For the second day running, the Current Occupant of the Mayor’s Office of the City of Trenton issued a Press Release taking his opponents on City Council to task for their vote to reduce the mayoral salary by one-half.
The official Trenton City website, long used by the Current Occupant to extol the Greater Glory of the Current Occupant with glowing photos, press releases and spurious factoids featuring the CO’s name as frequently as Trenton’s, has now seemingly become an outlet for the the Occupant’s spleen to vent misconceptions, flights of fancy and outright lies against those he deems to oppose him, and thereby the best interests of this town’s citizens. He seems to have trouble distinguishing between the two.
But this morning, we don’t simply have these recent press releases to rely on for a look into the mind of the Current Occupant. I have exclusive video of the CO, confronting his opponents, the “rogue coalition” on City Council that had the audacity to stand against him and risk his wrath.
Actually, kidding aside, I think there are a lot of valid parallels between the situation in this film and the situation in which we find ourselves in River City.
Lt. Commander Philip Francis Queeg is the captain of the USS Caine, a World War II destroyer on duty in the Pacific. He is a volatile person, sensitive to personal slights – real or perceived. He believes in conspiracies against his command on the part of his junior officers. He increasingly isolates himself from his crew who, as loyal sailors and officers of the US Navy, respect his lawful authority.
Over the course of the film, the captain’s increasingly erratic behavior affect ship discipline, and indeed the very safety of the vessel and every soul on board. The captain’s fear of conspiracy becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the executive officer does in fact talk among his colleagues about what to do.
Matters come to a head during a natural disaster, a Pacific typhoon that threatens to capsize the ship. Queeg’s inability to rise to the emergency finally leads his XO to relieve him and assume command. This leads afterward to a court martial of the executive officer and the trial we see excerpted above. In the film’s climactic scene, Queeg’s mental instability is revealed for all to see.
I challenge any citizen who’s sailed on the good ship Trenton for the last two years to look at this clip and not see something that resonates with him or her.
We have a captain so concerned with personal status and public attention that, in the aftermath of a natural disaster many of us are still recovering from, he uses one of the primary official communication media available to him not to share useful information, but to smite his enemies.
For example, this note was circulated, via email mailing lists and Facebook, by Jim Carlucci and his Civic Calendar. It is useful stuff, so I include this in full, courtesy of Jim.
If you are still without power today it is imperative that you call PSE&G to report your outage, even if you have done so already. Just talked to a local official who said when the power co. turns on power in a neighborhood, the workers are sometimes not aware of individual outages or streets within that neighborhood. They falsely assume everyone got power back, when in fact there may be individual problems in addition to fixing the main feed. Call PSE&G 800-436-7734 to report power outages.
Also, Governor Chris Christie announced that the federal government has extended public assistance to all 21 counties in New Jersey as a result of the impact of Hurricane Sandy, extending public assistance now to all 11 New Jersey counties not previously approved.
This additional assistance comes in the aftermath of the historic hurricane, while joint Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA) continue to take place in these 11 counties to determine eligibility for individual assistance.
Public Assistance Program funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Individuals impacted by Hurricane Sandy in the 10 counties previously approved for both public and individual assistance are encouraged to register with FEMA. Those counties include: Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset and Union counties. Eligibility allows New Jerseyans to apply for different types of assistance, including temporary housing, repair, replacement or other needs such as Disaster Unemployment Assistance, and Small Business Administration disaster loans.
Register by phone at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 for those with hearing or speech impairments. Or you can register online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/. You can also apply through a web-enabled mobile device or smartphone by visiting http://m.fema.gov/ and following the link to “apply online for federal assistance.”
Good stuff, right? Should have been on the City Website, right? Sorry, but it was far more important to talk about “Hypocrisy and Double Standards!”
Did you know that FEMA officials were in Trenton Saturday, at the Trenton Marriott, available to talk to any citizen affected by the storm and to answer any question, provide information, help with filling out forms? I found out, not from the City Website, but from Darren “Freedom” Green’s Facebook page.
Do I see any information on the City site about volunteer opportunities, the schedule for restoring power to various neighborhoods, what gas stations, groceries and laundries are open? No, but I read a timeline detailing the insults to the CO’s dignity.
We are long, long past the point where this man has proved an embarrassment to the community. His incompetence, demonstrated on a daily basis since his first days in office, has mortally wounded the government of this city, its economic well-being and prospects for future growth.
And now, both during and after last week’s storm, we see that he is a danger to the personal safety of each and every soul in this city, since he is as always more concerned about insults, conspiracies and his own version (whatever that may be) of missing strawberries, than he is about letting people know information they could use to re-build their lives.
He continues to benefit, as did Captain Queeg, from the institutional loyalty of city employees, who grant the office of Mayor infinitely more respect than the man who occupies the office deserves. For some unknown reason, he still intimidates many others, and unfathomably even commands the loyalty of some.
For the life of me, I don’t know why.
Just to be clear, I am not advocating a Mutiny, by any means. I think there are many legal avenues to walk down in order to try to remove this man from the bridge. I am hopeful that there are some in the city government who may re-discover, like the officers on the Caine, that their loyalty belongs not with one man but with the people who put them there.