Salem’s Liberal Witch Hunt
Mayor Kim Driscoll’s thugs target her critics
By Jeffrey T. Kuhner
There is a new witch hunt in Salem. This time the victims are opponents of Mayor Kim Driscoll.
The liberal Democrat is more than an old-style machine political boss, whose administration is marked by rampant corruption and cronyism. She and her supporters are exhibiting the same kind of leftist intolerance that is increasingly dominating the national Democratic Party.
Don’t believe me? Just look at what took place at the recent mayoral debate between Driscoll and her Independent challenger, Paul Prevey. Outside of the Hawthorne Hotel, where the debate was held, Prevey supporters showed up holding signs and chanting: “Out with the old, in with the new.” The reason for the chant is obvious: Driscoll has been mayor since 2006. Apparently, twelve years in office is not enough. She is seeking another term.
In response, a pro-Driscoll thug attacked a Prevey supporter, smashing her in the head with two “Kim Driscoll for Mayor” signs. A criminal complaint for assault and battery has been filed. The matter will go to a hearing. The reason for the attack: To bully and intimidate anyone who dares to criticize the mayor.
This violence and thuggery is being openly encouraged by Driscoll’s supporters on the Salem City Council. Take Josh Turiel, who represents Ward 5. In an Aug. 18 column for something called, “The Gloucester Clam,” Turiel railed against the alleged rise of neo-Nazism and white supremacy in the wake of Charlottesville. In particular, he smeared President Trump as a Nazi sympathizer, referring to him as the “Racist Cheeto in the White House.” Moreover, Turiel then libels Trump supporters as being akin to modern-day Nazis or white nationalists. In the process, he urges that all (and any) resistance is necessary to stop a fascist takeover of America—including supporting Antifa.
“Nazis need to be exposed, unemployed, and destroyed. Their apologists must be exposed and shunned,” Turiel says. “Antifa isn’t a hate group—it’s what decent Americans need to do.”
Think about it: a Salem City Councilor is publicly defending a domestic terrorist group, which uses left-wing fascist tactics. Antifa members, wearing black masks and clad in black fatigues, and using sticks, axe handles and baseball bats embedded with nails, have beaten innocent civilians, punched and stomped old ladies, rioted, burned buildings on campuses, destroyed ATM machines, smashed cars and bank windows, and assaulted police officers with rocks and urine bottles. Antifa calls for the revolutionary overthrow of the American government. Turiel should be ashamed of himself.
Hence, it’s no surprise that, on social media, he joked about Prevey supporters being punched. Turiel praised the Indiana Jones character, who never flinched from taking on the Nazis. As he put it: “Salem’s far right is 100% on team Prevey. Fact. Are they all [Prevey supporters] Nazis? Of course not.” Geez, thanks. But the implication is clear: Trump voters—and by extension, some of Prevey’s supporters—are neo-Nazi or KKK-style scumbags. They deserve to be smashed in the face.
“True Americans don’t punch Nazis. We kill them. We destroy them. We erase them,” Turiel said on Twitter. “We did it once, but looks like we didn’t finish the job.”
Only in Massachusetts can a gay moderate Independent like Prevey, or his backers be compared to neo-Nazi butchers. This rabid hysteria and demonization of opponents is precisely what Driscoll hopes to foment in order to win re-election. According to Salem Democrats, the Klan is poised to take control of City Hall. This is not just cynical, craven and utterly delusional, but borderline totalitarian. Its goal is to delegitimize and muzzle real opposition to Driscoll’s corrupt, inept rule.
And the reason is obvious: Her record is horrible. Under Driscoll’s leadership, Salem has badly declined. The city’s budget has ballooned from $117 million in fiscal year 2008 to $155 million in 2017. Cronyism is rampant; the city’s administration has been filled with hacks. Taxes have risen. Drugs and crime have soared. The heroin epidemic has become so bad, drug addicts—including needles—can be seen everywhere on its downtown streets. The police street crimes unit has been disbanded. Families are leaving. The city’s tax base is shrinking. According to a recent report in Boston Magazine, Salem’s education system ranks 111th out of 125 districts. When Prevey confronted Driscoll with this overwhelming evidence of the dramatic deterioration in Salem’s public schools, her response was to simply deny its existence.
“I don’t care what Boston Magazine says. We’re not 111 out of 125,” Driscoll thundered at the debate.
Spoken like a true Moonbat. It’s the typical liberal playbook: Run your city (or state or country) into the ground, and then accuse your critics of being fascists, racists and bigots—anything but discuss the reality of the issue.
Driscoll is also a left-wing extremist. She supports Salem’s “Sanctuary for Peace” ordinance, which the City Council passed by a vote of 7-4. She claims that this does not make Salem a sanctuary city; rather, the city will continue to cooperate with federal immigration officials and its federal funding is not in jeopardy. She is lying. The ordinance does seek to make Salem a sanctuary city. It instructs law enforcement not to inquire about residents’ immigration status. In other words, illegal aliens are allowed—even encouraged—to work and live in the city.
“The perspective we have across this community is that people here are welcoming and supportive of everyone who lives here,” she said at the debate. “This is basic humanitarian rights for families who are here and law-abiding, good people.”
This is not only false, but dangerous. Driscoll has no business inviting illegals to pour into Salem, dressing it up as human rights. By that logic anybody from around the world has the right to enter the United States. This would open the country—and the city—to potentially billions of migrants. The results would be economic bankruptcy, massive overpopulation and cultural disintegration. America (and Salem) would be overwhelmed.
This, however, is already the reality for large parts of Salem. Under her leadership, it is slowly being transformed into a Third World ghetto. The city is overrun with illegal aliens. They are draining the city’s resources, crowding its emergency rooms and filling-up its classrooms. The education, health care and welfare costs are enormous. Illegals are also taking away much-needed jobs and driving down wages.
By opening the city up to illegal immigrants, Driscoll is committing treason. She is putting the interests of foreigners, especially lawbreakers and criminals who have entered our country illegally, above those of U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. She is also putting at risk federal funds that the city desperately needs.
If she wants Salem to become another sanctuary city, such as Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, Lawrence and Newton, then the least she should do is get the permission of the city’s residents. Instead, she and her lapdogs on the City Council tried to ram it down the throats of the voters. The people of Salem rightly said enough. Through a successful petition drive concerned citizens managed to put the issue on the ballot in November. Which begs the question: Why was Driscoll so afraid to ask for the approval of Salem’s residents? The answer is obvious: Because she knows the majority doesn’t want it. The taxpayers can see the writing on the wall. Sanctuary status means more decline and lawlessness.
Friends who were born and raised in Salem tell me that, over the past 15 years, the city has fundamentally changed—and not for the better. It has become less safe, less clean and less prosperous. Unless there is a dramatic change in direction, starting with City Hall, Salem will continue its relentless slide. Driscoll’s thugs—call them Kim’s Commandoes—can intimidate and assault Prevey’s supporters all they want. This seminal reality will remain.
Driscoll must go. The sooner, the better.
-Jeffrey T. Kuhner is host of “The Kuhner Report” on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.