I know, election season is supposed to be fun, but I’m looking forward to it ending. In many ways it did for me tonight, though I know it hasn’t.
I live in a parallel world where anything that happens after Monday doesn’t matter. I won’t be reporting on the election next week because by the time my paper comes out the election will be over. Sure, I’m partial sponsor of a debate Wednesday night, but I won’t cover it in the paper. In reality I’m off the election ride, while Berlin has a week left to go.
The council meeting tonight was basically one stump speech after another, but the only people who heard it were Mel Liston, Bill Gabler, Barry Kelley and Jon Edwards. Sometimes I wonder if all the rhetoric is just for me and daily paper reporter, or does everyone like hearing their opinions supported by the group? The council is annoyed with the county commissioners. OK. They don’t like what PSNH is doing. Fine. They are more favorable to Clean Power than Laidlaw. Great. They go around and around saying the same thing over and over again, each backing the other one up. Honestly, it might be nice to have a strong pro-Laidlaw voice on the council—at least then there’d be someone to disagree.
I have been trying to visit entrepreneurs while reporting for the Reporter. I like pointing them out because they often get missed in this downtrodden city. As a result I am often surrounded by people who see Berlin’s future 30 years down the road, with creative ideas and amorphous plans. The city will be completely post-industrial, they say, without any of the squabbles now flying around city hall.
That leaves out what the heck people will do for work for the next 25 years, a time-frame city leaders will likely have a hard time making so blissful.
Mr. Grenier might win the election. His signs are crap, but his experience and dedication to the city is real. He disagrees with the current council, and his tactics have raised some eyebrows, but as I understand it this has been a clean fight by Berlin standards. He is advocating for the unemployed and the underemployed, by talking to them instead of by talking about them. In an election, being able to communicate with constituents is key, and Mr. Grenier does an excellent job of it.
I would think this council would get that. They hate the way Laidlaw does everything in the dark, and they love the way Clean Power holds their hand every step of the way. But the council is running city hall more like Laidlaw, and Mr. Grenier has taken the CPD approach.
I don’t have any idea what’s best for Berlin. What if CPD never comes to fruition? Or Laidlaw? Or neither makes Fraser viable, or no light industry follows suit? The Vote Jobs crew is right, the city needs jobs, but it needs more than that for a future. It needs an infrastructure that draws talent back to the city, and I have yet to hear anyone mention a good method for doing that.
I read Norm Charest’s economic report for BIDPA the other day. I’m tired of the doom and gloom. I’m not sure how many of these reports I’ve read that mention we’ve entered a post-industrial economy. So what? Berlin has to change? No kidding. I wonder just what these are reports are supposed to accomplish. They make a good downer; other than that I’d say they’re useless.
I like Norm. He has some great ideas. His challenge is the same as the rest of Berlin—he knows the city too well. It’s hard to come up with possibility in the place that for too long has suffocated your best ideas.
The seed is in Berlin to move forward. It has anything to do with who is elected to city hall. It has has nothing to do with Laidlaw or CPD either. These are symptoms, traits of a city that is still learning to walk without a smokestack for a cane. The creativity is draining from Berlin like blood on the pavement, and no one knows how to scoop it up. But it will pool regardless.
You know who’s cool in Berlin? Pam Laflamme. Andre Caron. Corinne Cascadden. They look to the future. They have unique perspectives and creative ideas and a capacity for problem solving. These are the bureaucrats, and they blow most Berlin’s “creative entrepreneurs” out of the water! What’s wrong with this picture?
Berlin has the people it needs to be great. Interesting things happen where different words meet, and worlds collide in Berlin. Creativity breeds there. It becomes infectious. The city has to harness that energy, but that won’t come from city hall. If the current council isn’t the next council I won’t complain, because tonight’s meeting was nothing but politics. The game the council accused Mr. Grenier of playing last week was in full swing tonight in the chambers. Luckily the real Berlin isn’t contained within city hall. It’s in the streets. It’s on the pavement. It pools where you’d least expect it.