By Alan Burke
---- — PEABODY — James Moutsoulas says he isn’t quite out as a candidate for state representative in the upcoming special election to fill the late Joyce Spiliotis’ seat. His 150 signatures were disqualified by the secretary of state’s office, but the former ward councilor is now mulling an appeal.
“I’ve had people come and tell me, ‘Don’t give up on this,’” he says.
A decision hinges on a conversation he hopes to have with Secretary of State William Galvin.
Moutsoulas complains he was ill-treated by the secretary’s office when he brought in his papers. He says “a young man” dismissed their validity, saying, “You didn’t put ‘Democrat’ where the line says party.”
“Let me put it in now,” Moutsoulas replied.
“The papers are now in my possession,” the official replied, according to Moutsoulas.
The candidate’s plea that it said “Democrat” elsewhere on the document cut no ice, he says.
“He just stood there gloating ... in the pain he was causing me.”
Brian McNiff, spokesman for the secretary of state, cites the violation of Chapter 53, Section 45, of the general laws, failing to put the name of the party on the nomination papers, as the reason for rejecting them. “It’s the law.”
He adds that there is no administrative appeal available for Moutsoulas, but, “He could go to court.”
The man who handled the matter, McNiff says, “is a good man.” As to Moutsoulas, “I can see why he might have been upset.”
Moutsoulas’ absence reshapes the race, giving Democrat Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne no opponent for her party’s nomination and a clear field to the final election contest on April 2 versus unenrolled City Councilor Dave Gravel and the winner of the March 5 Republican primary between Gregory Bunn and Leah Cole.
He’s leaving at the end of the year, but Ward Councilor Dave Gamache wanted his colleagues to know how much they meant to him. In a short speech at last week’s meeting, he singled them out as special among the many councils he’s sat on in 24 years.
When he’d finished, however, fellow Councilor Arthur Athas couldn’t help playfully pointing out, “He did start off saying this is the best council he ever sat on. Then later, he said it was one of the best. Then he ended saying this is a good council.”
Fortunately, given its direction, Gamache gave a short speech.
See ya — later
Swampscott High School Principal Layne Millington has rescheduled his interview for the job of Peabody High School principal. Instead of meeting with the public (at 3:30 p.m.) and then being interviewed by the superintendent (at 4:15 p.m.) yesterday — the event will take place on Feb. 4.
An illness of Superintendent Joe Mastrocola is the reason.
Government wasn’t wasting money on heat at last week’s meeting of the City Council. The temperature was such that some councilors kept their coats on.
“I’ve been told to make this quick,” Gravel said prior to speaking, “because we didn’t bring the mittens.”
Athas warned reporters not to light fires in the trash barrels — they’re plastic.
Don’t take it personally
The unveiling of drawings depicting the proposed middle school at a meeting Tuesday brought out the enthusiasm of veteran School Committee member Dave McGeney, who supports the project, calling it a chance to do something great.
He also saw a downside. McGeney grew up in a house bordering the school grounds, a house where he had a ringside seat for the construction of the current Higgins Middle School in 1964.
“And nothing makes you feel older,” he lamented, “than remembering a new building being built that is now obsolete.”
Scoop on the mayor
Politicians vied with one another Tuesday at the Easter Seals Celebrity Scoop-Off at Friendly’s. The winner was determined by who could scoop the most ice cream. It isn’t exactly basketball, but the charity event obviously had Mayor Ted Bettencourt’s competitive juices going.
“I defeated (state Rep.) Ted Speliotis,” he later told a Tuesday gathering at Kiley School. “And I defeated (state Sen.) Joan Lovely. I just want that on the record.”
Nearby City Council President Tom Gould, owner of Treadwell’s Ice Cream, tried not to sound wounded over the choice of locale.