A Thick Skin In Newburyport Politics and the Mute Button

Bruce Vogel probably gets the dubious and not so fun prize of being the “Most Toaded Newburyport City Councilor” in the Undertoad’s 10 plus years of existence.

(You see, this is where I now probably would be royally “Toaded.”)

To be in Newburyport politics requires a thick, thick, thick skin. My goodness, I try to be “gentle,” but apparently even the existence of the Newburyport Blog’s calls for a thick skin as well.

(And it turns out even being the editor of the Newburyport Blog necessitates a “thickening” of the skin. I suppose that one should have been obvious to me right from the beginning.)

Being a “progressive,” although a fiscally conservative one now, or as one reader of the Newburyport Blog put it, I’m “getting practical,” I appreciate Mr. Vogel’s voting record. And if we end up having a conservative regime once again in the corner office (which at this point is a definite possibility), I personally, would be dismayed by a conservative Newburyport City Council as well.

Love those checks and balances.

Being in local politics, or in any politics, requires many skills. And how one projects oneself in public, turns out to be a very important skill indeed.

And thank goodness for the “mute button.” I think that there is only one politician that I have ever enjoyed listening to. Only one that I didn’t wince and cringe when they opened their mouth. Only one where I didn’t long for the “mute button.”

When I watch the Newburyport City Council meetings, if any councilor on the Newburyport City Council floor goes on for more than 3-4 sentences, ooops, I hit the “mute” button. Thank goodness for TV.

Do I miss a lot? Probably. But, if whatever it is can’t be summed up in 3-4 (short) sentences, and move the evening along, whoever it is, has lost me.

I later look at how folks voted, and go “hum, Ok.” And if a vote seems out of character, sometimes I ask, and sometimes I don’t.

So one of my concerns as a citizen, forget the blogging part, is the makeup of the 2008-2009 Newburyport City Council. I’m hoping for thoughtful centrists. But if I had to choose, I would most definitely lean towards a more progressive, rather than a conservative tendency.

But then, as one Newburyport City Councilor pointed out to me, I live in the most liberal ward in the city (Ward 2), so would anyone expect anything different?

Hey, I’ve moved towards the “center” or gotten “practical,” (and I’m taking some “flack” for it, no kidding), so with blogging, you never know, maybe all bets are off.

Mary Eaton