, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

August 20, 2013

Letter: Long Beach leases need full town's decision

To the editor:

Long Beach is not a subject for an elementary decision by five elected officials, none of whom could have personal experience dealing with such a major real estate transaction as the sale/rental of Long Beach property.

Yet the decision could be made as early as tonight at a regular meeting of the Rockport Board of Selectmen. An agenda item for the meeting calls for a discussion of “Long Beach facts and considerations.”

Long Beach is a large, natural asset belonging to the town of Rockport. It has been ever so, since 1904 and 1908. Town meetings for those years are cited as the possible authority for having committed the fate of Long Beach to the selectmen forever.

This information is contained in “Long Beach Rules & Regulations” available on the town website. The document was placed on record in August 2004. The online data mentions that a copy of the relevant lease is attached. It is not on the website.

I submit that Rockport was a far, far different place today than nearly 110 years ago. It was a town of blue-collar workers who came to maturity here. Considering the size and responsibilities represented by Long Beach, it isn’t surprising that townspeople would convey responsibilities to people known and trusted in a community not yet on the cusp of cultural and economic change.

Here, in 2013, the entire community can be expected to want to know all relevant detail associated with current negotiations or deliberations. But the meeting conducted, hosted by the Selectmen on Thursday, Aug. 15, cannot be the sole source of input to a final decision regarding this asset.

Initial notification of such a meeting was entered on the town website as a scheduled meeting, to held last Thursday, and did not spell out a meeting title or agenda. A later notice called out a “forum” to be “hosted” by the board for the purpose of discussing the fate of Long Beach. Then, a legal announcement in the Times seemed to turn the forum into a public hearing.

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