Having a fairly good knowledge on what goes on in this City* I am constantly amazed when I speak to a random selection of people around town who say Mayor Moak was a good mayor. I can see why they thought that. They would look at how the city was rock-solid on its balance sheets and, except for the landfill which he inherited, there was little in the way of controversies under his administration. A lot of good things happened under him too*. (Most of which he inherited.)
But that’s the problem. I know better.
Contrary to his publicly proclaimed aspiration to be a strong mayor like the administration of Byron Matthews; he was anything but that. There were so many opportunities that were presented to him that he either walked away from or lost all together. All because he didn’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers. If there was any hard tasks that would have the possibility to cause political acrimony, he’d drop it like a lead balloon.
If the public wants a political leader who makes them feel good then they often get an undesired consequence:
A leader who mortgages away opportunities until there is only one consequence – a whole lot of pain in the future.
Mayor Moak was given a chance to upgrade the telecommunication system for a lot cheaper than it will cost now but it would have meant a lot of people upset and he would have had to fight a fierce fight to do it.
In contrast, Mayor Holaday is a true leader. She not only brings up what needs to be done, and doesn’t shy away from a confrontation but is willing to fight for it. Nothing worse in the eyes of the public is someone who brings up things that must be done but then backs down under pressure. Of course, though they may be proclaimed as great, I have no respect for someone who puts off telling anyone the hard facts and then walks away. The public may proclaim them, ‘A popular leader’; but I’d use another phrase, ‘Traitor of the public trust’.
I’ll make a prediction now (always a dangerous thing in politics) that in the coming election, we will, if we have an opponent; a ‘protest’ candidate against the sitting mayor. And that person will lose.
Why? Because true leaders are rare and make hard choices and though I may not agree on her solution; she’s doing the right thing by bringing up the hard choices we have to make and following through regardless of the controversy.
It may seem risky business but it’s not – the public respects someone who puts the City first over their tenuous political future.
* You be the judge: (DM means Done by Moak.)(Many dark siders may consider most of his initiatives as good)
City Hall was restored. (DM)
First local historic district established in the City.
Common Pasture was secured.
Curzon Mills was secured.
Solar Panels put on Nock School. (DM)
TIP given to Rochester Electronics (DM)
Bradford & Bigelow brought to Newburyport. (DM)
Wind Turbine installed.
Turkey Hill Road paved. (DM)
Worked to get sidewalks done around the city. (DM)
CPA money spread over key historic sites.
Custom House rescued from water damage.
Perkin’s Mint purchased and initially restored.
Friendship brought to City. (DM)
Secret deal made with New Ventures. (DM)
Tried to walk away from keeping Woodman Farms agricultural. (DM)
Decimated the Planning Office. (DM)
Lost the Verizon FiOs Contract for the City. (DM)
Installed a cell tower on the Little River Nature Trail. (DM)
Walked away from our first facility of higher learning on unoccupied space at the Ferraz Building. (DM)
Walked away from acquiring state land for a park and possible future West End School. (DM)
Pushed for a Proposition 2-1/2 override. (DM)
Pushed for a Debt Exclusion. (DM)