Billerica Selectman Charged with Misdemeanor for #PaintGate
Police have charged Billerica Selectman George Simolaris with a misdemeanor for covering five crosswalks in town with green deck paint, which had to be powerwashed, in an event now known as #PaintGate.
Simolaris faces two counts of wanton destruction of property in Lowell District Court, along with at least $4,200 in restitution. Some folks have begun raising money for Simolaris, and all proceeds from the 2012 documentary Homespun Rebellion chronicling his unique brand of civic engagement will go toward a support fund.
“It’s a shame I’m going to have pay $6,000 or $8,000 and have a criminal record to have a few crosswalks painted, which should have been done a long time ago,” Simolaris told The Lowell Sun. “But that is the condition, that is the situation, that’s government and that’s politics.”
Whether his act of rogue pedestrian safety is justified or not, Simolaris is the most interesting man in small-town Massachusetts politics. In a town as politically divisive as Billerica (Just as the only thing silent in Amherst is the “H,” the only thing silent in Billerica is the “E”), Simolaris has managed to do the unthinkable: Unite the other selectmen in calling for his resignation.