Monday, December 17, 2007

"5 Thoughts I've Had" for the week of December 17, 2007

I have not posted anything on this blog in a month. It was an effective (and fun) tool for me as a campaigner (note: when my 4-year-old's preschool teacher asked her what her daddy did for work, my daughter said, "He's a campaigner."). With the campaign over, I've been getting ready for the upcoming term to begin in January 2008 as well as reconnecting with my family, my day job, and a million other things.

As to the blog, for now, I'm going to attempt a once a week post, probably on Monday, with some thoughts on Newburyport current events and anything I can conjure up about other important things in our lives like the Red Sox.

1) My Blog Plan
I'm going to steal an idea from one of my favorite websites ( in which one of the writers posts about the "10 Things I Didn't Know" each week during the baseball season. So I'm going to write '5 Thoughts I've Had' each week. "My Blog Plan" counts as Thought #1.

2) Master Plan
Mary Baker is so right in her post that the Master Plan is still relevant. I'm sure that the document wasn't easy to pull together at the time. However it should be considered 'must reading' for elected officials, stakeholders, and concerned citizens.

3) Municipal Energy
Maybe I am a dreamer (see below John Lennon) , but I think it would be great if Mayor Moak's Energy Advisory Committee looked at the possibility of our own humble community forming its own municipal electric company. True, a 'muni' hasn't been formed in Massachusetts since 1926 according to Globe columnist Steve Bailey here. While it may be a common sentiment in some circles that government screws everything up, take a look at your next electric or gas bill (actually your next gas and electric bill may be combined since Keyspan and Nstar are now one company) and remind yourself that the private sector doesn't always get it right. Many other communities in Massachusetts control their own utilities this way as you can see here on the State's website.

4) Newbury's Little River Transit Village and 'Our' Water
I keep hearing concerns about the potential impact on Newburyport water and sewer capacity if we enter into a deal with the town of Newbury. Maybe my public school math is a bit fuzzy here, but if the numbers in the recent Daily News article from December 12 are correct, the proposed Village at Little River south of the commuter rail station in Newburyport doesn't seem to have that big of an impact on water and sewer (assuming Newburyport goes along). According to the Daily News, Newburyport uses (or will use when Plum Island is all connected) 2.4 million gallons a day. The Transit Village would use, and this is the high estimate, 50,000 gallons per day. So 50,000(Little River)/2,400,000 (Newburyport) = 2.08% increase. There are other reasons for Newburyport to be wary of this development (like traffic, retail competition, etc), but water and sewer volume doesn't seem to be a deal breaker. In fact we should be looking at this as an opportunity to bring resources to maintain our water and sewer infrastructure, which is in need of upgrade.

5) Bruce Menin
Around the time I moved to Newburyport, I was looking in the Newburyport Adult Education catalog and noticed the name of a guy named Bruce Menin who was teaching a class examining the Who album "Tommy." I thought this was a very cool idea. About 6 years later, I had the esteemed pleasure of MC'ing a screening of the Bill Lee documentary "Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey" at the Firehouse. The event was a fundraiser for the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival. As I was standing on the stage with Bill Lee, some mustachioed man in the audience with a cast on his leg asked an obscure question about the late 1960's Mets starting rotation. That was the first time I'd met Bruce in person and I continue to get a charge from everything he says and does. My thought for the week: "Thank you Bruce for reminding us about John Lennon's passing 27 years ago December 8." Bruce, you may be a dreamer...and you're not the only one.