Trenton Mayor Tony Mack and Brian White, the man he picked
to head up Trenton's Learning Centers.
I was going to refrain from offering my opinion on the library mess in Trenton. After all, I moved away from the city, and in a very basic sense, "a building with books" (to quote Mayor Tony Mack) open to the public MUST be better than a building left fallow. Right?
But there's just so much wrong here, which has been well documented in the news and blog reports*. My hackles went up when the Mayor used the term "Learning Centers" to describe the repurposed buildings. That's because I had my doubts that the Mayor — not a stupid man, to be fair, but one with a proven track record of doing the wrong thing at every opportunity — could create an environment where any learning could happen in a place that is in such dire need of all the learning it can get.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm in Hamilton now, and I have a brand new library card for the Township's library, and my son has been going there with me. There is a chance that Glen, who is still in the city, may take Matty to one of the Mayor's Learning Centers, though that's improbable, because I'm fairly certain Glen feels the same way about this as I do. So, I have no real personal interest in this case.
I also want to say that I don't know anyone on the Trenton Library Board, or any of the employees, including the current director, Kimberly Matthews. I wrote a piece about one of her admirers a few years back, but only because he's an emperor and declared his love for her at the library while on horseback. I've only seen photos of the director, and she is totally photogenic, so my bet is that she is worthy of admiration, including the admiration of emperors, for what it's worth. But this is as close as I've gotten to involved with the employees of the Trenton Library System, and I'm not sure it counts.
So, why am I writing this? The Mayor has appointed Brian White to oversee His Learning Centers, and while I'm sure Mr. White is a very nice person (and that's important), I am fairly certain he's not in a position to oversee the actual learning of any other people. To be fair, I'm basing my assessment solely on what he posts publicly on his Facebook profile (good job with the privacy settings, Mr. White), which may seem overly critical, but hey, a lot of employers are doing it these days, too. I find it distressing that someone unqualified to hold an esteemed position like librarian and/or educator is not only allowed to get the job, but is also allowed to collect a salary that's supported by tax revenue.
Also in the interest of full disclosure, I am a fan of the comma, mostly for its ability to evoke the cadence of speech. I especially like the Oxford (or serial) comma because it kills any ambiguity in your laundry list and makes each individual item stand gloriously alone.
But holy moly, Mr. White. What the HELL are you doing with those commas? Let's forget the lack of spaces and apostrophes, the random capitalization and the general grammar issues in this train wreck of a status update for a moment. If we can. I can't, but I'm trying.
So. The commas. Wow. Aren't commas covered in, like, 4th grade?
I wanted to wait before saying, "So, THIS is the guy who's going to be heading up the Learning Centers?" so I gave Mr. White the benefit of the doubt: everybody makes typos every now and then. And, maybe he had some sort of terrible smart phone malfunction and that update posted against his will. So I scrolled through some of his other posts, and sadly, found so much more of the same troubling grammatical issues, including this:
Putting aside for a moment that THIS is the guy who's going to be heading up the Learning Centers, doesn't he know that in the real world, many companies block Facebook? And the ones that don't, often monitor usage?
Also, doesn't he know that posting music videos all the livelong day to your Facebook page is one of the best ways to annoy everyone else on Facebook? And, he "likes" and comments on his own status updates, too. I thought that was, for the most part, considered gauche?
Yes. This is the guy who's going to be heading up Trenton's Learning Centers. So, why don't you come on down and sign up for the Professor White's Sucking at Facebook 101 class, because at least he's qualified to teach that. Thanks again, Tony, for another Mack-tastic choice.
Again, I'm sure Mr. White is a nice guy, and I'm sure that some people will think this post is just plain mean. But I think he might be a crappy choice to oversee something as important as a library. Or a learning center. Or even a building with books. But maybe he can take some time to convince me that I'm wrong. He can start by laying off the commas.
*check out the always informative:
...and Matt Fair of The Times has done an excellent job on this story: