Becoming Involved in Newburyport, MA

When I first started getting involved in politics in 1999, when it finally dawned on me after 9 months of the Newburyport City Council, the Newburyport Historical Commission, Mayor Mary Carrier and various concerned citizens trying to get the public to pay attention to the fact that Newburyport’s High Street was about to be destroyed, I knew absolutely nothing about how the City of Newburyport, MA was/is run.

I knew that we had a mayor and a city council. I could not have told you how many city councilors there were or who my city councilor was.

I had no idea that there was such a thing as the Newburyport Historical Commission. I thought like a lot of people that the Historical Society of Old Newbury was the Newburyport Historical Commission. I found out that that is not the case. That they are two completely different entities.

I had a huge learning curve. And when I started the Newburyport Blog in January 2006, it became obvious right away to me, that there was a whole lot, lot more to learn. And as far as I’m concerned, the city is so complex, that my learning curve is going to be a life long learning curve.

I’m always amazed at how many people are involved in all the volunteer boards and committees. It’s really astounding to me the amount of dedicated volunteer citizen participation that there has been over the years.

And it also comes as no surprise that a lot of the populace of Newburyport, MA is like me in back in 1999, even though they may glance at the various media outlets now and then, most people’s knowledge of how Newburyport, MA works boils down to the fact that we have a mayor and a city council.

So when a “crisis” happens in the city of Newburyport, MA, whether it has to do with the possibility of an unwanted house being built next door, or a crisis in our the Newburyport schools or any number of other things, to me it seems like an opportunity. It appears to me that it is one of the main ways people who have never thought of getting involved, get involved.

People may scream about NIMBYs, but it is usually those folks that sit up and start paying attention.

A classic example is Sarah White and Steve Rudolph who became involved in Save Our Town and the Newburyport Preservation Trust because of a possible infill project in their neighborhood. And how lucky are we to have this young couple take such an interest in Newburyport, MA.

And they are just one of many.

Mary Eaton