Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer announced his intention not to run for a sixth term Monday, paving the way for a wide-open mayoral and City Council race in May 2010.
Already formerly timid candidates who where awaiting word from the man who said he “is Trenton” are popping out of the woodwork, with Palmer protege-turned-enemy Tony Mack holding a campaign kick-off event tonight and Councilman Manny Segura following suit next week.
With Palmer’s announcement many look at the Palmer years as the death knell of the city, with most of Trenton experiencing an extended 20-year slide under Mayor Palmer’s leadership.
Many will probably say the city will only decline further and is all but finished in terms of being a vibrant urban place.
I personally disagree.
I can’t say exactly why, except that this totally “gut” feeling was seriously reinforced in a recent round of petition-gathering in some of the city’s more broken North Ward neighborhoods.
Traversing places like Vine and Race streets and East Paul Avenue, talking to city residents who lamented their hometown’s decline as they peer out of their doorways, yet cling to their homes, somehow gave me a feeling of hope.
I sensed something among all those eyes.
Perhaps they were peering towards a better future, with a government that actually works for residents and effectively improves city economic and social conditions.
And their glances, plus their willingness to sign pieces of paper geared towards a better city, gave me this hope.
Trenton can be revived, and the biggest thing blocking its revival just removed himself from the picture.
Time to get to work, Trentonians.