Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Now we see you

The water fight that has been playing out in Trenton the past several weeks has been good in one respect. It has brought home to many the fact that we need a serious overhaul of the city's budgeting process.

In the coming months, there will be a lot of painful decisions to make about how the city spends our tax dollars. Cuts will be severe and they had better reach across the board (meaning Mr. Palmer needs to cut some of his expenses as well).

Already, people from South Ward Councilman Jim Coston to Paul Harris are submitting ideas for budget cuts.

And a group calling itself Citizens United for Fiscal Transparency in Trenton has sprung up to fight the petition to stop the water system sell off and to "develop long-term solutions that provide for greater transparency in the city budget process."

Or so they say.

This group who admittedly wants to stave off the property tax increases required if the water deal is scuttled is not so transparent in it's own dealings.

A check of their "Who Is" listing for the registration of their domain names shows some required information missing and some falsified.

For instance, they list a street address of Cadwalader Avenue (no number given). Find Cadwalader Avenue in Trenton...there is a Cadwalader Drive, but not an avenue.

And the contact phone number is listed at 555-1212. Last time I checked that was Verizon's nationwide 411 (Directory Assistance) number.

Recent articles in the newspapers have identified Chris Bashier and Brian Viehland as members of the group. Indeed, the domain's registration identifies the namesservers as "" so it's not too hard to figure out who registered the websites.

It's just hard to figure out why a group touting transparency deliberately entered bogus information (street and phone number) in the registration form.

Doesn't do much for their credibility and it certainly doesn't instill confidence in their ability to work fairly and openly for the benefit of all.