Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Read all about it

Just not on the city's website.

Demonstrating once again how the Palmer administration has totally run amok in Trenton's City Hall, acting business administrator Dennis "I'll Sue You" Gonzalez has declared that certain public documents will not be made available on the city's website.
In an article in this morning's Times Gonzalez suggests that anyone wishing to read the documents come to the city clerk's office and purchase hard copies. Times writer Ryan Tracy closed the article with the following:
Trenton has no plans to post the documents on its website, the city's acting business administrator Dennis Gonzalez said Monday. They are available at the city clerk's office and copies may be purchased there, he said.

This is an interesting statement coming from Mr. Gonzalez since he was in the council conference session when it was suggested these documents be made public and none other than his royal irksomeness Doug Palmer himself said they would be made available on the web.

Do you think Dennis will ask for a retraction from his boss and threaten to sue if he doesn't get it?

Just how screwed up are the priorities at 319 E. State Street?

The city website was ready and able to post a picture and press release of Palmer getting an honorary degree from Hampton University. It was up as early at 6 a.m. Monday, January 26 with the press release dated January 25. At the same time, we have the acting business administrator refusing to publish on the web public documents pertaining to the proposed water utility infrastructure sale.

Blogger Greg Forester commented on this spiraling news blackout in an entry last week. Ironically this post was written on the same day that Palmer made his pledge to those present at the council meeting that the documents would be posted on line.

Was Doug's uncharacteristic promise to publish the documents an effort to mimic President Obama's promise of an open government?

At least South Ward Councilman Coston, working in conjunction with the Trenton Council of Civic Associations, has obtained, scanned and posted the water sale documents on his website. Those interested in reading them can find them here.

Why the secrecy? Why make it difficult for the public to obtain the information on the water deal (or anything of importance)?

If the website is just for polishing Doug's image why are we, the taxpayers, paying for it?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

We were joyous to witness a verbal slap down of one of the peripatetic panhandlers at the Downtown Post Office this morning.

As is the custom, one of the regulars made his plaintive request for some spare change to a young man who was exiting the facility. The subject of the solicitation turned and faced the requester squarely and answered back in a firm, flat tone, “I don’t give money. Get a job and work like everyone else has to.”

We from the Front Stoop applaud this gentleman’s response and advise the soft touches and bleeding hearts types to follow his lead. There are service agencies aplenty that help those in need. Give your money to them. Every time you honor the request of a panhandler you are encouraging more of the same.

We’re tired of having to run the gauntlet just to conduct business at the post office. Giving money to these individuals only enables them by rewarding them for the bad choices they continually make.


Well not quite. But according to the city website, Doug’s alma mater, Hampton University, bestowed an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters upon his royal highness.

Great! Something else to add to his fanciful, fantastical resume while he shops for his next gig.

Maybe, like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, the receipt of this honorary degree will suddenly imbue Doug with the common sense and intelligence required to lead the city out of its fiscal mess.

Sadly, we know that won’t happen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'd never belong to a club that would have me as a member.

Or a Civic Association of one person.

The recent revelation that Council President Paul Pintella has produced a website for the Paul M. Pintella Civic Association demonstrates that Trenton once again seems to be in the advance guard when it comes to community engagement and activism. We see, too, that the Paul M. Pintella Civic Association is sponsoring some sort of Obama Inaugural event next week. (What happened Paul, didn’t get your ticket to the bash at the Marriot?)

The notion that a person can be a civic association of and unto him or herself is pretty forward thinking.

First, let’s take the term Civic Association. Association by definition has a collective sense about it. Mr. Webster defines an association as “an organization of persons having a common interest.” The key here is the word “persons.” It is plural and that usually denotes more than one.

Other observers have commented on this phenomenon. TrentonKat has an entry about it. Greg Forester has discussed it. And there was some chat about it on the Trenton Speaks forum.

Interestingly, while he may be the first to name a civic association after himself, Paul’s is not the first ‘phantom’ organization to be created in Trenton in recent memory.

Juan Martinez has for years touted himself as the head of the organization “People for the Revitalization Of South Trenton” (PROS). He even launched an unsuccessful bid for the South Ward Council Seat in 2002 from that platform and has trotted out the banner whenever he needed the appearance of a collective in support of his espoused views.

Trouble is, no one that we know of has ever seen a copy of PROS bylaws. No one knows when PROS meets, who the officers of the organization are or who makes up the membership. Rumor has it that at one time membership dues were actually collected from those willing to give them…but no accounting was made of the funds raised or how they were dispersed.

Maybe it occurred at one of the unknown meetings and was reported to the anonymous body by one of the mysterious officers as proscribed in the mythical bylaws.

We fear the Paul M. Pintella Civic Association may operate on the same model.

Trenton rightfully boasts of several active and effective civic associations, not to mention a council of those civic associations, all working for the betterment of their respective neighborhoods and the city as a whole. While they may vary in the formality of their structure and the way they run their meetings, these groups have been successful at stabilizing neighborhoods and keeping city officials accountable…most of the time.

The usurping of the name and/or concept of a “civic association” strictly to further ones personal ambitions is an insult to the people of this city who actually work for positive change. Naming the false association after oneself is the height of conceit and self-aggrandizement. But what else would we expect from the likes of Mr. Pintella.

The members of the Front Stoop Community In Action Coalition for Civic Improvement unanimously vote to repudiate the Paul M. Pintella Civic Association.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

He said what?!?!

In yet another example of classic empty rhetoric, the inscrutable Doug Palmer complained about New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's budget cuts. Decrying the reductions in aid to cities and public school monies, Palmer was quoted in a Trentonian article as saying:
"A lot of what is being done now is just an application of a Band-aid for a serious condition. We need serious spending reform."
Funny words from the man who's faced with laying off people, privatizing the inspections department, reducing library hours and at the same time not reining in spending on things like the take home cars, raises for the city administration and such. And as far as band-aid solutions go...what should we consider the sell off of the city's suburban water distribution infrastructure but a one shot infusion of capital to temporarily ease the pain caused by the profligate ways of Palmer and his cronies?

How about enacting some spending reform of your own, Doug.

Palmer also feels any Federal monies should go right to the cities rather than be passed through the State's hands. Could that be because he knows he can't expect to feed from the hand he has just bitten?

Predictably, Trenton's idiot prince (and presumed candidate for Mayor if/when Palmer leaves), Council President Paul Pintella got his licks in as well. Speaking through the Trentonian's L.A. Parker in the same article, Pintella said:
"Financial problems have forced us to reinvent the way that government operates, but the cuts must be responsible. We must protect the welfare of our residents."
Interesting coming from a man who was criticized for trying to expense a business trip with City Council funds and who has never fully answered the question of the missing Urban League money. Responsible and protective of the residents? Right.

These comments just demonstrate the inability of Palmer or Pintella to grasp the very real situation that the policies of the Palmer administration have put is in. The city is broke, not because of the country's economic situation, but because they have managed to rape and plunder the city to the verge of bankruptcy for 18 years. Now that the federal and state funds are drying up, these two "P's" in a pod are in the pridicament of having to find ways to push the blame onto others.

Just another reason why Palmer must leave now or at the end of his term and Pintella must never be elected to any public office again.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year everyone from our front stoop to yours.

Here are some wishes for us all in 2009

We wish that Doug Palmer would stop the charade and tell us when he plans to leave his position as Mayor in the City of Trenton. There is too much at stake for the guessing game to continue. Be straight with us, Doug, stop hedging your bets and tell us exactly what you intend to do and when you intend to do it.

We wish those considering a campaign to replace Mr. Palmer, whether this year or next, would ask themselves a few questions:
Do you now or have you ever held elected office in the City of Trenton before?

Are you a current member of city council?

Have you run for Mayor of Trenton before?

Do you think you can control, deflect or escape from the looming fiscal and organizational collapse of Trenton’s city government in the wake of Doug Palmer’s exit?

Do you believe that your particular age, gender and/or ethnic background is reason enough for you to be elected Mayor?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, save your money and our time and don’t run. You are not what Trenton needs in its next Mayor.

We wish that the electorate of this city would get its act together and think about who it elects locally as well as at all levels of government. It’s time to stop voting for the “first gender/ethnicity” and elect the best possible candidate(s) to lead us out of the mess we are in. Qualifications should include, but not be limited to: general intelligence; quantity of common sense possessed; the ability to communicate clearly with at least a minimum of mispronunciation, grammatical errors, and such; willingness to operate in an open and transparent fashion not beholden to self- or special-interests. It is also time to stop re-electing the same people who have been failing us term after term after term.

We wish that our elected officials, current and future, follow the letter and intent of the laws and ordinances on the books (as in the residency issues of the past year) and not allow themselves to bend or disregard the rules for self-serving reasons.

We wish that the city would adopt a policy of 100% compliance with and enforcement of all ordinances, equally and for everyone. From building codes, to historic preservation; parking and traffic to zoning, the rules must be enforced so that the quality of life in Trenton improves thus making it more attractive for residents and businesses to locate here.

We wish each and every one of you a healthy, joyous and prosperous new year.