Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I have my own theory, grounded in my experience of the last several months, as to why I won.

In April 2007 at the Annual 2 Cities and 3 Towns Democratic Breakfast (the 2Cs and 3Ts being Amesbury, Newburyport, Newbury, Salisbury, and West Newbury), John Walsh came to speak. John had been Deval Patrick's campaign manager and had recently been chosen to head up the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

If you've ever seen me at a public meeting or a debate, you will often see me scribbling things down on small scraps of paper. Months later, usually when the wallet becomes painfully large, I'll pull these notes out. After months of campaigning, I finally got around to the wallet cleaning this week and came across those April scribbles.

What John Walsh said that morning in April resonated with me as I was about to embark on a campaign. He talked about a new (and yet very old) way of campaigning, "going to where people are and talking to them about what they feel is important." John talked about how busy people are in their lives, but if you can find a way to connect, there is an "accumulated wisdom" that can recognize and solve problems and inform public policy and decisions.

Grassroots campaigning was really what I was doing, although I didn't telegraph it during the campaign.

  • I started knocking on doors in late June, when most experienced local campaigners were telling me to wait until after Labor Day. It was time consuming. There are 1200 or so voting households in Ward 4. I knocked on all at least once, most twice, and some three times.
  • Modern political campaign theory talks about 'targeting voters.' I did the opposite: I knocked on the door of every registered voter whether they were unenrolled, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Green. Once the signs came out in the fall, I made a point of talking to folks with Fowler signs because I knew they were going to vote. If I didn't win their vote, I always learned something.

After introducing myself, I would always ask one basic question to start off: "What are your concerns about City government?"

My slow slog through the summer and fall helped me understand what was on people's minds. Those conversations helped me become a more knowledgeable candidate. And as a Councillor starting in January, I want to continue to find ways to keep the channels of communication open, so that that accumulated wisdom can help Newburyport be a better place for all of us.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Thank You

If you haven't read your Daily News yet, in yesterday's Ward 4 City Council race, I received 514 votes and Councillor Fowler received 438 votes. Daily News article is here with other post election commentary at the blogs of Mary Baker, Tom Salemi, and Bruce Menin.

I want to thank the voters of Ward 4 -- whether they voted for me or not isn't really relevant -- for participating in the process and helping me as a candidate learn about what's important to them. The resounding message for me was that voters are tired of missed opportunities. Those missed opportunities aren't the product of any one elected official, but something we all own. In the next two years, we need progress on municipal finance, on educational quality and value, on the waterfront, and finally we need progress on a Senior Center.

I want to acknowledge Councillor Fowler's service to Newburyport for many years and in many ways. Maybe for the first time in American political history, we have a case of a candidate (me) growing more fond of an 'opponent' (Erford) during a campaign. I especially appreciated meeting many members of his family during the cold, wet signholding on Election Day. And perhaps the highlight (warmlight?) of the day/evening for me was sharing hot apple cider with Erford after 12 hours of mutual wet misery. And thank you Bill Van Etten for running home and bringing warm refreshments to all the signholders!

Now it's time to put out the trash and recycling, clean the car, and rake leaves....and move ahead on the business of the City. I'm looking forward to working with the Mayor, the City Council, and the School Committee on the important issues before us: municipal reform, education, development, and a Senior Center.

Lastly and most importantly, I want to thank my wife Susanne and daughter Anna for their support and encouragement. All the work and effort was really about making Newburyport the best place it can be for them and all the other families and individuals who live here.

Ed Cameron

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Most Important Issue Facing Newburyport

I'm sure you all remember the movie Casablanca.

: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.
Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!

If you were in attendance at the various forums of late, you too might have been struck by the similarity in candidates' responses to questions on the most important issues facing Newburyport. Some candidates' answers (not everyone mind you!) tend to be very vague and non-specific. I'm not sure if it's political caution or "groupthink" but I think the times demand more.

To me, the most important issue facing Newburyport is LEADERSHIP. We need leadership that doesn't put its head in the sand and deny problems, leadership that doesn't pander, leadership that prioritizes its resources, leadership that is inclusive, strategic, and solution-oriented.

We have a lot of opportunities and challenges ahead.

Please vote Tuesday and give your input. For voters from Ward 4, I ask for your consideration.

Thank you,
Ed Cameron

Friday, November 2, 2007

Best Line of the 2007 Newburyport Campaign Season

I've heard a lot of things from voters and candidates over the last several months. I've heard insights, wisdoms, opinions, facts, and untruths.

I've heard some very funny things....but without a doubt, I give the TOP AWARD (capitalized in honor of his signs) for funniest quip of the season to (insert drum roll):

Bob Kelleher's answer on the Daily News question on drug sniffing dogs. If you didn't read it in the paper, click here and make sure you scroll to the bottom.

I happen to agree with him on principle, but he certainly found a great way to get his point across!


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Your Turn To Be The Candidate: Long-time councilor faces new challenger in Ward 4

In today's Daily News, the candidates for City Council Ward 4 are profiled here.

There are space restraints, so my and Councillor Fowler's responses are brief when the issues are always more complicated.

I've talked about these issues with hundreds of voters over the last six months. And I have learned a lot....although I have to say, the 'dog sniffing' question has never come up in conversation.

So in that spirit, I thought it would be fun to try to get YOUR responses on this blog. Below are the questions as posed by the Daily News. Hit the comment button and send me your answers. Whether I agree with your answers, I'd be happy to post them as long as they are not slanderous. If you want to be anonymous, you can do so.

Top priority:

-- Do you think there should be more or less than 250 parking spots on the downtown central waterfront?

-- Do you think historic districts -- ones that restrict what people can and cannot do with and to their properties but at the same time help preserve historic structures and help to increase property value -- are good for the city?

-- Would you support a tax override to raise property taxes in order to help fund the school system, which says it needs money or faces more cuts to its staff and services??

-- Is the practice of using drug dogs to sniff out those with marijuana on Inn Street a tactic Newburyport police should be using?