SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 16, 2014

Another councilor mulls independent House run

By Alan Burke
Staff Writer

---- — PEABODY — Among those considering a run in November for the state representative seat held by Republican Leah Cole is Ward 1 City Councilor Barry Osborne.

“It’s a thought in my mind,” he told reporters prior to last week’s council meeting.

What’s more, Osborne is thinking he might run as an independent, hoping to let Cole and the Democratic candidate fight over their party faithful while he amasses at least a plurality by attracting the ever growing number of independents.

Of course, the same configuration of candidates was essential to Cole winning last year’s special election to succeed the late Joyce Spiliotis. Cole won a plurality as Democrat and School Committee member Beverley Griffin Dunne split the remainder of the electorate with former Democrat and City Councilor Dave Gravel, who ran as an independent.

Running as an independent, said Osborne, “is not out of the question. I have been an unenrolled voter for years and years.” At the same time, he acknowledged the reaction to Gravel’s efforts. “People didn’t understand Dave’s move.”

Told of Osborne’s remarks, Cole’s eyes widened. “Interesting,” was all she said.

A place to sit

It was Archimedes who said, “Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth.” Give Peabody high school kids a place to sit, and they’ll have lunch. Up until now, says Superintendent Joe Mastrocola, the tables and chairs in the lunchroom were scarcely up to the task. New furnishings have been installed, with the old tables and chairs taken away for scrap.

Barrett assessed

The City Council has unanimously approved the appointment of Brian Barrett to the Board of Assessors. Barrett has a long history of service to the city, including a stint as assistant city solicitor.

Reserve your swan boat now

Ward 6 City Councilor Barry Sinewitz told his colleagues last week that work intended to transform Crystal Lake and Elginwood Pond into a recreation area is about to begin. “We’re getting started ... in the next three weeks,” he said.

Democrats organize

The Democratic City Committee caucused on Jan. 11 at the Knights of Columbus Hall. “Arthur Powell, our state committeeman from Beverly, conducted the workshop with assistance from state committeewoman and Danvers town chair, Marilyn Hazel,” according to Deb Ryan.

The gathering selected Ryan as the new Peabody Democratic City Committee chairman, with City Councilor Tom Gould as vice-chairman. Taking a jab at the opposition was retiring Chairman Mike Schulze, who said, “I get along well with all six Republicans in the city.”

A tough nut

Peabody’s Walnut Street once had a reputation, according to Ward 3 Councilor Jim Moutsoulas, speaking at Monday’s Licensing Board hearing regarding trouble at Oliveira’s Steak House.

“Walnut Street was known as the Barbary Coast when I was a kid,” he said. In citing San Francisco’s notorious turn-of-the-century red-light district, he did not seem to be referring to the flood plain (which sometimes makes Walnut Street look like a coastline), but to the sorts of people who populated the area.

The fights and rowdiness now surrounding Oliveira’s alarmed the board, including former City Councilor Fred Murtagh, who said, “It’s almost like a slap in the face to the City of Peabody that this is going on.” Murtagh worried over the possibility of knives or guns appearing, which could endanger officers who were forced to respond. Officers who do will “get nailed to the cross,” he predicted.

The board cut back the hours for drinking, with Murtagh warning of stronger measures if the trouble persists.