Earlier this month, one of my writers had a frank and candid interview with Derek Armstead, the first African American Mayor of Linden, NJ. As I read and edited the story, one point that quickly garnered my attention was the seemingly ubiquitous acrimonious relationship between City Council members and Mayor offices across the state–with the Trenton City Council at the head of the bad class. It prompted me to write this commentary.
Am I right or wrong when I claim that politics in New Jersey has always been chaotic and controversial? And if you narrow it down to politics in the city of Trenton, other more direct adjectives like web of deceit and scandal-plagued come to mind. Check it out.
Nearly ten years ago, I wrote a widely read article/commentary raising the possibility that current Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver had a questionable future in politics. https://amsterdamnews.com/news/2013/08/29/shaky-political-future-sheila-oliver-booker-gay-ru/
At the time, Oliver was the State Assembly Speaker—making her the most influential African American woman in politics in the Garden State. However, she had a rocky tenure as Speaker stretching back to 2009. She often clashed with then Gov. Chris Christie, made legislative gaffes and fumbles that garnered sharp statewide criticism, and frequently argued with constituents. She eventually ran for a state Senate seat against Cory Booker. Oliver often leveled attacks against Booker, who at the time was the mayor of Newark. In the end, Booker won, and Oliver finished dead last among the candidates. To her credit, Oliver survived all of the political minutiae, amended some of her ways and rhetoric, and is now firmly entrenched in her second term as Lt. Governor. Once again, she is one of the most powerful woman in the state. I gleefully applaud her tenure and her efforts.
I admit that perhaps, I may have been a bit premature in my assertion back in 2013 that Ms. Oliver faced an uncertain or “shaky” political future. However, I likely won’t waver on my bold predictions about the future of some other New Jersey politicos—especially members of the biggest political snake pit in the state—commonly known as the Trenton City Council (TCC). During the past several years, I, along with countless others, have penned blistering and stinging social commentaries and editorials about that hornet’s nest–and highlighted some of the “BEES” that swarm around it. The current bumbling cast of characters on the TCC is a disgrace and won’t be forgotten by Trentonians and others for a long time.
Lastly, Trenton Orbit is an excellent website to keep abreast of some of the shady shenanigans in Trenton. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2944070452322817/photos/ I frequently visit the site and grimace, smirk, sneer, laugh out loud (LOL) and have rolled around on the floor and laughed my a** off (LMAO) at some of the stories and comments about the Trenton City Council and the Capital City. Check it out!