Archive | January, 2013

Sign of our times: What do you think of Peabody’s first giant billboard?

31 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

This space wrote about this back in November, and now here’s a real example of  what this might actually look like. For now,  I thought I’d throw a photo out there and let you weigh in on what you think about the first of our  gigantic billboards.

The first one, for which the city of Peabody collects a 5-figure permitting fee, is up on Lowell Street near Route 1, and it’s been causing quite a stir so far with a debate on Facebook. There are dozens of comments,  all of them negative.

City Councior Anne Manning-Martin even posted the following photo. No, that’s not a giant ape at the top swatting at airplanes. Let me know what you think in the comments section as to whether you think this in an infringement on quality of life:

sign

The new billboard on Lowell Street near Route 1

Peabody’s Mitsopoulos in nationals of prestigious academic competition

31 Jan

By Eye on Peabody

Christina Mitsopoulos (center) poses with some of her teammates

Christina Mitsopoulos (center) poses with the Notre Dame Academy teammates on her panel.

Congratulations to Peabody’s Christina Mitsopoulos, a junior at Notre Dame Academy of Tyngsboro, who was on the winning team in the prestigious “We The People” state academic contest recently at Harvard University.

With the win, in this contest that tests a student’s knowledge of history, the Constitution,  and law, Christina and her NDA classmates advanced to the nationals at George Mason University and on Capitol Hill  in Washington. DC, in April.

A very well-rounded student, athlete and performer, Christina is also on the NDA track team, and is a champion dancer with the Bremer School of Irish Dance.  She hopes to study law someday.

Leah Cole officially announces her run for Peabody State Rep

31 Jan

(If you are running for any office in Peabody in 2013,  please send us your statement, and we will post it here as written by you. Leah Cole will face off in a Republican primary for state rep on March 5th against Greg Bunn, with the winner going on to the final election ballot on April 2.)

From the Leah Cole Campaign 

Leah Cole

Leah Cole

Leah Cole of Lynnfield Street officially announces her intention to run for State Representative in the upcoming special election for 12th Essex district.  Cole is dedicated to meeting the residents of Peabody to earn their vote to represent them in the State House. Cole’s campaign collected all the necessary signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Leah Cole,  a current Licensed Practical Nurse at a medical practice in Danvers, touted her passion for helping people get better in her community. As a working class nurse,  Leah spoke about the struggles she sees people engage in every day, whether they are trying to become healthy or trying to make ends meet.

“My parents always instilled in me the importance of living within one’s means and being fiscally and morally responsible.  My vision for the Commonwealth is much like the American Dream! That dream is to have the opportunity to start with basically nothing, work hard, and achieve success and reach your goals. My generation, along with future generations, will be unable to participate in that Dream, unless we participate in the political process, because our current leaders continually increase our debt and steal our liberties.”

As a young middle-class working taxpayer, and not a seasoned politician, Cole believes citizens need to get involved to shape the future of our Commonwealth. Cole sees increased regulations in the healthcare field that result in higher costs and lower quality care. Her experiences in health care, combined with the recent proposals to increase taxes, have motivated Cole to get involved to represent the working class.

“I dreaded hearing the proposals to increase our taxes. People are struggling to get by and we have an out of touch government that keeps on spending our hard earned money. On top of that, the regulations and restrictions of our government are suffocating us, and making it harder to save for our future. I believe we deserve better.”

The special election Primary Day is March 5th and the General Election Day on April 2nd.
Leah Cole can be reached at 978-595-2755 or leahcolecampaign@gmail.com, and can be found on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to find out more information about Cole’s candidacy please check out her website at www.COLEFORPEABODY.com.

Will increase in state income tax really help Peabody when it comes to local aid?

28 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Gov. Deval Patrick

Gov. Deval Patrick

It’s game on when it comes to putting a positive “spin” on the $1.9 billion of tax increases proposed in Governor Deval Patrick’s FY14 State Budget.

An article today in the Peabody Patch reveals that – according to the local aid documents on the state’s website –  Peabody is due to receive $524,000 more in local aid, should the governor get what he wants.

They also tell us that this bump in aid will be split between education and the city of Peabody’s general fund. It’s a 2% increase over FY13, but still $3.5 million shy of what Peabody received in local aid back in 2007.

So, here’s what you would have to pay for to get that extra $524K, and if the governor gets his way in raising the state income tax from 5.25% to 6.25%:

If you make the Peabody median household income of about $70K/year,  you’re going to lose about $700 out of your paycheck.  If you make a modest $100K in combined household income, it’s going to cost you $1,000.  But most of that increase isn’t really coming back to Peabody at all.  Divide the extra $524K in local aid by the 18,851 households in Peabody, and you realize that …

You pay between $700 and $1,000 more per year, and the state gives your city back just $28 per household.

When you combine it with the federal government’s 2% increase in the social security tax,  families making $100K combined annually are going to lose $58  a week from their paychecks.  Enjoying that meager 3% raise your boss just gave you?  Well, the Governor and the President are looking to take that from you. So much for looking out for the middle class, huh?

I know that taxes are necessary to support our society, and pay for important infrastructure and schools. But does raising the personal income tax an entire percentage point in exchange for this kind of return seem fair to you?

Let me know what you think in the comments section. Would also be interesting to hear from our four State Rep candidates on this issue.

Poll: Which candidate gets your vote in Republican primary for Peabody State Rep

28 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Greg Bunn

Greg Bunn

Leah Cole

Leah Cole

For the first time in a very long time in Peabody, we have what seems like a competitively contested primary on the Republican side.

Political newcomers Greg Bunn and Leah Cole will face off in a primary on March 5, with the winner joining Democrat Beverley Griffin Dunne and independent candidate Dave Gravel on April 2nd’s final ballot in the  12th Essex House District State Rep special election.

You are eligible to vote in this Republican primary if you are either a registered Republican or listed as unenrolled (no party affiliation). You must also live in Peabody Wards 1-4 or Precincts 1 or 3 in Ward 5.

So, here’s today’s poll question, which should test the current enthusiasm among the die-hard supporters for Mr. Bunn and Ms. Cole. Please only take the poll if you live in the district and are registered as either Republican or unenrolled. I’ll put you on the honor system here!

Moutsoulos drops out of State Rep race after papers rejected

27 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Moutsoulos

Moutsoulos

Saying he failed to qualify for the primary ballot because of a mistake filling out his nomination papers, fromer Ward 3 Councilor Jim Moutsoulos has dropped out of the special election for Peabody State Rep.Moutsoulos told the Peabody Patch that the Secretary of State’s office would not accept the papers, despite 220 approved signatures attached, because he didn’t write “Democrat” in the party designation line at the top of the documents.

This bizarre twist in the race means that Democrat Beverley Dunne will not face a primary challenge on March 5, and will be listed with Dave Gravel on the final ballot on April 2.  Local businessman and Ward 5 resident Greg Bunn and Leah Cole, a nurse from South Peabody, will still face off in the Republican primary, with the winner going on to April 2.

Poll: Who do you think will win the special election for State Rep

26 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

With the looming special election for Peabody State Rep in the 12th Essex District, I’m posting an initial poll here now that the entire field is set.

Obviously only three of the following five candidates can make it to the final ballot, and there will be a Democratic and Republican primary on March 5, but for now I’m only asking who The Eye readership feels has the best chance of winning the final election on April 2.

Please keep in mind that I am asking who you think WILL win, and not who you will vote for. At later date, we will do additional polls on who you prefer.

Bunn announces he is on ballot for State Rep special election

25 Jan

(If you are running for any office in Peabody in 2013,  please send us your statement, and we will post it here as written by you. Greg Bunn will face off in a Republican primary for state rep on March 5th against Leah Cole, with the winner going on to the final election ballot on April 2.)

From the Greg Bunn Campaign 

Republican Greg Bunn

Republican Greg Bunn

Greg Bunn today officially announced his intention to run for State Representative in the upcoming special election for the 12thEssex district. Greg and a team of volunteers collected over 500 signatures, more than tripling the state requirement to appear on the ballot. The 12th Essex represents Peabody Wards 1-4, and Ward 5 Precincts 1 and 3.

A Peabody resident, Bunn has worked in public service for over 15 years. Currently,  he is the manager of the North Shore Career Centers of Lynn,  Salem and Gloucester.  Bunn also heads up the Business Services Unit for the centers,  providing staffing and financial solutions for employers.  In 2012, his offices helped more than 5,000 job seekers find employment and provided assistance to over 550 North Shore companies.

“I am running to foster a more competitive environment for businesses both large and small to get the nearly 1,700 Peabody residents currently out of work back on their feet,”  Bunn says.  “By providing individuals the opportunity to work, we strengthen families and create healthier, safer communities.”

With his skill in workforce development, Bunn’s primary focus will be bringing businesses to Peabody and increasing job opportunities for its residents. He aims to collaborate with public officials and promote legislation designed to support those dealing with long-term unemployment in their efforts to find work.

Bunn also wants to make sure that the Commonwealth is spending its revenue as efficiently as possible before increasing the burden on taxpayers and focusing on putting the people of Massachussetts back to work.

“It is essential that our state’s leaders direct taxpayer dollars in the most effective and efficient ways before taking more hard earned money from Peabody’s working families.”

Bunn said, above all, he is committed to being independent.

“Peabody is great because of our refusal to conform to any formula. We are independent – and that is how I will represent our city.”

Greg encourages Peabody residents to contact him through his website and Facebook page, or through Twitter  @bunnforstaterep.

Stirring the pot right out of town: Hats off to Peabody Mayor and City Council

25 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

budThe ban is official. There will be no pot emporiums, masquerading as medical dispensaries, allowed in the city of Peabody.

At the request of Mayor Ted Bettencourt, the Peabody City Council voted unanimously last night to support a zoning change that would ban the growing of marijuana or the distribution of the controlled substance within the city limits.

Since I’ve written about it here in this space on a couple of occasions, I won’t go over all of those details again. But I have to applaud both the Mayor and the City Council for looking out for the safety of We the People on this one. Although I’m not opposed to legalization of weed for even recreational purposes, this so-called Medical Marijuana Law is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

It’s all about an interim step toward full legalization, and has very little to do with helping people through their illnesses.

But what’s really bothersome about this current law is its level of vagueness. We have very few details on how it will be managed and regulated, and for Peabody’s elected officials to not support this ban would have be irresponsible.

If I may also be a little selfish, I applaud our entire City Council,  since chances were good that these pot shops would have only added to the vice in my part of the city up on Route 1 . It was also appropriate that my Ward 5 Councilor, Dave Gamache, should make the motion to ban these pot shops since his constituents might have been most affected here.

Bob Croce running to become: ‘Your’ Ward 5 Councilor

24 Jan

By Bob Croce, Candidate for Ward 5 Councilor

 

CroceA political mentor always tells me not to leave out the most-important detail when it comes to running for office. I hear him saying, “before you do anything else, let people know why you are running.”

It’s the thing that the people you seek to serve will ask, and you better be prepared to give them an answer.  So, on this Arctic-like January morning, I come to you with an answer to that very first question.

I am running for Ward 5 Councilor this fall in Peabody’s city election because I believe that I can be a strong advocate in supporting my neighbors on issues that affect our quality of life.

My message during the long campaign ahead will be clear: If elected, no issue will be too small for my attention when a taxpayer calls me.

That is what being a ward councilor is all about.

People reach out to you, and you help them. You become their watchdog on the City Council, taking their side when developers don’t follow the rules of their special permits. You ensure that the rights of citizens are protected.

You answer their call in the early morning hours when their street isn’t plowed. You ensure that their streets are properly maintained, and that you respond immediately when they have any concerns about public safety in their neighborhood. You do things for people, and you come to the job realizing that being a ward councilor truly means being a public servant.

It’s something that retiring Ward 5 Councilor Dave Gamache learned over his 24 years in this seat. And it’s something on which I will center my entire campaign.

To the people of Ward 5, I want to be Your Ward Councilor.

There will be a lot more on my campaign as the ground thaws, spring makes its debut, and I burn shoe leather going door-to-door under the hot summer sun.

But for now, I hope you will consider helping me in my pursuit to become a good public servant.

If you would like to find out how you can help with my campaign, please visit my campaign website.

Also,  please  “like” my campaign Facebook page.

I also welcome your questions here in the comments section.

Sincerely,

Bob Croce, Candidate for Ward 5 Councilor

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