Tuesday, March 30, 2010


In a less than an hour, Doug Palmer will kick off his special meeting to deal with the city of Trenton’s budget crisis.

He’s no doubt spent the past day or two seriously preparing for this meeting.

Kent Ashworth, Palmer’s Public Relations flack, will have shaped a presentation out of familiar themes:

  • The state has not paid its fair share; the city needs to redevelop the parking lots around the state buildings
  • The people trying to stop the sale of the suburban part of the Trenton Water Works have helped bring us to the brink of fiscal ruin.
  • Along the way Palmer will no doubt pause to give praise to his departing (but not soon enough) acting Business Administrator, Dennis Gonzalez.
 After running through this litany of cause and effect (none of which will reflect badly on his administration’s obvious failures over the past two decades), Palmer will point the verbal finger towards the State House and demand that Governor Christie give back all the funds he’s said he will cut and more.

Doug Palmer will do his best to level criticism and attach blame to anyone and everyone else but himself. He will not admit that he has driven the city’s fiscal ship up onto the rocks and that the sea of red ink is flooding us beyond repair.

He hopes that by doing this, he can stir up the emotions of city residents enough to lead them on a march from East to West State Street in a display of public outrage over the Governor’s heavy handed budget cuts.

But what good is there such a protest? Walking five blocks west on State Street will not restore the state’s charity funding for our foundering city.




While the clock ticks down on the Palmer “Reign of Error,” the wannabe successors have been largely quiet about their plans to deal with the city’s impending bankruptcy. Considering that three of the Mayoral candidates (Lartigue, Pintella, and Segura) have sat on city council for at least the past eight years, their respective silence is not surprising. They can and must take partial blame for the city’s current financial crisis because they consistently yielded their power and responsibility for the budget matters to Palmer and his staff.

Similarly, Public Works Director Eric Jackson has been a part of the current administration’s fiscal fumbling. Whether by design or directive, it doesn’t matter. He’s been a part of the Palmer team and must shoulder some of the responsibility for our broken budget.

Alex Brown, a member of the seriously flawed and mayor-appointed school board, has not proven his worth as a steward of the school system. Why would we trust him with running the city?

Of the other Mayoral candidates, none have yet come forward with solid plans for dealing with the looming deficits even though members of the voting public have strongly suggested they do so.

We’d expect Frank Weeden or John Harmon to demonstrate their business background and offer some concrete ideas for dealing with the city’s finances. So far, nothing has come forward from their respective camps.

Emmanuel Shahid Watson ben Avraham has demonstrated a knack for scamming the state for money, but it is not likely he can revamp the con game he ran on the state department of corrections into a program that will get funding for the city of Trenton.

Tony Mack has some business administration credentials of his own, but he’s not yet put out a definitive plan for dealing with the city’s finances going forward.

Keith Hamilton has proven to be the “quiet man” amongst the candidates, saying little other than pointing to holding the line on taxes in Mercer County during his tenure as a Freeholder. And this point, valid or not, he must share with Mack who sat on the Freeholder board for much of the same time frame as Hamilton.

We’ll see how many of these candidates stand up to be counted at today’s session in City Hall.


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