Saturday, May 30, 2015

COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING 6/2/15

Late Friday there was a call by the Mayor for a Special Council Meeting on Wednesday June 3rd at 7 pm in the Courtroom to discuss and perhaps  appoint new Commissioners to the PMUA.

The timing of this meeting preceding the Agenda Session by one week and a day after the elections is at best weird and there should be an explanation from Administration what change has  happened that risking avoiding at the regularly scheduled meeting the most likely rejection of  PMUA appointments to fill slotted vacancies suddenly  became important.
8AM: As pointed out by Bernice, the only "slots" that could need filling are those of  holdovers Mitchell and Alternate Eke. There is also an open alternate slot. Could there be a desire to have a complete board with the advent of the new CEO? If Eke should win the primary upon election in November  he would have to give up his slot.

Recent happenings at PMUA and lack of info the status of an supposed ongoing investigation of PMUA once again raises the  need for "transparency".


Thursday, May 28, 2015

SCOTUS AND US




Two cases, one that will be decided by SCOTUS as I write this and the other which SCOTUS has agreed to hear in its 2016 session have the potential to have an earthshaking impact on our political health as well as economic life.

The first one depends on the interpretation of the meaning of four little words; “established by the state”.

Those words in the ACA act relating to the graduated tax subsidies available to those insured “through an exchange established by the state.” will be the key to whether residents of purchased health insurance through the exchanges in the 38 states including New Jersey that opted not to establish their own exchanges but rely on Federally run ones for their State will be eligible for the subsidies.

If SCOTUS rules that this wording limits such subsidies to State sponsored exchanges it would probably in effect make health insurance unfordable for the masses for whom the law was designed to cover.

Already for the third year of the plan in mine states the premiums increases requested have been from 15% to over 40%. Insurance companies are now getting a handle on the actual usage and costs of providing coverage and still making a profit.

Conversations with the actual drafters of the plan that was accepted by Congress have agreed that this key phrase from an earlier draft was overlooked and not eliminated.

However the law is as it is written and passed by Congress and signed by the President. SCOTUS will have to decide if hearsay intent overrides the actual words. What could be the impact on challenges based on perceived intent versus the actual wording to other laws if SCOTUS rules that residents fall states that have established exchanges, Federal or State sponsored, are eligible for subsidies?

A ruling that the law is specific in its wording would in effect be destructive to the ACA.

The other case to be heard during SCOTUS’s next session is a suit by two Texans against that State’s determination of congressional and other “voting districts”.

The key is the meaning of “one person, one vote” The rule that, under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, legislative voting districts must be the same in population size. The idea behind the rule is that one person's voting power ought to be roughly equivalent to another person's within the state. See Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964).

However, the challenge has been that “one person, one vote” population is meant to mean the number of eligible or registered voters in an area not the total population which includes non-citizens and even illegals.

The question is do only citizens or all tax payers have the right to determine the functions of government? Think about that. My feeling is that a citizen of “Bongabonga” (a fictional country) even if living here and paying taxes should not have the ability by numbers to determine our laws.

A ruling to the effect that only those who have the capability of voting would cause drastic changes in determining Congressional as well as state and eve local voting districts. No longer would large urban areas have an advantage over suburban and rural populations.

The net result could be the end of the gerrymandering of voting districts that are aimed to make safe for one party. At the least it could reduce the power of the cities over rural areas.

NOTICE

Conflicts this am will delay my post until early/mid afternoon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

PRIMARY TIME




I could not comment on the Council’s Budget hearing meeting of Tuesday night since I was not there; however after I read all of Bernice’s (Plaintalker II) reports I will be able to offer my commentary

The primary election date (June 2) is rapidly approaching and I expect the phone calls will soon be interrupting my meals. This would be a year in which there would be little interest due to the fact that there are no national post up for grab. Locally in Plainfield however there are several important races in the Democrat primary.

While it is true that Green and James Kennedy (who is he) have no opposition in the primary; November may be a different ballgame with a strong Republican slate which may be able to end Green’s tenure in the Assembly. At that time voters are not limited to a party.

There are races in the 2nd as well as the 1st/4th at large seats. In these wards there is an opposition slate supporting Mayor Mapp against Greens handpicked Candidates.

This is the year that the Plainfield Democrat City Committee is elected for a 2 year term. The Green line (A) has its list as well as the what was once known as the New Plainfield Democrats but on my ballot this Mapp supporting slate is listed ‘Union County Progressive Democrat Organization (Column C).

Interesting the election for the members of "City Democrat Party Committee" which was so stated  in previous years is now listed on the Ballot as for the “County Committee”.

While it is true that members of the local “City Democrat Party Committee” are also members of the County Committee it is my impression that in the past the election has been for the local committee.

If I am right could this represent an attempt for by the local Chairman to dissolve that committee and by only having the County Committee not risk being defeated locally?

There is also a separate opposition slate, Elizabeth supported?, for the 3 Freeholders posts up for election this year.

BACK LATER

Appointment with the medieval torturers  (PT) this am. If arm is still in working order will post later in day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

AS I SEE IT




There were two legal decisions this past week that will have an impact on Police-minority, specifically African- American relationships.

The most important one was of course the indictment of 6 Baltimore Police in the death of Freddie Gay resulting in charges of second-degree murder against Officer Caesar Goodson and involuntary manslaughter against three of the other officers; the other two officers are charged with aggravated assault.

It must be noted that Goodson and two of the three charged with involuntary manslaughter are black. The conclusion that must be drawn is that although as egregious as that of Ferguson, Missouri; in Baltimore  the atmosphere of "Police Brutality"  is not basically racial but indigenous of Police Departments where there is a large African-American population.

This represents a most exaggerated response to a population that percentage wise to its size has a higher crime rate. The problem becomes an abuse of police power, magnified by fear of police deaths at the hands of criminals.

Since this is a State Criminal action the hearing of charges and pleases will be the first week of July. How long before an actual trials takes place is questionable, the delay may be up to a year. A lawyer can tell us if each will be separate i.e. 6 trials or some bundled because of similar chargers.

My hope that people will accept the fact that “Justice” lies in our legal system and when the results are not what we wish that is not an excuse for riots and destruction of property.

In Freddie Gray’s case the Federal Government can at any time institute action based on deprival of his civil rights.

That most likely will be the next step in Cleveland in the view of the acquittal of Officer Brelo in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30. Russell and Williams reportedly led officers on a 22-mile car chase on November 29, 2012, over the course of which 137 rounds were fired at their car. Brelo alone fired 49 shots, and the chase concluded when he jumped on the hood of Russell’s car to fire 15. Some of those rounds were lethal.

Not knowing the facts involved at best the number of shots fired at best was overkill. The fact that the two were not armed is not taken into account, nor is why they should have been fleeing at speeds over 100 miles/hour. There is much we have not been informed, however there is no doubt in my mind that the Federal Government will intercede as a result of this astonishing verdict.

Remarkably this case heard only by a Judge not by Jury at the defendant’s choice occurred at a time when Cleveland has reached a settlement with the Justice Department over what federal authorities said was a pattern of unconstitutional policing and excessive use of force. The report on that is supposed to be made available this week.

It is noteworthy that the city awaits a decision from prosecutors on whether to charge the officer who last year shot and killed Tamir Rice, 12, who was playing with a replica gun near a playground, and the officer who restrained Tanisha Anderson, 37. Ms. Anderson, who suffered from bipolar disorder and heart disease, died after she was restrained face down on the pavement.

This is a nationwide problem that is more than “racial motivated” or just that of urban areas with large minority populations. The solution has to be multifocal not only involving the Police but the targeted population. We cannot tolerate law enforcement bodies that would at home in the despotic nations. Nor can we accept assassinations of Police doing their job.

There is a long article about the Feds and Cleveland in today's Times as well as in the WSJ worth reading. Among other cities that the Feds have found the Police Department acting unconstitutionally are Sacramento, Seattle, and Newark. All have been ordered to make changes in training and procedures. (11:30pm)