June 12, 2007



Letter: Public urged to attend Public Finance Forum

To the editor:

Forwarded in a Motion of Comity: The text of a memorandum from the mayor to the City Council regarding the City of Newburyport's upcoming public "town meeting" forum. Submitted to the city clerk to be included with City Council meeting's agenda for June 11, this step follows the traditional protocol under Section 20 of the original 1851 City Charter (now superseded). That precedent allowed that general meetings be requested by concerned citizens "to consult upon the public good" with their representatives, and that these be "duly warned" by the mayor and council.

That memorandum to the president and members of the City Council from John F. Moak, mayor, dated June 5, 2007, in regards to a "Public Finance Forum," reads as follows:

"A group of concerned citizens have approached me about a public forum to be held at City Hall Auditorium on June 14, 2007 at 7 p.m. This forum will be budget related, discussing existing revenue and expense problems, along with a dialogue on potential solutions to provide both desired and needed services for our community. This forum will be facilitated by John Altson and designed to be informative and not a platform for political discussion. I will be attending with some City Hall department heads to help answer questions from the public. Please join in this forum; the sponsors are working hard to make the public aware of our city's finances."

Leading by example, city officials will make themselves available for this the people's forum - and we hope for broad participation by the public. So please come with your questions and suggestions, prepared to both listen and join in the conversation. Let us all partake in civic (and civil) discourse that will help set the future course of action - in the interest of progress.



Letter: Answers about 'group of concerned citizens'

To the editor:

Forwarded in a Motion of Comity: In response to the oft-posed question about the "group of concerned citizens" (referenced in the forum's warning) - and especially because the June 7 issue of The Daily News editorialized that "a third group, organized by Dominique Dear, will meet to discuss the past and future of the city. Another meeting is tentatively planned for June 14." Please note that Comity, so called, is not an organized group but an organic movement of the Waterside community of Newburyport - its ideas and ideals based upon the timeless agenda set forth in the Waterside people's 1763 petition to establish the Waterside Third Parish of Newbury as the separate town of Newburyport in 1764.

Today's generations of the Waterside people smile in agreement that the last thing that Newburyport needs is yet another organization, another pool of energy to repel against the others. What we do need is to channel that energy, that ambition - much as the Merrimack River that defines our northerly bounds and ambits moves toward new horizons, the place where we can see our tomorrows dawn. We need a sea (and to see) change. Thus and so, the Waterside movement was launched anew "in a Motion of Comity" made on City Council floor in 1999. Like life itself, the Waterside movement is at once simple and complex - and as intricate, predictable and unpredictable as Nature and human nature.

In the aforementioned Daily News editorial, we were mentioned as one of three "groups" that has recently surfaced (or resurfaced) ahead of the wave of the upcoming local elections. We all share more in common than the physical sphere of our community. Ironically, the agenda discussed for the Committee for a Better Newburyport has some semblance to that timeless agenda of our forebears, which in 1999 revived the Waterside's "Plan in Motion." And Know Newburyport is seeking that "certain knowledge" espoused in the clause from the Massachusetts Bay Charter of 1629 that inspires the "mere motion" of the Waterside movement to exercise the body politic.

News coverage about the aforementioned newly formed "committee" indicated that when they met last week, the theme for their next campaign against John Moak would take a new tack/attack: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). We ask you to keep another acronym in mind: SMILE - which, coincidentally, is referenced in Merriam-Webster's definition of the word Comity: SMILE - Seek/Some More Information/Inspiration Logged Electronically. For more text in context, SMILE at Comity.org.




(This article replicated online with permission of the Newburyport Daily News, an Eagle Tribune Newspaper.)

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