To the editor:
Citizens of Salem, wake up!
A gang of five on the City Council is trying to negate your decision to vote Steven Pinto off the council in 2011 by insisting he be reappointed to replace Joan Lovely for the remainder of her term. For seven hours and 300 votes — 300 CONSECUTIVE VOTES! — they voted for their Pinto because they would be satisfied with no one else. No one, not one of the more than 40,000 residents of Salem, would serve their purpose. They know what they’re about. They know that with Pinto back on their team, they will have an ironclad six-vote majority with which to oppose and obstruct every plan and every proposal that Mayor Kim Driscoll dares to put before them. Salem has been blessed with a terrific mayor, under whose leadership this city has made great strides forward. But she has been opposed at every turn by Pinto and his gang of fellow obstructionists, which includes Arthur Sargent III, Michael Sosnowski, Todd Siegel, Jerry Ryan and Paul Prevey — Pinto’s gang of five.
Thankfully, there are another five members of the council who know what the gang of five is about, and they have valiantly refused to be bullied into capitulating, by voting for Lucy Corchado and even offering to vote for a compromise candidate, so long as it is not Pinto. They know the citizens of Salem voted Pinto out of office in 2011 because of his conduct during the previous four years, including his disgraceful behavior toward Mayor Driscoll. Pinto, there are no circumstances under which it is acceptable for you to prevent the mayor from addressing the City Council — on any subject whatsoever. None. Your fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Salem is to facilitate communication, not obstruct it. But you, in your infinite wisdom, thought it preferable to bully the mayor by silencing her, rather than doing the people’s business. Shame on you. Fortunately, the gallant five know it would be a perversion of justice to allow you to sneak in through the back door after the voters had so unceremoniously dumped you.
Every minion of Pinto who has had the unmitigated gall to sing his praises in print invariably comes around to the Pinto mantra, “he’ll hit the ground running.” Ladies and gentlemen, this is not rocket science. This is City Council. Membership only requires that you be a resident of Salem. No long years of study, no advanced degrees, just the sincere desire to do the people’s business, a desire that seems woefully absent from the hearts of Pinto and his gang of obstructionists. We saw how Pinto “ran” when he was on the council, and we didn’t like it, and so we voted him out. Frankly, I would prefer Pinto start running right now, and not stop when he reaches the town line.
Citizens, only you can break the deadlock. You must call the gang of five and remind them that they, too, can all be voted out of office this coming November if they persist in this shameful power grab. Explain to them it is inexcusable to sit there for seven hours and vote 300 times for a person that you, the citizens of Salem, voted out of office just over a year ago, a person you weighed and found wanting. Tell them that, if Pinto is so keen to serve the citizens of Salem, and his motives are so pure, let him stand for election in November, and see if the voters think he deserves a second chance. The gang of five’s phone numbers are on the city’s website, www.salem.com, but I’m going to save you some time:
Arthur Sargent (Councilor-at-large), 978-745-1055; Michael Sosnowski (Ward 2), 978-745-6182; Todd Siegel (Ward 3), 978-740-0003; Jerry Ryan (Ward 4), 978-744-1674; and Paul Prevey (Ward 6), 978-745-0955.
Don’t wait. Call now — call this instant — before the meeting tonight at 6, which promises to be a repeat of Thursday’s fiasco. Tell them, if they really have no hidden agenda, they should vote for Lucy Corchado, who has graciously agreed to serve only for the next 11 months and not seek re-election in November. Or tell them to put forth the name of Darek Barcikowski, who got more votes for City Council in 2011 than Pinto, an especially noteworthy achievement since the Pinto was an incumbent and Barcikowski was a newcomer. Tell them you are outraged by their unconscionable attempt to subvert the will of the people, and if they persist, they, too, will be out of a job come November. It is up to you, citizens, to instill in their black, little hearts a genuine fear of the voter’s wrath. We will replace them with people who really care about this city, people who like what has happened here over the last 10 years and want Salem to continue its progress onward and upward. Citizens, unite!