To the editor:
No matter how next week’s city elections turn out, anyone and everyone paying attention knows that Gloucester is looking at some huge changes in the next few years — especially in relation to development and what that development will mean, not only for current Gloucester residents, but for the very nature of the city itself.
Gloucester, given its proximity to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, is now, like all such seaside communities in temperate and tropical climates, in great demand. Property values are skyrocketing. Rents are soaring, yet wages for most ordinary working Gloucesterites are stagnant at best, and declining in many instances.
That means, as the demand grows for property in this seaside city, it is going to become increasingly difficult for people who work in relatively low wage industries, like hospitality and tourism, to continue to live here.
The challenge facing those running for elective office in this city today, therefore, is to find some balance between the economic forces that are poised to turn this city into an enclave for only the well to do, ala Newburyport, Nantucket, and Provincetown, and the many working class folks who have long called Gloucester home.
The changes development will bring are going to be part of the city’s future, that is, for better or worse, inevitable.
But it will require someone in elective office who has a deep understanding of the city’s history, as well as a recognition of the fact that some change is inevitable, to help guide Fishtown in the coming years in such a way so that it remains the truly culturally and socio-economically diverse city by the sea that it has always been.
Personally, I think Bob Whitmarsh, running for councilor at large, is just such a person.
I would urge all city voters who value Gloucester’s history and look to a truly bright and equitable future for all the city’s residents to cast their votes for Bob Whitmarsh next Tuesday.