, Salem, MA

October 29, 2013

Letter: Experience is key to Salem's future

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Next Tuesday, Nov. 5, Salem will have an election that is very important as some major issues must be addressed in the next couple of years. As I read Chris Sicuranza’s column on the Oct. 26 opinion page (”Helping Salem ‘become strength’”), I couldn’t help but wonder how the tone of that letter could be so negative as it criticized just about everyone connected with politics in Salem. We have great leadership in Salem under the Driscoll administration and a very supportive council for the most part. One only has to drive around Salem and witness how much easier it is traveling through the city during Salem’s busiest tourism season of Haunted Happenings since Mayor Driscoll assumed office.

Over the past several years, Salem has become the restaurant capital of the North Shore, Salem State has become a university, North Shore Medical Center has made some pretty impressive additions to its facility, we have a major transportation center being built just across from the new J. Michael Ruane Judicial Center just to name a few recent achievements. For the most part, the city council has been very supportive of the Driscoll administration, helping to move these projects forward. As in all cases, democracy is democracy, where each individual has the right to question anything that they don’t agree with. Mayor Driscoll has enjoyed the support of this council while also having questions asked about some of the decisions that she has made that some councilors may not agree with. I happen to like the fact that this type of back and forth happens between the administration and the council as I think that a rubber stamp council would be the worst type of local government that we could have. One only has to witness how our paralyzed national government is operating to know what I mean.

In the next few years, Salem is potentially going to experience one of the most disruptive construction periods in its history. National Grid wants to dig up the streets of the most historically important areas in the city. Residents and businesses alike will be disrupted with a project that will last at least two years while they dig right through the middle of the busiest two miles in Salem. Wards 1, 2 and 3 are going to experience something that the businesses might not be able to recover from. Instead of digging up the streets in Salem, Councilor at-large Arthur Sargent has suggested that National Grid simply use the railroad bed as an alternative, showing how it will not affect anyone while they go from Canal Street to the power plant. Councilors Sosnowski, Legault, and Furey joined in early supporting Arthur in calling for this change. This is where experience is so important when critical issues such as this come up.

As I had mentioned above, this is a very important election and the citizens of Salem are blessed with politicians that are up to the challenge. As the CEO of a business located in Ward 2, The Salem Witch Museum plays an important part in the future of the Salem’s tourism industry and our councilor, Michael Sosnowski has always been available to help in that cause. Mike has worked hard to address the issues facing not only Ward 2 but the entire city. Most of the large projects that have been, or are now being built, have been located in his ward. The new Sgt. James A. Ayube II connector road, transportation center, J. Michael Ruane Center, and the proposed senior center are just a few Ward 2 issues that he has dealt with in his ten year tenure as councilor from that ward.

Mike was a Salem High athlete, is a former U.S. Marine, the husband of 40-plus years to his wife, Patricia, the father of four great kids, a Boy Scout troop leader, a businessman who has experienced the ups and downs of any typical business and in his case, one of the most dangerous jobs on earth as a fisherman, and has served the city of Salem and the citizens of Ward 2 with an unselfish commitment. So when Mr. Sicuranza criticizes either the Driscoll administration or the current council, I wonder how closely he follows the achievements of both.

When I was a boy of 12 or 14, my dad took me to the former Merchant’s Bank, now Sovereign Bank on Essex Street because he wanted me to see how he interacted with Paul Pilcher, the president of the bank. My dad was buying some new buses and was picking up a check for several hundred thousand dollars. I was amazed at the transaction and said to Mr. Pilcher, “How do you make the decision to loan so much money to my dad?” He told me that he judges by “performance, and your Dad has proven performance which make it easy to lend him the money.” This was a lesson that I never forgot. So when Mr. Sicuanza calls for new people to be elected in this upcoming election on Tuesday, I think of the tremendous experience and commitment that councilors like Mike Sosnowski who has served this city and the citizens of Ward 2 with enough performance that he deserves the trust that he has earned by the work that he has so unselfishly performed! We need to think of the importance of experience of the mayor and these councilors at such a critical period in Salem’s future before we replace it with inexperienced people who may not perform up to our expectations. It is too important to our future.

B. P. Biff Michaud


The Salem Witch Museum