Monday, October 18, 2010

Right Now (Norwich Meetings 18-22 October 2010)

This is a week of both political posturing and nitty-gritty governance in and around The Rose of New England and I leave it to your discretion to sort out the former from the latter as merrily we roll along (some will be easy to spot; some not so much).

This morning at nine in the Rose City Senior Center, it's a regular meeting of the Senior Affairs Commission. It'd be nice if one of the items on the agenda were an effort to enhance the currency of the information on their previous meetings as reflected on the city's website. A draft of the November meeting minutes from last year is the most recent posting and, simply put, that just isn't good enough.

At five in Room 209 of City Hall it's a special meeting of the Volunteer Fireman's Relief Fund Committee and at seven thirty, the main event (so to speak) in Council Chambers is a regular meeting of the City Council. There have been large headlines in recent days in both local newspapers over a question and answer session with the incumbent state representatives, but not their opponents, that could be, or not, political theater of the highest order. The timing is a bit curious (as is the motivation), I'll admit, and if you are as well, perhaps you'll be in attendance.

Checking the meeting agenda (and the Q & A kabuki theater ISN'T on it; color me unamazed) take a look at the return of an item (#1), in my opinion, that flies in the face of everything this City Council claims it wants to do in terms of economic development and public/private partnerships. I will not be surprised when the council vote on this looks exactly like 'business as usual in the bad, old days.'

Tuesday afternoon at 5:30 in the Latham Science Center on the Norwich Free Academy (NFA) campus, it's a regular meeting of the NFA Board of Trustees. Norwich Free Academy is more than just a high school for Norwich and a number of neighboring communities, and it should be interesting to learn more about the efforts to expand student enrollment and the impact on the institution and on the taxpayers of the sending towns.

At six, there's a regular meeting in Room 210 at City Hall of the Personnel and Pension Board. A glance at their meeting agenda offers, I think, a good snapshot of the scale and scope of decisions we trust our neighbors to make.

At seven in the basement conference room of the Planning Department, 23 Union Street, it's a regular meeting of the Commission on the City Plan. Based on the minutes of the September meeting, there could be a public hearing on a proposed development held over from the previous meeting.

Also at seven, across town in the Holiday Inn on Laura Boulevard, sponsored by the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce, is a candidate's forum for those wishing to represent Norwich in both the upper and lower houses of the Legislature. The newspapers call it a debate, but that's NOT technically what it is. Hopefully it will be as informative as the one held ten days ago by the League of Women Voters in the Otis Library and maybe this time all the candidates can take part whether their opponent is there or not. You can submit questions to the moderators via email, See you there.

Wednesday morning at nine in The Dime Bank Community Room on Route 82, it's a regular meeting of the Norwich School Readiness Council (NSRC (Children First), who've sort of written the book, or at least a website, on how not to comply with Public Act 08-3. I wonder if the NSRC will have anything to do with the Norwich Education Excellence for Today and Tomorrow's School Design Team (NEXTT) initial meeting slated to start at 8 that same morning (check with the Board of Education as the location; I'm really fuzzy on that aspectand don't want to steer you wrong) and run until noon. But then again....

Thursday afternoon at five, it's a regular meeting of the Historic District Commission in Room 319 of City Hall. Their August meeting was cancelled and their September meeting minutes are among the many missing from the municipal website so perhaps history, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Thursday at six, at the Ice Rink on New London Turnpike, it's a regular meeting of the Ice Arena Authority who also cancelled their September meeting. And starting at seven, in the Betty Tipton room of the Eastern Connecticut State University student center, is a candidates' forum for those seeking the 2nd Congressional District seat in Washington D. C.

Stop telling yourself, and the rest of us, that it doesn't matter for whom you vote, because it does and it always has. But if you don't believe it, we can't change anything, ever. "What are you waiting for? It's your tomorrow. Catch that magic moment and do it right. Miss the beat, you lose the rhythm. Turn this thing around."
-bill kenny

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