Monday, October 26, 2009

Bring on the Lions (Norwich Meetings 26-30 October)

Even as local and state election contests heat up or boil over or melt-down (It's amazing how many cooking figures of speech we use in politics, innit?), the work of continuity, or neighbors working with and for neighbors, continues, because after all the shouting on Election Day has given way to everyday, we still need the services and programs that local government can best deliver.

As such, this is a typical week for community and municipal meetings here in The Rose City, with Halloween falling on Saturday and for some seeking public office a week from tomorrow as well.

I'll mention the two candidate forums first, because if you have limited free time and still have questions about those seeking office, those may be of the most interest to you. The second of the two Mayoral candidate presentations will be tomorrow night at seven in the Slater Auditorium on the campus of Norwich Free Academy. I'd hope for the same level of engagement we saw in the audience for the first forum, hosted by the Norwich Bulletin's Ray Hackett, though selfishly, I'd like to a much larger turnout.

Thursday at six, again at Slater will be what sounds like a WWF meets UFC tag-team event, but with fewer skimpy outfits, I suspect (and truly hope). All the mayoral candidates AND all the City Council candidates, in a 'free-for-all' format hosted by WFSB's Kevin Hogan.

Returning to the hear and now, so to speak, this afternoon at five in Room 210 of City Hall is a regular meeting of the Redevelopment Agency. As a quick review of their September draft minutes suggests, these are volunteers working on complex issues that cannot be managed in our sometimes preferred drive-by style of doing business. Here's their agenda for this afternoon, and 26 Shipping Street remains a fixture of the meeting agendae, sort of like Banquo's ghost.

At five thirty, one floor up in City Hall, in Room 319 is a special (because of the publication of the meeting, not because of the subject matter) meeting of the Norwich Hospital Site Development Committee, who are hoping to make a presentation to what will be a lame-duck City Council at a possible 16 November Council meeting.

I attended their 13 October meeting (and was surprised and delighted by the attendance of so many of those seeking a seat on the City Council. NOT.) and others before that. They've worked hard to research a huge amount of material in an effort that was begun, at least a year too late. If you've been watching the kabuki theatre that's been the Norwich Hospital Property Acquisition Discussion for the last decade plus, you should try to get to a meeting and see for yourself what's at stake both in the short (two to five years) and the long run (ten to fifty). And if you're NOT thinking in those types of increments, you need to be.

Tuesday went from four public meetings to one, but in light of the mayoral debate at seven at NFA, that's perhaps for the best. The Harbor Management Commission meets, according to their agenda, at five in the City Manager's office (I think it's actually in room 219). I wandered through downtown and the harbor area on Saturday (I was the one with the ball cap and the headphones over by the Sweeney Bridge. Talk about amok overgrowth! So much for beautification of the Gateway Corridors, eh?) and it looks like the seawall repair is coming along-there will be an update on that at the meeting, I assume.

Both the Board of Public Utilities Commissioners and the Sewer Authority meetings have been cancelled for Tuesday evening, as has a regular meeting of the Building Code of Appeals.

Wednesday afternoon at five is a regular meeting of the Board of Review (of) Dangerous Buildings in the basement conference room of 23 Union Street. Reading through the draft minutes of their last meeting, and maybe I'm a little naive (maybe?), I'm struck by how many properties in need of oversight there are in Norwich. These volunteers, in much the same manner as the Redevelopment Agency, have a quiet but wide-ranging area of responsibilities that touches many agencies across the city.

More or less as special task forces or sub-committees of this board, are two meetings following this one, beginning at 6:15, in the same location, the 21 West Thames Street Advisory Committee, and then the 751 North Main Street Advisory Committee.

And finally at 6:30 in their conference room over on New London Turnpike, it's a regular meeting of the Norwich Golf Course Authority (they met on the 14th for a special meeting, whose minutes, like those of their regular September meeting, are absent from the city's website).

And that's a look ahead at the last full week of municipal goings-on in Norwich before our municipal elections. This year's slogan, much as in previous years:
"Give the people what they want. You gotta give the people what they want.
The more they get, the more they need. And every time they get harder and harder to please."
-bill kenny

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