Monday, August 6, 2007

Thanks, Paul Pintella!

Hi. I'm Chrissy, and I started a blog a few years ago, but was uninspired, and stopped posting, after about five posts. I have my own website, too, so it may seem redundant to have this blog as well. I'm a bit of a packrat, and don't want to delete my "blather" on my other blog, and admittedly, am not that comfortable with webcode to journal on my own site. So that's part of the reason why I'm here.

Glen and I moved to Trenton from south Jersey in 2004, after looking for the perfect home for the better part of the summer. I went to the college formerly known as Trenton State, and lived in Chambersburg for a few years after graduation (1992, if you must know). It was work back then to live in the city, but I had fond memories of Trenton, nonetheless. Glen's from Canada originally, and well, I guess I tricked him into thinking buying a home in the city would be a good idea.

Not that it's been an outright BAD idea, but it has been far more effort than I ever could have imagined. We have been working diligently on our neighborhood's specific issues for nearly three years, and have FINALLY seen major improvements, and we're thrilled. But we're tired too. And we're on eggshells, waiting for the next knucklehead to move in and start up another drive-through drug shop; the next major dumping of construction materials in our alley; the next homeless guy who asks if he can borrow an extension cord and "some electricity" so he get a space heater, and if he could also have a bucket of water so he can flush the toilet on the nights "the ladies" come by, so he can squat in the vacant house behind us. Life ANYWHERE else would not involve so many calls to the police and city administrators. But we got a good deal on a great old home, and we have been enjoying the satisfying job of making it our own; and we hope we've been improving our world, if only in a small way.

So, what motivated me to start up another blog, specific to living here in Trenton, was council president Paul Pintella's comment last month about Johnnies-Come-Lately attending city council meetings, complaining about the quality of life here. It rubs me wrong. On one hand, city officials are supposedly trying to make this place more appealing to people like me (non-criminals), but don't want us to have a voice once we invest here? Where does he get off? He wants us to live here, pay our taxes, and just accept conditions the way they are? Screw THAT. It's certainly not as if he and other members of this city's administration have done a great job running this place. Granted, the decay of this city is not ALL his fault, or anyone else in an elected/appointed position. It's a complicated issue. But this is the capital of New Jersey, one of the most affluent of all the states; ahead of the curve in nearly everything, and Trenton may be run as well as an unincorporated, illiterate woods community in Arkansas (my apologies to those from Arkansas -- illiterate or otherwise -- it's just this is New Jersey and our standards for progress are higher than yours, in a general sense).

A warning about this blog: we have a very bad stray cat problem in our neighborhorhood (maybe you do too). I've never really been a cat person, but I can't stand to see them suffer. There will probably be a lot of posts about the cats, and I'm doing that because their plight is indicative of the much larger problems in Trenton: an administration that, for the most part doesn't care about the Johnnies-Come-Lately OR the disenfranchised; a fucked-up society that thinks everything (from McDonald's trash to cats to people) is disposible; and a misguided culture that encourages the notion that musicians and professional athletes make good role models. People (in general) are way too caught up in their own lives, their own dramas, and have forgotten what matters: each other -- and ourselves, too.

Paul Pintella: you may think I am another Johnny (Janey)-Come-Lately with access to the internet and an ax to grind. I know you don't have all the answers, and I don't either. I can tell you that I am 100% committed to this city. I don't want to sound preachy, but I think it's easy to have a nice life and a pretty home out in the safe suburbs, but first, that safety is an illusion, and second, personally, I don't think the easy life is what it's about. I'm doing my best to make my little corner of the world more beautiful and more compassionate -- it's much more of a challenge here in the East Ward than it would be in the suburbs. But I'm up for it, and I think we're making a small difference already.

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