Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This Town Is My Town

"This old town's been home long as I remember. This town's gonna be here long after I'm gone. East side, West side--give up, or surrender--been down, but I still rock on..."

Realizing those lyrics sound like they could be penned by someone in the Rose City Rockers (whoever they might be), that's actually from "My Town" by the Michael Stanley Band, the pride and joy of Cleveland, Ohio, from about three plus decades ago. Proving, if nothing else, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

I keep that tune on compact disc in my car whenever I need a mini-pep rally of sorts to clear my head of dark doubts and drab thoughts about where I've decided to call home, here in 06360, Norwich, Connecticut.  

Definitely needed it a lot over the weekend, actually on Sunday when I took advantage of the sunshine (if not the less than spring-like temperatures and March winds) to re-visit some of my favorite places to include Ponemah Mills and Uncas Falls, both shaking off the long, hard winter as I continued to fitfully read Norwich's Economic Development Strategic Plan in an attempt to understand not so much how we have come to the place where the road and the sky collide, but, rather, what we are intending to do about it.  

I took a break from reading about "development opportunities and possible targets" (which is a serious examination of who we are and where we should be going, starting on page 23) and turned to the Sunday papers where, splashed across the front page was: "Special Report: 84 Norwich city workers made more than $100,000 in 2013-14."

With apologies to my neighbor, Reverend Cal Lord, whose words appear in The Bulletin every Thursday, I recall somewhere in the New Testament (Matthew, I think) a parable about laborers in a vineyard. I don't believe the story was set in Norwich but my memory is not what it once was.

While we could probably have an extended and intense discussion on the point of the story, my concern, while appreciating the comments offered on line and respecting the right of everyone who offered them to so do, is that we seem again, as a city to have set off on a search for the guilty instead of trying to fix our underlying problems.

I'm not sure why it matters who makes what so much as that we create a shared understanding and common vision of what functions our city government should be providing and agree that those are the ones we support and are willing to pay for.

I can't help but remember a TV commercial for life insurance where Lucy and Charlie Brown suggest the cost "should be five cents" and a grown-up (my emphasis) counters "not everything can cost five cents." That kind of economics makes me worry when someone says a penny for your thoughts, just in case it turns out that's all they're really worth.
-bill kenny

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