Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Johnny" talks back

Below is the text of a Letter To the Editor that appeared in today's Times. It is an eloquent response to Trenton City Council President Paul Pintella's ridiculous assessment and subsequent dismissal of residents who openly dissapprove of City Hall's status quo. Kudos to the author.

Listen to Johnny,
come lately or not

Trenton City Council President Paul Pintella's remarks in The Times' "Residents present litany of wishes" (July 21), in which he referred to city residents who addressed council July 19 as "Johnny-come-lately" are reckless and unbecoming of the leader of Trenton Council.

The council president's comments serve to divide the electorate in the city. More important, it seems counterproductive to make such comments at a time when Trenton seeks to attract young liberals who prefer neither Philly nor New York City, but a safe haven in between. Trenton has great potential to be that hub, to attract this "disposable income." But Pintella's remarks would suggest otherwise. It would suggest: We want your investment, but do not come with expectations of us (the elected officials and administration) and when they are not met, don't come to city council and complain. Come into the city and buy a home, a brownstone, open a boutique, café, or bookstore, and pay your taxes -- just don't think you have a right to ex pectations and the right to ask questions.

If the numerous men and women who addressed council that Thursday are "Johnny-come- lately," then what would Mr. Pintella call the pastors of so many of our black churches who migrated to and around the city and have similar expectations? Does this same logic apply to the numerous administration officials who were not born and bred in Trenton? President Pintella should consider apologizing for his remarks. Trenton needs all the support and input it can get from all people.

-- PAUL A. HARRIS JR., Trenton
The writer maintains a blog about Trenton at http://

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