Sunday, August 31, 2008

MEDICAL ENTERPRISE ZONES

I was planning a quiet holiday weekend watching my alma mater getting its butt beat by the country's #3 college team. I also plan some desk cleaning up and reorganizing, a daily non accomplished job. I thought that the multiple postings the past 72 hours (including this AMs) would be of sufficient interest and I could stop "hunt and pecking", when to my dismay our Assemblyman awoke from his slumber and there was another of his postings.

AS usual JG tries to spin and shift blame, and take credit for some ethereal action.

"The issue concerning the Medical Enterprise Zone in the City of Plainfield was never brought to my attention. I checked with other Legislators in Central Jersey and also the Department of Health and the last thing they were aware of was the half-million dollars that Plainfield lost in grant money due to no one from the past administration communicating with the folks in Trenton. I would like to get that information on the Medical Enterprise Zone so I can follow-up and share this with the public." (Jerry Greens Page 8/30/2008)

Assemblyman,FYI while you have busy saving Plainfield's hospital this occured;
"New Jersey Governor McGreevey signed legislation on September 2, 2004 that offers physicians and dentists financial incentives to set up and maintain practices in state-designated medically underserved areas of the state. The act terms these areas health enterprise zones (HEZs). (see Assembly Bill 2638; Chapter 139 of the 2004 N. J. Laws)"

If you have read the 2004 Bill you would have been aware that the provisions have nothing to do with hospitals but only to give financial aid to encourage practitioners in financial distressed areas. Dentists and doctors like legislators have to make a living and support their families, don't you agree?

Furthermore there can be no "half-million" dollars in grant that Plainfield lost because the last administration didn't apply for something that did not exist.

I hope that you honestly mean
"I am hoping in the future that we can talk about the present and future because talking about the past does not serve the City." I trust that the future is yet to come because you further wrote; "My question to any local or County Freeholders from Plainfield. What have you done?" Could this refer to Mr. Mapp, who the County Party did not support for reelection and did defeat your selection for ward councilman?

One more quote of interest and this requires clarification and amplification;"On the average over the last 8 years I have been able to acquire 2 – 4 million dollars in grants per year. "

Incidentally, I was happy to hear your comment at last Tuesday's Forum to the effect "that you were not interested in running Plainfield". What a relief.

1940 CONVENTIONS

The first historic Party Conventions and Elections in my time was in 1940. With the help of cribbing Wikipedia and my comments I present for your interest:

The United States was emerging from the Great Depression. Roosevelt gave no indication that he would break with the tradition set by George Washington and run for a third term. In fact no President had ever been elected for a third term.

However the war in Europe was rapidly becoming an Allied defeat. As Nazi Germany swept through Western Europe and menaced Britain in the summer of 1940 Roosevelt decided that only he had the necessary experience and skills to see the nation safely through the Nazi threat.

At the Democratic Convention Roosevelt easily swept aside challenges from Farley and John Nance Garner, his Vice-President. Garner was a Texas conservative who had turned against FDR in his second term due to his liberal economic and social policies.

FDR decided to pick a new running mate; he chose Henry A. Wallace of Iowa, his Secretary of Agriculture and an outspoken liberal. He was even accused of having Communist leanings. Wallace was strenuously opposed by many of the party's conservatives, who felt that he was too radical and "eccentric" in his private life to be an effective running mate. However, FDR insisted on his nomination, and he won the vice-presidential nomination by a vote of 626 to 325 for House Speaker William Bankhead of Alabama.

Roosevelt, aware of strong isolationist sentiment in the U.S., promised there would be no foreign wars if he were reelected. Fortunately, the Japanese bailed him out.

As for the Republicans, they were the party of isolationism. The GOP was deeply divided between the party's isolationists, who wanted to stay out of the war at all costs, and the party's interventionists, who felt that Britain and her allies needed to be given all aid short of war to prevent the Germans from conquering all of Europe. The three leading candidates for the GOP nomination were all isolationists to varying degrees. The three frontrunners were Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, and District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey of New York.

Taft was the leader of the GOP's conservative, isolationist wing. . Dewey, the District Attorney for Manhattan, had risen to national fame as the "Gangbuster" prosecutor who had sent numerous infamous mafia figures to prison, most notably "Lucky" Lucian, Vandenberg, the senior Republican in the Senate was considered a possible compromise candidate if Taft or Dewey faltered.

All three men had campaigned vigorously during the primary season, but only 300 of the 1,000 convention delegates had been pledged to a candidate by the time the convention opened. Moreover, each of these candidates had weaknesses which could be exploited.

Taft's outspoken isolationism and opposition to any American involvement in the European war convinced many Republican leaders that he could not win a general election, particularly as France fell to the Nazis in May 1940 and Germany threatened Britain.

Dewey's relative youth - he was only 38 in 1940 - and lack of any foreign-policy experience (One of Obama’s negatives) caused his candidacy to weaken as the Nazi military emerged as a fearsome threat.

In 1940 Vandenberg was also an isolationist whose campaign had been listless.

This left an opening for a dark horse candidate to emerge. A Wall Street-based industrialist named Wendell Willkie, who had never before run for public office, emerged as the unlikely nominee. Willkie considered an improbable choice was a former Democrat who had been a pro-Roosevelt delegate at the 1932 Democratic National Convention.

Willkie had first come to public attention as an articulate critic of Roosevelt's attempt to break up electrical power monopolies. Willkie was the CEO of the Commonwealth and Southern Power Company, which provided electrical power to customers in eleven states.

In 1933 President Roosevelt had created the Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA, which promised to provide flood control and cheap electricity to the impoverished people of the Tennessee River Valley. However, the government-run TVA would compete with Willkie's Commonwealth & Southern, and this led Willkie to criticize and oppose the TVA's attempt to compete with private power companies.

Willkie did not dismiss all of Roosevelt's social welfare programs, and in fact he supported those which he believed could not be managed any better by the free enterprise system. Furthermore, unlike the leading Republican candidates, Willkie was a forceful and outspoken advocate of aid to the Allies, especially Britain. His support of giving all aid to the British "short of declaring war" won him the support of many Republicans on the East Coast, who disagreed with their party's isolationist leaders in Congress. Willkie's persuasive arguments impressed these Republicans,

Many of the leading press barons of the era supported Willkie in their newspapers and magazines. Even so, Willkie remained a long-shot candidate. The May 8 Gallup Poll showed Dewey at 67% support among Republicans, followed by Vandenberg and Taft, with Willkie at only 3%.

The Nazi Army's rapid blitz into France in May 1940 shook American public opinion, even as Taft was telling a Kansas audience that America must concentrate on domestic issues to prevent Roosevelt from using the international crisis to extend socialism at home. Both Dewey and Vandenberg also continued to oppose any aid to Britain that might lead to war with Germany.

Nevertheless, sympathy for the embattled British was mounting daily, and this aided Willkie's candidacy. By mid-June, little over one week before the Republican Convention opened, the Gallup poll reported that Willkie had moved into second place with 17%, and that Dewey was slipping. Fueled by his favorable media attention, Willkie's pro-British statements won over many of the delegates. As the delegates were arriving in Philadelphia, Gallup reported that Willkie had surged to 29%, Dewey had slipped 5 more points to 47%, and Taft, Vandenberg and former President Herbert Hoover trailed at 8%, 8%, and 6% respectively.

Hundreds of thousands, perhaps as many as one million, telegrams urging support for Willkie poured in, many from "Willkie Clubs" that had sprung up across the country. Millions more signed petitions circulating everywhere. (Shades of Obama’s text messaging and Dean’s cell phone campaigns)

At the 1940 Republican National Convention itself, keynote speaker Harold Stassen, the Governor of Minnesota, announced his support for Willkie and became his official floor manager. Hundreds of vocal Willkie supporters packed the upper galleries of the convention hall. Willkie's amateur status, his fresh face, appealed to delegates as well as voters.

The delegations were selected not by primaries but by party leaders in each state, and they had a keen sense of the fast-changing pulse of public opinion. Gallup found the same thing in polling data not reported until after the convention: Willkie had moved ahead among Republican voters by 44% to only 29% for the collapsing Dewey.

As the pro-Willkie galleries repeatedly yelled "We Want Willkie", the delegates on the convention floor began their vote. Dewey led on the first ballot but steadily lost strength thereafter. Both Taft and Willkie gained in strength on each ballot, and by the fourth ballot it was obvious that either Willkie or Taft would be the nominee. The key moments came when the delegations of large states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York left Dewey and Vandenberg and switched to Willkie, giving him the victory on the sixth ballot.

These two conventions kept America glued to their radios. The smoked filled rooms provided drama that we do not have today. Instead the conventions have become organized pageants. Give the Republican's credit for having a "people's" convention not a preordained one.

The subsequent passing of the 22nd Amendment of the United States Constitution in 1947 rendered this election the only occasion in American history in which a candidate has been elected for a third term as president (Roosevelt would subsequently be elected for a fourth term, although he died after only a few months in office).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Errors

Checking over several of my most recent postings I found and I hope corrected several spelling errors that had slipped by both the spelling program and my proof reading. Most of the errors resulted from typos, some were automatic corrections with a variation or word not originally written , but the "program" has a mind of its own.

Better late than --

Did I miss something?

Ever since I became aware of Presidential Nominating Conventions , in the pre TV era of 1940 when I was still a year too young to vote, their first order of business was to produce a Platform.

This document, often a result of acrimonious bickering among the various party factions defined what the party and presumably the man stood for. Of course many of the planks were just verbiage for political purposes and never intended to become reality. A few would reach congress with the knowledge that they would be voted down if they got out of committee. Their intent was political fodder against the other party.

The Party therefore established a position before the election delineating what it representative. The Nominee supposedly ran on the Platform but was never bound by it if the planks were not politically correct.

The only "positions " I remember from this years Democratic Convention are promises in Obama's acceptance speech. (see below). Is this the year of personalities not parties? If so what expectations can we have for the next 4 years?

"What is that promise?

It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
.
Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes - cut taxes - for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East."


Over the next 8 weeks I intend to post thoughts about the election, candidates, my predjudices, and what I think will be the impact on the country. We have a long way to go so keep an open mind.

Over this holiday weekend I expect to watch college foodball (and see my alma mater get the s*** beat out of it), MLBB, work up a few posts about when conventions were conventions, and other stuff.

Relax and enjoy





Schroon Lake NY


Friday, August 29, 2008

TWO OLD SYNAGOGUES AND A MOUNTAIN RANGE





The interior of the restored Eldridge Street Synagogue now a museum and a national historic monument. This beautiful house of worship was built over 100 years ago by Eastern European Jews whose traditions differed from the Germanic and Sephardic Jews that had preceded them.

The ruins of the Jewish temple at Sardis, the Capital of King Croseus and when this was built it was a Roman city. Nearby are the ruins of an impressive gymnasium, a Hellenistic tradition. There are large stones and columns lying about, ruins of the earlier cities that had been destroyed by earthquakes. The view is from the atrium with the altar visible in the inner sanctum. There are some Hellenic modifies visible in the ruins.

This is the Russian Caucasus mountains. Posted because of the adjacency to the country,Georgia. Georgia was Stalin's birthplace and with the breakup of the Soviet state became independent. Unfortunately various ethnic groups in western Asia all seek independence from the political nation that they are in. This will continually be a source of war and genocide.

Sarah Palin

McCain has surprised everyone. His choice should for the most part please the Republican Right. For information on this "dark filly" see (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Palin).

Palin does have many political pluses besides being a woman. Right to lifer, against gay marriage, a member of NRA. However she has moderated her stance in office, so these beliefs will not be overwhelming policy formers. Foreign policy however will strictly be McCain's not a number 2.

Today I tended to think that Biden as VP will have an influence on administration policies. I certainly hope so. I cannot foresee such a role in a McCain administration. Plus 1 for the Dem's.

1945







No pretty pictures today, tomorrow will be more interesting, but some memories from a long forgotten era as a reminder that we can not be weak internationally. There must be no repetition of the paper tiger post Viet Namn. The Winged Victory Monument and Brandenberg Gate on an empty Unter den Linden in Berlin or Duisberg summer 1945 should be reminders of a war that resultedfrom one man's greed and many countries fear of war.

The glider in a field represents the way I first saw Germany.

AUGUST 29 ,2008 9AM

9 am, many thoughts and no content. My sage comments will have to wait until later today or tomorrow. However I can never fail to be impressed how the Dems always overwhelm the GOPs in staging their pageantry, aka convention. An outdoor setting with an ersatz Greek forum backdrop.

And the Gods smiled down from Olympus to have this day fall on the 45th anniversary of MLK's dream. Yes August 28, 2008 would have been unbelievable in 1963.

Obama is a smooth orator, belongs on a Greek Bema. All candidate's acceptance speeches are full of promises and everything to every body. The nitty gritty will come when the substance emerges via party platform and selection of policy makers. One thing is certain, no President's agenda can be carried out without a compliant congress. Party majority does not automatically mean the ability to deliver on promises. Every congressional member has his own agenda and it is based on retaining his seat.

Later on today McCain will unveil his VP choice. Romney will be one more Obama vote for many.

Thursday, August 28, 2008




Acre near the Lebanon border is one of the oldest continually occupied cities in the world. It dates to times before the Phoenicians and has been conquered and sacked many times. During the Crusade era it became a Knights Hospitaller stronghold and the last capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem for many years before reconquest by the Turks.
The pictures are of the "Khan al-Umdon" a caveren stopping place and a British prison.; (2) a butcher shop,(3) the ruins of the Roman aqueduct at Casaeria, Herold's city, and(4) Druzes on the Golan.

POLITICS and CONVENTIONS

Although I heard all of Biden’s speech unfortunately I could not watch all of it. I was busy cleaning up cat “throw up” on the carpet in the next room. I did consider his speech to be one of the best convention speeches in over 60 years of watching Conventions on the TV. No he is not an orator but a down to earth speaker. Not everyone thought so see CNN’s Toobin. That’s too bad. To get a transcript go to: (www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/08/27/biden.speech/index.html)


This is going to be a dirty campaign. The LA times, today, already has an article about the Biden family’s legal firms being lobbyists on bills that Biden sponsored.


The nominating conventions reminded me of the annual Lions convention the year ( 1960) I became President of the Plainfield Lions Club. The International Lions Club annual convention was held in various parts of the world and attracted thousands of delegates.


That year it took place in Chicago, thus the club could underwrite my minimal expenses for travel, food and hotel for me and my wife. We flew from Newark to Chicago’s Midway Airport which was in the middle of an industrial area on the South Side. The planes approached the airport low over the roofs of houses and other buildings before touchdown. In those days Midway was the only passenger airport in Chicago.


The New Jersey group was based at the Morrison, an old hotel, which was supposed to be one of the largest in the world. It still had open cage elevators operated by hotel personnel. Each floor stop had to be adjusted to be level with the floor gate. Earlier that year one of the adjacent Hotels (LaSalle) had been the site of a fatal fire, I was not happy, in the obvious firetrap.


The first two rooms they assigned us were unacceptable. One was a small “closet” with a window on an inside air shaft. The other was a slightly bigger closet also on the inside. Ultimately we stayed in a large corner room...


The Morrison, which was noted for the rotating circular bar on the roof penthouse, with great views of Chicago at night, was in the “Loop”. If you exited one side door you were under the elevated tracks, and across the street from Marshal Fields, one of the great stores of that century.


One day when I returned from the meetings Helen did not meet me as customary. She came in an hour or so later exhausted. Apparently, she had gone over to Marshal Fields but had left the store from the wrong door and had wandered down to the lake before she could find her way home.


I had always wanted to go the famous Pump Room at the Ambassador Hotel East, It was a pre-war site of many of the late night big band radio shows. The Pump Room was notorious for its “Afro-Arabian” ambience’ Palm trees and black bus boys waving Palm Frond Fans. It was very expensive for that era but very popular with convention goers and others with expense accounts. Naturally, Helen and I had dinner with drinks there one night and blew over $60.00.


We were bussed every day from the hotel to the Chicago Stadium for business sessions, and educational forums. The next to last day was election of international officers as well as district governors, a post some feveridly sought. In order to get enough voting members from New Jersey to a day time meeting the New Jersey districts held a raffle for those delegates that ere present at voting time. .


That was perhaps the first and almost the only time I won something at a raffle. Our evening at the Pump Room had been fun plus an excellent meal. So we decided to blow my $100.00 winnings on another visit to the Pump Room before returning home the next day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

POLITICS POLITICS

I am on the snail mail and email list of both parties as a loyal supporter. Both consider me one of “most important NJ party members” so I am assured of having a daily mail delivery of a solicitation or propaganda letter. My nephews and kids are either ardent Democrats or die heart Republicans, and often don’t speak to each other. But I receive all kinds of email from them, and I will occasionally pass one on. I assure you that I will and do not favor any one party and that all of this must be taken with a grain of salt.


For the next 10 weeks every one of us if we are truly concerned about our country should throw away preconceived political passions and try to objectively examine the parties, the candidates at all government levels before casting our vote. If you do so whomever you vote for will be the best choice.

One caveat; campaign promises and positions are just expediency.

All propaganda has an element of truth to be effective; this did not come from my outspoken Democrat son.


This has to make you think a little bit, if not then keep your blinders on!

George Bush has been in office for 7 1/2 years.

The first six the economy was fine.

A little over one year ago:
1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2 1/2 year high;

2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon;
3) the unemployment rate was 4.5%.
4) the DOW JONES hit a record high--14,000 +
5) American's were buying new cars, taking cruises, vacations o'seas, living large!...

But American's wanted 'CHANGE'!

So, in 2006 they voted in a Democratic Congress & yep--we got 'CHANGE' all right.

In the PAST YEAR:
1) Consumer confidence has plummeted ;

2) Gasoline is now over $4 a gallon & climbing!;
3) Unemployment is up to 5% (a 10% increase);
4) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $12 TRILLION DOLLARS & prices still dropping;

Four Favorites

Right:Curacao-Willemstad Waterfront;At Anchor







Below-Antiqua Quayside;Gondolas in the rain, Venice



Despite my efforts the computer persists in deciding the pictures position and order. Help!

TOWN FORUM

The Town Forum held Tuesday night at the Washington School before an audience that appeared sparse in the large "auditorium".Many attendees were city employees.

The speakers, in order were City Administrator Marc Ddashiel who made the introductory remarks.Finance Director Douglas Peck,Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs,and Assemblyman Green.

The Finance Director's remarks were focused on increased efficiency in managing the City's finances by establishing priorities and job performance. He noted that despite rising cost this had actually resulted in a lowered tax rate than the year before.

Director Hellwig focused on the changes in the Police Department which had lowered the crime rate, murders, gun shots in this City. Statistics for the years 2006 ,2007 and 7 months of 2008 were presented.Taking into account trends that were in existence before the divisions structural reforms the most startling change was the significant increase in traffic violations summons.

Mayor Robinson-Briggs spoke of various programs that had been initiated to improve the quality of life as well as her efforts to try to keep Muhlenberg open. Among programs mentioned was "Music in the Plaza" an attempt to get the County Building's workforce out of the building and possibly utilize the local merchants.She expressed her concern about the large number of vacant foreclosed properties in the city. The City is trying to catalog these properties by areas and condition with the plan to organize a program in October to act as a facilitator by conducting tours for prospective home buyers.

In reference to Muhlenberg, she remarked that "the position has never changed that we feel Muhlenberg should never been closed" and "we plan to make sure that people here don't fall through cracks". Although that comment was not clarified. The Mayor noted that there are four interest potential buyers for the property, and that Solaris had recently received and apparently rejected on advice of its consultant investment firm one offer.

She expressed her dissatisfaction with Solaris' compliance with the stipulations in the CN and that there was a meeting between he and Assemblyman Green with the Commissioner for Sept, 3rd .

In response to citizens' questioning about legal actions before the hospital closed and at present she noted "We never ruled out the possibility of going to court" but that the risk of costing 1100 employees their paychecks,I would assume through a Solaris Bankruptcy action that would result in loss of termination payments since the jobs were going to be nonexistent shortly after the CN was granted. My personal feeling is that the risk would have been worth the potentiality of having an open functioning acute care facility.

The Mayor also recognized the closeness of the Sept. 10th deadline to file an appeal and the was still under investigation

Assemblyman Green noting that he was the third most powerful legislator in the Assembly, due to his committee affiliations as well as being speaker pro term, addressed various subjects including educational legislation to get the Hispanic job seekers off the street corners. He also spoke of his efforts to keep Muhlenberrg open and ongoing seeking a new operator. He is demanding a complete financial accounting of Solaris. He also criticized the legislation that bailed out St Michaels and which JFK hopes to get $112 million to pay off debts and add new beds.A plan he expects to oppose. He intimated that he was blind sided by Corzine and the Commissioner.

The City Administrator assured us that the "Disaster Plan" had been altered to account for MRMC closing and that the shell was being considered as an emergency site in a major disaster.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

September Council meetings

No wonder the council has been confused as to their fiduciary responsibility regarding the MRMC situation. There certainly from 2 sources on the city site differences about scheduled meetings. Although the Council's adopted rules are for Agenda sessions on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month and the open Business Meeting on the 2nd and 4th Mondays, this is the postings on the City site;

From the posted Council meeting schedule; Agenda sessions are Sept. 8,and Sept 29,(the fifth Monday! and two weeks after the last business meeting, the business sessions are listed as Sept. 2 (supposedly cancelled but no official notice), Sept. 15, and the next one is in October.

The Calendar of Events has the following; Agenda Sessions Sept.8 and Sept 29 the same as above again the 5th Monday, The Business Meetings are listed as Sept.2(no it is not marked as cancelled),and Sept. 22. That is 2 weeks after the agenda session.

How can the public have any confidence in the present Council with two official schedule posting not agreeing and neither one conforming to the schedule the Council itself adopted by vote?

THREE OLDIES

I just came across these three snapshots and was able to transfer (scan) them to the computer;The first one is Sgt.(Big)John Linton and I enjoying a cigar summer 1945 Duisburg, Germany. The next one is the Russian Memorial on Berlin's Unter der Linden, fall 1945. The last one was taken on our driveway winter 1961= we did have snow in the "olden days".

PIP SQUEAK TAPS

Although MRMC is dead there are still some interesting rumblings. Read Mark Spivey's extensive article in today's Courier.

You can do it on line but this reincarnated paper, no longer a rag, needs circulation support. Unlike the Star Ledger which has almost entirely ignored the Plainfield Hospital crisis publishing a few inner page articles, and nothing recently except for an editorial that proclaimed it right for the state not to spend rescue money on any urban hospital with a high uninsured patient bases except for St. Michaels.

I digress, what I noted in Spivey's article and a sub-headline is a Jerry Green quote " "This is no longer people hollering that they want to see Muhlenberg stay open'" and he states further 'now the argument is from the people in the community---not moving fore ward with this bond issue until they get some questions answered"

I can not comprehend how the Assemblyman,who is a very smart individual, can act so out of touch with the community. That is not entirely factual, he is now saying that he is requesting Solaris' financial records , not a state or independent audit, for the past decade. Shouldn't that have been a strong demand as a precondition before the closure CN was considered? I thought that there were many public suggestions to that effect.

The article's next to last paragraph reports that our Mayor states that Muhlenberg will be a key topic at tonight's forum. That too is intriguing since the announcement of the meeting mid-last week gave only two subjects of discussion., "finances" and "community safety". Be there.

SILENT TAPS

Since the Council agenda setting meeting was cancelled along with next week's Tuesday meeting I went to the POP meeting. I was interested in hearing what their attorney Zurofsky had to say about the possibility of an appeal.

My own opinion was confirmed. Zurofsky feels that an appeal at this time would be useless. Not only could it take years to come to court and the likely hood of a positive resolution was slim. The hospital has been closed,it is dead. There are some other actions that could be considered that would make it possible to open a new acute care hospital, but that would need an accommodating commissioner of DHSS.

Zurofsky repeatedly reinforced my contention expressed at the Council meetings for several months, that aggressive action had to be taken by our Municipal government along with the backing of the other affected communities. Instead there was several months ago a mild protest resolution buried in the Consent Agenda, and nothing else until a 'petitioner's resolution request the Commissioner to be sure Solaris met all the requirements in her letter granting the CN to close.

Plainfield lost its hospital not through the machinations of a conniving hospital administration with the pre- acquiescence of the State Official who failed her fiduciary responsibility to verify the validity of Solaris' claims. The blame lies with Plainfield's Municipal Government which through ineptness or political intrigue or political fear or because of a hierarchical conflict of interest refused to take the necessary strong action.

Politically, the Freeholders would offered no support, and our State Assemblyman 's action was to not use his influence in Trenton to contest the Solaris request for closure approval, but to offer a plan B task force to work within Solaris' promises.

This area and its health care had been sold down the river by those that should have fought for it. There is a faint hope that something can still be accomplished, but only if the municipality is willing to commit financial resources. Perhaps the Mayor will enlighten the attendees at Tuesday night's Town Forum.

By the way everyone should read Atty. Zurofsky's brief that he filed with Commissioner Howard prior to her ruling. I am sure she never read it and treated it as part of the circus of the public hearings.

Monday, August 25, 2008

AGEDA SESSION CANCELLED

For those that do not look at the Plainfield site, tonight's Council meeting has been cancelled. I would presume that next Tuesday's meeting will also be cancelled. I do not know when this was posted but I found out when I went to get an agenda @ 10AM.

The reason was not given, no agenda, no quorum, or no desire to meet the day after labor day.

COLD WAR 2

"Russia sees Georgia outcome as proof of its dominance

The U.S. and other Western nations may not like what Russia is doing, but officials in Moscow believe those countries lack the leverage, strength or unity to intervene, analysts say. "

First page article, Aug 25,2008 in the Los Angeles Times. (http://www.latimes.com/). This attitude which is probably true represents the greatest danger to us than any other world problem.

If the Russians leaders are as arrogant as our present administration there is a tremendous danger of a fatal miscalculation that could escalate into an worldwide atomic war. The middle east might well be the detonator. Or there could be a challenge in another client state.

There is too great a possibility for Putin et al. to believe that because of our lame duct administration, amid the public outcry to prematurely bring home the troops from Iraq that there would be no other reaction than words from the United Nation against any territorial adventure. This would include openly supplying Iran and possibly Syria with nuclear material.

It is important that both the Republican and Democratic parties strongly state a position at their upcoming conventions. Neither candidate should be tarnished with the failures of an administration that listened to a strongly vocal organized minority segment of America. We should be starting from square one and can do so if both groups are positive and not negative on our position internationally.

The alternative; school children will again be ducking under desks every time a sirens sounds.

AMSEL'S HOMETOWN

Views of Amsterdam from an inner city canal, the shipping canal, and the worlds smallest draw bridge.





"That's all for today folks" .

Eastward Ho

I had ended our western trip story in Vancouver. It was now time to head east. We spent a few days in Vancouver before taking the ferry over to Victoria. In those days Victoria was very British, being a favorite retirement for naval officers. There, I recall, we wanted Chinese food. We found a nice looking restaurant. The food was great; however we were the only Caucasians patrons.

Next we took the ferry to the Olympia Peninsula and drove around it to Seattle before heading east through Spokane. New Jersey had just changed the license plates to a combination of 2 letters plus 2 or 3 numbers. Because Plainfield was in Union County and Plainfield, ours started with UP, and in Spokane, drivers were stopping us asking where was”UPs”.

We stopped at the construction site of the Grand Coulee Dam. It was still mostly earth works at that time, but impressive. Then we headed to Yellowstone Park where we camped for a few days. Old Faithful performed as advertised, but we liked the lake area better. In fact Yellowstone was a let down after seeing the Rockies. We were disappointed that we did not have time to go south to the Tetons which we saw in the distance.

Instead,just a day ahead of the tail end of a heat wave, we headed east through Nebraska and Iowa.The day temperature was still in the high 90s-low 100s. In those days car air conditioning was unknown. Instead, we had a water cooler (an evaporating tank with a fan) attached to a window that modified the heat’s effects.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. It was now time for me to return to Charlottesville for my second year in Medical School. Little did I know that it would be the last real summer vacation that I would have. I spent most of the next summer working as a student doctor (extern) in the University of Virginia outpatient clinics. Of course part of the attraction in Charlottesville was a young nurse who subsequently became my wife of 67 years.

By the following summer we were in the war and our classes continued uninterrupted, the school year was now 9 months, and we graduated 3 months early. It was off to Syracuse for my internship.

The following two summers were spent on a conducted tour of the Southeastern United States, England, France, the Ardennes in winter time, Westphalia, the Ruhr and Berlin courtesy of the US Army.



Sunday, August 24, 2008

A SMALL CHAPEL

This week's "church" is a small chapel on the Isle of Guernsey which was built by a local priest out of broken glass bottles.



Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands closer to France than the British Islands. They were occupied by the Germans during WWII. The Germans thought that the Allies would need the islands for an invasion of Europe and heavily fortified them. Most of the fortifications still exist.

The Channel Islands are not part of the UK but a British possession and one of Queen Elizabeth II title's is " Duke of Guernsey". this refers to the whole group of Channel Islands. They are the last remaining part of the Duchy of Normandy still held by the English.

TAX EXEMPT and STUFF

Although, due to the shifting of the tax burden to property owners, I have been primarily concerned about the number of "tax exempt" properties in Plainfield as well as those that have had other abatements or perks, because of the recent postings on "Group Homes" I have also tried to list those that fall in that category.

There are approximately 6 full pages in the Assessor’s Tax Books listing tax exempt properties. After a visual scan approximately 240 are non government owned properties. The latter (government) included municipal, county, state, and federal properties as well as Authorities (IE: PMUA, Sewer), and Railroads.

This table (which is subject to corrections and additions) is an incomplete listing of “Group Housing”. Not all of those listed are designed for the disable or are "half way houses", but many are for the "homeless". Also I seemed to have missed the Park Hotel during my rapid scanning of the tax records. This facility should fall into the classification as a halfway house for the psychological impaired.

Of interest are the number of units (condos) in the converted Miron and Tepper’s buildings to Senior Citizen Low Cost Housing for which they had received tax abatements.

ORGANIZATION #GROUP HOMES
MEMOS
Assoc Retarded Citizens 2







Bogard 5
(Teppers)
Calvery Babtist Church(Houses) 2


Creative Property Management 6
(Mirons?)
Interfaith Council for Homeless 17
includes
office





Convent Methodist Church Senior Housing 4


Volunteers of America 1







TOTAL 43


Of the other approximately 197 properties most are “church” related although some are non public schools, health facilities including the MR MC campus and owned houses, Hartwyck (Solaris) nursing home as well as Senior Citizen low cost housing. Those that are not operated by municipal, state or federal agencies include the Cederbrook Park Apartments, and United (?) Plainfield Housing at Plainfield Ave and Seventh.

There are , including former Mayor Rick Taylor's, about 25 disable veterans' homes deservedly on the list.

I have not looked up the various tax abatement grants given by the city to developers or garden apartment operators.

The total number of units in the various garden apartments and high risers that have received some form of tax abatement's have not been calculated nor entered individually into the mix, but they are all a drain on the city’s resources.

For instance, in response to its automated fire protection system,the ARC property on Knollwood Ct. has had on an average at least 8 full fire department responses per year. I have no idea about any responses to the other group homes or if they are required to have similar systems.. With the closing of MRMC there will be a greatly increased cost in emergency health services.

It is a combination of all the above that justifies Assemblyman Greens concerns about Plainfield bring a dumping ground. We should be receptive for any possible remedy that conforms to present laws. Most of the public concerns are twofold; fear from misunderstanding of the unknown, and potential reduction in property value.

Plainfield's position could have been strengthened if there had been greater political and civilian civic pride than has been apparent the last few years. If the Feds or the State have program funding to keep the residents of non disable group housing occupied and not loitering on the streets, this community has been remiss in not seeking and applying those grants, Research into this matter is essential.

Our politicians should look into the total number of residents in the group homes. If the population in 2000 was 47.4K then according to the 0.5% legal maximum the total in all should not exceed 239 residents. That can be the only legal basis of prohibiting new "group homes" that I am aware. I do not know if the homeless are included in the 0.5% limit.

Any error in the data presented can be due to my “doctor’s handwriting" which at times even I have difficulty interpreting. Also there may be some slight numerical errors which may have inadvertently occurred. I understand that I have just touched on the tip of the iceberg. However the overall data is reflective of a serious problem about which the Assemblyman belatedly commented.