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Are we going to lose the Salem Common?

Thursday 7/18 at 5:50 am
Thursday 7/18 at 5:50 am
I am really concerned with what is happening to the Salem Common these days. I got up at 5:30 to get a walk in before it got too hot. I counted (and photographed) 3 men sleeping on benches in the Common, bottles at their sides. A neighbor walking his dogs said that the benches are occupied almost every morning. In the evenings, a group of teenagers loiter at the bandstand (where there are outlets to charge their cell phones), leaving litter and booze bottles around. They are right below the cameras that supposedly are watched by Salem Police. Two weeks ago, I called the police regarding a teenager, passed out dead drunk on the grass. I moved out of Boston 20 years ago, which was a scummy, bummy town back then and it seems like Dirty Old Boston has moved to Salem.
john July 28, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Today,Sunday 28th,I saw the same guy in the photo(in the same shirt) eating out of a blue bowl on the steps of the Shelter. That confirms to me that the drunk and homeless problem are connected and supported by the shelter.Also hanging around there was the guy who is always passed out at Pickering Wharf. What reason do the drunks have to leave? Salem?
nancy wilkins July 28, 2013 at 11:15 PM
welcome to being a gateway city, it will only get worse.
SuzannM July 29, 2013 at 11:39 AM
A gateway city to what Nancy? Does anyone remember what the city looked like 15 years ago? Salem has progressed and reached the status of being " a really cool place to visit " This is due to many things , but most definitely due to the feeling people get when they come here. Salem is a great place to live, hang out eat out, great free events all year long through the PEM and many outdoor festivals. Its a great walking city wit beautiful historic architecture and harbor. The commentary here is so negative and nay sayer it is mind boggling. Yes there are some problems, thats just a part of being human and living in community. Its bound to happen but it is not that bad. When hasnt there been drugs , drunks and kids hanging around. I would love it if the city really put some effort and funds into a creative community center for teens and (all creatives) to have a focus for their free time and give them an alternative to just hanging around. Solutions , creative solutions are the answer. Not complaining and not doing anything.
Wayne Kerr July 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM
The city will never do what you suggest. Which is part of the problem. The arts in Salem are a mess. Just a big old mess. I can, off the top of my head, think of four artists who simply refuse to work in Salem because it is so bad. There is a small handful of people who get all the arts money and have this city locked down tight. And honestly, what we have right now sucks. I mean, have you seen Artists' Row? That is supposed to be the "best of Salem," down there. In reality it is just free rent for friends of the Mayor. It will take years of very hard work to get Salem to be a great arts city beyond the PEM. But nobody wants to do that because Driscoll only looks at what will get her votes, and the people who benefit from the crap system we have now will just about slit your throat if you suggest that things aren't perfect. This city may have changed, but that doesn't mean it is going to last. Also, our schools are utter garbage now. Enjoy the massive flight of middle-class families from the city.
JK July 29, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Let me assure you Driscoll will never get my vote . The city has become an embarrassment. When I have visitors I dread when they want to visit downtown with the pan handlers, drunks and litter. Drug needles empty booze bottles just a few things that can be found on any given day walking around Salem. And some people seem to think this is what to expect from a city this size. If that what you expect that is what you will get .Me I am looking to move.
melas July 31, 2013 at 01:04 AM
Something should be done about excessive loitering etc. However, I think it's wrong to show a clear, closeup photo of this individual sleeping on the bench, broadcasting his personal struggles to the world. He's somebody's son and deserves to be treated with dignity. Imagine the embarrassment when sober. I hope Patch will do the right thing and remove this photo.
A. July 31, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Well we're I luck because he'll never be sober and I doubt he uses his time library on a computer reading the patch. It like an internet meme about the Amish. They're never gonna find out. Plus its a photo about the problem AND if were not gonna deal with it we might as well make it part of the atractions. I'm gonna start a bum tour. "Most of the time they're sleeping but you MIGHT see them drinking or even mateing!"
bradley backer July 31, 2013 at 01:32 AM
I'm afraid we have established a precedent here. Stay tuned for some other very defamatory photos of people in Salem. Does anyone have any pictures taken of the bums on Artists' Row?
Wayne Kerr July 31, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Which ones? The ones who get free rent for nothing in return or the ones who are homeless?
bradley backer July 31, 2013 at 05:22 PM
I see this post as possibly being defamatory and a violation of this mans Right to Privacy. Even though it's probably legal, he is on public property, I still think the decent thing for a photographer to do is ASK permission before publishing someone's image in any way. Similarly there is a photographer who the city has accepted to be on Artists' Row who is helping Salem with its Orwellian propaganda machine. While he seems like a nice guy (who refused to meet with me because he's afraid of the mob turning on him), he should know that there are many people who wouldn't want to be exploited by him on the internet. I know the law is currently on the photographers side, but its like smoking a cigar in a crowd of people on the Fourth of July. Just gross and lacking in decency. That said, we have established a precedent, so if I take pictures of people on Artists' Row and post them on Patch to point out the many problems going on down there, I guess it's okay. Right?
Diane Wolf July 31, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Good GOD, gentlemen, do you never rest?! Perhaps you should go outside, step away from your keyboards and do something positive for your community or create some art. ENOUGH with the Artist's Row bashing! If you think Salem needs more and better art - MAKE SOME. If you think that Salem's artistic community needs improving - IMPROVE IT. If you think that the homeless are being mistreated - DO SOMETHING TO HELP THEM. Enough with the kvetching, let's see some positive actions.
windpower July 31, 2013 at 06:21 PM
HA problem solved . Do as Hawaii does .Give them a one way ticket out of here http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/31/hawaii-lawmakers-to-buy-their-homeless-one-way-tickets-out-town/
Royamtceje July 31, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Salem continues to cater to less fortunate on all levels. Then has trouble understanding why it's school system ranking is in the toilet. Some other neighboring cities seem to have figured it out. Less is more.
A. July 31, 2013 at 06:41 PM
I think the homeless aren't being mistreated enough. If they were they would leave. I'm going to make an effort to change that.
Royamtceje July 31, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Are folks surprised the mayor is not focused on our cities curb appeal? She seems dead set on bringing millions of tons of garbage into our city on a weekly basis from surrounding cities and towns. Ask some of her pet councilor candidates about their plan to cap and close the transfer station. The school system is another pathetic situation. All we can do is rally to stop the madness by sending a message on voting day.
Wayne Kerr July 31, 2013 at 07:37 PM
@Diane - Not sure about anyone else, but the problem is that there is no way to make public art in Salem without permission from the city. None. And the city has made it clear that only a handful of pre-approved people will be allowed to do anything. Someone could drop a Moore bronze off in this city and you know what would happen? Felony charges. Remember what happened to the two kids who put lighted signs up in Boston about 6 years back? Yeah. That is how cities treat art they don't like. Tell you what Diane, I will do something...something quite good if I do say so myself, if YOU pay for my legal expenses or get city hall to approve it. Deal? Put up or shut up time.
Joanne Kennedy August 02, 2013 at 08:36 PM
tired-of-dishonest-corporations = I like the way you think. We are one of many families with young kids thinking of moving due to the schools. Isn't that sad? You will never grow a decent middle class base without the families...I have never been able to put my finger on what it is that bothers me so much about the Mayor, but there seems to be an almost slavish devotion to her. However when you look at the challengers in November - not one of them is a real contender. And before someone says "Well if you are not happy leave" or "Why aren't you running?" To the first comment just hush up this small town xenophobia is a stereotype and you should hang your heads in shame. As for why I am not running? I have no experience and would not be the right person for the job.
Maggi Smith-Dalton August 04, 2013 at 10:58 PM
With all due respect, I feel posting the picture of the man sleeping on the bench, Owen, was a violation of his privacy and unnecessary. Homeless or not, a human being always should be treated with basic consideration and a concern for their informed consent to be photographed. To be put on public display in a media venue for personalized and targeted ridicule...seems just plain wrong at a basic level of decency.I really wish you had thought more about this before you published the picture.
A. August 04, 2013 at 11:34 PM
Maggi there are pictures of people on the street in every paper, every day. This isn't even a paper, its a blog, and you can put anything in a blog. If only shame actually worked on these people.
Diane Wolf August 04, 2013 at 11:52 PM
To give you all a bit of perspective, this man (He is known quite well by the local police and myself) has verbally harassed me, my employees and my customers and has urinated behind my restaurant (all over the neighborhood really) and spit on my patio; these are in addition to his public drinking. I felt bad for him for the first couple of years. He might need the help of society, but I don't think he wants it - at least not yet. Perhaps I have compassion fatigue, but I'm tired of his behavior and the dozens of others like him that are hanging around Salem this summer. This image makes him look far more innocent and vulnerable than he really is.
SuzannM August 05, 2013 at 10:04 AM
He is a pretty scary guy. Just walking by him is an experience while he screams and slurs the f - bombs at noon time. With all due respect and compassion for people in need, you can not dispute the very true fact that having the Life Bridge shelter in downtown Salem has dramatically changed the city, and not in a good way. Is the Catholic Church the landlords of the shelter or did they sell it to LifeBridge or the state?
Daniel Ward August 05, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Are you people really this unintelligent? I see a lot of folks complaining about homeless people as if they are some sort of vermin to be removed, but not one person suggesting a humane solution to help them. How is Lifebridge at fault exactly? If there were no shelters, doesn't that also mean these poor folks would have no where to go and more of them would have to sleep outside, where ever they can? Planning on moving far away from Salem myself. Not because of homeless people ( that exist everywhere in the US), but because of the ever increasing selfish attitude of the residents in this city. Try treating other human beings with a little more respect and drop the holier than thou attitudes. Did anyone ever stop to consider what has happened to this man that made him the way he is, or any of them? I educate my child about why homeless people do what they do, and why some of them seem to be drunk at 7am in the morning. I'd rather teach my child to view all people as equals in life, and try to take a moment to consider why they are the way they are instead of complaining about their lack of personal hygiene, or hard to battle personal addictions.
JK August 05, 2013 at 06:00 PM
I think a lot of people are wanting to move from Salem and not because of a selfish attitude or being unintelligent. Because it is fast becoming LYNN !!!
Doug Bowker August 05, 2013 at 06:59 PM
There is not too much to add here, because the whole premise is wrong in taking a few isolated incidents and making them out to be more than they are. Who here thinks the Common didn't have the occasional drunk passed out the first summer it was made 150 years ago? I'd like to know when, in any city ever in history has there not been at least a few drunks, crooks, malcontents and the like around. You think the suburbs don't have drunks and drug users? Big picture Salem is safe and very family friendly. I'm a parent and we live right down the street from the Common, and it's just as safe now as any time in the 8 years we've been here (probably safer actually).
Royamtceje August 06, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Apparently there was no vacancy at the salem common http://salem.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/salem-woman-finds-stranger-on-her-couch
Rebecca Beaulieu August 26, 2013 at 09:45 AM
HEY. Instead of complaining about the trash around, why don't you guys get some friends and go clean it up yourself? Are you that ignorant that you can't be bothered to clean up your city? If you really cared about it you would do something about it. Stop complaining. Homelessness and poverty are issues that we always have to deal with, no matter where you go. It's sad. Stop complaining about it and do something about it.
john August 26, 2013 at 02:07 PM
I would not pick up anyone else's trash considering the amount of needles that are mentioned in the police log and I am sure there are many more.
JK August 26, 2013 at 02:25 PM
It sounds like some people like things the way it is ! Like drunks bathing in the fountains and the tourist filming them having a good laugh at Salem.
Wayne Kerr September 08, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Yeah....about that. The fountain working and all is great, but seems to rapidly be turning into Lake Sepsis. Can we at least get some chlorine in there? I mean, some days it is more crowded than the hot tub at a swingers convention. And half as hygenic....
Royamtceje September 09, 2013 at 09:07 AM
Rebecca - It will take more that a handful of bloggers to keep our city free from trash. How about starting with keeping every other city's trash out of our city by closing the transfer station? If our city's leaders get their way our community will soon become a regional garbage hub. www.stopthegarbagenow.com

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