Citizens of Trenton have been grumbling about the residency of Director of Communications for the Trenton Police, Irving Bradley, for some time. And for some time, he's been claiming the Broad Street Bank as his home.
Personally, I believe in residency. But I also believe in most of the laws that govern our society, and don't feel they get in the way of my happiness. But, whereas many of our laws don't really affect me one way or another, I actually do like the residency laws, at least in spirit, because, at the core, they are about civic pride, and an individual's responsibility to the community, and love of home. And I don't mean to get all pompous, but I believe in those things.
I believe in quality, too, and quality and residency are not mutually exclusive. However, we have a lot of non-quality here in Trenton, but when we stop focusing on the loud, inconsiderate neighbors, and the egomaniacal, self-serving politicians, it's easy to see the quality that surrounds us. Because we are quality people, with quality brains (and we live here, to boot!), we can smell bullpoo a mile away. Because of that, we all know that Irv Bradley does not really live in Trenton. We know this without the blogs and the forums and the gossip (though I love the blogs and forums and gossip, by the way). We knew Mr. Bradley didn't live in Trenton before city administrators came to his defense at a city council meeting last fall. We knew Mr. Bradley didn't live in Trenton, whether or not he had placed a deposit on an apartment at the BSB. We knew he didn't live in Trenton before he T-Boned his city-owned vehicle while on personal business, outside the city, back in May. And we certainly knew he didn't live in Trenton before the State Department of Personnel deemed his butt unqualified for the position he is currently holding in Trenton. And we know whether or not he announces a separation from his wife, that separation will not result in residency, either. Hello, Trenton Administrators: we're not stupid.
The people who are opposed to residency laws claim we need the best of the best, and so why should we limit ourselves to Trenton residents only? We'll get a bigger, more talented pool of respondents if we look outside our municipal borders, right? So, forget for a minute that TWO courts just upheld Trenton's residency laws, and our own mayor wasted a load of our money to fight us on it, and forget for a minute, too, that there are any decent people in Trenton. Let's just look at Irv Bradley.
So, if we have blind faith in our city's administrators, we should believe that Irv Bradley, a former Newark employee and current Rahway resident, was appointed to his position of director of communications because there is no one more qualified to hold that position, and we, the people, of Trenton, deserve only the best.
However, a higher power — the State Department of Personnel — says Bradley is unqualified to hold that position, a position in which he makes nearly $90,000 a year. A position, by the way, non-existent in other municipalities around the state.
Because I believe in residency, I do want our administrators (and mayor) to live in the city. But because I believe in quality as well, I want the people holding the high paying positions in our city to be QUALIFIED residents. Mr. Bradley will dance around the residency issue for months, wasting our time and money, and insulting our intelligence. And all of this will happen with the blessing of Mayor Douglas Palmer, because he's too busy somewhere else — anywhere else — to care about the city. Mayor Palmer is off looking for his next political job and is completely irrelevant to Trenton, so Council should take matters into its own hands and show Mr. Bradley the door. Immediately. Why are we making allowances for an unqualified law breaker?
Because I have lived elsewhere, I know that what happens in Trenton pretty much only happens in Trenton, and it's a disgrace. Because our politics have been steeped in secrecy and back room dealings and a lack of care about representation, the criminal element has been able to thrive here. It's why people on the message boards think that bulldozing the city and starting over is the only viable option. And, I suppose, as long as that bulldozer took out pretty much all of the city's administrators, maybe that "wipe out and rebuild" mentality isn't such a bad thought.
It is embarrassing to me to have to explain to a friend or a family member that the people elected to serve in Trenton, in general, don't care about the people who elected them. It's embarrassing to me to think of these elected officials at bigger events, representing me, knowing that other politicians from other parts of the state and country, are looking at them, thinking "What a pack of morons." My embarrassment about the state of affairs in Trenton isn't enough to make me throw in the towel though; I'm sticking around because this time I think the morons* can be voted out of office, taking out all of their condescending, appointed cohorts with them. We can bulldoze hypothetically and reshape politics here in Trenton, so someone like Irv Bradley — to repeat, an unqualified law breaker — won't be allowed in Trenton, except maybe to eat, shop, or visit with his hypothetical friends at the Broad Street Bank.
*Not everyone involved in Trenton politics is a moron. But a lot of people in Trenton politics, especially Paul "PowerPoint" Pintella, the Idiot Prince of Trenton, are morons. Paul is a moron with a gavel and a microphone, but someday soon, I'm quite confident, he will only be a run-of-the-mill moron.