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New Jersey State House Building (Photo by Jimmy Woo on Unsplash)

Earlier this month, I received a one-paragraph press release from the Capital City Area Black Caucus (CCABC) in Trenton. The statement implored the laughable, inept, and frequently embarrassing antics of some members of the Trenton City Council to cast the net wider in seeking a permanent replacement for former council member Jerell Blakely. In January, Blakely left the besmirched City Council for the greener pastures of an out-of-state job. Good for him. Bad for the Trentonians he left behind.

Meanwhile, divisive and outlandish behavior emanates from the statehouse and the Council. Sonya Wilkins, a former city employee and Trenton Housing Authority commissioner and a good gal pal of Council president Kathy McBride, was voted to replace Blakely until the end of the year. However, she recently came under fire and blasted the city’s paper, The Trentonian, for bringing to light that she was dead broke and had to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy for protection from more than a dozen creditors in 2012. The case was closed in 2017. Wilkins accused the reporter of sloppy and inaccurate reporting. As it turns out, the reporter was right, and besides being dead broke back then, she was dead wrong now. Perhaps, Wilkins should have realized that all of this information about her financial woes years ago is public record and would come to light when she became a high-profile public official. If sharing the news to Trentonians and everyone else was so unsettling for her, maybe she should have reconsidered joining the City Council, or better yet, she should have revealed it during the vetting process.

And Council president McBride has always been at odds with current Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora about everything, disputing and arguing about nearly every initiative, order, or submitted proposal. McBride was also recently called the “B-word” on a hot mic by someone hoping to be appointed to the Council. She was also involved in a recent altercation, and the “C-word” was used.

Then resident homegirl, hood rat and loud mouth, Robin Vaughn still hasn’t lived down her verbal assault and foul-mouth tirade against the mayor nearly two years ago. The conversation was tape-recorded and posted to YouTube. It’s been viewed almost 1,200 times. She has also made bigoted, homophobic and racist remarks during and after City Council meetings. Vaughn posted to her FB page, “I am NOT: Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic or Anti-Latino.” Someone responded that they almost spit out their water in disgust when they read her laughable post. And someone else responded and compared her to Donald Trump. “Your behavior belongs with Trump supporters who, like you are in need of psychological treatment. Your behavior is consistently unhinged,” the post read.

Finally, I wish the Capital City Area Black Caucus luck in persuading some of the head in the sand council members to broaden the search in seeking a permanent replacement for Blakely in November. However, I’m not optimistic. And I’m also a bit perplexed as to why any lucid and intelligent person would want to jump into the snakepit of the Trenton City Council, but that’s another story. Any of the suggested candidates like Educator Yazminelly Gonzalez, Trenton Businessman Tracey Syphax, and Trenton School Board Member Gene Bouie would indeed be welcomed additions to the City Council—especially if some of the current members resign or are forced out. We can only hope!

Glenn Townes

I'm an award winning journalist based in Edison, NJ. My work has been featured in dozens of publications including, Black Enterprise magazine; ESSENCE magazine and Real Health magazine. I am also a featured...

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