, Newburyport, MA

September 12, 2013

Holaday has the courage that's needed

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Kudos to Mayor Holaday for boldly going where no other mayor has gone before and for having the courage that it takes to lead the efforts to develop the waterfront. Kudos for having the courage to stand on her convictions even when she is being shouted down, to listen and be willing to compromise with the other side for the greater good, to push forward additional developments such as a downtown hotel and parking, for not wavering and staying on course despite of it all. It took courage in spite of the risk, fully knowing that the city is divided on the subject matter. Now we should all have the courage to rally around her and show her our support.

Yes, it takes courage if we want to develop the waterfront. It takes courage to lead, and to compromise when necessary. It takes courage to stand on your convictions even when you are shouted down, and to remain steadfast in your belief that what you are attempting is the right thing, not just for you and your kids and grandkids, but also for everyone around you. It takes courage to march forward in the face of stiff winds. All of that and more is needed from every citizen in Newburyport if we are to develop our city and its waterfront.

It isn’t right that automobiles get the best view and the best real estate overlooking the waterfront. There isn’t anything special about open waterfront when it looks as it does now. It isn’t right that our city has not moved forward at a pace with that of its neighboring cities on the seacoast such as Portsmouth. It isn’t right that we are stuck in neutral and not moving forward. Honestly, what is so special about the waterfront as is? I swear to you if I have accessed the waterfront with my wife and kids more than twice this season, I would be exaggerating. What is the draw?

For those of us who have been privileged and lucky enough to visit some of the European towns and cities around major rivers, such as Paris and Leone, France, you’ll notice a common occurrence. There are plenty of structures that are built right on the river’s edge with cafés overlooking the water, lights and live music. It is truly amazing and intoxicating and full of energy that you feel yourself drawn to it like a moth to fire.

In the words of former Mayor Byron Matthews, and I am paraphrasing, “Everyone wants progress but no one wants change.” How fitting are those words for the situation we are in. There is nothing wrong at all in the development of the waterfront. It will enhance our intake and use and enjoyment of the waterfront. It will definitely be a welcome change that the city and its inhabitants and visitors will appreciate for generations to come. There is no virtue in preserving the status quo.

Claude Elias