I read the news today about South Ward Councilman Jim Coston's resignation, and became depressed for Trenton. I don't know Coston personally; he isn't my councilman; I don't agree with everything he's done on council. But I believe his sort of approach to government is correct, based on how I've seen municipal bodies work in the other municipalities I've lived in, and reported on, while working as a newspaper reporter. He was the only member of city council with a bonafide spine for several generations of councilpeople, and it is gratifying that his spine was periodically contagious among his colleagues.
Trenton has so much promise: we sit in an advantageous location in this state, in our country. We have a rich heritage and so many resources. But this city is very nearly a disaster, with our crumbling infrastructure, our empty bank account, our violent crime, our remaining businesses that don't stay open when most people are home from work, and of course, our self-serving, small-minded politicians. We also have a lot of people here who are used to the status quo of back room deals and a lack of openness, and the complete apathy on the part of the citizenry. I can't see how any self-respecting person in government would choose to operate that way; I don't know how those officials would continue to choose mediocrity, but they're the ones who have to sleep with themselves at night. Maybe they can close their eyes and fall asleep, content in their half-assed, self-absorbed (at best) approach to representation.
If we learn only one thing from Councilman Coston's brief stint here in city government, it is that we must demand more. He planted a seed here, by showing willing members of council, as well as the people of Trenton, that there is a much better way of conducting government business — with openness and respect. I hope that seed has had enough time and care to take root; I hope it germinates and thrives, and we, the good citizens of Trenton, not only come to expect, but also demand if need be, that high quality work ethic from our other representatives.
I am thankful for the three years he served the people of the city; he has made Trenton a better place. I hope Trenton will continue to improve for his efforts, but right now, it's hard to be optimistic. Regardless, I wish the best for Reverend Coston and his family as they start the next chapter of their lives in Texas.
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