Monday, October 6, 2008

Meeting(s) Across the River

It's not a signature work, I guess, and it goes in and out of favor on the song list for live performances with the E Street Band, but it's always been one of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs, Meeting Across the River (the clip includes the late Danny F and helps me smile, even though, and especially because, it's a Monday).

As it's the first Monday of the month, there's a City Council meeting at 7:30 P. M. in City Hall, with an informational meeting before hand at 6:30. The informational hearing is a request by, among others, the CT Pardon Team to "Think Outside the Box" in how the City of Norwich considers applicants for positions. The City Council meeting agenda is
here.

And thanks to Josh and Dee Ann (and others) for keeping the
municipal website up in light of the new requirements of Public Act 08-3 that mandated municipal websites have the agenda and minutes of all advisories, boards, commissions and committees, which some local leaders in CT found to be a burden. As I understand the requirementsof the CT Freedom of Information Act, it's always been a requirement that meeting muiuntes be forwarded to the City Clerk in a timely manner, so I'm confused as to what the 'challenge' is now. Strangely, uninformed citizens and residents weren't seen as a problem-but hoping to make them making them less so is. Hmmm.

You'll have to go solo to the City Council meeting tonight. Keith R is across the country. I will be accompanying the love of my life as she gets an MRI. Almost thirty-one years of marriage to a maniac does not leave a person unmarked. Since meeting and marrying in
Offenbach, Germany and promising to have and to hold for better and for worse, though not necessarily for 4,200 miles of relocation and transplantation into what (at best) is a different and (at times) hostile culture, it's not often I get to take care of her. We've spent our lives together with her taking care of me. Townsend was right, it's the best I ever had.

Glancing through the council's agenda, I see a petition by residents to stop a sewer line expansion as well as a catch-up initiative to ask the Continuing Legislative Committee on Planning and Development in Hartford to reconsider an
action they took some months ago in the absence of any communication from anyone in the City of Norwich.

Interestingly enough, and perhaps not coincidentally, that particular meeting from 10 July, as covered by CT-N, was rebroadcast this past Saturday afternoon on Comcast 14 in Norwich, a/k/a public access (or, as I call it, 'public excess'). In the about twenty five minutes I watched (I joined late) there were eight mentions by both the five (present) members of the sub-committee and the representative of the State's OPM wishing they had some idea of what the leaders in Norwich wanted to do with the developer's application as none of them had heard a word from the city.

I'm not sure the idea of an 'active adult' community for those over 55 (Now, who do we both know who might fit that profile, eh?) that would keep residents of Norwich and the area with houses they no longer need (empty-nesters) here in the city is, per se, not a good idea. It might increase the supply of good housing stock, I know not necessarily a popular idea in an economic downturn but look at what some of our neighbors are paying for the places in which they live and tell me it's not in need of improvement. I'd love to learn more about the developer's scope, approach and intent (and impacts and costs to the city's infrastructure) than I was able to sort out in the half hour or so of what was basically a zoning hearing and variance application.

The first 2nd Congressional District debate, co-sponsored by The Day and the League of Women Voters, is tomorrow night at 6:30 at New London's Garde Arts Center. The debate will be carried live on
MYTV 9, the WTNH sister station. It will also be rebroadcast at later dates. There are more folks running than will be on the stage but as R. D. Davies noted 'So you think that you've got ambition. Stop your dreaming and your idle wishing. You're outside and there ain't no admission to our play.' Perhaps the League of Women Voters can start the evening by explaining where ALL the other candidates are. That may take a moment and be worth a laugh. That's another pesky problem in participatory democracy: multiplicity of voices and choices. We all think we want freedom of choice but it turns out we want from freedom from choice. And we're going about getting it with both hands.

I spoke of Housing earlier (a literary device known as foreshadowing by those who enjoyed the works of Thomas Hardy Thomas Wolfe (I, myself was always more partial to the Hardy Boys and Tom Wolfe)) and on Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 P. M. is a meeting of the Housing Authority at 10 Westwood Park.

Also, Wednesday from 6:30 P. M. to 8 in the Kelly Middle School Library is a forum on school bullying policies and prevention efforts. There's a guest speaker and a presentation from someone named "Boggels the Clown" and, without letting the cat out of the bag, in terms of Boggels' possible true identity, I'd be remiss were I to NOT note both Congress and the State Legislature are in recess Wednesday. You do the math, Salt of the Earth.

And in honor of the MLB playoffs, though maybe not, at 6 P. M. in Room 210 of City Hall is a monthly meeting of the Norwich Baseball Stadium Authority-the first one, I think since the San Francisco Giants and the CT Defenders extended their Player Development Agreement for two years. A lot of the Giants' projected 2009 spring training talent has spent time at Dodd Stadium, more of it than some of the fans who gripe about the team, its play, its affiliation and the price of games. I'm not sure what to make of most of those folks; they'd whine if you hanged them with a new rope. Feel free to drive to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to check out a Paw Sox (Triple A) game or to New Britain, CT, (Double A) and then come talk to me about costs. When they were still children I took both of my kids up to Dodd for ballgames and they, and me and my wife, had a great time, and more often than not, none of us realized if the hometown team had won until we read the paper the next day.

Wednesday is the busiest day of the week as also at 6 P. M. the Greeneville Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Committee will meet at the New Asia Buffet over on Boswell Avenue. If you don't think giving a damn and rolling up a sleeve to lend a hand can make a difference, drive through Greeneville. When I arrived in advance of my family from German almost seventeen years ago, I wouldn't have chosen to live there and judging form the empty storefronts and abandoned houses, I wasn't alone. But those who did live there decided to do what they could to improve what they had, and they have. We are all the better for their efforts.

And, last but not least on Wednesday at 7 P. M. in the Central Fire Station is a meeting of the Public Safety Committee. I attended one of these, though not the last one with the request for the new fire truck, and I'm hoping at this fire house there's a dalmatian and I can get to pet her/him. Kidding aside (I know, 'oh, that's what that was!') this is committee created by the City Council that rolls, fire, police, emergency management, ambulance team members all into one place and offers an insight into how the public safety infrastructure is working and how it can be bettered.

Despite what you may have heard in recent weeks, the Mayor's Economic Round table, announced for this Thursday, on development (and lack thereof) in the Norwichtown Mall, will NOT be held. I suspect the reason for the postponement was it was scheduled on Yom Kippur. Considering that I haven't what, if any, consensus and sense of direction was developed from the previous two sessions on the Norwich Hospital Property (Brewster's Point and lots of other names, come to think of it), it may not be a bad idea to NOT have this session. We are often much better at starting stuff here in the Rose City than in sticking with it and finishing it. Our friends in Preston seem to have a similar problem

Speaking of finishing (I love the way I join all of this stuff together, don't you? I'll take that as a 'yes') Thursday evening at 6 in City Hall is a meeting of the Rehabilitation Review Committee. A walk through Norwich (and many small cities and towns throughout New England) would suggest that this is a target-rich environment for such a committee.

There's probably even more than what I've found going on this week, and I promise to work harder to pass it along. You've got a part, too. If you've gone to a meeting and there's information you'd like your neighbors to know about, I'll share it if you tell me. Heck, it beats making it up (I'm still explaining to people I was joking last week about the
presidential candidate who wanted to galvanize babies. I thought that was obviously a goof but I've since learned otherwise. Mencken would be so pleased, but probably wouldn't order the soup, either). Hey, Eddie, can you get us a ride?
-bill kenny

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