SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 4, 2013

Benton: Brimbal plan a test for mayoral candidates

Nelson Benton
The Salem News

---- — 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.

As for those GOPers complaining about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s intransigent attitude, they might recall that if not for the tea party’s success in nominating one of their own in 2010, there would be a Republican in that seat today.

 

Municipal elections aren’t supposed to be partisan, but the race for the Ward 4 seat on the Salem City Council pits an up-and-comer in local Republican ranks, Sean O’Brien, against the new vice chairman of the city’s Democratic committee, David Eppley.

 

U.S. Rep. John Tierney’s campaign committee is raffling off a trip to Washington, D.C., for lunch with the congressman and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. All that’s required to enter is a contribution of $3 or more to Tierney’s re-election effort.

No truth to the rumor, I’m told, that if throw in an additional $10, you can join them in trying to plant a stink bomb in Speaker Boehner’s office.

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Datebook: What are the Beverly mayoral candidates’ thoughts on preservation and cultural issues? Find out on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 5:30 p.m., as Michael Cahill and Wes Slate appear before the Beverly Historical Society at the Cabot House ... Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker will appear at a rally for Beverly councilor-at-large candidate Matt St. Hilaire on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 12:30 p.m. at the Cove Community Center. St. Hilaire, 36, served as field director for Baker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.