Texas needed another Baptist minister and the South Ward needed another candidate for its open council seat??
I can't fault former South Ward councilman, Jim Coston, for doing what he felt to be right for his family, career, and his own heart. I don't know him, but I miss him already. There is, however, the critical little voice in my head that says, "Waco needed the guy more than Trenton? Really?! There were just a few months left in his term, for crying out loud!"
That other voice says, "Yeah, but, it's his life, and his decision, and he's faced with the challenge of raising children in a city with a terrible school system, and a lack of resources. And, yeah, perhaps, somehow, Waco needed another minister."
I try not to judge. Jim Coston wasn't my councilman, anyway. But he was perhaps the only consistently decent member of one of the most dysfunctional and disgraceful government bodies I have ever encountered. And, now, nearly every couple of days in the few weeks Coston's been gone, another one of his constituents decides to run for his abandoned seat. As of today, there are six people vying for Coston's vacancy, including the owner of a bird whose cries, "HELP!" alarmed neighbors last year, and who has, perhaps, foreshadowed the chaos that will certainly ensue on debate night, September 8. By the time the debate comes around, I estimate we'll have at least 10 people running for Coston's seat. HELP is right, little birdie!
You'd think with all of that egotistical, fractured activity, all that lack of ability to team up and find the best person for the South Ward, that I'd be glad to be living on the east side, even if we only have a hollow, begrudging shell of a councilman for the next few months. The truth is, I have mixed feelings about it. Sure, I'd have a very hard time sitting through a debate with upward of 10 — some embarrassingly unqualified — candidates without descending into laughter, or exploding with frustration at the reality of democracy in action in one of the most screwed-up places in the northeast. But, on the flip side, it's rumored my councilman (in name only), Gino Melone, isn't running again, AND it's still early by Trenton election standards, for all of the candidates to come out of the woodwork. But, in bearing witness to the South Ward's enthusiasm for politics, I fear that the East Ward is, at least from this very early stage, lacking the volume of fiesty — if kooky — community activists who all want to serve these neighborhoods. And that makes me sad.
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