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Quotes from Michael Huckabee Walker

Below are transcribed quotes from the City of Trenton’s Public Information Officer and Aide to the Mayor Michael Walker, on Facebook  little over two weeks ago and addressed to individual citizens of Trenton and other private individuals. As you will read below, Mr. Walker has no hesitation dismissing civic commentary and criticism as “whining,” and insulting specific individuals with language that, even though it lost its sting in sixth grade, is still highly inappropriate and unprofessional coming from any public employee, let alone the Official spokesperson of the City of Trenton, who reports directly to Mayor Eric Jackson.

A couple of weeks ago I filed a formal complaint about Mr. Walker’s comments to Personnel Officer for the City Steven Ponella; Business Administrator Terry McEwen, who heads the Administration Department under which Personnel resides; and Mayor Jackson, who is Walker’s direct supervisor. I included time-stamped screenshots of Mr. Walker’s comments as evidence they had been made. On November 21, in my letter to Mr. Ponella, I asked “Do Mr. Walker’s statements, insults, abuse and condescension reflect the official policies of the City of Trenton and the Office of the Mayor? Does the City defend accusing a group of citizens of ‘whining,’ and discounting any civic involvement short of electoral politics as somehow invalid and worthless? Does the City defend telling a private citizen that his neighbors ‘hate his guts?‘” The next day, when I sent a few more screenshots, I wrote in my cover note,

I leave it to you and your colleagues to decide if Mr. Walker’s continuing comments represent a clear and present danger to the reputation of this Administration and Mr. Walker’s direct supervisor, Mayor Jackson, at whose pleasure he serves.

Count on me to continue to send you further evidence of Mr. Walker’s objectionable behavior, as I have no doubt it will continue in the absence of immediate, explicit direction and discipline from the City, which must include apologies by Michael Walker to [private citizens I will not name here]. The absence of such immediate discipline and direction from the City I will take as implicit endorsement of his comments by the Administration and the Mayor.

Mr. Ponella, I know that the City prefers to handle personnel matters on a confidential basis. I am ready to allow the City to move on this matter discreetly, as long as it is handled expeditiously. The evidence is all there for your timely examination. If the City delays responding to these comments past December 1, and/or allows further comments by the City’s Public Information Officer, I will take this matter public.

Your employee is out of control. Please deal with him.

Well, December 1 has come and gone. I have heard no response from the City, other than to acknowledge receipt of my complaint emails when they were received. In the meantime, Mr. Walker’s offending comments have been deleted, presumably by Michael Walker and he has “un-friended” many of the individuals on Facebook to whom he had directed his comments, including me.

That’s the only action that has been taken in response to a formal personnel complaint registered against a City employee for offensive comments made under the cover of his official City of Trenton title. All that’s been done has been to delete the comments, destroying the evidence. That’s a cover-up, not an apology. Having offered the City opportunity to deal with the matter discreetly, the City has failed to respond to the complaint. I can only assume that the Administration and Michael Walker’s supervisor Eric Jackson condones his behavior and endorses his comments.

So, since that appears to be the case, here’s a taste of what the City of Trenton’s Public Information Officer thinks of Trenton’s citizens. One of Your Public Servants, at work. The selected typical comments are not in chronological order, but since they were made to and about various individuals on various topics at various times, I don’t think they need to be.

Part One – Explaining to Citizens who Michael Walker  is and in what capacity he speaks on Facebook:

[F]or the record, I am off until Monday. Also, I use the Facebook app on my iPhone. And I am always working for the people of Trenton, even when I am off, particularly on myriad constituent issues as I have a dual role in the Mayor’s Office: Aide to the Mayor and Public Information Officer. – November 16, 3:26pm (Edited)

I don’t sling mud, and you don’t know me personally. Yes, I am the city’s Public Information Officer, I also own a home here and pay taxes, just like you and [another Trenton citizen]. – November 21, approx 10pm

[W]ith all do (sic) respect, I will say what I want when appropriate. Yes, I am the city’s Public Information Officer. My job is to convey relevant information about city-related business to internal and external publics as needed…” – November 20, approximately 10 pm

I don’t speak on campaign matters, but rest assured, I will speak as I see fit when I read inaccurate comments about the Mayor and his substantial accomplishments that are cloaked in disrespect and fake righteous indignation. – November 17, 2:29 pm

Part Two – What Michael Walker Thinks About the People of Trenton:

[A]s far as I’ve been able to determine, no one seems to care much about your opinions or for you personally. I am puzzled as to why. But I do know thousands of people love the Mayor and what he has done for the city. You should take your hate someplace else, especially since the good taxpayers of our working and middle-class city made it possible for you to earn a good living and take care of your family. – November 17, 2:35 pm

Many of the people I work with are your neighbors, and quite frankly, they hate your guts, which is unfortunate because you’re the cause of this reality, not them. And although I respect you and even agree with some of your better, less hateful perspectives, you are a serially negative individual with good ideas that people won’t buy into because they simply can’t stand you. Also, if you dislike our great city and its rich multiculturalism, then why do you stay here? – November 18, 9:53 pm

This is not mud, this is a fact: Many of [citizen] neighbors dislike him because he’s a smug, disrespectful, intermittently hateful, know-it-all. He created this perspective, not me. – November 20, approximately 10 pm

If you are so concerned about the quality of  Trenton municipal government and its policy-making, then why don’t you run for Mayor or a seat on the City Council? Wouldn’t that be more productive than whining all day on Facebook? – November 17, 2:23 pm

I’ll say it again, if you’re not happy with what Trenton municipal government is doing, then run for public office. That’s how you change things. – November 20, approximately 10 pm

Let’s face it. You’re full of baloney. It’s way easier to serially whine on Facebook than to bring your know-how and ideas to the table for action. Your actions speak louder than any hateful words you cloak with your obvious contempt for your neighbors and our multicultural community. – November 20, approximately 10 pm

Similar to offensive rhetoric we have heard over the last year from our national capital from the Chief Executive and his spokespersons, including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, it seems to me that we may be hearing a lot of projection on to his readers of the actual feelings of our own Michael “Huckabee” Walker, and perhaps his boss.

Who, in reality, has “obvious contempt” for whom, Mr. Walker? Mr. Jackson?

Part Three – Bonus Quote!

[A]s for how the Mayor is watching taxpayer money, we’ve had budget surpluses every year since the Jackson administration took office. For FY 2018, the surplus is nearly $11 Million. - November 17, 2:23 pm

For one thing, Fiscal Year 2018 is the budget year currently under way. It runs until June 30, 2018. We have seven months to go in this budget year, Mr. Walker. A lot can happen in that time. Don’t count your surpluses until they are hatched!

And, for another, we now know that City surpluses (such as they may be in reality, and not just paper ones, but that’s a whole other tutorial) for the last several years have been provided in substantial part due to operating surpluses from the Trenton Water Works (TWW). Which, in turn, have been earned in very large measure by savings on wages made by gutting the manpower needed to run TWW safely. As reported in this space, the New Jersey Environmental Protection Commissioner quoted the City’s own engineering consultants back to Mayor Jackson by saying, ” although TWW carries a $12 Million surplus, it has only one-third of the staff  needed to operate its system.”

Let me put it this way, Mr. Walker: if you brag about a fiscal surplus earned by jeopardizing the safety of the water supply of tens of thousands of Mercer County people, umm, that’s really not a good thing. At all!

As I wrote above, the City has been silent in response to my formal complaint about Mr. Walker and his offensive comments, other than to delete them and all references to them and reducing his online presence on Facebook. That’s not a remotely satisfactory response to a formal  complaint filed against a public employee – Trenton’s Public Information Officer and  Mayoral Aide – for offensive comments made under cover of his official title. Again, that’s a cover-up.

I’ll finish with the question I asked the City a couple of weeks ago, and which was not been answered:

Do Mr. Walker’s statements, insults, abuse and condescension reflect the official policies of the City of Trenton and the Office of the Mayor? Does the City defend accusing a group of citizens of “whining,” and discounting any civic involvement short of electoral politics as somehow invalid and worthless? Does the City defend telling a private citizen that neighbors “hate his guts,” that they are “smug,” “hateful,” “know-it-alls?”

Is this the kind of rhetoric we are to expect to hear throughout the remainder of the Mayor’s term in office? Is the “bully pulpit” of City Hall to be turned into a pulpit for bullies in Trenton as the White House as been in Washington?

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