I received word recently that some readers in and around the capital city of Trenton are upset with me for besmirching their beloved city in some of my recently published commentaries. I heard the bone of their dissatisfaction stems from an article I wrote back. In May, I sharply criticized potty mouth Trenton councilwoman Robin Vaughn, as well as some of Trenton’s African American leaders who, for whatever reason, are unwilling to speak out loudly and publicly regarding her disgraceful behavior and awful reputation. For those who don’t remember, the ‘hood rat home girl cursed and defamed the current mayor of Trenton—Reed Gusciora, in a secretly recorded and widely heard conference telephone call. Vaughn’s most recent tirade is one of several embarrassing public spectacles she has been involved in over the years. Everything from allegedly assaulting her sister in a Trenton parking lot to making racist and nasty comments about and to fellow council members and constituents, Vaughn continues to show her a**.
I also apparently ticked off some people when I compared the lush, green, safe, soft, and serene community of Trenton, Missouri to the concrete, loud and crime-infested ‘hood of Trenton, NJ. I compared the two cities when I described experiences I had while visiting and temporarily living in Trenton, MO, some 25 years ago to some of my past experiences growing up near Trenton, NJ.
Someone provided me with a link to a headline and subsequent story from June that reads, “New Jersey’s Capital City has sealed it’s place as #8 on AFAR.coms list (www.afar.com). AFAR is an online travel and marketing guide that, among other things, promotes travel and tourism to various spots across the globe. The article claims that the city of Trenton has ranked first in it’s people category and has come in seventh place for its foreign residents. Referred to as a “diverse metropolis,” the city of Trenton ranked in the top 10 for household income, along with top-rated restaurants as a small city in the United States.”
I did some more digging. There are countless memes, comments, and articles on dozens from current and former Trentonians, politicos, entrepreneurs, formerly and currently incarcerated folks, and others–offering an eclectic mix of opinions, comments, attacks, and attacks accolades about the city of some 85,000 residents. For hours, I read with delight, amazement, and some disgust dozens of mostly salty comments about some of the smarmy politicians, greedy business people, gang bangers, and other seedy and trashy stories about the city. Someone posted, “I make sure I’m out of Trenton before it gets dark!” However, sprinkled throughout the comments were remarks from people praising their city. One white woman said, “I’m a Trenton girl and proud of it!” Someone else said they had owned and operated a successful small business in the city for 14 years.
With a deep-seated desire to get into a story, I drove down Perry St. a few weeks ago, after dark for the first time in years!! I was so encouraged by the thrill that I parked my car and rolled down the windows on the notorious street for several minutes without incident. Later, I parked on another well-known and infamous street—MLK Blvd. Except for a few curious glances and a man taking a healthy swig of something out of a brown paper bag, cursing and staggering down the sidewalk, no one confronted or uttered a word to me.
So, what did I learn from all of this? A social commentary and opinion is just that..an opinion. Whether someone agrees or disagrees, that’s their right, as it is my right to write what I want to write about. However, when it comes to Trenton, I probably won’t be purchasing a house or renting an apartment on Perry St. or MLK Blvd, or anywhere else in the city. I, however, will continue to write about bumbling city council meetings, corrupt business leaders, and of course, all of the good, the bad, and the ugly elements of people, places, and things—including Trenton.