Trenton councilman-elect should start talking about policy
Santiago Rodriguez sounds like a sore winner.
After claiming a City of Trenton council-at-large seat, the most stunning victory in all voting categories, in fact, Rodriguez did not receive deserved attention, he wastes time pummeling his vanquished opponents.
Rodriguez whines that Democrats sought to divide the vote and affect his chances for victory by running fellow Puerto Rican, Elvin Montero, as if Montero had no say in his personal decisions.
Rodriguez complains that several political hopefuls attempted to produce a secret slate of candidates in order to enhance their chances for victory. Slates, either made public or performed covertly. Such is the life of politics in Trenton which exists about a million miles from good government.
Bottom line, Mr. Rodriguez? You won, which means you have an abundance of work that needs your attention, especially in the city’s impoverished neighborhood and communities where people need resources, access to services and information. Being bilingual offers Rodriguez a ginormous opportunity to impact thousands of lives.
Rodriguez’ constant chatter about being dismissed by the Mercer County Democrat machine or his chastisement of other candidates who formed slates and allegiances, as if most did not engage in slate building of some sort, were worthy comments for victory-night speeches but time has moved on and so should the atlarge-elect.
With Rodriguez, Kathy McBride and Jerell Blakeley holding secured at-large-elect seats, one might think that all three would be engaged in presentations of ideas, strategies and outlooks about how they intend to deliver revitalization to all corners of Trenton.
Just for the record, 22-percent of eligible voters participated in the May 8 election, proof positive that politics has failed miserably, proof positive that whatever messages being offered found minimal resonation with residents.
Mayoral candidate Paul Perez claimed 2,536 as the top vote getter as his run off opponent Reed Gusciora claimed second and Walker Worthy took third. Just over 9,000 people participated in the May 8 election.
Election numbers generally improve during a second election although 4,000 votes could win the mayoral election. With almost 40,000 registered voters in Trenton, almost half the city’s entire population, such a victory would mean that 10 percent of voters sided with the winner.
Not exactly a mandate as voters have checked out following a federal corruption conviction of 2010 mayoral winner Tony Mack, a lackluster interim mayoral performance by South Ward Councilman George Muschal followed by an inauspicious performance by his successor, Mayor Eric Jackson.
Trenton residents remain starved for leaders across the board to deliver not only a worthwhile message but also to take on the tough issues.
Political pundits had predicted a robust campaign that would deliver interesting debates and insights from seven mayoral candidates and a couple dozen city council campaigns.
That never occurred as discussions about personalities became more important than talking about crime, law enforcement, a closed hotel, shuttered libraries, a police force dominated by non-resident Caucasian males, blight, downtown redevelopment, early education, undocumented residents, corruption and a litany of other issues.
Winning elections remains a thrilling exercise but what matters most after the cocktails and celebrations connects to implementation of programs and ideas that will change this capital city.
So, please, Mr. Rodriguez. Stop talking about your hurt feelings and get to work.
As a resident of this city, personal intentions remain committed to working with all elected officials, law enforcement, business owners and citizens to improve the quality of life for all residents.
L.A. Parker is a Trentonian columnist. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@ laparker6.
Top from left: Nathaniel McCray, Elvin Montero and Kathy McBride Bottom from left: Rachel Cogsville-Lattimer, Jerell Blakeley and Santiago Rodriguez