Monday, January 21, 2008

Stupidity in Trenton

If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance you are at least fairly well-informed about the debate/conversation happening regarding the future of Trenton Central High School, which is THE landmark of my neighborhood here in the East Ward, and is one of the most elegant (if neglected) buildings in this city.

My blogging buddy, Old Mill Hill, also addressed this today, and I don't want to duplicate efforts, so please read his great, informational post here, about the high school. His entry today is full of contact information, and ideas on how to help, and I just want to echo his sentiment: the more of us who bitch and complain about this, the more likely we will see results in our favor.

This city cannot afford the loss of this historic 75-year-old building, in so many ways: the district will never be able to build a building as well-made as the existing one; new construction is short-sighted, and will crumble well inside 75 years, especially if the district does not find a way to get money for building maintenance. And the demolition of the existing, handsome school will leave a empty spot in the collective heart of our community for years to come; we will not be able to stand as tall; our neighborhood will be smaller in spirit.

A very large part of our problem, I think, is that the school board is simply not accountable to the community it serves. Trenton is an anomaly in that regard: most school boards are elected by the community; ours was appointed by Mayor Doug Palmer. And if he says, "do this," the board will be inclined to, whether or not his order is beneficial to the community, because the school board members owe him their jobs. I'm hoping Trenton residents will begin talking about the possibility of wrestling back control of the school board. I'm not implying that the current board members are not doing a good job, but I am certain they would do a better job if they had to answer to us, rather than the mayor.*

There is a meeting late tomorrow afternoon, at 5:30 p.m. at school board headquarters on Clinton Avenue, about the future of the high school. I'm planning to attend, and hope you will too. While it may sound infantile to keep calling the plan to demolish the school "stupid," I am going to say it again, it is a stupid plan. So, so much of what happens here in Trenton is stupid, and there is no reason for it, especially since, if any of it happened outside of Trenton, well, it wouldn't. Or it would have happened once, and then, never again. None of the townships surrounding Trenton would have tolerated Captain Sleepy's behavior — he'd be long gone. None of the townships would have permitted Police Director Santiago's blatant disregard for the ordinance governing his job description. None of the townships would allow the dumping and open-air drug dealing, and loud music we endure. And none of the townships would let a cherished landmark to be neglected — regardless of the type of state funding and limitations of the program the school district is in — and fall into disrepair, and ultimately, run the risk of getting demolished, for a new building which would not stand the test of time, would cost far more, and would not offer its community the same sense of pride. I am embarrassed by all of the stupidity in Trenton, because perpetual stupidity is just so stupid, and inexcusable. The stupid, wishy-washy, impulsive decisions happening in Trenton have to stop.

Anyway, check out Old Mill Hill's post for the nitty gritty, and go to the meeting tomorrow, and/or write to the school board, your council representative, your legislator, and, better yet, start your own blog so that more of the powers-that-be here in Trenton start to feel the pressure of their stupidity. Enough is enough.

* He too, would do a better job if he answered to us, which he is supposed to do, but apparently, has grown too big for his fancy suits. He is so cooler than us now.


Completely unrelated to the above, except for the location (Trenton, NJ), we've been having great fun with our webcam over the last couple of days. Glen's sister, Brenda, watched us watching Glen's hockey game on Saturday night: all that buffalo sauce, and screaming, and then the eventual hard crash we both took on the couch must have been very exciting for her.

Glen, after our food fest, watching Hockey Night in Canada,
on Saturday, 1/19, before we both fell asleep on the couch.

We gave the URL to my dad, too, but he is having trouble with his browser at work, but hopefully, he'll get it going soon, and will be able look in on our world and see us, and a pile of cats, crammed into our small office today.

Allowing even just these two people — family members — access, has given me so much to think about. Maybe I should do my hair nicer, get dressed nicely? Maybe I should stop swearing so much, and clean the house more? Maybe Glen and I should talk more often about art, and philosophy, and ideas, rather than stupid annoying people who piss us off? Maybe we should eat more organic foods, rather than junk food and beer? Maybe Glen should be more inclined to wear all of his clothing at once (right now, he is shirtless, and it's live, streaming video on the web, folks!). I'm not sure if having the webcam turned on us at all times would cause us to live disingenuously, or if it would help us to evolve into better people. Right now, it seems like a good idea to have a reason to behave/dress/clean/speak/eat better, but I'm sure that will get old fast. Really fast. That damn camera is gonna point out any day now, once we know it's working properly from remote locations.

1 comment:

Brendage said...

Bralley, your public loves you! Remember to "dress everyday like you're gonna be murdered in those clothes!" You'll probably soil yourself so why ruin a good pair of pants! I love the Hood show, I know the stars and I've actually petted some of the celebrity's who do cameos!
In reference to the school...
school boards are short sighted...they believe that new is better, they don't seem to get the ultimate message they are sending to the students and the public that it's somehow okay to bulldoze our past in the name of progress. It's common practice to abandon older schools here and build these monoliths that look like they were built with LEGO. I wish I could be at the meeting Chrisp...maybe I'll catch it on CNN Trenton!
Boo Yeah!