Column: Differing views on tax credits


Original article from The Salem News

Not everyone was as happy as Harborlight Community Partners with the $6 million in tax credit allocations for local community development organizations announced this week as part of a broader state housing bill.

Andrew DeFranza, executive director of the Beverly-based housing group, tweeted out effusive thank-yous to Sens. Joan Lovely, D-Salem, and Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, along with Reps. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers; Jerry Parisella, D-Beverly; Paul Tucker, D-Salem; and Tom Walsh, D-Peabody.

But Citizens for Limited Taxation was less impressed, advising its members: “If a portfolio manager ‘invested’ your retirement savings like that he’d be either in prison or the unemployment line. Or maybe running for state legislator.”

Kudos to the Swampscott Historical Commission, which voted 4-2 this week to order a hold on plans to demolish the oceanfront estate that once served as President Calvin Coolidge‘s summer White House.

For many years the property was home to Marion Court College, but it was recently sold to a group of local developers who want to build residential condominiums on the prime piece of real estate. The main house, White Court, would be razed and replaced with what the developers describe as a replica of the original.

But that’s not good enough for a majority of the commission members, who describe the mansion as one of the most historically and architecturally significant properties in town.

“It’s great that Calvin Coolidge spent a summer there,” developer Mark Klaman told the Lynn Item, “but Calvin is not driving this train.”

Gov. Charlie Baker this week on the recent deluge of State Police scandals: “The Massachusetts State Police swore an oath to the citizens of the Commonwealth to fulfill their duties with dignity and integrity, and a series of recent incidents has sadly tarnished the department’s trust with the public.”

Sadly, some state troopers viewed their commission as a license to steal.

One has to wonder what the board of the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School was thinking when it initially decided to limit candidates for the superintendency to those already working at the Danvers campus.

As it turned out, only one person applied, which prompted the board to broaden the search. Doing otherwise whould have been a huge disservice to students, parents and the district’s taxpayers. This isn’t Peabody, after all.

Comedian Ed Helms on the importance of the witchcraft hysteria to Salem’s tourist industry: “Who knew that tragedy plus time equals gift shops?” Helms told late-night host Conan O’Brien that he’d spent time in the city recently while making a movie and though he found it beautiful, was surprised by the number of witch-themed businesses and attractions.

Hard to believe, but this could be the final summer for Essex’s iconic Village restaurant.

It was reported this week that the Ricci brothers, whose grandparents opened the place in 1956, have proposed selling the site at one end of the town’s famous causeway for construction of a new fire station.

This reporter’s first visit occurred in the late 1960s, when it was a tiny place with long lines and a tiny take-out window out back. It still merit a visit whenever my wife and I are in town as it continues to offer the best onion rings and baked haddock around.

A vote on the land deal is scheduled to take place at the annual town meeting May 7.