The Newburyport City Council Election

Question: Whether or not to go negative?

The question of whether or not to “go negative” on the Newburyport Blog as the Newburyport city election gets nearer (next Tuesday, November 6, 2007) is something that I’ve been wrestling with.

This is a small town, we meet at places like the grocery store and yes, at places like Newburyport City Hall.

There is one candidate that I am particularly concerned about– Al Lavender.

On Sunday, a friend of mine told me about the fundraiser that Mayor John Moak had thrown. And frankly, it was a stroke of genius.

$5.00 for all you could eat, delicious homemade food. I actually know some of the cooks that most probably did some of the cooking, and from what my friend told me, it sounded absolutely “yummy.”

A little like an old fashion church or community dinner, great food, fun, family, fellowship, available for all folks on all socio-economic levels. Very little in the way of political pronouncements. A good time had by all.

It’s one of the reasons Mayor John Moak was so successful in the last election. The “face” of his campaign was your average Newburyport resident, who is not normally involved in Newburyport city politics. And it spoke volumes.

The average resident, given the choice between a thoughtful person talking about issues, or a home cooked dinner that any senior could afford, which says “community” loud and clear–the average resident, I believe, would pick the candidate with “the dinner” every time.

And Mayor John Moak was at the fundraiser surrounded by various politicians and various former mayors, including Al Lavender.


1) On December 2001, $4,690,000 (that’s right 4.7 Million dollars) was on the table for the complete redesign of High Street (yup, that included things like brick sidewalks).

Mayor Al Lavender in 2002 agreed to a mere $792,425 instead (Yup, that’s leaving 4 Million dollars in MassHighway’s pocket. I’m sure that they could not have been more delighted. I was not.)

All of this is documented on High Street’s website under “Reference Documents.”

2) Mayor Al Lavender is widely credited for signing the “Host Agreement” with New Ventures creating the nightmare that the City of Newburyport, MA has had with the Crow Lane Landfill ever since.

3) Mayor Al Lavender granted a “buddy” a piece of the Newburyport Rail Trail. This was discovered at the very last minute. The Newburyport City Council, the Newburyport Planning Office, the Rail Trail folks and even the Newburyport City Solicitor (I do believe) knew nothing about this. (Fortunately the whole thing has been resolved.)

4) And I have been told that if Al Lavender does get onto the Newburyport City Council this upcoming term, that would make 10 years, and the city of Newburyport would be paying Mr. Lavender’s health care benefits, yup, as I understand it, for the rest of his life.

This is not an individual who I would like to represent me on the Newburyport City Council.

As a very conservative friend of mine said, “Al makes everyone else look brilliant.”

Mary Eaton