SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

October 4, 2013

Benton: Brimbal plan a test for mayoral candidates

A coalition of neighborhood groups in Beverly is taking heart from author Margaret Mead’s observation that, “a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Expect many of their members to turn out in force next week when the City Council is scheduled to vote on a proposed zoning change allowing the construction of a new shopping plaza at the intersection of Route 128 and Brimbal Avenue and the start of a series of traffic changes that would eventually open the former city landfill and other properties on both sides of the highway to development.

The vote represents a particular test for Ward 2 Councilor Wes Slate, who Tuesday received the endorsement of the project’s greatest champion and its opponents’ archenemy — Mayor Bill Scanlon. Slate will presumably have to make his intentions known Monday night, but his opponent, Michael Cahill, pledges on his campaign website to “Complete vital infrastructure projects, such as the Rantoul Street–Rte. 1A redesign and the Brimbal Avenue project, to promote appropriate economic growth.” (While expressing support for the project, Cahill in a recent interview said he feels there are better ways to deal with the traffic concerns of those living in the nearby North Beverly and Montserrat neighborhoods than have been proposed to date.)

 

Rarely has the U.S. seen the kind of leadership vacuum that this month has brought its government to a standstill and the brink of default.

As of Wednesday, President Barack Obama was, incredibly, still contemplating a trip to Asia, despite the chaos at his door. And Republican stalwarts, including House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential candidate, have proven themselves incapable of reining in the three dozen or so tea party wackos who appear to relish the prospect of another fiscal crash.

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