Newburyport, Override Backlash

My guess would be, that now that it appears that a vote to vote for a special spring election for an $1.58 Million override for the Newburyport Schools would most likely pass (see previous posts) at tonight’s Newburyport City Council meeting, we as a community may well begin to see an “override backlash.”

In fact, putting a political ear to the proverbial ground, one can almost hear the waves pulling back into the ocean for one tsunamis of an override backlash.

Asking people to increase taxes for anything is not an “issue” so much as a “political process.” It often comes down to not whether an issue is worthy or not, but whether political waters are successfully navigated.

When Mayor Lisa Mead took office, officially ushering in the new era of the “newcomer” in power, there was one heck of a backlash. And it was relentless. More like a backlash tsunamis combined with an ongoing backlash hurricane.

One thing that happened as I recall, was that Newburyport City Hall unionized. One could say that it was in response to all kinds of things, but I think basically it came down to 2 things, my father’s 2 succinct phrases (see previous posts). Folks were afraid that in this “new era” they would “lose their town.” And that this “new era” would destroy the soul of the city.

As anyone who was part of the “new era” could tell you, being part of that “new era” was not fun. They call Newburyport “cannibal city” for a reason. And I’ve always said that politics in Newburyport, MA is a “contact sport” and definitely not for the faint of heart.

Maybe it is why I so wanted the Newburyport School Committee and the supporters of the override, to wait. Get all ducks in a row. Think “Newburyport political.” Because even if the parents and the Newburyport School Committee win the special election, the backlash could well be unrelenting. They may have “won the battle,” but an unrelenting override backlash may well feel like “losing the war.”

And it remains to be seen how the pro-override folks could take this backlash. It won’t be pretty. Would they decide to pack up and leave (wouldn’t be the first folks to do that)? Or would there be a determination to be committed to the city of Newburyport, MA, a decision to put down permanent roots?

Mary Eaton