Newburyport, Political Timing

Since my involvement as an activist in the fight to save High Street, I’ve become aware that there appears to be a rhythm in public interest in any one particular issue. An ebb and flow if you will.

I can remember when High Street seemed to continually make the front page of the local media outlets. And then there would be a time, when no matter what people did, no one appeared to be interested in the issue at all.

But in its own time, the subject once again made front page news. The interest in the issue seemed to have a life of its own, and there appeared that there could be no way to control it.

This can be both puzzling and frustrating for someone who is advocating for a particular cause.

For the last few weeks the $1.58 million override for the Newburyport schools appears to have been the dominant topic. I would imagine that until the May 22, 2007 special spring election for the Newburyport schools takes place, the $1.58 million override would remain in the forefront of people’s minds. However, even that matter is beginning to faded somewhat from the collective consciousness.

The ordinance concerning the balance of chain stores and smaller entrepreneurial endeavors has appeared to have ignited local attention, at least for the time being.

People who are advocating to save the Wheelwright property have expressed their frustrations to me, that no matter what they might do, they are having very little success at the moment at getting people to pay attention to that issue at all.

I explain that it is all about timing. And part of good political activism is putting one’s ear to the ground and listening for the time when folks would once again be interested in a specific concern.

The same thing appears to apply to the question of a garage. Whether a garage for downtown may or may not be a good idea is almost moot. Folks simply do not seem to be interested in the subject. And since Mayor John Moak was elected in part because people did not want a garage, getting folks to pay attention to that particular matter is proving difficult.

Again it’s a matter of timing. Listening for the right moment. No amount of shouting from the roof tops would make the community listen, not if they are not inclined.

The Newburyport landfill is another example. A nightmare that has been going on for years that effects everyone one way or another in Newburyport, MA. The myriad of problems have not gone away, but the matter has peaks and valleys when it comes down to public attention.

The intricacies of politics have always intrigued me. And since I’ve been blogging, I have found that the nuances of political complexities are yet more intricate and even more fascinating.

Mary Eaton