A burgler will break in and steal leaving the house a mess. A bank robber will terrorize the employees and take the money. A murderer will commit the terrible act and begone. A hit and run will leave a devastating path behind.
And what do the police do?
They can’t do the dramatic chase scene in most cases. They have to methodically reconstruct what is happening, search for clues, interview witnesses (if any) and examine mountains of data that would make a librarian weep.
Meanwhile, the burglar is down at the local restaurant having a lovely meal and perhaps hang with friends and then sit in front of the television and relax. The bank robber goes about his daily business and lives his life. The murderer assumes the role of any other citizen blending in seamlessly. The driver goes on – busy with his errands!
That is often the case in Newburyport when it comes to politics and trying to combat some of the wrongs in the city. The aggressor has been plotting this for a long time, knows the ropes on how to get it done; and even has the means, financing, opportunity and resources to make a clean getaway.
We (I also include other fellow Newburyporters) who love our city and want the best to be done for our chosen home; have to first identify the problems; find out who are the aggressors; and do mountains of research trying to figure out how to stop their evil doings plus how to prevent them doing it again.
Take for example the Smart Growth planned for the train station and the traffic circle. Seemed pretty straightforward – some re-zoning to help out a developer put in some residential units.
It took research and talking to other residents from other cities and towns to find out what it all really means. Took some time to find out who were the participants and who stands to profit and why. Now, we begin to see the whole picture coming together.
In the meantime, the proponents are already counting their profits in their heads and gathering an aggressive promotional campaign – while we’re still trying to find out what the whole project is about.
That’s just one example.
There are multiple aggressors coming at the city from different directions. Each one requires sleuthing to find out if what they’re selling is good or bad. It takes time to track down the What, when, Where, Who and Why.
Sadly, I, and most of the rest of Newburyport; have lives to live. We can’t afford to hole up inside an archive or glue our faces to the Internet for hours. That’s why it is important for all of us with our snatches of time to get the information down and out to others who can use their respective dribbles of time to add to the case.
18,000 less people in Newburyport and the issues seem endless. I’m aware of most all of them; but have only a trickle of time to cover them.
So what am I saying here?
We need more citizen participation for us to be effective in warding off threats to our high quality of life.
The work is slow UNLESS everyone chips in and contributes at once.
It happened before! The result was a beautiful historic downtown.
It needs to happen again.