Current Editorials

Created and published by the Current Editorial Board

EDITORIAL: A zoning balancing act
Current Editorials, Opinion

EDITORIAL: A zoning balancing act

Marblehead faces an acute housing affordability crisis. With over 77% of homes being single-family units, the town desperately needs more diverse and affordable options. Of Marblehead's 8,135 total households, 2,404 or 29% are considered low-income. Yet just 333 units, a mere 4% of all housing — qualify as affordable under state law. That's well short of  the 10% mandate. Two-thirds of those low-income households are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of income on housing. Monthly rents approach $2,000, even for a modest one-bedroom apartment. To afford such high rents, one needs an income of $76,000. These costs are pricing out seniors, young adults and working families vital to Marblehead's future. Responding to similar housing shortages statewide, Massachusetts passed a la...
EDITORIAL: The Spirit of Marblehead
Current Editorials

EDITORIAL: The Spirit of Marblehead

What’s the “spirit of Marblehead”? The answer that immediately jumps to mind is the iconic Archibald Willard painting that hangs in the Select Board’s meeting room at Abbot Hall. "The Spirit of '76" was exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and toured several major cities before Gen. John H. Devereux purchased it and brought it “home.” It was hung in Abbot Hall in 1880 by the artist and Devereux’s son, Henry, who had also served as the model for the young drummer on the left side of the painting. But in recent days, we have been reminded that the spirit of Marblehead has other facets, too. The spirit of Marblehead is resilient, as Thomas Smith demonstrated on Saturday. Smith overcame two hockey injuries and a subsequent car accident that left him paralyze...
Editorial: Optimism on local news funding, with a caveat
Current Editorials, Viewpoints

Editorial: Optimism on local news funding, with a caveat

Far be it from us to suggest that recent headlines that portend an infusion of investment in local journalism is anything but a good thing for America. However, in terms of what it means for the Current, forgive us if our optimism is a bit more guarded. The big news was the launch on Sept. 7 of a nationwide initiative known as Press Forward, which plans to award more than $500 million to revitalize local news, beginning in 2024. Press Forward is a coalition of 22 donors, including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which announced that it would be kicking into the pot $150 million over five years. Given the nationwide need, that is awesome news — full stop. According to Press Forward, approximately 2,200 local newspapers have closed since 2005, which has resulted in 20% ...
EDITORIAL: Enough is enough
Current Editorials, Opinion

EDITORIAL: Enough is enough

It is time for the town to fish or cut bait in the case of Officer Christopher Gallo. The veteran police officer has been on administrative leave but collecting a town paycheck since June of 2021. Since that date, Marblehead taxpayers have been footing the bill to the tune of almost $220,000. Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer conducted a fact-finding hearing in May at which Police Chief Dennis King recommended that Gallo be fired for conduct unbecoming an officer and dereliction of duty. The charges stem from 2021 after an anonymous whistleblower provided photos of Gallo’s cruiser parked outside his home when he was supposed to be on patrol. Allegedly, he spent more than 100 hours at home while on duty during a four-month period. There were also allegations stemming from an inci...
EDITORIAL: Charging forward
Current Editorials, Uncategorized

EDITORIAL: Charging forward

As electric vehicles (EVs) transition from a futuristic notion to an everyday reality, Marblehead is grappling with a challenge: how to adapt its aging electrical grid to accommodate the inevitable rise of EVs. Of nearly 20,000 registered vehicles in Marblehead, around 460 are electric. That number is expected to increase significantly in the years to come. But already — even with 2.3% of its vehicles electric ones — Marblehead is ahead of the curve in being “early adopters” of the technology. Statewide, there are about 90,000 electric passenger vehicles registered in the state, according to auto industry data, which is 1.6% of the 5.6 million cars and light trucks on the road. But the direction of the trend is unmistakable. The Marblehead Municipal Light Department is predicting a ...
EDITORIAL: Shining a light on solutions
Current Editorials, Opinion, Uncategorized

EDITORIAL: Shining a light on solutions

What’s going right. At its most fundamental, is it a journalist’s main role to expose wrongdoing and serve as a watchdog of institutions and leaders? Or is there more to the job description these days, particularly at small community newspapers like this one?  We ask because we see our role as broader than reporting on problems and challenges. We want to shine a light on solutions, too. Don’t get us wrong, we take our responsibility to objectively report the conduct of town business seriously, as our coverage of the termination of School Superintendent John Buckey attests. But should it stop there, or do we have a broader responsibility to our readers? As we begin year two of operation, we believe we do. And on our pages in the coming months you will find stories not only of what...
EDITORIAL:  Marblehead summer, the last word
Current Editorials, Opinion

EDITORIAL:  Marblehead summer, the last word

“You live in Marblehead? You’re so lucky.” How often have we heard those sentiments from folks who live someplace else? More times than we care to count, probably. Those numbers rise noticeably in summertime, the sweet spot between Memorial Day and Labor Day when our picturesque seaside town shakes off winter’s chill, hoists its sails, slathers on the sunscreen and embraces the lobster-and-corn season with open arms (plus a side of melted butter). Each of us no doubt has a favorite ritual or two when schools let out and “vacation” turns from noun to verb. A setting or leisure pursuit we relish as these languid, lengthy days slip by — always too quickly, never lengthy enough — and the calendar tips toward autumn. For much of this summer, locals have been caught up in two fraugh...
EDITORIAL: Time for a change
Current Editorials, Views & Reviews

EDITORIAL: Time for a change

At its first meeting after this year’s town election, the Select Board and its new majority broke with long-standing tradition and voted to postpone its annual process of making appointments to the various town boards, committees and commissions that fall under its jurisdiction. Until now, such appointments, which for the most part constitute reappointments of volunteer citizens, have been made immediately after the annual town election. Whether or not that is the optimum time to take such action, it nonetheless has been that way for decades — if not forever. New member Bret Murray, who had been a past Select Board member for a number of years, proposed the postponement. To our knowledge, in past years while serving on the Select Board, Murray had not objected to the traditional app...
EDITORIAL: Sunlight and the superintendent
Current Editorials, Opinion

EDITORIAL: Sunlight and the superintendent

Let’s start at the beginning. Does the Marblehead School Committee have a right to end the tenure of our town’s school superintendent, John Buckey, two years early? Yes, when a previous board voted in July 2021 to extend what initially had been a three-year contract until 2025, it negotiated the right to terminate the contract by giving Buckey 100 days’ notice and a payment of $94,350. But — as a matter of good governance rather than legality — should the board exercise that right without engaging the community in a conversation as to whether that is the right decision, all things — including the cost to the town — considered? That’s where the board loses us. Yes, the state’s open meeting law, G.L.c. 30A, §21, allows a board like the School Committee to go behind closed doors for...
EDITORIAL: Setting the bar higher
Current Editorials

EDITORIAL: Setting the bar higher

Before Chair Sarah Fox opened the public comment period of the School Committee’s July 6 meeting, she offered a word of caution. In light of what had happened at the board’s June 30 meeting, a concerned parent had come to Fox, fearful that her child would be subject to further bullying if the public comment period was used to breach the confidentiality of their dealings with the district, she explained. Fox asked all who might speak during the public comment period to be cognizant of confining their comments to public information and resist the urge to use the forum to chill people’s exercise of their rights. It is a point well taken, especially given the fraught issues like bullying and special education services school districts are called upon to deal with daily. However, t...