Listening and Hearing on a Municipal Level

So far there are 2 candidates running for political office for the November 2007 election who have blogs (that I know of).

What can I say, I am becoming more partial to political candidate blogs, than I am to political candidate websites, because the blog format seems to give a more down to earth and realistic idea of who the candidate might be, without political spin.

This is true of Bruce Menin’s blog:

One discovers Mr. Menin is both informed and at times, long-winded.

Bruce tells me that very complicated issues cannot be addressed in short posts.

I am sure that those who care passionately about the issues of our schools are grateful for the more detailed entries. However, if I’m zoning out on long posts, and I really pay attention, what is your average reader going to do?

And the blog could demonstrate the difficulty that the Newburyport School Committee has in communicating with the public. The electorate in general can absorb short, one sentence sound bites. Very little else. Sad but true.

Meticulous explanations might not be as effective as one might hope in connecting with the public.

The blog may give you a “truthiness” insight into what you would get if you re-elect Mr. Menin (who at times can be funny and audacious) to the Newburyport School Committee.

And Ed Cameron now has a blog.

So far this delights me.

Here is a quote from Mr. Cameron’s blog:

“Over Labor Day weekend, I met two households on Howard Street whose situations illustrate the pressures. For a retired couple with a fixed income, property taxes are the main issue in this campaign. For a younger couple at the other end of the street, schools are the most important issue and at the same time they too are feeling the pinch (or perhaps vise-grip is a better analogy) of local property taxes.

To me, lowering reliance on the property tax and providing for an excellent public education experience are not mutually exclusive…” (, September 4, 2007)

I am still unclear how any of our elected officials or concerned citizens are going to find the massive amount of funds that we as a city need (and have needed like forever). However, for the purpose of this post, that for the moment, is beside the point.

What that entry suggests is that Ed Cameron has the makings of a first rate Newburyport City Councilor. He appears not only to have the ability to listen to his possible future constituents, but to also to “hear” what they have to say.

Oh, my, what a gift.

Seriously, what I often run into with political folks (not to repeat myself endlessly, but to repeat myself endlessly) is that they nod at you as you are speaking to them and then proceed to tell you why you are wrong or worse yet, don’t even address the question or concern at all.

Listening and hearing and even changing one’s perception of what might be needed for the folks in Newburyport, MA is a rare gift. Mr. Cameron appears to be moving more to the political “center” just by going “door to door” and hearing what folks in Ward 4 are saying, feeling and what they are afraid of.

Mary Eaton

(Editor’s Note: The Primary to vote for Mayor of Newburyport, MA is Tuesday, September 18, 2007.)