Thursday, May 22, 2008

Notes from 5/13 City Council meeting

· City Council made steps to allow the new construction of the State St. bridge, an historic bridge that needs repair.

· The City of Camden is establishing new bus stops throughout the city. Councilman Moran asked the business administrator if the residents near those stops were informed.

o She gave a roundabout answer that equaled no. This will be up again at the next meeting. I will have more details then.


· City Council passed a Angel Cordero brought students with him to discuss the resolution in support of Senate Bill No. 140 and Assembly Bill No. A1003. This bill will offer scholarships to students in urban districts

· The mayor submitted three names to be on the Camden Empowerment Zone board of trustees

o The names submitted were Donovan McCargo, Atnreakn Alleyne, and Jerome Taylor

o Dana Redd tabled this and referred the names to the newly formed nominating committee

§ Angel Fuentes formed this committee a month ago

· City Council approved a $2million tax payment from the South Jersey Port Corporation.

o SJPC includes three separate terminals in Camden

§ Beckett St. terminal

§ Broadway terminal

§ Broadway produce terminal

o The law states that no PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) can be approved without going through a process

o There was no supplemental information attached to the resolution. I asked City Council why they were approving this. No answer was given. Later, Council Wilson did give me a letter that he wrote to the governor about the matter.

My Opinion: During the meeting, there was discussion with the administration and the members of City Council over how bills are submitted for City Council’s approval. The discussion showed that the administration expects all submissions to be approved without the proper documentation being shown. Nonetheless, City Council approved bills that did not all of the necessary information.

Something disturbing that keeps happening during the meetings is the amount of disrespect everyone has for everyone else. During the meeting, city employees gossip, criticize, and complain about other their co-workers. They do this near me, knowing that I write this blog. I will not give them the honor of naming them or their unprofessional statements. Some department directors began side conversations as people from the public speak. City Council members walked out as residents were speaking. The City Clerk did not announce what resolutions passed and which did not, leaving the public in confusion.

After the meeting, I realized that there is very little one person can do to influence those that run this city. I asked my friends in my generation to come observe, but that stayed home.

If this city ever becomes the great small city that it has the potential to be, there are two conditions that must exist – a community of people that show that they care and an elected group of people who act to do good things for the people that they serve.

Let us remember what President Lincoln said – a government for the people, by the people, and of the people shall not perish from the earth. Currently the future of our young, poor, under-educated, and sick is perishing into a pit that will be hard for us to ever get out of without extreme sacrifice that will cost us more blood and treasure than we even have.

The Philadelphia Inquirer is about to cover Camden again.

Power to the people.

No comments: