Monday, February 23, 2009

The Situation's Always the Same

Actually, I'm speaking about Sara Bareilles but you can be forgiven for thinking I was referencing the relationship politics has to public policy in Norwich, CT. Hand on my heart, I've lived in enough 'elsewhere places' to know that it's not just the Rose of New England that has thorns and pricks (from those thorns. What did you think I meant?).

Quick recent example: last week the City Council for any number of reasons held a workshop on recommendations on a municipal code of ethics developed by a Committee (a preceding Council) had created two years ago and who'd turned in their report last March 17th (ask me why, with my last name I'd know that). Two members of the 'public' attended the workshop last Thursday as we were the only people (I guess) who had read the two news articles in the local newspapers and pulled the link on the city's website. For reasons never explained at the workshop, the Mayor, himself, didn't attend. Meanwhile it never occurred, maybe, to any of the alderpersons to make sure (at the least) the Chairperson of the Committee knew about the meeting. Oops! as it turned out was the operational word.

My point? If I continue to wear this hat you won't see it, but in a larger sense, I think we'd agree knowledge is power. When your town or city, wherever you live, has a presence on the world wide web to inform citizens and residents (and literally anyone who stumbles across it) about the meetings and hearings and goings-on that are going on, each of us owes it to ourselves and to one another to learn about these events and get involved. We have more tools to inform and persuade than at any point in our history as a species and a lot of us spend all day e-mailing one another knock-knock jokes (and they're great jokes-thanks!).

Communication involves sender and a receiver. When you don't understand the silences, you won't understand the words. So this week in Norwich there are 6.2 metric tons of municipal meetings and there are a lot of folks working to make sure if you want to go, you'll first get to know, which is how they get posted in the first place.

In terms of dollars and sense, and you make your own decision-if I had children in the school system, I'd be in Kelly Middle School at 5:30 Tuesday afternoon as the NPS Superintendent outlines her proposed budget to the Board of Education. In much the same way as you wouldn't let your kids go off to school without doing their homework, don't you head to Kelly without having first reviewed this. And if you've 'never seen it before!' I'd suggest keeping that nugget to yourself.

If you've followed the discussion and shouting in recent weeks about the Norwich Semiseptcentennial, you might want to visit the Rose City Senior Center, across the street from Kelly, starting at Six as the newly reorganized Executive Committee of the 350th offers an update on the status of the celebrations. This meeting may mark the first time an actual dollar figure is offered on the budget for this event. I find it odd that there's no mention of this meeting anywhere on the City's website and even more so that it's NOT on the Semiseptcentennial's website, but the Russian Mardi Gras Dinner is listed (albeit after Lent has started).

Speaking (or technically, typing) of things in the newspaper recently, revaluation is a hot button issue for many and Wednesday night at seven in Room 335 of City Hall is another chance to talk to and with those who did the revaluation. Or, perhaps you prefer to read the local newspapers on line and offer an opinion on what happened to your house's value in the comments section on non-related stories because that approach is always so successful.

Check out the full week's calendar and you'll find something you're not only interested in, but passionate about. Believe me, your neighbors (because that's who's on the advisories, boards, commissions and committees who make a difference in our town) will be happy to see you, so roll up a sleeve and lend a hand.

The situation's always the same. You got your wolves in their clothes whispering Hollywood's name. Stealing gold from the silver they see; But it's not me."
-bill kenny

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