Tuesday, May 5, 2015

IN SHOCK




Today I am “write less”. Even if my present temporary mobility restrictions had not prevented me from attending Monday’s two important meetings; the action taken at the PMUA would have been enough of a shock of disbelief to be able to write only three words; “How could they?”

My Grandfather when he lived in NYC always voted for the Tammany (Democrat Boss) party. When asked; why his comment was “We know (?) how much these people steal, we have no idea what the others will do.”

There is also a political philosophy that the end justifies the means. It is not for what is the best for the public but what will get me the power.

This is true in Plainfield and in Northern/Central Jersey there is a fight over Union County as well as Essex and Hudson by a coalition attack on in the long entrenched patronage dispensers. No one wishes to investigate how our area bosses of the past 2 or 3 decades have financially benefited. Instead, they want the pie for themselves.

How else can we explain why the Mayor who was elected on a promise of correcting local “corruption” could appoint such tainted individuals as Eric Watson as Director of Public Works, or via his Commissioners to the PMUA Bryan G. Christiansen formerly executive director of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission until he was removed by Gov. Chris Christie.

H. L. Mencken has remarked that “A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar”.

I was never convinced that we were dealing with a “good politician”. When I voted for him I knew that he was what he is; but anybody had to be better than the Administration we had and the supporting Council members.

The truth is that Mapp has lost all credibility. We are now caught between a rock and a hard place; Jerry Green et al and the “New Democrats” in the upcoming primary elections.

The only choice is out with the old, in with the opposition and hoping a generation of committed civic servants can come to the fore and be elected respectfully of party affiliations.

Monday, May 4, 2015

JUSTICE?




White Justice, Black Justice, Social Justice, Police Justice, Constitutional Justice, or Lynch Mob Justice; which do we mean when we speak of “Justice”?

I raise this question because of the destructive mob actions in Baltimore and (Lawrence don't look for Lawrence,  I of course was referring tp Ferguson) . Those protest started out as demonstrations against what seems very apparent at least in the case of Baltimore a gross abuse of police power that ended in the death of a black man.

In both cases they turned into an opportunistic excuse by a small hard core group perhaps foreign to the local population concerned, to pillage, burn, and destroy public and private party property.

But what is “Justice”? The best definition I could find is; “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

That is the “Constitutional Justice” which is the basis of our society’s freedom. It is true that it is not always right in its determination, but by deciding that “justice” only meaning is punishment of those we feel have wronged us. Therefore creating violent and destructive protests when the result is not that we want, is an attack on the people of this country.

Our problem is compounded by the fact that there is undeniably focusing on Black males disproportionate with their percentage in society. The targeting is also disproportionate with criminal rates among black and their white peers.

There are many valid reasons for this statistic among which are economic factors such as job availability and income levels, as well as educational disparity. These are Society problems which must be and can be corrected. That will take efforts and willingness of all ethnic groups at all levels of government and on educational boards to do so. We need people in those positions that are interested in society not their own agendas.

Yes there has been ‘White Justice”, but that was mostly in the past. There are legal modalities in place today that must be and are being used to correct “Injustices”. Once again violent reaction when the outcome of Civil Rights Related actions are not what we want; there is no excuse for violence. That can be considered “Lynch Mob Justice”.

Too often what can be labeled “Black Justice” is not acceptance of “Constitutional Justice” but a form of ‘Lynch Mob Justice”. A Lynch Mob philosophy leads to the riots we have seen.

The problem that has arisen is solely the result of “Police Justice” which has to be strongly addressed. It is not just white against defenseless blacks, but too often as in Baltimore not a racial issue but a brute display of uncontrolled power. In fact this  is not "Justice" but a blatant abuse of power that would have  been acceptable in Hitler's Germany or the Soviet Union ad is today common  in all dictator ruled countries, It is our duty to eliminate such abuse.

In Baltimore 3 of the 6 police officers indicted are African-Americans. The one charged with Second Degree Homicide is black! His immediate superior officer is black! There is obviously a police culture that results in these tragedies.

The use of body cameras may change some perceptions of what has happened. That should be encouraged. Most important is the education of the police personnel. Also equally important is the relationship between the targeted society with the police. That needs working with on both sides.

This is a subject that none of us have the “right answer”, but should be openly and unbiasedly discussed. I welcome your comments.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A SUNDAY TO ENJOY




May 3, 2015: One beautiful warm Sunday. Oh would the rest of this month be like this with some rain late each night. California had a mild earthquake yesterday in the Los Angeles area. That one was the second one in a month in the same location.

We think that the earth is quiet except for man caused tumult ala Baltimore. However in the past 24 hours there have been 31 earthquakes all over the world; fortunately none over a “mild” 4.2 magnitude.

In our own part of the world there were 3in Alaska, 3 in California, 2 in Mississippi, 1 in Texas, 1 in Michigan. 1 in Idaho and 2 off the Virgin Islands.

In Oz there seems to have been one at the PMUA. We may learn the details Monday, thank you Bernice. There is also a Council Agenda Fixing Session Monday night and a quick look at the agenda suggests that the resolutions up for discussion should not cause any uproar. However one never knows.

There is a Resolution permitting a banner over “city’s sidewalks and roadways announcing the Month of Ramadan fasting”. That may come close to a question of separation of “church and state” clause in the Constitution, but we do have citywide Christmas decorations and City Hall Trees as well as a “Menorah”.

There is a resolution authorizing a lien for $181,153.00 for the demolition of the property at 187-191 North Ave. Since there was documented need from 2008 on there is a question about the delay and the circumstances. That will have to be answered.

Several Ordinances up for first reading are of interest. One makes the City Clerk responsible for supervising the Office of Vital Statistics which includes issuance of marriage licenses. Another removes those functions from the Division of Health. Is there now a full time Health Officer?