Gov. Jon S. Corzine and his slashing of municipal aid dollars this year are to blame for the impending closure of four of the city’s branch libraries.
That was the opinion of Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, according the pages of today’s Trentonian, which had the mayor responding to civic outrage over the plan. The article was penned by Mayor Palmer’s favorite mouthpiece, the objective and unbiased L.A. Parker.
The mayor’s public response was part of an attempt to head off what Mr. Parker chose to describe as a possible civic “revolution” over the Nov. 1 closure of the libraries, which represent some of the city’s few remaining safe havens for the urban youth in the socially distressed City of Trenton.
Yesterday, at the time of the plan being made public, there was talk among residents about starting an all-out civic movement to keep the branches open. It would likely start with the undertaking of an official petition drive to demonstrate the overwhelming public support these facilities have, throughout the city and in all of Trenton’s social and economic strata.
On a positive note, Friday’s Trentonian piece had new libraries chief Kimberly Bray saying that the library system did have a contingency plan, requiring over $400,000, which would allow the branches to remain open on certain days throughout the week.
The Ruins of Trenton supports the plan and has a suggestion: City Council ought to demand budget information and use it to immediately make an emergency transfer of funds out of the city’s general fund and into the library budget, to head off this crisis.
Money can be found in the funds budgeted for Mayor Palmer’s personal chauffeuring and protection squad, by eliminating the unit entirely. It serves no purpose, since Mayor Palmer is not a highly regarded public official targeted for assassination, nor is he frequently in the city.
He doesn’t even really live here.
Perhaps eliminating the special counsel position occupied by attorney Joe Alacqua or firing City Attorney Denise Lyles is in order, since the two occupy positions that seem to essentially perform the same function.
Outgoing Police Director Joseph Santiago should be ordered to turn over $136,000 to the city to pay back all of the unnecessary and free taxpayer-funded legal support he received during his residency fight earlier this year.
No other city employee being brought up for violating the city’s residency law has been afforded such an expensive perk, and the return of the money would go a long way towards putting the library system’s contingency plan into action.
There are many other areas of ridiculous fiscal waste where funds can be found to keep open the city’s library branches. Those areas need to be tapped immediately, so these important city institutions can remain open and continue to provide somewhat of a bulwark against this great city’s social ills.
If this does not occur, then residents rallying around the libraries need to realize that the city government is no longer serving their interests.
Perhaps a recall petition is in order, which would bring Mayor Palmer and the rest of the city exactly what The Trentonian said he is working to head off – a revolution.