Thursday, October 29, 2009

Short and Sweet

The other day, getting a coffee while out on an errand, the young person behind the counter (his name tag said he was the manager), handed me the Styrofoam cup while offering 'if I don't see you, have a happy holiday.' Non-plussed I stammered that I was hoping to be back in his shop before Christmas.

Christmas?! HA! He was thinking more Halloween, he explained patiently as if an elderly pinhead in line purchasing coffee today couldn't grasp the concept. Well, boo to you buddy boy, guess which Jacob Marley stunt double will be buying his coffee elsewhere while out running on America (or something). But you go ahead and have a Merry Little Chri---nevermind. Have some candy corn on me.

That's not what I wanted to pass along. I wanted share a reminder about about one meeting, tonight and make sure you are aware of another one so much later this week, it's actually in next week. Tonight going until who knows what time, in the Slater Auditorium at Norwich Free Academy, is a 'free for all' of office seekers. I'm not clear on exactly which ones are 'free' and which are 'for all.' I have discovered more than one candidate who is scruples free, but that sounds more like a personal problem.

Starting tonight at five, with an hour-long meet and greet of everyone from mayoral candidates through those seeking a seat on the City Council to the ten people seeking one of the nine places on our Board of Education, all will be there in a forum moderated by WFSB-TV's Kevin Hogan. Some may wonder how familiar with Norwich politics he is, but if he's willing to spend some time in our midst we may already have an answer.

If you've bemoaned a distnct lack of choice in elections past, you must be feeling pretty good this time around-and if you're unhappy because you don't yet have a feel for whom to support less than a week from Election Day, this is your opportunity. Don't blow it. See you there.

This is your advance notice about Monday's City Council meeting that will start at seven thirty. I know what you're thinking, "Pshaw! The day before Election Day? I'll bet the Council isn't even really meeting!" (Does anyone in this hemisphere still say 'pshaw'? Maybe we could cash in on that retro junk and get it resurrected) As for that bet on the meeting--pay up.

The same City Council that was unrelenting in making sure no one drove through Mohegan Park during the summer, but not nearly so unrelenting on charter revision, zoning reform, noise reduction and at least a dozen other topics, did have some members on it who tried to cancel Monday's meeting at their 19 October meeting. Check the minutes. Shot down in flames, 3-4.

But that's not the only thing you should check. I recommend a gander at the agenda; might I recommend "new business-resolutions, item five." There's been a lot written about the work of the citizen volunteers on the Norwich Site Development Committee for the Former State Hospital.

I've attended all but two of their meetings. Their membership surprised me slightly as there's one person I've never seen at a meeting (except the September 29 Workshop) and another who's missed the last two and three of the last four. But the rest of the volunteers are working very hard, sifting through decades of research and volumes of reports trying to gain a perspective on what kind of a recommendation to offer City Council. I have a one word suggestion for them: fast.

One of the aldermen who (interestingly) voted to NOT meet at all Monday, explained to a local newspaper his reasons for putting the property acquisition decision on Monday's Council agenda. I think he may have spent more time explaining his intentions to the reporter than to three of his fellow aldermen. I guess he wanted to get his money's worth if he did have to meet.

And speaking of money, I don't think there's such a thing anymore as a nickel coke, a phone booth with dime calls and no one is offering a penny for thoughts, so I'm not sure what the real costs (and benefits) are of a property whose price tag is one dollar. And I've stayed long enough at The Fair to worry, after Monday night, we'll be older but no wiser than we are on that very topic now.
-bill kenny

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