Monday, September 21, 2009

Norwich Meetings 21-26 September

This is a week of action and attraction across Norwich, with something for everyone and then some. Which is more than appropriate as it takes a lot of volunteers with a lot of different talents to lend a hand in a lot of different ways. But I want to skip to the very end of the week and mention it first, or I'll forget and that's sort of part of why it's being held in the first place I imagine.

This Saturday, the 26th, at 12:30 in the VFW Post 2212, 36 Pratte Avenue in Taftville will be a dedication of the upstairs ballroom in honor of PFC James "Jimmy" Greene who died during the Vietnam War over forty years ago. There's more information here, and I suspect Dennis B and his comrades would be honored by your presence.

I had a note during the week from Josh P (only two people I know wear St. Louis Cardinals ball caps and Pujols is taller; that's how I tell them apart) about meeting agenda not being required to be posted on line in accordance with Public Act 08-3 Sec. 11, Section 1-225 (c). His point is much appreciated since it means there's no legal requirement to post them on line, so I should stop carping about their absence. Point taken. It seems to me the Legislature could and should fix the loophole, between video poker sessions, as there's a lower cost per thousand in terms of reach and penetration for an online posting. Again I'm grateful for the clarification. Tony LaRussa says you're batting behind AP to give him some protection against left-handed pitchers.

This morning at nine at the Rose City Senior Center on Mahan Drive is a regular meeting of the Senior Affairs Commission. Actually it's their first meeting since May, and here's the minutes for that meeting. The members might want to see about getting their appointments on the commission extended as they've all expired (the appointments.....you get the idea).

One of the newspapers has a four o'clock meeting of the Design Review Board at 23 Union Street-a calendar entry not shared by the city's website. Should I point out the appointments for all the members ran out over four and half years ago, or that no minutes of any meetings are posted? Oh, I see; I did both.

At 4:30 in their offices at 10 Westwood Park is a regular meeting of the Norwich Housing Authority , who do a marvelous job of maintaining housing stock in the city for a variety of clients, with a limited amount of resources and I'd love to be able to tell you what else they do but, as continues to be the case, they have no minutes posted of any meetings. At least they're consistent.

The City Council meets at 7 tonight in Council Chambers in City Hall. For some, the decision on bonding for sewers for the Newton Street neighborhood will be of primary interest. Others may be more concerned about an issue that isn't on the agenda but has been in the newspapers, appointments to the Ethics Commission, not that this has ever stopped us (see last meeting's executive session, based on the folks who went into it, on the removal of taxable property from the Grand List by municipal purchase to build (with bonded money) a thirty to forty million dollar police station. Unless the Chief was there to talk about the YMCA, which is another project that lingers like Banquo's ghost). The season premiere of House starts at eight, gentlemen, so unless someone at the front of the room has a cane and a vicodin jones that won't stop, I'll be making my way home in time to catch Greg and Company because That's Entertainment.

Tuesday was, at first blush, a very busy day, but every meeting was cancelled. However, just being a cloud on a sunny day, perhaps, I'd note the Board of Assessment Appeals has NO meeting minutes of any kind. On the sunny side, the Harbor Management Commission has a postponement notice moving their meeting to next Tuesday, making it a special meeting. Both the Commissioners of the Board of Public Utilities and the Sewer Authority have August meeting minutes and a notice of cancellation for Tuesday's meetings.

You can request email notifications at http://www.norwichct.org/content/39/1324.aspx, but only for 'city office closings/delayed openings' and 'proposed/adopted city budget.' I would think a listserv could be developed to expand the choices so if, for example, you were interested in knowing about the previous meeting's minutes of the "Pony Rides for Kenny's Birthday (PR4KB)" Commission (or Agency; I haven't quite decided yet. See Wednesday's Sachem Fund workshop for possible funding sources), you could put a tick in a box and receive the minutes via email. Assuming the minutes were ever shared in the first place, which is, I suspect, where most of the disconnect seems to happen.

Wednesday afternoon at 5:30, it's a meeting (a newspaper calls it a workshop, but I don't understand the difference or the logic) of the Sachem Fund Board in Room 335. Part of their agenda is to approve the minutes of their previous meeting, from back in May and the rest has serious work outlined, to include review and possible revision of the entire grant application (and criteria) process as well as tracking who does what with the money they receive (which I had always thought was part of the funding process; so how has this been working all this time?).

Also at 5:30 at 23 Union Street it's a regular meeting of the Dangerous Buildings Board of Review whose August minutes aren't posted. But if you attend this meeting, and they spend a lot of time working with property owners across the city, at no additional cost, you'll also get two additional meetings: 21 West Thames Street Committee and the 751 North Main Street Committee. How can we do it at such a low, low price? VOLUME!!!

The Recreation Advisory Board meeting, normally on Thusday at six, will be at six on Wednesday at the Recreation Department office across from the tennis courts. I was less than surprised to see item four on their agenda-and wonder when the City Council agenda will reflect it, too (as soon as the votes are lined up, I'll bet.).

And at seven over on New London Turnpike at the Golf Course is a regular meeting of the Golf Course Authority whose August meeting minutes are here (revenues are down 40K over same period a year ago-not a good sign, for us as residents). Just me, or have you, too, noticed how often the municipal website has a space for 'agenda' even though there's no requirement for them?

At eight o'clock Thursday morning in their offices at 77 Main Street it's a regular meeting of the Norwich Community Development Corporation who don't even get a spot on the city's listing of advisories, agencies, boards, commissions and committees (heck, the Ethics Review Committee is still listed! We were finished after turning in our final report on 17 March 2008). That's where the meeting minutes would be posted, but aren't. They're (probably) available by dropping a note to BobMills@ncdevcorp.org, who sends them to me whenever I ask (he's not so good with pony rides, but then again who is?) who will probably do the same for you.

Thursday night at seven, in, respectively, Room 108 (the really old courtroom with the goofy floor plan) and Room 335, (the less really old courtroom with lousy acoustics) are meetings of the Republican and Democratic Town Committees. I think both Town Committees would regard themselves as partisan political activities (sort of their point, they'd say and they'd be right) which I'm not sure is the highest possible use for a city building especially....

Since I've heard a story about a citizen who wished to use a room in City Hall (not so partisan, in my opinion)to sponsor a mayoral debate, Room 335 as a matter of fact. The request was denied because of 'a lack of a sound system, a shortage of adequate seating and an absence of suitable parking'. None of which seems to deter the two primary political parties-what troopers!!

Proving yet again "Oh a whirling dervish, and a dancing bear. Or Ginger Rogers and a Fred Astaire. Or a teenage rocker or the girls in France, Yes, we are all partners in this cosmic dance." And in the end, we've got to dance with the one that brung us.
-bill kenny

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