Editorial Board Opinion-The Best Choices for Trenton Council to Lead City Forward
A note from the Editor on how we reached our opinions:
The Trenton Post Editorial Board submitted questions to all candidates running in the June run-off, we attended both Mayoral forums/ debates, viewed all candidates resumes, prior histories or records of service and paid close attention while covering the lead up to Tuesday’s Election.
The “Capital City” is at a serious crossroads and has been the proverbial “red-headed stepchild” of the previous administrations, Governors, and County officials.
The time is running out “to get it right”!
We suffered embarrassment and shame as the Tony Mack Corruption Scandal graced national headlines!
The sacred grounds of George Washington’s first military victory (Battle of Trenton) became the stomping grounds for a crooked administration, that looked to fleece the people and line their pockets, in the exact spot that our forefathers fought the American Revolution.
As we looked to turn the page in 2014 with a “new captain at the wheel” in Mayor Eric Jackson to steer the ship back on track, we instead boarded a sinking ship with the captain asleep at the wheel!
Crime and violence are out of control. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Property taxes are crippling our residents.
Let’s Hope there is light at the end of this tunnel and it’s not a train coming at us.
The first step on our climb begins with selecting the right people for the job and after our comprehensive review, this is our guide to who and why we feel these are the right choices!
North Ward Council: Marge Caldwell Wilson
Marge Caldwell Wilson leadership is slow but steady. She has a deep understanding of Trenton City Government and deep ties to the community she serves in the North Ward.
Sometimes you cant argue change just for the sake of change. Don’t get us wrong -Algernon Ward Jr. is an impressive candidate. Our entire staff was very impressed with his answers to our questionnaire. Articulate and well thought out.
However, his tone during the campaign sometimes was combative, even downright derogatory. His backhanded comeback during the Trentonian debate about Caldwell Wilson being from Scotland and that he hailed from Trenton, was borderline anti-immigrant.
Considering that Trenton’s immigrant population is busting at the seems it was in poor taste. We understand that sometimes in campaigns things get said in the heat of the moment that could be better worded. A public apology was probably in order.
Also, we felt that Mr. Ward’s fight and lawsuit with the Board of Elections and Superintendent of Elections was energy misplaced when it came to the issues of sample ballots being mailed to a few wrong homes.
The incoming council will need a steady, diplomatic, experienced person up on the Deus and Marge Caldwell Wilson will provide that.
South Ward Council: George Muschal
This one was an easy call! Mr. Muschal’s opponent skipped out on the only organized forum for candidates, did not respond to our questionnaire and has spent his campaign bashing his opponent on social media, without offering a single idea on how to address any issues. He has attempted to turn the South Ward Council race into a partisan show by touting his credentials as a Democrat and trying to grab the attention of the “machine” backing to help his lackluster campaign is downright divisive.
Mr. Malave has no handle on the issues and certainly no idea how to address them. His recent social media rant that his supporters are being targeted by city inspectors for flagrant violations shows his complete lack of competence and just how unqualified he is to serve on the council.
Muschal is definitely not your cookie cutter council person whose heart and love of his job and neighboorhood can be overshadowed by his tendency to speak before he thinks, but that can also be the best part of who he is. You basically get what you see.
He spent the better part his life…..putting his life on the line for the city as a Trenton Police officer. He has no problem getting his hands dirty for his constituents, even if that means picking up the trash himself. You also can’t overlook the fact that when Mack was ushered to jail, he stepped in to help clean up the mess, not looking to further his political aspirations, but just to truly help in a time of need for the City.
Muschal’s constituent services are a reminiscence of how Gino Melone built his career in Trenton responding to any concern a resident had and getting the problem addressed.
The South Ward is better because of George Muschal and he has earned the right to be re-elected. The South Ward would suffer if he wasn’t!
East Ward Council: Joseph Harrison
Joe Harrison is by far the most pleasant surprise of the entire runoff campaign.
Harrison has been around for decades in Trenton as a volunteer and advocate, running for City Council twice and narrowly lost to Verlina Reyolds Jackson in 2014.
While most people would have hung their heads in defeat, and threw up their hands in disgust – Harrison never saw that as an option.
He continued to stay dedicated to his hometown, continued to volunteer and continued to work to make a difference.
Joe Harrison has been one of the most effective agents for good without holding an elected office that we think he could do so much if given the opportunity to be elected.
Harrison has been a loud and vocal advocate, but it was his compassionate demeanor and caring embrace of his opponent that got everyone’s attention at the Trentonian debate.
His love of people and of Trenton were on full display as he got choked up when he spoke of his upbringing by his single mother and then hugged his opponent at the close of the forum.
Harrison defied everything about politics and made a statement about what is right about people coming together for a greater good.
Joe Harrison is a gentle giant and would be a welcome addition and a breath of fresh air in such a rough and tumble world of Trenton politics.
West Ward Council: Undecided
Incumbent Zachary Chester is in the fight of his political career against an impressive candidate in Robin Vaughn for West Ward Council.
Chester’s record on Council is less than stellar and his numbers in the May 8th election were a direct reflection of that.
Vaughn seems like a welcome change, however, she failed to simply fill out our questionnaire, after promising 2 of our staff members she would submit it the following day.
Based on records and incumbent perfomance Robin Vaughn would have most likely easily garnered our endorsement.
But we cannot endorse a candidate that could not simply answer and submit questions we asked about the issues that matter most.