Posts Tagged ‘NJ’

Trenton’s South Ward needs stronger candidates

Political representation of Trenton’s South Ward was snatched from the hands of Trenton’s political machine three years ago by a smart and energetic Baptist minister.  Reverend Coston was well educated, well read and well …. basically a decent guy.

Coston did much to initiate the Ward’s political renaissance through his efforts in organizing opposition to two ill-considered government funded housing projects in 2004.  HUD’s Hope VI would have replaced the old Kearny homes project with another one and Leewood Village would have bulldozed 8 blocks of the South Ward in order to make room for subsidized fake colonial townhouses.  Coston became president of the Lamberton Historic District Committee (LHDC) which hosted meetings that regularly drew 300 residents to the protests.

I bring up this bit of South Ward history to point to both what’s needed and what’s lacking in the crop of candidates hoping to fill Coston’s now vacated council spot. Read the rest of this entry »

Trenton is committing revitalization suicide

Walking the streets of Trenton, just about the best sounds you can hear are that of nail guns, circular saws and drills. They’re the sounds of revitalization. There’s a hopeful tone to the noise and the sight of a crew, hard at work, means that someone is investing in our city.

You would think that we would do everything in our power to preserve the productive work of re-building Trenton. Yet, we’ve done exactly the opposite.

Read the rest of this entry »

Managing the Trenton brand

The July 18th edition of Trenton’s Urban Studies group had Alan Mallach as its guest speaker. Mr. Mallach has been studying cities for 40 years and works today as a consultant and author on the subject. He was formerly Trenton’s Economic Development director back in the 90s.

The upshot of Mr Mallach’s comments was that a small city like like Trenton, should have as its objective, to increase the numbers of higher income residents. Increasing downtown residency is an important part of this prescription. Read the rest of this entry »

Councilman Coston and Dan debate the role of income distribution on revitatilization

Councilman Coston referenced in his blog, an email discussion he and I had about the impact of income distribution on Trenton. Mr. Coston’s blog can be found at, SouthTrenton.com.

I’ve taken the opportunity to restate the debate here.  It’s a useful discussion for policymakers and I thank Jim Coston for being the kind of Councilman that is open to challenging his own assumptions. Read the rest of this entry »

Buying out Trenton

Saving Trenton from its crazy self

The idea of the state having to take over Trenton has come up recently. However, many citizens, even when faced with the evidence that Trenton clearly can’t take care of itself, suggest that the state would do an even worse job. They have a point; even with its broad financial resources the state clearly hasn’t fixed Camden.

So, let’s imagine for a moment that state oversight is a bad option. We already know that we can’t run the city ourselves. What then are the remaining options? Read the rest of this entry »

Saving the city by giving up the schools

A Modest Proposal to fix the budget and still keep the Water Works

In “Invest the Trenton Water Works proceeds in the future not the past” I argued that the proceeds from the sale of the Water Works should not be applied directly to the 2010 and 2011 budgets. I allowed that it was too late to fix the 2009 budget and therefore $20M of the proceeds should be used to patch this year’s gaping budget hole.

If a group of Trenton citizens have their way, the sale will be delayed until a public vote can be taken and it’s not certain at all that the public will go along with the administration’s plan. We’d be left with a huge problem. Therefore, we’d better come up with plan B for patching the 2009 budget. Read the rest of this entry »

Revitalization is a dirty job

Of the five major ways to foster urban revitalization;

  1. Facilitating high end real estate development,
  2. Supporting the arts and culture,
  3. Cleaning up the joint,
  4. Squashing the gangs, and
  5. Creating a reason for Trenton to be here,

Only “Cleaning up the joint” can be done inexpensively.

Visitors to Trenton often comment that the city looks “run down” and dirty. Residents agree. Read the rest of this entry »

Crime budget questions we need answered

If you ask a Trentonian about their number one city issue, crime will probably come up. Yet we don’t really seem to have any clue about its measurable affects on our city or how to manage them.

Previously, I wrote about the cause and effect of a city’s crime level and it’s immigration level ( How Crime Affects Trenton). However, this is a very small part of the story. First, we have to agree on what it is about a city that we’d like to improve. In general, the best measure of a city’s health is its per capita income. Cities with high crime rates have low per capita incomes and vice-a-versa (The Economics of Crime).

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The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness has misled the public

The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness and its funder, the Educational Testing Service have produced a report, “Housing the Vulnerable in Mercer County” that defies the laws of economics, makes unfounded assertions and argues for the abandonment of Trenton. However, it does not address homelessness.

Link to the report

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A quick post on the meltdown

I’d like to call ReinventTrenton readers attention to an excellent Harvard University Panel discussion on the causes of our financial crisis.  These are some of the best economic minds in the country including a Nobel laureate and the Dean of the Havard Business School.

Harvard Panel on the Financial Meltdown 9-25-2008

Basically, there are two drivers to the current problem, one of which affects Trenton and the other one, not so much. Read the rest of this entry »