, Salem, MA

April 26, 2013

Benton: Steady at the helm in Boston

Nelson Benton
The Salem News

---- — It’s unfortunate that neither Gov. Deval Patrick nor Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will be able to spend the political dividends earned from helping lead the Greater Boston area through one of the most horrific weeks in its history.

Both demonstrated coolness and compassion in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, a gritty determination to find the killers. They were effusive in their praise of the law enforcement personnel who within days took down the Tsarnaev brothers so citizens could rest easier.

But Menino, hobbled by illness and injury, has announced that he will not seek re-election this year, and Patrick has eschewed a bid for a third term as governor or run for any other office, at least for the time being. The gratitude of Bay State citizens is exceeded only by that of the many seeking to replace these two men.


The latest fundraising numbers show that Congressman John Tierney, D-Salem, is both serious about seeking another term and doesn’t want the kind of challenge he endured last fall when many, including this reporter, thought he might lose to Republican challenger Richard Tisei.

The $264,130 the Tierney committee reported taking in since Jan. 1 is the most it has ever raised in the first quarter of a non-election year and put the North Shore congressman at the top of the all-Democrat House delegation in terms of fundraising for the first three months of 2013. Tisei, on the other hand, reported having just over $7,600 in cash on hand at the end of the latest reporting period, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Tierney should be in good shape as long as his not-so-lovable brothers-in-law keep their mouths shut and their behinds out of federal court for the next two years.


Heard there was a great turnout that included many prominent Salemites at Ward 2 City Council candidate Heather Famico’s campaign kickoff at Red’s Sandwich Shop the other day.


School Committeewoman Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne doesn’t get it, but, fortunately for Peabody, Mayor Ted Bettencourt does.

Dunne, who had fashioned a successful political career — at least up until earlier this month — by saying yes to everyone, was put out recently over the fact the city failed to include Peabody High and McCarthy on the list of schools needing state-financed improvements. But Bettencourt and the school administration rightly surmise that if you put everything on your wish list, you are likely to get nothing.

Now, the city just recently completed some $21 million worth of improvements to the high school, and McCarthy has been eyed for closure due to declining enrollment. So it only makes sense for the city to seek state assistance for projects elsewhere.


Local Democrats smarting over the loss of Joyce Spilotis’ state representative seat to Republican Leah Cole may have a savior in the person of City Council President Tom Gould. The popular ice cream magnate is reportedly eyeing a run in 2014 regardless of whether Griffin Dunne chooses to seek the nomination again.


Members of the Peabody City Council are continuing their crusade to keep legal pot dispensaries out of the Tanner City. But one wag has suggested those officials embrace the concept as a mean of raising new revenue, even going so far as to say the store might offer local brands grown at Brooksby Farm and bearing familiar names like “Rico Mellow,” “Liacos Lite” and “Garabedian Golden Glow.”


Nelson Benton spent 40 years covering politics on the North Shore before retiring from The Salem News. Contact him at