The ladies and gentlemen of our City Council will, by the time you are reading this, have settled in, rolled up sleeves, sharpened pencils and started work on the many and varied tasks that will take and make up enormous amounts of their time and talents in the course of the next two years.
I used "our" deliberately in that description of the neighbors whom we have elected even if you, in particular, didn't vote for some, part or any of them. Neither did I. That's the beauty of our form of governance, freedom of choice-pretty grand idea, eh? And not too shabby in practice, either.
We fail and succeed as individuals, families, neighborhoods, cities, states, and countries (a bit reminiscent of "Our Town," or just me?) on the strength of our choices and the consequences of each choice we make or do not make.
That's as true for those serving on our City Council and Board of Education as it is with those whom we send to the state house or Washington D. C. I started to hear/read mutterings and murmurings about results the day after Election Day, but all of that is old noise now and does little more than distract us from giving full attention to this moment and its meanings.
We should turn to the challenges facing all of us, undaunted by the scale and scope of what is yet to be started but heartened by the efforts of those who came and who brought us this far and fast.
Those whom we've elected know we're a city in love with brave beginnings but whose interest flags when instant solutions take too long. Doubt me? Then please name five priorities that the previous City Council had when it assumed office. Between us, I'd settle for three. Yeah, like I said; that's our big problem, paying attention (and following through).
As a city, we have opportunities in all directions but while our aspirations are, and should be, high our wallets are flat and thin. The cliche about measuring twice before cutting once certainly applies to every aspect of operations in our city government, and to some extent for many taking seats as new alderpersons was the voter mandate that brought them to the City Council.
Unrealistic expectations can be a source of later disappointments and resentments. We've done it before and I would hope we strive to NOT do it again. The only expectation we should have is that each of them will do their very best. Those we've elected deserve our full support now regardless of where the circles were filled in on November 3rd.
We do not have the luxury to stand and watch others work to rebuild Norwich. We have to take back ownership of our city for ourselves and our families. No one knows everything, but everyone knows something. That's the difference between knowing what to do and doing it. Knowledge is power but making a decision to act is the key.