SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 1, 2014

Brimbal 'no vote' leads in fund-raising

BY PAUL LEIGHTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — 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.

“If he wants to contribute, that’s fine,” Nardella said. “This campaign is not going to live or die by Steve Cohen’s contribution.”

Henry’s Market, whose owner John Keohane has publicly opposed the shopping plaza, contributed $636 in food for the North Beverly Neighborhood Association’s meet-and-greet sessions at the Vittori-Rocci Post.

The special election is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 8, with a single polling location at Beverly High School. Because it is a citizen referendum election, 20 percent of the city’s registered voters, which is more than 5,000 people, must vote ‘no’ to overturn the City Council’s decision to rezone.

The two groups must file another campaign finance report 30 days after the election.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

Contributions to 'Vote No' cause Molly Benson, $1,018 Henry Bertolon, $2,000 Cathy Burack, $500 Carol Chalker, $1,000 Lynne Cram, $350 Dan and Pam DeAngelis, $100 Dan and Kim Foley, $1,000 William Frost, $100 Andrea Grant, $100 Andrea Heil and Thomas Mooney, $75 Marilyn Humphries, $150 Pam and David Kampersal, $200 Matthew Kelsch, $100 Cheryl and Paul Kusiak, $100 Nicola and Jean-Yves Lemay, $150 Euplio and Maria Marciano, $100 Amy Martyn, $118 James and Tracy Milkay, $50 James and Brenda Modugno, $50 Emily and Roger Morency, $75 Jen and Josh Morris, $150 Jospehine and Linda Pochask, $200 Chris and Katherine Sadkowski, $50 Chris Snow, $100 Donald and Dorothy Walter, $200 $50 and under from 82 individuals, $1,155.25 Total -- $9,191.25 In-kind contributions Cathy Burack, rental of Vittori-Rocci Post hall, $175 Henry's Market, food for Vittori-Rocci Post meet-and-greet, $636.61 Rick Maricano, rental of Vittori-Rocci Post hall, $175 Expenditures Fees for attorneys and legal document, $2,916.50 Lawn signs, $813 Liabilities Molly Benson, reimbursement for lawn signs, $400 Dan DeAngelis, reimbursement for fliers, $1,551.25 Contributions to "Vote Yes" cause Lisa Van Allsburg, $500 Bruce Nardella, $300 Liabilities Deschamps Printing, $5,500