Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It’s all over now

But we've only just begun
Trenton has a new mayor-elect.

The seven council seats have been filled for the next four years.

Congratulations to Tony Mack, Kathy McBride, Phyllis Holly Ward, Alex Bethea, Marge Caldwell-Wilson, Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, George Muschal (who won the May 11 election), and Zachary Chester.

And congratulations to Algernon Ward and Michael McGrath for leading the successful charge against the sell off of the suburban portion of the Trenton Water Works to NJ American Water.

The fight to get the approval of the water deal on the ballot and the campaign to inform and inspire residents to vote on it was an un-qualified success.

Trenton was saved from what the majority obviously believe was a short-sighted deal. While the sale would have unarguably provided some immediate, much needed cash it would have mortgaged the city’s future fiscal soundness.

The group that coalesced around the opposition to the sale crossed demographic, party, and ward boundaries. And that is probably the biggest “win” for the city of Trenton.

After years of “divide and conquer” leadership, we have again found a way to work together for the common good. This is a lesson we do best not to forget.

As the new Mayor and Council take their seats on July 1 they would do well to keep yesterday’s lesson in mind too.

Trenton has suffered from an administration that worked in the shadows and through intimidation to get its way. It ran roughshod over any independence demonstrated by city council. And the voice of the people was treated as a mere annoyance that was more often barely tolerated than heeded.

Our city is still in difficulty. Stopping the water sale has not fixed the underlying budget issues. But we have a template for cooperation and engagement that was not present during the Palmer years.

The potent combination of new council and mayor plus an active and enlightened community can bring about much needed change in Trenton.

We at the stoop raise a toast (a glass of Trenton water, thank you very much) to a new day for the city and the citizens.

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