The city of Trenton's police department released well over 70 pages of bad news to the press last night*, and well, I'm just dumbfounded. On one hand, it can be said that it's great to see the cops rounding up a lot of bad guys (including a few drunk drivers in my neighborhood), and on the other hand, there have been an inordinate amount of assaults and robberies and other attacks against people that make me wonder how much further we have to go before we hit total rock bottom.
What's going on here? WHAT the HELL is going on? We have a mayor off galavanting in Africa this week with the Clintons, and if we all lived in East Windsor, it wouldn't be a big deal; it might even be a great gesture. But for a mayor of a ravaged city, filled with crime, corruption, pestilence, poverty, and disease, to be visiting — like a special dignitary — an entire continent with the same characteristics as our city, seems unfocused. A mistake. Or a very, very bad joke. Doug, look what you've done to Trenton. What lessons from Africa will you bring back to Trenton to help improve our lives? What wisdom have you gained from Trenton that you can impart in Africa to help alleviate some of the suffering there? Did anyone ask Doug these questions? And WHY are the Clintons chumming around with such a TOOL?
We've got an ousted police director, Joe Santiago, who continues to use Trenton's resources to travel back and forth between here and Morris County, a man who has been bragging about the changes he instituted in the police department, a man who boasts, "Crime is Down!" at every opportunity, and the Trenton PD released over 70 pages of brutality last night? I didn't read every other municipality's police report last night, but in a quick scan, I saw NOTHING that came close to the shocking conditions in which we, the citizens of Trenton, live (and die). And, this man has been given by the courts 75 days to vacate his position, and while there's been a lot of speculation about the next chapter of this saga for Trenton, WHY has there been no official discussion about Santiago's exit? WHY is there no discussion about what's next for the city? We, the citizens of Trenton, have the right to know. We have the right to a plan.
We have a few leaders, like Mayor Palmer, who point the finger at the active and vocal citizens, and call them "haters," and insinuate they're part of the Trenton's problem. But these same leaders, Palmer included, have NOTHING to say about the criminals who fill up the 70+ pages of horror that make up the police department's press release? WTF?
Not everything that rots in this city is Doug's fault. It's not all Joe's fault. There are definite shifts in society that have made this mess so much more likely to happen. But Doug and Joe and their cronies have — through their ineffectiveness, lack of care, focus on ego, and wrong priorities — allowed the wounds of this city to fester and grow and spread. We have a full-on disaster; I know that council doesn't meet much in the summer, but I hope, given the circumstances, that perhaps they'll call some emergency sessions, and set about getting to work to try to solve some of our problems. It's obvious that two of our leaders have abandoned their posts: not officially, but certainly through their actions. We need some direction, we need some changes. We cannot go on like this and expect to emerge with any sense of humanity.
* You can download the bad news in two parts here.