Monday, October 12, 2009

In 1492 Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue

And I, for one, think it was very thoughtful of him to land on a Monday so we could have a three-day weekend and some smokin' mall sales. Talk about as 'economic stimulus package' (that's what we, here in CT, call a giant plastic bag with redeemable for the nickel deposit water bottles. We are so Livin' Large in The Nutmeg State.)

Because this is a short week, the municipal meeting schedule for Norwich, Connecticut, is a bit compressed (and extended which sounds contradictory, but isn't) so first things first.
There's a meeting at seven AM (!) tomorrow at 23 Union Street of the Zoning Board of Appeals whose September agenda is here but NOT the meeting minutes. In light of his unhappiness about Byron Brook and his oft-voiced concerns about zoning deliberations, I confess to being surprised that there's a vacancy on the ZBA that's just made for someone I know, except he'd have to stop shaking a stick and start being constructive.

There's a regular meeting at 8:30 of the Youth Service Advisory Board, YSAB, on the campus of Norwich Free Academy. I'm more than a little confused as to why the muniweb says it meets Tuesday nights at seven and more than a little curious as to where the mandated minutes are posted, but since four of the appointments expired nearly a decade ago, there may be larger issues. And the Mayor bemoans the dearth of suitable volunteers for an Ethics Commission?

At five thirty in City Hall, Room 319, is a special meeting (because of today's holiday) of the Norwich State Hospital Site Committee whose minutes of all but their first meeting have yet to make it to City of Norwich website for reasons I'm sure very clever people can offer. Save your typing--I have the meeting minutes and the agenda already. If you'd like them, let me know OR you can get them as I did, from Shelley C who is at admin@askncdc.com. Maybe at the next City Hall professional development day a refresher on Public Act 08-3 might be offered before someone decides nothing says 'you're sorry now' like a legal complaint.

Also at five thirty, more or less on the other end of the city, in the library at Kelly Middle School, is a regular meeting of the Board of Education-here's their September minutes. Because of the amount of the city's budget (with a cover that features a photo of two regional institutions) that's devoted to the Board of Education (to include Norwich Free Academy) I smile (or is it a grimace?) when people tell me they don't attend meetings 'because I don't have children (any more) in the schools.' More curiosity than anything else: what exactly does the Vietnam War Committee Chairperson do? And speaking of chairpersons, there doesn't seem to be one for 'negotiations' or whatever it is one of the other members is involved with.

The Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee has been cancelled as were the August, September and October meetings before it. The last time they met was in July. They've been lacking a member from the City Council since LAST January when Alderman Christopher Coutu became the 47th District Representative in Hartford and left the Council, not that I'm keeping track or anything.

At a quarter of nine Wednesday morning is a regular meeting of the Rehabilitation Review Committee who are so shy and self-effacing they have no minutes posted of any of their meetings. Don't be surprised if they start showing up on the side of a milk carton. How else will we know who they are and what they've accomplished and would like to accomplish, unless that was the point of posting no minutes?

At two o'clock there's a regular meeting of the Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resources Recovery Authority (SCRRRA) whose definition of 'transparency' and mine seem to be at a variance. I have no idea where this meeting is held, but good luck to you.

At 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, there's a regular meeting at 10 Westwood Park of the Housing Authority, none of whose meeting minutes have ever made it to the City's website. No need to look, that streak remains intact.

At six, usually at the Wunderbar, is a regular meeting of the Greeneville Neighborhhod Revitalization Committee all of whose members' appointments expired last month, which helps explain the paucity of current, or even recent, meeting minutes.

Also Wednesday at six, the Baseball Stadium Authority meets in Room 210 in City Hall. I very much doubt if anyone from the Richmond Hush Puppies, or whatever they will be called, are attending but I'm sure the special committee the City Council assembled last meeting to bring a Single A baseball team to Dodd Stadium will have something to contribute. I look forward to reading about that in the minutes when they're posted on the City's website after next Labor Day or so.

Since you're downtown, why not attend the Public Safety Commission regular meeting in the Central Fire House at seven? Here's the minutes from the September meeting and I'd anticipate a full update on the actions of the City Council last Monday in relation to leasing a new firefighting vehicle as well as some open business to include what are now called the "Route 97 Condos", just beyond the Ponemah Mills (that went under before they ever got finished), and a progress report on the concerns some have voiced on young school children and their walking routes in the proximity of registered sexual offenders.

Thursday afternoon at five, in room 319 of City Hall (the website says 210; I'm going by the June minutes), is a regular meeting of the Historic District Commission who, true to their name, don't have current meeting minutes on the city's website. Color me surprised.

At six, in their facility on the New London Turnpike, it's a regular meeting of the Ice Arena Authority whose members appointments all melted away years ago, taking any and all traces of their meeting minutes with them, it would seem.

Why is it so hard for our municipal leaders, elected, appointed and volunteer, to understand the purpose and point of ALL the legislation in support of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act and the right of the public to know what goes in the meetings held to take actions in our name? Sermon ended-see if I can get back the deposit on this soap box, willya?

If you're not attending the Norwich City Council candidates' debate, starting at seven, in the Slater Auditorium of Norwich Free Academy (I'm resisting the temptation to ask 'why not?!') then, worth a drive if you're a fan of hydration, is a regular meeting of the South East Connecticut Water Authority and Representative Advisory Board in the Waterford Public Library. Every week we read another report about someone's well being contaminated and communities across the region struggling with infrastructure costs about the separation of sewage and rainwater.

Meanwhile we all speak vaguely (but knowingly) about the imperatives of identifying new revenue streams and rebuilding the economic base of the region-all the while forgetting these guys are at the pointy end of the spear on maintaining plentiful and potable water for all, and for all purposes. I wonder if W. C. Fields would approve.

That's all the meetings I know about. Go be an exclamation and not an explanation.
-bill kenny

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