Friday, November 28, 2014

COUNCIL IS BACK



Thanksgiving's leftovers may still be around for the next several days but life is returning to normal. Above all the 2014 Council is entering its final month in existance. 

The agenda for Monday night’s Agenda Fixing Session and support material is posted on the City’s site. Thank you AJ.

There are 9 Ordinances for second and final reading. Six have to do with union agreements, two others raise fees or fines from maintenance of foreclosed or abandoned properties, and one requires registration by owners or creditors on vacant property. The remaining one establishes a new fee schedule for off duty police and vehicles for a non-municipal sponsored activity.  

On the table from the last meeting is a resolution appointing Michelle Graham-Lyons to the PMUA. Also a letter from the mayor appointing Wilbert Gill, and Harold Mitchell as an alternate to the PMUA. Our Republican Council has been very reluctant to act on or appoint any of Mapp’s recommendations to the PMUA.

Among the proposed resolutions is one for a “fiduciary audit”. The scope is not indicated but there is a sum of $60000.00 allocated.

Another is a large one for “Property Customer Relationship Systems” (CRM). Again I am not clear exactly what is involved from the support material submitted. I hope the Council will get clarification. The list of bids submitted are all over the map so I would presume that they vary in services to be provided.  I also assume that this has to involve software.

A third resolution from Economic Development  “Requesting for the City of Plainfield, County of Union, State of New Jersey Supporting a Property Tax Rewards Program in an effort to stimulate local economic development. 

This seems to involve a commercial company FinCredit Inc. which will oversee a program that will give shoppers a percentage of the sales price received by the merchant to accumulate as property tax dollars or as a rebate. Sounds good but needs explanation of amounts involved.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

ON THANKSGIVING


A SAFE AND SANE THANKSGIVING FOR ALL

There are many things that we should  give thanks for. One is that we live in a country where we do have the ability to express our opinions without fear of governmental oppression. 

Another is that we do not have a state religion. The right of each of us to worship or not is guaranteed by our Constitution despite the attempts of many to deny that right.

Dan Dammon yesterday asked what had become of the Interfaith Celebration in Plainfield. This past Monday Scotch Plains/Fanwood  held its annual Interfaith service in Temple Sholom's new home. 

There is more than one church, more than one specific religious congregation, people with different religious affiliations who because of no local congregation have their place of worship elsewhere; but the clergy in this  city does not believe  it worthwhile to hold such an event.

The sad fact is that with the demographic changes in this city over the past two decades there seems to be no tendency to have a community of "brothers and sisters". 

Yes that term is  frequently used, but it seems to be only in a self centered bigoted sense.

I can be thankful that this Monday will be the Council's Agenda Fixing Session. The Good is that I will have something of local interest to blog. The bad is that it will be Bill Reid's penultimate Council meeting.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SERIOUS SUBJECTS




This week is supposed to be the one where we celebrate “Thanksgiving” for all we receive. It is however a very contentious one in national racial relationships...

We have already commented on the Ferguson decision. No matter what the Grand Jury had decided it would not have changed anything. There is no question that racial (and religious) profiling exists and in parts of this country it impacts on all actions.

There can be no solution at present until all parties understand that it is too often a two Way Street manifested in a card that is played too often.

There have been other very contentious recent happenings that should not be swept under the rug.

A most important and positive one was the President’s Executive Order extending a legal stay for about 5 million of the so called “illegals”.

On a humanitarian basis this has been long overdue as long as Congress will not address the defects in the present immigration laws which discriminates against the Hispanics. The illegal entries will continue as long as an oppressive legal policy exists.

Just as in racism we tend to ignore the fact that every citizen’s ancestors if not themselves came to this country from a foreign land. That includes the so called Native Americans whose origins were in Asia.

Even Obama’s edict is faulty in that Health Care benefits are denied to those affected by their new found “legality”. To not give health protection will ultimately crate a class of individuals who are a burden to our society. If we can prevent that why not do so?

Despite all the thunder in Washington, I am willing to bet that the reasonable centralists of both parties and of course the socialist wing will pass legislation in the next two years to permit greater legal immigration.

The field of easing racial, ethnic, and religious discourse is more in the hands of the religious leaders be they Christian, Muslim or Jewish. It is the ones who have hands on contact with their flocks that have the influence not those at the upper status in their religion’s hierarchy that have the most impact. The question is whether they believe in the basic tenents of their religion and will so act. 

Finally out of its closet has come the issue of our society’s facing the act of "rape". The sudden emergence of those willing to expose themselves to public scrutiny by accusing well known respected public figures, or influential groups such as University fraternities of group rape perhaps will bring a better understanding how to help the victim without stripping that individual of all dignity.

We need to better define what constitutes "rape" and consider that there is a possibility that it can be applicable to both sexes. We must understand that women are not second class individuals and afford them all the rights that men have.

Just as in racial relationships, in sexual affairs we must not be prejudicial to one side at the expense of the other.