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Thursday, January 31, 2008

A broken system

The theoretical brilliance of the American system of government is that with the other branches of government and the separation of powers, the system should be equipped to cope with whatever kind of idiot the citizens put into power.

The hope is that someplace in the system there are good politicians, who can use their legal powers to balance out any misguided policies.

That is how it should work, but not necessarily how it does work.

Take the national government, where a United States Attorney General facing questioning from a panel of some of the most senior Senators in the union would not label a process known as waterboarding as torture outright because the Bush administration has refused to recognize its own law-breaking, or recognize the practice as such.

As a reminder, this tactic uses the simulation of drowning to make a captive feel incredibly uncomfortable, to put it lightly.

In Trenton there is Douglas H. Palmer, who has put forth misguided initiative after misguided initiative, from housing policies to politicized appointments to hackneyed development projects and - last but not least - politically-charged firings and investigations based on established city law.

Through many years of this, institutions like City Council, the court system, and the local Democratic apparatus have failed to use their abilities to counteract any of these initiatives or their source, and a city that was already on the ropes in 1990 is about to be carried out of the arena on a stretcher.

This city has continual public instances of favored city officials who flagrantly break city law and then routinely go unpunished, while administration officials come into City Council chambers and publicly insult the representatives of the people, which is an act that is surely tantamount to insulting the residents themselves.

To prevent this madness from continuing, city officials - especially those on City Council - need to stop displaying this business as usual attitude, and question administration officials and their policies while demanding both truthful and timely answers.

When an administration employee like Dennis Gonzalez talks down to City Council members and fails to give a straight answer when asked about any city policy or development project, then council needs to get together and advise that employee that they will soon be out a job.

It seems that there are some working on City Council who cannot do their jobs as the representatives of the people by asking the tough questions, and doing the right things and demanding the respect their office deserves.

They need to give serious thought to stepping down before anymore of this city is destroyed by the unfettered and unchallenged power that is warping its very fabric.

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