Monday, December 6, 2010

All My Favorite Places Reduced to Parking Spaces

It's not coincidental that during the holiday-gift-giving season, there'd be so much attention this week on the municipal meeting calendar to revenue streams and money matters. The good news on revenue streams, if you have yet to go out and purchase waders, attend tonight's informational meeting at 6:30 in Council chambers and you'll discover there's no need to buy them as the stream doesn't come to our ankles.

Unless and until we stop not talking about this 800 lb gorilla in the room, almost anything and everything else we do in any city across Connecticut, and, I suspect, elsewhere, is a waste of time. The City Council meeting itself, which follows at 7:30 has a report on a visit to Wuxi, China, by former Congressman Rob Simmons. The report mentions that the region has 3,000 years of history which, in light of our own 350th anniversary in 2009 and the huge boost in tourism that was promised, equates to how many Tall Ships, I wonder?

At 8:45 Wednesday morning in the Planning Department's conference room at 23 Union Street, there's a regular meeting of the Rehabilitation Review Committee but you'd be hard-pressed to know it by checking here on the city's website (Pointless is a word that best describes most of the note). Of course, if you wish to get both confused AND angry at how badly our city government shares information, you can go here.

Note that every appointment to this committee has lapsed and if I gave you a Bajillion dollars for every meeting's minutes from this calendar year posted online, my wallet would never leave my pocket. Moment of Zen: I spoke with a member of this committee Saturday at how poorly maintained the city's website is and he agreed. So, between us, who is the bigger dope? That was a rhetorical question, but thanks for the thought.

At 4:30 is a special meeting of the Housing Authority at 10 Westwood Park, though since they normally meet the second Wednesday of the month, I'm at a loss as to why this is a special meeting. Unless, it's because for the first time I can remember, there's actually information on the meeting's agenda, though a check here on the city's website turns up zero minutes from any previous meetings so I'm not sure how optimistic anyone should be that we've turned a corner on compliance with state law when it comes to postings.

The Norwich Baseball Stadium Authority has a regular meeting at six in Room 210 of City Hall. And if the previous minutes are any judge (here's October; I couldn't find November), best be on time because these folks don't dawdle at their meetings.

Also at six, crosstown at the Wonder Bar, it's a regular meeting of the Greenville Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, whose October minutes mention a November meeting though its minutes aren't available which is only fair since the June minutes were accepted as the first new business in October, it says, but those minutes aren't posted either. Yeah I know, every penny of it....

At seven in the Huntington School Library is an organizational meeting for the Norwich Public Schools Foundation.

I get confused easily, I admit, especially when there's a listing for a 7 PM meeting of the Public Safety Committee (and a local newspaper tells me it's at the Yantic Fire House) but then I click on the link, here, and the notice says the meeting is next Tuesday (the 14th) and is at the Laurel Hill Fire Department. Symptom or problem? Chicken or egg? Sekt oder Selters.

At 7:30 Thursday morning in their offices at 77 Main Street is a special meeting of the Norwich Community Development Corporation, though I'm discomfited by 'special', since the agenda should state what the 'new business' is because a special meeting can only be on items articulated on the agenda (= 'new business' isn't specific enough). If you're going, there's an update on the Intermodal Transportation Center that should of interest and value.

At 5:15 in Room 210 of City Hall, it's a regular meeting of the Mohegan Park Improvement and Development Advisory, that's actually last month's meeting rescheduled. The agenda includes (I assume) an attempt to permanently close a road that folks (it's said) use as a shortcut through the park. I remember the firestorm at a city council meeting, directed at an alderman who asked this, but where is the traffic study to back up this assertion? With the road closed all summer, where did this speeding traffic go instead of through Mohegan Park? We should have a reason for everything we do and this might be a good time to start insisting on this. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. If there's data to support this decision to close the road permanently, make it public and verify it. If there's no data, either do the research or drop the proposal.

And this Saturday morning, starting at nine in the East Great Plains Fire Department, is the first in a series of citizen forums with the Mayor and members of the City Council, so bring your concerns, criticism and suggestions and be prepared to talk and to listen. My mom used to tell us as children we had two ears and one mouth in that proportion for a reason. It's amazing how wicked smart Moms can be and how slow their children often are.
-bill kenny

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