Sometimes you could get the impression that I am unduly harsh on the Mayor and with a definite lean toward the negative. That impression is not entirely correct. It is true that if there was a viable candidate against him I would definitely work on that person’s behalf to get them elected.
The Mayor is part of the Dark Side. This does not mean they are “evil” in any sense. Just their views definitely run diametrically opposed to, “common sense”. Not that we want to always cheer the opposite, the Light Side. Let’s just say, the Light Side suggests a mental attitude not well positioned to the practical. Which is why the Dark Side tend to have money and the Light Side are rather short in supply of the same. But I digress.
The Mayor has priorities and historic preservation is not necessarily one of them unless he is shown concretely that it is beneficial. His priority is the same as a corporate executive. His responsibility is to keep the city in the black. It is his interpretation on how to go about this is what I fault him on.
The Dark Side lean toward old twentieth century maxims. Unfortunately, they were not true then and they are definitely not true now. That is the mindset that we have to “grow” the community. If we are constantly building new buildings and developing new land, we are generating good for the city. New tax revenues, more building permits and newer infrastructure.
The Dark Side see housing developments stretching to the borders of the city, manufacturing and office buildings the more the merrier and a retail environment filled with bodies year-round.
None of these concepts work for Newburyport. Nationally it has been found that every time you build a residential structure, you multiply four times that in expanded city expenses. That means four times the money that went into building the house. That means more taxes are needed. More pressure is put on our schools and our water/sewer department. If Newburyport was packed full of industry and office buildings, our roads and city utilities would literally fall apart from the heavy traffic not even including the suffering over congested streets. And Newburyport is never going to have a retail environment that demands year-round bodies. The downtown is hard to get to from the main roads and the kind of traffic and broad roads needed to get there would crush our city. And we won’t even get into the rise in crime rates from over-congestion.
The Mayor has done a fantastic job in keeping the city in the black. He’s done a great job in seeking renewable energy for the city and industry. But we need to keep the pressure on him to do the right thing – We need the common pasture left open and that includes not putting retirement housing in wetlands on Woodman’s Farm and not helping developers build more housing in prime conservation areas. We need him to support the local historic district that will create a sustainable stable community with healthy property values and walkable and safe neighborhoods. The goal of City Hall should not be to encourage developers and land speculators to rape the city for a short-term benefit but to pursue long term planning that creates a city that is pleasant to live in and is beneficial to the general health of all its residents.