Questions For Your Next City Councilor

Eight residents want to be your next city councilor and I want to know if there any questions you’d like me to ask them. I am slowly meeting with the candidates and will have an opportunity to ask them targeted questions when they come before the city council on January 14.

Paula Chambers, Larry Giunta, Steven Hutcheson, Larry McCavitt, Ralph Orlando, Robert Rothberg, Warren Russo, and Mary Zinck submitted letters of interest and resumes to fill the unexpired term of Katy Ives. The lucky person who receives a majority vote (or 6 of 10 votes) on the 14th will be sworn-in the following day and will report to his/her first meeting as a councilor on the 28th.

Between now and the 14th, I’d like to know if you have any questions for me to ask everyone; or if there are specific questions for individual candidates.

Please add a comment on this blog post so they can see your questions, too.


Update: Larry McCavitt has removed his name from the running due to personal issues.

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  1. Kathy H says

    Hi Ari,

    Ask them: Specifically, what makes you the best candidate for the position of city councilor? How are you better than all the rest who are running, and what do you intend to do to make Newburyport a better place to live?

    Anyone who has been a city councilor before is not necessarily the best choice. I would like to see someone new who actually wants the job and cares about the people in this community. Mary Zinck, I believe, would be a refreshing addition to this council. I hope she gets consideration.

  2. Mo Donovan says

    Ask them where theystand on LHD; we alll know it will come back again.
    also, ask what their position is re Karp/NRA project
    Third, query all on the strengths/weaknesses of the new Charter
    I also agree w/Kathy-we need someone new-not a rerun

  3. Peter Fitzsimmons says

    I would ask them to state their general belief on governance and the role of government. Although candidates don’t normally emphasize a political affiliation in local politics it’s important to know since the job can be a gateway to a higher calling (e.g. Ives).

  4. Neil Wilson says

    Please share your thoughts on our waterfront redevelopment. What would you like to see? What exactly can you support – or what will you oppose? What can you do to help the community reach a consensus or a compromise? Will you support the NRA and help it fine tune its current plans? Will you want to be active in negotiations about the remaining Newburyport Development parcels? In other words, what will you do for our waterfront and the location of our signature event, Yankee Homecoming, and by when? Will we see construction this year, in 2 years, 5, or more? Just wondering.

  5. says

    1) What compromise would they support for expanding the LHD, why, and how would they make it happen?
    2) What do they think they can do to reduce the size of the NRA proposal, create accountability of the NRA board to citizens, and expand elected representative oversight of the NRA?
    3) Would they encourage or discourage the Karp hotel proposal for Titcomb street?
    4) Will they make a commitment to social media interaction with the community, through exposure and regular exchanges on Facebook and blogs? Have they done that to date, and if not why not?
    5) What potential conflicts of interest may arise in their discharge of duties?
    6) What has possessed them to make a significant commitment of time and effort in a public office, and be open to harassing phone calls and comments? How will they financially support themselves during their term without resorting to gambling? (I say that with a wry smile; ok, you don’t have to ask #6)

  6. chip wyser says

    1.) How would you vote if the current NRA came to a City Council vote?
    1a.) do you think the NRA must generate the money to support an expanded Waterfront Park? …. or can it be supported by tax revenues from other private development at or near the Waterfront?
    1b.) What do you think of the Stephen Karp idea for a hotel at Titcomb and Merrimack Streets?
    2.) How much should the City pay for Plum Island Beach re-nourishment if it came to a Council vote?
    3.) Would you support any version of a LHD?
    4.) Any thoughts on how to save the City more money?
    5.) any thoughts on how to proceed with upcoming union negotiations?

  7. Larry Kiszka says

    Which of the candidates are, or have been affiliated with, any of the various committees or activist groups representing issues Newburyport is presently dealing with: such as, waterfront development, historical districting?

  8. George Roaf says

    I would like to know if they would vote to have our fire Dept. operate the ambulance service like 255 other cities in Ma. does .Amesbury fire dept. generated over 5 MILLION dollars over the past 9 years.

  9. says


    Good morning,

    Re: Old City Ordinance

    I am writing to you to open up a topic of conversation.

    About me. I run two small local businesses. One being the Newburyport Crab Cake Company. A food service business with a focus on street food.

    I have been in discussions with the waterfront trust for the last 12 months on the possibility of putting my street food cart on waterfront trust property situated approximately 100′ diagonally across from the police station. Since there is an old city ordinance regulating only 3 transient food vending permits per year to be permitted. The city solicitor and mayor both denied my request for a transient food vending permit last May.

    This is an issue I have been battling for 5 years now. I thought by obtaining a lease with the waterfront trust that the city ordinance didn’t have jurisdiction. Obviously, that thought process was wrong. It seems to me there is no way to correct this old city ordinance, any ideas?

    Right now the street food permits allowed are for 2 hot dog vendors and an italian ice vendor. My company, the Newburyport Crab Cake Company would be serving its famous crab cakes, lobster rolls, and a few other items which I derive from local ingredients and fresh caught fish. Besides bringing delicious and cost effective food to the downtown waterfront. I am creating jobs and revenue for the city via tax revenue and regulation fees. I am supporting local farm(s) and fisherman.

    Please contact me anytime.

    Joe Webster

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