Saturday, August 1, 2009

So Much for Civility

There's an expression in Irish-American households, where families tend to be large for reasons there's no need to speculate upon (says the oldest of six), 'first one up is best one dressed.' I've been noticing in the last couple of days, how some politically prominent Norwicheans would give Billy Gibbons a run for his money, sartorially speaking.

Nice outsides, but the insides, showing up and spilling out in the newspapers, leave a little bit to be desired. I'm not sure how much coincidence is involved in the ugliness-"
God does not play dice with the universe" though it feels as if He's not averse to a few hands of Texas Hold 'Em-but regardless of that, there has been some unpleasantness that's easier to overlook in a large city than a small one like Norwich, because there's no place to look away.

Here it is in one of the two local newspapers (someday we can talk about the reasons why the other newspaper doesn't have the story and may never have it) and I hope the reporter isn't expecting a lot of returned phone calls from anyone with an office in City Hall for his next story (and that's why the other guys will NOT pursue it) because it's not gonna happen.

The Mayor of Norwich and unnamed others allegedly have differences with a community outreach agency that not too long ago everyone lauded and applauded. I guess we waited for
the shine to wear off. I was troubled to read about behavior I've never witnessed and can scarce believe. As I understand it, the Mayor himself, distributed the letter to the City Council that forms the basis of the newspaper story. My moment of Zen was someone, in a spirit of helpfulness (I hope), telling the reporter “Frankly, it (the attorney's letter) doesn’t justify a response”. I'll assume the word "Scarlett" was edited out for lack of space.

I love the intimation of sinister activity another person offers by suggesting 'some people may be looking to conduct a vilification campaign through the media.' (Perhaps the same people who speed through a city park?) And he (quite correctly) suggests the city has more pressing problems, such as falling tax receipts and strained finances. So why is the Mayor, who should be leading the efforts for economic development to right the municipal boat, so to speak, engaged in behaviors that have nothing to do with his job?.

In hard times, and these are that, there's a hardening of the heart that happens as the political season moves to center stage and this spring and summer we've seen a lot of prominent people announce they are ending their political careers while many of us have done little more than shrug.That probably wasn't the reaction anyone was going for and I suspect this fall will be especially unpleasant as we struggle to keep separate the personalities from the personal and professional achievements of those seeking to be the next mayor. So will this get worse before it gets better? I admire your optimism in concluding it could and will (ever) get better. But if it does, it will be because of us, and only because of us demanding and insisting that our government improve.

If we're looking to elect a Prom King, then a nice guy is a great idea--but over six decades of slowly shrinking businesses and diminished hopes and dreams throughout the Ten Villages In Search of a City that is truly Norwich requires more than nice guys and well-meaning. It will need each of us to roll up our sleeves, raise our voice, make a choice and demand accountability and responsible change with a roadmap of where we should be going and a plan to get there. Next stop, tomorrow for all and for everyone of us. Who's in?
-bill kenny

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