NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 29, 2013

'I Am Pro-Amesbury' a thinly veiled smear campaign


Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

First, a brief overview of key events since mid-September:

Sept. 17: Mayor Kezer defeated in vote count by challenger Ken Gray in mayoral primary.

Oct. 6: “I Am Pro-Amesbury” Facebook site created.

Oct. 7: Form CPF 101 PC: Statement of Organization, Political Action Committee (PAC) papers signed and dated, citing Michael Hogg chairman and Amy Sherwood treasurer. Stated purpose: To promote the positive and continued progress of Amesbury, promote investment in Amesbury Public Schools, basic infrastructure and economic development.

Oct. 9: Gray-Kezer mayoral debate held at AHS.

Oct. 13: “I Am Pro-Amesbury” PAC form date stamped by the town clerk.

Oct. 22: Oct. 27 Amesbury rally advertisement posted by the “I Am Pro-Amesbury” Political Action Committee, featuring “the mayor of Amesbury” and a select slate of City Council and school board members and candidates. It is called a “family event” where musical entertainment and food will be provided.

Second, and to the point, this “I Am Pro-Amesbury” PAC that the mayor conveniently claims to have signed onto “immediately when he heard about the message the group is hoping to promote” (per The Daily News) is, simply, a fast-acting political maneuver by the mayor and/or his supporters after the mayor’s Sept. 17 primary loss. It is also, essentially, a shameful smear campaign, the underlying intent of which is to corral residents/voters into overlooking real issues that the challenging mayoral and council candidates and their supporters are focusing on (taxation, municipal spending, schools, etc.), and thereby paint their “supporting candidates” as “pro-Amesbury” and their challengers and challengers’ supporters as something else, along the lines of “anti-Amesbury.” It is noteworthy that no opposing candidates were asked to speak at this rally, even though every excluded candidate is as “pro-Amesbury” as anyone I’ve met — but I guess that depends on how one defines “pro-Amesbury.”

This maneuver clearly emphasizes that Amesbury’s elected officials, both now and after the election, really must focus much less on politicking and focus much more on the real issues and concerns that have been raised by many citizens — issues and concerns that are usually backed up with hard data (example: the 2010 Ad Hoc Tax Advisory Committee report). While I understand it may not be pleasant to hear some issues and concerns and deal with them, it nonetheless must happen.

Last, to those individuals who are participating in this last-minute, divisive and arrogant campaign strategy, I can only say that you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

On Nov. 5, I will confidently cast my vote for the mayoral candidate who has spoken up clearly about the divisiveness in Amesbury that he would like to eliminate, a divisiveness that is confirmed and perpetuated by the “I Am Pro-Amesbury” PAC. This PAC is mostly about campaign strategy and less about promoting Amesbury’s “awesomeness.” If this “I Am Pro-Amesbury” group were on the up-and-up, it would have been created long before the campaign season began, or after the election.

John Donnell

Amesbury