The Garden City features the only mayoral race of any significance in the area this year.
Incumbent Michael Cahill is being challenged by veteran School Committee member David Manzi, with the main issue — in Manzi’s view — being plans for the construction of a new middle school to replace the aging Briscoe building. Manzi says the city can’t afford the project’s $109 million cost and promises in his low-key campaign to bring a halt to it if elected.
That would be unfortunate. In pushing for the construction of a new school on the site of the Memorial Building, Cahill seeks to continue the work of predecessor Bill Scanlon in giving the city an educational infrastructure second to none in the region. The city — including its residents — should be proud of the work it has done to upgrade its school buildings while preserving the city’s reputation as an affordable place to live. That work must continue.
Given his experience at the Statehouse and on the council, as well as his record in the corner office over the past two years, Cahill is fully deserving of a second term. While paying close attention to the needs and wants of the residential neighborhoods, he continues to pursue opportunities to expand the tax base through improvements to the roadways connecting the city with Route 128, continuing the revival of the central business district and promoting new business and recreational uses along the waterfront near the entrance to the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
He is also cognizant for the need for smart development, preferably near public transit hubs like train stations or bus depots, that wouldn’t add “significant new traffic to our community.”
“Most of our residential development needs to be transit-oriented,” he told reporter Arianna MacNeill, which would limit the need for more than one car; in some cases, residents may not need a car at all.
We are confident Cahill has the skills to manage the changes to come, including development on Brimbal Avenue and on the waterfront.
Having seen the success Salem has had with transit-oriented development, Cahill would also like to take advantage of similar opportunities in the area near the Beverly Depot downtown.
In addition to being a city of great and varied character, Beverly has benefited greatly from a good working relationship between the mayor’s office and the City Council. That’s also a credit to Council President Paul Guanci, who we’d like to see win another term in that post by topping an at-large field that includes fellow incumbents Jason Silva and Matthew St. Hilaire. There are three at-large seats, so all are guaranteed re-election. All three nonetheless have our enthusiastic endorsement. (The top vote-getter among the three is awarded the council presidency.)
Ward 3 Councilor James Latter has also been an important part of the city’s effective governance team over the past six years and deserves another term.
In the race for the Ward 2 seat on the School Committee, President Paul Manzo’s record, along with his opponent’s expressed opposition to the middle school plan and new state testing regimen, make him the preferred candidate.
Manzo has been a consistent champion of the middle school project, and helped keep plans on target. His experience will be needed moving forward.
“We seem to be hitting every deadline and moving toward opening that building in 2018,” the 1980 Beverly High School graduate said. “It’s something that’s really re-energized the whole district.”