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May 20, 2012
Salem News

Roses for a visit to our fair city by the vice president of the United States. Doesn't happen often. Was it politically-motivated??Duh. Part and parcel to campaigning office holders regardless of party bent. Do you think he would've been here if there wasn't a presidential election in less than six months? Double duh. And, while fully acknowledging his emotional connect to fire responders given past tragedies, do you think Mr. Biden would've visited the fire house had its members not been union members??After all, his visit was arranged by the International Association of Firefighters. And this is coming from someone who has squarely supported Salem firefighters from the get-go including through that proposed fire district firestorm. Despite being politically motivated, it was still a big moment for our city. In fact the last time a sitting VP was here came back in 1968 with Hubert Humphrey. Of course the most significant appearance by a political figure had to be JFK's visit during his 1960 presidential campaign. And why do the words "Reilly Stadium urinal" always come to mind when recalling Jack's visit here?

Thorns to the Biden camp for not permitting Mayor Berlin access for a moment or two to welcome the VP to our fair city. We get the part of tight schedules, limited access, etc, etc. We get that part of his visit being arranged by the firefighters' union. But that was rude. A plain and simple snub. Take a couple of minutes and greet the guy. Respect the office. Take a couple of minutes and greet the cops too, for that matter. Berlin is the mayor of this city and doing a pretty darn good job at that through his nearly first five months. Could it be because Mr. Berlin is a Republican??Nah, that would be petty and pettiness never occurs at any level in politics. And this is coming from someone who did not endorse our current mayor but can appreciate his performance so far in office and appreciates the office of mayor of Salem in itself.

Roses to the Salem Community Hospital with the announcement of its proposed ambitious expansion. SCH is an employment anchor. Its tentacles provides ancillary wages and opportunities too. It has medically served our city and surrounding neighbors for decades. We are fortunate to have it. Additional roses for the sheer number of construction jobs the $42.5 million project will provide while being built.

Roses to word that a Holiday Inn Express could be coming to the city. Many feel we need it, especially given the gas boom around here. We will see. The 25 or so jobs it will create after - again like the SCH project - providing construction jobs while being built is good news.

Roses to the Cleveland Indians. First place at the season's quarter-pole is better than anywhere else 40-plus games into the season. Roses for the leadership of the Cleveland Cavaliers. For once, a professional sports team in Cleveland did it right. The Cavaliers drafted Kyrie Irving. All he did was win the NBA's Rookie of the Year going away. He is also - unlike you know who - a wonderful ambassador for the city and the whole of the region. Example: during the All-Star Weekend, the selfless Irving received a big award. When accepting it, he told the video and photography guys to make sure they got the word "CLEVELAND" across his jersey into their camera frames. How refreshing it is to hear that. And, of course, roses to karma. You know who in Miami is headed toward season two down there without a ring. You've got to love that.



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