Monday, November 14, 2011

The Signatures

I thought I'd only have to sign the letter and call it a day.

That's not what happened. I signed the letter of intent to recall the mayor of Trenton and the subsequent effort took over the better part of my life for the next five months. And, to be fair, I contributed a fraction compared to the folks who signed along with me.

Approximately 8,500 Trenton residents signed the petition; more people stopped by to sign and turn in petitions while we were getting ready for our press conference today. Bittersweet. Despite the fact that our cause is supported by the people of Trenton, we didn't meet our goal. I'm incredibly disappointed, and also afraid for what this means for Trenton. I don't believe Tony Mack has the mental wherewithal to comprehend what has happened over the last few months; I don't think he understands that just because he will remain in office (at least he cannot be recalled) does not mean he has won the hearts and minds of the voting public. He does not have our permission to conduct business as he has been.

The Tony Mack Fan Club will say that we were a ragtag band of favor-seeking, sour-grape-eating malcontents, just picking on poor l'il Tony. They'll say we could have spent our time better. The TMFC will probably say we weren't organized enough or didn't work hard enough. But that's not the case, as the picture above shows.

I think some of us at the center of this effort feel we could have done more. Well, I do, anyway. It's only natural. But I also know how many times I heard something like, "I completely support you, but am afraid of retaliation." I have dealt with tyrants and bullies, so on one hand, I understand the fear and confusion. And, on the other, I just look to my fellow signers — such brave individuals!* — and cannot fully understand how people could not take a relatively small risk. I hope Marion Ray doesn't take this the wrong way, but she's not exactly a young woman. Despite her age, she was perhaps the most unstoppable of all of us: she was a signature-gathering machine. Despite the aches, she rubbed her legs down with Ben-Gay and forged on. And on. And on. And on. Aida Wimbush has a full-time job and family (including four kids!), and has the charisma and infectious energy to win over so many of those who held back from signing, and she never slowed down. Craig Shofed and Dave Ponton — both of whom have very recently faced their mortality; both of whom underwent major surgery recently — perhaps have the best understanding of risks in life; they understand priorities. It's because of my affection and admiration for Dave and Craig that I just can't help feeling that the "I'm afraid of retaliation from the Macks," is shit. Pure shit. These two men — one with a new kidney, and the other recuperating from open heart surgery — pushed themselves, often past the point of utter exhaustion. They very literally risked their lives for Trenton. And people were too afraid to sign the petition. Phooey.

I keep looking at my picture of the stacks of signed petitions and feel somewhat better about the efforts so many of us made. Sure, I wish we had more signatures. But I also think it's important to point out that the process to recall an elected official is a difficult one, and in a place like Trenton, where corruption in politics and poverty among the populace is the norm, even holding regular elections is challenging. Attempting a recall is daunting. The committee to recall the mayor was given a list of registered voters in the city by the County Board of Elections; we needed to get 25% of those registered voters to sign the petition. And, in going door-to-door, we learned that so many people have left the city; some of them years ago. I truly believe if the rolls of registered voters were more accurate, our 8,500 signatures would have been more than enough.

So. What's next? I don't know. I suspect Tony's little head will engorge with self-aggrandizement, thinking he has won this battle. He is mistaken. This is just the beginning. And, with his overinflated ego, it's only a matter of time before his next act of stupidity. It's going to catch up with him one way or another.

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* I'm turning this into a full-on lovefest. Sorry! I just wanted to point out that in addition to those who signed the letter of intent with me, those who worked closely with the cause are also some of the most wonderful people I've met. Tracey Syphax embodies transformation and personal growth. Darren Freedom Green is just pure decency and compassion, and I might just have to make a Darren Freedom Green Action Figure to keep with me at all times for inspiration. Jo-Carolyn Dent Clark proves that strength and grace belong together. I am so glad I signed that letter of intent. Trenton has some great bones.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ironically and Somewhat Out of Context

The three people left in the city who support Tony Mack issued a statement this morning discrediting five failed 2010 Trenton mayoral candidates who are supporting the recall effort. In their statement, the Tony Mack Fan Club (TMFC) quoted an afterthought* from my blog where I called one of the former mayoral candidates now supporting my cause "The Idiot Prince." I just wanted to point out that my "Idiot Prince" comment was in small type, after the actual entry, which was, interestingly, a letter to Tony Mack, asking him to withdraw from the election. I still wish he had withdrawn. We'd be in much better shape right now. Even if the Idiot Prince were mayor now.**

I wanted to add that I am flattered that at least some people in the TMFC have read my blog, and I bet they're very happy that I have let my words remain, not only on my blog, but on the various local websites, and Facebook. I leave it all up because I stand by what I write. This is in stark contrast to at least one of Tony's sycophants, who deletes his entries as soon as the tide changes.

Furthermore, it's good news and a boost of inspiration that we've got five public officials officially supporting our cause. Politics does make for strange bedfellows, but let's be realistic here: we are just talking about five people, and it's late in the game. But, by game, I mean still on. These five people DO have loyal support throughout the city. The TMFC may call them sore losers; personally, I don't think they are. But for the sake of argument, let's just say they are; if so, they are just five people joining the a huge community of diverse individuals who believe that Tony Mack must be recalled. By diverse, I mean non-sore loser. And, by huge, I mean thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of Trenton residents strong.

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* The Idiot Prince comment used today in the TMFC's statement was an afterthought on a particular blog entry, but it was, admittedly, prevailing sentiment for three years in many of my postings.

** Despite everything I have written above today (and elsewhere on my blog) about Paul Pintella, I am indebted to him. I started this blog as a form of therapy to cope with the death of my daughter, Catherine. The final inspiration was Paul Pintella: he called — if I remember correctly — a young man who is now one of Tony Mack's most delusional cheerleaders, a "Johnny-Come-Lately." This same Johnny-Come-Lately/Tony Mack Bidet in Human Form is the one who deletes everything he writes on the internet twice a day, but way back in 2007, the fact that he attended council meetings and had the council president dismiss him merely for being a JCL, did not sit well with me. So, I'm indebted to him as well. Newcomers do have viable opinions (even if they aren't the same as mine), especially when the status quo is totally kabolluxed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Triage

You are eviscerated, speeding on a gurney through the emergency department, to the operating room, where a team of doctors and nurses will put you back together. They will save your life.

At least in the short term.

In the days that follow, you clean up the blood, rest, tend your wounds, and re-evaluate your life. The doctors and nurses told you that you cannot live as you did, or you will die.

It's hard to change. So hard.

It's me on that gurney. And, this is you on that gurney, Trenton Resident. We are hanging on by threads. Our fear or apathy — or even criminal lifestyle — are killing us. Our choices have not been good ones.

But we can change.

Right?

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We are in the homestretch of the first stage — signature gathering — of the efforts to recall Trenton Mayor Tony Mack. He, and his cronies, are part of our old lives. It's easy to not answer the knock on the door; it's easy to not stop in at Recall Headquarters on your travels. It would be easy to give Tony another chance. But he will destroy Trenton. It's not all his fault, but his cognitive impairments and lack of heart are more than we can take. We cannot endure any more selfishness, ineptitude, or idiocy. We are bleeding to death.

Those involved in the Recall Effort come from diverse backgrounds, and have a host of skills. Collectively, they are the equivalent of triage doctors and nurses in the political realm. The Recall Effort — with your support — will get Trenton on its legs again. A second chance. What happens next is up to you.

Please sign the petition if you live in Trenton. The quality of your life does indeed depend on it. If you live outside the city, please don't forget about your ties to Trenton.