Monday, June 28, 2010

All Together Now

You may not have yet started to notice but the days are getting shorter--yes, I know, hot summer nights and all that but since we've had the solstice, we're already on the down side of the slide to the longest dark day of the year in December. And you thought I'd say something chirpy and perky to start your week? Silly rabbit!

In this case, it's a quiet week of meetings starting this afternoon at five with the Redevelopment Agency in Room 210 of City Hall. I'm thinking, in light of the discussions on Community Development Block Grants before the City Council, the update on the Reid and Hughes building, perhaps (or perhaps NOT) yet under contract to be sold, could be interesting if not illuminating.

Tomorrow afternoon at four in the world headquarters of the Norwich Public Schools (makes it sound a lot cooler, doncha think?) across from the Norwichtown Green is a special meeting of the Board of Education on a variety of subjects that have gotten short shrift in recent months as "the budget" consumed practically all the attention of the public and seemingly all the oxygen in the conference room.

I'm following a development in The Whaling City (New London) where there is talk of charter reform and revision and the placing of all the finances for ALL departments under the city (leaving the Board of Education to concentrate on education and not accounting). Except that money is power (a dirty little secret of politics), I think this is GREAT idea and hope it might become worth exploring here, too, in Norwich if the City Council establishes a charter revision commission (having served on the last one, I don't understand why there isn't a standing committee to collect ideas and explore possibilities. For those keeping track at home, the Constitution has 26 Amendments so far be it from us to make change so difficult).

Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 in their office at 10 Westwood Park, there's a special meeting of the Housing Authority and here's the agenda. Cynic that I am, I think I just felt the earth move under my feet, though I look NOTHING like Carole King. (She's talented and lucky.)

At seven Wednesday evening in their clubhouse at the course on the New London Turnpike is a special meeting of the Norwich Golf Authority because its regular meeting was cancelled last week.

Thursday afternoon at 5:30 at the Miss Saigon Restaurant in Chelsea is a regular meeting of the Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Thing (there should be ONE MORE WORD in their title, be it board, association, committee, doohickey) and while I appreciate the face lift on the city's website about their meetings-it's a case of 'close but no cigar' in terms of being informative.

Finally, at seven, in the basement conference room in the Planning Department, at 23 Union Street, is a regular meeting of the Inlands Wetlands, Water Courses and Conservation Commission. As their June meeting minutes show, the commission, like so many other helping hands across the community, has to deal with a variety of issues beyond its core mission while remaining true to its purpose and function and that it does so with little fanfare and no expectation of reward.

It's a challenge for New Englanders, I think, especially, who see themselves as rugged individualists (now that I have my new glasses, me too!) to sometimes step back, rather than step off, and try to create a greater good for our family and friends across a neighborhood or a city and a region. We don't always get it right or even close, but we never give in and we never give up. We accept to a large extent, like it or not, it's all together now.
-bill kenny

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