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Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's Not that Much!!

When the Honorable Mayor's $27.00 motor vehicle fine first surfaced, I mentioned it to one of the Seven Argives and was told, "It's not worth my time to worry about a few dollars."  While the Honorable Mayor has not racked up thousands in fines, he has racked up fines when using a city vehicle (and for personal reasons, to boot), and not paying them himself.  And the current business administrator had the gall to explain signing off on the $27.00 fine because he had other things on his mind!!!  What is his threshold for looking closely at checks?  $270.00; $2,700.00; 27,000.00? 

Blogolanders - here goes, again.  CITY COUNCIL IS TO KEEP AN EYE ON THE PUBLIC PURSE!!!  In other words, the Seven Argives are to question every freakin penny that is spent.  I'd also rip Hutchinson a new one.  Hell, a dollar here and a dollar; before you know it, it adds to real money! 

And if  Hutchinson and the Honorable Mayor bitch and moan, I would urge the Seven Argives to files charges of petite larceny.  If that happens, the sun will rise in the west. 

When I was still at probation, the supervising probation officer was a total bastard when it came to money.  He eyeballed every chit, every mileage log, every request for supplies (in fact, he would not authorize a red BIC pen for me as I did not work in bookkeeping - I bought my own) BUT every year he brought adult probation in UNDER budget. 

When it comes to solving Trenton's financial problems, we must, MUST start by eyeballing every penny; questioning every penny, and saying, "NO," more than we say, "YES." 

By Labor Day, the candidates for mayor will be known.  They will start really talking to people.  When this happens, please, Blogolanders, ask them really hard questions.  What plans to do they have for trimming the budget.  What plans do they have for raising ratables?  Forget the cute phrases. 

Sadly, far too many in Trenton will sell their vote (and their soul) for a dixie cup and a can of soda. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Useless Info/Historical Ironies

On Tuesday, March 19, the 266th Bishop of Rome (aka Pope Francis) was installed.  March 19 is the Feast of St. Joseph, Patron Saint of Workers,  Two days later, the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury was installed.  March 21 is an interesting date - the Romans considered it the vernal equinox.  Spring, like a new beginning.  Here are two men, leaders of two major branches of Christianity, starting off together.  Both face many of the same problems - same sex marriage, ordination of women (the Anglicans do have women priests & bishops but many still object), falling attendance, financial issues, and of course sexual scandals.  Yes, even the Church of England has faced this issue.  I wonder if these two will get together, some neutral spot like Switzerland will do, and discuss the long standing issues that separate the Roman and English churches.  Probably not.  Pax.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eating Cake

Please forgive the crappy title; nothing clever came to mind.  I have missed the last two sessions with the Seven Argives.  Anything having to do with crime, police, police directors, tends to get emotional.  Yes, there is crime in Trenton; there will always be some crime in Trenton.  When the Stewarts moved to Trenton back in 1987, it was not unusual to see groups of teens, usually male, hanging around street corners.  Lamberton & Furman tended to attract kids.  It was also not unusual to see a patrol car pull up, have a cop get out, chase the kids off. 

At time, there was also a mini station on Centre Street; there was a meeting at least once a month.  The president of the mini-station citizens group was a Miss Ella who lived in the Kearney Homes.  A police officer always came to the meetings.  One meeting got loud and nasty.  Parents claimed that the police were harrassing black teens hanging on street corners. 

Having a big mouth, I said, "I'm glad the cops are harrassing these kids because (1) they should be in school and (2) respectable people do not hang on street corners. 

The complaints about harrassment continued to the point where the cops just didn't exert themselves anymore.  Now the cops have to hear about the rising crime statistics. 

And, in closing, we could have five thousand police officers on the force, and we would still have crime.  The lack of police does not cause crime.  Anti-social behavior does. 

The Crime of Crime

Good morning, Blogolanders.  This may be my first posting.  More may follow.  This one deals with crime.  A few months back, I amused myself by researching law codes.  Ancient as in four thousand or more years ago.  It was great fun because some things haven't changed - you borrow your neighbor's boat and damage it, you have to pay for the repairs.  Some laws were really weird - it was illegal to have sex with a pig!!  But all my research showed it has been illegal, wrong, sinful for the longest time to:  lie; steal; commit murder.  Sadly, whenever people begin to live together in larger groups, crime rears its ugly head.  So, like the poor, criminals will always be with us.  The question we face is how much will we tolerate?  Right now, here in Trenton we have not decided how much we will tolerate - that's our problem. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Merde on Toast

Good morning, Blogolanders.  Yesterday I attended the Mistake of the City address.  I arrived just before six  o'clock to get a good parking space/seat in council.  What a waste.  Nobody really showed up till nearly 6:30, and there was a creepy feeling that the folks who appeared en masse were given Target cards.  I may be wrong, but...."  I won't go over the speech line by line because a few other bloggers have done so and very well so read them. 

Just a few things from moi.  The use of the phrase, "We will prevail."  I don't know whether the Honorable Mayor meant the city will be OK, or he will be found innocent.  I suspect the latter because he's thick enough to use the editorial, "we."  The Honorable Mayor also boasted of the transparancy of his administration.  I guess he meant the learning centers?  The hotel?  The Glen Cairn Arms deal?  The group home on Rutgers Place?  Yeah, all were discussed in the full light of day. 

The Honorable Mayor asked why he hasn't heard from those who think they can solve the problems here in Trenton.  I kept my temper!  Trentonians have come forward.  Bob Lowe and Dan Dodson worked long and hard on budget plan.  They were ignored.  Michael McGrath asked for an independent audit of the hotel.  He was voted down.  Bea Scala-Fischler suggested TESC rent the Glen Cairn property; she was shrugged off.  From the get-go, the Honorable Mayor has ignored good advice; good suggestions.

The Honorable Mayor reminded the audience that the problems of Trenton are, "deep rooted."  Yeah, they are, but he knew this (didn't he?) when he ran promising to solve all problems.  Yes, there were and are problems which is why I decided early on city hall was more than I could handle. 

There was one point made by the Honorable Mayor with which I agreed.  When it comes to solving the crime issue, we must look to ourselves.  There are Trentonians who need a great deal of behavior modification.  Ironically, this is something the Honorable Mayor may have been able to solve; he is good with kids!  He knows how to correct behavior calmly and quietly.  When he first ran in '06, I was at a meeting; one of his sons was also there sitting quietly.  After the stump speech, I went over to say, "hello."  Tony leaned over and whispered to the boy, "Remember to stand up for a lady."  The kid turned around, smiled, nodded his head, stood up and offered his hand. 

I can see the Honorable Mayor, a former champion wrestler, working with these kids who think they are so freakin tough.  Tony, I really regret you didn't go into social work. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ladies First?

Irwin Stoolmacher had an interesting op-ed piece this moring; the theme was that perhaps a woman could do a better job as mayor of Trenton.  And this, Blogolanders, reminded me of that Agatha Christie stchick.  She had recurring character, Ariadne Oliver, who claimed crime would go down if a woman ran Scotland Yard.  Yeah, sure.  Going back to Mr. Stoolmacher's original piece about who would make a good mayor, he listed Reed Gusiora!  The only reason Reed lives in Trenton is because the assembly districts were redrawn, and he wanted to keep his job.  His interest in Trenton is probably NIL!  Scratch him.  Mr. Stoolmacher mentioned today the four women currently on council as possible candidates.  Ms. McBride has done a great job with Mothers Against Violance, but that does not make a viable candidate for mayor.  Big deal, she got the most at-large votes.  So did Manny Segura during one election.  As for political clout - how do you think Tony Mack got elected?  Ms. Caldwell-Wilson seems to qualify because she is a Democrat; so are the other three women on council, and Trenton is, in theory, non-partisan.  Since I do not live in the East Ward, I have no knowledge of how effective Ms. Reynolds-Jackson is.  Which brings us to Ms. Holly-Ward whom Mr. Stoolmacher knows from TCCA.  Wow!!  Yes, Ms. Holly-Ward was president of TCCA several years back (I was treasurer that year) .  Ms. Caldwell-Wilson has also served as president of TCCA.  So have I.  Ms. Holly-Ward has not been active in TCCA for quite a while.  What she does have going for her is that she understands money.  Ms. Holly-Ward is a businesswoman.  Ms. Holly-Ward is a successful businesswoman. 

Which brings me to a woman who was not mentioned by Mr. Stoolmacher.  A woman who knows labor law; a woman who is a tough negotiator; a woman who can read a balance sheet.  Annette Lartigue.

This is not an endorsement of anyone for mayor.  This is a reminder that we should look to a candidate who understands financial concepts like when the outgo exceeds the income, you have a problem.  We also need someone who can say, "Do not ask for anything.  We have NO money!" 

So for the next election (which is less than 14 months away), let's forget race, gender, party, birthplace, and look for someone who is honest enough to say, "Folks, it's gonna hurt, and it's gonna hurt bad, but we'll climb out of this mess." 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Dew Drop Inn

Because of a scheduling conflict, I missed Thursday Nite Live.  Blogolanders, the hotel was always a bad idea, but it is one that we cannot blame on The Honorable Mayor.  He should have, however, appointed real business people to the board.  He did not; the Honorable Mayor appointed several of his buddies and tossed a few bones to shut some talented people up.  I understand Councilwoman Caldwell-Wilson voted to approve the $295,000 request because downtown business people asked her to help save the hotel.  That being the case, I have a few questions...

1.  How many of these business people actually LIVE in Trenton?

2.  Since the city is broke and must find this extra money, are business people
 going to whine when the price of a business license goes up?  

3.  Does anyone remotely involved with the hotel really believe that the state or the county will have any interest in forming a partnership?

4.  What are we going to do when the Marriott/Waterford contract expires in June?

5.  I have heard some interesting ideas from several Trentonians; has anyone reached out to these people?

Kevin Moriarty has posted some very interesting, thought-provoking essays.  It's time to have a very serious, businesslike discussion.