PEABODY — Lawyer David Ankeles thought it would aid the City Council if he produced a computer-generated photo of what proposed billboards on Route 1 will look like.
“Is this going to be the content?” asked Councilor Barry Sinewitz, pointing to the photo, which included a billboard showing a dog alongside a pig while the text asks, “Why love one but eat the other? Choose vegetarian.”
“No,” Ankeles said, as other councilors chuckled, “that’s a mock-up.”
He then speculated lightly on what might go up on the billboard, “It might be one of those Weight Watchers signs that Councilor (Barry) Osborne will want to put up.”
Osborne credits Weight Watchers with helping his dramatic weight loss of nearly 100 pounds.
Sinewitz wasn’t mollified by the joke, however, and he wondered if the city should be notified before anything goes up on the billboard. Council President Jim Liacos, though sympathetic, suggested that he was raising the question at the wrong time and in the wrong hearing.
When Ankeles began to offer an idea of how to deal with his concerns, Liacos shot him a look and said, “You’re sure you want to get into this? You’re winning.”
Eventually, two Route 1 billboards won approval. Ankeles’ mock-up for the second read “Pretzel Crisps. Perfect for skinny dipping.”
It was baseball great Satchel Paige who said, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”
City Councilor Anne Manning-Martin doesn’t want human resources director Karen Budrow looking back, so she’s suggested expanding her one-year contract to three years.
“To have to look always over your shoulder,” Manning-Martin lamented. “Give her time to wrap her arms around this project. ... A one-year term for a position of this magnitude does not seem fair.”