Last week’s often contentious North End Waterfront Residents’ Association meeting devolved from something supposed to be mirroring a fair and organized forum into something unfair, disorganized and so blatantly personalized by some of the parties present there, that NEWRA officials would do well to take a much closer look at itself and where it is headed.
Far more important would be for NEWRA officials to reassert its image as a neighborhood forum where everyone before it is treated fairly and with a semblance of constitutional order.
Recent NEWRA meetings have been pre-empted by complaints from NEWRA officials that reporters and photographers are not allowed to cover the meeting as though it was an open meeting.
Such assertions made from meeting to meeting by NEWRA officials are odious. In fact, the NEWRA meetings held openly in the clear light of day or in the evening are all open public meetings where residents are free to come and free to speak after being recognized.
Residents rising to point fingers and castigate those they don’t care for can’t do that and then demand not to be photographed or quoted in local publications.
Residents, also, should not be allowed to disrupt these public meetings with highly personal attacks on others in attendance or before NEWRA as part of an approval process relating to licensing or whatever it is.
NEWRA decisions must be made on merit or the lack of it – not because of whether or not an applicant is popular or not.
At the last meeting, members of a North End family ranted and raged at a well- known local businessman, insulting him and castigating him in the public forum. Their comments were baseless. It turns out they were complaining about the wrong party!
So family members went over to the aggrieved party and apologized but the damage was already done in the public forum where many looked on dumbfounded.
A second well known North End businessman who has applied for an application was roundly denounced in a highly personalized and unfair public forum and in the end, NEWRA voted against the substantial business owner in favor of others – and it really didn’t matter who it was as long as it wasn’t the successful businessman who is generous to this neighborhood and a friend of this neighborhood-even though he is a businessman here.
NEWRA needs to stop slipping and sliding into irrelevancy by serving as the voice of angry, discontented residents who don’t care much about merit and tend to make everything personal.
The North End is not falling apart.
It remains the city’s safest place to live and one of the best.
It is NEWRA that appears to be falling apart.