To the editor:
For too long now has The Daily News and Newbury leadership presented ambiguous referencing to a certain “social media” outlet while shading this to be operating in less than the best interests of Newbury voters. And personally set upon, there have been more colorful direct offerings of description for the pursuit of accountability there displayed. Please be assured the age-old strategy of shooting a messenger to forward parochial debate is displayed madness.
For the record, let’s be clear: I am the sole administrator of the Newbury Chatter, a Facebook public group of nearly 1,000 members where the dedicated charter statement is to provide “a haven of free information exchange and open, civil political discourse dedicated to citizen/voter concerns, taxpayer issues, and public messaging” of Newbury. Substance is provided by Newbury town website documents, published articles, PEG programming via YouTube video, relative state of Massachusetts links, readers, and me.
The endeavor was borne out of dialogue frustration with majority leadership who summarily halted moderated interaction with citizens at public meetings 3 years ago after 300 years of open discourse because, as was stated from the Select Board table then, ‘the public doesn’t know what it needs’. This proclamation came from the sitting Select Board chairperson who had just demanded a fine citizen be removed from the meeting room. Citizen support has grown as fair, uniform, and accountable application of law and taxpayer concerns have been legitimately pursued.
Only by relentless ask was the bordering on the absurd “oral communications” adopted by the Select Board which still provides no venue for real-time dialogue. Such refusal to publicly address real concerns by this hollow patronizing policy is reflection and extension of the continued baseless finger-pointing messaging to a focal leadership end and not indicative of the content or point of view provided. Please visit to judge for yourself.
I have been participant in, and passionate observer of, Newbury politics for over 25 years. My curiosity of many interests meshed to being able to read, ask, and remember of topics couched to a dedicated willingness to follow-up for conclusion which has never been a burden herein: in fact the traits are attributes which have served me well on many planes. That this accountability sought applied locally reverts to somehow being leadership’s cross to bear is self-serving victimization. Leadership has created the disconnect and fuels adversarial notions which makes harder any issue bridging. Frankly, too many leaders here preach this outlook which sadly only fosters further divide by verbal, not factual, demonstration.
Until a more open, genuine willingness to listen and communicate broadly is embraced at-large by leadership to enjoin, not alienate, Newbury will remain at electoral crossroad. It is fervently believed by re-adopting such communications policy many perceived issues would come to work themselves out organically as charting different courses to the same island goal[s] are properly debated to vetted conclusions between engaging citizens and public officials. This is not a social media thing, it’s a common sense thing, and Newbury leaders plain need to look in the mirror.
The two newly elected Select Board members at their first sitting should set this righteous engagement tone by formal motion in calling for vote to eradicate the oral communications restriction from every agenda: it’s time for us all to be reintroduced.
JACK RYBICKI Newbury
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