Friday, January 31, 2014


On Monday, February 3 2014, the prosecution and the defense will make their closing arguments before a jury charged with determining the guilt of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack and his brother Ralphiel in the alleged scheme to accept cash bribes from a would be developer of a downtown parking garage.

This is the end result of an FBI sting investigation that fronted the fake development deal to see if the Macks and their friends JoJo Giorgianni and Charles Hall III would take the bait.  Giorgianni and Hall have already entered guilty pleas, leaving the Macks to stand alone.

Some still wonder if this “sting” was actually “entrapment” and/or if this was part of some greater vendetta against the woefully underperforming mayor and his clique of unruly and ill-mannered friends.

We personally think the prosecution has made its case that there was a conspiracy and that the Mack brothers were not only aware of it but participated in it.  The law does not require that either one of them be caught actually taking the bribes, although Ralphiel was found to be in possession of some of the currency that the FBI used in the investigation.

One can never know for sure how a jury will vote. It only takes one reasonable doubt for the whole case to crumble and the defendants set free.

It is significant that this trial will end, however it ends, just as the municipal election campaign season warms up. Just three months after the verdict is delivered Trentonians will go to the polls to select a mayor and city council for the next four years.

Candidates and voters alike need to take some time to reflect on the past three and one half years of the hands down worst administration this city has seen in its over 300 year history.  We all need to review not only what was done but how it was done.

Before casting one vote in the May 13th municipal election, the public needs to thoroughly and thoughtfully review their choices.  The candidates cannot be judged solely on the cut of their suit or the church they attend.

We need to examine who they associate with; where their campaign money is coming from and how they have conducted themselves in their public and, yes, private lives up to this point.

Engaged citizens must review the information that is available to them via New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission reports.  Does the candidate file complete and accurate reports on time? Are they reporting proper expenditures?

Trentonians must also ask direct questions of those seeking office and not accept the typical, non-committal political double-speak designed to win voter approval but containing no substance.

Mayoral candidates must present measurable, realistic goals and define a plan that they will follow to achieve them.

City council candidates must demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the governing body’s role in city government; its authority and power.

Pay attention to not only what candidates are saying but how they communicate.

We all say we want the best for Trenton, let’s not lower our standards just because we have a personal affinity for an individual who is running for office. 

If we want elected leaders who can think critically, than we must be critical in how we choose them.

The 2010-2014 term has been a waste for the city of Trenton. Corruption scandal aside, we have seen more waste and ineffective, often non-existent, government. It is well documented and openly recognized that the city’s woes did not start at noon on July 1, 2010.  What has transpired since has dragged Trenton down to the lowest point in our memory.

Despite what may be said during the campaign, whoever takes the oath of office on July 1, 2014 will not be able to flip a switch and immediately make everything “OK” again.

So choose wisely, Trenton. Or be prepared for an even rockier next four years.

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