Saturday, September 5, 2009

Maybe your Last Chance to Wear White Indoors

This is it, the weekend that ends summer. Just me or does it seem like it was last weekend that we were enjoying Memorial Day and looking forward to the summer months? I used to hate Labor Day as a kid because in New Jersey we went back to school after Labor Day, so we knew the end was near. Many towns in Connecticut went back earlier this week, but they're all still off Monday so I'm wondering what, exactly, the point was to going back. I feel better now because I wanted to pass along something that I forgot I knew about and had wanted to tell you yesterday. But as it turns out, I never thought of it again until a moment ago, just in the nick of time....

This afternoon at two, at the Wonderbar Restaurant in Greeneville (it's almost exactly across the street from the car wash on Boswell Avenue) is a Republican candidates' forum for the November Norwich Mayoral and City Council election. Obviously, you don't need to be a Republican or even a resident or elector of Norwich to attend, but if you have an interest in our city and in its workings I'd urge you to consider going.

Peter Nystrom, current alderman who wishes to be elected Mayor, and William Nash seeking a second term on the City Council, are two people whom I know, but the other three persons running on the Republican ticket are unknown to me which is why I'm planning on trying to meet them. I just hope all three will be good sports about their luck running out. ;-) I can always tell them that both Mr. Nash and Mr. Nystrom were very good when it happened to them.

It has, so far, been a quiet election season in Norwich. I realize we're still wrapping up summer, so for a lot of people it really hasn't been the right time to think about elections or what comes after them (governance, or attempting it), but without intending to dull the tans and the summer glows, it's time to turn to the task at hand.

I have no idea what the format for the forum will be but I'm sure there'll be opportunities to meet the people who are offering to help out by holding elected office and if not really "get to know them" then perhaps, "get to know them a little bit." And for them to get to know us a little better. I attend a lot of City Council meetings, so my interest in meeting and getting to know the candidates is perhaps (selfish and) based, in part, on my understanding of how our political dynamic here works (or doesn't, as I sometimes despair).

If there's a chance to discuss particular topics, I'll be very interested in learning more about how the candidates feel about our city budget (which I think came up a little shorter than projected in the new though not improved state budget) but what I really will listen for from each person is how he/she envisions working to build our municipal grand list so that my personal property taxes go down (and yours, too, if you live in Norwich and show up on Saturday). I'm a little tired of office seekers telling me 'Norwich needs economic development'-I already know that. I want people who wish to be the Mayor or Alderpersons to tell me, in detail, how they will grow the Grand List, attract new business and create additional revenue streams for our city government.

I have a box of cliches at home, under the bed: 'pull together', 'work as a team', 'check our egos at the door', 'work across party lines', 'get Kenny a pony ride for his birthday' (no? well, it should be!) so we can skip all of that and cut to the chase. And while we're at it, maybe the candidates can outline their positions on the Ethics Commission that our Mayor placed in the news in recent weeks, or (a hot topic last election that was effectively stifled) Charter Revision, and as some or all of them could be on the next City Council, I'd like to hear their thoughts on how the Council could be more effective and efficient in the accomplishment of their duties (and come to think of it, maybe they can help me understand what exactly the City Council does, and what they think it should do).

And, pardon the drama for all non-fashionistas, need I point out the forum is just about everyone's last chance to wear white this season. Unless, of course, you're a professional mummy. Christopher Lee says hello.
-bill kenny

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