A Big Thank You to the Newburyport City Council

I thought the Newburyport City Council was incredibly courageous on Monday night, March 27, 2006, not to accept Byron Matthews, Mayor John Moak’s appointment for the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority board on the first reading. Wow. Good for them.

I am glad we have checks and balances in our city government and that someone is listening to what the people of Newburyport have to say. And they are saying it in a very loud way.

I am a little flabbergasted that Mayor John Moak would even think of submitting Byron Matthews name again (the Newburyport Daily News, March 28, 2006.) Even on a federal level, it’s understood that when an appointment is turned down, the appointee is not proposed one more time. “No” is a complete sentence.

And a lack of ”politicking” on the mayor’s part is not the reason that Byron Matthews was turned down. I am just amazed that Mayor John Moak does not realize that. In fact, I find that to be a little scary.

“Politicking” after this fiasco would be to sit down with the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, as requested by its chair, Janet Marcus, instead of ignoring them and not even bothering to reply to their letter. Finding out what they would recommend. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to sit down with all the City Councilors, to meet them face to face and ask for their input as well. And then after having all that information, when finally coming up with a “thoughtful” nomination, then contacting each of the Newburyport City Councilors, thank them for their input, and discuss the decision that has been made.

One could call this “politicking,” or one could call it simple courtesy, respect and common sense. Politics is about people.

I can tell you, right now however, what many would recommend, and that would be to reappoint Mary Lou Supple. There is nothing more powerful than acknowledging mistakes that have been made and a sincere “I am sorry.”

I would also like to thank Ben Laing for his post on March 28, 2006 on short-term solutions at the expense of the character and integrity of Newburyport, Massachusetts. I think he articulated what many people are thinking and feeling.

And one of my concerns, with Ben Laing’s post in mind, is that obviously Byron Matthews is a very strong influence on John Moak. This last appointment and how it has been handled demonstrates that there is no doubt about that.

And I think the points on planning and development or lack thereof made by Tom Ryan the editor of the Undertoad (see earlier post,) during the Byron Matthew’s administration, should give us all pause.

These are definitely at odds with the kind of “smart growth” that Nick Cracknell has been advocating for and working towards for the last four years. All I can say is keep up the loud noise on the Nick Cracknell front. The Newburyport City Council cannot help us on this one, but let’s not give up trying.

From my point of view there appears to be no wise men that John Moak is listening to. However, there is something to be said for the “squeaky wheel.” Folks, we better squeak a whole lot.

(Editor’s note: I have been reminded that the Newburyport City Council approves the appointment of the Newburyport City Planner. If Nick Cracknell does get reappointed by Mayor John Moak, I would imagine that there would be very heavy lobbying on the part of the citizens of Newburyport, Massachusetts to have that appointment approved by the Newburyport City Council.)

Mary Eaton, Newburyport