Saturday, February 09, 2008

An open letter to Andria Carter

Ms. Carter,

Your opinion piece in this morning's Trentonian came off as more "Pro-Palmer" propaganda.

First, you refer to his tenure as Mayor as a "dynasty."

With all do respect, Ma'am, but a dynasty properly refers to a familial line of succession within a ruling family. And, traditionally, through the male members of said family.

Since Mr. Palmer was elected to office and he has no male heirs holding positions of power, I would hardly refer to his administration as a "dynasty."

He is, to be sure, a despot trying desperately to hold together his imagined empire, but it is not in anyway shape or form dynastic.

Second, you refer to Mr. Palmer's "nice power base within New Jersey's capital city and on the national stage."

Have you been smoking crack? Mr. Palmer's base in the area is of questionable power. What has worked to the Mayor's advantage locally has been his deep pockets. He's been able to raise and spend money on his (and others') campaigns. He has raised that money by virtue of his incumbent status. But to say he has power is a serious over estimation of his position in local, county or state politics.

The fact is he hasn't "delivered" the city voters for some time. And that is where power comes from. In fact, just last Tuesday, the city voted very strongly for Barack Obama...not Palmer's chosen candidate, Hillary Clinton. If he had all that "juice" wouldn't he have worked to deliver the votes to Ms. Clinton?

You seem to share the same delusion as Mr. Palmer does: holding the office of Mayor of Trenton makes him somehow all powerful.

Well you both need to divest yourselves of that hallucination right now.

The almost 18 years of the Palmer administration have coincided with a major decline in the economic health of the city. The population has decreased; the ratio of homeownership to rental has decreased; the school system is a wreck and the crime rate is not "the lowest it has been since the 1960's." All of this decline despite the fact that he's hand picked a majority of the last two sitting city council members as well as appoints the school board.

The administration is at the very least borderline corrupt (but we all know it is worse than that). Palmer and his henchmen have bent or ignored the laws, operated in shaddows rather than openly and has failed to set us on the promised path to revitalization.

You mention, as does the Mayor at every opportunity, his leadership of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. So what? It's more high-profile, image building bull crap! That doesn't make him powerful. That just feeds his ego.

"Shaping policy," and rubbing elbows with other high profile elected officials has yet to translate into anything tangible for the residents of the city of Trenton.

He gets TV time. Meanwhile we suffer.

Yes, rumors abound and there are scenarios aplenty regarding what may happen and who may run for what office in 2010. But your assertion that the City Council's decisions to not approve spending money (which in case you haven't noticed we don't have)to fill positions we don't need is politically motivated sounds strangely like the words of Mr. Palmer himself.

The facts, Ms. Carter, would seem to dispute your position.

We were promised the underlying design of the website we are leasing from the vendor negates the need for a "webmaster" as each department could upload and update the content of it's webpage. And we already have an IT officer for the city (although his expertise has been questioned by some), who should be able to handle to day-to-day oversight of maintaining the city's web presence as part of his regular duties,no?

The situation with Mr. Colicelli and the Council vote to not offer him another consulting contract comes down to questions about the return on investment for the city's money.

Mr. Colicelli gave a broad overview of what programs the city was involved in to help stem the growth of gangs. It was, like his non-detailed invoices, essentially a rehash of the presentations he's given since his services were first retained. There was nothing that explained what made his presence and participation critical to the continuation of these programs. There was no hard evidence of anything "extra" that Mr. Colicelli brought to the table that warranted another expensive annual contract.

The increase in money to be spent (again, remember the city is strapped for cash) was, we were told, to make up for the loss of the city provided car and cell phone in the new contract. This was, one would presume, to silence those on council who had criticized and questioned the provision of these items (plus office and computer) to an independent contractor to begin with.

Does your newspaper hire stringers, Ms. Carter? If so, does it provide them with company vehicles and cell phones and dedicated computers and office space?

You are right that political dealings in City Hall are like a soap opera. But you had best include yourself and any other members of the Pro-Palmer press as part of the cast of characters.

And you had better cast those members of City Council who are doing the right thing by standing up for their constituents as "heros."

1 comment:

Irving Bertrand Clean said...

Thank you, Stoop... I Heart You.

Ms. Carter writes sufficiently bad that she makes LA Parker look like a senior editor at The New Yorker.

On the bright side, at least Palmer got a journalistic pole-smoking from a woman, for a change.