, Salem, MA

November 9, 2012

Heard Around Town: CPA got broad support ... except in Ward 4

The Salem News

---- — SALEM — Yes, the election is over. But, no, we’re not done writing about it.

Do you realize that as long as the lines were on Election Day, the turnout wasn’t even close to 2008, the last presidential election and the first run by Barack Obama.

That year, 91 percent of registered voters in Salem went to the polls. This year, it was about 70 percent, even counting overseas votes and other tallies.

The Democrats did really well in the city, but nowhere better than Ward 2, Precinct 2. Obama, for example, got 69 percent of the vote in Salem, but 92 percent in this precinct, which includes The Point, which has a large Latino population. That matches national trends.

The surprise of the night had to be the big vote for the Community Preservation Act, which asked voters to tax themselves. Admittedly, it wasn’t a big tax — about $30 for the average household — but it was a tax nonetheless.

The binding CPA ballot question won by more than 1,500 votes.

It went down to defeat in only three precincts, including all of Ward 4, a working-class neighborhood along Boston Street. Ward 4 not only rejected it — they stomped on it by 400 votes.

For some reason, medical marijuana was a big hit in Ward 2, where more than 70 percent of voters supported it. We don’t want to speculate on the reason, but it may explain why it took so long to fix Bridge Street.

Our favorite election story?

Lt. Conrad Prosniewski, who worked the polls Tuesday, was approached by a 10-year-old girl in his neighborhood before he headed down to vote.

“Don’t vote for Romney,” the little girl said. “He’s going to take away the Cartoon Channel.”

Windy Sunday

They’ve got what sounds like a really interesting program at CinemaSalem on Sunday morning.

“Cape Spin,” a documentary about the Cape Wind project, will be screened at 10 a.m. Tickets are $6.

What’s interesting is that the film, we are told, is it’s not just a puff piece — sorry for the pun. This is an inside look at the politics behind wind energy.

The producer of the film will be there, along with Mark Rodgers, communications director for Cape Wind and a former Salem resident.

The program has several sponsors, including Salem Alliance for the Environment.

Real Friends

The new and improved Friends of the Salem Council on Aging helped raise $11,000 toward the purchase of a new passenger van.

The $55,000 Ford van, most of which was funded through a federal grant, holds 10 to 12 passengers and gives the Council on Aging five vehicles to transport the elderly and disabled.

The agency provides about 15,000 free rides a year for medical appointments, shopping trips and programs at its headquarters on Broad Street.

“The cost of gas, increasing numbers of senior citizens and recent fare increases by The Ride have increased demand for our services,” SCOA Transportation Coordinator John Sauvageau said in a press release.

Take a bow, President Andrew J. LaPointe and the rest of the Friends.

Veterans Day

They are presenting Salem Wartime Service medals to combat veterans from Salem on Veterans Day. This ceremony, which first occurred after World War I, has been held the past few years and is a meaningful and moving tribute.

It takes place Sunday at 11 a.m. at Salem High.

Pinto power

Ward 2 Councilor Mike Sosnowski is the first of his colleagues to go on record supporting a candidate to fill the vacancy that will be created when Council President Joan Lovely resigns in January to take her state Senate seat.

“At this time, midterm, the absolute best person to fill the void is someone with the experience,” Sosnowski wrote in an email. “That person is Steve Pinto,” whom he described as a person who “lives and breathes Salem.”

Pinto, a former councilor-at-large, was voted off the council in last year’s election. According to Sosnowski, his defeat “was the result of a negative campaign filled with misinformation.”

Pinto stirred controversy and criticism when he blocked Mayor Kim Driscoll from speaking at a council meeting.

Bad dog

There’s a 2013 calendar out called “Bad Dog 2013.”

How do we know? One was sent to us in the mail.

Anyway, the reason we’re mentioning it is because it features a different dog from all over America on every page.

May 17, 2013, has a photo of Bella, a pooch from Salem.

School dedication

They held a nice little event Saturday in Juniper Point, that break-away republic on the water’s edge.

They put up a plaque commemorating Juniper School, a grade one-through-three school that, from 1923-62, stood where a parking lot is today.

I, robot

If you think the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem just tosses out a basketball and tells the kids to play, think again.

In addition to art and academic programs, it has added something truly exciting.

The club announced this week that it has hired a science and technology coordinator who will direct a robotics program. Robert Lynch, who has a computer background, will work with members building robots using computers and Lego equipment.

The program is funded through a grant from Cell Signaling in Danvers.

Learning Japanese

Here’s a quiz.

What do Tenzo Sato, Jong Woo Lee, Tatsuro Seguchi, Yuto Ohashi and state Rep. John Keenan have in common?

They met this week to discuss the Salem power plant.

The Japanese visitors are part of Toyota Tsusho America, which is partnering with plant owner Footprint Power on a planned natural gas plant. They were here to meet with regulators.

Keenan said he had some trouble understanding them, but not as much as they did deciphering his Boston accent.

Tom Dalton can be reached at