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September 24, 2013

Letter: Rockport lease deals still a bad deal for town

To the editor:

This is a version of a letter I have sent to Rockport Town Administrator Linda Sanders:

You clarified in your initial e-mail to me (in response to my Sept. 4 letter to the Times) my “misinformation” and “erroneous assumptions” did not relate to any of my numeric or town-obligation observations, but rather to statements I made that you felt reflected poorly on the competence or plans of the current Board of Selectmen regarding the leases at Long Beach.

As I said at length in my prior e-mail, I am not and was not questioning their competence or abilities; and I am pleased to have this opportunity to make that plain both to the selectmen and the public.

After listening to the Board of Selectmen — at last week’s Finance Committee meeting and Saturday’s selectmen’s meeting — I have no reason to believe that they are any less diligent or committed than were their predecessors 10 years ago.

My point is only that, by the nature of any town’s government, if the majority do not make their feelings known, any group of elected decision makers can be (I do not mean “will be”) influenced by a highly organized, well-funded, politically astute, and vocal special interest group such as the Long Beach renters, who are understandably arguing forcefully to retain the current special benefits they enjoy.

The Long Beach issue provides a very valuable local civics lesson and illustrates the obligations of the electorate. This effect is not limited to the town level; look at the effects that special interests have had on our federal budget, for example.

In that regard I fault myself, for I was unaware of this issue in 2003 when the current leases were put into place. In fact, my laxity is partly responsible for the political problem that faces the current BOS, a problem that is the result of a history of vastly — by a factor of 10 — underpriced rents at Long Beach.

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