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A Salem Voice

Musing On The Museum Place Parking Garage

$1.1 Million In Funding Proposed For Repairs Is It Too Little Too Late? By William Legault   The very first municipal structure of any kind that many visitors to Salem see up close and personal is the Museum Place Mall Parking Garage. As soon as they hit the city limits, signs appear that direct them there. Built as a part of what was originally known as the East India Mall, it has a capacity of almost a thousand cars. This grey, concrete mass has stood for almost 50 years as the brutalist architecture centerpiece of downtown Salem. What must visitors ...

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Bistro 118 Seized For Taxes

The End Of A Long Time Trouble Spot  The Tax Man Does What The ABCC Would Not By William Legault On arising from my slumber this morning I was intending to write a little something about the zoning situation in Salem. The words were forming in my head. Quilt, mish-mash, and organized chaos were all jockeying for position as a way to best describe what our zoning map represents. Then, after going on-line, I made a sudden, sharp turn and decided that the MBTA fiasco in the Salem Station train tunnel would be the mornings subject. Well. It turns out ...

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Ward 6 Recount Ruling Favors City

  Megan Riccardi To Be Sworn In Tomorrow Night Full Council Inauguration On Tap  By William Legault   So it’s over. Nine days of testimony. A very aggressive and spirited case was presented by Jerry Ryan’s lawyer Mary-Ellen Manning. A true kitchen sink approach where everything that could be thrown into the fray was indeed thrown.  The defense team, consisting of three lawyers, one for Ward 6 Councillor-Elect Megan Riccardi, and two representing the city sparred and parried well. What is the end result? The election stands, Salem will seat a full city council tomorrow, and the lawyers will get ...

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Injunction Unction What’s Your Function?

Ryan Lawsuit Is Politics As Usual The Lawyers Win, The Ugliness Continues, Salem Loses  By William Legault Why? That is the only real question to be asked regarding tomorrows hearing at the courthouse in Lawrence. A few years ago a political brawl was initiated in Salem over the use of a single word. Sanctuary. One word in a title, that in the context of the document it headed, represented an ideal and not a reality. Tomorrow Jerry Ryan and his team will appear before a judge in Lawrence in an attempt to continue that brawl by asking for an injunction. ...

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Thoughts: City Council, Schools, Taxes, Historic Cemeteries

Four Thoughts For Salem Government Or Four Pipe Dreams For Salem Government By William Legault   As we approach the end of the year in Salem city government I’m taking a few moments to consider few things of interest in the year gone by and the year that approaches. CITY COUNCIL The City Council chambers featured a lot of drama and theatrics this year. The council was clearly fractured. It was the first year that I can remember where some councillors actually said publicly that they did not like another councillor. You can place blame for that as you wish. ...

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ELECTION 2019 – Ward Six Recount Monday

A One Vote Riccardi Margin On The Line Déjà vu All Over Again for Ryan And Barton By William Legault   It’s been said, most notably by author Thomas Wolfe that “you can’t go home again.” A couple of years ago Jerry Ryan, who was raised in Ward 6, moved from Ward Four to Ward 6. Little did he, or we know, that his old tradition of close elections and recounts in his former ward, would fit in well with the apparent new tradition of close elections and recounts in his new ward. This will be Ryan’s second recount in ...

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Highland Avenue Zoning – Civil Discussion Is Needed

355 – 373 Highland Avenue Again On The Hot Seat Is the Need For Business Or Residential? By William Legault   The following definition is borrowed from Wikepedia. “Zoning is the process of dividing land in a municipality into zones (e.g. residential, industrial) in which certain land uses are permitted or prohibited. In addition, the sizes, bulk, and placement of buildings may be regulated. The type of zone determines whether planning permission for a given development is granted. Zoning may specify a variety of outright and conditional uses of land. It may also indicate the size and dimensions of land ...

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ELECTION 2019 – The Day After

A Few Thoughts On The Election By William Legault   It is the day after another contentious election cycle here in Salem. Lots of political noise and thunder resonated across the city over the last six  months. Despite that the turnout was low. Noise and thunder alone do not make a storm. The at-large race with the exception of Conrad Prosniewski at the top of the ticket was too close to call until the last precinct came in. Almost 800 votes separated first place from second place. But less than 300 votes separated second place from sixth place. Arthur Sargent ...

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Election 2019 – Tomorrow We Vote

Tuesdays Vote is Prelude to 2021 Council And School Committee Seats Up For Grabs By William Legault   Tomorrow the winds of political rhetoric will cease to blow. Another election day has come to Salem. To hear many, this is the most important local election that we have ever seen. It isn’t. Every election is important. Over the last 10 weeks we presented questions to all of the candidates. Most of them responded. Their answers can be seen on our City Meeting page. The Salem News and Salem Gazette also queried the candidates and provided profiles on them. Salem Access ...

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Councillor Turiel Responds – Does Standing Serve A Purpose?

It’s Time To Take A Look At This Tradition New Sound System May Be A Problem By Josh Turiel – Ward 5 City Councillor     I have always been one to appreciate tradition. But there are times when you should take a hard look at a tradition and ask why it exists, and if it still serves a purpose. The Salem City Council has a number of traditions, some of which exist outside of the strict rules and are cheerfully ignored. Until this year, we were legally required to draw lots in order to determine seating arrangement (spoiler, that’s ...

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