SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

October 11, 2013

Benton: An 'insult' to voters

Peabody School Committeewoman Brandi Carpenter has said she found “insulting” this newspaper’s suggestion that the board was interfering with the democratic process by threatening to throw polling places out of city schools.

But those who should be most insulted are the citizens of Peabody over the suggestion by Carpenter and some of her colleagues that they cannot be trusted around children and are not entitled to use the very facilities their taxes bought and maintain.

The Board of Registrars has suggested a compromise that would move certain polling places to local churches and temples. School Committee members, when they meet later this month, should embrace those suggested changes before they make themselves look even more foolish.

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Fellow columnist Barbara Anderson is right: A return to binding arbitration for police officers and firefighters — advocated by Boston mayoral candidate Martin Walsh — would be a disaster for taxpayers.

Speaking of which, this reporter went to last Sunday’s Cardinals game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale and was able to exit the parking lot in less than five minutes with nary a police officer in sight directing traffic. Contrast that with the scene at Gillette where state and local cops — most working overtime details — are ubiquitous, and traffic still moves at a snail’s pace.

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One who was there reports that some noses were out of joint over the fact that one non-incumbent Salem School Committee candidate had a contingent of supporters wearing vote-for-me T-shirts join the city’s annual Haunted Happenings parade which is normally a spooky, but thoroughly nonpartisan, affair.

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Sources tell me campaign signs are sprouting throughout Peabody, some of them touting candidates for offices as far down the ballot as library trustee.

That’s a good sign given the general disgust with politics in general, and the lack of attention that normally attends municipal elections without a mayoral contest. In addition to having a free ride this year, Mayor Ted Bettencourt could well end up with an improved city council.

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