Monday, February 7, 2011

Your Boldness Stands Alone Among the Wreck

I'm wondering if we might have a week here in "Scenic Southeastern Connecticut" (let's hear it for lots of free lunches with local chamber of commerces!) without a snowstorm that alters beyond repair or recovery how we get things done (more or less) here in The Rose of New England. We have a lot of important things going on in these parts and needing to borrow White Fang to get to some of them can negatively impact getting our swerve on.

Tonight at six, it's a special (and marathon if you believe the municipal notice) meeting of the Board of Public Utilities' Commissioners at six in their offices at 16 Golden Street. I'm pretty sure there are hitching posts for the dogsled, if needed.

At seven thirty, in their chambers at City Hall, there's a regular meeting of the City Council with at least one agenda item, the next step in the effort to purchase the former YMCA, guaranteed to draw a crowd. I would say the idea is so poorly conceived at so many levels I don't know where to begin, but, point in fact, I do and I shall, but not now and not here. Sadly, and I've just proved my own point, that item will overshadow a very important decision the Council should be making on language modifications to the city's Code of Ethics. Proving again that money doesn't talk, it swears.

Tuesday morning at eight in Council chambers at City Hall is the final of the three public hearings on the Downtown Revitalization Programs approved in November's referendum. Last Monday night's hearing drew nineteen people (to include elected and appointed city officials) and Saturday's session had fourteen, so I guess over six thousand folks will show up Tuesday as I'm always told how important it is to 'consider the community's input' (even when 'the community' doesn't seem to care). I love when an abstraction becomes a distraction.

There's a meeting double-header at five o'clock in different locales in the city, starting with the Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee in the Public Works' Director's office at 50 Clinton Street. Considering their last meeting was in November of last year (December and January had cancellations), and in light of the beating our roads and bridges have been taking this winter (not to mention the budget for snow removal, not that I would know it from almost any street I've traveled on in Norwich), it should be quite the meeting.

Also at five in room 335 of City Hall it's a meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee (Economic Development) (sic). And the more I'm looking at the definition of ad hoc, the more I'm thinking we should have far more of these committees and far fewer of the fifty or so permanent ones we do have, whose original mission and purposes have gotten lost in the mists of time.

I'm weary of listening to folks who've been 'working on downtown redevelopment' for decades who miss the irony that we're still working on it because they have failed to get anything accomplished. Let's purchase some egg timers that only go to sixty days, pass 'em out and use them. If Norwich had managed the space program we'd still be interviewing candidates for the 'what should we feed the chimpanzees in training?' Committee. And I'll bet we wouldn't be anywhere near bananas as part of the diet. As it is, around here every one's permission is needed for everything and yet no one is responsible for anything. Sort of like heaven-except we have to wear clothes.

At five-thirty, in the Kelly Middle School library, it's a regular meeting of the Board of Education whose own website on their own business meetings is catastrophically out of date and also in violation of CT statute. But I'm probably being a cur when I point that out. And at six, rescheduled because of last week's bad weather, it's a special meeting of the Golf Course Authority on replacing their dump truck.

On Wednesday, at 4:30 in their offices at 10 Westwood Park, it's a regular meeting of the Norwich Housing Authority, whose efforts, particularly in light of the age of a significant portion of our population, are, in all likelihood, very significant though you'd never know it as there's next to no information available about their activities or meetings on the municipal website. That kind of radio silence renders answers to questions such as 'what do they do?' and (more importantly) 'how well do they do it?' beyond moot, which may be why things are the way they are.

At six there's another pair of meetings, again on opposite sides of the city. One is in Room 210 of City Hall, a regular meeting of the Baseball Stadium Authority, whose January meeting was cancelled on account of weather. If you love baseball do I even need to point out pitchers and catchers start to report next Monday, Valentine's Day, for Spring Training? And how perfect a gift would a ticket package of home games to the CT Defenders be? And people say romance is dead....or at least on life support in my house. Pshaw!

The other meeting is a regular meeting of the Greeneville Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Committee in the Wonder Bar. Their January meeting was also a bad weather casualty.

The Public Safety Committee meets at seven in the Central Fire House and it's also their first meeting of 2011 as January's was cancelled by inclement weather (do we ever say 'clement' in connection with weather, or only the Papacy?).
One of the local daily newspapers has the Inlands, Wetlands, Watercourses and Conservation Commission whose meeting last Thursday may have gotten sleeted out back on for seven this Thursday in the basement conference room of the Planning Department, but there's no mention of it on the city's municipal website.

And Saturday morning, starting at nine in the Central Fire House, is another opportunity to speak with, instead of swear at, the Mayor and various members of the City Council. If this meeting holds true to form, there will be less than dozen fellow residents in the room but at least twice that number of reader comments the following day between the accounts in our two local newspapers. Those observations should appear under the rubric 'My Mind's Already Made Up-Don't Confuse Me with Facts' but that will probably not be the headline the publishers choose.

Afterwards, each of us can "take all the courage you have left wasted on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head." And if you don't think, stretched end to end, that number wouldn't reach to the heavens, you must be new here.
-bill kenny

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