If you're in Norwich Tuesday evening at seven, then you should be in the Slater Auditorium on the campus of Norwich Free Academy for the first in (I hope) a large and long series of mayoral debates among the four men seeking to be the next occupant of that office in our City Hall.
Mark Bettencourt, Peter Nystrom, Joesph Radecki and Bob Zarnetske will offer insights into who they are and what they intend to do, and how they'll do it, when elected Mayor. It's our first opportunity to get behind the slogans and listen for real-world, real-time solutions. The speed of light is much faster than the speed of sound which is why so many people seeking office can look good, until you hear what they have to say. We'll get our chance to test this theory Tuesday night.
Probably true where you live as well--concerns we have about economic development, the creeping growth in the cost of local government, the stabilization of revenue streams to better guarantee infrastructure expansion and maintenance as well as to fund the initiatives and people behind the programs that make where each of us lives a place to come home to. The issues are relatively self-evident--developing answers seems to be the tricky part. Welcome to the human condition.
Throwing rocks through a window is easy, when you pick the right stones. And some times having them is part of what being the person in charge is all about. Here in the Rose City, we ran out of easy answers right around the time the last of the mill operators pulled out and headed South (during Eisenhower's first term I suspect) and we've spent the last half a century living and doing without as a result of hoping things would get better but forgetting Hope is Not a Plan.
It happens here and on your street, too. People mean well but don't have the ability or the skills to do well (in a specific task at a specific time). Here in Norwich, the Mayor is a four year term with the six alderpersons on the City Council serving two years (with no time off for good behavior), so in theory we can swap out talented people in a relatively short amount of time. The challenge is, sometimes, we change the cast but it's the same movie (I can always tell by the soundtrack, "Days of W(hine) and (Neu)Roses").
We celebrated our 350th anniversary this summer--and it was, for me (NFH-not from here), sobering to realize when we spoke of the "Good, Old Days" how old so many of those days seemed to be and how rarely we used good to describe the more recent ones. We need to use today and everyday to get all of us to the future. Tuesday night will be the first time those in charge of the map get to open it up and set a course. We're gonna make the first part of the next 350 years of our history. Be there, your children will thank you for it.