The Trenton Rising group met at the New Jersey State House Annex Saturday for the second round of discussions on the unsatisfactory state of Trenton and its government.
The first meeting had been an introduction of sorts, with city activists gathering together and voicing varied concerns with the condition of the city, and coming to a consensus that the problem was emanating from the dysfunctional government situated at 319 E. State Street.
Residents attending Saturday’s meeting concentrated on discussions about the state of the city’s housing and tenant-landlord relations.
Trenton Rising officials threw their official support behind a proposed City Code revision-ordinance that would increase the frequency of housing inspections from a paltry once every five years to at least a minimum annual inspection.
South Ward Councilman James H. Coston had previously introduced the ordinance only to be shot down by members of the “rubber stamp” portion of the council who said the body should wait for a presentation about inspection department overhauls being undertaken by the Mayor Douglas H. Palmer administration.
Trenton Rising officials said they hope to get that legislation back on the table in City Council.
“The consensus was that we need more inspections, and in addition to that, we shouldn’t be forced to do the job of the inspectors getting paid city dollars to perform these duties,” said Trenton Rising organizer Paul Harris.
Trenton Rising members also plan on reviewing housing codes, and creating a quick checklist for residents to use when inspecting their dwellings.
The group hopes this will allow residents to have better knowledge about their rights as tenants and force landlords – many of them absentee “slumlords” – into taking better care of Trenton’s housing stock.
Some audience members had voiced concern when Mr. Harris had produced a preliminary inspection checklist, saying the document could cause trouble for the group if it contained incorrect information about housing code.
Mr. Harris and other Trenton Rising officials have responded by making a statement that they would conduct careful research and come up with a carefully created document reflecting true housing code law.