Friday, August 29, 2008

Maybe we were better off when he was asleep

A report in this morning's Trentonian outlines yet another incident involving Trenton Police Captain Paul "Captain Sleepy" Messina.

Messina reportedly "went off" on Sgt. Steve Wilson for arriving late to a training session. It didn't seem to matter to Capt. Messina that Wilson had worked until 3:30 in the morning and had notified his immediate supervisor of his expected tardiness.

And we're sure that this incident had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Sgt. Wilson earlier this week filed a complaint against another officer for failure to act during the chase and apprehension of suspect. That other officer, Sgt. Raul Virella, just happens to be part of former Police Director Santiago's "inner circle" along with Messina.

We can make all the wisecracks we want about this, but the fact is it has ceased to be funny.

The Police Department is charged with protecting and serving the public. While the majority of the men and women on the job are willing and able to do just that, the leadership of former Director Santiago has obviously made it extremely difficult for them.

Further, the mismanagement of the department under Santiago, Messina and their "circle of friends" has obviously placed the public as well as members of the department at risk. This has to stop now before someone, cop or civilian, gets seriously hurt.

We cannot tolerate the type of behaviors exhibited recently by the likes of Captain Messina and Sgt. Raul Virella.

In the case of the former, we have twice this month been treated to examples of his verbal abuse of other officers, his lack of professionalism and self-control (not good traits for someone authorized to carry a weapon). Captain Messina needs to be relieved of his weapon, his command of the academy, sent for a mental evaluation and given a substantial and meaningful suspension that includes the 30 days held in abeyance from a previous infraction.

As for Sgt. Virella, he obviously failed to uphold his sworn duties in refusing to assist in the apprehension of a fleeing suspect. A suspect, by the way, who had already assaulted and injured fellow officers!

Sgt. Virella should also be relieved of his position as the head of "professional standards" for the TPD and be suspended without pay (if you refuse to act as an officer, than you should not be paid as an officer).

The people of Trenton will not condone this kind of behavior from any police officer. Nor should the other members of the TPD have to worry about working with individuals who obviously are not suited for the job.

It's not a matter of politics or preference. It is a matter of public (and police) safety.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who’s minding the store?

Mr. Palmer is in Denver shopping his resume to anyone who will give him the time of day.

The former Police Director, with only weeks left to complete the transition of leadership, is rarely seen in town these days.

Captain Paul “Sleepy” Messina is attending an out of town conference when he should be serving a suspension for his antics earlier this month.

Sgt. Virella, who heads up the office of professional standards for the police department, refused to assist a fellow officer in apprehending a suspect.

The local AFSCME president’s son apparently has what amounts to a no-show job with the sewer utility.

The administration may be giving themselves raises even though projections are for a sizeable deficit this year ($7+ million) and a promised budget has yet to be presented to council (gee, wonder why that is?)

Is there anybody in charge?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Did Palmer administration officials promise a do nothing job

Letter alleges special treatment for son of labor leader

The Missing Mayor website ( has posted a copy of a letter purportedly sent to city officials that details alleged preferential treatment of an employee.

The letter alleges that Dominick Talone, son of city union president Dave Talone, was given a job at the Trenton Sewer Utility in September of 2007.

Respectfully yours,
Concerned Employees of the Water and Sewer Utility

the letter was sent to city council and members of the Public Works Department senior staff.

The writers raise questions about the how and why the younger Talone is treated differently than the very rank and file workers represented by his father. There are allegations of "numerous absences, no calls, or no shows." Although he started just under a year ago, the letter charges that Dominick Talone was given a raise after only a month on the job instead of waiting to his anniversary date as is standard.

Interesting, that the union represented by the elder Talone is supposed to stand for fair and equitable employment practices; practices that offer protection from political favoritism for public employees. But here we have a claim that the son of a union official is the beneficiary of just such special treatment.

Interesting, too, that the union in question has recently concluded contract negotiations with the city while the Police and Fire Unions are still working under contracts that expired three years or more ago. (It needs to be noted that once a new contract is agreed to, whatever increases in pay result will be retroactive to the old contract date...meaning a large lump payment to the police and fire personnel; a large payment the city can ill afford!)

Now, if we're not mistaken, Mr. Palmer is currently off schmoozing at the Democratic National Convention trying to land his next gig.

And one of the aims of the convention is to build party solidarity behind their Presidential candidate; solidarity that brings the blue-collar workers and union members back to the Democratic fold.

All the while, one of the party's "brightest and best" has let his administration betray the very ideals of fair labor practices.

Something stinks and it isn't just the sewage plant.

Let's see how they handle this one from 319 East State Street; or Hunterdon County; or Denver.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Blather and confusion from another Palmer puppet

Doug Palmer’s favorite shill set a new record for sucking up to the master Thursday during his radio show.

L. A. Parker opened “Straight Talk” on WIMG with a discussion of the Santiago residency issue. For five minutes, Parker took the party line to new lows. (Download it here.)

After proclaiming that the Trentonian “broke the story” of Santiago moving into the city, Mr. Objectivity and his female on-air sidekick state that if the opportunity presents itself through the former police director should be allowed to stay on. They demonstrate a complete lack of understanding and/or acceptance of the fact that four New Jersey judges have declared the office of police director vacant due to Santiago’s lack of residency. The only reason he is still “on the job” is because he was granted a 75 day time period to effect an orderly transition to a successor.

He goes onto state the matter was handled incorrectly from the outset and that if the job meant that much to Santiago he should have moved into the city and avoided all the expense and hassle of the court case. We can’t argue that.

Parker criticizes Council, notably Councilman At-Large Segura and the so called “gang of four” (Segura, along with Bethea, Coston and Melone) about changing their tune from ‘it’s about residency’ to ‘he’s (Santiago) not the man from the job.’

“It’s not fair,” L.A. says.

Parker actually says that it appears there is a way for Santiago to stay.

L. A. also says Mr. Segura “should have kept his mouth shut” but has “had a problem doing that lately.” (About 2:55 in) Maybe Parker should heed his own advice.

This again shows a refusal to grasp the most basic concept of the case…the position is vacant. Santiago’s relocation to the city doesn’t guarantee his approval by Council or anyone else.

Parker, ever the administration loyalists, defies anyone to tell him that Santiago has not done a good job in the five years he was Police Director. His blind allegiance to the Palmer throne prevents him from acknowledging the financial waste, blatant favoritism, the lack of public confidence in the level of overall public safety in the city that have marked the Santiago tenure.

Not a very good quality in one who purports to be a journalist.

Another indication of Parker’s lack of comprehension of the facts of the case comes at about 3:49 into the piece. Our intrepid reporter, so willing to offer his learned opinion on these weighty topics admits readily and clearly that he “doesn’t know how it was stated in the decision by Judge Feinberg.”

“If it says that he’s gone, than he’s gone,” explains our non-comprehending radio host. “But if there’s a way that he can stay, don’t change the debate now.”
Don’t know, L. A.? Then stop talking about it!

Perhaps the most telling and egregious statement in the piece comes near the end.

Mr. Parker brings up the fact that there are questions about Director of Communications Irving Bradley residency as well. Parker puts this on people who don’t like “Latinos” or “blacks.” As proof, he cites the fact that rumors have swirled for years about the true residency status of Business Administrator Jane Feigenbaum yet nobody has gone after her.

It is true that many have questioned just how much of a Trenton resident Jane is. It was pretty well known that she divided her time between Jersey City and her house in Mill Hill. Her frequent absences were marked by an increase in the amount of people hanging on her front steps; her often overgrown backyard. And it is right that her residency should be questioned.

But Mr. Parker, intrepid reporter that he is, again doesn’t know or doesn’t care that Ms. Feigenbaum owns her home in Trenton (something Mr. Santiago has yet to be able to say). Ms. Feigenbaum also is registered to vote in Trenton. Again, something Mr. Santiago never did.

Aren’t these two of the benchmarks used to establish “bona fide” residency? Since these two facts are public information that anyone can readily come by, why wouldn’t one assume that Ms. Feigenbaum has met a lot more of the legal standards used to determine residency than Mr. Santiago or Mr. Bradley, so maybe there is no point in pursuing any action against her.

But even that simple research is too much for Mr. Parker, an alleged reporter, to be able to carry out. It’s much easier and to his liking to call the motivations racist and leave it at that.

Prattle on Mr. Parker. You aren’t convincing anybody of anything other than your blind and loyal allegiance to Doug Palmer’s shrinking, sinking fiefdom.

*Edited to fix broken link to audio download. If it still doesn't work, try cutting and pasting this url into your browser:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Psst! Do you want to know a secret?

Seems as though the Palmer machine, dysfunctional though it may be, set the grapevine humming via its unofficial mouthpiece, Mr. Larry "L.A." Parker.

In this morning's edition of the Trentonian, Mr. Parker "reports" that unidentified sources have stated that former Police Director Santiago will move into the city in an attempt to regain his appointment.

Word of the story began to circulate Tuesday evening raising eyebrows and tempers across town. And that was just what the scenario was intended to do.

Once again, the Trentonian's Mr. Parker showed that he is nothing more than a pawn of the Palmer administration by writing up and submitting a biased piece of public information flim-flam disguised (barely) as reporting.

Fellow blogger and co-plaintiff in the suit that upheld the City's residency ordinance, Greg Forester, exposes Parker's professional lapses in an entry today. We agree that Parker irresponsibly compromised his position as a supposedly unbiased and independent reporter by allowing himself to be used to "float" the notion that Santiago would take up residency and be reappointed to the Director position by Palmer.

Obviously, Palmer and Santiago hope to gauge public reaction to the "rumors" to design their next move in this game they are trying to run on City Council and the public.

Palmer and Santiago seem to hope the hardworking, taxpaying citizens of Trenton will overlook the hundreds and thousands of dollars spent defending the Mayor's illegally granted residency waiver. Money that the cash strapped city can ill afford at this time.

They are also overlooking and possibly condoning the continued illegal actions of errant police Captain Paul "Capt. Sleepy" Messina. Why isn't Mr. Parker reporting on that situation?

The truth is Palmer and Santiago are using their "inside" man, L.A. Parker, as their lead propagandist. By manipulating the "news" they hope to control public opinion of their failed leadership.

That is the real secret and they do not want you to realize it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Trenton's administration took another hit from the state Merit System Board.

In April, a list of qualified candidates for the city's position of Economic Development Director did not include Anthony Carabelli, Jr. who had held the job provisionally since last fall. Carabelli has appealed the decision, but in the meantime has been reclassified as an "Economic Development Representative."

This comes on the heels of the state's declaration that City Communications Director Irving Bradley is not qualified for that position. Bradley, who was hired last year amidst controversy about his residency and criminal record, was brought in at near the top of the salary range for a position that is arguably not even needed.

Does anyone see a pattern here?

And what of Mr. Carabelli's boss, "Acting" Director of Housing and Economic Development, Sasa Olessi MontaƱo? We've previously stated our reservations about her suitability for the job.

Based upon these and many more choices, maybe the state should just do what we all know needs to be done.

Let's declare Doug Palmer not qualified to hold the position of Mayor.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Come again?

Trenton’s own “Missing Mayor,” Doug Palmer must be trying to outdo “Travelwhore” over at The Bald, the Fat, and the Angry.

Palmer recently returned from a trip to Africa where he was obviously studying on how to make Trenton a better third-world city.

Then it was off to Philly to expound on the crime problem in urban America (not that he considers how he continually rapes and plunders the city of Trenton for his own personal gain a crime).

In today’s Trentonian, L.A. Parker reports that Palmer just returned from a weekend meeting in Pittsburgh, PA preparing the platform for the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Denver. Palmer will be a delegate to the convention.

The big plum here is a position in the “White House Office on Urban Policy” that Senator Obama plans to create if he’s elected in November.

The purpose of the Urban Policy office would be “to develop a strategy for metropolitan America and to ensure that all federal dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent on the highest-impact programs." The director of urban policy will report directly to the president and coordinate all federal urban programs.

According to Parker, Doug practically drools at the thought of being named director.

Funny stuff.

Doug Palmer wants to be the guy who ensures that “all federal dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent.” Isn’t he the guy whose city has fallen deeper in the red while he deals out free cars and gas to cronies; hires consultants and aids without regard to budget restraints; and wastes hundreds of thousands of tax dollars fighting his own city council about upholding residency ordinances?

Parker writes, “The mayor said the city's infrastructure needs attention, adding that such development could boost employment and improve Trenton's economy.”

Uh, Doug, who let the infrastructure deteriorate to this point? And who is trying to sell off the one potential money making part of it (the water utility) for a one shot cash infusion?

Mr. Palmer is obviously suffering from road sickness and should stay home long enough to regain his senses.

Senator Obama, I hope you are grounded enough to not be dazzled and fooled by Doug Palmers big smile and expensive suits. The last thing you, or this country, needs is him as part of your "team."

Friday, August 08, 2008

Out of the mouths of puppets

Council Prez urges residency amendment

Paul Pintella, Trenton City Council President and recognized puppet of the Palmer administration, last night asked his colleagues to adopt an ordinance that would allow the Mayor to grant residency waivers for city employees.

This is nothing more than an attempt to legitimize the long-time Palmer policy of looking the other way regarding the residency of favored sons and daughters while prosecuting those who have somehow fallen from grace with his majesty, the emperor and his consorts.

Hopefully this request to do the Mayor's bidding thinly veiled as a suggestion from the idiot prince Pintella will fall on the deaf ears of a council that has started to find its own voice in such matters.

Out of Africa

Palmer's vacation inspires hope

According to an article in this morning's Times (read it here), Doug Palmer was inspired by his trip to Africa with the Clintons.

The article's author, Andrew Kitchenman wrote, "While the trip was a vacation, Palmer plans to draw from it in his job."

Well isn't that special.

The man elected to run the City of Trenton vacationed with an ex-President of the United States, film and television actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen and a bunch of other Clinton hangers-on and he comes back invigorated to do more in the city. This almost makes sense.

Broken down to its most basic components:
1. Palmer traveled to some of the most poverty-stricken, under-developed, HIV ravaged areas of the world.
2. The host/guide (Bill Clinton) spoke with great pride of the tiny increments of progress over the past five years

I guess the experience validated Doug's total mis-management of the City's affairs.

Let's just hope he's not inspired to drag Trenton further down the socio-economic scale so that he can do even less and claim, with pride, there's been more progress.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Read all about it

TPL Board Should Be Tossed

The Times ran a story this morning about the need for Trenton Library Director Kimberly Bray to take a civil service exam and score in the top three in order to keep her provisional appointment.

Bray's tenuous status was revealed in the wake of stories regarding her potential legal problems back in Utah.

This is just the latest tempest to swirl around the hallowed doors of the Trenton Public Library.

Ms. Bray recently presented various scenarios for dealing with severe budget cuts in this fiscal year that included closing or severely curtailing hours at branches throughout the city.

The provisional director is the latest of six appointees to hold the post over the last eight years.

Hiring practices at the Library were called into question last year with the discovery of an convicted felon who worked in the children's section while wearing an electronic monitoring device. This issue came up again with the revelations of the pending civil suit against Ms. Bray and questions about why it wasn't uncovered in during the background check.

The management and oversight of Library operations have been questioned since Scott Hughes left after less than a year in the director's chair. At the time of his departure, Mr. Hughes communicated his concerns and suggestions to Trenton City Council in a letter.

Questions abound about the dwindling down of a multi-million dollar endowment to approximately $300,000 in less than a decade. Proper Library board meetings and minutes seem to be unheard of.

Much of this can be laid at the feet of Board President, Adrienne Hayling. Ms Hayling has been at the helm of the Trenton Free Public Library Board while it has run aground. (It must be noted for the record that Ms. Hayling is a close and longtime family friend of Doug Palmer. Some have described Ms. Hayling as his "second mother.")

In a blog entry last month, South Ward Councilman straight out says it is time for Ms. Hayling to go. We couldn't agree more.

In fact, it is our considered opinion that the entire current board needs to be scrapped if for no other reason than the six other members have let themselves be bullied by the Board President into doing things her way.

On a similar tack, Dan Dodson has offered up a thought provoking essay on what to do with the Trenton Library System on his blog, Re-inventing Trenton. Mr. Dodson suggest a complete and dramatic change to a different model of what a public library could be.

Old model or new, Trenton needs and deserves a functioning library system.

The current Board is incapable of managing and must be dissolved immediately. A new board should be appointed and a forensic audit undertaken to determine just where the monies have evaporated to.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Foundry Floundering

This one is not Doug's Fault

In an article in Sunday's Times, Meir Rinde reports that the Mercer County Improvement Authority (MCIA) has given Performa Entertainment Real Estate Group until late September to complete the financing of the estimated $40 million dollar mixed use project. Should Performa fail, the MCIA may remove the developer from the project.

It's about time!

As noted here and here, Performa is having troubles that go beyond the acknowledged tightening credit picture.

Contrary to the image it tries to project, Performa is not the ultra-successful developer of Beale Street in Memphis or entertainment districts elsewhere.

Fact is, Performa was retained by the non-profit Beale Street Development Corporation (BSDC) to manage the Beale Street entertainment district in 1982. The BSDC and Performa are now involved in litigation regarding some $10 million in proceeds that Performa allegedly owes to the BSDC.

And beyond Memphis, Performa's track record is less than stellar.

City authorities in Shreveport, Louisiana booted Peforma for failing to successfully lease out and manage the Red River Entertainment District.

Jackson, Mississippi's Mayor is frustrated with the ongoing delays in Performa's Farish Street project there.

And now Performa's shaky financial picture may cut them out of Trenton's Foundry project.

while we've seen this coming for some time, and it is another "failed" marquee project for Trenton, this one doesn't rest on the shoulders of Doug Palmer or his henchman, Dennis Gonzalez.

Performa was brought into town by Bob Prunetti's administration when he was County Executive. The current county administration maintained the relationship. And public funding was obtained from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Authority.

It's about time that our government officials realize this project and Performa are a no go. Cut them loose and move on.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Circular Logic, Part two

A couple of weeks back we posted a report from a member of the Save Trenton High Coalition regarding the outcome of the Facilities Advisory Board (FAB) meeting.

In essence, those gathered were told that in order to get the School Development Authority to provide cost estimates for preserving at least part of the existing Trenton Central High School, the school board would have to vote to build a new building.

If it seemed rather bizarre and counter-intuitive to you at the time, you weren't alone. The whole event had a kind of surreal quality that only seems to occur in Trenton at public meetings.

Someone has managed to post a video of the proceedings of that FAB meeting on You Tube. Here, for you viewing displeasure and intellectual discomfort are the links to the meeting:
Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

The videos were apparently posted by "Son of a Trenton Man."

Just more evidence of the poor leadership qualities of individuals "selected" by the Palmer administration to serve on public bodies.