A Belated Valentine for the One, the Only...
Capt. Sleepy is back in business.
So what if most Trenton officers hit with a 30-day suspension would actually lose 30 working days? Sleepy, who is known in some circles as Capt. Paul Messina, served just 30 calendar days, including weekends he would have had off anyway, and we at The Trentonian couldn't be happier about it.
Sleepy was seen getting back to work Wednesday (Feb.13), and we are just all aflutter. We can't wait to see what hijinks the Nap'n Cap'n will get into next as he returns to head the city's Police Academy.
But with his getting back just in time for Valentine's Day, and since Sleepy's time away was due to a case of sexual harassment, we just hope this time that he can keep his amorous urges to himself.
Good luck with that, and welcome back!
Where is Alanis Morissette when you need her?
Isn't it ironic?
Don't ya think?
From the city's Web site:Live Where You Work Trenton
The City of Trenton has partnered with the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) to become the first Live Where You Work community!! What is Live Where You Work Trenton?Live Where You Work Trenton is a special home mortgage incentive program that provides low-interest mortgage loans to homebuyers who work in Trenton and who are looking to purchase a home in Trenton. The goal of the program is to... (1) strengthen our neighborhoods and increase community involvement through homeownership; (2) attract individuals who work in Trenton to also live in our City; and (3) develop positive relationships between Trenton and members of the local business and residential communities.
As a result, homebuyers who both work and want to live in Trenton will be able to take advantage of the Live Where You Work program incentives.
How can they tout this program with a straight face?
Here they're trying to entice people who work in Trenton to live here, while people in their own administration, who are required by law to live here, are allowed to live where they please.
Anybody want to print out several copies of this press release and hand deliver them to Stirling, Rahway or Brielle? Heck, maybe some could even be taken up to Hunterdon County just in case. Let us know if you do--could make for a colorful cover.
I wonder. Would police director Joe Santiago take it as a threat if a copy of this brochure were placed, unstamped, in his Stirling, Morris County home's mailbox?
Maybe, maybe not. But if he did, it would sure make for interesting theater to see the mayor explain how an invitation to live in Trenton could be viewed as the work of malicious terrorists.
Who else lives in Newark?
, the Web site that helped put him there, is still working overtime.
With the Napn’ Capn’ out of the picture for at least a little while, the site’s creators have turned their attention to a new target.Through a bit of sleuthing, the site is taking on the fight to enforce the city’s residency laws against a top city law enforcement official from Newark — no not against that law enforcer from Newark
.They’ve set their sites (get it) on another Newarkian who just can’t seem to bring himself to make the move south.
That would be Irv Bradley, of Rahway, who runs the department’s radio room. Bradley has now been in the position for months, long before he even took on the appearance of living in this city, as he’s required to by law. Just recently, Bradley moved into the newly opened Broad Street Bank development downtown. But just renting a place here doesn’t necessarily satisfy the city’s residency requirement. To fulfill that law, city employees must establish a home in Trenton as their primary, bona fide residence — where they stay a majority of the time, and where their family resides.
Man, abusing both the residency law and the city's car policy? Couldn't he go for the trifecta and get caught falling asleep on the job too?
School Board Showdown
Step right up folks, step right up!
Get yourself in line to see the greatest show in town tonight!
That's right folks, the Trenton Board of Education is meeting again, and this time they'll have to let the public speak, which should provide for some fireworks.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m., but you have to sign in to speak by 6:15 p.m., and not one, but two controversial issues concerning city high schools should have passionate participants turning out en masse.
One issue involves the Daylight/Twilight High School, where faculty and staff feel the district has been systematically taking their program apart since the school's popular principal Bill Tracy was suspended late last year. No charges have been filed against Tracy, but he's been suspended with pay for about the past two months. Superintendent Rodney Lofton has said the district is investigating Tracy and the school for improprieties involving grading, testing and attendance procedures.
Since Tracy's removal, Daylight/Twilight staff loyal to their leader have said the district and the school board have taken aim at the program in general and they fear large numbers of their students will not graduate this year as a result. District officials have denied, however, that they are targeting the school in any way other than their investigation of its leadership.
The group amassing around the issue has already had about 100 of their members turn out for one school board meeting and organized an even larger rally outside of city hall earlier this month.
All this comes as the school gets set to move into a brand new $45 million building downtown, built with state funds.
We'll see what kind of turnout they can muster tonight.
The second issue also involves new high school buildings and state funds, as the board is scheduled to vote tonight on a plan of action regarding the district's regular high school.
Trenton Central High School, the grand old, majestic building along Chambers Street, is rotting from the inside, providing a lackluster and potentially unhealthy learning environment for city students. The district has had a plan on file to renovate the building to bring it up to contemporary standards. But state funding for that project was lost along the way, and the board's potential vote tonight would be to move to a new plan of constructing two brand new schools, which would likely lead to the demolition of the old TCHS.
Lofton and other school officials have said that the vote wouldn't necessarily mean tearing down the old school, but is instead an attempt at getting the ball rolling for these new schools.
But preservationists say the plan would get the wrecking ball rolling too, as TCHS would be left to crumble.
Lofton said his new plan would ultimately call for three smaller schools, the third of which could incorporate some portion of a renovated TCHS, though there are no concrete plans laid out for that option as of yet.
Opponents of tonight's vote feel there have been little in the way of concrete plans offered for inspection throughout the process of moving toward the new schools. District officials have said that new construction would be cheaper than renovation, but their numbers have been loose estimates, nothing has been in writing and no construction sites have been proposed for the new buildings, making the projection of any final costs of the project questionable.
The Trenton Historical Society has worked out some figures showing how both plans could cost about the same, see them here.
At a special meeting last week, held to discuss the high school project, state officials told the board that taking more time to discuss the plan wouldn't hinder its completion, and said they'd be willing to join in the process. Trenton's City Council also passed a resolution prior to that meeting asking that the school board slow down its decision. But despite those two developments, board members still seem primed to move forward with their vote tonight.
South Ward Councilman Jim Coston sent a letter yesterday to Lofton, again asking that he influence the board to delay the vote. That letter can be read here
, but we'll have to wait until tonight for the reply.
Again, that meeting is at 7 p.m., but you must sign in to speak by 6:15 p.m. It's held in the district's central office at 108 North Clinton Avenue.
See you there!
Lawrence Township Needs To Rethink Cell Tower Construction
Many Carter Rd. residents attended an “informational meeting” last Thursday where Lawrence Township Manager Richard Krawczun reiterated the Township’s plan to allow Verizon (Cellco) to erect two 160 ft. cell phone towers on a two acre plot of land on Carter Road.
Several questions were raised at the meeting, some of which were given truly unsatisfactory answers. This small plot of land has several height and setback zoning stipulations that the township says they do not need to pay attention to since the land belongs them. Evidently, they do not have to follow their own rules. Let’s not forget that the township is comprised of its residents, not just township management.
This small land plot was gifted to Lawrence Township by Bristol-Myers Squibb years back for the purposes of a fire station or a police station. The town never followed through with such a plan and BMS built their own fire station on campus. That station has sophisticated radio communications for fire and police needs. And it is less than one-fourth of a mile from this proposed cell tower site.
If they were building a structure on this small plot for the direct benefit of Lawrence Township then they would be able to proceed without conflict. However, they are leasing this land to Verizon (Cellco). And Verizon (Cellco) will perform the construction. Consequently, it seems reasonable that Verizon should need to apply for zoning variances, since they are not of the township.When I asked the township management why Verizon can build in violation of current zoning, Mr. Roskos, the Planning and Zoning Board’s attorney, replied with, “Well,…the township needs this tower for police and fire communications too.”
Frankly, I would like to believe that Mr. Roskos is capable of a better answer.
It is more than evident that there is no good answer to this question. Remember, the BMS fire station firmly establishes radio communications in this immediate area.One reason for turning down the Peterson variance application (at a formal Zoning Board meeting, with stenographer) stemmed from the “availability” of this other site on Carter Rd. The Peterson decision will be appealed and, until that is decided, no construction could possibly begin on Carter Rd. The Zoning Board forever married these two sites to one another by offering Carter Rd. as an alternate site. This is a matter of public record.
I also have concerns for the health and well-being of my family and my neighbors. My wife is a cancer survivor. Five years ago was a rough time for us. After spending 20 years studying human health as a drug discovery scientist, it is the unexpected problems that cause us to lose sleep. I can say, with confidence, that the effects of constant Rf radiation are not yet entirely understood (like Asbestos in the 1960s).
I am asking that Lawrence Township abandon what is a really bad idea.
David Augeri, Ph. D.
You bring the dogs, I'll get the ponies
Rock on everyone! The Trenton Police Department is taking its show on the road!
Which show you ask? Well its the ComStat show of course!
For those not in the know, ComStat is the department's weekly analytical meeting where crime stats are examined and trends searched for. The meetings have long been held in secret each Thursday, but now, due to public demand, TPD's leaders are bringing the meetings out in the open. Tonight is the first of four such meetings scheduled for each ward. This first public airing of ComStat will be held tonight at 6 p.m. in the West Police District, at the corner of Hermitage Avenue and Artisan Street.
The department's own press release hyping the meeting admits that this public showing will be an "abbreviated version of our regularly scheduled meetings."
Anyone out there believe crime information will be discussed as frankly at this public presentation as it is during the closed door sessions? From what we understand, much of the scrutiny that results in downgraded crime statistics occurs at those meetings. Think that will happen tonight? We've even heard officers suggest wearing a wire into ComStat to show the public what really goes on there. Crime's down because they say its down and they say its down at ComStat.
That's why we're certain this series of community outreach meetings is sure to be little more than a string of dog and pony shows. But don't get us wrong, any outreach to the public can be a good thing. It's just that we can already tell you what the public wants and needs from the police department. You know why? Because they've already told us. They tell us all the time.
They want to see cops out walking the beat like they used to see. They want them out there so they get to know them, get to know their names so they know who to call when they're in trouble. They want them out there so that the officers get to know the neighborhoods and the people there who may be involved when something goes down. They want them out there telling the kids that can still be saved to get to school and the groups of thugs to move along before things get out of hand, and to be able to know the difference between the two.
They'll tell you, if you ask them, that their streets aren't the safest they've been since the 60s. They'll tell you they're afraid to leave their homes, especially at night and they'll tell you things have really gotten worse in the past three or four years--a time period that coincidentally mirrors two arrivals from Newark, one of them being the street gangs and the other, Police Director Joe Santiago and his tactics like ComStat.
Certainly we're not saying that those two arrivals are directly linked (unless someone out there has proof to the contrary) but we are saying that maybe the city would be better served by police administrators more concerned with the reality on the streets than they are with appearances.
But maybe we're wrong about it all. Maybe tonight's meeting will provide deep insight into the workings of both the criminal mind and the TPD, and maybe the public in attendance will have nothing but nice to say. But we're wondering...any potential anonymous police sources out there want to clue us in to the differences between tonight's meeting and the usual ComStat experience? If so, hit us up tonight so we can compare notes!
609-989-7800 ext. 229
More Public Awareness Needed About Cell Phone Towers
Lawrence Township and Cellco, which operates as Verizon Wireless, are considering placing a cell phone tower on Carter Road, a residential area, in the proximity of the Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) child care facility, to close a gap in cell service on Route 206.The Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 does not allow “concerns” about health or radiation to block cell tower placement. Cell phones and cell towers put out Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMFs). Human bodies are influenced by EMFs.These are facts. In 2002 the French National Institute of Applied Physics published a study on 530 people and noted a statistically significant increase in nonspecific health effects (insomnia, nausea, headaches, depression, etc.) in people residing within 300 meters of a cell tower.In 2000 the British medical journal Lancet published an article explaining that pre-adolescent children are vulnerable to these frequencies.The Benevento Resolution in February 2006, signed by scientists from around the world recommends planning communication antenna and tower locations to minimize human exposure. The European Environmental Agency has called for immediate action to reduce exposure to radiation from mobile phones, and their masts (towers).Wake up Lawrence Township! Be leaders, innovators, be rebellious! The Telecommunications act of 1996 is outdated. Consider public health when locating cell towers.
Noem’ de la Puente
Trenttins' edumacation cistem
After taking note of the past couple Trenton Board of Education meetings all we can say is, wow!
The fact that any child learns anything in the Trenton school system is truly a testament to the hard working students, the parents who care enough to help them out and the dedication of the teachers and other staffers who actually remember that their job is to serve those kids. Because if the job of educating these young minds were left solely to the people in charge of running the place, the situation, if you can believe it, would undoubtedly be even worse than it is now.
Apparently this bunch forgot all they learned in Kindy-garten about playing well with others.
At one point during Tuesday's meeting to talk over the fate of Trenton Central High School, it looked like board member Lisa Kasabach was gonna get an American Gladiators-type smack down from Board President Joyce Kersey on her right and fellow member Alexander Brown on her left--and all because she had the audacity to suggest that it might be a good idea for the board to know what they were voting on before they go and, um, vote--what gall?!
Apparently their analytical skills are lacking, or at least they're not too quick on their feet.
Even though state representatives at the meeting said they couldn't answer all of the board's questions, and informed them that more time for discussion wouldn't hurt their position, it still seems like the board is set to vote Monday on whether to renovate TCHS or let it meet a likely date with a wrecking ball. Let's hope cooler heads prevail at that meeting and that the group heeds a City Council request to slow things down a bit.
They don't seem to do their homework and are not so great at preparing reports.
At the end of the day, choosing to abandon the old building may be the smartest way to go. But it doesn't seem to make sense to rush to that decision before all the facts are in and the pros and cons of each plan are laid out in public. Each time the plans are discussed, and depending on who you're talking to, the numbers and figures seem to keep changing. The district has put nothing in writing--no printouts or mock-ups or diagrams, no nothing. The public, and even some board members, seem confused over the most basic parts of this discussion, like, I don't know, how many schools are we building here--one, two, three? Where are they to be built? How many students in each? How much will each cost and who is going to pay for them? They seem like important questions.
Maybe the board and district leadership were just all drama majors.
Well, if nothing else, the debate should make for good theater this Monday. The special meeting had about 100 people there who weren't allowed to speak. At the next meeting, they'll get their chance if they so choose. Adding to the spectacle could be another group concerned over a different city high school issue--the folks protesting the situation at the Daylight/Twilight program and the suspension of their principal (more to come on this later). They've rallied about 100 of their supporters at meetings in the past and they've been encouraging their ranks to show up again, so things could get interesting.
Maybe some group could set up a concession stand at the next few board meetings and raise enough money to renovate all the city's schools.
Maybe they need a tutor...
So far only pro-renovation groups like the Trenton Historical Society have put together comprehensive reports on the potential options, and their calculations show that both choices could be done for about the same price. No school officials have discounted those figures, but maybe they haven't seen them yet--maybe they should. You can find them here
...Or maybe they need to spend some more time in Phys Ed, building up their spine!
Because if the issue is only that the state will not fund a renovation project, but will spend the same amount of money, or more, on building one, two or three new schools, then someone from the district, and the city, needs to stand up to the bureaucrats, set a better example for the students and fight through the red tape for the taxpayers and for the concept of common sense.
Time for class participation!
Tell us what you think. Based on the information available so far, do you think the district should try to maintain and renovate the new school or just move on and build all new?
Labels: dysfunction, preservation, renovation, TCHS, Trenton board of education, Trenton Central High School
Rate Counsel Opposes Deregulation of Phone Services
The Public Advocate’s Division of Rate Counsel today called on the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to deny a request for deregulation of basic telephone service.
In testimony that will be filed today before the BPU, Rate Counsel Director Stefanie Brand said that rates for all consumers of basic telephone services would increase significantly if the BPU approved the request made by Verizon NJ and EMBARQ Corp.
“Deregulation of phone service will cost all New Jersey consumers, especially those with low incomes,“said Brand. “With no real competition in this industry, rates will rise and service will decline.”
Rate Counsel is filing testimony in response to Verizon NJ’s and Embarq’s requests to have their retail residential and business services declared “competitive.” Under state law, the BPU can deregulate a service if it finds sufficient competition in the market.
At Verizon’s request, the BPU opened an investigation in 2007 of whether basic phone service is competitive enough to be deregulated. The petitioners, Verizon NJ and EMBARQ, provide 83 percent of the phone service to New Jersey residents. Brand said Rate Counsel disputes Verizon’s claim that these services are competitive and found that consumers would be unfairly impacted if deregulation is granted.
“People looking for basic landline services or Lifeline services don’t have any real choice but to go with Verizon or EMBARQ,” Brand said. “There is no real competition, and the Board should not abrogate its obligation to ensure affordable phone service for these consumers.”
Rate Counsel’s testimony raised the following concerns about the impact of deregulation on consumers:
· Basic service rates for residential customers could increase from $8.95 a month to over $30 per month, costing the estimated 1.3 million residential customers who buy only basic service more than $312 million.
· Single-line business rates could increase from $15 per month to over $35 per month, costing over 60,000 single line business customers more than $19 million.
· Residential customers will lose the four free directory assistance calls that the companies previously agreed to provide. Increased rates for directory assistance could cost consumers approximately $187 million per year.
· Approximately 500,000 Lifeline Assistance customers could see their rates increase to $30 per month from the current top rate of $2.50 per month. The estimated cost increase could exceed $150 million. Lifeline Assistance program participants receive discounts on their monthly residential telephone service rates based on monthly income eligibility standards.
In June 2007, the BPU deregulated the companies that are trying to compete with the incumbent carriers. Those companies provide local phone service only to an estimated 585,000 customers. Rate Counsel has appealed that decision, but its impact is insignificant compared to the current request. “When they broke up Ma Bell, they hoped competition would lead to lower prices and better service, and reduce the need for regulation,” said Brand. “But the fact is, New Jersey citizens do not have lower priced alternatives for basic phone service in this state. If we stop looking at what these companies charge or how they provide service, we will have no way to protect consumers. Telephones are literally a lifeline for many people. We are asking the Board not to cut them off.”
The Division of Rate Counsel is a division within the Department of the Public Advocate and represents the interests of consumers of electric, natural gas, water/sewer and telecommunications and cable TV service. Additional information on this and other utility matters can be found at the Division’s website at http://www.state.nj.us/publicadvocate/utility/
. The Department of the Public Advocate website is http://www.njpublicadvocate.gov
Hey all you budding paparazzi out there, it's time for a new game! Capt. Sleepy
has already been caught on film so often in action (inaction?) that maybe a new subject would be in order. (See below post anyway!)
Your mission, should you accept it--Find Joe, get him on film and get that footage over here to the insider. Alas, you may have to hang out in Stirling (Morris County) to get him, but if you do accept the challenge, just beware of the influx of unstamped letters and Internet porn floating around in those parts!
To wit, this isn't a frivolous exercise aimed simply at getting
another pretty face in the Rag
, though Joe's manicured nails
and neatly trimmed mustache could give many of our Page
6 girls a run for their money (not including of course Friday's featured honey, Katerina Kopsini
, of Bucks County--do not line the bird cage with this one--definitely worth another look if its still hanging around! Yowza
I digress. The purpose of this mission is to find out not just where the director lives, but we'd like to know where exactly does he work? What are the city's taxpayers getting for that $100,000-plus salary and all those tanks of free gas.
If, as the director has noted, his family comes first, second and third in his life, and he needs to be with them at home in Stirling to protect them, we wonder how often he's actually down here protecting Trenton from evil.
One highly-placed police source said recently that many weeks, ol
' Joe might only be in Trenton about four or five hours, YES HOURS
, per week. Good work if you can get it. Now of course that source can't go public with that info, or for sure the director would spend quite a bit more than four or five hours deep in this informant's...
you get the idea.
Now we know that even if the department, or the city administration
were ever forced to admit this, they'd come back and say something to the effect of, "Well, you know, with today's technology, Joe can be in constant contact with every cop on the force. He's basically all-knowing, all-powerful, and we even hear he has one of those holographic communication devices like the emperor in the Star Wars movies uses, so he can pop up anywhere to check on things with a little (life-size?) holographic version of himself
. But don't worry that was paid for with a federal homeland security grant, so that's being put to good use."
Back to Joe tracking.
Just this week, rumors are circulating that Joe called out sick on Thursday, then didn't show up for work Friday, while a CeaseFire
program was being hosted in the city (See L.A. Parker's touching story on the event in Sunday's Trentonian
). Top local, county and state law enforcement officials were on hand for the program, but ol
' Joe was a no-show, presumably still feeling under the weather (so that's what was in his nose in that front page shot!) But later that same night, Joe was rumored to have showed up at a holiday party held at a Hamilton restaurant for the department's Fraternal Order of Police chapter. Glad this guy has is priorities straight.
But we thought it was the police unions who were behind this nasty campaign of pointing out that Joe's breaking city residency rules. Oh, it must be the other union, the PBA. You know the one with members? Wonder if he got his invite to the PBA's bash?
But again, I digress. So anyway, get out your digital cameras, your disposables, your camera phones, heck, your etch-a-sketches if you think you can get a decent likeness together, and get us some new some good shots of the skipper. Make sure you document time and place and maybe we can piece this puzzle together.
We know, we know crime is down, what difference does it make? Well just imagine what a Shangri La Trenton would be if this guy actually worked here, let alone moved the wife and kiddies in. Why, you could walk down any city street with a shirt made of $100 bills and never worry for a second.
Editor's note: Once this assignment is complete, next stop will be Hunterdon County
Man, we miss this guy!
It's been a while since we've seen good ole' Cap'n Nap'n, and quite frankly, we miss him.
Anybody heard anything new on this guy? Drop us a line!
Is the juice loose in Trenton too?
While the sporting world turns its attention to the infamous Mitchell Report and its ramifications on curve balls and home runs to come, a performance enhancement probe continues to unfold here in T-Town, we think.
No we're not speculating on the pharmaceutical regiment undertaken in the Trenton Thunder clubhouse, though The Rocket did briefly fly through last year.
The inquiry we're wondering about is the one being carried out by the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, where about a dozen Trenton cops and Mercer Sheriff's officers were the target of investigation. The probe began last year with federal authorities examining a fraudulent prescription ring based in Florida, where human growth hormone was said to have been distributed through online orders. The last we heard about the case was this summer when the feds handed the investigation over to JoBo's prosecutor team, and rumors were circulating in law enforcement circles that indictments were imminent. But so far, no new news.
Anybody know what's going on? Give us a call.
Labels: growth hormone, juicin, steroids, Trenton Police Department
A little Christmastime levity
For those needing some comic relief from the seriousness of Trenton's residency issues (see post below) here's a little ditty we stumbled upon whilst trolling the Trenton blogosphere.
Check it out here from this link at the Trenton Speaks Forum:http://www.trentonspeaks.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=477
Oh, and if you're wondering who that handsome smiling devil sandwiched between Santiagelf and Sleepy the Elf is, well that's the police department's new communications director Irving Bradley, another Newark refugee with residency issues of his own (a downpayment on a place doesn't satisfy the ordinance requirements, we checked). Oh well, if someone makes a stink on that one, maybe we can just re-write the law again! But that's a tale for a different day.
The People V. Joe Santiago
The battle over Trenton Police Director Joe "Crime is Down" Santiago has ebbed and flowed over the past several weeks, with emotional arguments to be found on both sides of the issue (though logical ones seem to be a bit more reserved for one view).
Those who feel the city's top cop should call the Capital City home say he should because:
a) it's the law,
b) not abiding by the law would set one hell of a double standard for those who abide by the requirement, and even moreso for the folks who have been fired for not adhering to the residency restriction,
and c) because it's the law.
Those who feel it's ok for the city's top law enforcement agent to ignore, um, the law, argue Santiago should be granted a waiver because:
a) the director is afraid of alleged, unconfirmed gang threats left at his home (in Stirling, Morris County) and he'd rather have his family live 50 miles away from where he works and has, um, an entire police force at his disposal to protect them,
b) the director is also afraid of pornography that was sent to his wife's at-work computer, an occurrence which everyone knows would only increase in frequency and severity if he and the fam resided in T-Town,
c) Santiago has already said he'd rather quit than move into a godforsaken hell hole like Trenton (where crime is down though), and if he were to leave, then the city would fall apart, no one else would want his job, and there would be no one around to say "Crime is Down,"
and d) the only people who want to force the director to abide by the law are racist, disgruntled haters, so if those kinds of people want it, well it must be wrong.
Well, gee, looks like the pro-Santiago folks have at least one more "reason" on their side. Guess they win.
Looks like they could too, since a once-unified-against-Mayor Palmer-City Council (a rare bird in these parts) is seemingly starting to crumble under Hizzoner's pressure. (What happened to that 7-0 informal Trentonian poll taken of City Council members regarding their stance on residency?)
Now it seems council is considering an amendment to the residency ordinance to allow for Joe's exceptions. Will it be called the "Santiago Clause?" That sounds nice and festive for this time of year.
But a groundswell seems to be, um, swelling, with city residents exploring the possibility of gathering signatures for a petition aimed at fighting whatever knew law the council crafts for Santiago. Read more about the new effort here http://www.trentonspeaks.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=568
on the Trenton Speaks forum, or make some comments and get the discussion going here. Let us know where you stand on the issue Trenton!
Labels: City Council, Doug Palmer, Joseph Santiago, residency
Brian Hughes and his county cohorts are bucking the Republican trend in Hamilton, easily winning their races.
Hughes is nearly doubling Janice Mitchell Mintz with more than half the districts reporting, and Keith Hamilton and Anthony Carabelli have more-than-comfortable leads over their challengers.
Numbers, we've got numbers
They're celebrating at Angeloni's
Numbers are not official, not by a long shot, but the celebration is on for John Bencivengo, as his supporters say the race is over and their man won...
Meanwhile, at Dem HQ, the mood is somber...
Too close to call in Hamilton!
With 30 districts in (out of 66), here's what we got:
Numbers, we've got numbers...
Both the Hamilton Dems and the Hamilton GOP have numbers to report... and they're, um, different.
As of right now, over at Dem HQ, it's 1,764 for Gilmore, 1,761 for Bencivengo.
But at the GOP shin-dig, it's 1,608 for Bencivengo, and a scant 1,447 for Gilmore.
Don't worry, though - still about 20,000 more votes to go.
Absentee votes for the Hamilton GOP???
That's the word from Republican operative/emcee, Paula Gormley-Fet, who told us according to their numbers, the Hamilton republicans have won the absentee votes.
True? False? Who knows... it's election night, and the numbers are coming in fast and furious...
What Brian Hughes is saying...
County executive Brian Hughes, up for re-election tonight, spoke to one of our reporters two seconds ago... this is what he had to say...
"We made promises four years ago and kept them," he said. "And I think people will reward people who are honest with them."
Time will tell, Brian, time will tell.
What Brian Hughes is saying...
Dressed to win???
Reports coming in from the Hamilton hot spots - La Villa for the Dems, and Angeloni's for the GOP - show a marked difference in what to wear for election '07.
The Dems, our Rider University students are telling us, are not exactly dressed to impress. Very casual, they report.
Meanwhile, it looks like a fashion show over at GOP HQ. Suits and ties for the men, eveningwear for the gals...
More as we get it...
No results, but GOP in party mode
HAMILTON - When the polls closed at 8 p.m., the Republicans already had filled the banquet room at Angeloni’s Cedar Gardens and were partying like victors. At LaVilla Restaurant, the Democrats’ gathering point, the banquet room was only half full, and the mood was glum.
Hamilton voters were met by a happy crew today out at Mercerville Fire Station just off Nottingham Way. The Election Day workers are having a good time despite the slow turnout. When asked if all 500 voters would turnout, they quickly responded "NO!!!"
"Oh we never have a full turnout," one worker said.
In fact by 4:30 p.m. only 184 voters had turned out to vote. The workers said they would see a bigger turnout betweeen 5 and 8 p.m. with about 40 percent of the voters coming to their voting site.
Voting in Hamilton
Shawn Sullivan of Hamilton signs in to vote with election official Rachael Maiello Tuesday at the Mercerville Fire Station in Hamilton.
Change Is In The Air
Republicans are running around Hamilton Township with smiles on their faces and hope in their hearts as they continue to push forward hoping they win for a third straight year. Folks at Republican headquarters on Nottingham Way are working hard to get the vote out and push people to go to the polls.
One conversation between campaign volunteers is that about 4,000 phone calls were made and 85 percent were pretty receptive to what they heard.
"We are hearing it's time for a change," Mike Angarone, campaign manager for the Bencivengo, Yeade and Meara.
Voters leaving various polling places would not say who they voted for only that they were Democrat or Republican. Most of the Democrats said they voted for their ticket though others said they had been waffling for the longest time betweeen John Bencivengo and Mayor Glen Gilmore.
One Democratic voter who voted with her family said you can't believe the hype and taxes go up every year, that is not new. "I'm optimistic," she said.
But another voter who waffled for the longest time said she wasn't convinced about Bencivengo but Gilmore's time is up. "I've been weighing my options," she said.
Election Day Buzz
Speculation is running high in the newsroom regarding who may win or lose. Right now it's anyone guess but a few people believe that Hamilton Mayor Glen Gilmore may have an upsetting night. The political pendulum is swinging widely and it may not swing in the Democrats favor tonight in Hamilton.
The Republicans have a strong hold on city council but it's anyone guess that they may take the mayor's office. Gilmore has been running an effective campaign spewing out press releases left and right showing his strengths while the Republicans have been focusing on his weaknesses.
But tonight's outcome is anyone's guess. What's yours?
Is anyone voting this year?
Early reports from Nottingham High School and the Lawrenceville Senior Center sound eerily similar from our Rider University correspondents: "It's dead here," Hal Goodwin tells us from Hamilton.
"There's no wait here at all," reports Kristen Pettersen.
Um... there is an election today, right?
My voting site is where?
I always enjoy Election Day because it’s my one chance to express my opinion and enjoy another year of a healthy verbal discussion of what our government leaders our doing on our behalf.
In my mind I had planned how my day would start (I was a little excited you see since I get to work a little later than my normal 6:30 a.m. start as the Trentonian’s online editor). Get up and have breakfast with much needed coffee, work on a project, get dressed and walk over to my voting site, located a few feet from where I live.
Around 10 a.m. I walked out of my apartment, noticed the weather was a little brisk, rain had fallen with a little wind blowing, I walked to my car to place my briefcase in it and planned on walking over to Trenton High School-West Campus on West State Street to vote. Glancing over to the campus I didn’t see any of the Election Day decorations (balloons, streamers, flags, etc. on the drive or in the grass) indicating YOU VOTE HERE.
I thought that was strange and thinking I was not looking in the right place for the Election Day decorations I jumped in my car and drove over to the campus. Driving around I still didn’t see the American Flag. So I decided to drive to the county election office to find out exactly where I should go to vote.
It had been raining and it was brisk out but traffic was not hectic and I even found a parking spot outside the Mercer County courthouse, which is often difficult to find. I believed the parking gods were smiling on me and this was my lucky day. When I entered the door to the courthouse I learned why I found a great parking spot, the courthouse was closed today. Talk about having a dumb look on your face.
A guard was very helpful and escorted me up to the Board of Elections office to find out where I was suppose to vote. The guard being very helpful asked me where I lived and said I should be voting at the high school’s west campus. I said that sounds right but I didn’t see anything designating where the voting site was. He was very surprised by my comment.
I walked into the Board of Election office and the two employees were very helpful. In fact I was the first person of the day to ask where my voting site was. I told them my dilemma and they looked up where I should vote. They seemed surprised that I couldn’t find the spot but also they said it had been raining and windy this morning and maybe the items had blown away or were waiting to put up the flag once the rain came out. I thanked them for their help and left.
I immediately drove back to the high school and entered the school’s drive just off the Route 29 South exit and once I drove toward the auditorium I saw the big American flag. The flag had been placed on one of the columns’ outside the auditorium’s door. I didn’t see the flag because my view of the campus does not allow me to see the front doors of the auditorium.
Despite my ‘confusion’ I got to vote and it’s a happy day.
Nobel named Trentonian editor
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Aaron Nobel has been named editor of The Trentonian of Trenton, publisher William T. Murray announced.
Nobel, 32, joined The Trentonian in June as the paper's managing editor. Before coming to Trenton, he worked as an editor at daily and weekly newspapers in New Hampshire and Vermont.
"Aaron's hands-on approach and attention to detail combined with his news judgment will serve both The Trentonian and our readers well," Murray said Wednesday in announcing the appointment.
Nobel said he planned to emphasize aggressive news coverage.
"My goal is to maintain the bold attitude for which The Trentonian is famous, while expanding the scope and depth of our local coverage," Nobel said.
The Trentonian is owned by Yardley, Pa.-based newspaper publisher Journal Register Co. Journal Register has 22 dailies and 346 non-daily publications in the Philadelphia region, Michigan, Connecticut, New York and Ohio.
Labels: Aaron Nobel, Bill Murray, Journal Register Co.
Columns, editorials now online
You don't have to feel the air getting colder or see the lawn signs cropping up to know that an election is nearing.
Just listen to the tone of rhetoric coming from Hamilton Mayor Glen Gilmore.
His recent pledge to open a can of whup-ass on anyone who happens to look shady in Hamilton public spaces
is a thinly veiled attempt to make himself look tough on crime ahead of November's voting.
While the idea of putting cameras in a crime-ridden area is sound, Gilmore's comments smacked of race-baiting.
By "outsiders," he meant people from Trenton, and by people from Trenton, he meant black people.
It's silly and small-minded for many reasons, but also because Hamilton is a pretty diverse community itself, with its own problems, created by its own residents.
The other thing that was kind of ridiculous about his comments was that he wants to prevent loitering at a public park.
What are you supposed to do at a park besides loiter? Work?
Isn't loitering the point of a park?
ACLU fights crime-fighting cameras
The New Jersey ACLU has a problem with installing crime-fighting surveillance cameras in dangerous neighborhoods of cities such as Newark and Trenton.
Maybe these lawyers should live in one of these neighborhoods for a month before taking a position on this issue!
The editorial in tomorrow's Trentonian takes aim at this issue. Here's a taste:"The ACLU of New Jersey has found another windmill to tilt at in this one.
"Not so concerned about the people getting murdered, raped and assaulted in places like Trenton, the ACLU is worried that the cameras will infringe on the rights of citizens to, and we’re not making this up, attend a strip club in anonymity.
"Newark Mayor Cory Booker told the AP that “people are willing to trade some of their anonymity for increased security.”
"In today's world, there's a presumption that you give up a certain amount of privacy when you're in public space," he said. "I don't think this is an over-broad step. It's not like declaring a citywide curfew for adults or calling in the National Guard or state troopers."
"We agree. Bring the cameras to Trenton, too, the more the better, and make sure that they actually work."
Check out The Trentonian's local videos
Why is Palmer against police referendum?
You've heard by now that the New Jersey Supreme Court yesterday overturned Mayor Doug Palmer's 2004 attempt to block a referendum
that challenged his decision to do away with the city's deputy police chiefs.
The move solidified the power that Trenton's controversial civilian police director has over the department.
Critics of the move used a provision in New Jersey law that allows voters to collect signatures and force a citywide referendum asking that a particular city ordinance be overturned.
Palmer and the city council went to court to block that vote in 2004, and the case culminated yesterday with the Supreme Court restoring sweeping rights for voters to use this referendum process throughout the state.
Why did Palmer spend so much taxpayer money challenging this? Why did he care in the first place if voters had a say?
The best theory we can come up with is that Doug Palmer knows that the civilian police director system in Trenton has fallen out of favor. That may or may not be tied directly to the personality and performance of the person who has the job.
Putting this referendum out to voters could be the first step in a groundswell among the public to going back to the old days of having a traditional police chief.
Labels: Doug Palmer, Joseph Santiago
Whack-job world leader
OK, so some lowest-human-life-form moron carved a giant swastika in a corn field in Washington Township.
Pretty disgusting. Pretty stupid. But until the police tell us different, we’ll assume some out-of-state redneck was to blame and not one of our slightly more intelligent local punks.
Of bigger concern to us and the rest of the Free World yesterday was a crazy little man named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was for some reason let into an institute of “higher” learning up in New York City.
Now stop and picture whatever redneck was out knocking down cornstalks the other night. Picture them mating with their sister, the sister smoking crystal meth all nine months of the pregnancy, then the baby being fed nothing but lead paint chips for the first eight or nine years of childhood.
Convert the kid to the most radical perversion of Islam you can come up with, and then put him in charge of a large, radical Middle Eastern country that’s cooking up nuclear weapons.
And that’s how we imagine you get someone like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
From denying the Holocaust to wanting to wipe Israel off the face of the planet. From denying women every basic human right to claiming that there are no homosexuals in Iran.
This guy is not simply a dangerous religious extremist leading a militantly anti-American, anti-Jewish and anti-everything-but-fundamentalist-Islam dictatorship.
He is, literally, mentally ill.
You can’t negotiate with that or trust it, and you can’t, if you’re the greatest super power on the globe and looked to as an upholder of security and democracy, give it one inch of legitimacy or serious standing in world politics.
Labels: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
L.A. Parker on urgency
L.A. Parker writes in Saturday's Trentonian about why there is not a bigger sense of urgency in addressing the city's problems.
Here's a taste:"Missing but crucial agendas in the City of Trenton are a sense of urgencyand unflappable honesty."Does anyone else see the garbage pigeonholed on South Broad Street?"Why do teachers outnumber parents at "Back to School Night?""Should not education be the one goal that we push our children towardwhether the classroom offers standard or vocational studies?"It's almost as if our houses are ablaze and we choose to extinguish theflames with saliva rather than break out the heavy hoses."That stuff hitting the fan right now is anything but spit; we are engaged ina great civil war regarding education, violence, guns, gangs, homelessness, abandoned houses and a litany of other issues."Some issues need time for solutions, but for others the time for action is now."
Labels: Gangs, L.A. Parker
Why do you visit Trenton?
New to http://www.trentonian.com/
is local video produced by photographer Jackie Schear.
On the site right now is a question-and-answer session she shot in Princeton, asking passerby when the last time they visited Trenton and why, and what would get them to visit the city more.
Check it out by clicking here
Labels: Jackie Schear, Princeton
Rally for the working man!
The fact that Rider University professors may go on strike
is one of the most hilarious - but sad in the light of this area's real problems - stories we've read in quite some time.
An editorial in Wednesday's Trentonian takes aim, and here's a portion:"...First of all, Rider professors apparently have a union.
Second, negotiations are going so badly that Dr. Jeff Halpern, a leader of this union, said in a story for The Trentonian’s Web site yesterday that professors will go on strike soon if some key issues aren’t resolved.
Cue Norma Rae.
These guys have got it bad.
Paper cuts, whiny students, actual teaching occasionally getting in the way of all that time a professor needs to sit around and think great thoughts about the universe.
How is someone with only a doctorate degree like Halpern going to survive?
How will he feed his family?
Maybe they’ll all be living out of the back of the Mercedes if the strike goes on too long...This isn’t a coal mine. This isn’t even a public elementary school.
One of the main sticking points in negotiations, in fact, is whether the administration of the college should have final say over promotions and academic programs.
Huh? They’re debating over whether the people in charge of the college should be in charge of the college?"
Labels: Rider University
Happy Constitution Day! Trentonian kicks off series for kids
The Trentonian kicks off a series of special pages for children with today’s paper in connection with Constitution Day, a federally mandated day of study of the U.S. Constitution in the nation’s schools.
The serialized story “Thomas Paine: An American Patriot,” is based on the manuscript of a book originally written for the New Jersey Newspaper Foundation.
Each Monday for eight weeks, a full page will be devoted to a new installment of the series.
Join us for a look at the creation of one of this country’s most famous documents, “Common Sense,” written by Paine, a journalist, writer and revolutionary.
Learn how his writing influenced the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The story takes you into his life with the New Jersey and Pennsylvania connections that brought him immortality.
Each installment of the story will include questions and essay assignments that can be used in the classroom.
The series starts with a full page installment on page 13 today.
Next week, the story will include Thomas Paine’s connections to Pennsylvania’s most famous resident, Benjamin Franklin.
To order copies of The Trentonian for your classroom, or for more information about sponsoring this program, call The Trentonian at (609) 989-7800 or e-mail Jim Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Labels: Constitution Day, Thomas Paine
Blogging from a blowout
If you're a Rutgers fan and you haven't discovered Trentonian staff writer Ben Doody's blog yet, be sure to check it out. Here's the link
Ben brings you Rutgers football news throughout the week that's in addition to his excellent daily beat coverage in The Trentonian's print edition.
The blog is especially cool on game day, when Ben updates with insights and insider information right from the sideline.
He updated the blog 14 times today, with plenty of good things to talk about in the Scarlet Knights' 59-0 victory over Norfolk State.
Labels: Rutgers, Scarlet Knights
Look Who's Talking Monday: Weedman!
Check out Monday's Trentonian for the latest installment of Jeff Edelstein's interview feature, "Look Who's Talking."
This week, Jeff sits down with New Jersey's own Weedman!
A taste of some of his comments ...
"I always thought lawyers had to be super-smart. I don’t think that’s true anymore."
"...sometimes I wish I could go back to being incog-negro."
"I’m also a cannabis connoisseur. A weed snob. And blunts? Why would you take good-tasting marijuana and putting it in a smelly 50 cent cigar?"
Hot air on global warming
Mayors from across the country will be in Trenton Friday to address the problem that's most imminently facing our inner-cities.
What's that, you say ... gang violence, drugs, poverty, homelessness, urban decay?
Come on, get with the program.
The biggest concern of the nation's mayors
, led by Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer these days, is ... global warming.
That's right. Global warming.
Hey, while Rome is burning, maybe it's good to stop and think about how those flames are affecting incremental temperature change over the next 1,500 years.
Labels: Doug Palmer, Global warming, U.S. Conference of Mayors
The country's mayors arrive in Trenton
Thursday's Trentonian will include an editorial on the arrival of 38 mayors from across the country for a two-day meeting in Trenton of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, led by Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer.It’s tempting to join Palmer’s critics at this high-profile time and say, how can the mayor of a city with so many problems, and so little going for it after more than a decade of his leadership, be held up as a leader among city leaders from across the country? The instinct of Palmer, his staff and his supporters, on the other hand, is to put some lipstick on this pig and try to highlight our small city’s good parts before we shuttle these bigwigs back out of town on Friday. Take them to a Trenton Thunder game, show off a nice restaurant or two, talk about the Broad Street Bank building, maybe. (OK, we’re grasping here.) Oh, and enact some swift, meaningful changes to make Trenton look better, like requiring taxi drivers to wear collar shirts and maybe some deodorant ... at least for a few days.
The editorial goes on to suggest that instead of pretending Trenton is something that it's not, or blasting Palmer again, we should urge the mayor to put his colleagues from across the country on a bus, take them around our city, and ask THEM for advice on how they would tackle our problems and opportunities.
Labels: Doug Palmer, U.S. Conference of Mayors
A man called Freedom
Coming in Thursday's Trentonian, L.A. Parker brings you the story of a young city man named "Freedom," a group called Fathers and Men United for a Better Trenton and local people choosing a more positive approach toward themselves and the community.
Here's a taste:If persons of color become successful like many of the aforementioned, many of us ridicule them by describing them as “sellouts” or inquire “Are they black enough?”The inference is that if blacks succeed in this current system, if we speak well, learn well and rise to the levels of teachers, doctors and corporate executives, that we somehow have abandoned our blackness, culture and other rights.Such beliefs suggest that we have exchanged our metallic ropes for a worse prison, a mental incarceration that, unless changed, will lead to the destruction of ourselves by ourselves.
Labels: L.A. Parker
In Tuesday's Trentonian, you'll read about Trenton School Superintendent Rodney Lofton's response
to the fiasco that left hundreds of city students corralled into a gym rather than attending classes the first few days of school last week.
We were pretty harsh with our school superintendent-as-a-clown front page, and Lofton - as the school district's top official - deserved it.
But you've got to respect his response to such harsh criticism, and Mayor Doug Palmer's subsequent public flogging of him.
Rather than cry about being picked on unfairly, scream racism, or point the finger at someone else, Lofton's only public statement has been to own up to the problems, apologize to students and parents, work as fast as he can to fix the problem, and pledge to do better in the future.
That was the public response.
Let's hope the behind-the-scenes response is the only thing that's going to make a dent in problems like this in Trenton's schools ... a take-no-prisoners assault on the tenure system and protection of incompetence.
Lofton needs to fire some people ... maybe a lot of people ... and he needs Doug Palmer's support to do it.
Labels: Doug Palmer, Rodney Lofton, Trenton School Department
Vote for your favorite Page 6 girl
Another cool addition to trentonian.com
Now you can vote for your favorite Trentonian Page 6 girl
The girl with the most votes at the end of the month will be included in a Trentonian Page 6 girl calendar.
And you can get a calendar ... register your name when you vote for a chance to win.
Don't want to register your name? You don't have to. You can still vote for your favorite Page 6 girl. It's easy, and it's up on our site right now
Trentonian football picks contest
Check out a cool new addition to our trentonian.com Web site:U-Pickem Football 2007
is an NFL football picks contest with great weekly prizes to be won. It costs nothing, and it's easy to play.
And don't worry if you've missed the first week. You can register anytime and start playing.
Who's running this circus?
Where do we even begin when it comes to the disaster that was the first day of school in Trenton?
And that's after the district spent $500,000 of taxpayer funds to hire an outside firm to handle scheduling.
Apparently, the scheduling of classes ... something that's been done in every school district in the country every year since the beginning of modern public education ... is too complicated for the bozos running the Trenton School District.
And that's why we ran with the front page you saw on today's Trentonian. Hard-hitting? Yes. But also well-deserved.
His outrage today and our front page are an understatement of the anger that this situation ... the latest in a long string of failures by the Trenton School District ... has sparked among parents and taxpayers.
Labels: Doug Palmer, Rodney Lofton, Trenton School Department
Jim McGreevey is going to seminary to become a priest.
That's the kind of story a paper like The Trentonian lives for.
And a lot of thought and fun goes into coming up with a headline for a story like that, more so when it's going to be the front page, which it was yesterday until some local fishermen pulled a human head out of a local body of water
The brainstorming process for front page headline writing can come up with some good, some bad, and some that don't look quite so appropriate after sleeping on it.
Here are some of the McGreevey headlines we considered last night:
- LOVING HIS FELLOW MAN
- ALTAR BOY
- JUDAS PRIEST
- JESUS FREAK
- McGREEVEY ENTERS SEE-MEN-ARY
- HELL, NO!
- HEAVEN CAN WAIT
- REV. STRANGELOVE
- GAY GOV'S AFTER-WIFE
Labels: Jim McGreevey
It's not a big secret.
Some music venues in Trenton are reluctant to book rap acts because they fear they will draw a crowd that could get out of hand.
This morning's news about the rap performance followed by a murder
could stoke those fears.
It's important to note, however, that this was more of a Karaoke performance gone bad than an incident in which professional musicians were drawing a bad crowd or inciting violence in some way.
Coming tomorrow: L.A. Parker on Trenton murders
Coming in tomorrow's Trentonian, columnist L.A. Parker writes about Trenton's murder rate and how we lose track of the lives and people behind the numbers.
Here's a sneak preview:
"What we also know now is that people living in South Trenton with agendas — whether they are political or parochial — will kick, yell and march when an officer is taken away from his post but when in this case a young African American woman is removed from this world, they remain silent.
"Desiree E. Napper-Jones deserved a better man than the one she got and her life and death should receive more attention than their current reception.
"Unfortunately, in Trenton, like so many other urban areas, the lives of black gangsters or dark-colored girlfriends are reduced to numerical identification.
"Napper-Jones garnered a murder No. 15 tag while alleged gang member Arnold Poole is No. 16, etc.
"Jose-Duran Almonte, 28, of Reading, Pa., shot and killed during an incident in a Centre Street bar, is No. 17.
"Whether you care or don’t, these people were once real life human beings."
Labels: L.A. Parker, Murders
Blogging up a storm
The Trentonian has launched a number of new blogs over the past few months.
In addition to supplementing what we offer in the print edition and at www.trentonian.com
, these blogs give you the opportunity to comment on issues of the day or the topic in question, and also allow you to interact with some of the beat writers we have covering areas such as the Trenton Devils and Rutgers football. They have access on a daily basis to the players and coaches you follow. So if there are questions you want answered or points you want explored, use the "comment" function of our blogs to fire away.
In case you missed them, check out:Strange But True:
All the wacky and weird news you can stand.Rutgers Football:
By Rutgers beat writer Ben Doody.Trenton Devils:
By Devils beat writer Rob Chakler.Back Talk Blog:
Your opportunity to comment as often as you'd like and at length on any item in our popular daily Back Talk feature.Yankees Fan:
Sports staffer Josh Norris provides his thoughts on that baseball team from New York.Yankees Suck:
The other side of the story.
Inevitable dismissal of Rider charges happens
After dismissing charges today
against two Rider University officials in the alcohol poisoning hazing death of a fraternity pledge, Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini has a lot more explaining to do about why this was pursued in the first place.
The case against the dean of students and head of campus life at the college were certainly provocative, and sparked a hell of a lot of debate about when college officials will step in and do something about these kind of deadly shenanigans on their campuses.
But these were charges that didn't meet the common sense test. Everyone - from laymen to lawyers - had the same reaction when they heard about them. And that was that this was a stunt by a publicity-seeking or crusading prosecutor.
This isn't an episode of "Law and Order." You can't charge a high school principal for stuff that students do at the prom. You might feel like they're not doing their job well, but you haven't walked in their shoes.
And you certainly are abusing your position as the people's representative in the court system by trumping up some kind of criminal charge against them.
Labels: Joseph Bocchini, Rider University
That sparkling new empty building
Doug Palmer is drawing a line in the sand. And the much-heralded $37 million renovation of a downtown high-rise is doing nothing to revitalize Trenton while his pissing match with developers continues
Palmer claims that the building's developers "want to change the deal" that they made with the city, and he refuses to budge.
The gist of it is that Palmer insists that the developers charge higher rent than they want to. The not-veiled-at-all goal of the mayor is to gentrify downtown.
Not a bad thing in this case, but Trenton's revitalization can't be forced if no one wants to rent at that price.
Downtown Trenton - and who is ultimately responsible for this other than the city's top elected official? - doesn't have a lot going for it right now.
It's a chicken and egg thing. More upscale residential housing will bring money into the area that will feed new retail, restaurants, etc. And having these kinds of businesses open after 6 p.m. and on weekends might attract more higher-income residents.
But the former won't happen overnight without some of the latter.
You've got to start somewhere, and that's why Palmer should compromise on the Broad Street Bank.
Not to mention that a great new building that could be the start of something in the downtown is sitting empty while he squabbles.
Labels: Broad Street Bank building, Doug Palmer
But where is the missing mom?
Rosario DiGirolamo's formal indictment on child abandonment charges in Delaware
brings us back to the same question we've -- and we hope, police -- have been asking from the beginning.
What does he know about the whereabouts of Amy Giordano, the 27-year-old Hightstown woman who bore the child he abandoned in a hospital parking lot?
She's still missing, and despite DiGirolamo's statement through a lawyer a few weeks ago that he's helping find her, something stinks.
If he has come clean with everything he knows, why haven't more details about Giordano's possible whereabouts made it out to the public?
The Trentonian ran a photo on its front page earlier this summer of surveillance camera footage showing DiGirolamo shopping with Giordano and their baby in a grocery store only hours before her disappearance.
Did she tell him he was taking off? What happened?
Labels: Amy Giordano, Rosario DiGirolamo
Every voter crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed mayor
Well, he can't solve the gang problem, put much of a dent in urban decay or keep the school district from teetering in the brink of a state takeover, but he sure does look fine!
He's pictured above wearing a "two-button wool suit ($1,995) by Dolce & Gabbana; cotton shirt ($490) by Domenico Vacca; and silk tie ($125) by Dunhill."
Labels: Doug Palmer
A typical liberal tax-and-spend non-solution
Maybe you just can't teach an old dog new tricks.
Trenton's school department is so screwed up, so much on the brink of failure, that the state has come out and said it is on the verge of seizing control from city officials, just like it did in Camden.
Parents and the public have lost confidence in the integrity of school administrators in the wake of the Sherman Avenue school report card tampering scandal.
And what is Mayor Doug Palmer's solution?Extend the school year and the school day
And of course, you'd have to spend big bucks on more staff, and of course, you'd have to pay the teachers' union through the nose for cutting into their lengthy summer vacation by a few days.
Another tired, unoriginal, tax-and-spend solution that was predictable from a leader of establishment liberal Democrats who know no other solution than to throw money and more government bureaucracy at every problem.
How could keeping students longer in schools that are failing them every day possibly be the anwer to Trenton's problems?
Labels: Doug Palmer, Sherman Avenue School, Trenton School Department
Gangs: The Wal-Mart solution
Will it take Newark-style crime to wake up Trenton?
Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer's comments about the horrific execution-style killings of three students in Newark
are important as the city grapples with its own problems.
The Newark case (click here for latest update
) hits home in these parts because, as unimaginably horrible a crime as it is, it's not much of a leap at all to think that it could have happened right here in Trenton. The pages of The Trentonian are filled daily with godless violence that gives the impression the city borders on chaos some nights.
What will it take to get some real action to bring our personal mayhem under control? A spectacularly high-profile crime like the Newark case?
New Eagles blog launched
Trentonian.com has another blog to offer you.
You've come to rely on Journal Register News Service beat writer Bob Grotz coverage of the Eagles.
Now you can read more of his thoughts with "Blogging with the Birds."
And remember that you can comment anytime on Back Talk items that get you going. Check out our Back Talk Blog
today if you don't have it bookmarked already.
Coming tomorrow: L.A. Parker on Newark killings
Coming in tomorrow's Trentonian, columnist L.A. Parker tackles the media swarm around the execution-style killings of three students in Newark.
"Every report refers to the three dead students and wounded survivor, Natasha Aeriel, 19, as 'good' kids," Parker writes. "The inference in the description is that if they were 'bad' children then somehow we could all handle the the quadruple shooting and triple killing. If they were 'bad' kids we could all head back to the beach, TV, or bar with exclamation that all is right in our world. It’s not."
Parker argues that anger at Newark Mayor Cory Booker is misplaced.
"Mayor Booker can only say so much, attempt so much and do so much to effect change in Newark," he writes. "The realization is that black people must accept responsibility for our share of a daily deadly destruction. At some point, we must stand and say — enough."
Labels: L.A. Parker, Murders
Help us write the headline for Bonds' 756th
Our new attorney general is a hottie
New Jersey's new attorney general, Anne Milgram, has been all over the news since taking office a short time ago.
What's not surprising about this article profiling her latest cause, however, is her revelation that she's been asked out by complete strangers numerous times since her face started appearing before the cameras every day.
We've believed since her appointment by Gov. Jon S. Corzine that New Jersey now, easily, has the hottest attorney general in the country.
Labels: Anne Milgram
Wal-Mart and gangs ... huh?
The 2007 award for most obscure parallel between two completely unrelated political issues goes to ... Ewing Mayor Jack Ball.
In commenting for today's Trentonian story about the proposed Wal-Mart in Lawrence
, the mayor listed one possible benefit of Wal-Mart's arrival as, get this, fighting gangs.
What's Wal-Mart's connection to gangs, other than providing another outlet for the purchase of cheap firearms?
Mayor Ball sees Wal-Mart bringing more jobs to the community, and if there are more jobs available, maybe young people will be less likely to join gangs.
Hey, it makes sense. What prospective gang-banging, bling-flashing drug dealer wouldn't exchange that lifestyle for a $7 an hour job greeting Wal-Mart customers?
Labels: Gangs, Jack Ball, Wal-Mart
'The deal of the century'
Prosecutors should be ashamed and the public should be outraged that Trenton teacher Sylvester Jones was offered a special form of probation yesterday for having a sexual relationship with one of his teenage students
As prosecutors described it as the "deal of the century," they should have taken pause at their own words.
Why is Jones "getting off" with a slap on the wrist?
Let's dispel some misconceptions about this case and cases like it.
The girl was 17, practically an adult, right?
Well, the girl was 16 when prosecutors allege that Jones started an inappropriate relationship with her. The law is the law, first of all, and statutary rape laws are on the books because CHILDREN CAN'T "CONSENT" to sex. They are too young to make that decision, especially when it involves an adult who should know better.
But more importantly, she was HIS STUDENT. He was in a position of authority over her, and to take advantage of that relationship is immoral and illegal and NEVER OK.
The fact that special probation - designed for first-time offenders who make an error in judgment unlikely to ever happen again and that hasn't had too much victim impact - was applied in this case is mind-boggling considering the factors above and that Jones was charged in this case and then allegedly caught having sexual contact with the girl in a public park while on probation!
Does that sound like someone who made a one-time error in judgment?
Does that sound like the kind of judgment we want to tell our children, parents and the public that it's OK to exhibit as a teacher in the public school system? That's what we're saying by not meting out a proper punishment in this case.
And a proper punishment would be Sylvester Jones behind bars.
Labels: Sylvester Jones, Trenton School Department
Bridge tragedy: Could it happen here?
How frightening was the news last night of the rush-hour bridge collapse in Minnesota?Four are confirmed dead, but as many as 30 others are missing
, some believed to be dead in cars submerged in the river below the bridge's ruins.
For people of this area, it immediately brings to mind the sorry condition of the bridges over the Delaware River between Mercer and Bucks counties, the huge amount of traffic that they get every day, and the fact that most are due to undergo major construction projects.
It's unclear at this point if the construction project underway on this bridge in Minnesota sparked or contributed to the bridge's collapse, but it's a scary thing to think about when you drive over the Route 1 toll bridge every day in Trenton.
This morning, Gov. Corzine ordered emergency inspections of New Jersey bridges
to make sure a Minnesota tragedy isn't repeated here. We hope that the state's top engineers look at the under-construction angle closely as well.
Thoughts or information on this story today? Contact Charlie Webster, who's working on this story for tomorrow's paper, at (609) 989-7800 or email@example.com
National retail in downtown Trenton
The good news?
Foot Locker will dedicate a new store at 31 East State St. in Trenton with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Aug. 2.
The sad news?
It is being touted by the Trenton Downtown Association as "only the second national retailer in downtown Trenton."
How pitiful is it for there to be only two national retailers in the downtown of a state capital. If we were the Trenton Downtown Association, it's not something we'd want to be touting.
Labels: Trenton Downtown Association
Look Who's Talking
Jeff Edelstein (that guy on the left) pours the contents of his brain onto page 2 of The Trentonian every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Now we're forcing him to shut up and listen.
"Look Who's Talking" is a new feature by Jeff that will run each Monday. And he won't be doing the talking.
Each week Jeff will interview a different member of the community or of interest to the community and let you get to know them through their own words.
Labels: Jeff Edelstein
The war on gangs
A huge percentage of the crime news we write about in the Trenton area is connected to gangs or involves gang members.
Several stories over the past few days offer a perspective on the local and national effort to put a dent in this problem. None of it leaves us encouraged.
- A Trenton Blood was sentenced last week
after unsuccessfully arguing that he suffered from something called "Battered Gangster Syndrome," and that's why he shouldn't be held responsible for taking part in the firebombing of a house that left a man and his two young daughters murdered. For those who've argued recently that putting gang crimes on the front page of The Trentonian glorifies these thugs and helps them recruit, hopefully Saturday's headline, "See You in 2037," is a clear enough message to young gangster wannabes. Do the crime and you'll be doing lots of time.
- A story out of Newark details how difficult it is for law enforcement to make a case against gangs, as gang members and people in the community fear being branded as a "snitch."
- And finally, in other parts of the country, small cities facing gang problems similar to Trenton's are trying a new approach. They're suing.
Labels: Gangs, Murders
Trenton schools get an 'F'
Despite this morning's headlines about the state possibly taking over control of the Trenton school system
, the likelihood of that actually happening, for a variety of reasons, is slim.
But holy crap! It's hard to believe the city would need a wakeup call after the report card-tampering scandal at the Sherman Avenue School earlier this year, but they sure as hell got one yesterday with this announcement.
We are so bad at running our public school system that the state is talking about seizing control away from city leaders.
From Mayor Palmer to the city council to the board of education and on down, we should be ashamed of ourselves.
One would expect these leaders to be tripping over themselves today to do something about this. Instead, silence.
Labels: Doug Palmer, Sherman Avenue School, Trenton School Department
It's one of those great mysteries of life.
Just like infuriatingly long lines at the DMV, why does the state seem to create maximum disruption for everyone affected by a road construction project, or in the case of Hanover Street right now, a state office building project.
This morning's Trentonian brings you the story of Anita Zilberg and her husband Alex Lebedinsky
, the owners of Lemar Sound and Video.
Business has plummeted thanks to the state construction project near their shop, and they've even had to lay off employees because of it.
The construction project has taken away the shop's parking, and its customers. So it was kind of a final straw for the couple the other day when they received a parking ticket near their store for occupying a space regularly used by contractors.
But what can they do after reaching the final straw?
We've got hundreds of state government politicians ready to issue a press release 10 times a day congratulating themselves or pontificating about this or that topic, but no one in state government bureaucracy who is ready, willing and able to fix the little problems people have from being trampled on by the state.
So other than sue the state of New Jersey (yeah, right), their option is to go to the newspaper and hope that outrage builds among every reader who's suffered a similar fate.
Back Talk Blog launched
Now you can talk back to Back Talk ... as many times as you want, whenever you want.
Ed. Note has launched a Back Talk Blog
, and the premise is simple.
Each Back Talk item from The Trentonian will be posted as a blog entry, allowing readers to post comments in response to the Back Talk caller or Ed. Note's response.
Let the fun begin!
You've been shot; what do you do next?
The latest "assault with a bullet"
reported by Trenton police continues an interesting trend.
Why does your typical Trenton shooting victim call anyone and everyone EXCEPT THE POLICE?
The young man who was shot this morning in Trenton used his cell phone to call friends, who drove him to the hospital.
Why are shooting victims bypassing the police and ambulance services?
In this case, who knows. In previous cases, many of the city's shooting victims have been in trouble with the law themselves - including having warrants outstanding for their arrest.
Again, we don't know the details of this morning's incident. The victim could have been a random, innocent bystander.
More frequently, though, the shooter knows the victim, and both have been up to no good. It paints a picture of a lawless criminal crossfire that's playing out on Trenton's streets.
Meanwhile, Trenton police have released crime statistics for June. They're up slightly over the same month last year, but still down YTD. Read the full text of the report
on our Web site.
Labels: Gangs, Trenton Police Department
The dead dog
OK, so just how important is it that an innocent bystander's pit bull was shot by police on Sunday
as police looked for the suspect in the shooting of a Mercer County sheriff's officer?
Extremely important, of course, to Linda Milbourne and her family, the dog's owners.
Not so important, perhaps, to readers and journalists whose immediate reaction is, A COP WAS SHOT! Of course his colleagues are going to swarm the area and find this dangerous, anarchist punk as quickly as possible, to protect the public, their co-workers and themselves from further harm.
If a pit bull jumps out at an on-edge police officer in that situation, it's not shocking that something like this could happen.
So why does it continue to be a story followed in the pages of The Trentonian?
For one thing, a dog, apparently, was shot by police. Yet the spokesman for the Trenton Police Department told the newspaper that no incident report was ever filed about it, something that's supposed to happen anytime a cop shoots a gun outside of target practice.
That's just the start of the questions about this incident. At no point, and in no way, though, should it detract from the real issue of the past few days -- the fact that one of our bravest public servants, an unarmed hero cop trying to help a woman in distress -- was shot close range and is lucky to be alive.
The most important things are wishing him a speedy recovery, getting swift justice for the person responsible, and coming up with solutions that will have us writing about less of this kind of thing in the Trenton area.
Labels: Trenton Police Department
Police fighting police
You'd think that the shooting Sunday afternoon of Mercer County Sheriff's Department officer Joshus Hahn
might serve as a wakeup call, or a reminder, that the enemy our police officers should be fighting is "out there," not within the walls of the station.
So it was sad at the very least ... and a frightening statement about how this crap might be putting our public safety at risk ... to see open hostility among officers at the scene Sunday, while the punk suspected of shooting the unarmed Hahn in the chest at close range was still at-large
The tension within the Trenton Police Department boiled over this past week when critics of Police Director Santiago and Mayor Doug Palmer made public a photo of Capt. Paul Messina, a Santiago ally, sleeping while on duty
Messina, understandably feeling victimized by critics of the administration but ready to serve his suspension
, had to endure chants of "Capt. Sleepy, Capt. Sleepy!" as he worked the crime scene of Hahn's shooting yesterday.
Blame Santiago and Palmer for this situation, as a number of disgruntled cops do
, or blame the disgruntled cops for poisoning the atmosphere in the department.
Either way, it's up to the top leaders of the city - Palmer and the council - to do something about Santiago, do something about the disgruntled cops if they are acting inappropriately, or do something about all of them!
Let's get the focus back on crime fighting, instead of infighting.
Labels: Capt. Sleepy, Doug Palmer, Joseph Santiago, Trenton Police Department
What's denser than a Pennsylvania politician?
We've got a $650 million state budget surplus, yet legislators and Gov. Ed Rendell, unable to agree on a bunch of crap voters don't really care about, have shut down Pennsylvania state government
Do the residents who have to vacate the state park camping spots they planned their vacations around care about the details of Rendell's proposed energy policy?
How about the senior citizens who see the highlight of their week as playing the slots at Philadelphia Park?
No. In fact, no one but Rendell, apparently, sees energy policy as a big enough and immediate enough of an issue to force a shutdown that is inconveniencing millions of his constituents. I know the world is still in Al Gore Live Earth afterglow, but I don't think we need to shut down state campgrounds in order to come to an agreement on energy policy.
(Although the shutting down of DMV offices and a temporary lag in issuing driver's licenses might make a small dent on global warming.)
Pennsylvania politicians apparently didn't learn anything from New Jersey's state budget shutdown debacle. (Hey, Atlantic City's a long way from Harrisburg ... forgive them if they can't do the math on shutting down slot revenue that pours an incredible amount of money into state coffers EVERY DAY the casinos run.)
And they apparently didn't learn anything from the pitchfork-and-torch mob scene response from voters when they raised their own pay last year.
That scene could pale in comparison when it hits home with Grandpa that he can't play the slots today.
Labels: Ed Rendell
Run, Bloomy, run!
As journalists in New Jersey, we can't help but salivate over the prospect of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg jumping into the 2008 presidential race.
Bloomberg recently shed his fairly recently acquired Republican Party membership, and could be positioning himself for a Ross Perot-like third party run.
Wouldn't an all-New York presidential election be fun? Well ... New York (Rudy), New York (Bloomberg) and carpetbagger New York (Hillary), anyway.
If Rudy Guiliani, consensus GOP frontrunner, wins the nomination, he's going to make New Jersey a lot more competitive than any other potential Republican candidate. The AP is predicting that a Bloomberg candidacy would make an already competitive New Jersey even more so.
Meanwhile, Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer is continuing his slow dance with Hillary
. Since he practically makes out with her every time they cross paths, which seems to be frequently, his support is seen as a foregone conclusion. But he's lagged behind colleagues such as Mayor John Street of Philadelphia and Gov. Jon S. Corzine in declaring his love officially.
Besides liking a good horse race and the storylines that another serious Ross Perot-esque bid would bring, Bloomberg might actually steer the debate toward competence and public policy.
He is MR. COMPETENCE. And hearing him speak at a recent breakfast of business leaders in New York City that was picked up on radio, he sounds refreshingly nonpartisan and nonpolitical. So much, in fact, that it's hard to believe that he will run. He doesn't seem afraid to give answers that will piss off some segment of potential voters and donors. He's the anti-Hillary.
Labels: Michael Bloomberg, Rudy Guiliani
Police let one get away
The longer the case of missing Hightstown mom Amy Giordano goes unsolved, the more outrageous it seems that police allowed her boyfriend (now charged in absentia with abandoning their 11-month child in a Delaware parking lot) to take off for Italy.Now police are testing traces of blood found in Giordano's apartment and asking authorities in Italy to help find Rosario DiGirolamo
. He is facing the abandonment charge in Delaware, but more importantly, they want to talk to him about what he knows about the whereabouts of his girlfriend.
Gee, you think that might have been a good conversation to have before the guy left the country? If he did anything more serious than leaving that poor child, do you seriously think he is EVER coming back?
Something seemed screwy about this case from the beginning. But the cops were extremely slow to see it.
Good, old-fashioned newspaper and TV reporting, rather than good, old-fashioned police work, uncovered the missing mom, DiGirolamo and the child on a grocery store surveillance tape hours before her disapperance, and uncovered the fact that DiGirolamo lives in a very nice house that used to belong to a high-ranking New Jersey mobster.
How about getting some eyebrows raisied over just the fact that he was living in that house, and paying Giordano's $850-a-month rent in Hightstown, on the $56,000 salary of a computer programmer?
We're not sure what resources and amount of focus the police are giving this case now. But we would like to say as strongly as possible ... Amy Giordano and her family deserve 110 percent of their attention.
Labels: Amy Giordano, Rosario DiGirolamo
Jobs leaving Trenton
Mayor Doug Palmer called a press conference yesterday to blast Capital Health System
over plans to move its Mercer campus out of the city and into Hopewell Township.
That means 1,500 jobs moving out of Trenton, less accessible health care for some city residents and a sucker punch to efforts at revitalizing the city, Palmer said.
We are so sick of this victim mentality coming from Trenton's leaders. Instead of blasting a business or organization for choosing another community over yours, why not put your effort into convincing them that your community would be the better location?
If, as Palmer said, the "move comes just as our city is making significant strides toward revitalization and improved quality of life," then he should be able to sell those qualities to Capital Health System and other employers.
Instead, Doug Palmer's looking for another handout. Locate in Trenton not because we put together the best deal, or will be the best place for your employees. Locate in Trenton because we deserve another welfare check, another subsidy. Locate in Trenton because we'll shame you into it by holding a press conference to say you're discriminating by not "helping us out."
That's not the way this country's most successful mayors have turned things around. They've done it with corporate partnerships that have benefited corporations as much as they have the city. By showing that an investment in urban areas can be BETTER than the suburbs. If city leaders do their part, instead of looking for another handout.
Yet all Palmer can do is call a press conference and blast Capital Health System for "making a business decision," and caring about turning a profit, like those aims are evil.
Hello! That's what businesses are supposed to do. If our mayor doesn't understand that, this city's going nowhere fast. We are doomed.
Labels: Capital Health System, Doug Palmer
New managing editor
The Trentonian recently welcomed a new managing editor -- the #2 person overall in the newsroom.Aaron Nobel
worked most recently as editor of the Connecticut Valley Spectator, a weekly newspaper in the Dartmouth College area of New Hampshire and Vermont. He founded that paper about five years ago, and it went on to win newspaper of the year, sports section of the year, entertainment section of the year and other honors from the New Hampshire Press Association. He has also worked as a daily and weekly newspaper reporter and sports reporter.
Aaron is getting to know the area, but isn't a complete stranger. His father grew up in Burlington County, where his grandparents still reside.
He sees many opportunities to improve and offer more to Trentonian readers, and is looking for all the feedback you can give him. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
or give him a call at (609) 989-7800, ext. 178.
Labels: Aaron Nobel
Assault ... with a bullet
It was not quite Orwellian, but certainly using language to put the best possible spin on things.
A press release from the Trenton Police Department today referred to three "aggravated assaults" over the weekend in Trenton.
We were expecting to read about people getting beaten up. But in each of the incidents, the victim was actually shot
"Assault" sounds like some Trenton folk got into fistfights this weekend. In reality, bad aim was the only thing keeping us from murders #15, #16 and #17.
Labels: Murders, Trenton Police Department
Monday morning quarterbacking the police
Blame The Sopranos if you'd like. But the case of the missing mom, abandoned baby and boyfriend who took off for Italy inspires a lot of speculation about what might have happened.Click here
to read The Trentonian's latest update of the story.
To recap, an 11-month-old baby is found abandoned in the parking lot of a Delaware hospital. His doting, loving mother is missing, but there are at least some signs (leaving without her cigarettes) that point to something other than her just taking off on her own. The father of the child turns out to be married, and his wife has no idea about the girlfriend or the kid. Then it turns out the father lives in the former McMansion of a prominent Jersey mafioso. Then it turns out the father ditched his job and took off for Italy after the whole abandoned baby thing made the news. Then based on cell phone records, police charge him with being the person who abandoned the baby.
Didn't this whole thing look suspicious enough for police to have pursued the father more aggressively before he had the chance to leave the country? And why did it take reporters to dig up surveillance video of a grocery store visit by the missing mom, the fugitive father and the toddler just hours before the baby was found?
And the whole mob angle gives rise to all kinds of theories.
Is this case of local police not knowing when to call in the FBI? Or did the FBI and similar higher law enforcement authorities view it as some minor desperate mom situation and were dismissive? Or are police in multiple states having a hard time cooperating and communicating?
It's easy to second-guess police - like the Lawrence beating death murder investigation that turned out to be no beating at all
, but rather a case of meningitis, or the day that Trenton police spent processing the scene of a dumped body only to find out hours later that it was the carcass of a dog.
In both cases, if their initial assessment of the "crime scene" had been true, and they hadn't pulled out all the stops to investigate and warn the public, they would have been in for even more criticism.
We'll take an overreaction any day compared to what has happened in the case of the missing mom.
Labels: Amy Giordano, Lawrence Police Department, Rosario DiGirolamo
Rutgers football blog launched
Is anyone else outraged?
How many of you out there working in the private sector (otherwise known as "the real world") have 100 percent of your health insurance costs paid by your employer, and will get the same deal after you retire?
State employees have got it pretty good. That's a ridiculous understatement, and that's the #1 reason taxes in New Jersey are among the highest in the country. The biggest costs for most businesses, including the state, are people costs, salaries and benefits.
This year, Gov. Corzine asked state workers to "give something back" (in other words, take 98.5 percent from taxpayers instead of 100 percent) in the form of contributing 1.5 percent toward the cost of their health insurance.
Great. Well, it's a start. That small amount - because of the out-of-control bureaucracy we have in New Jersey - will save taxpayers an estimated $100 million a year.
Gov. Corzine couldn't do that to his old gal pal. What horrible working conditions! What a hardship! Carla can't take that back to the union.
Enter the loophole. Yesterday the governor signed a change to the health care contribution deal that will allow any current or retired state worker to get out of paying the 1.5 percent if they agree to enroll in a vaguely defined "health program" that focuses on getting people to "live healthier," such as quitting smoking, exercising and joining a health club.
So, guess what?
We could be giving back some to all of that $100 million in savings, depending on how many state workers agree to do a few pushups each morning.
Only in New Jersey.
Labels: Carla Katz, Jon Corzine, State Employees
Doug Palmer, TV star
Agree or disagree with Doug Palmer's record as Trenton mayor or his political agenda, Trentonians couldn't help but be proud earlier this week as he ... and our city ... basked in the national spotlight that comes with being elected president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Palmer's week in Los Angeles included two major national television appearances, and it was an interesting example of the difference in substance between public television and your typical late-night network fare.
On the Tavis Smiley show Monday night, Palmer appeared with Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and discussed Palmer's 10-point agenda as the new president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. They talked about race, poverty, the environment, the 2008 presidential election and the relationship between the federal government and America's cities.
Tuesday night's appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (you know, the guy with the Scottish accent who comes on after Dave Letterman) couldn't have been more different. The president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors is an atypical guest for this kind of show, which usually focuses on celebrity and pop culture. Palmer's brief appearance consisted of him talking in the most general terms about Trenton (remember, we were key to beating the British in the Revolutionary War, and remember, "Trenton Makes, the World Takes") and the mandatory jokes about New Jersey when Palmer mentioned that "the enviornment" was one of his priorities.
Overall, it was the first of hopefully many opportunities during Palmer's tenure over the next year in which the city of Trenton was portrayed in a positive light in the national media.
Satisfied or not with his job as mayor, it's not some fluke that he rose to the position he found himself in this past week.
Doug Palmer is handling the national spotlight very well, and it's going to do wonders for Trenton's image.
Labels: Doug Palmer, U.S. Conference of Mayors
Do as I say, not as I do, Part 2
Days after Gov. Jon Corzine nearly got himself killed by not wearing his seatbelt when the state trooper driving his SUV crashed near Atlantic City, the New Jersey State Police launched a major crackdown on drivers who don't wear their seatbelts.
Now just days after the state trooper who was driving Corzine was allowed back on the job, despite being blamed for the 90-plus-mile-an-hour crash, state troopers are launching a major crackdown on speeders:
One wonders if they'll dare to pull over and ticket a speeding gubernatorial motorcade? Well, of course not.
TRENTON (AP) - Motorists who exceed the speed limit can expect to get a ticket in seven north Jersey towns this summer.
Starting July 4, police will target motorists who treat the speed limit as a suggestion and not the law.
"Obey the Signs or Pay the Fines" grants will pay for about 80 hours of overtime in participating police departments. Instead of warnings, speeders will receive tickets ranging from $85 to $260 and points against their licenses.
Four counties that launched the program last year issued nearly 6,400 tickets during the one-month period.
Some police departments in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties are participating this year
Labels: Jon Corzine
Doug Palmer on national TV Monday night
This just in ...
Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer wil appear Monday night on the Tavis Smiley Show, which airs on PBS. It airs at 11:30 p.m. on WHYY Channel 12 in the Trenton area.
Palmer is in Los Angeles, where he is being sworn in as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
It will be extremly interesting to see how he uses this national platform to help Trenton
Labels: Doug Palmer, U.S. Conference of Mayors
Palmer in national spotlight as violence makes news again in Trenton
It was supposed to be Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer's weekend to shine.
But while he was basking in the limelight of being sworn in as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors
and rubbing shoulders in Los Angeles with the likes of presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson, back home some all-too-typical problems were plaguing his city.
Palmer's coronation as a spokesman for the nation's cities would have made front page news in The Trentonian today, but instead the city was hit with its 14th murder
. Another possibly gang-related death. This time, in broad daylight.
And more troubling to some, violence was even hitting a Trenton neighborhood that typically is an oasis from the rest of the city's problems. A shooting in the Mill Hill section
of the city has merchants on edge.
As he rubs shoulders with some of the most powerful politicians in the country, what does Palmer have to say about the problems back home?
And perhaps more importantly, what can Palmer's newly important status do to help him fix some of those problems?
When's the last time you heard Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson or even Jon Corzine make news calling attention to the plight of small, troubled urban cities such as Trenton or Camden? Or offering some real solutions.
They're in a position to bring the resources of the state and federal governments to Trenton to help.
Maybe Palmer's rise to prominence and all that out-of-town hobnobbing with the rich and powerful can be used to get some help for the city.
Labels: Doug Palmer, Murders, U.S. Conference of Mayors
Names and Faces
A new feature was unveiled in The Trentonian's Sunday edition last week.
"Names and Faces" will include community news about people.
The first installment last week included a list of winners in the annual Mayor's Awards program in Trenton, Italian-American scholarships, local students graduating from college and local businesses announcing promotions.
We want to hear about and share the achievements of you, your children and your employees.
Send announcements (photos are welcome, too!) to Features Editor Scott Frost at email@example.com
And check out "Names and Faces" in tomorrow's Sunday Trentonian.
Labels: Scott Frost
New features editor ready to "Go"
Veteran reporter Scott Frost has been promoted to features editor at The Trentonian.
And one of Scott's first big projects is our weekly "Go" entertainment section, which is published each Thursday as a pullout section of The Trentonian.
Scott's "On the Beat" local music column has been appearing in "Go" since its inception. Now that he's in charge of the whole thing, goals include packing more local features into the section and branching out to a wider range of entertainment topics.
Today's issue is the first under Scott's leadership, and already one can see his influence. In addition to cover stories on the nationally popular bands Ween
and Bad Brains
performing at Asbury Park this weekend, this week's "Go" section features articles on boxing
, an all-night arts festival in Trenton and even a story about a guy who serves as chef to drag racers
As he jumps into his new role, Scott would love to hear your thoughts on the "Go" section, The Trentonian or the local music and entertainment scene. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Labels: Go, Scott Frost
New Web site unveiled
Notice something different when you logged on to http://www.trentonian.com/
The newspaper quietly unveiled an all-new Web site Tuesday afternoon. It features a streamlined, cleaner look, easier-to-find categories and more content.
But it's just the start of a major shift at the paper to providing you more news, sooner and in more dynamic and interactive formats.
Check back for news about the launch of new blogs by Trentonian newsroom staff, and the introduction of video coverage of local news and sports.
And coming soon, The Trentonian's "ePaper" will offer a digital subscription via our Web site to the exact layout of news, sports and advertising pages you would see in the print edition of the paper. It will also feature audio playback of stories, and the ability to receive individual stories or the entire newspaper as a podcast!
New Sunday comic strip
Readers of the Sunday Trentonian may have noticed a new comic strip.
We're proud to have added "Maintaining" by Nate Creekmore.
The Nashville Tennessean featured Creekmore in an article that read: "With dry and sometimes sly wit, he has dealt with everything from stereotypes and interracial dating (when Marcus shows up for dinner with his white girlfriend's parents, they serve him watermelon and fried chicken) to evolution and racial slurs. The strip made waves on campus when it debuted in the school paper, The Babbler. Some called him racist. Some called him enlightened. Either way, he kept them wondering what his characters would say next."