Monday, November 2, 2009

Final thoughts on the election, maybe (I may have more later)

I had some interesting discussions over the weekend and in one of them, the person I was speaking to said that if James Shanley is elected, it will signal a significant change in the city.

That is, the triumph of the new order over the old order. I said that in a previous post, in a kind of sideways way when I was talking about people who love the Rail Trail vs. those who think the time/money could have been better spent elsewhere.

Someone pointed out that it was transportation money and that the whole point of the trail is to get people to walk or ride their bikes instead of driving.

Well, I remember a couple of years ago when architect Andy Sidford attempted to start a drive (ha-ha) to get people to ride their bike everywhere, on every Tuesday.

It went nowhere.

You take baby steps, not giant leaps. Some people here love giant leaps, such as the NRA's latest plans for its east parking lot, or building a whole new sewer plant at ginormous expense instead of just fixing up the old one (at enormous expense, but only a fraction of the cost of building a whole new plant somewhere else).

I will add here, however, my own perspective that Shanley is very sensitive to historic preservation - which at the same time alienates people who also think that the Rail Trail is a big waste of money.

And here on Plum Island - I said recently that people here are all islanders, no matter what, but I see that this even is changing.

The birth of the Plum Island Foundation I think has permanently fractured Plum Island, which was already cracking between the old guard and the new. Not to mention the permanent animosity that has sprung up between Newbury and Salisbury in the fight over sand.

Remember when Newbury was going to sue Salisbury to get the sand from the dredging, even though through an agreement, it was Salisbury's turn to get the sand? From the April 7, 2008, story in the Daily News:

The original battle over who has the right to the sand erupted last summer, encouraged by Plum Island beachfront resident Robert Connors and members of his Plum Island Beach Association. During a June 2007 interview, Connors said the jetties — built by the Army Corps in 1881 — interfere with the natural north-to-south hydraulics of sand movement along the coast. As a result, he argued sand dredged from the Merrimack River should never go to Salisbury — which is north of the river — but always be used to augement Plum Island, south of the river.

The animosity between PI Foundation members and PITA members is astounding. I guess Larry McCavitt, in the void of someone less contentious, represents PITA and Allison Heartquist represents the PI Foundation.

Heartquist is the mayor's candidate. So is Bob Cronin, although he seems to know what he's talking about.

It does not matter what Heartquist thinks about regionalization with Amesbury and Salisbury because she will never get to vote on any such plan, seeing as how she is executive assistant to the Amesbury mayor.

Ward 1 thus would lose a vote on that critical issue.


Robert said...


I am not so sure I am any "Mayor's candidate". If chosen by the residents of Ward 3 to represent them, I am going to do so working hard for them and the City.
If fortunate enough to be elected, I will work and listen to what the mayor has to say, but whatever the outcome of that race is, I will agree with the next mayor on some issues and disagree on other issues.
My goal is to to serve Ward 3 fairly and listen to residents and officials and make the best decisions for Ward 3 and the city as a whole.
(Thanks for the "...he seems to know what he's talking about.) I really try to do my homework!

Bob Cronin
candidate for Ward 3

Gillian Swart said...

Sorry, Bob, for misrepresenting your candidacy. I stand corrected.

Robert said...

Not a big least Ward 3 finally got ink! :)

Bubba said...

The animosity between PIF and PITA is all one-way. I'll let you figure out from whom.

Given that Mr Connors' father purchased their island property in 1963, I'm not sure that qualifies him as the new guard.

I also think you should review E.O.181.

Gillian Swart said...

First, from what I understand, Connors tore down the house his father bought and built a much larger one, closer to the water. This is only what I heard, mind you.

Second, the way the animosity runs is my point. But having meetings with property owners at Connors' house is one example of the gulf. No sensitivity to the fact that there was hostility from PITA members. You don't have to like it, or even understand it, but you have to recognize that it's there ...

The meetings should have been held at PITA Hall all along (as they eventually were - and people signed the documents).

Gillian Swart said...

And furthermore, Bubba - this obvious vendetta against the Current (Heartquist not setting up the interview w/the editor - it would have been a PUFF piece!), Dick's Variety placing the paper on the bottom shelf underneath all the old DN's that are to go back to the distributor - speaks to the petty nature of what is obviously not PITA since PITA members still talk to me! All the time I tried to get beachfront property owners to speak to me, but NOOOOOO (and I only got names of PIF members, when I asked for names). I think only because Sue Christ had heard my name from mutual acquaintances - and obviously in a favorable light - did she talk to me, the night of the vote.

Actually ... I'll amend that to note that Danny Mahoney (owns Mr. Moe's package store, for those of you who don't live out here; and the sponsor of the eminent domain petition0, as far as I know, is still speaking to me.

Bubba said...

So his building a new house makes him the new guard ? I haven't measured but I believe it's in the same location as the one he torn down. Again, not sure why that matters.

The person who objected most to the private easement meetings sat in on the one's at PITA hall - odd don't you think ?

I think I saw Bruce Tarr messing around with the stack of papers inside Dick's !

As a reporter you are free to write whatever you like, but it's rather naive to think that some folks won't be upset by it.

Gillian Swart said...

Oh, please ... a lot of people don't like what the Daily News writes sometimes, but I don't see anyone who distributes the paper shoving it on the bottom shelf and throwing old papers on top of it. That's a violation of a tacit (if not written) agreement to provide the paper to the public - and then THE PUBLIC can decide if they want to read it or not. If they can't find it, they can't make that decision.

And if you take Ron's version, he was not invited to the meetings at Connors' house. I asked Bob about it and he said Ron was free to come - but do you just show up at someone's home? I don't know ... when I questioned Bruce Tarr about the meetings, he said quite firmly that the meetings at a private home weren't going to happen anymore. So obviously at least he figured out that it wasn't working.

Bob's property was not one of the 26, so he had as much, or as little, right to be there as did Ron, don't you think?

Bubba said...

I didn't say it gave anyone the right to hide the paper, but rather that it gives beachfront owners the right to not speak to you.

I had no part in organizing the easement meetings so you'll have to take that up with Sen Tarr.

Gillian Swart said...

Oh, yeah, well definitely they had that right. But wasn't it a much better story when one did?

Gillian Swart said...

What I mean, Bubba, is that if you only have hard, cold facts and quotes from a meeting to present, it looks pretty stark and glum. But if I had had access to people who were affected all along, the stories would have been more human. Everything turned out OK, so in this case it's not a huge deal.

I would have thought that the one person who would not speak to me would have been Howard Marlowe, but he took my call right away and was cordial and helpful. His office dug around and got answers for me while DCR, Tarr and everyone else were ignoring me.

I have to say that Bob Connors always answered my questions and was never hostile.

Tarr and DCR should take a lesson from him and Marlowe. You never know where or what a reporter might end up writing so in that sense, Marlowe came out the winner here (along with the 24 property owners, of course).

Bubba said...

Of course the commonality is the former are from the public sector and the latter the private -coincidence, perhaps.

Gillian Swart said...

No, I think you're right; no coincidence. Thanks!

Sarah Swart said...

People's Front of Judea vs. the Judean People's Front (splitters)