Newburyport, Task Force for the Waterfront

Oy Vey. How can a blogger not blog on the story in today’s Newburyport Daily News, June 20, 2006 on the task force being formed by Mayor John Moak to help decide the most appropriate use of the waterfront property.

A few red flags here.

*The survey from the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority is still being collected. We do not even know the results of the survey yet. And Mr. Moak is on record any number of times as feeling it was “biased,” and taking the position of paving over the entire waterfront.

I am just guessing here, and believe me I do not know, but my guess is that the waterfront survey is not developing the way the Mayor John Moak might have hoped for…i.e. most probably the survey is coming in for half parking, half park or for all park…and my guess would be paving over the entire waterfront is not the overwhelming favorite choice.

*Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a task force after the survey for the Newburyport waterfront was in? A task force to implement what the people have said that they would most prefer?

From what the mayor is quoted as saying in the Newburyport Daily News, apparently not.

*And I’m very suspicious of political task forces. They are often a way to achieve a political agenda that may not be what the people of Newburyport would like. Take Mayor Moak’s task force on the Woodman property. All of a sudden a large 40B project is back in the picture, the Planning Director is kept out of the loop, and the possible solution to have a much smaller project in that area appears to be dismissed.

In my book, political task forces are not a good sign. Sigh.

*We already have the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority who is in charge of that area, why in the world would we need a task force on top of that, unless there is another agenda?

*Ok, Byron Matthew is a member of the task force. Not that Mr. Matthews is not an outstanding citizen, but the residence of Newburyport, Massachusetts made it very clear that they did not want him on the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, and that’s why the Newburyport City Council voted against his nomination on the first reading. So why is Mr. Matthew now on this task force addressing the very same issues.

*And if you really wanted an informed task force, let’s face it, you would ask Mary Lou Supple to be on there, yes?

*And the task force first meeting is June 28, 2006. That is 8 days from now. That’s very, very soon. If it were meeting were let’s say sometime in the beginning of September, when the public had time to respond this idea, it would be less of a red flag in my book.

*And a mater of coming to a “position, a vision,” well that is what the waterfront survey was for. My concern is that this is a way of Mr. Moak implementing his own vision.

For me, there are red flags on this all over the place. Good grief.

Mary Eaton, Newburyport