Saturday, November 22, 2008

NDN Slams Middletown Council

**UPDATE 2** I made it towards the end of the short meeting. My impression was that the Big Four's (Semonelli, Cambra, Bozyan, & Santos) previously planned committee assignments were often scrapped & DOA. This was due to the presence of the press, a small audience, and the other three Council members who wanted input. What actually took place was discussion regarding the many committees/boards that the town has. Like- relevant stuff. The Town Administrator (Low Talker Brown) often filled out the bare-bones of these town-appointed groups with some legal-eagle input from Town Solicitor Miller.
Evidently Madam LaFarge ( Theresa Santos was furiously knitting) didn't get the last e-mail when twice immediately prior to adjournment she asked the Chair about future meetings. The Chair responded in a clueless fahion & the question was ignored. It's hard being the golden haired boy one day & mention of recall brought up in a news editorial only a wk. after you've taken office. Ah... sic transit gloria and all that.
Overall, I thought the idea of short Sat. meetings with lots of frank discussion sitting around non-elevated tables (you know, like they are actually real people like the rest of us) a good idea. Announcing them ahead of time rather than the last minute would be just plain smart. It would also make relevant info available to the public which it was NOT this time or previously.
An interesting mix of people to be sure. These late-announced meetings have been poorly handled in their presentation. Public perception in politics (like entertainment) is part of the mix & the NDN failing grade was right on. I wonder if the reporter gets overtime?

**UPDATE** Special T.C. meetings are NOT taped. So unless the press shows...

Doesn't say much for their endorsement process, does it? Read it before the money wall goes up!
Sometimes I think that their editorial board is clueless. They had the chance to endorse real change and instead went for the same old, same old. For crying out loud, didn't the word "team" in all the ads & t.v. question session send you a message? Hello, what do you think that this means??? It's "us" against "them." Who consistently mentioned "open government?" Not the parties you endorsed. HELLO.

So, they've been meeting & posting agendas, it maendas just under the 48 hr. wire on the Sec. of St. website & not the town's- SNEAKY (it did make it to the blurb listings). No way for ANYONE to know unless they're signed up to receive notices from this website. Shh! And now they can say that they discussed leadership publicly & openly- NOT. Nothing has changed at all that I can see except that the old Town Solicitor is now the Ass't & the leadership names. In fact, it's gotten much worse. So thank the local Democratic Party with their leadership for this AND the 4 member leadership of the new Council (Semonelli, Bozyan, Cambra, Santos). Another BTW, the local Dem. Chair, Dave Lavine, evidently attempted to re-design Council agendas, but the Clerk gave it a no-go.

Haven't you been reading my stuff? Do you think that I make this up? My imagination is that extensive? It's all a set-up- insiders only need apply. Different names on the Council, but same old-same old. But don't blame me- I tried my best to get all this stuff out before elections. Where the heck were you, NDN? I swear, if I read one more article about the return of Sig's, I'll SCREAM. For all your complaints about gov't, you don't do much to cover it in-depth- locally or state levels. Heck, I'm available- for free. And I actually have the time to do the research work. Yeah, I'm a Dem, but no longer part of the local political scene. So why is that? What happened to your local and state muck-racking journalism?

Your editorials apply only for that day & are ignored in the longer term. The fine art of in-depth political journalism is DEAD, except for a small "band of brothers" at Projo. What used to make the newspaper an important member of the whole freedom of speech & free press thingie is on life-support. What kept us all informed & politicans on the straight & narrow is left to orphanges waiting for someone to adopt. The truth is always in the middle malarkey is the theme of the day except for occasional rants. No wonder readership has turned to various blogs when it wants actual truth & relevant facts.

But I digress. This Council meeting is to appoint Council members to town committees (yeah, it matters). Who knows, they could take the high road & actually end up DISCUSSING this topic. Also on the agenda is:

2. Communication of Arthur S. Weber, Jr., Chairman, Middletown Planning Board, re: Establishing a sub-committee for Middletown Comprehensive Community Plan.

www.middletownri.com/departments/comprehensive.php

"The Planning Board is requesting that the Town Council consider establishing a Comprehensive Plan Update Committee, which will be tasked with performing the necessary research and public outreach to develop the plan update. Though the Planning Board is responsible for producing the plan update, and its members would serve as the core of the update committee, active participation and input from other town committees and the general public is critical to ensuring that all interests are represented in the process.... in addition to Planning Board members, include representation from each of the following town committees/boards:
· Town Council
· Zoning Board of Review
· Conservation Commission
· Open Space & Fields Committee
· Beach Commission
· Economic Development Advisory Committee
· Roads & Utilities Advisory Committee

The Council may also wish to appoint members representing other organizations or the general public.... [the] committee will likely hold several meetings per month over the course of the next 6-12 months. Advertised public presentations and workshops will also be held at appropriate intervals during the course of the project. All committee meetings would be open to the public, and input from individuals and other organizations (e.g. Aquidneck Land Trust, Aquidneck Island Planning Commission) would be actively encouraged."

So who will make it to the meeting & audience? Sat. morning meetings at 10 AM. Open & accessible government at work. Guess they've been taking some lessons from the State lege open hearings.

Thanks to the NDN for this heads-up. Kinda late now, though, ain't it? Two more wonderful years of this. And plenty of the blame is pointed in your direction, NDN. We deserved better & so did you. Ah, but I'm not being very optimistic, am I. Time will tell.
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