Sunday, February 1, 2009

Same (Souvenir) Shirt, Different Day

If they ever make self-pity, self-sabotage AND self-aggrandizement another triathlon Olympic event, the medals podium will be crowded with political leaders from The Rose City. Tomorrow night's Norwich City Council meeting should be more of a circus than any in recent memory and for all the wrong reasons.

Instead of trying to understand why Rose City Renaissance wants to pull six proposals on the Council's agenda (that, at this moment, will cost NO ONE any money) to organize the infrastructure to assist Norwich in expanding economic development when/if the current economic climate improves (not that they are offering ANY explanation for doing a 180 degree turn that makes a scintilla of intelligent sense), we'll be treated to a food fight over who can be a bigger fan of the 350th Anniversary celebrations slated to begin at the end of June which, for the most part, seem to be less than completely paid for.

Thank goodness there's a new episode of House on television that I'll be at home watching, since I'd probably get hanged (from a mizzenmast) for what I'd say if I attended (I'm somewhat amazed I haven't been already for what I've thought-but then again, I'm not from here, I just live here).

The meeting's centerpiece will be a competition to see who can profess his love MOST (and most loudly) for all the Sailboats we can rent for three days in June for the low, low price of only well, that figure is a bit unclear still. Be advised, the Mayor has a head start on Enthusiasm. He sat enraptured during the 20 January 'informational session' conducted by the 350th Anniversary Chairperson (who is also his executive secretary) and was so overcome with the scale and scope of her presentation that all he could offer, three times, was 'Let the celebrations begin!" Of course, in fairness, I must point out NONE of his City Council had any questions either, to include a simple one, like 'how is all of this being paid for?'. It seems to me the military isn't the one with a 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy. Terrific.

This past Friday, the Norwich Bulletin, which, down the street as it is from City Hall, has been most charitable to the current Mayor and the present City Council, had a front page story that followed up on last week's kabuki theater at the Sachem Fund Board meeting. Uh-oh. But like the TV spots always say, "Wait! There's more!"

In Saturday's edition of the Bulletin is a howl of agonized anger and self-promotion in a Letter to the Editor from the four folks named in Friday's story, complaining how that story had misrepresented facts--though their letter (curiously) doesn't attempt to offer any 'facts' to set the record straight (possibly because there are none) and how unfair and unprofessional it all is, blah, blah, blah to those who are volunteering (when the story had NOTHING to do with the helping hands, but rather, the appearances of impropriety by those purporting to be leading the event.) This is called bait and switch and has been elevated to an art form here in the Rose City.

I had to reach for a tissue and dab the tears from my eyes as I read how the big, bad newspaper had made these "city servants" out to be just awful people (and how they, themselves, had helped). I'd feel sorry for them, I would, but they're doing a great job by themselves and may not like competition. Maybe I could help organize a telethon on their behalf? The "Gee We're Not Terrible People, LLC" telethon. (That LLC part is proving to be very important) Think about it as a show, and then have your machine call my machine. We'll do lunch.

Except....well, except, I was haunted by sense of deja vu. And then it turned out it WASN'T deja vu at all, just recycling taken to a whole 'nother level. Check this story out. Now fast forward to tomorrow night's City Council vote story and tell me you're not impressed at how we keep falling into the same hole we keep digging, over and over again. Public Trust as a private trough. Rules are for people who don't know better.

And all of us sit, silently and watch it-wordlessly wondering how long it will go on and why no one ends it. November will be here before we know it--and it's never too early to start looking for new faces to sit in old places and put the public good ahead of any variation of personal gain, once and for all.
-bill kenny

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