, Newburyport, MA


November 13, 2013

Historic preservation was the real winner


Then, Jared Eigerman prevailed in Ward 2. His opponent declared himself to be a preservationist also, so his win has even greater resonance. In the preliminary, the “no” candidate hardly had an impact.

Some consider Ward 5 problematic, but Larry Giunta appealed to many after scrubbing troubling Internet posts. Both candidates talked nice about sidewalks and played school connections. Sean Reardon’s preservation position wasn’t promoted, to his disadvantage, and with no viable forum many voters faced an unclear choice. Sullivan’s home ward coattails helped Giunta win narrowly.

The rest seems mysterious to some but shouldn’t be. After initial selections, most voters were challenged to choose two more from those left, but could easily eliminate three from the bottom, leaving the choice as two from the remaining middle three.

Former Councilor Bruce Vogel, favoring preservation, was a reasonable, easy vote, though wasn’t as well known as even four years ago. He did well.

Meghan Kinsey already had a citywide organization. She never really had to commit to solid positions and voters on both sides could comfortably take a chance with her. Hope springs eternal.

To the second tier …

I love Laurel Allgrove’s candidacy. When 801 “conservative” voters picked a fifth, she became their choice, solidly “open waterfront” and remembered as anti-LHD. The first position wouldn’t disqualify her and the second should have guaranteed her the vote of every true anti-preservationist. My guess is it did, representing the bottom-line “no” vote. Hers may be this election’s most telling story.

Sheila Mullins didn’t take advantage of a winning preservation position and may have seemed disingenuous on balance. We come back to The Daily News observation that “almost all of the avowed conservative candidates lost.”

Bruce Menin seemed combative and bitter, leaving no opening to be seen as supportive of almost anything, let alone preservation. Name recognition from years on School Committee couldn’t help. Providing no compelling reason to vote for him and many not to led to a poor showing for someone with 12 years of service. As Sol Hurok said, “If people don’t want to come, you can’t stop them.”

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