Regarding Mr. McCavitt

September 2, 2008

I thought I’d take a minute and commend Councilor McCavitt. While the comments attached to the article on the Daily News Website are overwhelmingly (as in 100%) against the Councilor’s decision to file suit against the owner of the clam shack, I have to say that if there was indeed a shady deal, or if that land is public property, then he has a duty to make sure that the law is followed and that the best interests of the city is upheld. Now many say that it’s a waste of money, and it could very well turn out to be so, but much of that rests with the ZBA, the City and the owner, who didn’t fully investigate the claims that the city owned the land. I personally am glad to have at least one councilor who is looking out for the city first, and developers second. How many times has this city been taken advantage of, simply because no one bothered to look into the deals? I’m sick of it, and I know most citizens are. Further, the statements made by the owner of the property and his lawyer seem very unprofessional, trying to degrade Mr. McCavitt’s points by attacking him personally. I’ve met the councilor a few times and he may be a strange fellow, but from the brief conversation I’ve had with him, he is out to protect the waterfront and the city of Newburyport, putting our best interests before those that would profit off of us. I can’t say I have a problem with that, I only wish more of our council acted similarly.

Also, as far as the comments go, it seems pretty clear that most of those people have an axe to grind with the councilor in the first place, especially the first comment by the owner of Licorice and Sloe, who recently had to close down his shop. Calling him a menace is a bit much.

ps. I think we’ll all be glad Mr. McCavitt and his Chapter 91 committee are around when Karp brings his plans to Newburyport.



  1. Hey x,

    Thought I should chime in since you honered me in your blog with mention of my name and my axe in need of grinding.

    Yep I think McCavitt is a menace, but not because of my dull axe, I just feel that he’s against a lot and hardly for a thing.

    In regards to his involvement in our loss of A-frame and the follow-up closing of our business… I at least give him credit for expressing his opinion… if I had an axe to grind it would actually be with Hutchesen who recused himself from the meeting because his wife’s business has an A-frame sign. So basically he thinks his wife deserves a sign, but that we don’t and I see all kinds of wrong with that. He’ll argue that there was a conflict of interest because of chameleon, but the only reason that could be is if he intended to vote against their sign, and mine along with it. Then to add insult to injury he had the audacity to comment in the article about our closing, so he didn’t mind publicly commenting when it was all too late. I’m truly disappointed with Hutch over that.

    back to Mccavitt. in conversation, when folks bring up his name as being a menace, I have always noted that i’ve seen him do good things for this city. I know he helped to get the bike racks installed throughout downtown. for me though, i see many of his actions as wasteful both in time and money. And waiting until the last possible day to appeal the city’s decision on the clam shack was just a nasty thing to do… the poor guy is thinking that he’s finally there, and then Larry steps in to bust this guys balls. I don’t like it at all.

    Also, I happened to be one of 5 people present (including Larry) in June when I heard Larry make some comments about Newburyport and tourism that absolutely offended me. I wonder if he would have made the same comments if former daily news reporter stephen tait hadn’t just departed along with the 20 other folks who were at the meeting that was breaking up? I wonder if all the shop owners in town that make a large percent of their income from tourists would have the warm and fuzzies for Larry if they knew the language he used to describe anyone who would open such a business in Newburyport?

    give me a little credit X, for not simply basing my opinions of Larry on his part in the A-frame dilemma.

  2. glad to have your input Bill, both sides of the issue is always welcome.

    a few things though…As far as Hutchinson recusing himself, it is necessary since a vote in favor of the a-frame sign would clearly be a conflict of interest, voting on something that will directly benefit him. A vote against the sign wouldn’t be a conflict of interest but would be highly unlikely since it would affect his family negatively. I think it is the only choice that would be acceptable for people how were against the A-frames.

    As McCavitt waiting until the last day to file an appeal, perhaps his intent was to stick it to the owner, perhaps not. It is equally reasonable to see that no one else was willing to take action and so he filed the motion himself, waiting for the city as a whole to straighten out their own mess. As for busting his balls, if he is stealing city land, i have to sympathy for him, and if the city was ignorant in determining who owns what land, then thank goodness Larry was willing to at least appeal so that the truth can be ascertained. Again, he might have done it to be a jerk, but in either case, it is a good thing for the city that he did it and someone will actually have to get to the bottom of it.

    As for the tourist comments, I don’t know what he said (feel free to post it if you wish) but I imagine it is probably similar to the way most locals feel, that there are too many tourists, and too many stores downtown that cater to them while ignoring the people that live here. It seems as if the Chamber of Commerce runs the city, not the people, and most people who have lived here long enough are growing tired of the crowds every weekend. So again, not knowing exactly what he said, i don’t see it as a offensive statement (in general) but since you are a downtown business owner I can understand why you felt the way you did. Doesn’t make Larry a bad guy though, and doesn’t justify calling him a menace.

  3. X,

    I don’t see how hutch’s “yes” for A-frames in general is a conflict of interest, again his wife already has an approved sign, so voting yes for everyone else to have a sign doesn’t appear to be a conflict of interest… maybe i’m too close to the issue to see your point, but it would seem to me that there would only be a conflict of interest in his “yes” vote if his wife didn’t already have an approved A-frame before this meeting. on the other hand I do see how his “no” vote would make some folks suspicious about his intentions.

    I’m glad we share similar distaste for the Chamber, I’m not a big fan of theirs. We were members for a year and I think it was generally a waste of money, but more important to me was that they didn’t stand up for those of us in favor of A-frames, instead they excitedly accepted the task of helping to rid the city of these A-frame shaped nuisances and offer us the new and improved “north pole sign” and “down town directory”. Now please don’t get me started on the issues that I have with both of these so called solutions… I’m absolutely disgusted with the direction that is all going.

    and believe it or not X, I too don’t care for the events that take place downtown during all of the chamber run festivals and I simply loathe Yankee Homecoming… i wonder if i’ve pissed anyone off by saying that out loud.

    I don’t mind a few festival style weekends, but can we change up the program and try something new and interesting?

    I think a lot of people thought we were another tourist focused business. Truth is we weren’t, we even thought it would be better to be located off of state street so that we could cater to locals more than tourists. About 80% of our business was made up of locals from September through June. It was more 50/50 split from about mid June through mid September. Surviving September through May was usually pretty easy… we had our regulars who came in frequently for hot tea, but they would fall off as the hot weather approached and tourists would fill in and so we absolutely relied on tourists for 2-3 months per year. But that’s also the time of year where we stay in business to stay in business not to make money. this year more than our prior two it was tough because the cost of “to go” related ingredients including, ice, syrup, fruit, cup, lid and straw were so high that we were lucky to be making a few cents per beverage. My point is that we really didn’t care much about the summer business… that’s not what we were about, it was the rest of the year that we really were interested in… providing a place for folks to come sit, relax and drink tea. we were always about catering to locals and dealt with the rest because it is a part of our local economy… if you can’t beat em… join em, right?

    I’m not revealing what larry said for fear of the snowball effect that it might provoke. I don’t know how many readers you have and I don’t know who they are, and the last thing I want right now is an even larger number of creeps coming out of the woodwork to call me specious, elitist or any of the other horrible things people have said about us since the article about our closing appeared in the daily news.

    I still think larry is a menace… or actually i think he might be suffering from some kind of chemical imbalance because he’s awefully cranky… maybe he should sit down, relax and drink more tea… it’s just too bad that he no longer has our teahouse as an option. and by the way, he threw down the gauntlet when he called me specious at the meeting where our sign was… was… was… er…. unsuccessfully denied or approved. so if he’s going to publicly call me specious i’ve earned the right to publicly call him a menace.

    I think i’ll go look up the word menace, maybe i’m being too hard on larry.

    have a good day X,


  4. i will agree bill that your business was one of the few that did cater to locals rather than tourists, and i did enjoy it and will miss it.

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