Learning what the job of being a member of Peabody’s City Councilor is all about

13 Feb

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Peabody's St. Adelaide Roman Catholic Church

Peabody’s St. Adelaide Roman Catholic Church

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.

11 Responses to “Learning what the job of being a member of Peabody’s City Councilor is all about”

  1. the Outfront Guy* February 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    OG says…nice recap BUT OG has one question…have prior concerns on this safety issue at this location been raised and if so what was done about them ?

    • Bob Croce February 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

      The answer is difficult to clearly determine, OG, but former Ward 6 Councilor Ed Quinn (also a parishioner) spoke last night and said they tried to get a light installed back in the mid-90s, but it was rejected following a state traffic study. The Council plans to do more digging on the question.

    • Anonymous February 13, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

      Have to agree with PI as well. A tragic incident to be sure, but there have been many a time I’ve had to slam on my brakes for a parishioner(s) who decided to cross Lowell St. at a random spot without regard to the crosswalk.
      Also, since I don’t know the details of the incident, I’m also curious as to whether or not this is truly a safety issue or another instance where someone should have taken away the keys from an elderly driver.

    • Harry Birmingham February 14, 2013 at 10:06 am #

      OG, Would you go back to Feb. 3rd [ Salem and the Master plan] to read my very last three messages to you about our entertaining the readers and Mr. Croce? I’m really amazed you hadn’t responded to them.

  2. the Outfront Guy* February 13, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    OG says…here is why I ask…other than church/mass times there is typically not much foot traffic up in that area to perhaps technically warrant a traffic light–not sure since I am not a traffic study expert…but all too often it takes an unfortunate tragedy to change things and while I can see the interest and proactivlty now from our local officials I just hope that this is not another thing that MIGHT have been prevented if we had acted sooner and smarter….and that’s how OG sees it.

  3. Peabody Insider February 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    So riddle me this batman:

    If church gets and the first parishioner hits the button, the light says “walk” and they do so. Then, a few moments later the light says “don’t walk”, do you think they will follow that command? Or continue to cross like a heard of sheep? Today, Ash Wednesday they were paying no attention to oncoming traffic and I saw another close call. Personally, I think it is the Parrish’s responsibility to place a traffic control officer at that crosswalk and pay the fee associated with it. After all, they don’t pay any taxes. I am hearing that the proposed light could cost the city nearly 50k.

    I am certainly sorry and sympathetic over this recent tragety, but I feel the church is just as responsible as the city, if not more.

  4. Anonymous February 13, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    I do know that they are asking for a crossing light, meaning it would only operate when someone pushes the button. Also, OG, this is — unfortunately — how life usually works. It takes a horrible event like this to make people finally realize something needs to be done. Very unfortunate, but how many times have we seen that?

  5. Patrick J. Patriot February 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    I agree with PI on this one. Glad to see the Peabody blogosphere is back in action, seems pretty quiet up there from my comfy lounge chair here in Jupiter, Fl. Mayor Bettencourt must be putting things in order, good for him!

  6. the Outfront Guy* February 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    OG says…yes, I know how life works but when do we smarten up with this type reactionary approach to things? is there a light down in front of St Ann’s Church in South Peabody?

  7. the Outfront Guy* February 13, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    OG says….and isn’t there an ‘unspoken rule’ that if pedestrians are in the marked cross walk that approaching vehicles need to yield to the foot traffic ? my point is this…even if there was a light there we all know that irresponsible drivers run red lights….OG thinks that an orange vested crossing guard is the most practical solution at key church assembly times….


  1. Update: Full council to take up St. Adelaide pedestrian light safety issue | Eye on Peabody - February 22, 2013

    […] a quick update on an earlier story here: The Peabody City Council Public Safety Subcommittee last night voted to recommend that the full […]

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