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 Television gave everybody a chance to be seen and heard with Mike Allen of Inside Salem providing a forum for the challengers. Also providing information to us, and to you was the fairly new and very active Salem League of Women Voters and the Rainbow Times.
Do you like candidate forums? There were more this year than we have ever seen before. Despite some foolishness over scheduling, and alleged bias by hosts, all of the at-large candidates engaged each other and the public multiple times. We all got to see the the school committee candidates up close and personal. Each ward with a challenger had a forum with the exception of Ward 7. No matter which way the “wind” carries, there is no excuse for there not to have been an opportunity for the public to see Councillor Dibble and challenger Andy Varela engage each other, and the public on the issues.
Our goal this year was to provide you, the voter, with information. We have made no effort to influence your vote other than providing that information. We do not, and will not endorse candidates today, tomorrow, or ever. Your vote is yours.
This election season has also seen a continuation of an effort to oppose the Mayor and her policies. Those in that camp are looking down the road to 2021 election cycle when the ballot will include mayoral candidates. If Mayor Driscoll chooses to run again you can be sure that there will be an opponent. Some of the candidates on this years ballot may be looking in the mirror this morning and seeing a mayor staring back. If she does not run again, it is quite possible that the greatest of all Salem mayoral scrums will result. If that happens it is possible, actually very likely, that a name or two of people from our politics past, or of someone who has never held elected office will emerge.
Much of the chatter this election season has been about development. That is appropriate because we have been in a development phase for a long time and it seems that we will remain so for the foreseeable future. Developers are not the bogeyman and Salem has a good healthy system in place that they must publicly navigate. Is it too much? Is it to big? Is it too tall? These are all good questions to ask. But if you want to truly impact development in Salem one way or the other, you have to hold the the big seat in City Hall. Councillors can have some influence, if they work together. But even then, that influence can be a double-edged sword.
You and I may disagree a little. We may disagree a lot. I care and will vote tomorrow. Will you?