Wednesday night we will probably be treated, yet again, to Newburyport’s version of the Westboro Baptist Church. This assemblage of silly people have created a new meaning for “Bad Theater”.
Last public hearing over the three proposed ordinances had this troupe parading their antics once again.
Their basic points are based on audacity and bluster.
The city is just doing fine and there is no threat of demolition or inappropriate renovations. (Apparently blinders are standard issue in their group! We have had an historic house demolished in the North End and entire streets’ property values threatened by inappropriate demolitions in the South End) Here’s just a sampling.
Zoning is sufficient to protect our city. (Spectacularly false as demonstrated by the ZBA last week)
Developers and exploiters are NOT at this moment demolishing homes and putting in cheap replacements. (Developers don’t even hide it anymore, inviting others through Television to join in the feasting on an unprotected city!)
This is an attack on private property rights. (So why don’t they campaign against the building department that can intrude into their private homes or demand zoning be revoked? All these are violations of property rights, done of course for the greater benefit of the community as a whole just as historic preservation protections will protect ALL our property rights.)
The City is insulting them personally because they would never do anything that was inappropriate. (Examples of inappropriate renovations abound in the city)
The City has done just fine for decades without any need for aesthetic protections. (The city’s downtown had protections up to 2005 and those protections were directly linked to our re-birth of prosperity. And town and city across the country have demonstrated the rise of prosperity when they protect their historic districts from Charleston to Portsmouth.)
Their strategy was simple. Using lying, disinformation, punctuated with intimation and threats, they hoped to kill any concept of historic preservation being practiced or adhered to in the City of Newburyport. This foundation of hatred of historic preservation, any historic preservation, pervades their vacuous reasons.
They failed utterly last meeting because the new Council reflects the spectacular success of historic preservationists to have placed strategic supporters in the legislative branch of the City government. Their presence has given even the Mayor a new confidence in supporting the protection of our city.
Thus, as they tried to do their usual tricks, it wasn’t long before everyone could see they were being met with patient longsuffering but no longer with fear. They have shown their hands for what they are – a loud minority that have a disturbing desire to destroy the city’s future for the sake of appeasing their hang-ups. In short, they will seek to preside over a “new” Newburyport that will march away from its historic architecture – and they will applaud every step taken in that direction.
Their funny antics weren’t fooling anyone (except perhaps Dan Bowie?). The hearings will continue to go on and the theme of saving our historic city through some measure of protection will proceed.