, Newburyport, MA


February 22, 2013

Not much insight from public at NRA meetings

I am writing as a concerned citizen and am not a member of any group, committee or organization. I have been reading a lot about the NRA, Committee for an Open Waterfront and the debate over our last open waterfront space.

I decided to see and hear things with my own eyes and ears, so on Jan. 16 I went to my first NRA meeting not knowing one person. I watched and listened and found it very interesting. They went through the routine formalities like mission statement and attendance and then conducted business such as bills, invoices paid and mail received. One letter opened was a letter from a lawyer that was looked at briefly and then was stated that the contents would be discussed at the next meeting. People who had signed up prior to the start of the meeting raised hands and asked questions and made comments and then shortly after, the meeting ended.

I then approached the committee and asked a question that led to a dialogue with a few members. When I asked about an open waterfront and what had happened to that idea (in the past the majority of the voters and the mayor were for it), I was asked, “Do you know how much that would cost to put in place and maintain?” I replied, “It would depend on how extravagant the design was” and on trying to give my opinion I was interrupted by a member before I could even finish my sentence. I asked if I could please finish, he kept on talking, and I again asked if I could please finish, whereas another member did say to the gentleman, “Let her finish.” I appreciated that. Now this was my very first experience at something like this, so when I read Tom Salemi’s letter to the editor, I had a hard time wrapping my head around him saying, “We invite the public to offer their insight.”

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