Mayor Douglas H. Palmer is taking it back to Africa on a trip with Bill Clinton this week, while his hometown continues to experience a surge in the violent crime that has become so prevalent under its longtime mayor.
Wednesday’s newspaper pages, splattered with various stories about violent crime in some city neighborhoods, also carried stories about Mayor Palmer’s decision to travel to Africa with many accentuated with pictures of Trenton’s missing mayor, in fashionable suits and designer glasses.
One conclusion that can be reached from a review of this bizarre situation is that Mayor Palmer has long outgrown his office here in Trenton. He talks about tackling environmental issues, creating so-called green jobs, and improving the conditions in the nation’s larger cities when Trenton’s streets are unsafe, the schools are ineffective, and there are not even enough people with regular jobs to support a healthy local economy.
It really looks like Trenton needs someone to take over the leadership of this city who is more local and more home-oriented. The city needs a leader that will spend their time here, rather than traipsing around the world talking about non-existent programs that offer no hope for improving the conditions of this city.
To take it one step further, the people living in the surrounding townships and the rest of the state need to also consider pushing for new leadership here in Trenton, and in many of the state’s other downtrodden urban areas.
The Trenton Water Works debacle, in which the city is preparing to sell outside water infrastructure that it never built for $100 million to a company that will jack up water rates to make township residents foot the bill, is a perfect example of the direct cost that Trenton represents to outsiders, whether nearby or far away.
Also, this faulty and ineffective leadership is not only relieving the state of around $400 million for school and municipal budget dollars annually, but it also causes greater potential for the surrounding areas to suffer.
The crime problems that fester under Mayor Palmer and former Police Director Joseph Santiago threaten to consume more of the viable areas of the city, and eventually push over the borders into the surrounding areas.
Let it be realized, that a healthy Trenton makes for a healthy Mercer County, and it starts with the people working at 319 E. State Street.