To the editor:
Given that I’m one of the 10 people who has to vote this Thursday night, I thought I’d reach out and discuss the issue and how I plan to vote (and why). I have tried online to maintain a dialogue on the topic so far, and I do respond to questions there.
First of all, I’m a friend of Darek Barcikowski’s (as well as several of the announced candidates). Had Darek remained in the race, I would have supported him. That said and done, I think we can legitimately consider pretty much any of the six applicants we received. One of them is a person I don’t personally know, but I will be studying the material he sent in and take it seriously. As for former Councilor Steven Pinto — I know him and have come to like him over the last year. I also agree with his advocates on these pages that he’s a good man and cares very much about the city. Despite that, I cannot and will not support him for this vacancy under any circumstances — even if it means I wind up on the losing end of a 9-1 vote. Here’s why I disqualify him (in my view) on Thursday: Unlike the other candidates, Steve was removed from office by the will of the voters. He was an incumbent and came in sixth. I see that as a clear message from the voters that we have no business trying to circumvent. I know there’s been talk by many that feel he was “unfairly targeted,” but regardless of any perceived fairness, the bottom line was that he failed to get enough votes to retain his seat.
If Steve runs to be returned to office this fall (and I assume he will, regardless of Thursday’s results), then best of luck to him in that and I have nothing bad to say. Meanwhile, though I have not made a final decision myself on this Thursday’s vote, I’ll be voting for one of the other candidates.
Salem City Council
Councilor, Ward 5