, Salem, MA

Local News

July 18, 2013

Handbill heats up City Council meeting

PEABODY — The issue is a plan to establish an indoor recreation facility at 143 Lynnfield St., and for a moment, it looked like it might end with some indoor recreation between Councilor Dave Gamache and former mayoral candidate Russ Donovan.

The application from GM Fine stalled over whether the council should pass judgment prior to a vote from the conservation commission.

“We shouldn’t be hearing this,” said member Arthur Athas. If the council gives permission before conservation turns it down, “we’re making fools of ourselves,” he reasoned.

Colleague Jim Liacos pointed out the advantage of giving a judgment before the applicant spends money unnecessarily on permit fees.

The issue was put aside, however, as an angry Gamache displayed a flier apparently circulated by opponents of the project. Councilors’ names, along with City Clerk Tim Spanos’ name, were included beneath the council letterhead. Yet, the flier raised questions about the project — asking, for example, if there had been a traffic study.

Gamache said that he knows of someone in Ward 1 who had sent out a similar flier in the past. He turned his gaze to Donovan and said, “I would ask you not to do it. It’s not right.”

The accused cried innocence: “I didn’t do it.”

Responding with a theatrical flourish, Gamache crumbled up the flier and tossed it on the floor.

A recess followed, and Donovan approached Gamache, still insisting he’d been wrongfully named.

“Get away from me,” said Gamache, indicating he did not want to talk.

Donovan held his ground, however, and the two conferred briefly.

“I want to believe him,” Gamache said afterward. “And I took him for his word.”

They shook hands, and Gamache apologized. But he added, “Somebody did it.”

Giving it to Jack

Lawyer Jack Keilty seemed to know it wasn’t in the cards when he went to the City Council last week proposing a farm stand, complete with a beer and wine license, and greenhouse at 176 Lynn St.

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