Monday, January 31, 2011

Waiting for Something or Someone to Show You the Way

We're almost done with the first month of the year-and I'm a little surprised at how quickly it's gone by, especially since I can't claim to have had large amounts of fun (unless you count dealing with snow as fun, and I don't).

Remember all the things we swore we'd get done 'in the New Year'? How's that working out? Yeah, me, too, not so much-lots of handbags and gladrags and too little else to show so far. In these parts, between snow forecasts, it's a busy week of municipal meetings that can only benefit from your presence since, as my bartender once told me, absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.

This afternoon into this evening, there's a lot of DDD, discussions about downtown doings,with the first at five-thirty in the Planning Department's conference room as the Board of Review of Dangerous Buildings has a special meeting (I assume it's special since how often do you have five Mondays in a month?) though the agenda doesn't mention that. Considering the last meeting information on the website was a posting of an agenda from a year ago, maybe we can resolve in the eleven months left in this year to work harder to comply with state law.

At seven thirty, it's the first of the three public hearings on the Downtown Revitalization Programs so it's a chance to speak up and speak out and also to listen and learn (I do really well in two of the four, how about you?). In case you haven't yet read the project plan, here it is and it can only be improved if each of us who has something to add to it, does so. Bring a neighbor and an open mind. If we're ever gonna stop being a self-fulfilling bad dream, we need to wake up and get on the beam. Leave your excuses for why 'this will never work' at the coat check. The game's afoot, time to be in it.

The shortest month, February, gets started with a busy day tomorrow as the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) has a presentation starting at 8:30 AM on "Emerging Foundations in Economic Development and Commercial Real Estate" in (I assume) Room 335 of City Hall.

At 5:30 in Room 335 of City Hall is a well-traveled meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee (Economic Development). I say well-traveled since earlier today (and over the weekend) it was listed on the municipal calendar for Wednesday which surprised me because I'm on it and was sure we'd agreed last Tuesday to meet this Tuesday. It's comforting, somehow, to be dumb but not crazy. Try it, you may like it.

At six, in their clubhouse on the New London Turnpike, it's a special meeting of the Golf Course Authority on replacing their dump truck. I'd have assumed the Golf Course arranged and paid for the use of a Public Works vehicle, since I can't imagine there being a full-time need for a dump truck (and driver? how about a mechanic and service bay?) at a golf course. Really puts the literal into driving range, I guess.

At seven thirty, though it's nowhere to be found on the municipal website calendar (pause for awkward silence), is a special meeting of the City Council to evaluate the performance of the City Manager, an annual requirement per the contract that brought him to Norwich three years ago this past December but that has yet to be accomplished once. This Council adroitly sidestepped primary responsibility earlier in January by opting to hire an outside consultant. I have to smile at the things we do sometimes, or I'd spend all day crying and in this weather that would mean red, cracked cheeks (on my face).

Just how close to 96 Tears (what can I say? I love the name of the band) we actually get may depend on the Wednesday meetings, which begin with the 7:30 AM Team Norwich Mayor's meeting in Room 335 of City Hall. It's hard to get a feel for how much, if any, progress is being made at these meetings since the Cone of Silence in terms of minutes of public meetings has descended and the fit is air-tight.

Also at 5:30 in the Norwich Public Schools' Central Office conference room, it's a regular meeting of the (Kelly Middle) School Building Committee. I can offer you an agenda, but it's from the January meeting and, no, there are no meeting minutes; I looked.

On Thursday at 5:30, somewhere (but not here), says the city's website meeting calendar, is a regular meeting of the Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Zone. You're probably best advised to call the City Clerk at 860.823.3790 on where this meeting will happen. I'd ask for meeting minutes while you're at it, from almost any one ever held, since close to none are posted on line. I'm assuming the members' appointments will be renewed shortly as the current ones expired a month ago. Appointments, not members (I think).

At seven, there's a regular meeting of the Inlands Wetlands Water Courses and Conservation Commission in the conference room of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street. There's no agenda or meeting minutes for anything in 2011 (so far) on the municipal website.

I'm not sure of the cause and effect of public apathy and/or antipathy on what goes in The Rose of New England when we don't do a very good job of sharing information with one another, as evinced by compliance (and lack thereof) with Connecticut public laws on public meetings. Maybe we'd be in about the same place we are now, but I have to wonder-and hope you wonder as well. When I fool you once, shame on me; when I fool you twice, shame on you.

We get a second bite of the apple for public comment on the Downtown Revitalization Programs with a Saturday morning session, beginning at nine in the Central Fire House at 10 North Thames Street. If you think someone should say something, maybe it's you and maybe the time to do it is now.

As we've seen from watching the pages drop from the 2011 calendar, all the time in the world to get things done is a rationed commodity. "And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run (and) you missed the starting gun."
-bill kenny

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