Trenton Councilman Rodriguez Drives Reparations Resolution Amid Mayoral Buzz

Santiago Rodriguez

Quietly but no less insistently, Trenton Councilman Santiago Rodriguez will introduce a local resolution in support of state legislation creating a “New Jersey Reparations Task Force.”

Trenton Resolution 21-113 will place the council’s voices behind the bill  (S322/A711), which will “research, write, and publish a report that will make the case for State-based reparations in New Jersey and outline policy recommendations that seek to repair the harm that has resulted from America’s original sin in the Garden State.”

It’s the latest Rodriguez measure aimed at driving a bigger progressive agenda, happening amid a politically scorched earth City of Trenton.

The volatile city council is composed in part of several outsized egos at war with each other, and in that pressure cooker environment (homophobia one week, anti-Semitism the next, toxic male chauvinism the next) Rodriguez hammered together the reparations resolution, catching the “Wait, what, ok” supportive attention of his bellicose colleagues.

Of course, the devil is in the details when it comes to reparations, Rodriguez admitted.

“This resolution will pass this week,” said the councilman. “”Let’s see, once they form the task force, how is it going to happen. I support reparations in some form, especially for cities like Trenton, which is mostly black and brown.”

Trenton is a year removed from a mayoral election, and the pushing and shoving started long ago, as elected officials position themselves to take on presumed incumbent Mayor Reed Gusciora.

Might one of the citywide contenders turn out to be Rodriguez?

“I have to think about it,” said the city councilman, when InsiderNJ asked him about his mayoral intentions. “We will see what goes on in the next six months. Unluckily, Trenton is still behind.”

The councilman is going after other broad stroke measures, having had to spent no time convincing his fellow local lawmakers to back his resolution in support of immigration reform.

“Obama failed,” said Rodriguez, in reference to immigration reform. “He had a Democratic congress and missed his opportunity.”

He also was the local force behind dumping Columbus Day in exchange for “indigenous people’s day.”

From the reparations bill, sponsored in the legislature by Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31):

Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31) of Jersey City.

“The task force shall consist of 11 members, at least seven of whom shall be public members, to be appointed as follows:

three members shall be appointed by the Governor, not more 4 than two of whom shall be from the same political party; and eight members shall be appointed by the Legislative leadership, as follows:

(a) two members appointed by the Senate President, not more than one of whom shall be a member of the Senate;
(b) two members appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate, not more than one of whom shall be a member of the Senate;
(c) two members appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, not more than one of whom shall be a member of the General Assembly; and
(d) two members appointed by the Minority Leader of the General Assembly, not more than one of whom shall be a member of the General Assembly.


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