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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2010, here we come

The 2010 election can't come soon enough for Trenton.

The standard reason given for this is because it signals the point when Mayor Douglas H. Palmer finally gives up his throne at 319 E. State Street, after having been mayor for the New Jersey capital for 20 years.

This fact is almost universally heralded as the promise of the 2010 election - apparently by residents and senior state senators alike - but it is especially true in light of the corrupt, vindictive, and even illegal administration that Mayor Palmer has been running of late.

The supreme example of the shenanigans of Trenton's morally-bankrupt leader has been the Police Director Joseph Santiago residency flap, in which the mayor has absolutely refused to uphold and enforce the very simple residency law on one of his hand-picked department directors, which should have long ago resulted in Mr. Santiago's termination from office for not actually living in the city.

And with City Council's Tuesday ultimatum to Mr. Santiago to move in or get out, those who love open, free democracy and the rule of law - and wish to see an end of the economic and criminal chaos that permeates much of Trenton - are likely smiling.

But the Santiago flap has also served to only further reveal the failures of other government entities besides the Palmer administration - like council - who also faltered in carrying out their duty to uphold the laws of the city, the state, and country.

City Council's slow reaction to this very simple, straightforward issue and the way the body fumbled and bungled the matter for three months has to leave many with more than a few doubts in their heads.

The political horror show of inaction put on by the seven council members culminated in nine frustrated city residents - including myself - taking the very law into their hands and suing Mayor Palmer, Mr. Santiago, and the City of Trenton over the non-enforcement of the residency law.

As L.A. Parker said so poignantly in his column Wednesday, it is likely that after council's latest performance, it is probably a reality that this council couldn't get together and decide how to put together a turkey sandwich, let alone legislation.

So, while the 2010 election promises an end to two decades of the Palmer administration, it also holds the promise of the possibility of some new faces on City Council, ready to uphold the law and act as a legislature should - always ready to check and balance the improprieties of the executive branch.

The Santiago affair proves that what goes on in council chambers is often a peanut gallery of discussion and inaction, and that has to change before Trenton can.

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