A day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its greatest one-day dive since the Sept. 11 attacks, Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer will unveil his own doom-and-gloom fiscal plan as New Jersey’s capital deals with a suffocating budget crisis.
Mayor Palmer could also be facing what ends up being a watershed moment in his political career in Trenton on Tuesday.
He seems to understand that reality, as evidenced by the fact that he called a 1:30 p.m. press conference in City Hall in an effort to head off what has been billed as a looming civic revolution.
Many city residents have been seriously angered because the fiscal plan, which calls for 10 percent budget cuts to all city operations, could seriously hamper the continued operation of the city’s free public libraries.
The plan directly led to a decision by the mayor’s hand-picked, crony-filled library board to close all of the outlying branches of the city libraries.
Mayor Palmer seems to have made these decisions while counting on the city populace to somehow forget that these fiscal decisions are coming from someone who consistently wastes money on unnecessary employee legal expenses, the gaudy provision of vehicles to employees who do not need them, and the maintenance of a massive, top-heavy, and unnecessary city administration that is a relic of a time when Trenton had tens of thousands more people in population.
But judging from their reaction it is clear that Trenton residents are not only aware of all these things but they also love using their libraries, and demand an administration willing to spend the money necessary to keep them open.
They also don’t seem to buy Mayor Palmer’s excuses that he didn’t know about the library closure plan and that the budget issues are not the fault of his wasteful administration, but are actually the responsibility of Gov. Jon S. Corzine due to cuts in state aid money.
Trenton residents should show up in force at City Hall from this point on to make it clear that they want their libraries open, and that they have had enough of the fiscal decision-making and outright lying of Palmer administration officials who continue to operate in a manner totally ignorant of the public interest.
Like the problematic sub-prime lending practices that precipitated the current crisis on Wall Street, the budget decisions and the library closures are all directly related to the fiscal practices, wasteful spending, and lack of financial accountability that permeates the Palmer administration.
Unlike Wall Street’s problems, the best way to deal with problems in Trenton is not a bailout of the Palmer administration, but rather its all-out rejection and eventual removal from power.