Election Day Redux

The city of Trenton is heading back to the polls today to finally decide who will be the first new mayor of the city in over 20 years. Let me rephrase that, the city of Trenton should be heading out to the polls today, but the likelihood of today's runoff vote being indicative of the city's population is highly unlikely. During the historic 2008 election, there were over 26,000 votes cast (23,577 for Barack Obama), as people were anxious to be part of something historic. Last fall, the shortsightedness of people was evident as the turnout for the gubernatorial election was down to just over 10,000 in November and that poor turnout is a direct result to the Chris Christie's tyrannical reign. The two candidates in today's runoff, Tony Mack and Manny Segura combined to receive only 4,219 votes in a city of over 41,000 registered voters. It seems like folks were so preoccupied with history, they lost sight of the present and more important, the future. Over 33,000 voters sat out the primary, perhaps it's a matter of apathy or disenfranchisement, but there's a lot of ignorance attached to. In a city so small, with problems so big, not having your say in the changing direction of your city is really sad.

I can only hope that Trentonians make their way out to their local polling place today and vote for mayor and city council, plus the public question regarding the sale of the suburban pipes and water towers of the Trenton Water System. Facing dire straits financially, the city has worked out a deal that amounts to $400 million over the next 20 years to American Water Company. The deal is being sold to the public as an infusion of cash to a city that needs it, but also needs an increased police presence, more parental involvement in the school system, and an overall paradigm shift. The deal was as good as done until petitioners raised awareness with a campaign calling for the city to not sell one of its most valuable assets and a grassroots movement was born that now has the residents poised to vote on the matter. However, with numbers like $80 and $400 million dollars being thrown around and less than a third of registered voters voting last month, doesn't look good for opponents of the Trenton Water Deal.

The city itself has taken a proactive approach to dispute the claims of those against the water deal, by releasing a fact sheet (read here) and commercials promoting the incentives that will come from the deal. Even Manny Segura has a new commercial touting himself as the best candidate for mayor, while Tony Mack may be resting on his standing as a favorite son of the city in his bid to become mayor. All of this is happening while students are getting a less than adequate education, property taxes are rising, violence increasing and summer isn't even here yet, but it seems it may be politics as usual.

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