Honoring All the People of Newburyport, Massachusetts

In the Newburyport Current, Friday, March 24, 2006, Mayor John Moak has this to say in regard to his controversial appointment of Byron Matthews for the board of the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, replacing long time board member Mary Lou Supple:

“This is a good decision. It’s not a fluff choice for a fluff job. It’s a tough job. Some say this is a ‘Good old Boy’ decision. But you know what, good old boys and good old girls do a good job for the city. That’s why we’re where we are today, because of what they did 30 years ago.”

Wow. One hardly knows where to begin responding to that particular remark.

I think that if Mayor John Moak had made similar remarks during his election campaign as part of a stump speech, my guess is that he most probably would have lost the election by a landslide.

It may indeed be true, good old boys and girls do an excellent job for the city of Newburyport, Massachusetts. But what that remark indicates is a lack of respect and honor for all those people who also do an excellent job for the city of Newburyport, who are not good old boys and girls. (For a definition of “good old boy” please put “Bill Plant” and “good old boys” in the search box, and hopefully the appropriate post will come up.)

And for all those folks, who I call “progressives,” who voted for him in a big way, thinking that John Moak was a “safe” candidate, (to use Jim Roy’s phrase in the same issue of the Newburyport Current. I would interpret “safe” as meaning “fair and balanced.”) I would imagine that this remark could sound harsh and dismissive.

What I am hearing more and more, and this is not just from “progressives,” but also from people who have lived here all there lives, is that John Moak is not “honoring” all the people of Newburyport.

Many people feel that the opinions and contributions by people who do not agree with Mayor John Moak are being treated with disdain. And it appears to me that this makes many people from all different political points of view feel very nervous, and that they may feel that this does not bode well for what could happen in the next 21 months of this administration.

Mary Eaton, Newburyport