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  • Lisa Peterson

More about Salem 4 All


Mission: It is our mission to ensure that Salem continues to be a dynamic, vibrant, welcoming place for everyone to live, work, raise a family and leave our legacies, and to ensure that our city and its leaders continue Salem's four centuries of being the inclusive, innovative and inspiring hub of the North Shore. We intend to dispel misinformation, rumors and conspiracy theories, and clear up confusion regarding complicated topics found online or elsewhere here in Salem. We also aim to help elevate our community conversations by providing research and facilitating respectful and reasonable dialogue and debate about our community, rooted in facts. As a community, our individual opinions and conclusions may vary, but the facts do not.

Vision: Our Advisory Board has a thread that connects us, and that is our dedication to contributing to, and advancing, Salem. Collectively, we have given countless hours over many decades of service to this city that we all love, and we want to continue to be able to help Salem improve. Do we believe we all still have work to do as a city? Absolutely, and always! That is, indeed, why we are taking on this project. While the specific candidates for local office that we support as individuals will come and go – they are not why we are doing this work. Our vision for this city is what matters most, and that vision is forward. Our firm belief is that Salem’s best years are still ahead of us. We know that we stand on the strong shoulders of those who have built Salem throughout history, and we believe that they would want us to continue our work forward as well. Salem is a vibrant, bustling, historical and culturally relevant coastal city. That is what we especially love about it, and we want to ensure that can continue.

We also believe that there are some difficult conversations we need to have together about the city that we want to be – the city where we want to raise our children, and the city that we want to leave for future generations. As a team, we feel enthusiastic about the direction the city is headed, but we know that some may not agree. We have joined together in this mission because we know how critical it is to have these difficult conversations with a shared understanding of the facts.

Goals: We intend to use research and the expertise of our trusted neighbors – Salem locals with a wide variety of professional and academic expertise, life experiences, and historical wisdom about Salem, to sort fact from fiction in two specific ways:

1. By providing unbiased, well-documented and thoroughly researched information and education around complex local issues, so that we are all able to understand complexity and nuance. If you are finding a particular topic confusing or believe that currently available information about it is especially biased, please let us know here.

2. By checking the facts and clarifying confusing or misleading statements made by local elected officials, candidates or advocates. Have you seen such a statement online or elsewhere here in Salem? Submit it here and we can take a look.

Each time we have information to share, we will post it here, here and here. So, stay tuned!

Our ultimate goal is that you will use the facts that we provide to help you make informed decisions as an engaged resident of Salem in all sorts of ways: which neighborhood projects to advocate for; how to move about the city; and who to vote for in our local elections, in order to continue to help Salem ahead.

Ground Rules: We don’t have the time or the desire to engage in a conversation if it is clear that the goal is anything other than productive, solutions-focused dialogue, and neighborly respect, and we will not. We will work hard to remember that you are our neighbor, and we ask you to remember that we are yours. Aren’t you tired of arguing for argument's sake? We are! We know that we can all learn to have respectful conversations again. We invite you to join us in trying.

Issues of Concern Facing Salem Today:

  • Housing, development and zoning

  • Education

  • Accessibility

  • City finances and taxes

  • Government transparency

  • Diversity, equity & inclusion / representation

  • Traffic, parking and transportation

  • Climate crisis / climate resiliency

  • Arts & culture

  • Tourism

  • Small & big business

  • Public health / COVID-19 response

Earning Your Trust: We know that trust is earned, not granted, and that we need to earn yours. We commit to doing our best to do just that. In these fast-paced times, we are committing to changing things up. Know that we may not always be quick in our responses, and that is because we feel it is vital in earning your trust that we approach our work with thoughtfulness and thoroughness. We are encouraged by and appreciative of the positive reception we have gotten since our launch, as well as by the thoughtful questions, and skepticism, that you have shared with us. We are just beginning, and we are learning how to do this work in the way that we feel will best serve Salem. We ask you to be patient, and to judge us by our work.

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