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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Calling All Taxpayers!!!

Last evening there was a council meeting held in the conference room; since there was no security in the back lobby, I'm wondering if this was a secret meeting. Council was asking questions about the budget requests from several departments. Pat Hice of the tax assessors office was the ONLY one who could answer questions; the others stumbled, mumbled, and fumbled. Answers like, "A budget is just a guesstimate." My ass. Phyllis Holly-Ward and George Muschal are the only council members who seem to grasp the concept of THE BOTTOM LINE. (Zach Chester and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson were not present.) It may be time for council to say to each department, "Here's your money for the fiscal year. Make it work." There are lots of tiny leaks in the budget - such as publications. Well, if city employees are so anxious to read, "Sloppy Management Monthly," they can pay for their own subscriptions. The city seems to be paying $33.00 per case for copy paper (there are ten reams per case) which isn't bad, but a little net surfing turned up prices SLIGHTLY lower; of course, this may not be practical. Not every savings is a savings in the end. But the city sure uses a lot of paper; I just hope people aren't running off invites to a Tupperware Party. Blogolanders, it may be time for an Occupy City Hall movement. If anything is to change, and change fast, we, the taxpayers have to make it known that we will no longer tolerate this crappola. Listening to some of the testimony, I had the creepy feeling that budgets are prepared by pulling numbers out of the air. Blogolanders, I have never complained about tax increases (the old death & taxes philosophy), but now I will. I'm not about to give up $4,000 a year to have it pissed away; I can waste that money on my own and have fun doing it. It is time, Blogolanders, to yell, scream, and carry on. No more smiling, while we have a shiv stuck in our guts. Anyone interested in an Occupy City Hall movement?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks

Two people in our fair city should most certainly be giving thanks this holiday season. The first, of course, is our honorable mayor. He dodged a bullet; he avoided a recall election. If I were the honorable mayor, I would be very nervous about the fact that I won because only 12,000 Trentonians voted but 8,000 signed the recall petition. (Those are round numbers). Three quarters of the voting population wanted to recall me. The honorable mayor will continue to claim that those 8,000 signers were disappointed job seekers. The other is Nate Jones who is on, get this Blogolanders, PAID adminstrative leave while the System sorts out his qualifications. That means he sits on his butt and every two weeks he gets a pay check. His salary is roughly $110,000 a year. That's a nice gig. Here's a city on the brink of bankruptcy paying someone to stay home. Where is city coucil? One of the functions of council is to keep an eye on the public purse. Why aren't they screaming like hell about this? So, Blogolanders, when the next tax increase is proposed, remember Nate Jones and his PAID administrative leave.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Demonstrations & Small Minds

For a while now, there has been much huffing and puffing about demonstrators in public parks, war memorials, whatever. These have been, so far, peaceful. Lots of people who are pissed off gathered together to tell their elected officals they were agrieved. Recently, our elected officials have been showing they will not be pushed around. The governor sent the state police to the war memorial across from the state house to confiscate personal property. Mayor Bloomberg ordered thousands of police to Lower Manhattan to do I'm not sure what - make all those people go home. Both the governor and the mayor made a big mistake. If were Chris Christie, I would have walked across West Street, introduced myself, (maybe even invited them into the statehouse), and listened to them. Michael Bloomberg should have done the samething as soon people moved into Zucotti Park. These people are not terrorists; they do not advocate violent overthrow of the government; they are just unhappy and frustrated. This is not the first time people have gathered together in frustration. Sadly, they are usually met with force although there is historical evidence that meeting and listening defuses the situation. In June 1381, the peasants of England rose up in revolt; a group made it as far as London where they did considerable damage. The revolt was pretty much stopped when King Richard II rode out to meet with them - Richard was about fourteen when he did this and a bit of a mama's boy. I have often wondered what would have happened if, when faced with a bunch of angry colonists, the government of George III had said, "OK, send a representative to Parliament." Or even, "OK, you can have your own government with taxing authority. Or if King Louis XVII had ridden out to meet the angry farmers marching on Paris and said, "Mes enfants, parlez a moi; je vous ecoute," or words to that effect, maybe there would have been no French Revolution. And lastly, what if Czar Nicholas II had met with Father Gabon that winter morning; that meeting may have short circuited the Russian Revolution. This, of course, is all speculation, but well worth considering before sending out the Cossacks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Inaccurate is Accurate

The Committee to Recall the "Honorable Mayor Mack" mentioned that the voting rolls were inaccurate; the We Love Tony Committee claims sour grapes. Well, Blogolanders, the rolls are inacurrate, and I know from bitter experience. First, my husband died in 1992. It took three years, a trip to 640 South Broad Street, and a notarized death certificate to get his name off the rolls. Back in 2009, when I ran for office, I was out one lovely afternoon, clutching my voter registration list for the South Ward. I arrived at a short street here in the South Ward. The list showed all houses occupied (there was even ONE Republican listed). When I got there all the houses were boarded up. It wasn't many - like four houses - BUT the voter list showed people living there. Back in October of 2010, I was at Republican headquarters making phone calls and was bowled over by the number of names that had died (and not recently, either), moved away (not recently, either), or were in prison (I did hit one of those). Even with the best efforts, the voting rolls will never by 100% accurate. That is why I feel that recalls should be based on the number of people who voted in the previous geneneral election for the entity facing the recall. (That's a crappy sentence, but I don't feel rewriting - sorry). In the case of Trenton, it would have 25% of those who voted in May 2010. Granted, some of those have died, moved away, or been sentenced, but, we'd still be dealing with something a tad more relieable.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Be a Yokel - Stay Local

At the end of last month, the circulating pump on my furnance crapped out. Since I was cold, I whipped out the yellow pages and called one of those emergency plumber companies - 24/7 service. A technician arrived in good time, looked around, agreed I needed a new circulating pump, quoted an outrageous price, and urged me to go for a whole new heating system which would cost A LOT OF MONEY. Financing was available. Fortunately, The Kid happened to drop by and immediately put an end to any discussion of anything. He also suggested I call Born Bros. Plumbing on Remsen Street as he had good things about them around the water cooler. So I did. Kurt Born arrived shortly, agreed I needed a new circulating pump, and installed it at, to my mind, a very reasonable cost. We also had a pleasant discussion about prints; I have a collection of framed prints; so does Kurt. He also recognized them as having been framed at Artifacts Gallery where he goes. The moral of the story: I solved my problem at a reasonable cost, employed a Trentonian, and had a nice chat about prints. Not every local businessman will share my interests, but I learned my lession - start local.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Death & Taxes

Well, Blogolanders, we now have a spending cum budget plan that should take us to the end of year (I think). No tax increase - YET! Normally, I accept tax increases because the only certainties are DEATH & TAXES. This time, I'm not until and unless there major changes in city hall. I, as a taxpayer, want to know where every freakin penny is going; I mean that, every freakin penny. I want to see major changes in city hall such getting rid of useless employees and taking on those who can really help the city - like inspectors. When the next tax increase is proposed, I'll post my plan. I'd be curious as to how people will come along with me. In the meantime, Blogolanders, there is something known as, "Civil Disobediance." It is held in rather high regard by many - myself included. Later

Monday, November 7, 2011

It Must in the Water

Blogolanders, I apologize for two back-to-back postings, but I wanted to get this one out. For the last year, I've noticed that there are several intelligent, talented people here in Trenton who truly seem to want to help and be involved. Many of them have even done good work. Most of them are people whom I found easy to work with and likeable, BUT all of them lately seem to have a loose wire somewhere in their personalities. Has something in the water rusted a mental connection? There are several people I now avoid. It's too bad, but still, why so many in such a small city?

Ave Caesar!

Robert Chilson's blog has an interview with our Honorable Mayor; I've just listened to all eleven plus minutes of it! The man is dillusional! First he says he'll be mayor as long The People want him and a few minutes later he says he'll be mayor as long as HE wants. Then he rambles on about his accomplishments (most of them involve spending grant money that has been lying around for a few years; if Trenton didn't use the money, the city would lose the money). Last week the Honorable Mayor was at Market & Broad touting a new street design with landscaping. Dan Dodson questioned this project asking why not use the funds to upgrade our infrastructure. Excellent question. Repairing bridges, etc. is far more important than planting flowers. I like nice landscaping, but who takes care of it? Has anyone noticed the memorial at the intersection of Broad and Centre Streets? It's overgrown with weeds. For months, a raggedy flag hung from the flagpole. At the end of the interview, the Honorable Mayor claims to be independent - yeah, sure. Which is why most of his directors are, "Acting," which is really a good title - acting as in pretending. As for people not complaining about the city's troubles, the regulars at city council have doing that. Maybe if the Honorable Mayor had attended more council meetings he would have heard us. Prior to Tony's election, I saw more of John Harmon and Frank Weeden at council meetings! As to the Honorable Mayor's contention that those supporting the recall came to him looking for a job or a contract - to that, I say BULLSH...T!!! Most of the people I've met during this recall drive already have jobs, or are retired and do NOT want to work again or wouldn't take a city contract as a gift (Trenton is often very slow in paying). In closing, I like Tony Mack; he is a very charming man. He is a genius on the campaign trail, a talent I envy because I am a total dud. He is great with his kids; he really seems to enjoy fatherhood. He simply is not a leader. But then few of us are.