Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Calling All Angels

We in the here and now of Norwich, Connecticut, too often lose sight of how we can came to be here and how the city, as we now know it, came to be here. 

People just like us, centuries, scores, decades, years and/or just moments ago made decisions to be here and/or create the physical structures and organizational/departmental strictures by which the City operates.

Norwich at this moment. 18 March 2015, is a reflection of everyone who has ever been here. We, you and I, are just as much a part of the journey as we are of the destination that brought us to this instant. The choices we make (or choose to NOT make) in the City we will build today are part of the story of the Norwich that those who arrive here tomorrow and everyday afterwards will inherit and claim as their own.

Who we are and who we shall be is driven by our will and our wallet and most especially to use the former to both compensate and complement the latter. We are at the time of the municipal year when all of us need to each become our Better Angel.

Because it is as our Better Angels that we must strive to frame the discussion we need to have with not just the elected leadership of the City of Norwich but with one another on wants, needs and desires as reflected in the next City budget. We should promise one another now to listen with the intention of hearing and less for the opportunity to merely respond.

The self-proclaimed greatest rock and roll band in the world, The Rolling Stones, once suggested  that “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” Which leads us to, and leaves us with, the inevitable: what is we want as a City?

That’s where we will spend a lot of time in the weeks to come, advocating and (in all likelihood) arguing about how many public safety versus public education versus public works dollars are to be allocated and invested.

We’ll square off to attempt to answer (or fail to, again), questions like, which is more important: textbooks or paved roads; class size or emergency call response time; clean streets or clean water? They are all part of a larger conversation that comes down to which Norwich do you want to come to: the one we are or the one we can become?  

At the risk of becoming just another voice that gets lost in the noise of disagreement on our way to becoming disagreeable, those are all questions of the aforementioned will with little thought or energy devoted to wallet.

Unless and until we commit to examine and help implement the Economic Development Strategic Plan for the City of Norwich outlined by the Mayor Hinchey and scarcely noticed by the general public, we’ll have the same conversations that lead us to the same place. Nowhere or right here.  
-bill kenny

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