About skipbensley

Unabashed father, an IT analyst. Northeastern graduate, democrat, mayoral candidate, foodie, amateur chef and rabid Boston sports fan.

Salem We are so screwed…

So the two gentlemen left vying for Mayor of Salem ( 3 year term) are Dominic Pangallo and Neil Harrington.

I met Neil on the steps of the Post office and he seemed nice enough. Tall and a bit grumpy. He wouldn’t sign my papers for election but then again he does not live in Salem.

Dominic on the other hand has never given me the time of day. This might be because I was often at odds with Kim Driscoll and many of the things she did since I moved to Salem in 2016.

I have read some really bad things online about Neil from his run ins with coworkers in Salisbury to his being both bigoted and Trans and homophobic. I am pretty sure Salem will not tolerate another Harrington Mayoral

Dominic sits back and counts his money that Kim Drisdol raised for him before she left office, and he in turn campaigns on the coat tails of everything good Kim Driscoll did for Salem.

But what about the bad stuff. The over spending on fireworks, carnival rides, The North street debacle, The Sewer treatment pipe issue, anger, racism, lack of housing, ruining the public school system, raising taxes, Increasing pay for workers at City hall, the list is endless.

I hate to say this but Dominic in my mind is the safer choice for 3 years. Maybe he can clean up the messes Kim Driscoll created or at least a few of them and then we will have another election and hopefully better candidates.

Until then maybe the devil you know is better than the devil that is bigoted, trans and homophobic.

The story about the Skateboard and the tow line.

When I was old enough, I got my first skateboard. I had to buy it secretly with my own money saved from my paper route with the Standard star. I didn’t have pads, or wrist guards or a helmet it was just me and Hanson Lane. I would turn up onto Taymil road so I would not be seen flying by my house on Hanson Lane and I also hid my board under the back porch. I was getting really good at speed riding when a friend suggested he pull me on a boat tow line in traffic.

We set out that day with good intentions and ended up eventually on quaker ridge road up near Ward school and the hill known years previous as the site of the New Rochelle Soap box derby races.

The light changed and down we went, the Car towing me down the biggest hill in New Rochelle, what could possibly go wrong? Well, a police car that’s what. His siren was on there were two of us, the driver (Glen maybe) and me on my board.

As we neared the Pinebrook boulevard off ramp I figured I better release and let the driver fend for himself for being the tow driver. I cruised down to Pine brook and kept going heading south at warp speed towards downtown. A second police car was heard, and I bailed off my board I think somewhere near Evan Forster’s house on Pinebrook and sat there on my board like I hadn’t done a thing.

This only works in the movies as I soon learned, and the policeman was both complimentary and alarmed. He talked through his speaker and asked me to approach his car. I walked around to him, and he said board please. I gave him my board. He said, you and your friend were speeding on quaker ridge road, your friend got a ticket. If you want this board back, you can send your father down to pick it up at the police station. We can fill him in on the details of your surfing safari then. After getting my details he then said,

“You are out here going 50 miles an hour on a skateboard, with no pads, no helmet, you either are the best skate boarder in the state or you have a death wish kid”. Have a great day.

Nothing more to see here, I am no longer running for Mayor of Salem Massachusetts.

What was I thinking?

Running for Mayor of Salem, Massachusetts was like a nonstop dental exam. A constant reaching out trying to get answers only to be poked, prodded and probed in return. Salem Massachusetts politics is a dumpster fire and when the pipe on Willows Ave explodes all the planning will become an afterthought. It will be a literal shit show.

Perhaps I dodged a bullet again? I actually asked the man upstairs for a sign if I should be running for mayor and just an hour later, my bed broke in 3 places after 12 years.

People are really friendly in Gloucester and say hello almost always while out walking, people in Salem don’t and almost always appear to be in a hurry and visibly angry all the time. I had one woman curse me out for trying to get signatures because Kim Driscoll had abandoned her after winning again and then trotting off to the state house. I had another woman, an employee of Rockefeller’s flip me off while I was seeking signatures. You cannot renovate class. Then of course are those of you that said you were registered to vote but are not, you guys really suck. You waste your own time bitching, moaning and doing nothing to change your stars. Register to vote! or be happy with the nothing you voted for.

Climate change will swallow up Salem Willows by 2070. If you live there, you better jack up your house if you can. Elevation is the new norm, but how high can you actually go? If you live near the water well, I also hope you have really good insurance.

The Salem, MA schools are still a mess. Don’t believe all the stories you hear about the public school system turning the corner. I met with the Salem Teachers Union, and they are not convinced if body language is any indication. Why are we all so happy about a new high school being bantered about when our public-school accreditation is so egregiously low? Can we all thank the “education” Mayor Driscoll for that? Why are charter schools doing so well?

You cannot solve the affordable housing issues in Salem MA by building recklessly and not including affordable units in the planning stages. People will get further swept away. You should not build on a coastline that could be under water in 20 years unless you are doing so on stilts.

Getting back to my signature debacle, I had 118 signatures of which 24 were labeled NFG. I verified 9 of those NFG signatures but was only given one more signature by powers that be at the City Clerk’s election office. I was 6 signatures short. It was yet another sign. It’s funny that they called me a 4:30pm to tell me that I was short with only a 1/2 hour to go but I’ll let you ask them about that.

Please also, do not vote for Dominic Pangallo, he represents business as usual or Kim Jr as I refer to him. He knows where all the bodies are buried and obviously has pulled out all his hair from covering our former mayors’ tracks. There are also lots of people “invested” in business as usual so question everything Salem.

As the bumper sticker says,

I am not a gambler.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em Know when to walk away, and know when to run You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done.

Even though I know in my heart I did this with the best intentions there is just too much bad karma floating around City hall in Salem. The need to control the messaging on social media outlets by folks associated with the former Mayor is Palpable. I will be better at this the next time around and I look forward to serving you then Salem.

After hearing back from the Elections department, they only accepted one additional signature of the 9 I submitted, I was still 6 signatures short. After talking with the league of women voters in Salem ( also set up by or for Kim Driscoll) I find my message opportunities at a decisive end for now as a candidate. I do however promise to comment when and where I see fit when I see something that makes me go hmm.

Be well and thanks.

Online Trolls

According to ChatGPT.

Online trolls often gain a sense of power or satisfaction from causing trouble or getting a reaction from others. They may also enjoy the anonymity and lack of accountability that the internet provides. Some trolls may also gain attention, either from the people they are trolling or from others who are watching the interactions. However, it’s important to note that not all trolls have the same motivations and they can range from individuals seeking attention, to those who are using trolling as a form of cyberbullying.

My experience :

I was asked by the Salem group on reddit to do an AMA and I really had no idea what reddit was or is. I went into the room and I was overwhelmed by the angry confrontation and insular mob within. I tried wholeheartedly initially to answer questions but I was over run. I tried to get some of the questions moved to Facebook but even then it was unmanageable.

I spent parts of two weeks trying to reason with characters and people hiding behind screen names. One of the luxuries and failings of reddit is the almost zero accountability. You don’t use your own name and your avatar and created identity becomes your own online personae. You can also vote someone up in agreement or down to silence them. This Salem group was great at both and tried as I might with ethos, pathos and logos to reason with anyone it was a non starter. I even tried launching a better Salemmass group hoping that people that wanted to engage would. This of course upset Reddit and they deleted that group. ( thank you Reddit)

I even invited members of that group to a meet up on a Thursday night at 5:00 pm I arrived a bit later at 5:15, I had an interview with a group of environmentalists in Salem, MA and it ran a bit longer than expected. I got there and it appeared nobody had shown up. I later learned that a 30 something male that was manically texting on his phone was a member of the Salem Reddit group but he lacked the social graces and abilities it appears to put down his phone and have a conversation. Yes he was rude in person like so many of his peers online. I drank my margarita finished my chips and guacamole and deleted my Reddit account.

What did I learn?

Peoples actions online and peoples actions in person are usually not the same except when it comes to members of Reddit. I was surprised to learn in fact that Trumps reddit was deleted from its platform. I would think Reddit would revere a loud mouth saying whatever hurtful things they could muster.

I’ll be honest I have a hand in this, I lost my cool but I was uninformed and unaware and it was an epic fail. Did I call the whole group of them a bunch of losers you bet I did. Are they voters who won’t vote for me? probably. But if I got them thinking about actually voting in the special election for somebody else or anyone I can take some solace that my work was done. I learned much, I will continue to learn and I will use it going forward.

#TBT Story

The one about when “There was no Joy, in Joyriding”

So as teens when you are raised in an affluent part of Westchester County in New York State you run out of things to do. Mini bikes did it, go carts did it, joy riding in a stolen parents car with only a learners permit, hmmm.

My pal Glenn had just gotten his learners permit and was glad when his parent’s went away for a week. Jon and Glenn, Beth L and I all jumped into Glenn’s fathers pristine gold tone Volvo and off we went. There we were driving around like adults with no license and a fast turbo charged 4 cylinder leather interior barca-lounger to joy ride in.

We drove down Quaker ridge road then down weaver street. We buzzed by the YWHA just in case anyone we knew saw us. WE turned around in the Golden Horshoe parking lot, and then headed back down weaver when we ran into a police car coming in the opposite direction.

Shit!. We were spooked of course and Jon suggested we take the back roads back to their house near Quaker ridge road. It was a sunny day 70’s sprinklers were going in this neighbor hood on the cusp of Scarsdale and New Rochelle. Music was playing, we were laughing and then the Golden Volvo skidded just a little and we grazed the oncoming station wagon making a rather noticeable dent on the driver left side. No body was hurt but Glenn was having kittens and Jon was trying to comfort his brother. It was then that we all got out to see the damage and make sure the other car was ok.

To our shock and surprise 4 teenagers ( from Scarsdale perhaps) were doing the same surveying of damage. I yelled out are you guys ok, they said yes but that they were fucked, and thats when jumped back into the Volvo and headed to Jon and Glenn’s house. What were the chances that 8 kids went joy riding in 2 stolen cars and crashed into one another. They had to be astronomical, but we did it.

We got back to Jon and Glenn’s house talked about it and headed our seperate ways. I got a call from Jon later and he walked me thru the parent story about how his dads car got stolen and was being driven to the bronx by another friend and that I should stick to that story if his dad followed up with me. This plan while well thought out and executed did have one flaw, my father standing behind me very intently listening. Suffice it to say there was no joy from that joy riding and it took over a year to get ungrounded and be allowed to hang with Jon and Glenn again.

To Glenn’s credit I think he spent the next 6 years working part time and paying for his Dad’s Golden Volvo. He was allowed to breathe air as long as he bought the car he stole.

What is your plan?

Make sure you vote, sitting out this time is not an option.

Do you remember what happened last time? We didnt take him serious enough, we didn’t realize that there were so many angry old white men who were sitting at home with nothing to do but stir things up. Stir things up they did.

Sure the Russions influenced these poor angry white guys and made them believe that Donald Trump was their saviour, that he would save them all. Has he saved them? Really?

Trump supporters are very loyal, to the point of following their leader into the ER room after getting Covid 19 from an indoor rally. This of course is their choice, if they want to die after all that is their right. They will also fight for the right to life almost as viamently as they will fight to perhaps die.

Don’t be fooled however into thinking That Biden Harris are a lock however. Every vote counts and every electoral counts. We need to make sure Trump and Pence are gone.

We have lost our way as a country. We are divided, there is no United States. We don’t lead the world in anything anymore except reality TV , drug addiction and Covid deaths. Is this really what we want for our children?

Make a plan and vote, this is way too important this time. Oh and if you sat by the sidelines in 2016 shame on you.

#makeaplan #votehimout #election2020 #blacklivesmatter

Happy 69th Birthday Mr. Williams, I mean Robin.

For Robin’s what would have been his 69th birthday today I thought I would share my random run ins with this kind man. It was about 22 years ago when I lived on the west coast in SF bay area. I was living in San Mateo but dating a woman in IT who lived in the Marina district. On this day her twin sister drove up with family from Monterey and I was playing soccer with a border collie that travelled north with them.

It started to drizzle and then rain rather hard and I seeked refuge with others in the old domed Exploratorium. I was pretty much left to fend for myself as my then soon to be ex GF walked off with her family. I walked inside and well explored, that’s what you do at an exploratorium after all, right?

So I found this exhibit or display that was widely popular and it measured your right and left brain by flashing imagery and then asking you to recreate it to the best of your ability with chalk, and I guess they measured it through video capture somehow.

Anyway, I am there and I open a sliding shiny onyx colored door to see the picture which I did. I then closed it back, and I was about to take up the chalk and draw what I think I saw, and that’s when I saw Robin Williams, in the reflection, chin on his fingers watching me intently. No pressure.

I think I started sweating next honestly, but what I did was open the other door, took the chalk and wrote congratulations Mr. Williams on winning the best supporting oscar for good will hunting. He smiled broadly, leaned down in my right ear and said thank you very much in an elvis presley voice. I turned and said thank you Mr. Williams, he said no I’m Robin and extended his hand.

For the next 8 or so magical minutes I told him my life’s history did Fernando Llamas at him ( which he said while good he said, He told me Billy Crystal hates when people do his impression at him) I told him I loved Good morning Vietnam, Mork and Mindy, I was riffing through his catalog and he was laughing and riffing back. It was then that his family rejoined him he had his wife and his two kids in tow. And as I noticed My soon to be ex GF and her family that had abandoned me outside walking towards me from the other end of the Exploratorium I asked a small favor.

We did a slap thing next and I just tried to follow him but we made up a handshake and then said goodbye. His words were take care chief.

When my soon to be ex GF’s family finally caught up to me they asked me how in the World I knew Robin Williams and I told them rather mischievously that Robin and I were old friends.

I did see Robin and his kids one other time in Golden Gate park. Robin was exiting with his children from the back of what I thought was a range rover. The kids in bike riding gear and helmets, then the bikes all being deployed with the precision of a military exercise. As I walked by he said how’s it going chief? I responded back looking good Robin. He gave me a thumbs up and was gone.

The point of my post is this, I have never heard anyone say anything bad about this man or his willingness to give time, kindness and generosity. Robin was practically light personified. He took time to talk with me, listen to my bad impressions, and was present throughout. We need more of that right now.

I miss you Mr.Williams, I mean Robin, and I always will.

People in Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas What don’t you get? Wear a mask Idiots!

To all of you that seem to learn slower than others wear a mask!.

If you think I am talking about you, I am, wear a mask.

If the current POTUS says don’t wear a mask he is worrying about winning the next election not about you dying wear a mask.

If you go to the store you have to wear a mask.

If you go to dinner outside, you ned to wear a mask until you are seated.

If you attend a large funeral without a mask, your funeral maybe next wear a mask.

90% beds filled in Houston Texas because they didn’t wear a mask.

People partying in the Ozarks dying now because they didn’t wear a mask.

People in Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas all showing surge in Covid Cases. It’s not because of testing its because people didn’t wear a mask. Aren’t all these States Trump States? Is he trying to kill off his base?

Wear a mask!