We went to the East Ward CPAC meeting on Monday night, primarily so we could wish Detective Bob Russo well on his retirement, even though his retirement most likely heralds a more dismal era for residents here in Trenton. He handed out an 8-page crime report, and asked every other person to take one and share with the person sitting next to us. The city's budget cuts didn't allow him to make enough copies for all those in attendance. He also offered a much thicker document for seniors; he had even fewer copies of that, due to budget cuts, he reiterated. At that time, I counted about 35 people at the meeting; within a half hour, there were 50, most of whom were seniors. The room was PACKED. We had Matthew with us, and Glen and I were swapping in and out of the meeting to hang out with Matthew in the lobby. During my time in the lobby, a woman came out of the meeting, and asked the officer at the front desk if she could make another copy of the thick document for seniors; the officer did, but reiterated that the reason there weren't enough is because the city slashed the department's copy budget.
On Tuesday, council approved Mayor Mack's childish do-over "hire my friend's law firm" proposal. I'm trying to keep an open mind, because I don't serve on council, and I'm not privy to all the legal issues that are facing the city, but I just can't help it: it rubs me wrong that council voted down Mack's proposal to hire his friend's firm last week, yet he asked again, like my toddler might ask repeatedly for a cookie after I've already said no. I thought no meant no when it came to official legislative business? And, as others have pointed out, there might be some pay-to-play issues here, since one of the lawyers in the firm hired, Lloyd Levenson, was the chair of the mayor's inaugural ball committee.
Oh yeah, and the firm is based in Atlantic City (are city taxpayers going to be footing the bill for fuel??), and we already are represented UP THE WAZOO by lawyers. Why do we need another firm — one that is not only at the opposite end of the state, but one whose CEO is a personal friend of the mayor's — when the police department is not allowed to make 50 frigging copies of a couple of documents that will help concerned citizens and seniors? Why are we in a position to lose any police officers, particularly a really helpful one like Detective Russo, when we just took on what seems to be an extraneous law firm? It doesn't make sense from my perspective.
Yesterday I sent a message to my council representative, Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, because she voted yes for this new law firm — both times: on Mack's original proposal, and on his "Mommy, PLEASE" do-over last night, and I'm hoping she might be able to explain why we need this firm. I'll post an update when I hear back from her.