- Name: Joel Saslaw
- Age: 50
- Occupation: Media consultant
- Political office: None
Peabody Patch: What are the top three issues in Ward 5 and what do you propose to do about them?
Joel Saslaw: The first major issue, in my opinion, affecting Ward 5 is the unresolved billboard issue. This has been going on for over a year. Currently, it sits with the judge, as the city awaits his ruling. The City Council voted 10-1 to deny the special permit a second time, and if I were in office, I would have joined the majority in voting to deny the billboard permit. Lowell Street is one of our main streets in the city, and this billboard is not consistent with what should be put on our main arteries. In addition, the residents that live in this area should not have to look at this eyesore on a daily basis.
Another major issue that needs to be brought to completion is the Richard Marchese project (the old Country Cue Billiards property next to the Royal Garden restaurant) located on Route 1 South. It was unfortunate that the Brunswick Corporation pulled out of this project just weeks before the purchase and sale was to be signed. But this situation has affected the surrounding neighbors long enough. I have spent extensive time researching how we got to where we are today, and it is my hope that once the commercial piece is fully leased and the demands made on the developer (sewer pipe tie-in) by the city are completed, that the residents will finally get the relief that they so desperately need. No one should have to live with the worry of continued flooding based upon such things as uncontrollable as the weather. I will continue to communicate with the surrounding neighbors and attend all City Council and board meetings to keep the pressure on until this project is brought to completion as soon as possible, with the requirements set by the city in place.
Lastly, the other issue that I see and hear from the residents of Ward 5 as important are our basic quality of life issues. Residents want their streets paved, and plowed properly during the winter months. I will strongly advocate that all plow operators be required to familiarize themselves with the streets that they are responsible for maintaining. It is important that they understand the nuances of the various streets and neighborhoods. People expect to be plowed in a reasonable time frame and also request damage be kept to a minimum. Plow operators need to understand the street widths of the routes and also be cognizant of street boundaries. When it comes to the streets of Peabody, the potholes, the plowing, and the paving are important to the residents.
Patch: What do you see as the most pressing issue for the City Council to address (more on a citywide basis)?
Saslaw: The city of Peabody as a whole has a few major pressing issues but if I had to choose one, it would be the continued economic revitalization of both downtown and Centennial Park. If we want to continue to enjoy one of the lowest tax rates in the region, it is imperative that we keep these two areas fully occupied. As your Ward 5 Councilor, I will continue to work with the mayor's office, and serve on the economic council to ensure that we have the proper zoning in place to encourage investment from all types of businesses. I would also be open to exploring tax incentives for companies that are willing to make major capital investments and work force investments that would benefit our city and its residents.
Patch: Do you have a humorous or interesting anecdote to share from your campaign so far?
Saslaw: Having grown up in this city, I have really enjoyed meeting the parents of fellow classmates and hearing about how they are doing. It has also been great to run into former Tanners and reconnect. The one common theme is that Peabody people really want the best for their neighbors and fellow citizens.