Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Point, and Better News

I generally don't talk about the Point neighborhood much. There are a few reasons for this. First, it's not really part of my regular path of travel. I just don't get there much for anything. Second, it's an easy target. Finally, I think that a lot of the criticism leveled at the Point is racially motivated, and I don't like that.

All of that said, after this past weekend, it's time for me to take the Point residents to task. They behaved terribly this weekend. Yes, all of them. I'll explain why I include all of them in a little bit. First, some background.

This fourth of July weekend Point residents treated their own neighborhood the way the US treated Fallujah back in 2004. On both Sunday and Monday nights, residents (and probably their visitors, too) were rioting in the streets. From the sound of it, they assaulted officers, and vandalized city property as well, breaking the windshield of a police cruiser. With hundreds of rioters, an undermanned Salem Police Department was able to manage four arrests. There probably should have been one hundred.

A Salemweb poster (icybeem) took the following pictures on the 5th. The trashing of the neighborhood speaks for itself.

I said I blame all point residents for this mess. Simply, if you aren't standing there, pointing, helping the police root out the bad seeds, you're enabling the trashing of your home. If people had any pride in their neighborhood they wouldn't allow this stuff to happen, yet every time something bad happens in the point, nobody sees anything. A stabbing? Nobody saw anything. Drugs? Nobody saw anything. A riot in the street where police were assaulted and taxpayer property destroyed? Nobody saw anything.

More importantly, nobody did anything. After the rioting and trashing of Vancouver following the Bruins Stanley Cup victory last month, do you know what happened? Good Vancouverites were out on the streets at 7AM cleaning up the city. See them in action here. Where were the real Pointers? I guess they were on the streets at 3AM, throwing bottles at the police.

No amount of LOLA marketing dollars can overcome residents who just don't give a shit.

Sad, really.


I promised some better news, so here it is. Councilor John Ronan has seemingly been campaigning for re-election for months, often during City Council meetings. Thankfully, he now has a reason to campaign, as ward five resident Josh Turiel has pulled nomination papers to run against Mr. Ronan. He intends to turn in well above the required number of signatures tomorrow.

It should be a good race. I hope Josh does well, as councilor Ronan's obstructionist schtick (I'm sorry, you can't yell and scream about saving money and protecting the taxpayers while willfully blowing more savings than you found in the entire budget process by not signing a lease because you know it will piss the mayor off. Same goes for Pinto, Prevey, and Sosnowski.) is starting to wear thin. We don't need our own "party of no."

I only know Josh through Twitter. I wrote about him once here. He has a campaign website here. You can follow him on Twitter here. He said to me, "I don't want to be Mayor Driscoll's yes-man, but I'm also not going to be the "no-to-everything" man. The Council needs reason." Sounds about right to me, and the mayor already has her yes-man. His name is Furey.

With Charlie Walsh dropping out of the Ward 6 race we really need some more candidates. I believe that only wards 1, 3, and 5 currently have contested races. Is nobody going to challenge Sosnowski? He thinks that a silent silver box is more important than the Bridge and Winter rollercoaster in his ward. Has councilor O'Keefe been promised his seat until death? What about Ryan and Prevey? Come on people! Make them earn it!


  1. Thanks for the props - It'd be nice to see more ward candidates for sure!

  2. Are you JOKING??? I live in the point and I have for 5 years. This has been going on for 2 weeks. I have over 40 calls logged on my phone to the police in the past 2 weeks, most between 12 and 4am. I took pictures of the people that were throwing fireworks in the street as they were doing it so the police could arrest them. Do you know what the police have done for the past 2 weeks to stop the fireworks shows at 3am? Nothing. They drive by and hope that it will make people scatter. It doesn't. None of the people who actually have jobs in the point have gotten any sleep at all for 2 weeks. I have offered to let the police hang out on my porch a few floors up so they could catch these people. AND yes, on Tuesday I was outside cleaning up my front stoop because of the aholes who spent Monday night blowing up the neighborhood. And you know what? this happens every year. This is not the first time. We call the police over and over every year and nothing happens. It sucks for everyone who lives in this neighborhood and gives a shit.

    Don't post unless you know what you're talking about. I typically love your blog but to say that everyone who lives in the point is responsible and people let this happen is idiotic. The police have the power to have stopped this before it got this bad and even they are afraid to get out of the car to confront people in the point who are doing this.

  3. The police have a truly thankless job when it comes to this kind of massive disruption. There's just too much lawbreaking and not enough police - and enough people in the neighborhood condone and abet the behavior that it would take a full riot force and the likelihood of major injury (and possibly worse) to shut it down.

    The police have to clean it up, and more of the residents need to shut them down as well. Policing seems to be turning into a bigger problem in that neighborhood over the last few years, after many years of improvement. I'm not sure yet what the solution is (I've only been a candidate for a couple of days, and I sure don't presume to be the expert), but I know we all have to work on the problem.

  4. Misty,

    Feel free to name names. Publicly shame them. You need all of your neighbors to take a stand or it won't get better.

  5. So how do you expect residents to do anything about this stuff if the police can't even stop it? I went out with my cell phone and yelled at a group of them lighting off fireworks and told them that I was calling the police. They laughed at me and said "The cops aint gonna come or do nothin!".

    Unfortunately there are more of "them" than there are of "us" who actually care about the neighborhood. We bought our home 5 years ago hoping that it would change and it hasn't. Now we're just ready to move. I honestly can't take another fourth of July week here.

    Josh, are you a candidate for this ward or ward 5? If you have anything to do with ward 1, I'm happy to meet with you to discuss our experience and what has gone on here for the past 5 years and to help where I can.

    I'd also like to point out that the disruption over the past two weeks was not "massive" like the fourth. The police had a chance to make a move and arrest some of these people before it came to the mini riot that happened on Monday, and they didn't. They drove by and people laughed at them and lit more fireworks after they left. They could have easily arrested people, but didn't. I don't understand why. In MA you can easily arrest someone for fireworks possession, especially with the quantity of fireworks that were around the past few weeks.

  6. I don't know their names, I don't hang out with these people, they just hang out on my street. The police definitely know some of them. It's the same people hanging around all the time. And they don't care to be shamed, they are proud of this.

  7. send me pictures. I'm happy to post a loser of the day.

    I don't think this can be fixed from the outside. You need to have more of you (who care) than them (who don't). There need to be consequences inside and outside of the neighborhood. In fact, I think having consequences in the neighborhood is actually way more important.

  8. Wait, you mean Ward 1 councilor Willows isn't helping you out? I'm shocked. You should have seen him playing a drum during the horribles parade.

  9. So how do we do that? Get more people to care? Cause frankly, nobody except the people who live in 1 or 2 buildings in the point even give a remote shit.

  10. I don't get how people are fine with living like that.

    It's a vexing question. You almost have to band together with those who care, and make yourselves an even bigger nuisance than the assholes you live around.

    Don't call the switchboard at 3 AM. Call Councilor McCarthy and the at-large gang. Call the mayor. Tell them each time that you were just awakened, and you wanted to let them know, since their police department provides such limited aid to you.

    Write public letters. I publish letters to the editor. So does the snews, and Patch. Heck, be a patch blogger, focusing on the idiocy that you see around you, and that your neighbors tacitly support. If you can't shame the doers, shame those who allow it. Mockery goes a long way.

    What's the saying? Well-behaved women rarely make history? Get unruly.

  11. Also, call the landlords who rent to the shitty tenants at 3 AM. Make their lives as hellish as their tenants can make yours. Shame the landlords. They're more likely to be embarrassed.

  12. Almost all of the Point is Ward 1, with little edges that can arguably be added in as parts of 3 and 5. You can see the map here:

    I'm running against John Ronan in Ward 5. Wards 1 and 3 have contested races, but I believe the other 4 are uncontested thus far. We do have a lot of people competing for the 4 at-large seats.

    To fix the problems in the Point, it's going to take a lot more than 8 police officers. We've got to change the culture there, and that takes both the city's official presence (police, building inspectors, fire, politicians, etc.) and residents who want things to change and can't be intimidated out of it. Salem is basically a great place and has transformed itself in the 21 years that I've lived here. My house was considered to be in a borderline "bad area" when we bought it, but the neighborhood has improved through the work of the residents. It's got to spread further.

    G is dead right. You've got to find the people who agree with you, and be enough of a pain in the butt to help push the city the right way. I can't fix it myself, but I'll do what I can to help and if I'm fortunate enough to win this year I'll be pushing from the inside.

    As an aside, we were at the fireworks and I was silly enough to willingly drive down and park at Shetland. Not the smartest move - it took me over an hour to get home due to the mess in the Point that night, and I sent my wife and son him via the park on foot so they could at least get home and go to sleep. I sat in my car with fireworks cinders raining down on me for about 45 minutes before police cleared Palmer Street initially.

  13. I'm thinking about putting signs up at Bridge and Winter "Future Sight Of Memorial Wreath"

  14. These folks might as well go all out and fire rifles into the air all night. That will be next, I suppose.

  15. Here's a letter I sent to Lucy corchado, Mayor Driscoll, Bob McCarthy and Harry Rocheville on July 7, 2008. You can tell how much has changed since then. Nada.

    Dear Mayor, Police, Councilor:

    I am writing to ask for your help.

    I am a resident of Harbor Street. We have lived here for 2 1/2 years. My husband and I are law abiding. We pay taxes. We clean up our neighborhood. We are friendly to our neighbors. However, in the past few months, the following things have happened to us that greatly affect our quality of life:

    * Our new car was damaged. It was keyed down the side, and the runner lights were stolen and the wires cut. Almost $400 worth of damage.
    * We planted flowers in our courtyard- they were promptly stolen 3 days later.
    * Our neighbor was jumped right outside of our house.
    * Two of our neighbor's cars had the tires stabbed out in the same night.
    * Our building was broken into, and someone's property was vandalized.
    * I have seen remnants of fireworks, that are about the size of a coconut, on my car windshield and hood every day for the past 5 days
    * We were told, last night, by a gang of about 30 teens and 20 somethings congregating in front of Mark's market at 43 harbor street, that we "white people" need to "get out of this Spanish neighborhood". That we don't belong here. Also that we are "fucking faggots", and that it's their neighborhood, not ours, and they can do whatever they want here. We were also told to "call the fucking cops" because "they aren't going to do shit to us anyhow" and to "tell the cops we said hi".


  16. cont'd

    We are clearly unwelcome in this area. Last year, we came home from work to find the words "NO CONDO" spray-painted on the side of our building.

    What can we do?

    Between Thursday and Sunday, it was like a war zone on Harbor street. I did not feel safe coming out of my house, and when we did, we were threatened. My husband and I called the police 4 times this weekend, and I only saw the police actually respond to ONE of my calls. And when they did, nothing changed on the street. This went on until after mindnight last night, and started right back up again this morning with fireworks at 4am. In more than one instance, a group of people stood in the middle of the street and stopped traffic while the others lit bottle rockets in the middle of the road and the cars honked, unable to move down the street. Last time I checked, stopping traffic to light bottle rockets in a congested area is not legal.

    Last night I called the police in a panic. These people were setting off fireworks in between buildings, right next to cars, near kids- fireworks so powerful that they caused at least 5 car alarms to go off when they exploded. We have BABIES in our condo units. I have dogs who are afraid of fireworks and were cowering in our office, shaking. I understand that you guys must get a lot of complaints about fireworks, but what happens on Harbor street is RIDICULOUS and UNACCEPTABLE. When a police officer finally drove by, I didn't even see anyone get out of the car. I counted- there were over 30 people congregating in front of 43 Harbor street causing trouble. Are you guys as scared of them as we are? What can we do? If you, the police, are not going to protect us, who is?


  17. cont'd

    What has to happen for us to get a prompt response from police? Does another person have to get jumped? Does someone have to be raped or stabbed? I don't understand how it's acceptable for an entire neighborhood of troublemakers, I guarantee most with extensive crime histories, to congregate in one area and disrupt the entire street without being told to break it up? Every time I walk by these people when I am walking to my car, I get a snide sexual remark from them. They are intimidating. Based on their prior behavior, I am sure that at some point they will act on their threats to us and someone is going to be hurt.

    What else should we be doing? We have changed the locks on our doors. We have installed a gate (that people ignore). We call the police every time something happens. Do we need to go to the newspaper?

    Last night's incident sparked me to write this email, but there are a number of other issues on this street that need to be addressed. If you were to sit on my front porch (and I'm happy to invite you up if you'd like to) for an hour, I guarantee you will see a drug deal. I have witnessed them in front of 15 Harbor street, in front of Mark's market, and in the big white house next to our buildings. What can we do to stop this? I have also seen fights, people so drugged out or drunk that they cannot stand stumbling down the street, dogs with no collars or leashes running around the neighborhood. One day recently I was walking my dog and saw 2 used condoms on the sidewalk down by 15 Harbor. Classy, Salem.

    I would love to know what else we can be doing to be heard, to make this stop. I am becoming afraid to walk down my street. The hatred in our neighborhood is disgusting and unacceptable, but I feel like by doing nothing we are fostering this behavior. And if I try to do something or say something myself, I become a target of their violence. I would be happy to be a more vocal resident of this street, but the Point Neighborhood Association meetings are held at 6pm. Most of the people in our building who want to attend these meetings work in Boston and catch a train home that does not get into Salem until around 6:30 or so, so we can't make it. Can we make the meetings a bit later so everyone can attend?

    I am begging for some help here. We should not have to live like this. Please listen to us. Please help us get this neighborhood cleaned up.


  18. One obvious thing that needs to happen is a regular police foot patrol. Particularly in the warmer weather months. We shouldn't be depending on grants to handle basic policing needs. That lease we didn't approve in the spring would have gone a long way towards paying for a "broken windows" presence in the Point.

    There are police issues in other neighborhoods, for sure. Salem is an actual city, with about 42k residents at last count. We can't afford to let any part of the city go, but if moving resources is what it takes to get things under control, so be it.

    I don't have any real influence down there, and even if I win it's not my ward (so I still won't have much), but anything I can do I'm willing to. It affects everyone.

  19. I received this email from my neighbor last night as well

    I’ve been on the phone numerous times with the Police. On the night of the 4th of July (it was insane here) I was threatened by some street thugs. To make a long story short, they told me that the location of their fireworks stash was reported to police, and that their friend was arrested because he was caught with the stash. They accused me of tipping off the police and threatened me bodily harm. I told them I didn’t tell the police anything, but they knew I had been calling the police with noise complaints so they didn’t believe me. Anyways, the next day my tires were slashed. I feel totally hapless with the whole situation. Honestly, I know the police don’t care, and will never care until someone dies or gets seriously hurt.

  20. Maybe you and your neighbors have to work with the Ward Councilor to set up a neighborhood group. You invite your City Officials to come to your meeting, air the issues, and look for resolution. Every ward needs neighborhood groups to get things done. I agree with you the problem has gotten out of hand and there aren't enough police in Salem to resolve the issues. Maybe local police need to go outside Salem (state, boston) and have canine patrols and do a wam bang clean up of the dirtbags creating this unacceptable quality of life. If pressure is put on these scumbags they will disappear to another neighborhood or town. Menino is doing it in neighborhoods in Boston.

  21. Misty has contacted her ward councilor about this in the past, and as I've mentioned before, it's rare for him to respond to his constituents. I'd bet it's even rarer that he responds to his constituents in the point, unless their name is Lucy Corchado.

  22. My daycare provider had a very similar experience to Misty and told me several horror stories about last week's events.

    She called the police over and over. She was threatened, her dogs were threatened and was told that the "cops don't care/matter".

    At one point she flagged down an officer who didn't even get out of his car to do anything and she said "I haven't slept in 3 days" and all the officer said was "Lady, either have I".

    So many great people live in that neighborhood and it is being terrorized by their own neighbors. The police or city leaders are not doing anything to help the situation.

    Something really needs to be done here.

  23. I too am a home owner in the point on Park Street. We bought our house 7 years ago during Fall / Winter and still up to today, I want to smack my realtor if I ever see him again for misleading us into this ghetto. Although we have seen some improvements over time, it seems like lately, the neighborhood is taking a down turn for the worst again. I agree with the previous posts for those who care about their neghborhood to unite and form some commitee or some type of community counsel and take this to the city headsto let them know, "NO MORE BUSINESS AS USUAL!"

  24. Hey everyone who is in the neighborhood and reading this. There's a point neighborhood association meeting on Monday the 18th (this coming monday) at 6pm at 15 Hawthorne Blvd. The chief of police and the head of community impact will be there to listen to us. PLEASE attend. Strength in numbers. I will be there

  25. 2 things that can really turn a neighborhood around are...the Arts & the Gays! :)
    Look at what has happened in Boston's South End!
    It won't happen overnight, but it can happen.


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