Lawyers, guns, and money

Trenton City Council’s majority of responsible representatives voted down another hackneyed city appropriation Thursday.

The now-dead appropriation was the controversial $200,000 city contract that would have supplied the Trenton Police Department with 425 new Springfield handguns, at the same time as the current weapon supplier, Glock, has officially offered to replace all of the department’s current guns for free.

Once again councilmen Milford Bethea, Jim Coston, Gino Melone, and Manny Segura rebuked the misguided initiatives of Mayor Douglas H. Palmer and his minions on City Council. That group now finds itself in the minority, with less than the four votes necessary to have any chance of getting Palmer initiatives passed.

This new day of Trenton legislative politics is certainly timely.

Remember, Trenton is in the midst of a budget crisis that threatens every city department’s budget with the potential of cuts and layoffs, for the first time in the 18-year tenure of Mayor Douglas H. Palmer.

But, like clockwork, City Council members Paul Pintella, Annette Lartigue, and Cordelia Staton rose to support the Palmer and former Police Director Joseph Santiago-endorsed plan to spend $200,000 on unnecessary new weapons.

Luckily the other four, stronger council members saw through the dog-and-pony show-presentations, evasive statements, and excessively vague answers to council questions thrown their way by Mr. Santiago and other Palmer officials, and voted in the financial interest of the people who elected them.

Ms. Lartigue – a mayoral candidate – continued her habit of delaying City Council votes through the repetitive questioning of administration officials, and saying odd things about getting a Web site for “official” council information.

It has become a common perception among council observers that these antics happen with what seems to be an eye to delaying administration initiatives from failing, at the hands of the four councilmen.

On Thursday Ms. Lartigue asked numerous questions of Business Administrator Jane Feigenbaum and Nothing-Special Counsel Joe Alacqua, but neither apparently neither Palmer shill wanted to lie on the record, so they told the truth.

Yes, they said, an offer for free guns was made, and yes, City Council does have the ability to vote no on the contract and reject the bids, without fear of litigation, as had been constantly hypothesized by Ms. Lartigue.

People really ought to consider this peculiar habit of some on council – in delaying beneficial legislative action from going forward when it’s against the will of Mayor Palmer – especially when voting in the May 2010 mayoral election, in which Ms. Lartigue will be a candidate.

Being long on words and short on action is hardly a good quality in a mayor.

But anyway, be sure to let the new council majority what you think of their new-found legislative wisdom. It could change the very face of Trenton.

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