NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 30, 2013

Vogel seeks to 'help my community again'

BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
STAFF WRITER

---- — NEWBURYPORT — As part of our coverage of the Nov. 5 election, The Daily News will provide profiles of residents running for City Council.

Today’s reporting focuses on Bruce L. Vogel, who is seeking an at-large position. Nine are running for five at-large seats. Voters will also elect councilors to represent each of the city’s six wards.

BRUCE L. VOGEL

Age: 61

Address: 28 Myrtle Ave.

Family: Widowed, two grown children

Occupation: Owns and operates Plum Island Coffee Roasters on the riverfront

Education: B.A., San Francisco State University

Reason for running: Vogel served as a city councilor from Ward 5 from 2004 to 2007. In addition to his experience on the council, he has been a member and chairman of the Youth Commission. He said he is passionate about the city, and wants to work with others to get things done. As a former labor negotiator when serving with one of the nation’s largest airlines, he indicated one of this strengths is working with others and finding consensus on key issues.

As a city councilor, Vogel said he was “instrumental in saving the 100-plus acreage on Hale Street known as the Common Pasture, which will now be open space forever.”

“I was an original member of the Youth Commission, influential in getting the skate park built and in forming Newburyport’s Youth Services department,” he added. “I’m ready to help my community again and to continue to take on the challenge of James Freeman Clarke, American theologian and author, who said, ‘A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.’”

Position on the central waterfront: Vogel favors an open waterfront, stressing an expanded park. He is against residential condominium units or any large commercial structures. He said, “While the waterfront continues to be front and center in the world of political discourse, it is vital to recognize that there are other issues that need our attention.

“A beautiful open waterfront — our treasured gem — will increase the desirability of our city, and by increasing the desirability of our city, our property values will remain strong. We can connect the downtown to our waterfront by cleaning up and marking the other ‘ways to the river.’”

What can be done to improve the schools? “Good schools benefit every citizen and homeowner by creating an attractive, viable community with strong property values. We have seen class sizes rise, teaching positions cut, foreign language instruction cut and sports, arts, music and transportation made available only to those students whose parents can afford them.

“The arts, foreign language instruction and sports are not frills to be discarded as soon as a budget crisis is announced. These elements are vital to a complete education. We are making good progress by revitalizing our school buildings — now is the time to provide for what goes on inside them.”

What would be a special interest for you if you are a city councilor? “As a business owner and former councilor, I’m sensitive to budgetary issues and the necessity to balance the city’s needs and future with the related financial burden on taxpayers.

“I want to work on formulating a community identity and help develop a game plan for economic development. How does the fact we are a ‘destination city’ impact us and, to that end, how do we capitalize on it?

“This would be the same with what’s called the ‘industrial park.’ Recognizing that this is part of Newburyport’s identity mix would focus us on the need for zoning changes that would allow us to create and market a broader ‘business park.’”