CVS and the Newburyport Blogosphere

I was massively confused about the zoning stuff and “proposed” CVS  at Low Street and Storey Avenue in Newburyport.  But my fellow bloggers and the Newburyport blogosphere to the rescue.

Newburyport City Councilor Ed Cameron with some clarification.  More clarification by Newburyport City Councilor Bob Cronin.  Further clarification by Newburyport City Councilor Ari Herzog.  Some very helpful maps by P.Preservationist.  And of course, Tom Salemi over at Newburyport Posts has been bloggging his heart out on this one all along.

Party Affiliations in Local Newburyport Politics?

cartoonOk, it’s a little dated. I drew it back in September 2007 for the Newburyport Blog and I’m too lazy to draw another one. Paris Hilton, who?? Probably to be replace by Kim “let’s get divorced” Kardashian. And super-duper cutting coupons (boy, did I get flack for that one), now a major cable TV show. And “poverty,” is that on anyone’s radar anymore??

But the basic premise is the same. So little interest, much less overall civic passion, in our local Newburyport elections/governing stuff.

And it has been a goal of mine to try and make local government in some small way engaging. And, actually, not to brag, but to brag, someone actually told me that they became involved in Newburyport civic involvement because of The Newburyport Blog. I said to myself, “Say what?” But truth be told, a got a little teary, really, at making a difference in just one person’s life.

And I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the Newburyport Republican Committee’s decision, at least for this last election, to actively sponsor and support local Newburyport candidates. And their invitation to vote for 1 or 2 Newburyport City Council At-Large candidates, instead of all 5.

I would say, and I’ve run this by a fair amount of people, that this involvement and suggestion created a certain amount of anxiety in almost all the candidates running this week for Newburyport City Council At-Large, and also some odd version of hostility that I haven’t seen before. In Newburyport City politics, hostility has often been us –vast understatement (we’ve been referred mega times as “Cannibal City” after all), but it’s always been issues, and sometimes, sadly, personalities, but always non-partisan. And in the last few years, things have become more civil, to the point, where one often thinks that the calm almost drove the Undertoad to higher peaks.

This involvement and suggestion by the Newburyport Republican Committee, certainly created some buzz, at least for maybe 5%-1.5% of the Newburyport population. Whether to get party politics overtly involved in Newburyport elections, not illegal, not a crime, but a wise decision for the good of the City of Newburyport? One wonders. And if that decision stays, it will definitely create a new dynamic.

Newburyport Election 2011 Aftermath Enigma

To say that there is some head scratching about yesterday’s Newburyport City Councilor At-Large vote would be an understatement.

Everyone I talked to thought that Barry Connell would come in 1st and Katy Ives would come in second, and they did. After that there were all kinds of scenarios, but not any of them resembled the finally tally.

Most everyone I talked to thought Larry Giunta was a shoo-in, at least in one of the last three spots. And the fact that he isn’t going to be on the Newburyport Council next year, a head scratcher.

So, today I walked and talked. Some folks thought that it might have been a last minute Letter to the Editor thing that pointed out Mr. Giunta’s affiliation with the Bill Hudak campaign for Congress. (Not a crime to work for a candidate.) Some thought it was the endorsement and involvement by the Newburyport Republican Committee (also not a crime, but something, i.e. party affiliation, that has never been done before in a Newburyport election, really). But as I walked and talked, when I asked people, the response was, “Never heard of him.” And I’m guessing that’s probably the most likely on the money.

Ari Herzog in a strong 3rd place. A surprise, and I’m sure a pleasant surprise to Mr. Herzog. Ari gets back to folks usually within 15 minutes, or pretty close. And when folks sometimes hear back from Newburyport City Councilors, some more quickly than others, and sometimes never hear back from Newburyport City Councilors at all, this could be refreshing, especially when Mr. Herzog responds whether the constituent votes on a regular basis, or irregular basis or not at all. (I am told, that there have been occasions over the years that an odd Newburyport City Councilor, here or there, might only get back to those who show up to the polls – this, of course, is unconfirmed by moi.)

Ed Cameron coming in 4th. It appears to me to be another “Never heard of him” thing.

And Dick Sullivan, a lot to be said for name recognition, and being involved in various ways in the local Newburyport political process.

And what I heard over and over again, was that the majority of people in Newburyport, including those who vote, don’t even know that we have Newburyport City Councilors At-Large, what they do, who they are or what they stand for. And unless there was some sort of personal connection on some sort of level, it was just throwing a dart in the dark, something the people I talked to just didn’t want to do.

Newburyport 2011 Election Results

Newburyport City Councilor At-Large

Ed Cameron

Barry Connell

Ari Herzog

Larry Giunta

Steve Hutcheson

Katy O’Connor Ives

Dick Sullivan Jr.


Barry Connell

Katy O’Connor Ives

Ari Herzog

Ed Cameron

Dick Sullivan Jr.

The Newburyport Charter:



Charter passes by more than a 2 to 1 margin.

Newburyport School Committee:

Nick de Kanter

Audrey McCarthy

Peter McClure

Bruce Menin


Nick de Kanter

Audrey McCarthy

Bruce Menin

Mayor Donna Holaday re-elected (running unopposed)

Congratulations to all who won and all who ran, and everyone who worked so hard.

Breakdown of the Newburyport City Council At-Large election results, thanks to Ed Cameron (press image to enlarge).

Election Results Nov 2011
Election Results Nov 2011- Press image to enlarge

Newburyport, Mid-Day Election Report

Low, low voter turnout.  When I went to vote at around 10:30 at Ward 2 the number of people who had voted was 163, and that was about what all the other Newburyport Wards were reporting.

I visited all Newburyport voting spots, except Plum Island.  And the folks I talked to, who usually call elections on the money – not calling this one.

But for all the candidates who have worked so hard, congratulations, whether you win or lose.  You showed up for Newburyport and cared.  And as far as I’m concerned, that means a whole lot.

If you haven’t voted and don’t know where to vote, press here.  And please read the rest of the Newburyport Blog to get an idea of what is at stake in this very important election.

Globe Article about Newburyport Election, Tuesday November 8, 2011

There is an article in Sunday’s Boston Globe by Brenda J. Buote, about Newburyport’s election this Tuesday, November 8, 2011. It includes information at how important it is to the future of Newburyport’s Local Historic District.

An informal poll of residents by local blogger Mary Baker Eaton revealed that many voters were unaware of the importance of the upcoming election, even though the winners of Tuesday’s ballot contest will help shape the future of downtown Newburyport.

When the new City Council convenes in January, local leaders will weigh a proposal that would create a Local Historic District, which would protect the downtown area and High Street, the principal gateway to Newburyport and the cornerstone of Newburyport’s Historic District. Named an endangered resource by Preservation Massachusetts, High Street dates to the 17th century. From its humble beginnings as a country road, the city’s signature street has evolved into a socially prominent roadway of national renown. It is home to Newburyport’s only National Historic Landmark, the Caleb Cushing House.

If embraced by city leaders, creation of a Local Historic District would protect the exterior appearance of properties along the 2.48-mile High Street and the commercial downtown between Federal and Winter streets to ensure that any planned changes would not detract from the district’s historic character. The intent is to protect historical architecture and encourage new construction compatible with the surrounding buildings.

Two of the at-large council candidates – Sullivan and Giunta – are opposed to the Local Historic District. The others have voiced support for the concept.”   (The other candidates in favor of the Local Historic District (LHD) are Ed Cameron, Barry Connell, Mike Early, Ari Herzog, Steve Hutcheson, Katy O’Connor Ives.)

You can read the whole article here.

Where to Vote in Newburyport, November 8, 2011

If you don’t know where to vote on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 there is a very good link, “My Election Information,” where you can put in your address and zip code, and the website tells you which Newburyport ward you are in and where to go to vote.

On Tuesday, November 8th you will be voting on Newburyport’s Charter. The Newburyport Charter is the legal document that outlines how the City of Newburyport functions and is organized. There is now an easy to understand website on Newburyport’s Charter, Basically a “Yes” vote means that the mayor of Newburyport, MA will be elected for 4 years instead of 2 years. (It’s a good idea, vote “Yes.”)

Also the next Newburyport City Council will be voting on a Local Historic District for Newburyport.

The candidates running for Newburyport City Council who are on record for supporting the process of a Local Historic District, i.e. the economic future of Newburyport are (you will be choosing 5):

Ed Cameron

Barry Connell

Mike Early

Ari Herzog

Steve Hutcheson

Katy O’Connor Ives

Vote on Tuesday, November 8, 2011.

Newburyport Election 2011 – Confusion

What I hear when I talk to people (and these are people who vote, and pay attention) is a whole lot of confusion about the upcoming Newburyport election on Tuesday, November 8, 2011.

Q:  When is the mayor running for re-election?

A:  The mayor is running for re-election in this election, but she is running unopposed. (I happen to think that Mayor Donna Holaday is running unopposed because she is doing such a fantastic job.)

Q:  What is a “Charter,” does it have something to do with Newburyport’s Charter School?

A:  No, the “Charter,” has nothing to do with Newburyport’s Charter School.  The Newburyport Charter is the legal document that outlines how the City of Newburyport functions and is organized.

Q: What is that big gray pamphlet that came in the mail?

A:  That is the new Newburyport Charter that the citizens of Newburyport will vote on Tuesday, November 8, 2011.  There is now an easy to understand website on Newburyport’s Charter,

Q: What are those signs?

A: The signs around town are for people running for the Newburyport Council At-Large race.

Q: What is the Newburyport Council At-Large?

A:  There are 6 areas in Newburyport, they are called “Wards.” Newburyport has 6 Wards.  Each Ward has its own City Councilor.  In this election all 6 Newburyport Ward City Councilors are running unopposed.   There are 5 other Newburyport City Councilors who cover the entire city of Newburyport (all 6 Wards), they are called Newburyport City Councilors At-Large.  There are 8 candidates running for 5 seats for the Newburyport City Councilor At-Large race.

Q: My child’s doesn’t have school, I think, on November 8th, is that when the election is?

A: Yes, the election is Tuesday, November 8, 2011. (Go out and vote.)

Q: Where do I vote again?

A: To find out where you vote go to this website “Election Information,” put in your street address and it will tell you where to vote.