Incumbent Mayor Wins Second Term
While correctly assessing the odds on her win in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 12 to 1, the editors did take note of a first term with "few successes" and some major flaws in governance. Local bloggers went further, posting long lists of unresolved issues from the past four years, including road upkeep, high turnover of administrators, stalled development and state chidings on the lack of a chief finance officer for two years.
Whether the mayor will take these concerns to heart remains to be seen. Her mentor, Assemblyman Jerry Green, also won re-election, though by a closer margin. The pair could take their wins as a mandate for business as usual.
However, Republican Chris Christie's defeat of incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine will mean new leadership in Trenton. In the midst of 44 recent arrests, including many Democratic politicians, the head of the state Department of Community Affairs stepped down. This department includes the Division of Local Government Services, which is only now pressuring the city to set things right fiscally. If Christie can find the right person to head up the DCA, perhaps oversight of local government will tighten up.
Robinson-Briggs will also have to contend with Councilman Adrian Mapp, whom she defeated in the June mayoral primary but who has three more years in his council term. Mapp and other members of the governing body have taken off the gloves over fiscal lapses and many other failings of the administration.
As for Pivnichny, he obviously has support beyond party lines and, if he wishes, could still be a voice for more capable government. The silver lining of his loss may be that he will not have to clean up the messes made since 2006. The mayor must now take up that chore herself.
The other municipal winner Tuesday was Bridget Rivers, who won the Fourth Ward City Council seat. Rivers is the current president of the Board of Education. She will have to relinquish that seat Jan. 1, but could do so sooner. The board will then have to fill the vacancy and also pick a new president to serve until the April 2010 school board election.