Years in Salem: 22
Family: lives alone but not apart.
Occupation/education: Retired after 40 year career in biomedical research / Ph.D. in molecular biology
Appointed positions and/or elected offices: None but longstanding volunteer in Salem and frequent attendee, and speaker, at city council meetings.
Why should people elect you?
A long-term resident of Gallows Hill, who as a blogger extraordinaire of all matters Gallows Hill has covered the impressive recent progress of Salem out of a long period of doldrums, but am also aware of the steps yet to be taken. A recent retiree with unquenchable curiosity, boundless energy and oodles of free time, such as myself, is ideal to take those steps. Given my background and career I have learned to approach every issue with reason, research and rationality, all seemingly sometimes in short supply among the obstructionists on the City Council.
What are three reasons/issues why you’re running for election?
1) to promote affordable, inclusive and vibrant housing while preserving Salem’s unique historical heritage.
2) to promote alternative transportation modes and mass transit as a means to mitigate traffic, improve sustainability, and better well-being.
3) to respect the inherent worth and dignity of every resident of Salem, regardless of race, creed, national origin, age, sex, gender, occupation or length of residency.
Rank the job performance of the current Salem City Council on a letter-grade scale of A to F, and explain why?
D- Would be an F except for several upright councilors who try valiantly to advance Salem but are stymied by an obstructionist clique. The defeat of the Municipal & Religious Overlay ordinance is one prime example. The proposal had the backing of all pertinent organizations, would have been a win-win-win-win situation in adding to the tax base AND restoring vintage buildings in severe disrepair AND providing a modicum of desperately needed affordable and workforce housing AND advancing sustainability, yet was defeated. A whopping loss for the citizenry of Salem, whom the Council is purported to represent. And MROD is only one of many proposals to advance Salem that the city council has recently seen fit to kneecap.
Salem’s housing crisis has received much attention, resources and debate from all sides – the City Council, the mayor’s office, and municipal government. Some say the intervention of government is a key piece in tackling the growing issue, while others say the market will sort things out. In short, where do you stand on this issue?
It’s the inverse, in that current regulation, in the form of exclusionary zoning and arduous city oversight, is so severe, so outdated, and so perverse, that ordinary market mechanisms are hamstrung. Reduce the regulations, as Governor Baker’s Housing Choice bill intends to do, as do other bills currently before the state legislature, and maybe, just maybe, market mechanisms can operate more effectively to reduce the housing crisis.
Lastly, what type of relationship should a councilor have with their constituents?
A councilor should listen but lead, not kowtowing to the loudest most extreme but minority element of their constituency.