The city is in a fiscal crisis unprecedented in the 18 year reign of his mediocre-ness, Douglas H. Palmer so he troubled himself to take the time and call into L.A. Parker's dubiously titled "Straight Talk" radio show last week. (Listen to the entire broadcast here).
So, what did Doug have to say? A lot of nothing!
The call-in was troubled with some technical difficulties and so was broken into two segments. The first segment, about 11 minutes long, had Palmer touting the 14th place ranking of the Trenton-Ewing metropolitan area in green job potential (click here for a copy of the whole report). Even though Doug mentions that he realizes that the Trenton-Ewing designation includes Ewing, he unfortunately glides over a crucial fact in touting Trenton as the beneficiary of this high ranking. The Trenton-Ewing Metropolitan Statistical Area is the demographer's term for the whole of Mercer County.
And this isn't the first time Doug has confused the MSA with the City of Trenton. A few years back there were newspaper reports of cheers around the table in his conference room when he announced a significant spike in the average home sales price in Trenton. The only problem was, the new average was for the entire county and not just the city.
Back to the radio show, Doug blathered on about how positive this all was for the city as if
a) it was all his doing (implied, not stated)
b) it signaled an immediate turnaround in the fortunes of the beleaguered capital city (the job potential was calculated for 2038---three decades into the future!).
Then it was on to the liberary issues. Palmer began trying to explain away the library closings as fiscally responsible and his appreciation for all of (Library Board of Trustee President) Mrs. Hayling's dedication over the years. Doug was absolutely indignant that anyone would challenge the good work of this woman and "point fingers" at her because the system was failing. He even cited a time when "no one wanted to serve on the Library board" except her, never once pausing to consider the hesitancy to serve might have something to do with Mrs. Hayling's heavy handed way of controlling the board.
It was somewhere along in this part of the conversation that Palmer uttered some non-sense about never holding grudges against people who disagree with him because he knows we all want the same thing: a better Trenton. He actually claimed not to let his personal feelings "good or bad" stand in the way of doing what was best for the city.
If that doesn't make you choke on your morning danish, nothing will.
Has there ever been a more thin-skinned, vindictive person than Doug Palmer? Not in our extended memory. Just look at the number of times good, dedicated individuals have been replaced on boards just because they dared cross purposes with the dictatorial Palmer.
Towards the end of the segment, as the technical difficulties grew more annoying, Palmer began to answer a question about the vacant Police Director position.
Finally, the feedback and noise got so bad, Parker cut Palmer off.
With a cleaner connection established, Parker resumed the phone interview about 15 minutes or so later (download Part 2 of the interview here). Instead of picking up where he left off, Doug went back to the library situation and tried to convice listeners that his ideas were best and that there was no other choice. Bah!
The topic of the Police Director was resumed as Palmer spun some yarn about not wanting to promote someone from within the ranks of the TPD to the Civilian Directorship because of the pension, residency and loyalty (to the rank and file, and not to him) issues. Palmer spoke in certain terms that these were all insurmountable obstacles to having an "accountable" Police Director and demanded that city council amend the residency ordinance.
All the sturm and drang and chest thumping aside, perhaps the most telling moment came when Parker tried to extract a definitive statement about Doug's intentions to run for Mayor again or not. Palmer all but confirmed what many have been saying for awhile now.
At about 6:55 into this segment the exchange goes like this:
Parker: "You always say that you have not said that you were not going to run again. Are you going to say that soon?"
Later on, in explanation Doug says quite plainly that he has a lot to finish here, but that there may be "an opporunity that may present itself where I may not run again..."
So there you go all you doubters. Out of the horse's mouth...if he gets a call up to a bigger, higher profile position, he's gone.
If not, he's here for another term...or at least an attempt at one.