, Salem, MA

January 8, 2013

Letter: Councilors need to get the job done

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I am writing this open letter to Ward 4 Councilor Jerry Ryan and Councilors-at-large Kevin Carr, Tom Furey and Arthur Sargent as your constituent, a taxpayer and consistent voter in Ward 4, Salem. I personally sat in the City Council chamber gallery watching all 71/2 hours of Thursday night’s meeting.

The proceeding was a true misfortune for the citizens of Salem; 300 unsuccessful votes over 71/2 hours are worth ridicule for each one of you and your colleagues. The fact that this simple task was not worked out by 10 otherwise intelligent people is truly stunning. I know all 10 councilors and Mayor Kim Driscoll (and Mr. Pinto, Ms. Corchado and the other applicants) as generally good and decent people who truly do have the best interests of Salem at heart 99 percent of the time. And sometimes you rightfully agree to disagree. That is fine. A strong democracy and good public policy depend upon lively, spirited debate about the issues of the day.

However, Thursday night seemed more about political games, payback, vendettas and private agendas than who can represent the citizens of Salem for one year in state Sen. Joan Lovely’s old at-large seat.

For what it is worth, I am not in favor of Steven Pinto returning to the council for this unexpired term. He was turned out by the electorate of Salem in 2011. He may and should run for office in 2013 to return if he wishes and the citizens of Salem wish. To do otherwise is an insult to the city of Salem and its elections.

I was (and remain) in favor of Lucy Corchado, but I am frankly in favor of any qualified person that was not voted out by the electorate (especially in the last election) for this identical position just 14 months ago. It would also be preferable that this person pledge not to run in the 2013 election to avoid any unearned incumbency benefits.

Apparently, Lucy Corchado is not suitable to the supporters of Steven Pinto. And Steven Pinto is not suitable to the supporters of Lucy Corchado. May I humbly suggest that six of the 10 remaining city councillors figure out who would be suitable among the remaining four applicants for this job to serve out the remaining year of this office, select that person and then apologize profusely to the citizens of Salem for a very embarrassing display Thursday evening? Or perhaps Ms. Corchado and Mr. Pinto could jointly decide to be statesmen and withdraw their interim candidacies? That would solve the problem, as well.

Thursday night’s debacle and the 300 worthless votes reminded me of both a traditional Greek tragedy and/or the recent Hollywood movie “300” (based on the Battle of Thermopylae). In the end, everyone dies even though standing up for what the martyrs believe to be a noble cause.

Get it done.

David Eppley