I don't know if the mayor looked at the pics, but I'm pretty certain that Mr. Silva reads this page. He's said as much.

    If she didn't go down and look, she should have. I was told by a neighbor that they saw her down there when Lt. Governor Murray was here, and she was visibly very unhappy with what she was seeing.

    This wasn't "we didn't quite make it." The gravel for leveling prior to paving just appeared this week. There have been water and sewer pipes sitting visibly above ground on the site for over a month. Blaney Street has been dirt all the way from Derby for quite a while. there are holes and trenches all over the place.

    On another note, I ran into a car load looking for the Ferry at 8:45 this morning. They weren't happy.

  3. Also, I wouldn't vote for Councilor Sosnowski either.

  4. FYI - The salem ferry website STILL says the ferry opened last week. Also I CALLED the ferry compnay last thurs and was assured they would open on time. I have sent them an email pointing this out, which they have shosen to ignore.

  5. I felt bad for the suited man on the bicycle heading to the pier on Tuesday morning. That was a rude awakening as well.

  6. Dave B. objects to my suggestion that only something in the mayor's psychological makeup can possibly account for her refusal to admit the unreality of the ferry's start date, yet how else does one account for it? After all, she is not stupid.

  7. P.S. Tom Dalton has no "Masters" (as David M. claims) in Alabama or anywhere else. He does not know Tom. If he did, he would not have said such a ridiculous thing.)

  8. Correction: I meant to write "Dave M. objects to my suggestion," etc, NOT "Dave B."

  9. I hope the Ferry is operating soon.

    Here is a little more perspective on what a municipal administrator has to deal with in terms of contractors. Near our home here in North Ft Myers, the county contracted in 2005 to have Del Prado Blvd, a 3 mile, two lane road converted to a four lane express. Estimated time to complete: 2 years. Additionally, it was a non-union worksite.

    It took 6 years...... Every county administrator swore it would be completed each calendar year from 2008 until now.

    Can you imagine that happening in Salem?

  10. Mr. Bilodeau, we don't have to imagine; that scenario has happened elsewhere in the great state of Mass.

    Michael B., I do not give a flying whatever if someone "is a nice guy". I've met Tom Dalton and that adjective does indeed describe him. But the News IS owned and de facto managed by a teacher's retirement fund in Alabama, and if you take the News editorial board as an example, they DO respond to whatever Alabama's wishes are.

  11. David M, I have no doubt the editors of the Salem News are controled by that group. Ownership does have it rights. I would disagree with you only as it relates to the character of Tom Dalton, who in my opinion calls it fair and takes no sides.

    By the way, next time you're at SATV, please say a big hello to Pat Reed from me. She's a class act.

  12. Dear Dave M:
    I very much respect your opinions about Salem because you are someone who truly knows what he is talking about. I have no issue with anything you say above, including your comments about the Salem News and it's relationship to its owners out of state, generally speaking. I agree with Dave B., however, when he says that Tom Dalton is an exception to this general rule.
    By the way, thanks for posting your visit to the Salem Jail. I watched it the other night and was fascinated. You did us all a big favor by making that record before it was "transformed"!


Don't forget, keep it klassy!