Trenton’s Rebirth

“Trenton is in rebirth.”

That’s the claim Mayor Mack’s aid, Lauren Ira, made in her op-ed piece in the Trenton Times.  Along with that she criticized people like me for questioning the Mayor’s ELEC habits, the city’s poor contracting, it’s improper and misguided attempt to sell city homes.  We are chastised for complaining about the Mayor’s failure to discipline his brother, delays in appointing a cabinet and lack of a city budget along with other public missteps. 

She says that activists hoping to help the city should stand loyally behind the Mayor.

Is that what the citizens of Trenton want?  Do you want people like Jim Carlucci, Kevin Moriarty and Robert Chilson to hold their tongues?  Would you prefer to have elections paid for with illegal contributions?  Would you prefer “Pay to Play”?  Would you prefer that our contracts go to firms who win popularity contests rather than skills contests?

I hope not.   Because if you do, you also want a Trenton that continues in the ways of the past; a past that has driven us to the brink of moral and fiscal ruin.

For the first time in a long time we have a City Council that on occasion has a spine.  We have a city attorney who’s decided not to be a lap-dog.  And, we have newspapers that are reporting investigative news for a change.  All this has happened because we also have citizens who are watching our government carefully. 

This brings me to Ms. Ira’s “rebirth” comment.

It’s this kind of thing that really gets a guy like me.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to examine Trenton’s economic situation.  I’ve done this without much help from the city and as a volunteer.  The evidence, and your tax bill, shows we are not currently in any kind of turnaround.  Instead, we have laid off a significant portion of our city staff and are in the process of raising our taxes by 15%.   Our per capita income is among the lowest in NJ and Trenton’s lost population. 

This is measurable evidence of an anemic economy.  It’s not rebirth, its decline.  Knowing the difference is the first step in fixing the city.

So what was Ms. Ira saying?  As the Mayor’s spokesperson, what’s her message to the citizenry?

It seems as though she’s trying to say.  “Close your eyes cover your ears and shut your mouth. Stay stupid and everything will be all right.   You won’t even know how bad it is.”

Let me respectfully suggest that this is not a good approach.

Rather than complain about honest volunteer activists trying to help Trentonians regain control of their government; embrace them.  Admit your mistakes, beg forgiveness and become the most open and transparent government in the country.  What would all the watchdogs do if they had no hidden ELEC reports to analyze or no messy contracts to protest?

I can tell you what I’d do if my watchdog services were rendered obsolete.  I’d spend all my time working on the city’s budget and budget process.  If the administration could answer emails, keep commitments and show up for meetings, we’d make pretty short work of fixing our finances.  If working with the city were easier, then maybe I could do other things like organize my S. Broad St. block to clean itself up in order to attract more business.  If the city really starting working well, I could work on what I really want to do: like raising a Trenton investment fund to develop new projects in our town.

But before we get working on all these positive things, we need to work first on cleaning up the bad things.  Mayor Mack and Ms. Ira have put blinders on and can’t see how bad the city looks to us, to normal Trentonians and to outsiders.  All they have to do is read the blogs and the papers.  None of us have an interest in embarrassing Trenton.  In fact, many of us have roundly criticized Mr. Stoolmacher (the writer Ms. Ira complains about in his article last month) for going too far.  However, we’re not going to let our city be taken advantage of.  We’re going to hold the administration to a high standard befitting a great city.

I want Trenton to be in rebirth.  I just want it to be true when I say it and I want to work with the administration to make it happen.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks

9 Responses to “Trenton’s Rebirth”

  • gr8rh8r:

    Trenton rebirth?

    after much bleeding,screaming and pain

    from the shallow womb of a teenage girl

    a slithering mass of protoplasm enters this world

    cold and stillborn

    ready to lead

  • mary:

    Don’t hush, don’t whisper….keep on shouting, keep on working hard.

    The thinking citizens of Trenton appreciate everyting that all of you do and cheer you on. You may not hear us, but we are cheering. Loudly.

  • patricia stewart:

    As usual, well written. I don’t feel, however, that the current council has much of a spine. There have been occasional spinal signs, but who voted for Lynx and Cooper-Levensen? Perhaps, Dan, we have all been TOO polite, TOO well-bred in our behavior. Perhaps it is time to get down and dirty. Take care. PHS

  • #1 stunna:

    If the city of Trenton is to have a rebirth it will be inspite of city government not because of city government.

  • Great post Dan. I copied Ira’s article, pasted it into an e-mail with the response “surely you jest. She says Mack was overwhelmingly voted into office by Trenton citizens yet he only beat Eric Jackson by 3 votes. Also only 10 out of 85 thousand residents bothered voting.

    That is what I want to change more than anything. I want to change how many people exercise their right to vote. We need 85 thousand voters next election…..every single Trentonian!

    Great retort…

  • Robert, you’re right that it wasn’t that overwhelming in the initial election. But it was Manny who beat out Jackson by three votes.

  • oh yea, almost forgot about Manny…lol

  • Carlos Avila:

    Mr. Mayor,
    Sir, it’s about sharing with us, the voters, your thought process. How do you come up with your conclusions? How do you make your decisions? Until now we suspect that the failed appointments, getting rid of skilled personnel, ELEC controversies, signs of patronage and alarming budgetary shortfalls are political favors gone wrong. With all do respect, if you share your thought process, your regrets, your dilemmas, your struggles and heed to the advice of thoughtful folks in the community then your decisions will be more successful. Miss. Ira asks us to join you, to that we say—we have!

  • Well said Carlos.

    That’s exactly it.

Leave a Reply