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.