Last week’s headline article “Guy says goodbye” sheds light on the culture of corruption that has been part of Jersey City for decades.
Guy Catrillo apparently feels that his “naïve” personality was responsible for landing him in jail with the more seasoned political pros. I, for one, can buy his argument. As a 55 year old lifetime resident of this city, he has only known a city government burdened by scandals and misuse of power. His local schools, which show us the impact of political patronage on our youngest citizens, did little to help him develop a way to make ethical choices. Even his years of involvement with civic and religious groups left him without an understanding of right and wrong. Although the article reminded me of Richard Nixon trying to use the interviews with David Frost to rewrite the history of his failed presidency, our hearts do go out to him as an example of what happens when government officials, over decades, forget what it means to perform “public service” as elected officials. He is the product of his beloved city and its bankrupt political culture. Change, like spring, may be just around the corner with new residents like Councilman Steven Fulop actually listening to the comments and criticisms of his constituency and acting to serve their needs. But until residents of this city act responsibly by voting out the remnants of our ragged political system (from school boards to mayors) we will always have winter in our souls.