, Newburyport, MA


January 21, 2014

To include or not to include, that is the question

To the editor:

The first thing I felt when I saw Mayor Holaday’s notion of a “round table discussion” regarding the waterfront was, “Here we go again.” Now that the election is over, and along with it all the babble about listening to the voters, so on and so forth, we begin seeing signs that nothing has really changed. The “closed shop” mentality is still there: COW will not be present at this meeting of the minds, its perfectly legitimate plan not on the table, and no voices heard other than those favoring development.

Just look at the agenda to see my point. The primary topic of discussion will be the “modification of the Union Studios Plan.” I looked up “modification” in my dictionary to get a precise notion of its meaning, and here is what it says: “a partial or slight change of form.” This could mean many things. Instead of residential condos, maybe we’ll get rental units. Instead of three-story structures, maybe two-story. Instead of an underground garage, maybe more blacktopped, on-site parking. One thing we will not see from her is any sort of concession to the open waterfront crowd.

This is, of course, monumentally counterproductive to generating consensus or any sort of atmosphere where a cease-fire in municipal bickering would have a chance of success. I urge the mayor to back off. I thought I’d never see the day when our newspaper of record would editorialize, not once but twice, that the NRA should dissolve itself, and for the mayor to work more enthusiastically for what the majority of people in this city want, a noncommercial park in the center of Newburyport. If The Daily News has finally seen the light, how can the mayor remain blind? It would take maturity of character for her to come around. It would mean swallowing her pride and admitting to a necessary change of course.

I ask the mayor to be inclusive when it comes to charting our future along the Merrimack. This is her chance for greatness. Otherwise, the ongoing civil war, and lawsuits galore, will continue to loom over our collective horizon. Do any of us really want that?

James Charles Roy


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