Monday, October 24, 2011

The Lights Are Out in City Hall

I want to start by wishing my brother, Kelly, a happy 81st birthday today! He's not anywhere that old yet, but it's a nice goal to aim for, I think.

It's autumn in earnest around here-some, though no one at this address, aren't sorry to see the summer end. We're a little more than two weeks away from local elections across the country and if you think a Congressman is more important than a First Selectman you don't know anywhere near enough about how the world works. A volunteer commissioner can be Caesar if only in her/his own mind.

This is a fairly busy week in our Metropolis on the Thames (the contest to pick a new George Reeves is sometime next week; as soon as we get a new phone booth) starting at five this afternoon in Room 210 of City Hall with a regular meeting of the Redevelopment Agency. Here's their September minutes so you have some idea of what they're working on, should you decide to attend.

Also at five, up a flight and down the hall, in Room 319, it's special meeting of the Personnel and Pension Board-actually it's last week's meeting rescheduled. And at 5:15, in their offices at 1649 Route 12, the white-sided building with the statue of the W. C. Fields Water Fountain in front of it, it's a regular meeting of the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority whose website is starting to unravel and is already badly out of compliance with public law on the posting of minutes.

Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 in the basement conference room in the Central Office of the Norwich Public Schools, it's a regular meeting of the Board of Education Policy Committee whose newly redesigned website is very nice except none of the information on their page, agenda or meeting minutes, seems to work.

At four, perhaps, there's a meeting in the Planning Department conference room at 23 Union Street of the Building Code Board of Appeals (meetings are held on an as-needed basis). I think we can lose the note on the meetings from a year ago that will not be held-even I have figured that out. It looks like their last meeting was in August as those are the most recent minutes I can find on line.

The Harbor Management Commission meets at five in the City Manager's office in City Hall (that's Room 219). I found a September meeting agenda but no September meeting minutes so I am assuming they had no meeting which is odd since last Monday night they presented the City Council with their new Vision Plan which I had hoped would be here for all to read, but that's not the case on the city website.

And at six, it's a meeting double header at the Norwich Public Utilities offices at 16 Golden Street with the Board of Utilities Commission and the Sewer Authority in a cage match (not really but it would do wonders for attendance I bet). No longer favorably impressed with the agenda and meetings page on their website which is now four months out of date. Try that when paying your electrical bill and let me know what happens. Wow! It gets dark early, eh?

Wednesday starting at ten through two in the afternoon is (in all likelihood) one of the last if not the last, Norwich Downtown Farmers Markets for this year. After that you'll have to get your vegetables by going to Fox News (I just had a saucer of milk).

There's a meeting at five, though the city's meeting calendar doesn't have it or its location, of the Emancipation (Proclamation) Committee. It's a safe bet the City Historian is involved in that, not that his number is anywhere on the website.

At 5:30 it's a regular meeting of the Dangerous Buildings Board of Review (some wags call it the 'catalog of buildings the Historic District Commission wants the City to buy') in the Planning Department's conference room at 23 Union Street that morphs at 6:30 into the 751 North Main Street Committee (even though goggles are provided, do not look directly at any of the committee members at the moment of transformation). You can look here directly for meeting minutes but you won't find any. You can take the goggles off now. And I never said 'beer' goggles, okay?

At seven it's the third Golf Authority meeting of this month, but the first regular meeting, over in their facility on the New London Turnpike but that's not where I hope to find you.

Also at seven in the Slater Museum, on the campus of the Norwich Free Academy, it's a two hour City Council candidate debate (actually a question and answer session and how many of the latter remains to be seen) hosted by Ray Hackett of The (please don't call us Norwich) Bulletin. If you live here you should plan on voting Tuesday, November 8th, and you should vote only as an informed resident, unless your name is Dorfman. In a perfect world, I'd hope so many of us show up the Fire Marshall has to move the session to the football field and we all sit in the bleachers (and then the drugs wear off).

Thursday morning at 7:30 in their offices at 77 Water Street, it's a regular meeting of the Norwich Community Development Board of Directors (sometimes they have themed meetings like 'Armadillos Are Our Friends' and every one wears costumes, but Thursday is a regular meeting).
Thanks to a tip from someone channeling Steve Jobs, or using one of his devices, for meeting agenda and minutes, go to the organizational documents page and fill out the form. You'll get a user name and password by return email and there you have it. Once I and their server get used to this, I'm thinking maybe the city should employ it once they start reworking the municipal website (and add live video streaming. And pony rides.).

At six, in the City Council chambers will be a presentation on the renovations and reconstruction of the Norwichtown Mall. I have no idea why that meeting isn't on the city's website calendar.

And at seven in Room 335 of City Hall is a regular meeting of the Norwich Democratic Town Committee that I am hard-pressed to believe this close to elections they would actually choose to have instead of campaigning. To each his own, I suppose.

Plenty to do this week in Norwich in terms of helping hands. Dress warmly, since more than just a very warm place has been known to freeze solid this time of year. "There's frost on the graves and the monuments, but the taverns are warm in town. People curse the government and shovel hot food down. The lights are out in city hall, the castle and the keep. The moon shines down upon it all, the legless and asleep." Sweet dreams.
-bill kenny

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