Newburyport Councilor at Large, Election 2009

The election for Newburyport City Councilor at Large. There are 5 seats for Newburyport Councilor at Large and 7 folks are running. All 4 incumbents would get my vote. They are, in no particular order:

Kathleen (Katy) Ives
Thomas (Tom) Jones
Steven Hutcheson
Barry Connell

For me that leaves the seat vacated by Donna Holaday, who is running for mayor of Newburyport. The three people who are also on the ballot would be Michael Ferrick, Ari Herzog and Frances Sullivan. It is just my “take,” but Francis Sullivan might lack a certain “toughness” that in my mind would be a must for anybody on the Newburyport City Council (they don’t call us “Cannibal City” for nothing).

For a Newburyport City Councilor embarking (either chairing or being on a committee) on a “rumble,” in my mind would be no picnic. A “rumble” being a large meeting where folks are very upset about a certain issue, the landfill or the wind turbine would be two examples that come to mind.

One of the things that I found very interesting in the taped interview by PortMedia (see earlier entry on the two videos of the candidates running for mayor of Newburyport MA) is Donna Holaday’s comments that often the neighbors in such instances, like the landfill or the wind turbine, become the “experts,” providing the City of Newburyport with much needed information. And the “neighbor”, “experts” need to become an asset to whatever project might be going forward. (This would be different than NIMBY, “not in my back yard.”)

Anyone who has become involved in a city project on a volunteer basis, knows just how much minute information they know, whether it be traffic, the Fruit Street Historic District, High Street, the Central Waterfront, just to name a few.

So ideally, I think it takes a certain “toughness” along with a certain amount of “wisdom” to know when the neighbors have become the “experts” and not NIMBYs, and to constructively incorporate them into the process and learn from their accumulated knowledge. And one of the things that I like about Donna Holaday, is over the years, and in that interview, she has demonstrated that ability to pay close attention to information which she might not have known about or appreciated before. This would be refreshing in a mayor.

But for Newburyport Councilor at Large, Ari Herzog or Mike Ferrick–to tell you the truth, at this point in time, I just don’t know.