Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, a possible 2009 candidate for lieutenant governor, doesn’t have very many options when it comes to his legacy as 20-year mayor of Trenton.
During his time in office, the city has continued its decades-long economic and social slide, losing population and jobs as neighborhoods have slid into decay amid a fairly consistent level of violent crime.
For the most part, highly touted economic development projects have failed to materialize, with a few exception. The city’s financial condition has steadily worsened, as evidenced by the repetitive sell-offs of city assets and the use of one-time budget gimmicks under Mayor Palmer’s administration.
So when people ask about Mayor Palmer’s legacy in Trenton – either during the gubernatorial campaign and election or in a few years from now – there are two fairly dismal options.
He can either be described as an inept leader who contributed to the city’s decline, or he can be recalled as an impotent leader who lacked the power or skills to affect the forces contributing to that decline.
Either way, most people who look back on his time here will probably come to the conclusion that the 20 years of potential progress and good leadership that were wasted in the 1990s and the following decade could have been better spent.
A better 20 years would have featured superior leadership that could have either turned things around or at least held the line in Trenton.
Instead, we’ve had the Palmer years.