Friday, August 17, 2018

OLD BLOG



I have an all am "test" today so no time to write about the cancelled 92K  ego military parade or other abuse of our money or civil liberties. There are too many. 

Idid think you might like reading this 2008 blog about Plainfield and a picture from 30 years ago.

A PARTIAL HISTORY OF PLAINFIELD MANUFACTURING.

Once upon a time Plainfield was a split personality town. A significant portion was “white collar”. It was a New York City Bedroom Community. The four local train stations were crowded during the commuting hours. Railroad and Wall Street executives lived here. The Netherwood station in the 1890s up to WW I was the specific designation for New York celebrities coming to spend time at the resort Netherwood Hotel.
Likewise, the 1st and 4th Wards were the dwelling place for Plainfield’s large Irish, Italian and Polish “blue collar” working class. There was also a significant Afro-American population that lived mostly between Plainfield Ave and Grant Ave on West 2nd and 3rd Streets, among the other working population.
The Queen City area was the location of the country’s three major printing press manufacturers. Plainfield boasted Wood’s along the railroad tracks from Grant Ave east. Next to the tracks on South Ave. was the Scott’s plant which is still standing but used by other industries.
In Middlesex, bordering Dunellen was the Hoe’s printing press works. All had a foundry as part of the assembly plant. After World War II, these plants became outdated due to changes in the technology of printing the factories that produce the printing presses closed down.
In the West End law between Grant Ave., and Clinton, The Mack truck factory occupied both sides of the railroad. During WWI this plant was the leading supplier for heavy duty trucks. Interestingly the rear wheels were chain driven and of course the trucks were not speedy. By the end of WWII this plant which had grown like topsy became inefficient to operate. Mack trucks in a move to escape a strong union in an outdated plant transferred some of its operations to Allentown Pennsylvania. Truck production was relocated to a new modern facility in Hagerstown, Maryland. Since this was rural farm country, labor costs were much lower than here.
Thereafter, Plainfield had no heavy industry to produce a major source of personal and taxable income.
Between Roosevelt and Berkman north of the tracks was a railroad engine house with a turntable and storage tracks plus a still standing warehouse. Further east of Berkman on the north side of the tracks, was the large electrical motor manufacturing factory, Howell. There was also the large Samoset Laundry building which was destroyed by fire long after it had been abandoned.
Because of the availability of excellent road networks, the railroads no longer were an absolute necessity for the manufacturing and transportation of goods.
The Pennsylvania coal mines lost importance for several reasons. Anthracite (hard) coal was more difficult to use than the soft bituminous coals from West Virginia and the western states. Pipelines made oil and natural gas cheaper and cleaner sources of energy.
In the east all the railroads were no longer financial viable industries.
Other industries that closed within a little over a decade after World War II included the Bronston’s Hats\. This manufacture of men’s hats was a victim of the change in fashion.
Another casualty, although not manufacturing, was the large manufactured gas storage tank by the railroad tracks off Watching Ave. A parking lot now occupies that spot.
In South Plainfield the buildings of the sprawling Spicer plant along the Lehigh tracks at Hamilton Ave became an Industrial Park. Today its revitalization is complicated by the grossly contaminated soil.
Harris Steel was once one of the major structural steel plants in the East. There are other smaller companies occupying the plant space.
Dunellen’s Art Color plant, once one of the largest producers of magazines and catalogs in the country, became a victim of the n ewer technologies and closed.
Plainfield was no longer a major manufacturing town. The loss of revenue from those factories would never be recovered. Unlike the other towns which had available land for commercial development Plainfield and Dunellen suffered from the shifts in economic enterprises.
What has this 1980s train in the Pyrenees Mountains of France along Spain's border have to do with factories? Nothing what so ever! Perhaps it is symbolic of the aimless course Plainfield has been on for the last three decades. You can not tell whether it is coming or going, since there is no engine, each car is self powered through a third rail. The cars are wooden. Accept it as just a picture I liked.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

FOOD FOR THOUGHT


  I do not want to appear to be abrasive, but it seems that I am continuing attacking the Plainfield City Government; the Council and Administration. Yes, I am because we who care must speak up since there is so much wrong that we as taxpayers begin to feel that we are the piggy bank for a large cohesive group of self-centered politicians. Politicians that line their pockets at our expense.
  As Bill Kruse commented “Three years ago Mayor Mapp made an irrational proposal: Eliminate the Planning Department and contract its functions to a private consultant. The specious justification offered was that it would reduce cost by shrinking government. How does that concept wash with the currently proposed monumental expansion”. Fortunately, that Council was not like the present one which seems to have abdicate its legislative function in favor of Administration.
  Now in our own government we have not only in terms of economy outsourced engineering, health services as well as a tremendous amount of legal work which may be the function of a full time Corporation Counsel. No one has ever proved that this was cost saving despite numbers thrown ab out.
  As an example of hand shaking politics could be our own Mayor who besides being a full time Director of Finance in Orange also is, at a recently doubled salary, the part time Mayor in Plainfield with an already large administrative staff. Part of Plainfield’s extensively farmed out legal work is Orange’s Mayor Dwayne Warren who also works as a senior partner at the law firm Mizrahi Warren, an adjunct professor at Essex County College as municipal prosecutor in Plainfield.
  Is there something peculiar that one man is Mayor in Plainfield as well as a full-time employee in Orange, while the Mayor of Orange has a paid position in Plainfield?  I became aware of this circumstance due to an article in Wednesday’s Star Ledger about the recall petition of the Mayor being filed in Orange.
  According to the Ledger article (not verbatim) “Warren’s administration has been marked by fights -- over his hiring of top administrators to highly paid jobs that weren’t on the books. Warren’s tenure in Orange has been marked by federal investigations, mismanagement of city coffers”
  How many of the recent appointees to Plainfield’s burgeoning administrative staff have come via the Oranges and Elizabeth pipe line?  
  Both Mapp with his additional private CPA practice and Warren could be so busy that they should not be able to find time to sleep. Perhaps that is why we need 8 new Departments plus 10 “Confidential Secretaries or Administrator Assistants” Like Trump’s “would/wouldn’t” the Mayor used both to define part of the new code. 
  Yes the Charter needs change, we recognized that in 2012 but our well thought out suggestions were left in limbo by our own politicians in Trenton for reasons unknown.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

UMBRAGE


   Unfortunately, I could not attend last night’s Council so unfortunately, I must rely on the TAP video of the Mayor’s remarks in defense of unfortunately I must rely on the TAP video the Planned City Charter revision or I would have expressed in person my umbrage of the Mayor’s remarks characterizing everyone who objected to the Charter/City Code revisions.

  I cannot be sure that I was able to accurately quote his remarks, but they are 99% correct.   Just as Trump does in his tweets our Mayor referred to his critics as “purveyors of misinformation or lies” who owe the citizens of Plainfield “an apology”.  He also stated that the petition was based on “lies and (unintelligible) misinformation” based on incomplete facts.

  Just like Trump he proclaimed that he was "the source of the truth" and proceeded to spout a set of numbers and dollars that seemed so confusing that I will have to get if possible and read before making any comment on their significance or accuracy. My initial impression from the TAP tape was that that was all gibberish.

  Yes Dan; Sean McKenna was right when in July he wrote; ”the city of Plainfield has morphed into a single governmental branch operation, against all standards and norms of democracy (not to mention little things like constitutions.)”
   Neither I or anyone else must apologize for expressing our concerns regarding governmental action. That is our 1st Amendment right and acceptable as long as we do not deliberately state misinformation with the intent to deceive

Sunday, August 12, 2018

ABOUT MONDAY NIGHT'S MEETING


  This am I had almost completed a blog relating to Monday’s Council meeting when puff it vanished into who knows where. Since I was being critical of the format of the meeting and the Council itself as well as the Administration and specifically about items on the Agenda especially the Ordinance regarding the Charter change and the city code I felt that perhaps I was in Washington and like the media being blasted by PONTUS as a danger to the nation/city.
  Most likely for physical reasons I may be unable to express my concerns in person at the meeting. Even if I am able to attend I am sure that 3minutes would only be enough time to present an incomplete concern. I would also feel like Don Quixote before this Council whose members I am sure have only one purpose; to vote yes without questioning many items on the agenda including whether contracts awarded to “State approved vendors” is financially better than if there had been RFPs and subsequent biddings.  Or why we need another legal team? How much our legal costs including in house and outside attorneys, staff but not including settlements are costing us taxpayers each year.?
  About Ordinance MC 2018-22; the one that will change the city charter and code and create 7 Departments instead of the Present 3, plus up to 10 “Confidential Aids”. As a member of the Commission that presented its findings to the Council in DEC 201513 which were approved by the Council and forwarded to the legislature in accordance to the State’s Constitution: “16. Special charter or specific amendments of charters; petition to legislature
If the charter commission shall propose a special charter or specific amendment or amendments of or to the existing charter of the municipality, it shall be the duty of the governing body of the municipality to forthwith petition the Legislature for a special law or laws, pursuant to the Constitution of 1947 and in the  manner provided by general enabling legislation thereunder, to carry out the recommendations of the charter commission
  The fact that the State Legislature failed to act is mood. However, this year’s action sponsored by Union County’s Senator Scutari and Plainfield’s own Assemblywoman Carter to the change City Charter to 7 departments and praised by Mayor Adrian O. Mapp who said Friday, “It’s a great day for the City of Plainfield” reminds me of a purely political action similar to that of Trump and his Republican Congress.
  Any statement that it will not increase city’s costs defies logic, and some of the new Departments seem purely an avenue for increased patronage not efficiency.
  I would be surprised if any Councilor has had time to read all 124 pages of this Ordinance and City Code changes or just the 60 pages of the new code. Or question who needled the legislature to produce by itself this new Charter revision.
 Changes are needed but why not just approve the commission’s recommendations which appeared logical then and still does?