Having started this political blog I thought it might be good idea to watch the entire Newburyport City Council meeting last night (usually I only watch bits and pieces.) I could only shake my head in wonderment and disbelief.
These are 11 (at the moment 10) strong personalities with varied political ideologies, conflicting political agendas, often with long histories of personal contention.
It was like watching taffy trying to come to a consensus (yes, I know, it’s a mixed metaphor.) This is not exactly something new, but one always hopes (maybe very naively) that maybe this time the new City Council might be able to move things forward in a timely manner.
People have often asked me if I would run for City Council. It is a job I wouldn’t want, primarily because there are some issues (the budget for example) that are so complex, that I would be completely out of my league.
But last night there seemed to be some pretty obvious (to me) resolutions. The police need a new cruiser (their old one having been totaled.) We need a new City Clerk, but that met with a deadlock last night, despite abundant time to get to know the applicants (every City Councilor should be well acquainted with the two finalists anyway.) The Council admitted that they had no real say on the NRA survey (this has to do with parking on the Waterfront), but decided to send it to committee anyway. This means it is unlikely to go out with the City Census, which would have ensured that as many people as possible could answer it. And, I was unable to make out whether or not the residents from Ashland Street got any relief from their problem or not. To paraphrase one City Councilor, “we’re talking a lot about the issue, but are we actually helping them?”
There are stories behind every vote. The next issue of the Undertoad will most likely address them. But as I watched the City Council meeting, I wanted to hold up signs saying, “keep it simple”, “principles not personalities”, “how important is it?” and “think.”
Mary Eaton, Newburyport