Friday, April 30, 2010

Potholery

Forget crime, forget the fiscal disaster, and forget our failing schools. The key to winning the 2010 election in Trenton boils down to one simple issue: potholes.

Yesterday, Matthew, Steve and I walked around our neighborhood. I don't do this as often as we should, and it's not because I don't feel safe. I do feel safe. But, I don't like to be annoyed, and I have a gaggle of annoying neighbors up the block, and I'd rather not see them. But, we left the house after the school kids passed by, and before the knuckleheads awoke from their alcohol- and/or drug-induced stupor, and, so it was relatively quiet. It was a lovely morning, and we were not attacked by any unleashed pit bulls. Unleashed pit bulls are a concern these days since every pathetic gangsta cliché in the city must own one of these poor creatures.

While on our walk, I took note of the various political signs around my neighborhood. There weren't that many. Most of them were for John Harmon, and Eric Jackson; one for Shahid Avraham bin Whatshisnamethisyear graced the front of the knucklehead store across from DeLorenzo's on Hamilton Ave; and one on a home across from the high school displayed a sign for Paul Pintella, which he himself must have put up without the homeowner's permission, while he was driving around in his repaired PintellaMobile the other night.

When I got home, I reread Mr. Clean's brilliant post about Eric Jackson, and then, took a look at the comments. One of Jackson's dedicated campaign workers dobermaned Mr. Clean, kind of inappropriately, I think. But, I appreciate that kind of loyalty, if nothing else. The subsequent dialogue (if you can call it that) got me thinking about the potholes. Granted, I have not been to the debates this year, and because of that, I haven't offered many thoughts about the election, and I have no idea who's getting my vote (though I'm pretty excited by the just-announced write-in candidates). An aside: not a single east ward candidate has come by our house to stump; I also find it a bit sad that my large group of hopefuls is the least technologically savvy of all the candidates in the city. Aside from Verlina Reynolds-Jackson's site, and Joe Harrison's YouTube video, my candidates are the least represented on the web. The real, non-Facebook web. STEP IT UP, DUMMIES! Sheesh.

Anyway. The potholes. I realize many of us are oversimplifying Mr. Jackson's job by complaining about the city's abundant potholes. We assume — perhaps incorrectly, I don't know, as I've never filled a pothole — that potholes should be easy to fix. But people are mad as hell about the potholes, and the damage the potholes are doing to their cars, and rightfully so. Mr. Jackson has probably discussed this a bit at the debates, but he needs to do more. Here's why: I think people really do like Candidate Jackson, despite being fervently opposed to those associated with outgoing Doug Palmer's administration. But, the difference is that Jackson was appointed, not elected; Palmer was/is his boss, whereas members of city council should have been, in many ways, the boss of the mayor. Council holds the purse. Council decides which of the mayor's initiatives makes it into law, and which doesn't. Too often over these last 20 years, Trenton City Council members have played dead when Palmer walked into the room, and/or buried their faces way up his asscrack, and it's unforgivable, because we elected them to represent us, and not act as Princess Leia to Palmer's Jabba the Hutt.

So, people like Jackson well enough, but he's dropped the ball on the potholes, as a concept and rallying cause, and also in a very literal sense, because the city is filled with them, and it shouldn't be. Who cares if the parks aren't safe, or the alleys are filled with construction debris dumped illegally? WE WANT A SMOOTH DRIVING SURFACE, okay? It really isn't that much to ask. I think many of us also want our next mayor to be a little more hands-on than the outgoing Esquire-magazine-posing poser. Jackson has a golden opportunity in this homestretch: he can roll up his damn sleeves, and get out to Ferry, and Lalor, and Market, and South Frigging Broad, and Clearfield, and Perry, etc. etc. etc. and pour some asphalt into the craters in the streets. Then, he can smile for the camera, and he'll win the hearts of the people.

If he doesn't take this weekend to fill potholes, he's a fool, and doesn't deserve to be mayor. If he passes on this opportunity, hopefully one of the other candidates will spend some of his/her election funds on asphalt, and get out there and fill these holes him/herself. Time is running out. Let's go. Whoever fills the most potholes might just win this election.

14 comments:

RChilson aka Mr. Clean said...

Mr. Clean says thank you for showing more maturity than I will ever possess. Aside from some grouping of words and typo's it was a fair and good read. I just put in a phone call to Mr. Tunstal (EJ's campaign manager) but he wasn't available. When I do get his ear I am going to pass along your suggestion "that EJ personally go fill some damn potholes." Of course lets not under estimate our fellow citizens and political foes, they will spin it as "too little, too late. "oh now he wants to do something about it" etc. etc. but good read and suggestion, you've won me over. If that means anything.

Mr. Clean said...

Hey, RobC, get your hand out of my ass - I ain't your dummy!

It took me nine "Handicapped Trenton 2010" posts - some of which were downright savage, compared to my sendup of Mr. Jackson - to piss off someone enough to splatter some blood on my site.

So, RobC is all right in my book; he cared enough to stand up for his guy and kick some shit in my face. If I couldn't take it as well as I dish it out, I would say "fuck it," and just blog about kittens or something.

Of course, EJ can't control how others spin his actions - and they will - but I gotta say that he has absolutely nothing to lose in heeding Chrissy's advice.

Chrissy said...

Mr. Chilson: Most of us make an occasional typo; I agonize over what I write, but still make mistakes. But I can only stare at my stuff for so long, so I inevitably hit the "publish" button, and read it over again a few hours later, and usually find a couple of typos/glitches/awkward phrases/html-gone-haywire problems, which I correct at that time.

Because we all make mistakes and have different strengths, I try not to judge, but it's hard to take criticism from someone who may not fully understand the difference between a possessive, a plural, and a contraction.

So, let's focus on the issues. It's good to get feedback from someone inside Jackson's camp. I hope you'll report back to let us all know when we can expect to see Mr. Jackson on the streets with his pothole repair kit. I'll be there with my camera to ensure people know he cares about the citizens' concerns.

Robert Chilson said...

I spoke to him just a few minutes ago, he has given his word to do just that. I will get back to you with the day and time.

I used your idea and lines and said "roll up your private education shirt sleeves and pick up a shovel"
paraphrasing.

The challenge has been made and accepted.

Do me one small favor, don't blast the news of this all over the place just yet. If an opponent gets wind, which they probably will, they will try to beat EJ to the punch and the headline will read "So and so doing Eric Jackson's job!" so lets keep this between me you and the entire internet for now please. haha

Change Agent said...

Chrissy, great post. By the way thanks for joining in on poor old Rob today. While I appreciate his dedication to his candidate, I also believe fervently in freedom of speech. Mr. Clean has taken his shots at all the candidates with facts, an entertaining wit and sarcasm. With all the problems the City has and the bevy of candidates prancing around not saying much at all I thought he did an exceptional job. Thanks for the link. I too will continue to monitor this election and to my damn well best to start a discussion on the issues and try to promote some candidate participation in this race. Information is power and if the candidates do not want to deliver it to the voters than perhaps the blogosphere can.

Chrissy said...

Robert: EJ should not worry too much about what the other candidates say; they certainly won't be voting for him. The people concerned about the potholes WILL (or won't). If he doesn't fix the roads (at least some of the higher profile ones), my bet is he'll lose, for the simple reason that it seems he doesn't give a crap about the concerns of the citizens. After the election is the only "too late" in this scenario.

RChilson said...

Are you going to post my comment about it being illegal for him to fill a pothole or what?
Secondly does it bother anyone else that Watson is driving around town blasting political propaganda from a beat up black pick up truck. Isn't that a violation of Trenton noise ordinance?
They can pull over a kid blasting rap music but not a politician blasting rhetoric? wtf

Chrissy said...

Hi Robert, I didn't get that comment. I publish all that I get. Can you resubmit, or post a new one with that content?

Also, I agree that it's bullshit that anyone should drive around blasting anything. I've never seen anyone receive a ticket for that. This is Trenton. Maybe if EJ is elected, he can see to it that the noise ordinance is enforced.

RChilson said...

The campaign's attorney said it would be illegal for a citizen to repair or do anything to a roadway. Because he is running for mayor he is an ordinary citizen and not public works director.
I don't know who is running public works but whatever, he sincerely thought it was a good idea though and was perfectly willing to do such a publicity stunt, but he was advised that it would be illegal.

Chrissy said...

I can kinda sorta understand that it might be illegal for a private citizen to repair the roads, though we are responsible for our sidewalks...I guess the standards for sidewalks are not the same.

But. Puh-lease. Eric Jackson is the current director of public works. The roads need repair. Can he fix them without the fanfare? If not, maybe he should resign so the interim director can fill the potholes?? Another thought: maybe he should go out there anyway, invite the media, and fill the potholes. Who's gonna give him a ticket? Who's gonna stop him? No one, that's who. If Paul Pintella can forge a name and make money disappear, and Annette Lartigue can tell an officer of the law to stand down, and Tony Mack can bounce checks and lose money, AND they're still plugging along like it's all just SSDD, Eric Jackson, candidate and director, should be able to fill some potholes without legal problems. We need a risk taker!

RChilson said...

Sigh* I will see what I can do.

Chrissy said...

Rob (do you go by Rob, or Robert, or Bob?) -- thanks. Sincerely. It sounds like a schmozzle, though, and I suppose I can understand if someone doesn't want to heed my political advice, even if it is spot on!

Also, I think Blogger is acting weird. For the last two months, I never received notifications of comments (not that there were many!). Just in the last couple of days, I started getting the notices again. But when I log in, I'll find a "no unmoderated comments" message half the time. So, there might be some weird glitch, considering I missed your original comment about the fact that it's illegal for private citizens to fill potholes. If your comment hasn't been posted, drop me an email (it's on the blog's main page; don't want to type it here for fear of spammers!). Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Most of the time people call me Rob, with one exception, I was on the Saint Patrick's Day Parade and Scholarship here in Trenton for 10 years and as you know, Billy Briggs was like a father to me and I was schooled better in his Pub than the the Trenton public school system, anyway for some reason the Mercer County Irish Community knows and refers to me as, Lil Bobby, Bobby or if their angry at me-Bob. I don't like Bob as much as Rob, so feel free to call me Rob.

Your right, your advice was spot on, Can't argue, once I read it I said "damn that's a good idea" to literally and physically and with people watching and taking pictures, to fill a fucking pothole! Genius!

But it is illegal just like the pay raise EJ accepted apparently.

But I just thought of something.
It would not be illegal for him to be out on the street with a few of the guys he supervises and literally SUPERVISES them. Get it? EJ doesn't have to pick up the shovel, he just has to stand there and make sure (oversee) it gets done. Genius, I have to make a phone call!

Chrissy said...

Rob, what's your email address? Don't post it here. If you go out to my blog's main page, there's a link to contact me. Drop me an email.