Posts Tagged ‘Trenton’

The chicken and egg of Trenton’s revitalization

One of the most maddening debates you can have in Trenton is about city investment in new business vs. residential living.

Almost, to a person, the political elite in Trenton will tell you that investment in business is the top priority. I’ve had this debate countless times and you can see it in the political rhetoric of our candidates. However, when pushed by the logic of residential development, they’ll eventually say, “well it’s really a chicken and egg” problem. Read the rest of this entry »

First Kinston, Next Trenton

President Obama’s Attorney General must have little regard for the mostly black voters of Kinston, North Carolina.

Kinston is a quiet little city of 23,000 between Raleigh and the coast. I know many folks from Kinston (I’m a native North Carolinian) and have found them to have above average intelligence.

This wasn’t the same conclusion to which Attorney General Eric Holder arrived.

Kinston recently voted to adopt a non-partisan election process for its city council and mayoral elections, similar to Trenton’s. The theory is that this type of system prevents any one party from dominating elections. Read the rest of this entry »

Property tax rebates lead to higher property taxes

A popular New Jersey Gubernatorial campaign promise this year (and the last campaign as well) is to offer property tax rebates. Voters should think seriously about the wisdom of this. Read the rest of this entry »

The South Ward Council election is no time for politics of the past

Jim Coston was a transformational councilperson for Trenton and the South Ward but with his leaving, the race to fill his spot is wide open. Read the rest of this entry »

The “Reinvent Trenton” Guide to Fixing the Budget

Trenton’s numbers don’t tell a pretty story.  By anyone’s measure it’s currently an unsuccessful city.

  • Trenton has 17.5% unemployment,
  • We have a $20M budget shortfall,
  • We will be bankrupt in 2012
  • We have the highest taxes in NJ
  • We have the 2nd highest crime rate in NJ
  • And, we’re losing population

This is not a good situation. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »