Thursday, June 2, 2011

Last week's city council meeting (5/26/2011) Did JP admit to an ethics breach during the meeting?

I mentioned in my earlier post today that there were some good moments in the last city council meeting. They were few and far between, but here they are.

Councilor Sosnowski apparently doesn't know what a Google map marker looks like. The subject of the Witches Cup bike race came up, and Councilor Sosnowski wanted to send the matter to committee because where "they say they're putting it on the map" doesn't match with what they wrote. See for yourself in the video  below.

Thankfully, Councilor Lovely set him straight.

I'm not heartened that our esteemed Ward 2 councilor appears to be this unsavvy. Save your hate mail. I get he's a vet, and is due respect for his service. That doesn't change the fact that as a councilor, he frequently seems confused.

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Sosnowski thought the big A marker was where the sponsors were saying they were putting their tent. I'm a little concerned for the city.

After having it explained to him that the document did also state that the beer tent would be protected by three detail officers, and that he had missed it, Councilor Sosnowski retracted his motion to move this to committee, and supported it, while admitting that he didn't think beer should be sold on the common. To be fair, I believe the council is given a large stack of supporting paperwork for the various items on each agenda. I'm sure it's a mess to get through all of it.

The only councilor who voted against passage was councilor O'Keefe. Councilor Pelletier used the opportunity to continue his pattern of bullying/heckling the elder statesman of the council. I wonder, though, if councilor Pelletier did a little more here. Listen very closely to his muttering. Is he not saying/singing "no free drinks for you?"

It disturbs me that while deciding whether or not to approve this event councilor Pelletier has what would amount to an illegal benefit for himself on his mind as he's casting his vote. Is he not admitting that he (and other councilors?) are favored with free drinks at the Witches Cup? Wouldn't that be a breach of ethics? At a minimum, it violates Massachusetts liquor law, which prohibits the "comping" of drinks. So maybe he only voted to approve an event that he knows violates MA law, but not because he stands to benefit (right?). It sounded a lot to me like he was admitting to getting free drinks for his vote, which O'Keefe now won't as he voted to oppose. Small potatoes? Maybe. In the state of Diane Wilkerson and Chuck Turner, how much of it should we tolerate?

Councilor Pelletier took the chance to jump on O'Keefe again later. To be fair, O'Keefe had stated that he'd explained resident sticker parking to Ward 3 residents, which apparently didn't sit well with the Ward 3 councilor. It's clear that he has no patience left for the councilor from Ward 7.

Other meeting events: O'Keefe displayed a complete lack of understanding of municipal finance when he failed to grasp the difference between a 2.5% increase in the property tax levy, and a 1.5% increase in the total budget. How many years has he been through the process? Councilor Ronan, while several times referring to the upcoming meeting that will discuss his proposal to require a separate vote on tax increases (he encourages you to show up and voice your support at the ordinances, licenses, and legal affairs meeting on June 16, 7PM), did a good job of explaining the difference. That meeting was the hearing I was referring to earlier today.

 Obviously I've only provided brief snippets of the meeting. To view the whole thing, or see the complete exchanges I've referenced, you can watch the meeting online now at the SATV website.


  1. OMG, G, please tell me that you do not actually sit through entire Salem City Council Meetings when you could be doing any number of infinitely more interesting and rewarding things, like counting pipes and mud puddles at the Blaney Street Landing.
    You are like the idiot brother I never had, which is why (I think) I feel this overpowering urge to support and protect you.

  2. Did you watch the clips? They are better than most of what is on TV.

  3. Is TV really that insipid? I only watch the 6:30pm news these days.

  4. boy am I glad they don't serve Salem PATV on DirecTV...


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