I was critical of Trenton's (former) gang expert, Barry Colicelli; skeptical of his accomplishments; and convinced the great people in our police department, with their intuition, common sense, years of experience on the streets, and relationships with the citizens, will help us work this gang problem far more effectively than a Santiago-crony, Palmer-puppet consultant who may or may not have any real gang-fighting experience, and who lives so far away from the reality of Trenton. I resent that our tax money is getting dumped into Newark's rejects and retirees, and so, therefore, I was thrilled to see a majority on Council show Barry the door. Part of me feels badly, too. I mean, after all, he is human, and it has to be embarrassing for him to have felt so comfortable in his job for so long, and then, basically have the rug pulled out from under him. But business is business and what's right is right. So, I feel good, too. Proud of Trenton. I am hoping our representatives will act on our behalf, in our best interest, more regularly.
There are a few things that baffle me, though. First was Annette Lartigue's behavior during the meeting last night (thanks to Trentonian's Joe D'Aquila for filling his story with good, juicy details). Why the display in the middle of the vote? Really, what was the big deal? Didn't they discuss this at length in private session prior to the vote? So, vote yes or no, and take a stand. Abstentions, unless there is a direct conflict of interest, are LAME. And it's mindboggling that at-large council reps, Paul Pintella and Cordelia Staton, who live in the ward with some of the worst violent crime, would want to keep Mr. Colicelli around. There is an area, in between Cadwalader Park and the hospital — a few blocks from where Mr. Pintella and Ms. Staton live — that has been ravaged by crime in the last year, most of it, probably, gang-related. On the other hand, there is that part of me that appreciates their sympathy and desire (maybe?) to try a different approach before termination, but the bigger part of me is just floored that they thought more about this guy — who we all know has had little, if any, positive effect on the gang problems — than their own constituents, their own neighbors.
What also strikes me as odd, is that Barry Colicelli was at the November city council meeting in which Police Director Joseph Santiago bored the crap out of Council and tortured the public with his insufferable PowerPoint presentation. And it was insufferable. I was there, and I'm a fairly tolerant person. I know we all have different philosophies and goals and so forth, but I thought we were all reasonably intelligent people, right? That Colicelli was stupid enough to whip out the projector is just too painful to contemplate. I urge Council to consider banning PowerPoint presentations in Council chambers, because they take too much time to make — time better spent fighting crime — and for the rest of us, sitting through PowerPoint presentations represents a significant chunk of our lives we will never get back. Enough is enough.