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Friday, September 28, 2007

Spin on crime continues

"Crime is down."

These were the words of Kent Ashworth, city spokesman for Trenton, following the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision that a referendum on an ordinance that was blocked by city hall efforts was indeed open to referendum.

He was trying to make the point that the ordinance, whether open to referendum or not, was successful after it reorganized the police department, and had actually helped improve the crime situation in Trenton.

These type of comments are quite confusing to many residents, who say they don't understand the Palmer administration's "crime is down" mantra when they hear about crime all over town, all the time.

There were nights this summer when there was police activity anywhere you looked in the city.

On one September night in particular, sources personally observed four separate crime scenes only to see not a single report on whatever happened in the media the next day.

Any observation that crime is down is probably the result of under reporting by the department, or creative downgrading of crimes before they become Uniform Crime Report statistics.

Or, maybe the understaffed Trenton police don't have the time to file official reports about crimes or to even respond to more minor crime scenes.

Whatever the case, crime is certainly not down.

And Trenton needs more officers, ASAP.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

NJ court empowers residents

With yesterday's ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court, residents from Trenton and other Faulkner Act municipalities now have the ability to put all types of city ordinances on the ballot to be overturned, after the high court ruled cities cannot challenge referendum because of the category of ordinance.

These tactics are just what Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer did when his henchmen convinced a judge to end a referendum by classifying an ordinance - which eliminated certain Trenton Police Department positions - as an administrative one rather than legislative ordinance, temporarily stopping the referendum efforts.

Wednesday's court ruling now ends that ability of city governments to go circumvent the will of the residents by categorizing ordinances as administrative, and therefore protecting them.

Trenton residents who were involved in the original September 2004 referendum push may not have any reason to put the referendum back on the ballot, because the three deputy chiefs whose positions were eliminated by the Palmer ordinance previously retired.

But the ruling does mean Trenton residents should seriously consider petitioning any extremely questionable ordinance that gets passed by City Council.


Ashworth said crime is down since 2004, police response times are up and the city has proven their efficiency without the positions - The Times of Trenton 9/27

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Slate attacks Coston

With a resolution awarding a construction contract to a Woodbury firm back in front of the City Council Tuesday, council members Paul Pintella and Cordelia Staton attacked Councilman Jim Coston about what they saw as disparaging comments on Mr. Coston's personal blog.

Mr. Coston in his blog questioned the influence of contributions on the administration's efforts in support of the resolution.

Before the resolution presentation, Mr. Pintella said Mr. Coston should clarify his blog comments and whether they suggested impropriety or a lack of integrity on the part of the administration.

Mr. Pintella said he had not read the blog but heard it second-hand.

"I would recommend that you read it for yourself before you begin making accusations," Mr. Coston said.

Ms. Staton went further, and said she had read the blog, and called Mr. Coston's comment "slimy".

In addition, she said she took offence to his comments about the City Council's daily activities.

"Mr. Coston has cast aspersions on this body," Ms. Staton said.

The defensive comments from Mr. Pintella and Ms. Staton were curious in that Mr. Coston's blog entry about contributions was directed at the administration, and not the council or council members.

The two, along with Councilman Manny Segura, did receive tens of thousands of dollars from Mayor Douglas H. Palmer.

So perhaps they felt slighted because any questionable contribution to Mayor Palmer could be linked to their campaign finances, which would be tainted by the funds in question, sources said.

Two days earlier Mr. Coston had questioned the reasoning behind the administration's having brought the failed resolution back before the council, and commented on the possibility of a link between campaign contributions and the administration's drive to bring the resolution back before council.

However, the next day Mr. Coston said he did not mean a "quid pro quo" relationship between any contributions and the contract resolution.

The resolution carries a contract of roughly $150,000 for the building of small park on a site at the corner of North Willow Street and Pennington Avenue.

It had failed in May amid doubts about the administration's efforts in reaching out to the community in the area of the planned construction site.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A good start

Some of Trenton's current problems that could be addressed with some simple City Council legislation include the city's police understaffing and overtime problem, and the continued slide of some of the city's housing stock due to an underfunded and undermanned housing inspections department.

Councilman Jim Coston has always been quick to point out the number of housing inspectors Trenton has, which leads to a situtation where housing seldomly gets inspected, and each inspector is required to check around two thousand homes.

On top of this, Trenton City Code requires housing inspections only every five years.

Mayor Palmer responded to calls for action with a plan to shift the inspectors around the trouble areas of the city, but said not much more could be done because of a lack of funding for the program, in the neighborhood of several million dollars.

Fiscally related is the situation where Trenton relies on overtime to the tune of over $10 million annually to fill police coverage.

But the result is a tired and overworked staff stretched thin in Mercer County's most crime-ridden municipality.

Once again, Palmer administration officials said staffing cannot be increased despite the obvious need, due to financial considerations and ongoing contract negotiations.

The city's finances are all related and cannot be looked at in a vacuum, but it seems hiring more officers would reduce the overtime by several million dollars, and would release funding necessary to hire a small amount of housing inspectors and allow the city to increase inspections.

The hiring of 30 more officers, according to Councilman Coston, would cost the city around $1.2 million in the first year, plus the costs of equipment and training.

That is a lot of money, but it is a lot less than spending over $10 million in overtime every year to give us overly tired and overly thin police coverage.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wake up!

Trenton City Council members said the mayor and his administration department officials have disrespected the elected representatives of the people of Trenton.

Therefore they have disrespected Trenton's residents, and Trenton, as well.

Sentiments came out during this week's executive session discussion of the appointment of Juanita Joyner as the Trenton's new City Clerk, provided by Trenton resident Paul Harris on his Web site.

Numerous residents and people associated with Trenton have marveled at the way city officials like Chief of Staff Renee Haynes and Business Administrator Jane Feigenbaum have repeatedly disrespected City Council.

These administration heavyweights frequently withhold information from council, even forcing them to use OPRA requests.

Observes have labeled these actions as disrespectful of the power of the council as the representatives of the residents.

This is one of the first times members other than Councilman Jim Coston have been on the record about it.

"I know that since I was elected to this place right here, administration had never shown any respect whatsoever to this body, and this is my second term," said Councilman Manny Segura. "We are a legislative body, Mr. President, and I believe we need to be respected."

Councilman Geno Melone said the way in which Juanita Joyner was appointed into her first assistant clerk position was disrespectful of City Council, when the woman was tapped for the job without asking council or receiving the governing body's advice and consent, as required by New Jersey statute.

"Does this body feel, the way even Ms. Joyner was hired was in a respectable manner to this Council?" said Mr. Melone. "This Council was not even brought into discussion by the administration for her hiring."

Geno said Paul Pintella and the rest of council had turned over control of the important clerk position over to the administration.

"You've turned, well, Council too, not just you Paul, the Clerk's office over to the administration," said Mr. Melone. "In fact, I came this far from stating why don't you just have the administration, since they done everything else, make the appointment of the Clerk."

Without a strong City Council counterbalancing the Palmer administration, Trenton City really has no hope of extricating itself from the malaise of the last 17 years under Trenton's fashionable mayor, Mr. Palmer.

The next election will require the active citizenry to search deep within itself to select worthy candidates who will challenge Palmer or whoever else may slither into the mayor's office in the meantime.

Another Palmer night

Thursday night was a disaster for Trenton City in many different ways.

The twentieth day of September of 2007 saw a Trenton police officer injured in a car accident on Cass Street, a stabbing on South Broad, crime at the Pantry 1 on South Broad, and an armed robbery on Parkside Avenue.

On top of that, the Palmer-lapdog City Council embroiled themselves in the mayor's own personal vendetta when they dutifully passed legislation handing a symbolic contract to a Hamilton health care provider instead of Trenton's own Capital Health System.

It seems Doug can't let bygones be bygones, and is continuing the stupid one-man pissing contest that started when Capital Health System announced they were relocating their Mercer Campus in the West Ward to a new Hopewell location.

Instead of a good legislative body like Trenton needs, our own elected officials on City Council reinforced the vindictive actions of the mayor and handed a contract to Hamilton's Robert Wood Johnson instead of one of Trenton's most important employers, Capital Health System.

Things are looking quite bad in New Jersey's capital.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Officer: drunken Messina bullied me

A Trenton police officer was on the receiving end of pressure from Capt. Paul "Sleepy" Messina early Sat. morning after the officer doled out some parking tickets to illegally parked vehicles around the city's downtown Marriott Hotel, the Times' Kevin Shea reported Wednesday.

The officer said Capt. Messina told him to perform what amounts to illegal selective enforcement and void the tickets, and that Capt. Messina smelled of booze during the verbal confrontation.

Now Police Director Santiago says the officer has a history of being overzealous with parking tickets, and that there was no way Messina was intoxicated as he had been in the director's presence that night.

He questioned the officer's enforcement of parking laws during the downtown events that occurred this past weekend.

"Do we really want to give parking tickets to people who come to events downtown," said Mr. Santiago in Wednesday's Times.

Capt. Messina is the same police captain known for verbally abusing police officers, sleeping on duty numerous times, and generally flouting some police rules while obsessively enforcing others against enemies of the TPD status quo.

Despite Mr. Santiago's denial of the captain's alleged drinking, it is well known that police officers - even rookies - are trained to detect the presence of alcohol as their job requires police to look for potentially dangerous intoxicated citizens.

Along with the fact that this officer happens to be an 18-year veteran and that officers are trained to immediately recognize the presence of alcohol, it seems almost certain that Capt. Messina had been drinking and could have been intoxicated that night.

In addition to this, Capt. Messina and Mr. Santiago are frequently seen at area bars downing drinks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Another slap in the face of Capital Health System

More than a few eyebrows were raised in City Council Tuesday because of an administration-sponsored resolution.

The resolution would award a $338,000 contract to Robert Wood Johnson Occupational and Corporate Health of Hamilton for occupational health services and emergency medical services for the Department of Administration.

The $338,000 contract is significantly more expensive than the current month-to-month deal the city has with Capital Health System, a contract that also follows the city's mantra of trying to use the services of entities from Trenton.

The awarding of the more expensive contract to an outside company could be due to hard feelings between Mayor Douglas H. Palmer and CHS after the health provider announced plans to relocated its Mercer Campus in the West Ward to a site in Hopewell Township, sources said.

The Capital Health System deal charges the city $17,500 a month for the same services - in what would amount to an annual contract of $210,000 - saving the city nearly $130,000 dollars more each year in health care costs for the Department of Administration than under the proposed resolution.

"What about keeping Trenton dollars in Trenton," Councilman Jim Coston said.

Director of Personnel Raissa Walker said the city selected the more expensive contract because of unspecified complaints about the Capital Health System's services.

Trenton resident and CHS employee Zachary Chester said he wanted City Council to find out the nature of these unspecified complaints before they awarded the contract to the Hamilton firm.

"This contract has always been in Trenton, residents and employees could go right to the hospital on Brunswick Ave," said Mr. Chester. "Council should inquire about these problems with CHS, and ask those questions."

A negative vote on the resolution would continue the city's reliance on the month-to-month plan, according to City Council President Paul Pintella.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Palmer Hunterdon County

Last week saw the Web site Missing Mayor ? pop onto the Trenton scene with a bang, eliciting news conference responses from Mayor Douglas H. Palmer and frantic city road crew action during attempts to remove signs advertising the site from some of the city's more busy thoroughfares.

And while the site really questioned what Mayor Palmer was doing for Trenton City while he has ran all over the nation and the world doing work for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, some residents said the site also highlighted a more simpler problem with Mayor Palmer.

It seems Mayor Palmer is frequently missing from the city that he governs, because he doesn't actually live there.

Trenton City Code has required city employees to reside within city limits, in a bona fide domicile where the employee actually lives, or else risk ineligibility for the position.

Yet residents at Friday's protest at the Trenton Marriott said the thing they didn't get about Mayor Palmer was how did Trenton's executive get away with breaking city code by not having a true home within Trenton city limits.

The resident - from Hiltonia - is technically a neighbor of Mayor Palmer's, since the mayor owns a residence in the West Ward neighborhood.

But the resident said he has never seen the mayor at his Hiltonia home, and has only heard of one Hiltonia citizen ever actually seeing Trenton's 17-year mayor.

It is widely reported that the Hiltonia home is just an alibi.

Mayor Palmer actually lives in a palatial home with his wealthy wife in Hunterdon County, rather than living in his posh Hiltonia home back in T-Town.

The police director appointed by Mayor Palmer doesn't have a real home in Trenton either, preferring to drive back to his Stirling home each evening.

So while Mayor Palmer may be missing while he is off tackling national problems other than Trenton's, in reality most of his time "missing" is actually spent a few miles north, in Hunterdon County, and in clear violation of city code.

But who really follows city code anyway...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Trenton residents enjoy peaceful rally

Groups of Trenton residents and friends converged on the Trenton Marriott Hotel Friday afternoon to protest the continued failures of the Douglas H. Palmer administration in tending to the city's ills, as the Trenton executive entertained mayors from around the nation today at a conference in Trenton this weekend.

Residents from all over the city rallied to tell Mayor Palmer that they need him in Trenton to help address the city's problems, and not around the nation, and certainly not in his Hunterdon County home.

News media on hand for a 1:30 press conference at the hotel caught wind of the protect and were on hand to interview protesters and take pictures of the group, who came from all races and economic backgrounds.

Trenton residents said it was good to see a multi-colored coalition of people coming together to address all of their issues, finding common ground in their displeasure over the handling of the city's affairs by Mayor Palmer.

Of course there were Palmer supporters at the rally, from the Trenton police who threatened a quick arrest to anyone stepping foot on hotel property, to a local newspaper columnist who has already started spouting racist barbs at the Palmer detractors.

One Ewing resident and Trentonian columnist was quick to resort to venom aimed at the ethnic makeup of the group, calling the protesters a bunch of white complainers who didn't actually care for the welfare of Trenton's poor black residents.

"Most of them were white and disgruntled people who bitched and moaned about city conditions that they really don't care about," the columnist said, in an e-mail provided to Trenton Makes. "Most of them could not care less about black unemployment, urban education, gangs, guns, violence, etc."

"Most of them don't like having a black mayor, Hispanic police director, etc," he added. "Some of them relied on information from a lame source to send me an e-mail."

While the columnist's comments would seem odd for any normal journalist, the Trentonian employee is a noted supporter of the status quo in Trenton and frequently puts spin and slant into many of his objective reporting stories favoring Mayor Palmer.

His subjective columns are the usual site for even more ridiculous pro-Palmer blather.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Trenton residents rallying Friday

Trenton residents set to protest on Friday, September 14th

TRENTON – Coinciding with the U.S. Conference of Mayors 2007 Fall Leadership Meeting, a broad coalition of concerned Trenton residents will peacefully protest outside the Trenton Marriott on Friday September 14th at 12:30 p.m. to call attention to the persistent social and economic ills plaguing the Capital City and to the poor performance of the administration under Mayor Palmer’s leadership.

Organizers cite a sharp increase in violent crime and gang activity, a failing school system, joblessness and lack of opportunity, loss of homeownership, misguided and botched revitalization projects, political exclusion and disenfranchisement, lack of vision, and a host of other issues.

- Trenton’s current homicide rate is poised to equal the record set in 2005 and exceeds that of Philadelphia on a per capita basis. In the most recent Quitno City Crime Ratings report, Trenton jumped from 10th to 4th most dangerous city of its size. Whereas Trenton had only minor gang activity before 2002, national gangs have now fully established their presence throughout many neighborhoods. This poor law enforcement record exists despite the questionable and misleading data promulgated by the Police Department under Director Santiago.

- The Trenton Public School System now ranks as one of the lowest performing in New Jersey in broad categories under NCLB and QSAC and is threatened with partial State takeover. According to the recent State Review, the district failed to meet the 80% minimum in the five areas of review, scoring 11 in Instruction and Program, 22 in Governance, 22 in Personnel, 60 in Fiscal Management, and 67 in Operations Management. The 2005 Sherman Ave. scandal exposed student record falsification by administrators and caused some 130 students to fall short of required credits. Recently, the 2007-2008 school year scheduling foul-up saw many of Trenton’s 14,500 students spend the first two days of school loitering in gyms and auditoriums with nothing to do.

- While the administration has touted various economic development projects and made extraordinary job creation claims, hard data proves otherwise. Trenton is falling further behind New Jersey’s other cities in per capita income with a dismal (unadjusted) 9% rise from 1999 to 2006 as compared to Newark’s 24% and Jersey City’s 29% rise. Between 2000 and 2005 Mercer County’s unemployment rate was cut by more than half from 6.7% to 2.3% while Trenton stagnated from 10.5% to 10.2%.

- While the administration has developed numerous affordable housing units, the overall picture shows a discouraging net loss of homeownership from 48.9% in 1990 to 45.5% in 2000 and a growing problem with absentee landlords and overcrowding. Residents have continued their exodus with a 3.6% population decline from 1990 to 2000.

- Major concerns over development include the continuing abuse of Eminent Domain for private development, the use of Regional Contribution Agreements (RCAs) for affordable housing, pay-to-play relationships with developers, and the exclusion of public input from neighborhood revitalization planning. Recently, a community leader was threatened, in writing, with a lawsuit by a top administration official for requesting information about and questioning various development projects in the city.
Coalition members consider the above record unacceptable for a Mayor with a 17-year tenure!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New site for the U.S. Conference of Mayors

Here is a new Web site about Mayor Palmer, just in time for the U.S. Conference of Mayors coming to town this weekend.

...PLUS Big Announcement tomorrow evening...come back tomorrow around 7 p.m. to find out the details...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What happened to Power of the Purse?

While Mayor Doug Palmer circles the nation and the globe doing work for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, taxpayers back home in Trenton are forced to pay the travel bills as the expenses come directly out of the city coffers.

But residents in Trenton say they can’t remember the last time City Council approved any specific budgetary item approving the expenditure of these travel funds, making the expenses seem like an unlimited gold mine for Mayor Palmer to travel around the country while Trenton continues to experience problems that need the attention of the mayor.

Oklahoma City recently approved their own resolution approving their mayor’s travel expenses for their executive’s trip to lovely Trenton for the U.S. Conference of Mayors conference this week.

Why can’t Mayor Palmer ask the people’s representatives for permission to expend numerous travel funds, especially when the mayor frequently rejects proposals for services the city desperately needs by saying the state hasn’t appropriated enough aid or the city doesn’t have enough taxes?

Despite the sorry state of many of its properties, Trenton boasts some of the highest tax rates in the state, yet the city can’t afford to upgrade many important services like housing inspections, while the city’s housing stock continues to slide into oblivion.

Perhaps a reduction in exorbitant travel expenses, and an end to the creation of redundant and ludicrous positions like Assistant Public Information Officer or Assistant Deputy Municipal Clerk would allow the city to hire more housing inspectors, or fund apprenticeship programs and educational opportunities for the low-income population.

Mayor Palmer should follow Oklahoma City’s example and ask for the funds before he spends money on lengthy business trips to Miami and Italy with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, while Trenton continues to experience violent crime, a shrink in population, and the fleeing of businesses into the suburbs.


F. Resolution approving travel expenses for the Mayor to attend the United States Conference of Mayors Fall Leadership meeting, September 14-15, 2007, in Trenton, New Jersey; the International Downtown Association’s Downtown Achievement Awards event, September 7, 2007, in New York City, New York; and the State Chamber Fly-In, September 17-18, 2007, in Washington, D.C.

(Two-thirds affirmative vote required for approval.)


Monday, September 10, 2007

City Council voices support for Broad Street Bank PILOT extension

City Council last week voiced their support for extending the proposed tax abatement for the developer of the Broad Street Bank Building apartment project from 30 years to 40 years after the developer cried foul about the original agreement.

"Some of us remember when this was a vibrant building, and we also remember the down years," said City Council President Paul Pintella, after he voiced his support for the measure at City Council.

Representatives from the developer - Bayville Holdings - asked for the extension on the tax abatement as they prepare to negotiate their mortgage with the NJHMFA, saying the extension was necessary for the viability of the project.

Administration officials said that the city would receive significantly more funds under the extended Payment in Lieu of Taxes, going from roughly $5.5 million to $10.8 million, according to the Times of Trenton.

City Council members said they would grant the extension but they wanted to see a better marketing campaign to advertise the building for potential tenants of the early 20th century skyscraper.

City Council officials stated they were excited about the prospect of bringing people with disposable income into the downtown area, but curiously the building has an income ceiling for renters.

Despite one administration official saying the Palmer machine supports "mixed-income communities", the practice is different from the preaching.

Households making somewhere in the neighborhood of $130,000 or more would be barred from renting in the renovated building, which is somethingcritics say doesn't make sense for a city trying to redevelop its economy and reestablish a mixed-income community.

And Palmer has continually purchased low-income housing obligations in the form of Regional Contribution Agreements, filling many Trenton neighborhoods with low-income citizens in a city with few job opportunities for low-income households.

Residents at the meeting gave a mixed response to the extension for the developer.

"As a taxpayer, I don't know about a developer blowing into City Council at the last minute and asking to rearrange something," said South Ward resident Patricia Stewart.

"It's a beautiful building, and I was tempted to move in for a nickel, but I am glad I didn't," she said, noting the months of delay for move-in dates.

U.S. Conference of Mayors staging area experiences violent crime

A street located near the Trenton Marriott that will be hosting the U.S.Conference of Mayors this week was the scene of violent crime Monday when a young Trenton man was assaulted with a knife and robbed.

In what is the second violent attack in the so-called "Safe" zone of the Trenton downtown area this summer, Jermaine Daniels, 20, was stabbed in the back and both arms after an assailant demanded he "Give it up", while the young Trenton resident was walking down Peace Street.

The assault occurred directly across Lafayette Street from the hotel that will see many of the nation's most powerful mayors staying within its usually empty rooms from Thursday to Saturday of this week.

While Mayor Palmer continually touts his successes in providing housing for the poor and bringing down the crime rate in the capital, many residents say they don't feel safe in the city, and what was an almost universally-safe downtown area has seen the face of violent crime rear its ugly head this summer.

A good Samaritan was stabbed after a knife-wielding attacker attempted to take her purse from her in broad daylight on a workday near City Hall, at 319 East State Street earlier in the summer.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

School woes continue

Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer is blaming his hand-picked superintendent of schools, Rodney Lofton, after high school students returning from summer vacation entered the main and west campuses this week only to find they didn't have class schedules.

The problem was caused by delays in the work of an outside firm that was revamping the schools' scheduling software, and Mayor Palmer was quick to put the blame on his new school executive, Mr. Lofton.

"The ball was dropped by the administration and the superintendent," said Mayor Palmer in a statement in the Times this week.

The scheduling problems for the Trenton schools are the latest of a series of problems for the district, and follow the release of a report from the state that showed the urban school district was performing very badly and has many underqualified instructors.

There was also the falsification of the academic records of some students at a repeater program at the Sherman Ave. Annex of the high school. That disaster caused some students at the high school to cancel their graduation plans as they were forced to return to make up courses they never took.

With a school board that is filled by mayoral appointment, it looks like some of the responsibility for the district's continuing problems fall squarely on the shoulders of Mayor Palmer.

Right in the midst of this new crisis, Mayor Palmer will be welcoming the U.S. Conference of Mayors to Trenton next week, from Thursday to Saturday.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Who really has an agenda?

A column in the Trentonian last week threw more barbs at the foes of the current city administration, calling out attendees of a rally for a valued community police officer who was randomly transferred back onto patrol duties following a successful stint as the community officer in the South Ward.

“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,” said the column's author.

It is true that there is outrage missing when poor black citizens are killed in urban ghettos like Trenton, but the lack of outcry does not mean the citizens with alleged agendas in South Trenton do not care about the lives of their fellow Trenton citizens.

Perhaps the murder victim in the Kingsbury Towers could have benefited from a close relationship with a community police officer, like the one who was forcibly removed from his helpful position in the South Trenton community by Trenton City police brass.

She could have told the community officer she didn’t have in real life about her dangerous relationship with an ex-con on his way back to prison.

Besides gang members and criminals, everyone who actually lives within Trenton city limits cares about the city’s murder problem, not only for the waste of the precious gift of life, but to a lesser extent, because it affects every Trenton resident in other ways.

Everyone knows about the odd looks and sideways glances that come out whenever someone mentions they live in Trenton. This response comes because of the horror stories and overblown fears people have from reading about the crime and poverty existing in the capital city.

The murder of the young lady in Kingsbury only reinforces those beliefs.

So Trenton Makes says nevermind to the ridiculous argument that South Ward residents who attended the rally for Officer Reyes don’t care about homicide victims in Trenton.

The Trentonian columnist should also refrain from talking about agendas in his future columns and articles.

What kind of responsible journalist would become so close and coddled by a city government that has failed to get the job done for nearly two decades?

The columnist's own superiors at his place of work admit that while they enjoy having an insider so close to the Trenton City government, the apparent bias, slant, and spin favoring the administration in his stories becomes bothersome.

So, in the future, let’s not talk about agendas.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Captain Sleepy strikes again

In what could be more trouble for Trenton's favorite police captain, a possible internal affairs investigation may have been launched this weekend after Captain Paul "Sleepy" Messina allegedly violated Trenton Police rules, police sources said.

Captain Messina was seen in Trenton in civilian clothes in what could be a violation of standing Trenton City police protocol that requires officers on sick leave to remain at their residences unless given special permission.

Captain Messina was seen exiting the downtown restaurant Settimo Cielo at approximately 5:40 p.m. Friday and getting into a white four-door Cadillac sedan, while Police Director Joseph Santiago engaged in a conversation with an unknown female on the sidewalk next to his city police vehicle.

After being involved in a car accident earlier this week, Captain Messina was said to have been on sick leave, which under Trenton Police rules requires that he should have remained within his Burlington County home unless he needed to leave for some specific reason, police sources said Sunday.

It is unknown whether Captain Messina was actually on sick leave or not, although anonymous police sources said he was indeed on sick leave and could have only left his home with special permission.

The hits just keep on coming for Captain Messina, who was featured in numerous media outlets after he was caught sleeping in Trenton Police Headquarters in the early morning while he was in charge of the force, in his second documented sleeping episode.

The Web site documents more of Captain Messina's police shenanigans.


Trenton City police are investigating the death of a Trenton man who was found dead on the street in the early morning Thursday, in what could end up being the city's 18th homicide in 2007, and fourth in the last two weeks.

The victim, Larry Berry, was found in a North Ward alley after he apparently fell from his bicyle, police said. He succumbed to the injuries he sustained late Thursday night at the Helene Fuld hospital in the city.

With the city on pace for a number of homicides near the record pace of 31 set in 2005, it seems that the leadership of the city continues their failing ways at making a significant dent in the small city's crime problem.

Perhaps a program more focused upon dealing with the city's social ills and culture of poverty would be the best way to make a long-term effect on crime in Trenton. The current police action is both reactive, and very expensive, considering a police overtime bill that will be over $10 million in 2007.

Rumors of increased police staffing in the coming months sounds great, but the money left after reducing the overtime bill needs to go to city programs that are crucial to the revival of the city.

Housing inspections could use more inspectors, and increased frequency of inspections through some legislative work by the city's elected representatives. And more apprenticeship or college scholarship programs could also be a worthy use for Trenton funds.

Simply reacting to this crime is like only paying the monthly interest on a large loan and neglecting the principal - the outstanding problem remains, and a black hole of funding continues to suck in funds that could be used more productively elsewhere.