SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 4, 2014

Benton: Looking for a 6th District boogeyman

Nelson Benton
The Salem News

---- — Every campaign has its villain-in-chief.

For instance, U.S. Rep. John Tierney, D-Salem, never misses an opportunity to link his Republican opponent, Richard Tisei, with the tea party. Then, this week on April Fool’s Day the Tisei campaign was out with a release featuring a photo of Tierney on the phone under the caption: “Hello, Nancy? What should I do?”

Indeed, this election could well turn into a referendum on the person North Shore voters feel is most responsible for the problems in Washington: House Speaker John Boehner or Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

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Seems the 19th century has become everyone’s favorite punching bag.

A couple of weeks ago it was Tisei warning his Republican colleagues that theirs “will never be a 21st-century party if our platform is stuck in the 19th.” Days later, it was another son of the Bay State, diplomat extraordinaire John Kerry, describing Russia’s takeover of Crimea as “19th-century behavior in the 21st century.”

At least it appears we’re living in the right era.

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You might think the Republican Party’s fortunes couldn’t get worse here in the bluest of states, but incredibly, that’s just what happened Tuesday.

The Democrats swept all five special elections for vacant legislative seats, including a Senate district in Hampden County long held by the GOP and, closer to home, the House seat occupied by Tisei for many years.

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We understand there are some who are urging retiring Collins Middle School principal Mary Manning to run for the Salem School Committee in 2015. She and Brendan Walsh, another veteran of the school administration who came in second overall in the last school board election, would make a formidable pair.

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Like this comment on this week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down overall limits on campaign contributions: “Finally, we have a Supreme Court willing to stand up for rich people.”

But of course the writing was on the wall the day in late 2000 the high court ruled 5-4 to uphold the election results in Florida, effectively making George W. Bush president for the next eight years.

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The screen at Beverly’s Cabot Street Cinema has gone dark after almost a century of providing nightly entertainment that recently also included live magic shows.

The theater was one of the anchors of a burgeoning cultural district in downtown Beverly that includes the public library and the Montserrat College of Art campus. Its demise would represent a significant setback in the efforts by Mayor Mike Cahill to carry forward the revival of the city’s central business district begun under his predecessor, Bill Scanlon.

The building on Cabot Street once housed the Beverly office of what was then the Salem Evening News, and this reporter still remembers the day in the mid-1970s that Cesario Pelaez and fellow cast members of Le Grand David and his own Spectacular Magic Company descended on the property and began painting it white, brick by brick. My colleague, the late Rollie Corneau, quipped that he thought we were being taken over by a cult.

I remember Pelaez telling me he’d always dreamt of installing his show in downtown Salem’s majestic Paramount Theatre. Sadly, that building was torn down and replaced by a garage before he could make an offer.