Opinion

Jourgensen: Priorities, politics and playgrounds

Betty Cooper particpates in the annual Walk for HAWC ever year in memory of her daughter, Cheryl Senn, who was a victim of domestic abuse.

Betty Cooper particpates in the annual Walk for HAWC every year in memory of her daughter, Cheryl Senn, who was a victim of domestic abuse. (Spenser R. Hasak)

I wish I lived in a country where the welfare and happiness of the thousands of men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially the ones who came home with head injuries and mental illness, was the top priority for politicians and their media allies.

I’ll hazard a guess and say the well-being of people who defended our country for 16 years-and-counting ranks about 14th on the priority list for the people calling the shots.

Speaking of people who defended our country, I respect U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, but I subscribe to the theory that Moulton’s run for president is his roundabout way of saying he is tired of being in Congress.

Moulton holds to the courage of his convictions but he made the mistake only someone who has an extremely high opinion of himself can make when he mounted a challenge last year to Nancy Pelosi’s claim to the U.S. House of Representatives speakership.

After daring to challenge incumbent former U.S. Rep. John Tierney for the 6th Congressional District, and then winning the seat, Moulton must have thought the sky was the limit for what he could achieve in politics.

But it defies imagination to think that Moulton wasn’t told countless times by political advisors and friends that going head to head with Pelosi was a suicide mission. She is adored and venerated in the age of Trump, but Pelosi is a hard-headed political leader cut from the same cloth as Lyndon Johnson and his ilk.

After his bid to bring new ideas to Democratic leadership in the House fizzled and evaporated, Moulton became politically radioactive. I bet there are many more people who don’t answer his calls in Washington than there are people who answer them.

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Drew Russo’s new role as city personnel director intrigues me. I like Drew and I give him credit for putting the Lynn Museum on the map as a fun social gathering place downtown. He has his work cut out for him in aiding Mayor Thomas M. McGee in the unenviable task of making the city’s budget woes go away.

Russo, aided by legal counsel, will sit next to McGee when the mayor bargains with city unions. Health care concessions are bound to be a major talking point and bargaining challenge. To his credit, Russo has a proven ability, honed during his tenure in Tierney’s office, to bring people to a table and getting them to talk to one another. He is a good listener and he enjoys the respect, if not admiration, of many people in this city.

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I was happy to hear from Betty Cooper, a Eutaw Avenue resident who is taking part in this Sunday’s HAWC (Healing Abuse Working for Change) walk in Salem for the 21st year in a row. She walks in memory of her daughter, Cheryl Senn, who died at the hands of an abuser in 1997. Cooper’s quiet, consistent commitment to ending abuse speaks volumes about her character.

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When I asked readers last week if they know any World War II veterans, Frank Morrill of Salem quickly replied to remind me of his service spanning World War II and Korea. He provided me with a photograph of the ships he served on in the South Pacific. Morrill entered the Navy at the age of 17 in 1944 and joined the Marines in 1950. He is a tough hombre and I look forward to hearing from him again.

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Two resident experts shared fun memories of running around Lynn’s parks and playgrounds as kids. They noted how a surprising number of local parks border cliffs or rock outcroppings that provided fun, albeit potentially hazardous, places for kids to climb and hang out. Clark and Cook Street playgrounds are the examples that come to mind, although Henry Avenue playground has nooks and crannies and Northern Avenue playground fits the same description.

Do kids run down to playgrounds anymore and spend a Saturday building forts, playing tag or Army or cowboys and Indians?

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