Saturday, June 7, 2008

an idea whose time has come (and gone and then come again)

I'm not sure why we regard everyone who wanders as lost (and I'm not sure, come to think of it, why so many people tell me to get lost, but perhaps this isn't the right time for that) or why when Person A offers an idea no one likes it, but when Person C does, it's a hit. I smile when people insist an instant of animus is 'nothing personal' when, of course, it is. Even if it isn't personal for them, it is for the person they're disrespecting. Not sure how many bigger lies than 'nothing personal' exist, but it's at the top of my list.

In Norwich, CT, where I live, as one of its last items of business at its final meeting in May, the City Council, in a resolution sponsored by the Mayor, voted to dissolve the Administrative, Planning and Economic Development Committee of the City Council, APED, a committee that the mayor had resurrected after his election to office in 2005.

The folks on that City Council who were part of that version of APED were very nice but a little on the quiet and contemplative side if you follow my drift. If you gave me a dollar for every item of business they brought to the full Council Council or but fifty cents for the spark of any idea they fanned into a flame of innovation, I wouldn't have enough change to get a soda from the vending machine in the City Hall basement. But perhaps I could qualify for a municipal grant?

The City Council we elected in the fall of 2008 brought new people, with (I hope) new ideas and they took their places, enthused and engaged on APED, but just as they got started, their song was over. Concerns about redundancy, additional layers of bureaucracy and confusion about channels of communication were all cited by the Mayor, and others, as the City Council dissolved APED, despite some impassioned pleas by those involved in the process and the lingering suspicion and sense that there was more going on behind the scenes than in front of the curtain. Maybe all small town politics is kabuki theatre-or maybe it's just true here in Norwich. I don't know what's better-if it's the former or the latter. Anyway APED went the way of the Sky-Scraper condemnation Affiliate, antique tables and billiards.

Monday night, having given the whole idea some additional thought (I assume), Mayor Benjamin Lathrop read to the City Council a two page (more or less) letter announcing his intention to develop an ad hoc economic forum whose purpose sounds an awful lot like that of the APED that duplicated efforts and added a layer of bureaucracy while clogging channels of communication that was abolished at his insistence at the previous meeting. The first of this 'new' forum is tentatively scheduled for Monday, 30 June at 5:30 P. M. in Room 335.

I'm curious if the people who stopped going to APED meetings, to include those who received funding of their six figure budget request from the City Council, or those who were actually on APED from the City Council, will show up. I wonder if I might help improve attendance by offering to purchase the refreshments? As Dion can attest, you work up a powerful thirst when you're The Wanderer.
-bill kenny

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