Newburyport, Conflicting Political Interrelationships

As the editor of the Newburyport Blog, I really didn’t want to go here. But since Jim Stiles has pulled out papers to run for mayor of Newburyport, MA (he has now become a public figure), well, I guess I am now going to go here.

You see, this is where things have changed for moi, the editor of the Newburyport Blog. I’ve become as interested in the process of politics as well as the actual issues themselves (believe you me, I’m still real, real interested in the issues, believe you moi.)

I went on a hunt for the definition of “politics,” the definition that at least I was hunting for. And at I found this definition, “The often internally conflicting interrelationships among people in a society.” Yes, and maybe that is one of the things that has become so intriguing to me, lo’ these many months as the Newburyport Blog as evolved.

A little history here. I started the Newburyport Blog back in January 2006 with the sinking feeling about Mayor John Moak being mayor of Newburyport, MA. The hope was to continue to give “progressives” a “voice”, in what looked like what was shaping up to be a very “conservative” regime. My thought was that people could contribute to the Newburyport Blog, and literally I would be the “editor” and do very little writing myself. Obviously, things have turned out a bit differently.

Yes, and in January 2006 I got on the old fashion telephone and called folks asking if they would be interested in having a “voice,” and who else might they recommend. One of the names that came up and that I did call was a gentleman I had never heard of, Jim Stiles.

And if you go back a take a gander at the early postings on the Newburyport Blog, yes indeed, there are postings by Mr. Stiles.

Now this is where it gets into the “conflicting interrelationships among people in society” thing.

I had made the “mistake,” good grief help me, of taking the local political journal, the “Untertoad” and its editor, Tom Ryan (who is also now running for mayor of Newburyport, MA) seriously.

(And in those early days, the bulk of the less than pleasant phone calls and emails I would receive, was because I did mention the Undertoad on occasion. Readers of the Newburyport Blog may have noticed that the Undertoad is now rarely referenced, and as a result disagreeable phone calls have gone way down. A reprieve.)

But back in February 19, 2006, Mr. Stiles sent in a post, that I posted after the first sip of my morning coffee (big mistake, I now never post anything until I have consumed 2 full cups of my morning coffee) that didn’t exactly do Mr. Ryan any favors, and could have possibly caused the Newburyport Blog some trouble in the process.

The post was very artfully worded, and I felt Mr. Stiles would be too classy to be guilty of such, what in my mind was a glum and uncouth act. However, I received an email later that confirmed that, yes indeed, Jim Stiles was purposeful in his intent and with no apology, and I was surprised.

So here we are. Mayoral election 2007. I may agree with Mr. Stiles on the issues that he supports, but his action on the Newburyport Blog was for me unanticipated and less than delightful, seemingly stooping to the level that he felt Mr. Ryan could be guilty of. And to boot, Tom Ryan is also running for mayor of Newburyport, MA.

Yes, and the whole thing is weirder than fiction.

Mary Eaton