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February 1, 2014

Brimbal 'no vote' leads in fund-raising

BEVERLY — The “vote no” group has taken advantage of its headstart in the campaign for the Brimbal Avenue rezoning election.

More than 100 donors have contributed a total of $9,191 to the North Beverly Neighborhood Association, according to the campaign finance report it was required to file yesterday.

Meanwhile, the “vote yes” Better for Beverly committee has raised only $800 from two donors, although it owes $5,500 for printing and postage costs for citywide mailings.

North Beverly Neighborhood Association chairman Dan DeAngelis said his group’s fund-raising reflects the grass-roots opposition to the rezoning, which would allow for a $20 million shopping plaza on Brimbal Avenue. The contributions range from $2,000 from Dodge Street resident Henry Bertolon to 82 donations of $50 or less.

“I think it shows the organization and, more importantly, the concern that residents have over the project,” DeAngelis said.

The only contributions to Better for Beverly have come from Bruce Nardella, the group’s chairman, who donated $300, and Paine Avenue resident Lisa Van Allsburg, who donated $500.

Nardella attributed the paucity of donations to his group’s late start. Better for Beverly formed earlier this month, while the North Beverly Neighborhood Association started last summer.

“If people think two contributions are indicative of a lack of interest in support of voting ‘yes,’ then I think they’re sadly mistaken,” Nardella said. “We’ve seen a lot of support for the ‘vote yes’ side, but we just started late. It’s not reflective of a lack of interest.

“We’re very thin on the contributions, but I think we’ll catch up,” he added. “We’ll certainly be able to cover our costs.”

CEA Group CEO Steve Cohen, the developer of the proposed shopping plaza, has said he would be willing to donate to Better for Beverly, but he was not listed on the campaign finance report.

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