Reengaging with Trenton’s Revitalization

Earlier this year I become so upset about politics that I took a leave of absence from Trenton political scene. (Giving up on Reinventing Trenton).   My reasons reflected frustration with working to make Trenton a better place including:

  • The inability of city activists to create and maintain an independent political organization (Majority for a Better Trenton),
  • The no-show park rangers we paid for at the 2012 Alexander’s Run
  • The lack of thinking that went into ceding the Glen Cairn Arms property to a non-profit
  • My inability to help the LYDC board think analytically about the city’s hotel

However, the past 12 months have been downright tragic for Trenton

  • Our Mayor has been indicted on corruption charges
  • Our tax base declined, forcing us to increase tax rates
  • Our hotel has come within inches of closing
  • Our murder rate is set to shatter the single year record
  • Police response has declined to the point of being dangerous

It seems that absolutely nothing can go right in Trenton and that we’re on track to become an East Coast Detroit.

Trenton’s problems hurt my family in many ways, some big and some small. Our property values are kept low by the high crime rate and continuing lack of amenities in the city.  Our property taxes are crushing and make our rental properties unprofitable.  It’s hard to invite suburban friends to our home (guests at one party had their SUV tagged).  Babysitters are afraid to come to Trenton.  This is not a healthy environment and for those of us hoping to live a full life in Trenton

I have three choices going forward:

1)      I can move. However this would involve a substantial financial loss given that we have invested so much money in the city. Also we desperately want to stay close to our first son’s grave in Riverview Cemetery and our memory of him in Trenton.

2)      I can close my eyes and hope for the best.  I have to imagine that this is what the vast majority of Trentonians are doing.  They complain from the sidelines or just suffer in silence perhaps because they don’t know or haven’t been told how to help.

3)      I can reengage in some useful way. There are many options and I’ve tried several of them. I’ve worked to become an independent resource for revitalization thinking. I’ve tried to help start a political group (Majority for a Better Trenton).  I’ve helped start a non-profit arts organization and I’ve helped lead election debates.   One option I’ve not tried is to become involved with a mayoral campaign in a meaningful way.

But the fact is, if I can’t move and sticking my head in the sand won’t work, then I’m better off trying to help one candidate be the best that he or she can possibly be.   I’ve never expected a Mayoral candidate to have all the answers.  I do expect them to lead in an intelligent way and bring serious thinking to what amounts to world class problems.  I expect them to turn away from those who have led us to the place we’re in and to embrace new thinking about revitalization.
So with all of this said, I’m in the market for a transformational Mayoral campaign.  I can write.  I can research.   I can stuff envelopes and I can debate.   I wouldn’t mind doing a little door to door, though I’m sure I’m about the least likely person in this city to connect with the average voter.  I know that.  But I do want to start putting a real revitalization plan into language all of us can understand.
My positions on policy are clear.  They’ve been posted on for many years.  I should be a known quantity by now.

So, here’s how I’d like to proceed.  I’ll email you and let’s set a time to talk.  Let me hear your approach and your positioning.  Rest assured that political platitudes and dubious promises won’t work with me.  I know the budget and its issues pretty well and I’ve been studying Trenton and urban revitalization for a while now.   I’ll be difficult and I have a reputation as an angry taxpayer.  However, if you want: policy development help, logistical help and to be seen as a pro business, pro taxpayer candidate, it might be worth the trouble.

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5 Responses to “Reengaging with Trenton’s Revitalization”

  • SFB:

    Very happy to see this great blog kick back into action!

  • Jim Golden:


    You already know that I like your passion and many of your ideas for moving Trenton in an entirely new direction. My campaign is all about transforming our city and I welcome your input in this regard. I look forward to meeting with you soon.

    All the best,


  • Your blog is a very interesting read and in some ways, very inspiring (though also reflecting a justifiable frustration with the historic lack of vision/problem solving ability that has plagued the politicians who have managed the city).

    I have been thinking about renting some very reasonably priced office space in Trenton (the Trenton Makes organization has a building on Broad St) and I spent this past weekend scouring the internet for information about what I might be getting myself into – I like the idea of locating in Trenton due to its great central location and the amount of space I can lease for the money.

    I have some more thinking to do, but it is nice to see that there are still people like you that are really concerned about making Trenton a better place to live (and work).

  • I did some further due diligence, including reading about the incident that happened to you and your wife back in May. The space I was thinking of leasing was at 439 S Broad Street, which is very reasonably priced and on really good terms, but only a block or so away from where your incident occurred. I am wondering if you might consider e-mailing me so I could ask some questions about the area.

  • If the Landslide is big enough, even square Pebbles will roll.-T.Pratchet
    It’s time to get things rolling, Thank goodness your back.

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