Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fed up?

The arrest last week of former Trenton chief of staff Paul Sigmund brought out the expected waves of compassion from the public.  To be sure, everyone wishes Mr. Sigmund well on his journey down the long road of recovery. 

What can't be overlooked in this matter, however, is the fact that Mr. Sigmund should have never been hired by Mayor Mack in the first place. 

The past two days, letters to the editor have appeared in the Times addressing this situation.  On May, 9 we read this:

Noblesse oblige

The writer of the letter "Enough, already" (May 6) complains that The Times has published "humiliating photos of the son of one of the oldest and most respected families in Mercer County."

This newspaper has not humiliated the Sigmund family; Paul Sigmund IV did that all on his own. I, for one, would expect more of someone like Mr. Sigmund. This is a man born with all the advantages, all the connections, all the chances that most of us just dream about. I think it's deplorable that Mr. Sigmund behaved in such an irresponsible, selfish and thoughtless manner.

Patricia H. Stewart,
And on May 10, this letter appeared:
A gaggle of rogues plummet from power
I applaud The Times for often showing the Trenton mayor's disgraced former chief of staff, Paul Sigmund IV, in handcuffs on Page One (letter, "Enough, already," May 6). He deserves the newspaper's shaming and so much more. As for his "respected Mercer County family," it is surely quite less so now. They have a lot to explain, if they hid the truth from the citizens of Trenton.

I urge The Times to publish a rogues' gallery of all the corrupt, unethical or incompetent high-level city appointees once placed in positions of trust and power by the good mayor of Trenton. Remind the newspaper's readers and the taxpayers and voters of the city that birds of a feather flock together. It is "enough, already." Trenton Mayor Tony Mack should resign before he does any more damage to the reputation of the Capital City, and all of his unworthy henchmen should be fired.

William E. Andersen,
West Windsor
Both writers make valid points.

The Times (of Trenton), the Trentonian, the New York Times, WPVI-6 none of the media outlets created this situation.  It may be argued that they have surely capitalized on the newsworthy event of a high-ranking official of New Jersey's capital city being arrested for drug possession and assaulting the arresting officers.  The fact that the official is the scion of a notable family just adds to the interest factor.  The humiliation is totally the responsibility of Mr. Sigmund.

Mr. Andersen's letter is about another humiliation...that perpetrated by the Tony Mack administration with his string of bad choices for appointees.  The suggestion that Mayor Mack step down is not an unreasonable one. 

For those who might question the right of a non-Trenton resident weighing in on the matter we would respond, "and why not?"

The taxpayers of the state of New Jersey have underwritten Trenton's mismanagement for way too long now.  They should have the right to voice their opinion on whether or not the city's leadership is doing a good job.  Surely, the voters of the city of Trenton have not shown they are up to the task.

After electing the previous mayor to five terms the voters seem to have lost their way.  From a field of 10 possible replacements running in last May's election, Mayor Mack won the runoff in June.  Since then, the city has suffered one humiliation after another. (The saga has been reported here and elsewhere, we won't delve into yet again).

There is a chance for the voters to redeem themselves.  Anytime after this Thursday, May 12, a recall effort can be launched.

It is a daunting task with a maze-like process that is bound (designed?) to trip up the unprepared.  But it can be done.

For it to succeed, Trentonians must keep a few things in mind.

The three person recall committee needs to be representative of the city populous. 
There should only be one committee to recall.  Multiple entities will just dilute and derail the process.  Regardless of one's reasoning for wanting to remove the Mayor (or a council member...they are subject to recall as well), you must join together over the common bond of wanting to improve things in the city.
Similarly, any individual wanting to run to replace a possibly recalled official should be vetted and agreed upon collectively.  Too many candidates will just make it that much easier for the status to remain quo.
Get organized and get smart.  The signature drive is a large hurdle to get over in the process. Work together and consider using centralized signature collection locations rather than relying mostly on door-to-door canvassing.

The clock is ticking, Trenton.  Nearly everyone you meet is talking about the needed changes in city government.  You can make it happen.

Or you can be humiliated again.

1 comment:

Mister Clean said...

You are asking more than has ever been asked of a rather apathetic lot - people who can scarcely be bothered to use a litter receptacle, and who barely turned out for the 2010 election. Color my cynical, but...

Still, it MUST be done, and hopefully, before the list of the next 100 "accomplishments" has been fabricated by Ministress of Disinformation Lauren "Diploma Mill" Ira.

Best of luck, Trenton.