Newburyport, The Waterfront

Is anyone who has been following the riveting Central Waterfront ongoing saga now surprised that Mayor John Moak did not reappoint Janet Marcus, the current chair of the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority?

Well, I gotta tell you, I’m not.

No big surprise here. Mayor John Moak has been upfront and center about his wish to have LOTS of parking on Newburyport’s Central Waterfront, and there was some disagreement on this one on Ms Marcus’s part. (Is this an understatement? Yes.)

And should Patricia Dorfman, the former Executive Director of the Customs House Maritime Museum as an appointee be a huge surprise? I don’t think so.

Ms Dorfman has stated her understanding for parking in regards to the Customs House Maritime Museum, and perhaps Mr. Moak is hoping for a receptive ear.

My experience is that Ms Dorfman is a very bright young lady. And it is also my experience with very bright young ladies is that they are not always as predictable as one might expect. Don’t put any money down on this one yet, folks. I’m not.

And my experience is that Ms Dorfman is very personable and easy to get along with. This seems to be a prerequisite when it comes to Moakian appointments. Is this a terrible, terrible character flaw? In my book there are a whole lot worse, let me tell you.

Ok, so let’s say that this the worse case scenario happens. All Mayor Moak’s appointments turn out to share and vote for his very focused goal of having LOTS of parking on the Central Waterfront and NOT paying any attention to the people’s wishes in 2 surveys of having half park and half parking.

What Mayor John Moak does not appear to grasp yet, is if the “all-parking” thing actually got voted on, it would be litigated in the courts for years.

Legally the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will not allow it. And forget about the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, war chests in Newburyport, MA are most probably already being stocked for this very possible conclusion.

My money is on Ms Dorfman being fair and balanced. But whether she would be fair and balanced or not, one thing seems to be almost guaranteed, no matter what happens, the Central Waterfront Saga may “delight” and “entertain” us for years and possibly yet many more duplicate decades to come. This is only the 85th act of goodness knows how many acts of the Central Waterfront performance to follow.

And yet one more thing. I hear “newbies” (good grief, I a “newbie never a native” who has been here for “only” 26 years, am now calling 5-10 year transplants “newbies”) speculating on all kinds of things that might be possible on the Central Waterfront property.

To these “5-10″ year “newbies,” whatever you have thought of, has not only been thought of before, but has been vigorously fought over before. But, hey, if everyone wants to fight about those things all over again, go right ahead. Just “enhances” the Central Waterfront drama that much more.

Who’s to say there should be any time limit on this saga. A half a century, a full century, maybe even 2 full centuries. Why not go for the Guinness Book of Records for the longest and “most delightful” civic brawl?

Mary Eaton
Newburyport