, Gloucester, MA

March 12, 2013

Editorial: Make sure respect rules hearing tonight

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — A year-long push by the principals of Beauport Gloucester LLC to gain the necessary zoning and now special permits to build a badly needed 101-room hotel on the site of Commercial Street’s eyesore Birdseye property should come to a head tonight, when the City Council will essentially hear final arguments and then vote on whether this landmark project can finally move forward.

That means tonight’s meeting, set for 7 p.m. in City Hall’s Kyrouz Auditorium, will offer residents on both sides of the issue the chance to express their views and be heard.

But as all potential speakers and others are preparing for tonight’s meeting, those on both sides should keep in mind what should be some very basic rules — as in showing respect for all speakers, recognizing that they only want what they view as what’s best for Gloucester, and focusing on the specific issues at hand, not on the emotions of what, for many, is a very emotional issue.

Too often, meetings such as tonight’s can break down into boos, catcalls and name-calling by one side or the other — and that includes the groans raised at last week’s Planning and Development hearing over such a petty issue as to whether Council President Jackie Hardy can even vote because she’s planning to attend the wedding of Beauport Gloucester principal Sheree DeLorenzo (see news story, Page 1).

Let’s face it, folks. Side non-issues such as that, and the shameless, ridiculous, and undocumented accusation included in a bogus lawsuit that some councilors had accepted “gifts” before approving the hotel overlay zone last June have no place in debates like tonight’s. And they should not be allowed to tarnish the council’s commitment to hearing both sides and making what looms as one of the most important decisions in Gloucester history.

Both sides deserve the chance to be heard — and to have their views treated with respect. Let’s hope that’s the case tonight.