BY ALAN BURKE
---- — Nine candidates are vying for five at-large seats on the Peabody City Council. Profiles of four candidates were published previously; the remaining candidates will be profiled in upcoming editions.
PEABODY — It was an echo from his youth that convinced Peter Bakula, 43, to run for at-large councilor, his first try for elected office.
“At a meeting at the Torigian Center on the downtown,” he explains, “people were complaining about traffic downtown. Well, that’s something I complained about to Mayor Torigian when I was 20 years old.” Bakula decided then and there to be part of the solution to this chronic difficulty.
He also has the freedom to serve now. Married with no children, Bakula previously worked in a distribution center, second and third shift. Those hours interfered with council meetings. But he’s since become a paralegal working daytime hours.
He believes the traffic can be relieved by boosting public transportation — “a little more in the way of taking cars off the street.” State and federal funding can help, he says.
“I don’t think the city of Peabody will have to pick up the whole tab,” he says. “... Ironically, Peabody contributes to the MBTA annually. What do we get to show for it?”
Bakula would also like to see the establishment of a youth center. “We need a good place for kids to hang around and make friends,” he says. If a site can’t be found, he would have the city give vouchers for the YMCA.
Acknowledging the city’s low tax rate, Bakula observes, “That’s a good thing because you’re not burdening the residents. The flip side is ... I think back in the day the city was a little too conservative.” In some cases, that meant false economy, he believes, as schools have proved inadequate or had to be rebuilt before their time.
As he campaigns door to door, Bakula says he’s found many voters who applaud the idea of a new voice on the council. “I’ve been politically active since I was a teenager,” he adds. And he’s a frequent letter writer, “to the editors, the Statehouse, the White House. People always know my opinion.”
PETER BAKULA Address: 278 Newbury St. Age: 43 Employment: Paralegal, working through placement agency Education: Peabody High School; North Shore Community College, associate degree; Salem State College, bachelor's degree; North Shore Community College, paralegal training Family: Wife, Karen Previous elected office: None Community involvement: Peabody Downtown Association, Mobile Home Cooperative executive board Will you take city health insurance if elected? Does not rule out accepting city health insurance. Pastimes: Reading, coin collecting, watching sports