Pride and ac­tion will help Tren­ton Pub­lic Works di­rec­tor

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - FRONT PAGE - L.A. Parker Colum­nist L.A. Parker re­sides in Cham­bers­burg, a once-proud Ital­ian en­clave fac­ing a del­uge of trash and sat­u­rated by slum land­lords.

The al­leged res­ig­na­tion of Merkle Cherry from his di­rec­tor po­si­tion of pub­lic works comes with­out sur­prise.

Leav­ing be­fore a door slams against your but­tocks al­lows some self-dig­nity and so­cial grace as Cherry faced a city un­der siege by a long list of is­sues that pro­duced im­mense


What­ever re­al­ity con­nected to his de­par­ture holds no sig­nif­i­cance un­less Cherry re­al­ized that fail­ure awaits just about any hu­man as­signed to take on the mean streets of Tren­ton, awash in pot­holes, lined by garbage, glazed with de­pres­sion and shad­owed by weeds that stretch to­ward heaven.

Je­sus, Mary and Joseph. Par­don the blas­phemy but Tren­ton has never wres­tled with such trash and de­te­ri­o­ra­tion, such de­plorable in­de­cency by res­i­dents and such ap­a­thy de­liv­ered by em­ploy­ees, which sounds pre­pos­ter­ous for work­ers pick­ing up steady pay­checks that in­clude won­der­ful ben­nies.

Mayor Reed Gus­ciora of­fered Cherry an ad­mirable and face-sav­ing de­par­ture.

“Di­rec­tor Cherry was an ad­mirable pub­lic ser­vant,” Mayor Reed Gus­ciora of­fered in a pre­pared state­ment.

“He faced, and dealt with plenty of chal­leng­ing is­sues dur­ing his ten­ure. I just hope that go­ing for­ward we can fur­ther im­prove how the rest of New Jer­sey sees Tren­ton.”

Frankly, Mayor Gus­ciora, cap­i­tal city res­i­dents should aban­don con­cerns about how the rest of “New Jer­sey sees Tren­ton” for a city-wide con­fer­ence with mo­ti­va­tional speaker Tony Rob­bins or opt for spir­i­tual guid­ance from T.D. Jakes and Joel Os­teen to dis­cuss the my­opia or near blind­ness that af­flicts lead­ers and res­i­dents.

The mayor’s of­fice an­nounced cur­rent Pub­lic Prop­erty Man­ager, Wa­hab Oni­tiri, will re­place Cherry “un­til a com­pre­hen­sive search can be con­ducted.”

Gus­ciora stressed Mr. Oni­tiri, a 25-year civil-ser­vant “is ready to spear­head City ef­forts for the time be­ing.”

Oni­tiri held the po­si­tion of street su­per­in­ten­dent for be­fore be­ing pro­moted to man­ager of pub­lic prop­erty in 2016.

Gus­ciora noted ”Oni­tiri has ex­pe­ri­ence in so­cial work and was a Gulf War Vet­eran in the U.S. Army”, valu­able as­sets for this re­lent­less fight op­po­site slum land­lords, slummy tenants and creep­ing blight.

“Mr. Oni­tiri, or ‘Wally’, as he’s known around City Hall, will be a fan­tas­tic care­taker for the De­part­ment,” Gus­ciora pledged.

“The man was su­per­in­ten­dent to our road­ways for a decade and a half. He may just be the best per­son in Tren­ton to fill our pot­holes, Mat­tress dump­ing rep­re­sents ma­jor trash is­sue. and fi­nally, re­vamp out­side per­cep­tion of our city.”

There it is again, a con­cern about how other peo­ple view Tren­ton in­stead of the cul­ti­va­tion of con­cern by res­i­dents. Out­siders will al­ways have good, bad or de­spi­ca­ble per­cep­tions of Tren­ton as this city faces cer­tain demise un­til res­i­dents and politi­cians smell the stench and open eyes to the sor­did re­al­ity of cur­rent con­di­tions.

Tren­ton re­mains home to pos­i­tive life­styles and strengths, yet, we need a con­fes­sion that a small swath of Cham­bers St., right up the street from that gi­nor­mous $150 mil­lion new high school, looks like shanty town.

One won­ders if Mayor Gus­ciora trav­eled that Cham­bers St. route Fri­day or avoided be­ing wit­ness to this two-block stretch of so­cial dys­func­tion and blight, in­clud­ing five houses that need im­me­di­ate de­mo­li­tion to chase squat­ters, ad­dicts

and oth­ers.

For the record, these is­sues were well en­trenched be­fore Mayor Gus­ciora took of­fice.

While pot­holes rep­re­sent ev­eryres­i­dents’ at­ten­tion, grab, a per­sonal in­ter­est eyes the ma­ni­a­cal ma­trix of dis­carded mat­tresses or streets such as por­tions of Wal­nut Ave. or San­ford St., where aban­doned or boarded homes, some city-owned prop­er­ties be­ing stran­gled by weeds, out­num­ber in­hab­it­able res­i­dences.

Mr. Gus­ciora should desert con­cerns about out­side per­cep­tions of Tren­ton for heart-to-heart dis­cus­sions with res­i­dents about the re­al­ity of our cur­rent demise.

If res­i­dents have no re­al­iza­tion about this dire sit­u­a­tion re­gard­ing a litany of is­sues, then dooms­day awaits. If we care more about what oth­ers think rather than es­tab­lish­ing a sense of pride from our own per­spec­tives then Tren­ton faces ruin.

What other peo­ple think or say about Tren­ton should not factor in our re­vi­tal­iza­tion.

It’s about us.


City of Tren­ton in­spec­tors al­low Hamil­ton Ave. busi­nesses with­out penalty to stock­pile trash.

Merkle Cherry

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