- Name: James Moutsoulas
- Age: 68
- Occupation: Barber, real estate agent, semi-retired
- Political office: City Council, 12 years (Ward 3, 1986-1997)
Peabody Patch: What is the most important issue in Ward 3 and what needs to be done about?
Jim Moutsoulas: As a city councilor, I think all issues are important. You have to have a councilor that's responsive, a councilor you can get a hold of and whatever issue comes, the ward councilor can take care of it. When I look around the ward right now and try to determine which one is the most important issue, you have down on Pulaski Street the issue of the rezoning there and the bus issue, you have certain water breaks throughout the ward. I can't really put my finger on one specific issue. To me as a former ward councilor, they're all important.
As far as solving the issues, you just get right into it and you do it. I don't see an issue out there that can't be solved. You listen to both sides and you resolve it.
Gardner Street has been an issue since I was on the council. We tried both sides, we tried putting trucks from Gardner Street to Pulaski Street and vice versa. No matter what you do in a situation like that there's always one side that's not happy.
When you make a proposal to make a street a one way, there's always a side that's not happy, there's always a side that's happy. What you try to do is satisfy both sides in a case like that which sometimes is impossible.
Patch: What do you see as the most pressing issue for the City Council to address (more on a citywide basis)?
Moutsoulas: There are a number of issues -- downtown flooding has been an issue from when I was on the council years ago, we have the new configuration downtown. The jury's still out on that, we have to wait a little while on that to see exactly how it works. I've seen just recently that the O'Shea building was purchased. That's one of the better moves that happened for the city of Peabody because that building is kind of an anchor building, and depending on what goes in there it could attract other businesses to improve the downtown.
When I got on the council in 1986, my first motion was to dredge the North River. At the time it could have been done, because you could have taken whatever was in there and brought it up to the dump, but today you have to bring it to a hazardous waste site and it would be very costly. The reason I made the motion was because of the flooding downtown.
My second motion at the time related to the way this city was planned, with the industrial park, taking the land and then developing housing for the people that were going to come in for the 6,000 jobs that would be created. I thought our city fathers were pretty brilliant back then because they had a three-phase plan.
The third phase of the plan was the connector road and my motion was to take a serious look at it. Back then it still could have been done. The connector road would have solved the problems we're looking at today.
The road would have connected to the Beverly-Salem bridge and followed the railroad bed up to 128. The best part is you would have had a choice, you could go under Peabody Square. If you went under the square you could have solved the flooding problem while they were installing the road. All your main streets that are clogged every day now at 3 p.m. would have no traffic on them.
Patch: Do you have a humorous or interesting anecdote to share from your campaign so far?
Moutsoulas: The only thing I could laugh at is really a joke on myself. I pulled papers to run for state rep a year ago and I got disqualified because of a technicality. Regardless of who was at fault with the technicality, everywhere I was going out with my nomination papers, that's what people were saying: "Make sure your papers are in order, make sure your papers are in order." My papers were in order, but you know I don't think anyone knew what the real problem was. It's something I had to laugh at, the joke was on me.