Sunday, May 31, 2009

GALAPAGOS LIFE

Galapagos scenes;
Fun in the surf

The day of the Iguana
Boy and girl at play
Post meal nap
Find the Boobys
A Blue Footed Booby

Not QUITE TRIVIA

My face may be "pink" not "red" and I will not bow my head in shame for not being aware that there is such a word as "COMEDIC", I thank RASMAHATAZ and would also send my appreciation out into cyberspace to "Anonymous" who alerted me to the fact that I must go to Borders and purchase an up-to-date dictionary.

It is easy to forget that English is a living language. I did find the word in my 4inch thick "New Webster Comprehensive Dictionary". That book could double as a door stop and is so heavy that I dislike lifting it off the shelf.
Please be assured that the new one will be "desk compatible".

The word "Comedic"" is an adjective derived from"Comedy" a noun. So, Jerry, you have only a half apology due from me.

Why only a half? For one reason it provided me with some material to write on a dull day and for the second reasons it is being improperly used. Comedic is an adjective. Unless in the past almost 90 years English has so changed an adjective is used to make a noun more descriptive. I was taught that the object of a verb must be a noun. In this sentence,"They are quite comedic, such as an energetic headless chicken." "comedic is the object of the verb "are" and as such is being used as a noun, and quite is an adjective defining the noun.

It is gratifying to know that I have some learned readers who will bring me to task if I am stepping out of line. Indeed I have had more than one who has accused me of being a shill for Adrian Mapp during this election. I have posted their comments and have used the same blogs to post responses, a few which I will repeat here:
I am sorry that the above two nameless do not understand me. If I have seemed to have fixated on Mapp from the beginning it may be because I have objected to the lack of substance in Robinson-Briggs campaign or in the postings or comments from her supporters. I expect the above reaction, but if you read "13 MORE DAYS" you will see that I have also questioned and asked for proof for Mapp's statements about the police. Except for crime there have been no claims by him that are not evident by facts. On the other hand too many charges by the only public spokesperson have never been followed up when requested for facts.
Do I think that Adrian Mapp is the perfect candidate for mayor? No, but as of May 19,2009 he is the one that appears to ME to offer Plainfield the best leadership in the next four years.
Have I endorsed him? No.
If you read what I wrote "will leave me no choice but to vote for Adrian Mapp" you will see that I have made no decision written in stone and there may be a radical change in the campaign that we lead me to vote for another person on June 2,2009.
I would hope that the viable candidates will address the issues I raised by facts and reasonable goals before election date. I do not have the answers, I am looking for them and I hope you are too seeking.(May 19, 2009 12:35 PM)
and: I suppose that I have endorsed Mapp when I wrote that I was going to vote for him because he is the only one who has presented ideas not stock catch phrases. That is sort of a backhand endorsement that will remain until June 2 when IO vote for whomever I feel is best for Plainfield. (May 29, 2009 11:21 PM)


I also added to the above: "One other consideration ; when a party is in power too long there is always the danger of "power corrupts". Although there may be no solid evidence that this is a factor in Plainfield the potential is in itself is a reason that it may be time for a change.That corruption of power is one of the factors that led to the overwhelming defeat of the Republicans this last election and may impact on the state Democratic party this year.

Two items of interest:
( 1) Candidates expenditures;
Sharon Robinson-Briggs as of 5/29/09 --$
$155.367.80
Mapp reported as of 5/21/09--------------------------$21,605.96

(2) For those not on Dottie Gutenkauf's mailing list:
"REALLY HOT NEWS! Rutgers-Newark is hosting a June 10th conference, "Investigating the Impact of Hospital Closings on the Consumer, Community, and Service Providers"--8:30 am to 4 pm at the Rutgers Center for Law and Justice, 123 Washington Street (Room 070 and Atrium, on the lower level). Guest speakers are Commissioner Heather Howard and State Senator Ronald Rice; panelists include Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs. The conference is free but seating is limited; call Ms. Irene Welsh at 973-353-1750 extension 3869 or email her at irenew@rutgers.edu to reserve a seat. Don't delay--the deadline was May 27, but I just received the info yesterday."


I wish I could attend but will have to depend on Dottie's report (I hope) and perhaps Nancy Piwowar will be there.

Has the Mapp campaign and its Internet outlets sunk to almost as a low a level as Jerry Green's with the ugly pictures of Sharon and Jerry that they have been using in their flyers?

Although there are two slots to vote for out of three candidates on the Democrat slate it is not required to vote for more than one person. If those who favor Smiley also cast a vote for either Stender or Green they will be in effect voting against their candidate, Figure it out.

This morning my face is blush RED. Jim Pivnichny-that Republican candidate for mayor- pointed out that Yalta is not in Russia but in the Ukraine Republic (not official name). When that picture was taken in the 70s it was part of the Soviet Union. The guide we had from Intertourist was very reluctant to take
for her children.a candy bar we offered her. At that time there were numerous Soviet secret(e) agents waiting to catch people exchanging money for dollars. Both tourist and soviet citizens would be arrested..



Friday, May 29, 2009

Potpourri

To the best of my knowledge at midnight there has been no change in Plainfield's political climate for the past 24 hours. Two exceptions; Adrian Mapp reported that he has received two threatening phone calls, and JG posted a new blog which is most noteworthy for its syntax, phraseology, and verbal uniqueness. I have not been able to find a definition for "comedic" in the three well worn ancient dictionaries I possess. The best I can come up with is "medic" a person involved in health care, plus "co" suggesting a helper, hence "comedic" one helping cure the ills perhaps of the community.

Until the papers arrive in the morning or some other vital news takes place I am posting 4 potpourri photos. Some I have used before and like much of today's political jargon there is no relationship to each other except that they are in my files.

#1" Daybreak on the Beach" , Nice France.

#2: Karnak , Egypt. The contrast between the humans and the structure size is overwhelming.
#3: The Eagles Nest, Yalta Russia. The small castle on the promontory was the Tzarina's winter palace.
#4: Self explanatory; truly one of the most beautiful structures in the world.

TRIVIA IT IS NOT

If I were a skeptic I would be convinced that three items of interest in the past three days were part of a not so subtle pre-election maneuver by the leadership the Plainfield City Democrat Committee.

The first was the Forum for Mayoral Candidates sponsored by the previous unknown "Women for Progress in Plainfield". Since I was not there I have no firsthand knowledge of the meeting's scope. I did read that despite the Title for the Forum its compass was extended to include the Assembly race, One Assembly Candidate was initially present and given a prominent seat with an opportunity to speak. One of the other two Candidates for the Assembly arrived after the session started and was also given the opportunity to make a statement. It has been reported that he claimed he never had received an invitation to participate.

Unfortunately to this date the membership of the sponsoring group has remained a secrete.

The second event was a public meeting with representatives of the water company at the Library on Thursday night supposedly devoted to issues raised at a recent FOSH forum on the PMUA. Despite its sponsor Jerry Green's statement in his blog that the "public would be invited" it received very little publicity and no public notification. Council President Burney was one of the invited participants to the meeting and in his blog written today noted that one of the suggestions to reduce the resident's "Sewer Tax" would be a subject of discussion after the election.

Perhaps there will be reports in the printed media over the weekend about these two meetings. In the meantime we will have to rely on the Blogger's impressions.

The third item and to me most interesting is an advertisement in today's (Friday) Courier by another unidentified and previous unheard of organization, " DEMOCRATS FOR POSITIVE CHANGE" which points out why a city takeover of the PMUA would be counterproductive to the taxpayers.

I would suspect that this group is made up of the Executives and Commissioners of the PMUA in order to counteract the "dumpPMUA" movement. Moreover, although there has been little expressed by the Mayoral candidates on the PMUA issue, the entrenched party seems to think that it is a serious campaign issue. There seems to be more than a casual relationship between political members of the City Democratic Committee and the board and executives of the PMUA.

One can only conjecture about a direct relationship between Plainfield's "Regular Democrats" and these items. One thing is sure. if here is a connection, the cost will never appear on any statements of campaign expenses.

(some typo corrections Friday afternoon)

Water over the Dam

The world moves in mysterious ways. If I had not read Plainfield Plaintalker Thursday morning, 5/28/09, I would not have been aware of a meeting that evening devoted to "Plainfield Water Issues" scheduled for the inconvenient dinner hour of 6:30PM at the Library.

I checked the City site and as expected there was no mention. Nor, was there any information available on Plainfield Today or Jerry Green's page. Apparently Bernice was alerted by an email from Green. She wrote: "If juggling two meetings was difficult Wednesday, imagine the thrill of learning that there is another 6:30-8:30 p.m. meeting tonight in the Plainfield Public Library, with no conflict! The subject is "Plainfield Water Issues" and it is described as an offshoot of the May 12 FOSH meeting on the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority. Guess who will be there? Assemblyman Jerry Green, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, Council President Rashid Burney, Plainfield Democratic Committee members and representatives of New Jersey American Water, according to an e-mail sent to Plaintalker at 9:40 p.m. Wednesday. I did not see any mention of it on Green's blog."

I did recall the following item on JG's May 18 blog: "I had an opportunity to meet with the New Jersey American Water Company last week. The meeting went very well. They presented helpful ideas for the Plainfield community. I will be reaching out to Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs and Council President Rashid Burney, hoping that we can within the next two weeks, meet with the community to share some solutions to problems mentioned regarding the PMUA at the Friends of Sleepy Hollow meeting.

Once we pin down a date and time, I will be happy to ask the public to participate in this meeting.(emphasis mine) The water company will play a huge role in our solution-based initiative in terms of the water services we use here in the City of Plainfield. "

On May 19 I wrote in my blog after commentating on JG's posting: "I am at loss to understand what the water company has to do with the PMUA, other than the fact that the Sewer Bill was supposed to be based on water usage. People have raised a question about that being factual. Perhaps since the wording of the ordinance creating the PMUA gives it the power to be responsible for all utilities in the city the water company might want to sell its city system to PMUA? Since JG says he will not answer questions, I expect to remain in the dark."

I wonder how many of the public have been informed of this meeting? Since I recently changed Internet Carriers and my mailboxes it is possible but not probable that an email sent to me went to the old address which is inactive and will not forward messages.

I hope the media was invited and perhaps we can be enlightened about the gist of this meeting. By the way, how many know that the parent company of the New Jersey American Water Company" is an European Conglomerate?

I am sure that this could be the second meeting in two days that I may not have missed anything substantive by not attending.

5 More days to election and only Mapp has addressed the main issues in detail. Time is getting short but we, the public, still have the opportunity to vote on the basis of facts not popularity.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

SUBJECT-JG's POSTINGS

As I previously wrote an earlier and more pleasant commitment kept me away from the Mayoral Candidates Forum at the Library on Wednesday night. I like all who did not go will be dependent on the reports in the printed media and on the commentaries of the bloggers who with the exception of "Plaintalker" may be biased.

Earlier Wednesday I read Jerry Green's Page and to my amazement I read Jerry , the master of self exaltation, Green's claim that no blogger mentioned President Obama's nomination of a Hispanic to be the next Supreme Court Justice. I further quote him as writing; "Since no one has, let me be the first in the Plainfield blogging community to congratulate".

Jerry,if I am not in error, I posted my blog before 7AM that day in which I wrote that the two most important happenings were the North Korean 's challenge to the world and President Obama's astute choice, although not by name , Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

The rest of his blog has the usual threats such as: "I am going to keep my comments very brief dealing with some of the blogs and editorial opinions regarding my personal career, because I feel these people are dancing on very thin ice. Thank God I have enough money to keep them in court if they want to continue down this road. I will not be drawn into a situation where I leave myself open for a lawsuit." as well as the personal attacks on members of the "New Democrats" faction of the Plainfield Party.

I would call my readers attention to a commentary by PubliusNJ posted in Councilor Storch's post "Rick Smiley for State assembly". No one has so completely dissected JG's words.

It is obvious, that to the leadership of the Plainfield Democratic Committee this election is not about selecting Plainfield's Mayor but rather control of the local party and all the unseen benefits that arise from that power. That is why this campaign is deficient in facts but abounding in mudslinging.

Since we continually hear about personal influence and see pictures of individuals with people of importance I recall that not only did the Greeks have a word for it; "For God hates utterly The bray of bragging tongues". Sophocles" and "The smaller the mind the greater the conceit ".Aesop but I can add two more appropriate quotes "Conceit is God's gift to little men". Bruce Barton, and "The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none". Thomas Carlyle

And an old pedestrian saying; "If the shoe fits etc."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cell Phones


1 PM Disregard this posting see comments.
I thank "anonymous" and Dan Damon for setting the record straight. Sorry if I have caused anyone an inconvenience.



REMEMBER: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public next month.
REMINDER..... all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls.

.... YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222.

It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years.

You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked.
You cannot call from a different phone number.

HELP OTHERS BY PASSING THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS... It takes about 20 seconds.

Wednesday's Ramblings

One of the bonus quotes "A week is a long time in politics" Harold Wilson, in this mornings blog which as written late Tuesday night was most timely.

The lead article in today's Courier was about a press conference called yesterday by the Mayor (and party Chairman Assemblyman Green) at th City Hall to clear up the crime statistics numbers. Unfortunately the exact numbers were not given out. Perhaps the total statistics for the last -to be fair- 6 years could be printed on the City's site or in the Robinson-Briggs' still under construction site.

The old aphorism that figures don't lie but figurers can use the numbers in an appropriate manner to illustrate their point is valid. I speaking about Crime Numbers one can use specific segments or the total. Both Candidates have adopted the segmental approach , so we are comparing Crab Apples to Lemons ( Oranges are too sweet).

No one can deny that the number of Homicides in the City have decreased by 50% in the last three years. However the numbers are not Statistically significant to be sure that one or the other reference years was an anomaly . The number of "gun shots" reports seem to have had a major decrease. This and perhaps homicides can be attributed to the city's more active campaign against gangs. There is still much t o be done in this area.

The 12.4% increase in non-violent crimes is a matter of concern. That was Mapp's point. To learn that there has been a 20% increase in the number of street patrol officers is reassuring. The vigilance of Block Associations which 30 years ago were a prominent part of the community, and the willingness of neighbors to report anything unusual will help reduce the break-ins, burglaries, vandalism, etc.

The presence of the top leadership in the local PBA at the press conference is within reason. Union officials and their Unions have always taken an active role in any political campaign. It would not be appropriate for a civil servant such as the Police or Fire Chief actively participating. That principle Chief Santiago's refusal to endorse a Candidate led to the vendetta and the abolishing of his position.

The other item in the Mayoral fight is Carol Bicket's long letter in today's Courier.

Also in today's Courier is Mark Spivey second column on Beers. As one who has experienced English Stout in its home territory, and Munich lager at the Chinese Pagoda in the English Gardens who regards Bud Lite as a sales gimmick I find his column interesting reading even if he is focusing on micro breweries. Long gone are the days of Schlitz, Pabst, Rhinegold, Ballentines and the other great post Prohibition names. Now we have many brand names of a few major corporations like Anheuser Bush (Bud) owned by an European corporation, and Millers who owns Coors.


Please note that I will not be boycotting tonight's "Forum" if I am unable to attend. Even if I did not have a prior engagement which I enjoy, I find it too difficult the attend meetings that start before 7:30PM and 6:30 is an inconvenient impossibility.

WORLD, NATIONAL,and LOCAL POTPOURRI

Today's Political Quote: "There are seven sins in the world: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice and politics without principle." Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948)
And two bonuses; " If you are not turned on to politics, politics will turn on you" Ralph Nader "A week is a long time in politics" Harold Wilson

While we are very interested in Plainfied's upcoming election on the national and international scene there are two new items of extreme concern for all of us.

The first is North Korea's challenging the world by conducting a nuclear explosion and shooting and testing short and mid long range rockets over the Memorial Day week end. This was not only an insult and challenge to the United States but the entire family of nations. The similarity of Hitler's repeated challenges to the European nations which ultimately led to his disastrous for humanity war adventure can not be ignored. Without unity of nations especially China and Russia the North Korean blackmailers will continue to increase the stakes and break promises until an international atomic war will be inevitable.

If you think I am crying wolf you may be right, but the French did not contest Hitler's rearming Germany or the seizure of the postwar Rhineland zone. Both France and England sacrificed Czechoslovakia for Chamberlain's "Peace in our time". (There is a Memorial on City Hall grounds with the names of some of my high school friends that attests to that "peace"). Stalin and Italy supported Hitler until he turned on the former and fought bitterly in the latter country.

Are we, the political leaders of the world, again going to ignore the lessons of history? I hope not.

On the national front our politically astute President has selected a woman who is also Hispanic born in a low cost housing project to become the newest Supreme Court Justice. The opposition to her nomination will not be due to her lack of qualifications, or her being too liberal or conservative, but rather a routine inter-party hassle. There are some speeches and papers she has written in the past that may come back to haunt her. At this point I have no negative feelings about Obama's choice.

In the realm of local politics , the timing of tonight's Candidates Forum is inconvenient for me to attend. Although I have qualms about the sponsoring "group's" political impartiality I would like to have been able to learn the positions of the to date silent candidates. I will have to depend on the other bloggers and media for an impartial resume of the forum. If you can attend do so.

Mystery, why does the City site's Calendar have the Agenda Setting Session of the Council posted for Tuesday June 9th. Is Monday a holiday that I am unaware? Or is the shift in dates to confuse us elderly who like habitual consistency?


I had intended to be impartial about the candidates for the rest of this week and have already printed three quotes on politics in this day's blog, however after reading Jerry Green's page on Tuesday I must make a comment prefaced by another quote; "Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory" John Kenneth Galbraith

The heading on that blog reads "Give the late Al McWilliams the Respect He Deserves"

The cynicism of the man.Four years ago he as Chairman of the local party committee dumped McWilliams as the party's candidate for mayor and attacked him. He has repeatedly referred to in derogatory terms to that administration. Now he is trying to distance himself from his mudslinging.

He also writes; "Unfortunately, my opponents and the candidates running against the Mayor have yet to discuss what I and the public consider as solutions and moving ahead in the right directions." When has the Mayor discussed problems and solutions in any terms other than vague generalized comments. Perhaps she will tonight at his forum. JG also emphasises his role in the election by the terms "my opponents" and "what I***consider" as if he were the candidate's spokesperson.

One final Potpourri item; Plaintalker today has addressed the problem of tax exempt properties as well as exemptions form parking requirements in entries to her blog on Tuesday. The problem of tax exemptions should be a priority review item for Council and Administration as we are now going into the 2010 FY. Will it be another 10 months before we have a budget?.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

QUESTION

Who are the responsible individuals in "Women For Progress In Plainfield" the sponsorers of Wednesday night's forum? Some info on the group would be valuable.

10:05 AM --For answer to above see today's "Plainfield Today."

Even I Can Not Remember This.


This is one of the very positive aspects of the Internet... being
able to share amazing things like this from the past. Enjoy the

chance to view these marvels from almost a century ago.


These are amazing pictures almost 100 years old.
Can you imagine walking on Niagara falls?

The Year is 1911 and the photo is of Niagara Falls .












The perspectives are amazing. In the second photo the people look like penguins.


POTPOURRI POLITICAL

Today's Political Quote: "Politics,n, strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles" Ambrose Bierce


The three day Memorial Day weekend is over and a week from today the election will happen. It will be interesting to see how soon wounds are healed, or if the intra-party fight will give the few local Republicans -not those non team players that Jerry Green refers to as if they are the reincarnation of the devil- some hope in November. At that time an anti-Corzine movement may make the party vulnerable statewide.

In local politics;Adrian Mapp posted a program of goals which is more than any of the other candidates have done. He focused on revitalizing the city including the "Transit Villages concept which has been batted around through the Planing Board. The difference is he proposes multiple developers instead of a selected few who have at present presented plans that have not as yet materialized.

Mapp also came up with an intriguing idea of Commercial Tax Abatement's for business. A good catch phrase which needs a clarification of methodology. He also has an ecology platform which bears interest no matter who wins.

Finally he mentioned "Brownfields" development. This would b e applicable to the entire RR corrider. For those who do not know what 'Brownfields" are this definition is from Wilkepedea:
Brownfields are abandoned or underused industrial and commercial facilities available for re-use.

The problem with Plainfield's Brownsfields is that most of the old plants are about a 100 plus or minus years old, and probably do not lend themselves to rehabilitation.

At least Mapp has positive ideas, the others us the same catch phrases with no specifics. The Mayor still does not have an Internet site operational. She seems to be letting Jerry Green's Page and a core of "Anoni" to be doing her campaign.

If any other Democrat candidate posted a specific platform I would be most happy to subject it to the same critic that I have done with Mapp's. The Mayoral Candidates Forum Wednesday at 6:30 PM ( a horrible time) at the Library may be informative. Thank you Dan for posting this info. Unfortunately, as usual, the calendar on the City's site has no mention of the forum. I hope The Mayor and Assemblyman are aware of it.

Jerry Green's last post was after a justified defence of his sons, a continuation of his anti-New Democrats campaign by repeated attacks on Dan Damon, Storch, and Estevez.

Cory Storch presented his support for Smiley for Assembly. The local issues may help Smiley in the city but I am unsure what impact he will have against the party structure in the rest of the district.

Council President Burney in his blog praised the administration's fight against crime especially in the revamping of the Police Department and a stricter enforcement of speed limits. He noted that "taxes, speeding, schools and the PMUA" are the most frequent issues that he is hearing..

Since he also in his first paragraph mentioned that he has supported "Linda and Cory" in 2005 and 2006 he has not publicly expressed his position in this campaign.

This should be a most interesting week politically. I am sure that the city bloggers will be flooded with commentaries from supporters of both major factions. I will post any that are not vindictive , or in bad taste, or plain repetitive of previous postings. I will bend if there is an identifiable signature.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Potpourri with Photos

Today's Political Quote:
"All politics are based on the indifference of the majority" >James Reston.


Tomorrow I expect that I may have commentary about the local political campaign from over this weekend. A week from tomorrow is election day.

Memorial Day's scariest new: North Korea not only tested n ewe Missiles but also had an underground nuclear bomb test of the equivalent of the Hiroshima bomb. With the loose cannons ruling North Korea and Iran as well as the Taliban resurgence in Pakistan the danger of a nuclear conflict started by some psychopathic leadership is real, The question is if the UN as a cohesive group, which at this moment it is not,will take forceful action to control those adventures?

A more pleasant note; four oldies from Turkey.

The old city walls of Istanbul

Traffic on the Bosporus, Istanbul on the right rear

Fisherman and his catch for sale on the Flaoting Bridge accross the Golden Horn
Another sellers display


Some of the fish sellers had hot grills by their stand where they could prepare your lunch.

PRE COMBAT #3

From Liverpool, a troop train transported us to our destination, Swindon, an industrial railroad town west of London. We were fascinated by the trainmen’s’ language and the use of the word “bloody” which was their favorite cuss word. One little man with a cockney accent was running around with an empty cup in his hand looking for "a spot of coffee".

From Swindon we were transferred by truck to Camp Chisledon at Ogden-St.-George, a small village in Wiltshire. It had been a British army base therefore the quarters were of solid construction. They were heated by pot belly stoves in each room. I never realized that we were near Stonehenge, so unfortunately I never got to visit that archaeological site.

We held many training maneuvers in the steep hills of Wiltshire. The turf was difficult to walk on. Climbing the hills was a chore for the GIs with full packs and many also carrying mortars, radios, BARs, or machine guns. One day when our water rations were limited to one canteen per man for a training exercise, our cooks, with typical Army intelligence, supplied us with a box lunch that consisted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a piece of apple.

Not far from our camp was a British airfield from which every evening the bombers would take off to bomb Germany. I never knew whether they were Sterlings or Lancasters, but they were the ugliest planes I have ever seen

Our camp was also headquarters for the 18th Airborne Corps. One time they had flown in a plane from Portugal loaded with cases of brandy. Every officer received two bottles. For some reason many of them could not tolerate the brandy and I was able to collect additional bottles which I carried with me for several months stashed in my air force bed roll.

One day I and other officers went to London for a visit. We wanted to see the damage as a result of the bombings from the battle of Britain as well as the V1s and V2s. While there, a V1 “flying bomb" passed overhead put-putting away. We heard others so we decided that it would be advisable to cut short our visit and return to base. We also had training exercises to instruct the troops in street fighting in the bombed ruins of Plymouth.

During this time some brainy individual at Army headquarters thought it a good idea if we trained on the British Horsa glider which carried more men than ours. They were made of plywood and had been out of the open ever since the Normandy invasion. There were to be two separate groups of flights. We all want to get on the first flight and get this bother over with. Fortunately I lost in a drawing to be in the first group from Headquarters Co. to go. Their glider lost its tail in flight and all 30 men aboard were killed. I was sent down to identify the bodies. Many killed in the crash were my friends including my commanding officer and the section dentist.

When I reported back to the Lt. Col., the regimental executive officer (second in command of the regiment), he did not want to hear a word of the details. This was a West Point graduate who openly boasted that he was the lowest man in the worst class to graduate. It seems that his greatest skill was inspections because he always wore white gloves that could pick up any particle dirt. He excelled in checking the tops of door frames, as well as under counters for dust.

Unfortunately the replacement for the Major had been a Captain in the Rangers and was a gung-ho soldier and a SOB. The Dentist replacement was an older man.

One of our better recreations was to go to the officer’s club at a nearby hospital. There were large amounts of English brew available, warm of course. Once I had too much and was feeling no pain when we arrived back at our barracks. The Ambulance we were using was heated and that didn’t help. There were four steps leading up to the door. I can remember standing (?) at the bottom of those steps and laughing uncontrollably because I knew that I could never climb those steps. Somehow I did but I sure had a hangover the next day. That was one of the two times in my military life that I can remember being “stoned”.

A pleasant duty was to go to one of the General Hospitals in Devizes, near Marlborough, to check on our men who were there as patients. There was a large German POW camp near the Hospitals and once there was an attempted prison break. At one hospital the doctors told me that their pathologist came from Dunellen NJ. I never met him until after the war when he turned out to be Joe Gannon a Plainfield internist and hematologist. One of our men had been a patient in that hospital before being sent to the states for convalescence. He did not return to our outfit until the fighting was over.

When the Holland operation took place we had been in England for several months. We were on alert and several of our officers were sent to be with our airborne troops as combat observers. If the Brits did not have the habit of stopping at 4pm for tea, or had not been over cautious they could have joined with their forces that had been dropped at Arnheim and Neimegen. That would have opened up the Rhine crossings and the plains of Westphalia. Indeed the war would have been over sooner and many lives saved. We were on alert to go to the continent for combat service if the Rhine crossings were secured. Instead we remained in England training until Dec. 24th.

The German attack in the Ardennes was already in full force.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Regarding Commentaries.

To 5/24/09-1:38 PM I did not get your name or I would address you personally. Your comment today addressed to my post about my WWII experience had nothing to do with that subject. Instead you are trying to use my blog as an anti Mapp forum. I HAVE NOTED THAT I WILL NOT POST ANY COMMENT THAT IS NOT RELATED TO THE POST'S SUBJECT. If I had written about that political issue the chances are 99.99% you would read it in my blog. I would however suggest that you do one of three things; (1) submit your comment to Mapp's blog, (2) Since I have not been able to find a Blog or active Web Site of Sharon Robinson-Briggs (if there is one , please let me know) you could submit it to Jerry Green's Page, her publicist, or (3) publish your own blog along with others if needed to make public your views.

I will give you a small pearl by printing one sentence from your comments: "Today I decided not to vote Mr Mapp based upon this complete lack of understanding of the issues." That is you citizen's right and it represents your choice if the candidate failed to impress you. This statement does not open this blog for political commentaries although philosophical remarks are always welcomed if they can be related somehow to the subject.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and remember those over the the past 230 years who have lost their lives so that we can have this discussion.

PRE COMBAT #2

The commanding officer of the 1st Battalion was a lieutenant colonel who had been a gasoline station owner in Georgia and a member of the Georgia National Guard. Irby supplied the Colonel with large amounts of Elixir of Turpin Hydrate for a non-existent cough. That elixir was at least 50 percent alcohol, verily an elixir of joy.

The battalion executive officer was an older man I believe from the Southwest who carried a Winchester rifle of World War I vintage with which he claimed he was a sharpshooter. Another battalion headquarters officer the S2 claimed to have an influential job in Hollywood. He kept showing us his (?) bank savings account book with several thousands of dollars balance. The S2 and the Executive officer were among the passengers in the Horsa glider which crashed in England. The Battalion S3, also a major, was one of our regulars in the poker game. He and Capt. Connolly were the real card sharks who constantly cleaned out the junior officers except me.

There was an officer, a lieutenant and the Colonel's favorite, who had fouled up first as battalion S2 and then as Capt. of A company. In England we received a requested from Eisenhower's headquarters for an airborne officer, the regiment seized the opportunity promote out an incompetent officer. In a short time this officer had gone from Lieutenant to Capt. to Major and ultimately Lieutenant Colonel. Incompetence often has its own rewards.

The CO of the medical detachment, a Major, was a gentle man who had been in the Indian Service all his professional life. Our second in command was a rough hard drinking, tobacco chewing, overweight Irishman who was a general practitioner from Scranton PA. He was a rough poker player but also went through jump training. We were good friends. The rest including the dentist were young like me, just out of our internships.

Irby, I think, liked the military. I however was a lousy soldier. I could never keep in step, or else the entire army was on the left foot when I was on the right. Once, In Camp Forrest there was a battalion review. Irby had to be on the reviewing stand with the colonel. I was supposed to march the section to the parade grounds and of course lead them in the review. I remember after having the section fall in that I, ala Abe Lincoln, turned the section over to the first sergeant and told him that I would meet them at the parade grounds. While the detachment marched along the camp streets, I had cut between barracks and re- assumed command when they arrived.

All of us had to undergo combat training, including the obstacle course, crawling under barb wire underneath low live fire. The machine guns had wooden posts under the barrel to keep the muzzle from being dangerously depressed. Even the medics, in spite of the Geneva Convention which made them non combatants and prohibited their carrying a weapon, had to qualify on a fire arm before going overseas. I had difficulty with the M1, but did qualify firing the BAR (Browning automatic rifle) which was a semi-machine gun and was fired resting on a tripod.

Periodically, we would go to an airfield near Albany GA for glider training. The flight in the glider could be rough if the pilot dropped below the plane’s slip stream. In training there was only one pilot, so the highest ranking individual in the glider sat in the co-pilot’s seat. Often in flight the pilot would let that individual handle the controls. Truly, the view from the “cockpit” was spectacular. The silence when the glider cut loose is indescribable. That and a safe landing were great experiences.

Part of the troop’s training at Camp Forrest included several 20 mile night-time marches. Since we had to have an ambulance following the troops my participation in these marches was riding the ambulance.

As soon as possible, I had found a furnished apartment In Manchester, TN. A woman had converted what had been a small funeral home into four apartments. The other three were occupied by three officers in my battalion and their wives. Helen and Pamela joined me there. Pam slept in the traveling bassinet that Helen had carried her on the train. Even though there was a through train from Newark, NJ, it had been a long trip, with a difficult change of trains in Chattanooga TN. Fortunately she was able to have a sleeping car berth, and the porters helped her with hot milk etc. The apartments had only a two burner hot plate for cooking and no running water. There was one bathroom outside our second floor apartment, and on the first floor there was also a wood/coal stove where water could be heated. Some people really profiteered from those who were in service. For some reason the building seemed to attract lightning.

Once, Pamela was sleeping in her carriage in the hallway, when a bolt struck the house. The fireball came down the vent pipe and rolled around her carriage before exiting out the front door. Pamela was not hurt but her mother who had watched in horror was a nervous wreck. Another unique feature was the beds with flat springs that often collapsed during marital exercises.
We lived there several months until the division was put on alert for overseas. Helen left on the train for Staunton VA to visit with her family who had not seen the baby. She left the reverse trip train in Charlottesville. Later she returned to Plainfield.

While at Forrest, the army held a large exercise in the Tennessee area. Although we were not involved, I briefly was visited by my cousin Alfred who was a medical referee during those maneuvers.

We left Camp Forrest by a troop train passing through Chattanooga, Charlottesville, DC, and through South Plainfield (I had recognized the RR crossing there) on our way to Camp Myles Standish on Cape Cod. Although all insignia had been taken off our uniforms for security purposes, our Col., nicknamed the Greyhound, went around the campsite wearing his parachute boots.

We shipped out of Boston on the Wakefield, the refurbished rebuild as a troop ship fire damaged USS Manhattan. Because the Wakefield was too fast for a convoy we sailed alone on the open sea. We never sighted any other vessel, entering the Irish Sea from the north and docking at Liverpool. During the entire voyage we stayed on deck as much as possible and watched the radar antenna turning and searching. If it stopped we were apprehensive.

(end part #2)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekend Potpourri

It being Memorial day weekend I am going to be apolitical Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Although I may post some individual items of political interest unless it is in response to a blatant distortion of facts it will not be campaign material.

I am confused (not unusual my detractors claim) by the following from Mark Spivey's article on the Senior Citizen's Center dedication; "state Veterans of Foreign Wars official Anthony Nelson Sr. noted that the city's 55-year-old VFW chapter, the oldest in Union County, finally has a place to call its own."

When I was discharged from the AUS on Jan. 2, 1946 there were two very active veteran's organizations in the Plainfield/North Plainfield area. both dated back to at least the post WWI era and at least one and probably both had Spanish-American war veterans among their membership. It is a fact that for some reason which I can not recall ,that on Memorial and Armistice Day's the VFW boycotted any rituals at the Memorial in the Crescent Ave, Watchung Ave, East Seventh Street intersection. The long forgotten dispute was over the inscription on the base of the memorial.

I was a member of the VFW for a short period of time and I believe that the meetings may have been held in the Masonic Lodge rooms (Park & 7th). Some time afterwards the post moved to the Redman's(?) Building on (again memory is poor)west side of Duer St. just beyond the brook in North Plainfield. I know the post was active through the 50s so I wonder what happened that this VFW post is only 55 years old? Please update me.

I am happy that Assemblyman Green set the record straight about his sons. If anyone had taken the time to look up the reference at the Courier they would have seen that the salaries mentioned was for the basis of their pension plan contributions several years ago.

In addition JG wrote about his son Sheldon; "His job as Plainfield Emergency Management Coordinator is a title, a title that brings him no monetary benefit."

That was probably on response to an anonymous comment to an entry about Emergency Management in Plainfield which I believe I posted in early March' "The Emergency Management Coordinator for Plainfield is Sheldon Green, Jerry Green's son, he is a fireman here in Plainfield. He is paid an additional stipend for that role."

I could not find in time available any funding for the Emergency Management Committee. Again any further info is appreciated.

The first of three segments of my first days in service starts today.

PRE COMBAT #1

Memorial day 2009 is an opportunity to revisit 60 years ago. I have written a condensed version of my involvement in the Bulge and crossing the Rhine , but not about in service events leading up to those episodes.

On January 14, 1944 I reported to the Carlisle Barracks. This was one of the two army medical field schools in the United States and was preferable to Camp Barkley in Texas. Barkley was notorious for its heat and dust.

Although it was winter we were given instructions on how to treat malaria. The Army brains seemed to have had a fixation that the war was going to be fought in southern Asia. We were also given instructions on Army tank operations by Col. Higgins, an old Calvary officer who, during the first Louisiana maneuvers, had lost his entire command to air attack. Of course they had no real tanks, but were using trucks with a sign on them saying they were armored vehicles. There were courses and instructions, based on World War I experiences, on care of the battlefield wounded. The inappropriateness was revealed in our first combat experience. We also had a night compass exercise on South Mountain. I don’t believe that any one failed to find their way back.

While I was at Carlisle, Helen gave birth in Plainfield to our first child.
During that indoctrination period, I was able to get leave to come to Palinfield several times. That involved catching a New York bound Pennsylvania RR train to Elizabeth and transferring down stairs to a CNRR train to the Grant Ave. station and the two block walk to my parents home. The trip back was of course in reverse. Obviously the schedule was tight especially the Elizabeth connection.

From Carlisle I was ordered to report to Finney General Hospital in Thomasville GA. I was assigned as a general medical officer to the medical services. My immediate superior, a Captain was an older practitioner who taught me more physical diagnosis than I had learned in medical school or internship.

Interestingly enough the pathologists at the hospital was Col. Darlington who was the pathologist at the hospital in Plainfield. When and if I write about Muhlenberg I will include a segment about him. Every night in the officer’s club he would introduce me to his family. It never failed during my entire stay at Finney.

We had several soldiers admitted to Finney General Hospital from Camp Rucker, who had been wounded on the infiltration course when the infiltration courses machine gun’s muzzle’s wooden mounts had become depressed from constant firing..

After six weeks I received orders that, after a brief home leave, I was to report to the 17th Airborne Division at Camp Forrest, Tullahoma, TN. I was being “volunteered” for the airborne service.

Once at Finney, on a moonless night, I had to go out into the Georgia countryside to pick up a sick “coal black” soldier. There was no electricity only a kerosene lamp in the cabin. He had a high fever. The family said he had a rash, but under those lighting conditions, I could not visually perceive any lesions. In the dark, on tactile examination of his skin, I felt small bumps and made a diagnosis of measles, the correct one, I was proud of that.

Another married medical officer from Finney, also a lieutenant, was going north with me to his new assignment. Since we would have a six-hour lay over in Savannah before catching the train north, we decided to rent a room in the hotel near the station. After leaving our gear in the room, we went to the bar to have a drink and get something to eat. Within five minutes he picked up a girl at the bar and went back to the room. I never got to rest there. Perhaps it was Divine retribution, the next time I saw that officer was as the interim head of the Venereal Disease Service in the 23rd General Hospital, the only Army hospital inside Paris, when he was being treated for syphilis. No, I did not sas revenge use a blunt needle for his injections.

Supposedly all the airborne troopers were volunteers. Most of the men in our regiment, and probably division, came from the Pittsburg or West Virginia areas. When inducted, they were asked if they wanted to fly. They thought that they were going to be sent to the air force and of course said yes, which made them volunteers. Instead they wound up in the gliders. Initially only the parachutists received hazardous duty pay. When we were in England all the glider troops were retroactively granted hazardous duty pay. However, the basis differed from the jumpers who received a percentage increase. Every one with glider qualifications, for the first time, received a flat $100.00 a month for the officers and $50.00 for the troopers extra; plus several months back pay. You can rest assured that, for several days, until the initial disbursement was “readjusted”, there were some good crap and poker games. I still consider myself a good poker player but could not make two passes in a row at craps so I did not participate in that sport. Our poker games in the officers quarters were pot limit, thus large sums could change hands.

During my internship at Syracuse, I suffered from kidney stones Never the less, despite my medical history, I was not only inducted into the Army, but ultimately assigned to an airborne unit which by design could be isolated and in short supplies including water for long periods of time.

At Camp Forrest I was assigned as the second battalion surgeon to the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment, First Battalion medical section which was part of Headquarters Co. My superior officer has graduated from University of Virginia in the class before mine, so we had a slight acquaintance and got along well all through our time in the 194th.

I was issued not only combat uniforms and subsequently, before going overseas, a mountain trooper’s sleeping bag. I also had been given as a bonus, a pair of prized paratrooper boots in addition to the regulation issue army boots plus, an Air Force leather jacket which lasted over 20 years. Additionally, I also received an Air Force officer’s sleeping bag the size of a single bed which I used as a mattress. I was one of the last officers to receive such booty, since no more were issued to the airborne. I carried the sleeping bag with me all throughout my Army time until landing back in the states at Camp Patrick Henry. I gave it to an officer who liked camping.

end part #1

Friday, May 22, 2009

DAY 3 ISSUES.

Today it is time to address two more election "Issues";

The first one, Community Health, is really a non issue at this time. There is only one ultimate acceptable solution which because of political and economic pressures has no chance of becoming reality. That of course is a small 120-200 bed acute care hospital providing high quality basic and emergency care. Specialized surgery and perhaps cardiac care will have to be relegated to regional institutions.

The fact that despite verbiage to the contrary there was no aggressive action at the Council, county. and State legislatures to bring political pressure is not a primary issue. The fact that Solaris has not been forced by the Commissioner of H & HS to live up to the conditions required by the granting of its closure application is proof that there will be no change here until there is a change in the guard in Trenton.

The other Issue today is Redevelopment. The scars of the 68 riots still persist, and until appearances and whitewash can change that impression there can be no upgrading of the community as a shopping or middle class mecca. I am not sure if the proposed conversions in center city are a realistic answer. Will they carry their weight in covering the use of city resources. No one has proven that to be true. Also any long range plan must cover the entire railroad corridor from Fanwood to Dunellen city lines. It will have to be segmental but contiguous. not two islands about the two remaining railroad stations in Plainfield.

All any candidate can do is to promise to honestly explore with the aid of the Planning Board as to what can be done. But it will take a total community effort to make any worthwhile redevelopment attractive. It was no accident that Park-Madison laid fallow for over 50 years until there was a political solution.



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Thursday, May 21, 2009

AN UNUSUAL POSTING

Anonymous
I consider the dialog resulting from my "13 MORE DAYS" post to be worthy of greater exposure so I am reproducing it in its entirety as of May 21 am. There has been no editing of the comments except for some minor correction of typos in mine.



Plainfield Resident said...

we knew from the get-go you'd be in the corner of Mapp. You cite inconsistencies in your own blog...

'since JG wont be answering questions I expect to be in the dark' from Doc

'i do not intend to answer questions unless they seek to improve this city and district' from JG

these are the little foxes which have spoiled your vine Doc. Your potpourri isnt distracting enough to cloud the focus of your readers of your cunning support of Mapp and the team.

May 19, 2009 11:10 AM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mudslinging; There has been to much personal attacks on individuals especially from one of the slates. This has been a tactic of demagogues"

Lets see..Jerry Green attacks and everyone cries foul.

Ruch Limbaugh - errr..I meant Dan Damon attacks every day - most are untrue - but when posed as questions - who said he was lying? He was only asking a question. All of that is OK. No one bats an eyelid.

Storch attacks - and that is OK.

As long as society keeps sticking it's head in the sand, then you will continue to peril with repeats of history and will wonder why.. why... and why....

In the end, only the truth prevails.

May 19, 2009 11:11 AM

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Blogger olddoc said...

I am sorry that the above two nameless do not understand me. If I have seemed to have fixated on Mapp from the begining it may be because I have objected to the lack of substance in Robinson-Briggs campaign or in the postings or comments from her supporters. I expect the aboe reaction, but if you read "13 MORE DAYS" you will see that I have also questioned and asked for proof for Mapp's statyem,ents about the police. Except for crime there have been no claims by hom that are not evident by facts. On the other hand too many charges by tghe only public spokesperson have never been followed up when requested for facts.

Do I think that Adrian Mapp is the perfect candidate for mayor? No, but as of May 19,2009 he is the one that appears to ME to offer Plainfield the best leadership in the next four years. Have I endorsed him? No.

If you read what I wrote "will leave me no choice but to vote for Adrian Mapp" you will see that I have made no decision written in stone and there may be a radical change in the campaign that we lead me to vote for another person on June 2,2009.

I would hope that the viable candidates will address the issues I raised by facts and reasonable goals before election date. I do not have the answers, I am looking for them and I hope you are too seeking.

May 19, 2009 12:35 PM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do the first two respondents think the Mayor has done a good job? As far as the second comment - I find it interesting that JG - Rush Limbaugh and Dan Damon are grouped together. Two of the three are open about being opinionated and taking sides. They are not journalists, but a blogger and entertainer. One claims to be above the fray. Can you guess who is who and why they are not related?

May 19, 2009 2:33 PM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, but the blogger claims his "clippingss" are non-political but in fact they are anything but. True, even that blog is entertaining, sort of, if you have nothing constructive to do or nothing better to read.

May 19, 2009 10:17 PM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doc, I understand your point here. I am supporting Mapp for one of the reasons you cite. There is no perfect candidate and there probably never will be one. But Mapp is the only candidate out there who really seems to be running seriously for this job. The mayor is avoiding the media and has no substance to her flyers about her accomplishments over the past few years. She has not offered any substantive plan. She has not come before the people at all and she has ignored media requests to be interviewed. Is that leadership? I met Mapp at his headquarters and had a very fruitful discussion with him. He seems knowledgeable about the budget and how he would work with the city council to make the city work more effectively and he seems up to the challenge. So I told him I'd give him my vote. I just can't vote for the mayor this time and the other candidates seem to be clueless about how to tackle the issues. I met with two of them and walked away wondering why they were running. I shouldn't be feeling that way with only two weeks to go. Again, nobody's perfect but we need someone better than we have now.

May 20, 2009 8:05 AM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If one goes to Adrian Mapps website, you will see where he proudly touts his previous experience on the City Council, and as a Union County Freeholder, as testaments to his suitability for the office of the Mayor. It is something to be proud of – service to ones city is not something to snuff at, especially if that service has been effective. It really begs the question though… what did he do as a Councilman or Freeholder that has made a significant change in this City? EIGHT (8) years as a Councilman – surely he should be able to draw attention to at least a few accomplishments, significant decisions, prudent voting… something which shows just how he aided Plainfield through his previous appointments.

Mr.Mapp repeatedly, on his website and elsewhere cites his desire for change as his motivation for running, everyone wants to be a Barack Obama … but let’s be honest folks, this is beginning to look more and more like a “Blast from the Past” than the lightening rod for change that he has adopted as his mantra.

Myself, I have only fleetingly met Mr. Mapp, I have however, closely observed him at Council meetings in an attempt to get a feel for the person that he is. I will not bore you with my personal feelings and observations, nor are they relevant. However I will share with you the results of a very unofficial survey which I took. I asked people that I encountered in my day to day around Plainfield if they knew (or knew of) Adrian Mapp – and what their opinions of him were. The answers were varied… much to my surprise, apart from seeing his name on a few lawn signs, a large number of people had no clue as to who he was and what he stood for. Also surprising was that of those that knew him (or knew of him) a pretty large percentage of those said their initial impression of him was one of arrogance. I thought this was a strong word, but it was one that kept coming into play again and again. It raises the question, what kind of Mayor does an arrogant person make? Does he consult with City residents to ensure that he is making decisions that everyone will benefit from, or does he assume he knows what’s best for everyone and dismisses other points of view?

May 20, 2009 9:33 AM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last comment is worthy of note: What has Mr. Mapp actually accomplished is so many years of political service?

You see, to be a leader, you have to be a visionary. You have to be able to connect with people. You have to be able to inspire people. And you have to be able to lead people.

When so many think of someone as "arrogant", there is an inherent leadership problem.

May 20, 2009 9:36 AM

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Blogger olddoc said...

I agree "arrogance' is a strong word. I think that "pompousness" might be a better characterization. I attribute this in part due to his educational roots.

May 20, 2009 10:34 AM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about "pompous and arrogant"? A good description of Mr. Mapp, and a good description of what Plainfield DOESN'T need in a Mayor.

May 20, 2009 4:37 PM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading the 10 comments, I am just wondering if all of the writers think the mayor has done a good job and deserves 4 more years?

I see nothing that she can cite as an accomplishment, and she has the platform to do something. Adrian Mapp may not be the perfect candidate, but do you think the mayor has done such a good job that she is?

May 20, 2009 5:08 PM

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Blogger olddoc said...

No not arrogant. His syntax and flowery vocabulary gives the appearance of talking down to us peons. I accused Dr, Gallon of the same fault. It is not good for a politician. I have not seen evidence of "I know what is best for you".I hope if he is elected that he will be able to work with the Council and use citizens for resources even if they rae not yes people. Just like nationally, statewide and localy it is time for change.

May 20, 2009 5:11 PM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch out what you wish for, Doc. Not all change is for the better.

May 21, 2009 12:19 AM

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Blogger olddoc said...

Agreed. not all changes are for the better. At the risk of again being called a racist!!! who grew up in the mainly Caucasian white/blue collar "Queen City" Plainfield, I can not accept the premise that today's ethnic mainly Afro-American with a substantial Hispanic minority population has to continue to be the"pips". Change may result in greater chaos but I fail to see a promising future for this city under status quo.

May 21, 2009 6:56 AM

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DAY 2 ISSUES

I am again skipping the first issue on my list; Road repairs. I will have to find the original 6 year plan to check on what portion has been completed'

Instead I will proceed to the root of Plainfield's problems; Financial accountability.

The first question I raised was; Has the lack of a competent financial officer affected the procurement of grants? We can only surmise that it has. There have been campaign accusations and denials by both major factions on this issue.Facts have been absent. The only truth is that during this administrations 31/2 years there have been FOUR Directors of Finances;
  • Bonapart who had been demoted from his position of City Administrator under McWilliams and remained as CFO until he found an administrator's position elsewhere. He doesn't count for or against Sharon's leadership.However the next three do.
  • Carlton McGee who left under a cloud.
  • A.Rafail Daniel who left suddenly for undisclosed "personal and/or family reasons)
  • Douglas Peck, who could not be bonded. He was responsible for a 1.3 million dollar error in the preliminary budget submitted to Trenton . Mr. Peck had previously done some consulting for PMUA, which was perhaps how he became a candidate for this position. His tenure was short and his leaving abrupt and unplanned.
  • For prolong periods of time Dashields has done double duty as City Administrator and also as the financial division's director.
The double duty makes one wonder if both positions are needed in the organizational structure of the city government. Should they be permanently combined? It certainly seems that one is superfluous, especially since Dasheild states he is receiving no extra compensation for the double duty.

The next question; Has the 'gaffs"in the budgetary process impacted on the taxpayer's burdens? has an obvious answer, Yes.! It has taken number manipulation and use of the irresponsible fiscal pension payment deferral plan to balance a 10 month overdue budget.

We will probably never have a complete audit that answers the following; How many contracts have slipped through the cracks? It seems that there have been several this past year that have required retroactive Council approval.

We can only surmise that NO is the answer to next three questions which may be related to this State's pay to play practices ; Is the methodology of awarding contracts been to the financial betterment of the City? Has the most qualified professional vendor been awarded contracts when financially competitive? Is there a mechanism to award contracts to the best qualified vendor when not the lowest bidder? Penny wise decisions may be dollar foolish.

To any one who has followed the Council this past Fiscal Year there can be only one answer to; Is the budgetary process realistic? It is a required farce.

Other questionable practices during this Administration include the lack of centralized purchasing. This is a fault that can lead to corruption and can not be corrected by new fangle electronic IT. Basic policy has to be enforced and section heads that bypass the chain must be eliminated.

Again, each candidate should expound on their answers to these questions. Vague theoretical or whimsy statements are unacceptable. For most of these questions there can only be concrete answers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Issues to answer

As I anticipated there was an initial negative reaction to 13 MORE DAYS from the JG sycophants which however was much smaller than anticipated. There have been additional commentaries posted.

My plan was to take the Issues one day at a time and try to explain what I know or would like to learn about each sub-issue. In the rare case where I have a solution I may put it forward as a suggestion, but my role is not to provide answers,that is for the candidates.

Adrian Mapp's May 19, 2009 blog and the resulting comments caused me to focus prematurely on Public Safety; The Police and Crime Statistics.

I had questioned certain statements Mapp made about the decrease in number of police available. I await a reply. I also questioned the ratio of "officers" to patrolmen" There had been reports to the City that the force was top heavy and the question is, if that has been remedied?

Mapp corrected his criticism of an apparent failure to apply for Stimulus money for new patrolmen after Capt. El-Amin pointed out that an application had been submitted. This is from his comment to Mapp's blog; "The application was submitted on-line electronically by the deadline. The resolution is on the upcoming agenda (since you have changed schedules numerous times). Had you inquired before publishing this statement you would have known this." Captain Siddeeq W. El-Amin

I do believe although not on any agenda the last two months, somehow the subject was brought up at one of the last two meetings when Administrator Dashields assured the Council that it would be or was filed electronically in order to meet the imminent deadline. I do not know when a resolution was passed giving Dashields the authority to file for grants prior to Council approval when the window for applications is too short for Council pre-approval. Such a resolution may have been a last minute addition to the business meeting agenda since it does not appear on the files accessed through Councilor Burney's website.

Again the new meeting schedule is creating logistic problems and should be abandoned. My position is that in this case the onus for the Council's lack of information lies not with Administration but with the Council's skirting its fiduciary responsibility. There also is a negative effect with the lack of on line availability of Council Business Session minutes.

Back to the Issues of "Crime"; How has the reorganization of the Police Department helped fight crime? The increase "sections" has resulted in more Captains, but again how are patrols become more efficient. Administration has at best 10 days to defend this position for citizen analysis before elections. Again we are not given hard facts. Could there be an altering in reporting to adjust numbers? The only hard number we have are killings that may be gang related, and to be realistic these figures should included those in contiguous municipalities, since there is no isolation to any one city for those types of crimes.

I can not justify the plans for a police substation in the Tepper basement only at the most 5 blocks away from headquarters. Unfortunately this raises an ancillary question; what was the $4 or 500,000 grant dollars used for in connection to this building and what is the total cost to the city for this project both in the past and ongoing? I know this has nothing to do with crime but has to do with funds that could have been used to fight crime.

The true answer to this "Issue" lies in numbers and efficiency in application. I am confident that Director Hellwig can publicly give the answers in time for us to judge individually if the present campaign talk is just rhetoric. The problem is 12 days to election.

Pardon Request

Tuesday evening was complicated by "American Idol" finalist , as well as the final "Dancing with the Stars" and at 10 PM the Mets game. I can assure you that I was in bed and asleep before that game ended. With all this going on my intended posting on Issues that should be addressed by the candidates was not ready to be posted this am. I will have something ready I hope before noon.

If anyone wonders why I am fixated on the Mets, I will give a little history. My wife and I saw the original Mets with Choo-Choo Coleman, Al Jackson, Marvelous Marv Thornberry, the over the hill once great outfielders Richy Ashburn ,Wally Post and other decrepit members of Casey Stengle's cast play at the Polo Grounds. Once we went into a doubleheader when both games went into enough extra innings that we saw the equivalent of three games. One I remember was won by the Mets by a walk off home run hit by Thornberry's alter ego first baseman. We were young in those days.

My base ball interests were as youngster focused on the always underdogs Dodgers. One of our first investments as a young financially struggling postwar couple was a Dumont Television which must have had a 5inch screen. You needed a plastic magnifying cover to enlarge the picture.That was followed by larger cathode tubes that made viewing a pleasure. Baseball highlights included Jacky Robinson's debut with the Dodgers, Bobby Thompson's home run and of course the early Mets. In this breast the hope was always that a non Yankee New York Baseball team would win the World Series..

8:45am Addition; Todays Courier News Sports has a great AP article recalling today's team with the "Amazings". In addition to the above players strters were SS Chacon who had limited range, 3rd baseman Christopher and the other outfielder was slugger Frank Thomas.

While on the subject of today's Courier in the legal pages there are 2 &1/2 pages of tax sale liens for June 10. Less than ten listed are for tax deficiencies the rest are for "Sewer" payments. The city does PMUA's collections at taxpayer's expense and we can't get a tax deduction for the sewer portion of our PMUA bill. Something must be wrong especially if there are so many unpaid PMUA bills.