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 "veihland.org" 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.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of transparency, funny how when I checked the profile attached to this blog and couldn't seem to figure out who wrote this blog either.

Old Mill Hill said...

You are correct. There is no profile attached to this blog. And there are no mistatements of facts either.

Anonymous said...

Be honest, you're a hypocrite! Those Trentonians who supported the water deal came to City Council last night and spoke publicly - acknowledged who they were and that they posted the petition - through for information purposes not as a scare tactic. They are out in the open, maybe you should do the same.

Old Mill Hill said...

Strong words from someone who is posting as "Anonymous."

Anonymous said...

I could say the same for someone who blogs anonymously.

Old Mill Hill said...

You could and you have. Now do you have anything of importance to share with the rest of us or do you want to keep singing the same note over and over again?

We think we have been pretty open and generous by publishing your comments. The point has been made...you don't like that this is an anonymous blog.

If it bothers you so much, I suggest you might want to consider not reading it.

Chrissy said...

Anonymous speech has been a powerful change agent in our history, and is a right, so it should be no big deal if this blog owner would like to remain anonymous.

On the flip side, I would have not signed the petition if I didn't believe in it. I don't have a problem, personally, with putting my name out there. And yet, I think it's incredibly petty and bullying to publish the list of signers. Tactics like that keep people from signing petitions, and who knows, Anonymous commenter, next time it could be your petition that fails to meet its goals, because too many people are scared off.

Old Mill Hill said...

You're right, Chrissy. Signing the petition was a public act and one that all signatories should be comfortable standing by.

What was wrong was the use of a website to harass and intimidate those who literally put their name on the line.

Especially when the website owner knowingly provided incorrect information on the registry. Presumably to deflect harassment and/or intimidation.

Hmm!