We’re just about one week away from primary day (March 5th) in the special election for State Rep in the 12th Essex District. If you live in Peabody Wards 1-4 and in Precinct 1 or 3 in Ward 5, and plan to vote in the primary, please take our poll.
Just a quick update on an earlier story here: The Peabody City Council Public Safety Subcommittee last night voted to recommend that the full council commission a study for installing a pedestrian light in front of St. Adelaide Church at the spot where an elderly pedestrian was struck and killed by a car on Jan. 27.
It was another step in the process of making the Lowell Street crossing safer for those attending mass and other events at the church. To read full details on last night’s subcommittee meeting, please click here.
Republican candidate Greg Bunn, who is seeking to represent Peabody asState Rep in an open seat for the 12th Essex District has accepted an invitation to appear next Wednesday, Feb. 20th, on the “You Make The Call” show, 8-9 p.m., on Peabody Access Telecommunications Channel 99.
During the hour, co-hosts Dick Jarvis and Bob Croce will interview Bunn, and take calls from viewers. Bunn’s opponent in the March 5th Republican Primary for the seat, Leah Cole, was also invited, but turned down the invitation to speak with the voters who watch the show, because of a “campaign event conflict.”
“You Make The Call” plans to hold another forum in advance of the April 2nd final election, where Democratic candidate Beverley Griffin Dunne and independent candidate David Gravel will be invited to appear along with the winner of the March 5th Republican Primary.
Sometimes you see things that make you think in an entirely different way. I often write about Peabody quality of life issues in this space, but after seeing a short video by a local filmmaker named Perry Hallinan, it has me thinking a little differently about those issues.
We all want level sidewalks and safe streets. But doesn’t killing a beautiful shade tree, that has graced a neighborhood for almost half a century, also have a negative impact on quality of life?
Watch this short film, entitled “Bye, Bye Linden” and then decide. By the way, it’s also entered in the Marblehead Winter Film Festival. It’s the story about a 40-year-old Linden tree that was cut down on Orchard Street because the roots were coming up through the ground, destroying the sidewalk, and creating an unsafe situation for pedestrians. The question to consider here is: Could something have been done to save the tree and preserve the sidewalk? After all, trees uprooting sidewalks is an issue all of the city.
Take a look, and let me know what you think.
To get more details, please read this letter to the editor that Hallinan wrote on the Peabody Patch.
File this one under: All resident quality of life issues are worth fighting out in court.
Rather than move its monstrous 92-foot tall billboard pole and put it where the Peabody City Council voted it could go, Total Outdoor Corp. is taking the city back to court.
City Solicitor Michael Smerczynski told the Peabody Patch that the company’s response to the cease and desist order from the city last month was that there was a mix-up in the version of plans filed in court and the company is unwilling to spend the $200,000-$250,000 necessary to relocate the pole behind the building at 532 Lowell St.
The city, meanwhile, contends that the plans submitted in court — when a judge ruled in the company’s favor — showed the pole located in the rear of the property, and out of sight of Lowell Street and neighbors who live in the vicinity.
Those same plans were then included with the permit approved by the council in the fall. This is a big quality of life issues for the residents of Ward 5. This one is worth fighting out in court.
I’ll weigh in during the discussion, but for now I just wanted to get our readership’s reaction to the Peabody City Council last night voting pay raises for the Mayor, School Committee members, and City Councilors.
Here are the basic details. (You can read more in this article from the Peabody Patch.)
The City Council voted 8-2 to hike the Mayor’s pay from $94,933 per year to $105,000 per year (10% increase). It’s the first mayoral raise in 12 years.
Councilors also voted 7-3 to increase their salaries to 9 percent of the mayor’s salary, starting in 2014, and give School Committee members an $1,100 raise. School Committee members will now earn $5,100, while councilors will earn about $9,450 (up from $7,466).
Please give me your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll try to weigh in with my opinion during the discussion.
In this quest of running for the open Ward 5 Councilor seat on Peabody’s City Council, I’m learning that sometimes it’s not only about campaigning. Sometimes, it’s about being a student. It’s about sitting back, watching, listening, and learning what it truly means to be a public servant.
That was certainly the case last night when I attended a special meeting at Wiggin Auditorium at Peabody City Hall. The meeting was held because people from a neighborhood community had a major concern about a pedestrian safety issue. In this case, the community was St. Adelaide Catholic Church, my family’s parish, near the neighborhood in which I grew up.
The meeting was prompted by the tragic death less than two weeks ago of 87-year-old Ted Buttner. Mr. Buttner was struck by an elderly driver in the Lowell Street crosswalk outside of the church after attending a Saturday mass, and passed away shortly thereafter. He was from Somerville, but he often visited his daughter Patty Caton in West Peabody, and liked to attend mass at St. Adelaide.
The meeting last night came about because this horrible tragedy was another reminder of the dangers of that crossing. Recognizing the concerns of the St. Adelaide community, Ward 6 City Councilor Barry Sinewitz requested his fellow city councilors convene a meeting to discuss what could be done to make the situation safer for pedestrians.
The meeting was well attended, almost 40 parishioners, and five City Councilors. Mrs. Caton spoke first, telling everyone about how her dad was a wonderful, vibrant gentleman, and how important it was to keep a tragedy like this from ever happening again.
“We are heartbroken to have lost such a gentle, loving man who always had his arms extended to help everyone who knew him,” said Caton, the first of several parishioners who spoke, including church pastor, Father David Lewis.
Mayor Ted Bettencourt, who is a St. Adelaide parishioner, was there too to speak, as were City Councilors Mike Garabedian, Tom Gould, Anne Manning-Martin, and Arthur Athas. Peabody Police Captain John DeRosa spoke about more immediate visibility by officers, and other steps they are taking now to make the crosswalk safer.
The parishioners would like a pedestrian crossing light, a matter that will be taken up shortly the City Council’s sub committee on public safety.
You can read the full details of what transpired last night here in this well done article in the Peabody Patch.
My reason for bringing it up today was to not only update you on something we posted here earlier about this safety concern, but to point out an example of how government should always work for the people. Citizens have concerns. Elected leaders are supposed to bring everyone together to address those concerns.
I learned a lot last night about the type of City Councilor I’d like to be.
Sometimes campaigning isn’t just about working hard to become the most-popular name on a ballot. Sometimes, it’s about learning what the job is all about first, and taking those lessons with you into office. It’s not about me, or what I know. It’s about doing the peoples’ business, first, foremost, and always.
It was a big storm, and the first big test for the Peabody’s Department of Public Services in quite a few winters. Please take the poll below to let us know how they did. Also, we encourage you to leave a comment about how the snow removal effort was in your neighborhood.
Good government, which to me means protecting the quality of life of residents above all else, was on display again this past Thursday night.
The Peabody Planning Board remained on the side of the people living on the Winona Street side of Route 1 by backing a cease-and-desist order against a developer whose project is causing property damage and grief in this Ward 5 neighborhood.
The project, owned by builder Richard Marchese, has caused numerous resident complaints, and led Mayor Ted Bettencourt to obtain a cease-and-desist order from the city’s building inspector.
Thursday night, residents from the area told of how the clear-cutting the property of trees and other vegetation by the developer has caused flooding of property, and other destruction.
Winona Street resident Karen Anderson told the Planning Board that the destruction is “tearing the neighborhood apart.”
Others talked of water bursting into their basements, swimming pools filled with silt and mud, and one resident even told how 90% of her property had been destroyed and is now worthless.
The Planning Board listened, and kept the project shutdown. Marchese didn’t show for the hearing, allowing his attorney to be there to represent him, a fact that really bothered board member Joe Gagnon.
“I’m very sympathetic with all the neighbors. You were harmed immensely. I’m emotional about it,” Gagnon said. “I’m very disappointed that Mr. Marchese is not here today. That really bothers me.”
Well said, Mr. Gagnon.
It’s good to see the city on the side of the residents. More to come here.
Just sitting with some java this morning, warm and comfortable, looking out the window at the winter wonderland, and feeling very grateful that Peabody’s power needs are NOT supplied by National Grid or one of these other gigantic power entities.
Once again, the lights are on, Peabody. And I can’t ever recall, in the 45-plus years I’ve lived in the city when I’ve awoken to a dark, cold house. I can’t ever recall our lights going off for extended periods of time, like will be the case for some people in Southeastern Mass., who might not get power back for days following this latest super snowstorm.
Not during this storm. Not during the Blizzard of 2005, or hurricanes or other acts of nature. Not even during … drumroll please … the BLIZZARD OF ’78.
So, as we all electronically hold hands on this fine Saturday morning, let us all gaze upon Edison’s invention and say “THANK YOU” to the folks who run the Peabody Municipal Light Plant.
PLMP rocks, and it never lets us down. Why? Because it is a government entity that is managed like a private business. Those who run the PLMP are hired for their qualifications and experience, and are not political appointees. They don’t report to city councilors or the Mayor. They are governed by an elected board of Light Commissioners, who simply oversee while allowing actual power plan professionals to run the business. It’s the ultimate example of how the private sector and the public sector cam can come together and make something work for the taxpayers.
If you live in the “sensible center” of the political spectrum, you quickly realize that too much goernment involvement usually leads to disaster, but not enough isn’t a great thing either. This is why PLMP works.
So, as you glow in the warmth this morning, be happy you live in Peabody, and as a taxpayer be proud that your city owns the PLMP.