PEABODY — Mayoral aide Chris Ryder is confirming that, yes, Mayor Ted Bettencourt is growing a beard.
So far it’s just a work in progress. Ryder was hard-pressed to name a previous Peabody mayor — or a mayor anywhere — with a beard. Which makes the mayor a trailblazer.
Well, it worked for Jonny Gomes.
In the long debate that preceded the denial of a special permit to developers hoping to turn a building at 98 Main St. into a 10-unit apartment complex, City Council President Tom Gould momentarily misspoke. “We’re going to hear from Attorney Manning Martin,” he said, signalling Councilor Anne Manning Martin.
Manning Martin isn’t a lawyer, but she looked delighted to be mistaken for one. “That’s all right,” she joked. “I practice law out of the trunk of my car.”
Which inspired a lawyer in the room to nod, “So do I.”
If I had a million ...
The developers had pledged to spend $1.1 million renovating 98 Main St. While most praised their past work, even while denying the permit for this project, two councilors suggested they shouldn’t have bothered to show up.
“Why is Mr. Lee here tonight?” demanded Barry Sinewitz. Then he recalled that developers Norman Lee and James Gebo had turned a building a few doors down into housing units, while promising to have a commercial enterprise on the ground floor. “And I said that reminds me of a rooming house.” Three months later, he noted, the commercial space disappeared.
On the other hand, colleague Dave Gamache suggested that the 98 Main St. building is suited only for housing and might remain vacant otherwise. For that matter, he didn’t think a lot of the housing project, either.
“If I had a million bucks,” he said, “I wouldn’t be investing in that building.”