The perpetrators of threatening phone calls made to the home of West Ward Councilwoman Annette Lartigue were none other than three teenage girls from Trenton and Hamilton, who apparently called the city representative by accident.
The councilwoman received around 30 of the phone calls last week, which were filled with homicidal threats and curse words and caused the Trenton Police Department to begin monitoring the home of Ms. Lartigue, similar to the way police are required to protect the oft-empty second home of Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, who lives with his family in Hunterdon County.
“A lot of people, including myself, Police Director Joseph Santiago and others are under assault by people who threaten our homes, families, and personal welfare,” said Mayor Palmer of the teenage girls in Tuesday’s Trentonian.
The report of the attacks and their perpetrators prompted Mayor Palmer to state that he and Police Director Joseph Santiago, who also lives illegally outside the city, receive similar threats, necessitating the police presence at the mayor’s empty Buckingham Avenue home and the director’s continued residence in a $650,000 Morris County home far away from Trenton, in violation of the city’s residency ordinance.
The residency flap should come front-and-center again on Thursday, with Councilman Jim Coston and others on council set to introduce a new resolution that has been described as “palatable” to residents who support the continued existence, and renewed enforcement of the law.
A large contingent of community activists, working through the city’s remaining civic associations, has been circulating an informal petition among residents who support the continued existence – without amendment – of the ordinance, and reject the continued employment of any public servant in clear violation of the letter and spirit of the law.
That petition should be delivered to council sometime during their Thursday meeting, with a promise to circulate another official protest petition should the governing body move to amend the law, as has been discussed, sometime in the future. That official petition would carry a goal of striking down any watered-down exception-laden ordinance through forcing a special election, where the law could be put to a vote.
The law requires city employees, regardless of seniority or political favor, to maintain a bona fide residence within Trenton city limits, where they take meals at night, where their family lives, and where they are registered to vote.
Mr. Santiago has never complied with this law, and Mayor Palmer maintains that he waived Mr. Santiago’s need to comply because of threats made to the director, and unforeseen housing costs that made the director – with his six-figure salary – unable to purchase a $200,000 home in the Mill Hill neighborhood