Friday, October 31, 2014

FOR WHAT IT IS WORTH-THE ELECTION



Four more days for campaigning before election. For all the noise that I have not heard there IS going to be an election on November 4, 2014.

Believe it or not this is an important election. However I can only address it very superficially and disappointedly because of what is a rare candidates’ blackout in our area. Not only local, but also county, state, and national races seem not to exist from the amount of propaganda received in the mail or on the air.

The Board of Education election is supposed to be non-partisan and non-political. However in Plainfield as in Elizabeth where the powerful unofficial County Boss Lesniak is supporting through an “independent" PAC a slate in opposition to the entrenched slate beholden to his political opponent; there are two slates plus an incumbent running this time sans slate support.

The JG local party makes no secret of its slate including placing support signs in its window. The Campbell backed slate is trying to maintain its hold of many years. Each slate has some candidates that could be productive Board members if they did not have political baggage encumbrance.

The fact that Hurtt is at odds with his original running mates and his experience on the Board would make him a choice. As to the others my opinion is that there were most at the LWV’s forum who did not project any outstating reason to indicate that they could be a change for the better on the Board.

My best advice; don’t vote a slate. Chose from among the two slates perhaps the best one from Column A and one from Column B by default.

This Board will never be a good representation for Plainfield’s educational needs until it does not become a political vehicle. Transparency in contracts, as well as patronage impact on staffing, and personal relationships is a requirement that receives only lip service.  

There is nothing but a Black Wreath to place about the Council races. With a 10:1 Democrat registration advantage, the Republicans did not even place a candidate for the 1st Ward seat. Until there is sufficient time to develop some knowledge we are looking at a clone of the 1st& 4th Ward.

The race for the 2nd & 3rd Ward seat unfortunately has the two best qualified potential members of the Council in opposition.
Uniquely the incumbent Rebecca Williams has received less than warm support from the City Party Chairman. That is probably because she has not been a player but acts as she rightly feels is in the best interests of the city and its residents.

It is most unfortunate that the members of the Gang of Four especially its newest one at meetings have too openly expressed  their antagonism to her. This of course has often made her ineffective.

Her opponent William Michelson should have lived in the 3rd Ward. He is light years above the two candidates in that election. I am convinced that his presence on the Council will be a most positive one. Above all, his personality as of yet has not except for one little incident ruffled the feathers of the Gang and its leadership.

I am advocating flipping the coin, but hope it is two headed, for this election. The residents of the two ward are in a win win position.

I wish I could vote in the 3rd ward where I did live as a voter for over 25 years. I have not hidden my disdain for various reasons of the anointed incumbent. Her disrespect for the voters by ignoring the traditional impartial LWV’s Candidates Forum was a slap in the face to every “thinking” resident not only those who can vote in that ward.

Deliberately, Taylor deprived Randy Bullock running on what is supposed to be the Republican ticket of an opportunity to expose himself to the public. What little I know about him is good. The manner in which he received the party nomination was weird. However, if for no other reason than he is not Gloria Taylor he would get my vote if I could...

It will take a revolt by 3rd Ward voters to unseat Taylor. Consider that there are 3847 registered voters in that Ward; 2048 are Democrats, 224 Republicans and 1575 who have indicated no party affiliation.

Assuming that 60% of the registered Democrats turn out and vote the party line that would be 1228 voters. Not all will be for Taylor; perhaps 2/3rds are dedicated party line followers or that mean a total Taylor vote of only about 820 votes. She can be defeated if the majority of the 
Republicans decide their vote counts, and the 400+ Democrats who believe in Democracy in local politics not Bossism, plus even half of the Independents vote for Bullock he would be elected.

Although the numbers and affiliations of the voters are according to the latest information, the conclusions are hypothetical. None the less it indicates that if the voters in that ward are interested in good government it is possible.

Regarding the Freeholders and Sheriffs race; Union County has too long been controlled by the Lesniak Democrats and a change is unlikely. I have no information about any of the Republican Candidates to even express an opinion. However in the past New Jersey politics is what has made this the “Soprano State”.

Despite the fact that several "anomies" have accused me of being a racist; I am again going to vote for Booker for the US Senate and also for Watson Colman for the House. That of course is in line with my “racist’s votes” twice for Obama.

FILLER

Unless there is an unexpected flurry of words over the weekend a final comment on  the election will appear later today

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WHY NO BLOG

What a great ballgame--no time to bog. Madison Bumgarner is the greatest world series pitcher I have seen.

CANDIDATES' NIGHT



Tuesday’s night’s LWV forum was disappointing in what I felt was a poor attendance. I would like to believe that this was due to the 6:30 start for the BOE candidates and not because of a lack of interest.

The seven candidates for the BOE two running on slates and an incumbent running as an individual all performed well. No one talked him/herself out of consideration. All candidates focused on the lack of "transparency" and poor public public attendance at Board meetings. The fact that the teachers have not had a contract for the past two years was a concern of all.

As in other  area towns this so called non partisan election has become a a battlefield between two  groups one with outright political affiliations, The Jerry Green backed slate. The other slate backed by a supposed Republican, John Campbell, has controlled the BOE for many years.

I am not going to highlight any one as a “must vote”. Suffice to say that my own impression is that like the proverbial Chinese menu my choice most likely be one from column A, one from column B, and one from column C.
  
The Council Candidate’s debate was sadly lacking in quantity, but not in quality.  As I anticipated Gloria Taylor after participating in the AACP forum, snubbed her nose at the WLV. That deprived us from hearing Republican Randy Bullock; good politics?

The two candidates for the 2nd &3rd Ward at large seat; Both incumbent Rebecca Williams and William Michaelson are both so far above many candidates that have appeared  in previous elections that it is too bad  they are in direct opposition. The Council will suffer in that both cannot serve.

Again I will not recommend either one, but suggest that you who can vote for them consider carefully what they bring to the Council and vote accordingly. If only we were presented with similar choices in the 3rd and 1st Wards.

Remember that in any General Election the intelligent voter does not routinely vote the straight party ticket but will cross over the line to vote for a better person.

Monday, October 27, 2014

QUARANTINES AND STUFF



Quarantines are justified and appropriate when Society is in jeopardy. There are times when individual rights are  secondary to the welfare of the people.

 What is common about Measles, Diphtheria, Leprosy, Small Pox, Tuberculosis, the Plague, Cholera, SARS, MERS, Ebola, Yellow Fever, Influenza, and Syphilis?

They are all among the many diseases that at some time in human history somewhere in the civilized world their presence resulted in some form of quarantine in an attempt to control their spread. Even today active TB is subject to quarantine.

There is nothing wrong and illegal about a quarantine for possible Ebola infection of travelers from the epidemic West Africa nations. However, the governors of New York and New Jersey were shooting from the hip without ascertaining proper facts before issuing their draconian regulations. Yes, the people in  Newark over reacted out of fear.

Moreover, whereas New York City had a facility well prepared to treat active isolation cases, Newark’s University Hospital had only an ill prepared retention tent suitable for perhaps a mass disaster but not for an observation quarantine unit.  

Additional, the individuals interacting with the nurse had no sense of human decency. They were typical self-power impressed interrogators and bureaucrats. Reliance as the definitive indication of infection was placed on a single not repeated skin temperature reading although others were normal.  Skin temperature can be influenced on the status of the skin blood vessels..

The CDC was also unprepared but on 10/27 released the following: “For asymptomatic clinicians who had a high risk for exposure to the virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia, or Guinea, perhaps because of a needle stick, "we are recommending voluntary at-home isolation" upon return to the United States, said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, in a news conference today. These clinicians should avoid public transportation, public places such as shopping centers, public gatherings, and outside workplaces. 

However, the CDC is not necessarily recommending that they should be strictly homebound.”

There need be no “Lazarrets” for possible Ebola.

To return to those other mentioned diseases and there place in history I am not going to go into detail about each of those other diseases since today we are concerned only with Ebola; but in Saudi Arabia there is a pocket of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and as recent as 2003 SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) was rampant in China and the Far East.

Those two disease which have a high degree of fatality are airborne spread which Ebola is not.

It was not until the 19th Century that there began an understanding of the cause and how killer diseases spread. Before then an association between infected people and new cases was realized but the exact nature of transmission was unknown.  

During the age of the “Black Death” the Plague in the 14th Century which wiped out about 30% of the European Population the connection with shipping became clear.

Venice in 1348 was the first city to establish preventive measures of keep ships with infected passengers from docking. In 1403 Venice established the first lazaret* on a small island adjoining the city. This practiced spread and helped control and end the plague.

In the 1918 Influenza pan-epidemic people were also quarantined. Our increase in life expectancy has very little to do with the way we live but rather with the control of those great child killers ,measles, diphtheria etc.; first by home quarantine and later with vaccines.

The great world killer and destroyer of the American Indian, small pox, has been virtually eliminated worldwide. But there are small residual pockets of these diseases that can reemerge as a pan-epidemic as people refuse vaccinations. 

Yet today zealots in Africa and part of the Islam world are killing health workers who are trying to prevent epidemics such as Infantile Paralysis.

An interesting fact is that in the Bible isolation (quarantine?) for disease is mentioned; "If the shiny spot on the skin is white but does not appear to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine them, and if he sees that the sore is unchanged and has not spread in the skin, he is to isolate them for another seven days." Lev. 15/4-5. Nothing is new in the world.

As to the term quarantine; according to sources “The word "quarantine" originates from the Venetian dialect form of the Italian quaranta giorni, meaning 'forty days'. This is due to the 40 day isolation of ships and people before entering the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. This was practiced as a measure of disease prevention related to the Black Death.

*(a quarantine station for maritime travelers. Lazarettos can be ships permanently at anchor, isolated islands, or mainland buildings.)