A new police facility at the Salem Civic Center got ZERO support from nine City Council candidates at today's City Club meeting. Nada. Zilch.
Not one candidate, including four who have gotten Chamber of Commerce endorsements, raised his/her hand when asked if a new police facility should be at the Civic Center.
The eight non-hand-raisers: Sherrone Blasi, Bradd Swank, Scott Bassett, Steve McCoid, Daniel Benjamin, Xue Lor, Jim Lewis, Christopher Proudfoot. Finally, something liberals and conservatives can agree on!
The ninth, Ward 2 candidate Tom Andersen, was on an overseas business trip. A campaign supporter made a speech for him, but I don't believe she voted on the hand-raising questions. She did say in her speech that Andersen favors a new police facility away from the Civic Center.
The City Club audience laughed and applauded when all of the candidates' hands remained firmly planted in their laps when the moderator asked for a hand to be raised by those in favor of a new Civic Center police headquarters.
Time to put this bad idea to pasture, Mayor Peterson and City Manager Norris. Nobody is buying your over-priced proposal to pave over Mirror Pond and use taxpayer dollars for hugely expensive underground parking on an already crowded downtown site.
All candidates were in favor of seismic upgrades to the Civic Center, though. The message is clear: Yes to a lower cost police facility away from the Civic Center and to City Hall/Library seismic upgrades. No to a police facility at the Civic Center.
Salem Community Vision describes this better way to go.