Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Director Speaks But Is Anyone Really Listening?

I was only able to be at the City Council Conference session for an hour last night but that was enough.

From what I heard, plus what I read in this morning's papers we got the usual flood of verbal absurdities from Police Director Joseph Santiago.

First, on the funeral took four days to come up with the cover story that the attending officers requested to go to the funeral and have now requested to take administrative leave for that day so as not to burden the taxpayers. This, we are told, was done out of respect.

Well, what about respect for those taxpayers? Even if, as the Director would have us believe, this escort was arranged without his prior knowledge and strictly because the four officers "wanted to go," who authorized the use of multiple city vehicles?

What about respect for the laws of the city of Trenton and a Police Director who doesn't reside here and hasn't for some time!

What about respect for the intelligence and sensibilities of those individuals who can see through the double-speak and blame avoidance clearly enough to ask tough questions but are vilified and criticized for their efforts to understand.

Director Santiago essentially gave the same speech (sermon?) last night that he gave on his previous visit to Council about 6 months ago. Nothing has changed in what he is saying or doing. Nothing has changed in the effectiveness of his tactics.

Alternating between "I am the Trenton Police Department" and "This is not a Police problem..." Director Santiago seems like he wants the "respect," but shirks the responsibility.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Kodak Moment

So, yesterday I dropped off my trusty old Minolta SLR, a couple of flash units and some additional lenses at Trenton Central High School (TCHS). Seems the students in the photography classes there don't have enough equipment to go around so they have to share.

If you've ever taken a photography course, you know that much of the lesson work involves taking pictures and processing film and prints. Can you imagine how difficult it must be to complete an assignment in time to hand off the camera to a classmate and hope that they don't make a mistake that effects the images you captured?

Since so many people are moving from film to digital imaging, a call has gone out from TCHS for donations of working, 35 mm Single Lens Reflex cameras...preferably with some sort of manual operation mode so the students can learn how to manipulate shutter speed and aperature settings for creative impact. This seemed to me like a great idea to augment the stretched to the breaking point resources of Trenton's school district.

It has been some time since I used any of my film camera equipment. I picked up a digital camera a few years back and that was that. Still, I was having a hard time deciding what to do with my old 35 mm gear.

When I received the email asking for equipment to be donated I had a Eureka! moment.

Now I knew what I would do with my equipment. Donate it to the school.

Yes, I'm sad that for the first time in over 40 years I don't own a film camera. I remember the thrill of getting my first SLR and all the adventures my cameras accompanied me on over the years. Although not a great photographer myself, I love the medium and count several excellent practitioners of the art amongst my acquaintences.

Here's hoping that through these equipment donations some Trenton kids will develop an appreciation and love for photography as I have. The equipment is being put to use and it's not taking up space in a closet or (worse) landfill somewhere.

Got some equipment you'd like to donate? Contact Beth Paugh and Trenton Central High School. Tell her you heard about this "From the Front Stoop."

Friday, May 04, 2007

Enough Already

Ok, while I hone my prose on a longer screed about the lack of leadership from our absentee Mayor I just have to vent about the latest abuse of "the system."

According to an article in this morning's Times former City Councilman John Ungrady is openly seeking appointment to the Taxi Inspector position. He's able to do this because the position was recently vacated when the City terminated the employee who had held the post for a few years.

Regardless of the legitimacy of the claims that the dismissed provisional employee was not qualified for the position and/or had some performance problems, putting the former Councilman in the position is just wrong. This is nothing more than political patronage and should not be tolerated.

If Mr. Ungrady has any dignity or honor, he will immediately and irrevocably withdraw his expressed interest in the position.