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Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Motto of My Administration will be.....

LEAP BEFORE YOU LOOK! As I've posted in the past, I like Tony Mack as a person; I especially like the way he interacts with his children. But.....why does he constantly step in it? Tony has been mayor of Trenton for eight months and has learned nothing. The furlough flap is just another example. Again, as I've said, I think closing city hall one day a week is a great idea because I suspect we Trentonians will learn we've been paying for soemthing we do not need. Yet Tony did not check out his scheme before he announced it. So now he looks a tad silly since Judge Feinberg told him he can't close the courts without her approval. Further, he cannot furlough part of a department (public works, for example) without including everyone (in this case the employees at TWW). Another example, is his plan to hold a, "town meeting," at the Parker School to discuss plans for the Cooper pool on Thursday, March 3 at 6PM. The very day council meets. Shouldn't he be at council? Didn't he check his calendar before setting this up? Most Trentonians wanted Tony do really well; several Trentonians offered help; Tony rejected their help. I plan to be at city council not this council takes advice from the public (I'm not talking about individual members of council but the body as a whole.)

Guest Blogger - Emily Post

This is just a word to the administration. Stop already with the Honorable Mayor nonsense. The letterhead should simply read, "Office of the Mayor." If one is addressing an envelope to the mayor, it should read, "The Hon. Tony F. Mack. If one is speaking to the mayor, he should be addressed as, "Your Honor," or "Mayor." Or if one is in a really bad mood, one can address him as, "........." My readers can fill in the blank. A press release should read, "FROM: The Mayor." This constant use of the term, "The Honorable Mayor," says a great deal about Mayor Mack, and what it says makes me uncomfortable.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thoughts on a Rainy Morning

Last evening I gave Irving Stoolmacher's suggestion of a Municipal Assistance Council a few minutes of deep thought and decided, "Why not?" A change, however. Let's have the Municipal Assistance Council Knot. First of all KNOT is a cute pun: knot = not. And we can call it MACK. OK. Let's get serious. I've had it with citizens' committees; serious, well-meaning, bright people attend and come up with great ideas. Really! The great ideas are ignored by both administration and council (it doesn't matter which administration and which council). Even Art Holland ignored good ideas; so did Joe Yuhas. If we TRULY want things to change, it is time to realize that both council and the administration work for US! We pay their salaries and benefits. If we TRULY want change; if we TRULY want things to get better, we must make it known that we, the voters & tax payers, are giving the orders not the other around. Again, Trentonians, go to council meetings. Express your displeasure. Let that crowd know the next time around you may not be so quick to elect them (and elected officials do not have unemployment benefits). The next coucil meeting is Tuesday, March 1 at city hall starting at 5:30PM. BE THERE!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Town Meeting?

It seems Mayor Mack is holding a townhall meeting on Thursday, March 3 over at the Parker School starting at, get this, 6PM. Council meets that day starting at 5:30PM. I assume the mayor will not be at council. One hopes the residents will go to the council meeting. Again, more of us must attend on a regular basis. If this was not deliberate, it shows plain BAD planning.

What Next?

While a county police force deserves looking into, I sincerely doubt any suburban police force has approached Trenton. After all, why would a small town force want to be associated with a problem place like Trenton? A patrol in the back woods of Hopewell is much easier than a patrol in downtown Trenton. I'm sorry, Mayor, but I doubt you have received any such calls. For whatever it's worth, I rather like Tony Mack as a person; he has a nice personality and is very good with his children. But those traits, however admirable, do not make for a good administrator. It seems that Sam Hutchinson will not be joining the current administration so we are back to square one - no business administrator. This morning, Irving Stoolmacher suggested the mayor form a committee of citizens to advise him. Ain't gonna happen. Dan Dodson and Fix Trenton's Budget have tried - and tried since last fall - with no result. The mayor is not interested. And there are only three members of council who seem to listen to Trentonians (or at least they seem to listen to me). A recall does not seem to be the answer either; it requires much time, energy, and money. Here's the kicker. Tony could run again during a recall; I suspect he would win. He does have a great stage presence. My advice is for Trentonians to start attending council meetings in GREAT numbers. Standing room only! Let it be known, loud and clear, we are unhappy. It's a start. Have a nice day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday Nite Live

Council did a few good things last night - first they decided not give the go-ahead to every administration request for funds. That may or may not get the attention of the administration. As for the Hon. Alex Bethea!! A man representing the people of Trenton he has no idea of how tax lien sales work!! He doesn't realize that by selling, the city actually comes out ahead because the tax money is paid by the party purchasing the lien. Yes, there are fees and interest (that's why some people buy these liens - to make money). Of course if one pays the taxes on time, there is no lien sale. I guess Mr. Bethea does not use a credit card; if he did, he would know that banks charge really high rates of interest and that banks get real snotty if you don't pay on time. Talk about penalties (last September I was a day late paying Bank of America and got hit with a $35 penalty), but that's what happens. As usual, there was moaning and groaning about the increase in property taxes. By the way, for the record, I, too, live a, "fixed income." I hate that phrase. My income, however, has changed - it went down. One last thought for now. Why is it that folks yell, scream, and carry on when property taxes go up but NEVER say a word when cable fees go up or PSE&G ups their rates (which they are doing again)? I do get annoyed when the FIOS bill goes up, but I also know I can pull the plug and still survive nicely. I'm not sure I could that if I lost my house because I did not pay my taxes. More later.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Power and the Glory - Part II

Several years, General Colin Powell was suggested as a possible candidate for president. The Republicans went after him in a big way; and several soundings were taken. He really looked like a viable candidate, but then he suddenly announced he wasn't interested. This man turned his nose up at a chance to be the most powerful man in the world (or at least one of two or three powerful men). Why? Because he decided it wasn't worth the grief his family would face. If I remember correctly, Mrs. Powell had had some emotional problems, and General Powell didn't feel it was necessary to have these facts hashed out in public. He was right. But he walked away from the opportunity! No one ran after him and said, "Please reconsider. We promise not to discuss Mrs. Powell." That's man we should have chased. That's the man we should have elected because the position wasn't important to him. He had no agenda. Instead, we had two terms of a pleasant fellow, not too bright, who had to prove to his father that he could hack it. So we are deeply involved in two mid Eastern nations and are getting nowhere. What has this to do with Trenton? Until we start asking ourselves why a candidate wants the job, we will continue to muddle around in this mess. We should be chasing those who don't want the job. Those who do not show an interest in the power, the glory, and the money. Please, just think about it.

The Power and the Glory

This is just an intro; several longish posts will follow, but I can't give you a precise timeline right now. My son and I have been discussing the current situation here in Trenton since about 8 o'clock this morning and not always in a pleasant way. But a few interesting (I believe) points did come out. Here's the first one. We, as Trentonians, keep expecting things to change, to improve, but they never do. Why? One reason is that we keep looking to folks who have an agenda that is not necessarily good for Trenton and/or the residents. We keep electing folks who seem to be interested in the power, the glory, and the money that the position brings. We listen to the campaign rhetoric and believe. When the dust settles, the residents are forgotten. And we moan and groan to each other hoping for better at the next election. We don't call them out NOW and ask, "Why hasn't this been done?" Or, "Why hasn't that been done?" Has anyone asked council why they haven't demanded that the administration present a budget - even a draft of a budget? Why hasn't council (all of them) said, "No more resolutions to spend money until we have a budget?" Does council really want to see a budget? Does council really want to flex their muscles? Or is council comfortable with the status quo? As I wrote, this is just an intro. More to follow.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday Afternoon Massacre

Since no one posts comments, I assume no one reads this blog which means I can really say stuff. Shutting city hall down one day a week for thirteen weeks is not a bad idea. (1) Folks keep their jobs (and their benefits)albeit at a lesser salary, but consider the alternative...the unemployment line and no medical insurance! (2) City hall, and the county, and the state, and the federal government frequently shut down for three days - it's called three day weekends/holiday weekends. (3) Sometime between 2000 and 2004 (I really don't remember the exact dates) there were two shutdowns because two levels of government ran out of money. Both the state and the federal government shut down for a few days (at different times) and you know what happened? NOBODY NOTICED!!!! Maybe if the city shuts down, we will realize that we have been paying for something we don't need. (4) Exempting the police and fire departments from this makes sense - remember police and firefighters work on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Sunday, 24/7. It is simply the nature of the beast. (5) Why not the Clerk's office? Because city council is really in charge of the Clerk's office. Maybe at their next meeting, council will decide to close that office on Friday for thirteen weeks. In closing, it WAS most tactful of the mayor to announce this on Friday rather Monday when the media could have made a hash with references to the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Apparently, Mayor Mack learned something after the, "Happy Pearl Harbor Day," remark. He deserves credit for that.

In closing, I am really surprised that the administration decided on one day a week for thirteen weeks. He probably should have gone with closing every day at 1PM. Have a good weekend.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Power of Positive Comments

Yesterday, I stopped off at a well-known Trenton gallery to pick up a print they had framed for me. As usual, it was a super beautiful job. I stayed around to waste their time bloviating. That's a made-up word that means talking, talking, talking. Ms. Ira's op-ed piece left me feeling very depressed; I mentioned that to the owners of the gallery. The usual bitch and moan stuff; the response I got floored me! I was told, "Just think how much worse things would be if you and the others had not been fighting for Trenton." That's so true! I felt better; I still feel a bit better, but I also feel more positive toward the political philosphy of one Alexander Hamilton. Why? Because I notice that far too many of our elected officials have the same resume. One final comment - I never liked New York governor, Nelson Rockefeller and was relieved when he got so bored with Albany that he resigned, but I never denied the man's honesty and ethical standards. There was nothing with which he could be bribed. NOTE: There is fifty dollars waiting for anyone who understands this post. Just e-mail me. Take care.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Home and Hearth

Not being a football fan, I've reading back issues of the NY Times, long a favorite. Since September 30, the paper has run some really interesting, "lifestyle," articles. The first dealt with the guilt felt those who commit, "environmental sins," such as using disposable dispers. One couple admits to using disposble diapers, but they also claim to watch the kid for signs of poo and/or pee. They rush the kid to the toilet thus using fewer diapers. Of course if the kids grows up to enjoy torturing small animals, he can always blame it on Mom and Dad their green conscience. My favorite in this article was a five gallon bucket filled with sand with a toilet seat on it. You can carry the bucket from room to room and when it's filled just empty it onto your back yard compost heap. I doubt this will fly in urban areas. Several weeks back, there was an article on folks who do not shower and shampoo every day! This one left me sort of cold as I had just finished reading THE DIRT ON CLEAN by Katherine Ashenburg. It is really only the last hundred years or so that we have developed a taste for daily bathing. The reason for foregoing personal cleanliness is, of course, to save water. OK. The article that really set me off was entiled, "A Love Affair Cools," published on Thursday, January 20. It's all about how fireplaces are an environmental hazard. Burning is BAD, BAD, BAD!! It got me to thinking about the whole issue of fire.

The greatest achievement of the human race was learning how to control fire. Everything we have today, EVERYTHING, is possible only because some remote ancestor on the African plains learned how to control fire. How to start a fire. How to transport lives coals to start another fire. Because of fire we learned to cook. Because of fire, we kept wild animals at bay (the darkness was less terrifying). Being able to control fire, allowed folks to move to other places, colder places as fire would keep them warm. They were able to smelt metals and make tools. (Yeah, and weapons). The Greeks and Romans had a great respect for fire.

Since burning wood, peat, you name it, pollutes the air, we have been polluting the atmosphere for about fifty thousand years now. And what about the societies that cremate their dead?

It's one thing to want to help make the earth a cleaner place. But I believe we must be careful not to slide from the ridiculous to the sublime. The only way we can avoid leaving a carbon footprint is to regress. Go back to a semi-upight position and grunt at each other.

Fire! Fire!