Monday, March 16, 2009

The Magic of Democracy (begins with Municipal Meetings) Norwich 15-21 March

I admire those who bestride the earth in seven league boots and see the largest idea and the smallest detail in the same eye blink, but I'm a plodder. I figure if we (and by that I mean all of us) take care of the small stuff, the big stuff will take care of itself. I offer a preview of municipal meetings in Norwich every week, not because I think you should attend every one of these meetings (and if you're reading this in some of the places I'm told people do read this, the commutation cost would kill you) but if you are a Rose City Resident (a 'Rose Buddy' as I like to type to the sound of grinding teeth everywhere) you should know what goes on here.

Humans form communities, not packs or warrens or nests, because of our bigger brains and (I hope) our larger hearts and our sense of a need to help one another. There was an excellent feature on the front page of Sunday's Bulletin (that's NOT a sentence I thought I'd ever write) if you can overlook the lack of spelling in the headline (I obviously can't) in observance of Sunshine Week 2009 and its emphasis on open and transparent government.

We in Norwich, Connecticut are spoiled because our city's website can probably kick your city's server. The only thing I'd like to suggest to Josh P is to consider abandoning the email notification listing, which still doesn't work (I've signed up for it a dozen times and received nothing) and consider something like Twitter (I know, 'but yesterday you wrote...' that was yesterday, okay?).
In small cities across this country, every day of every week there are neighbors of every size and shape stepping up to lend a hand-here's what that looks like this week in Norwich.

Today - At 9 this morning in the Rose City Senior Center is a meeting of the Senior Affairs Commission, who, it appears wading through the city's website last met in November of 2008, according to the minutes, but are supposed to meet every month. I didn't find an agenda.

This afternoon at four at 23 Union Street (next door to City Hall) in the basement conference room (I suspect) is a meeting of the Design Review Board; I found no agenda and no minutes and am not happy at the pattern I think I see. Sunshine go away today, indeed.

There are TWO City Council informational meetings, one at six o'clock on the way ahead proposed for 26 Shipping Street and, I think as informative because of its scope and scale, at 6:30, a presentation on the Community Development Block Grant Program whose application window is about to close.

The Council itself meets at seven. As a former (and long time) member of the Baseball Stadium Authority I'm sorry to see how our Adventure in the Eastern League may be ending and I'm trying to figure out how the team could be two plus years in arrears in rent. Per the lease, if they leave Dodd Stadium at the end of this season, there's a fee of one hundred and forty thousand more dollars owed. With budgets as tight as they are, a half mill is real money. I'll be curious as to how much of it will exist in the city's general fund when all is said and done. Later, someone can explain to me how a Single-A franchise will make money in the same market, with basically the same overhead, when the Double-A franchise couldn't. And then George can tell all of us about the rabbits again.

Tuesday - Public Parking Commission meets at 5:15 this afternoon at the Buckingham Memorial Building. Here are the January minutes as I think the February meeting was cancelled.

The Norwich Free Academy Board of Trustees meets at 5:30 PM in the Sidney Frank Building, on the NFA campus.

And at seven PM, there are two meetings, One of which I know a reasonable amount, the Commission on the City Plan, at 23 Union Street. The Bentley Avenue Sober House is on the agenda. The other is the Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Committee also at 7 p.m. at Artworks--however the city's website has NO membership, NO meeting agenda and NO recent meeting minutes. These are the October 2008 minutes. I'm not sure that's enough sunshine to work up a tan but it will, seemingly, have to do.

Wednesday – This morning at 8:30 Southeastern CT Council of Governments has a full council meeting (as opposed to a half-nelson, perhaps?). They're located in the Industrial Park, at 5 Connecticut Avenue (I think where the soccer thing was all those years ago?) but there's NO agenda and no February meeting minutes posted

Not sure what to make of this meeting slated for 9 AM by the Housing Authority in Room 319 of City Hall. That link says they meet at 4:30 in the afternoon but the city's schedule says it's at nine in the morning and then there's this link, that says they meet at 4:30 in the morning. In terms of sunshine, a bit more overcast than I'd like and not enough shadows to see anything.

Also at nine this morning, it's Children First Norwich, in the Dime Bank (over on Route 82)Community room. Stop me when you’ve heard this before—they do good things, and need help to do more and better things but I have no idea how much and when since their website is in tatters. I love the idea of newsletters-but am really comfortable with meeting agenda and minutes to help place everything in context and they have NONE.

Wednesday afternoon there's a meeting of Integrated Day Charter School Board at 5:30 in the Media Room of the Charter School at 68 Thermos Ave.

Thursday – The Norwich Community Development Corporation has a special meeting at noon in the Connecticut Economy Resource Center in Rocky Hill. I never tire of pointing out two things: NCDC is funded directly and indirectly with our tax money so its activities should be a matter of public record and posted on the City of Norwich’s municipal website though NEVER are. AND this is the world wide calling card of the agency to whom our City Council has entrusted the management of the engine of economic development. You choose a word to describe it, I refuse to. It’s been like that since I cannot remember when (I know someone who offered to do their website FOR FREE and never even received the courtesy of a response). We don’t suffer from Future Shock (and yes, you can find all five, if you search) My Rose Buddy; we suffer from present shock.

At five this afternoon is a meeting of the Historic District Commission, 5 p.m. in Room 210 (or Room 319, I'm a little confused) in City Hall. When you walk or drive drive through practically any village within Norwich, you can’t help but be amazed and delighted by some of the architectural treasures we have and there are many people to thank for this, to include the Historic District Commissioners.

The Ice Rink Authority meets this evening at 6 at the ice rink on New London Turnpike. It might be a good idea to put on an upcoming agenda the renewal of appointments for all the members since they expired (the appointments not the members) almost two years ago. And then if you wanted to add the minutes of previous meetings and the agenda of upcoming meetings, that’d be swell too.

Friday - At eight this morning in Room 319 in City Hall is a meeting of Chelsea Gardens. I didn’t find minutes or a meeting agenda, but it was a pleasant way to spend a few minutes on line. Which is more than can be said for this rant on most days, today included I imagine.

Rediscover your passion for excellence and share your time and talents with those around you.
-bill kenny


Mark B. said...

Bill, the Parking Commission meets every other month, regular schedule.

Mark B. said...

Bill, the Parking Commission meets every other month, regular schedule.

Mark B. said...

Bill, the Parking Commission meets every other month, regular schedule.

Mark B. said...

Guess you shouldn't use the back button after posting!!

dweeb said...

R U suggesting I have attention deficit disorder, huh?

Actually might it also be worthwhile to make sure both the media partners and the city's website are on the same page in terms of schedules?

I mean, I'm only gonna 'splain this four time-unless it's more often. I, too, have zero patience for browser buttons! ;-)