I am making this statement as a word of warning and to challenge those who would dare to oppose the Bulldozer. The fact remains that our present City Hall has a level of political sophistication from which an inept and ill-informed public has no defense against except to act like a stubborn bull that has put its hooves down. And by and large, this bullish public may gore a couple of times but in the end; the bull always loses.
I am a proud Republican and so I attended recently a Republican city committee. The purpose of a political party meeting is to get candidates to run on a state and federal level. This is because local politics is supposed to be non-partisan. Everyone whether you’re a member of the Democratic Party, the Green Party, the Communist Party or the opposite extreme, the Libertarian Party or other political groups; it matters little, because all those ‘labels’ are supposed to be meaningless on the local level. The object is to put community first. That’s why I can be quite comfortable rubbing shoulders with someone of the opposite political ideal because we have a common purpose: improving the quality of life in our town.
It saddened me to find that the Mayor won’t even allow the local Republican City Committee to put up a sign that they contributed toward some landscaping improvements. It also saddened me that the Mayor didn’t even attend James Kelcourse’s thank you party at Andiamo’s. This is because she is an extreme leftist when it comes to politics. If you want to understand her mindset, please read Taylor Armerding’s recent editorial. If you remember, the left proclaimed before November that the Republican Party was going to be extinct; its party platform out of touch with America; that their adherents shouldn’t even be allowed the right of public discourse. They actively marched up and down the halls of Congress repeating this mantra – this was no lie to them, it was no fantasy to them, it was to be reality.
It took the election results to snap them a little back into reality. I say a little because they still believe this intolerance idea absolutely*.
It is this far-left mentality the Mayor has introduced as well as ‘big city politics’ to Newburyport. Frankly, the competition still doesn’t know what hit ’em. It is the Big City Politics that can capitalizes on the ignorance of the opposition. Pits their own assumptions, self-interest and biases against the Mayor’s powerful alliances and hidden arrangements made far away from the public eye.
You may ask yourself, “Why on earth would the Mayor do this!?!”
Because it works. In fact, it rather works spectacularly. You can call her angry, you can call her insecure, you can, even if you so foolishly dare, stupid – but I assure you, the Bulldozer will just plow over you! You can’t argue that the city has benefited in many ways. A new school building, a newly-renovated school building, a senior center, a newly established Park Commission (that is coordinating for the first time actual maintenance of our parks); the restoration of a newly powerful Trust Fund Commission, a powerful urban planning effort; Coast Guard City Recognition, a new Cultural District; funding mechanism for our badly-needed sidewalks; the restoration and enforcement of the expired downtown sign ordinance. (love the parade of historic signage up State Street), the push for heritage tourism initiatives such as the Clipper City Heritage Tours, has worked toward the fulfillment of the Strategic Land Use Committee as in more development around the beleaguered traffic circle, the redo of the central parking area and the round-about next to Moseley Pines (Like it or not); the rezoning of the industrial park; successful stonewalling of the double threat of 40B’s and marijuana dispensing centers. The ratification of the citywide Wetlands Ordinance, advancement on the Garage/Hotel/WWOD (Badly needed); and a proper refocus of our economics on real estate and tourism, coupled with aggressive affordable housing initiatives. And finally, a push for regional rail trails including the Whittier Bridge and the development of the Clipper City Rail Trail.
We are getting close to that situation. To go so fast and so quickly is great but after awhile a loose collective begins to coalesce. It often consists of the “Agin it Crowd”; the “Angry-at-the-Mayor” group somehow slighted along the way; and there’s the resentful “We’re-out-of-power” individuals who wish they were in control.
But there is also the, “The City-is-heading-in-the-wrong-direction” citizen, the “I-wish-we-did-things-correctly-like-other-cities” individual. (I’m one of them) The often desperate, “Wish-things-were-open-and-available-for-citizens-to-see,” assembly. And that most ideological group, “Wish-we-were-actually-some-form-of-republican-government-that-practiced-the-principles-of-a-democracy.”
If we let the former group control the political map, we will be harmed horribly – all the great things the Mayor has done will end up laying fallow or being undone. This visionless, self-serving bunch will be very harmful to the city and could lead to some really bad cronyism.
So it disgusted me when I attended the Republican City Committee and found that not only were there anti’s there but they were horribly ill-informed. Don’t they read all the public notices and documents clearly posted on the City of Newburyport’s website? Don’t they read the Newburyport Daily News? Talk about clueless, talk about being irrelevant, and worse, talk about being overly simplistic!
And then couple that with the comments being bandied about on the blogs and on Facebook! The populist infatuation with empty causes, the simplistic suggestions based on emotion and ignorance, the total denial of the economic, social and political realities inherent in our community; oh, how depressing!
If the city is to advance forward, we must focus on gathering together well-informed citizens who have armed themselves with knowledge and are well-versed on the issues. We can’t afford to be gullible or to be easily distracted. We must be sophisticated enough not to fall into the traps that the opposition (whatever that opposition is) may throw up before us.
A group of citizens that are dedicated to correct any excesses, to stop any self-serving special interest groups and to resist the local government going off on an ideological tangent whether it be far to the left or far to the right; that’s our goal. Newburyport should come first, not some hair-brained political party or movement on the National level.
Newburyport is supposed to be loaded with highly intelligent minds. (And it does according to the last U.S. Census.)
Let’s use them!
*(Don’t believe them when they cry out, “Why can’t we just get along and compromise. Why so intolerant!” That is political speak for in the end, they want the Republicans to compromise and give in. The Republicans are supposed to be stupid enough to have long-term memory loss.(of which many are sadly that gullible!))