, Salem, MA

September 11, 2013

Eppley: A need for civility

Bethany Bray
The Salem News

---- — Note to readers: David Eppley is one of three candidates running for Ward 4 city councilor in Salem. The Sept. 17 preliminary election will narrow the field to two.

SALEM — David Eppley was planning to run for City Council before January, but the board’s tedious, seven-hour session on Jan. 3 — during which the council took the same tie vote, over and over, until 2:30 a.m. — clinched his decision.

“I’m hoping to bring a bit more common sense and civility to that chamber,” said Eppley. “... They weren’t trying to seek out a compromise, and that was disappointing. That’s what City Council is about — providing compromise and putting forward effective public policy that makes sense for Salem residents. They failed that night, and I’m not the only one, I believe, that thinks they failed. Three hundred votes on one issue is appalling.”

Eppley, a lawyer, ran unsuccessfully for governor’s council last year. He was appointed to the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals this winter.

Eppley said he would also focus on constituent services as a city councilor. His top issue is the Boston Street corridor; lighting, signage and the roadway itself all need attention, he said.

“(Boston Street) should be a front door to Salem and it’s treated like a back door,” he said. “It’s the last corridor into Salem that has not been addressed. With the coming senior center and two developments (Salem Suede and Salem Oil & Grease), we have to deal with Boston Street. We have to have clear marking for parking, lights that function. It needs to be repaved and repainted (with) clearly marked lanes.”

Eppley said he’s gone around the entire ward twice in the past months, knocking on doors and meeting residents.

A ward councilor is supposed to focus on day-to-day issues, he said.

“To me, that person is the liaison between the neighborhood and the city, and plugging people into the right answer,” he said. “That’s what a ward councilor should be about — that’s what I would like to see.”