BY ROBIN M. VAUGHN
Mayor Gusciora and Councilmembers:
Interesting – no one calls for the ouster of a mayor who does not ensure EEO/AA compliance for city contracts to minorities, women, veterans and disabled. No one calls for the ouster of a Councilman who has proven to the public, all captured on the record, his propensity for misogynistic behaviors by verbally abusing and physically intimidating and threatening women. Time and time again, during his public outbursts of rage, he opts to go after a Councilman’s wife, and he speaks, posts to social and/or submits to print media negative and slanderous comments, specifically targeting the three Councilwomen. Not once has he gone after Councilmen Santiago, Muschal, or Harrison exerting the same level of toughness. NOT. Even. Once. It is utterly astounding that the same Councilman whose disturbing physical behaviors on numerous occasions continues to go unchecked, to be tolerated and given the proverbial pass, by the mayor, and that he has the gall to call for the ouster of Hon. Kathy McBride, President of Trenton City Council for allegedly making one anti-Semitic comment.
The mayor should stop grandstanding and pretending to care about racism and discrimination issues. His purported outrage is not about fighting racism and discrimination. His purported outrage is really a thinly disguised pretext for going after Council President McBride to discredit and undermine her accomplishments because she takes her job seriously and openly challenges his commitment to the City of Trenton.
A mayor of an inner-city with a population that is predominantly people of color wants to hire a private trades union, headquartered outside his city and have a long history of snubbing diversity and inclusion in its apprenticeship and membership, wants to pay them with his city’s taxpayer dollars at a significantly higher pay rate than his own city employees who belong to the predominantly black public local union. And he wants us to believe that he cares and now wants to talk about racism, diversity, inclusion and discrimination relative to one alleged anti-Semitic comment?
So, let’s seriously talk about systemic racism and discrimination that impacts people’s lives and taxpayer’s dollars. If he wants to talk anti-discrimination, ensure fairness, equity and equality for all Trentonians, then he should stand with this City and demand better from his political friends at the private trades union. He has not done that, instead, he jumps on calling out his City Council President for allegedly making a comment, in a confidential and private closed meeting, not directed at a specific person in the room, that is worthy of nothing more than a private discussion with the impacted parties who were in the room at the time the alleged comment was made. Once this discussion is had, then at that time parties should agree to move on to conducting the city’s business.
Detractors need to stop with the distractions. The City of Trenton is in fiscal distress and facing so many societal ills. And, an alleged anti-Semitic remark is front page news! Please stop the madness and political jockeying.
What’s more – It’s outrageous and unethical that a comment that was part of a confidential private discussion during an executive session was leaked to the media. I will request the Law Department to open an inquiry to this matter and revert to Council and the public its findings. It is important that a violation of the public trust is taken seriously and that we send a message that a breach of this nature will be investigated to the fullest extent of the law.
Robin M. Vaughn is the Trenton West Ward Councilwoman