, Salem, MA

October 28, 2013

Letter: Cahill will find common ground

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

In 1997, I ran for a seat on the Beverly School Committee because our schools were in disrepair and the School Department was severely underfunded. I served four years on the committee, the last three as its president. During that time ,I served with a talented group that included Mayor Bill Scanlon. With his fiscal discipline and commitment to renovate every elementary school, it was clear that Mayor Scanlon was the right person for the job. In addition, once convinced that building a new high school was the best choice over renovating the old, the mayor saw this project through to completion. I supported the mayor and campaigned for him each election season except for the last. I supported his opponent in the last election because I knew that the new challenges facing the city would require a more inclusive and transparent approach.

I know Mike Cahill better than most. As his brother, I grew up with him, competed with him, fought with him and have come to deeply respect and admire him. I know that Mike is the best candidate for the challenges we face as a community today.

The challenges facing Beverly today are different from the ones we faced back when I joined the committee. Even though the fiscal discipline exhibited by Mayor Scanlon will never go out of style, today we need a mayor who can bring together many different perspectives, identify common ground and move us forward as a community.

The Brimbal Avenue project is a perfect example. If done properly, it will improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety and unlock significant economic development opportunities. If done poorly, the impact will be felt throughout the city as frustrated drivers seek alternate routes.

Given the lack of opportunity afforded to the public to voice concerns, it ultimately took a letter from a thoughtful citizen to convey what many others were thinking — Phase 2 (new 128 overpass) should be completed together with Phase 1 to minimize any negative impacts to the surrounding neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the order of the phases will not change. However, the new mayor can help to implement the project in the best manner possible by doing the following:

Include concerned citizens in the process and use all powers of the corner office to ensure their voices are heard.

Take steps immediately to pressure state officials to move Phase 2 up to be closer in time to Phase 1.

Based on his collaborative style and strong reputation with state officials, Mike Cahill is the best choice to accomplish both. Do not be fooled by the negative comments offered by the campaign of his opponent. Sadly, this negative style has been an effective campaign strategy at the national level, and you can see the paralysis that has resulted in Washington. Fortunately, voters in local elections are closer to the candidates and have an easier time finding the truth.

Mike Cahill has represented Beverly with integrity and passion from the high school playing fields to the halls of the Statehouse. He served with distinction as city council president and will bring fresh ideas and an inclusive approach to the challenges now facing Beverly. I know Mike is the right candidate for the job today, and I urge you to help give him the chance to lead us into the future.

Bill Cahill