Wednesday, September 30, 2009

QUICKEY POTPOURRI

One can not help but wonder not knowing the extent of Dunn's wounds if in 2007 he would have survived in Muhlenberg Hospital. The expertise of the staff at that time could have treated any critical emergency at least until the patient could be stabilized.

To "Chris", My "true colors" have never changed. I believe in honesty. but am realistic enough to know that is almost unattainable in politics with politicians. However the degree of cynicism in Plainfield and Union County has reach a point of unacceptability. I expect that there will be many "until death" JG advocates who think Bush would be proud of me. If you are a constant reader of my blog you would know that I have been a severe critic of the Cheney/Bush administration as being just as bigoted as you apparently are. I might add that one of the Presidents I did vote for and regretted was Clinton. But that was not for his political activities but rather his concept of truth; "That woman".

About my confidence that a so called "Republican" Mayor and a Democratic Council can work together lets make that my subject for tomorrow.

HEALTH CARE LAST DAY SEPTEMBER

For a change, back to politics Washington style. It will be another month before the big rush to pass a Heath Care Reform bill takes place. In the mean time there will be pre-election time posturing for the benefit of home constituents before the Congress gets down to serious business.

What we end with is a question. If we are to have Universal High Quality Health Care the cost will rise astronomically. Therefore the final bill is going to be very imperfect. The present cost restricted plans will leave 29 million still without coverage. True many will be the so called illegals. But their children if born here are by law American Citizens and should be covered. This group has not been factored into public figures. Those who are not citizens still cost everyone if they use any medical resources, such as ERs, psychiatric or maternity services.

An obvious cost saver will be limiting services, choice of treatments and medications, and underpaying providers. All of this will result in poorer health care.

Do I have an answer? Of course I do not. Indeed any suggestions that I have will increase over all costs. but to me they are essential. Some day when neither the "Mick" or the "Mack", my cats, insist on helping me computer write I will amplify on this subject. But---

Meanwhile the latest;

The anti-abortion bloc is trying to include a provision that no federal insurance plan pay for abortions under any circumstances. That will of course not fly, but may result in a filibuster by whichever side seems to be losing.

Tuesday in the Senate Finance Committee two Democratic attempts to include a government sponsored "Public Option' were rejected.

The Democrats defeated a Republican proposal that the government prescribe a basic minimum premium health care plan with certain benefits for example maternity as add-ons. Democrats are insisting on a list of mandated coverages for all insurance plans.

The Senate Finance bill proposes a surtax on health plan premiums of over $8000 for an individual or $21000.00 for families. The House bill would have a surtax on families with incomes over $350,000.00. -I don't know how many in Plainfield would be affected.

There is also a controversy in the Senate Finance Committee over the "Flexible Spending Accounts" I am sure very few know of these plans which allow a person to take pretax money out of their paycheck and put it into a trust fund for payment of non covered medical expenses, like co-pay and including orthodontics. The joker is that you must be employed, the employer must offer this plan, and you must spend it in the year from when the money is taken. At present there is no limit on how much may be put aside. The individual can not spend the money directly but must submit a claim to be reimbursed. Any moneys not used in the allotted time revert to the employer. There are Senators that wish to limit the amount to $2500.00 and others who want to "tax" any amount set aside over a specific sum.

The three House Committees that have submitted proposed bills are working on a compromise bill to be presented to the House for vote. The big issues are compulsory insurance, employer's responsibilities and government sponsored insurance.

What is certain is that there is a marked diversity of opinion in the Democrat Party as well as the political opposition from the majority of the Republicans. As of today, any legislation that is passed will require a major compromise from Obama to sign it into law.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

PIVNICHNY, BO AND CHRIS

I have never promised not to support a candidate nor a party or to be non political in my blog. I have in the past noted before an election the candidate that I would vote for , but that is personal preference not an endorsement in the true political sense. And, in the coming 4 weeks if circumstances change I reserve the right to withdraw any endorsement.

Politically in 1941 when I could first vote, I registered as a Republican. During the years from 1946 when I returned from service and settled permanently in Plainfield, to be a Republican meant that your primary election vote was important in determining local and county politics, and to an extent State as far as the legislature was concerned. Also for many years until the emergence of Plainfield's Pete Williams the Republican primary decide the next Congressman.

That being noted, I never let a label "Republican" influence my vote for President, Senator, and Governor. That vote has always gone to the individual who in my small opinion was best qualified. On rare occasions unfortunately it has gone to the one I felt would not "hurt the state the most". Such negative recommendations are dangerous, but our politics are such that unfortunately that is not the choice.

The past year I had to admit to myself that if I was going to be the good citizen and let my vote have an impact on our government at the local/county level I had to switch my tag and vote in the only local meaningful primary, that of the Democrat Party. The number of registered Democrats to Republicans is somewhere between 5 or 8 to 1. Still, there are a large number who have never declared any party affiliations who may influence the general elections..

I am not committed to vote a straight ticket. I never have done so and never will. Remember that party affiliation does not bind you to vote for the party's candidate. For Democracy to work YOU MUST VOTE FOR THE ONE YOU THINK WILL DO THE MOST GOOD.

This year the votes in my ward that will decide our political future are limited to (1) Mayor, (2) State Assembly, and (3) Governor/Lieutenant Governor.

I have already written that I feel that our City Administration is morally and politically bankrupt and that nothing recent has caused me to reconsider. Certainly not the handling of the Monarch situation, or the delay in presenting the provisional 2010 budget. I can not vote for Briggs. There are as of this moment two other Candidates in the field.

JIM PIVNICHNY, running on the Republican ticket has convinced me that his interests are solely to return Plainfield to the vibrant City it once was. He has business experience, organizational skills and the ability to work with others. Because he calls himself a Republican he is not Cheney nor George W Bush but is himself, a person with a genuine desire to fight great odds in the hope of helping his community.

JIM PIVNICHY offers the only assurance for an administration and cabinet that will work efficiently, economical and cooperatively with a cooperative Council to repair the city's long neglected infrastructure, and start Plainfield back on the road of economic recovery and a desirable place to bring up our children.

For the two state Assembly seats. Invisible party hack Stender has offered nothing to Plainfield. Our own Jerry Green has failed us on all important local issues. On the most important the loss of Muhlenberg there is vague evidence that earlier involvement with Solaris may have clouded his actions and political affiliation tied his hands from attempting active intervention in favor of keeping the Hospital open.

The recent issue of what Jerry Green knew of the Caribbean Festival and what his involvement was is a matter of one man's publicly uttered words and an other's written explanation, The truth may be somewheres between these statements but unless Mr, White is required to retract under oath some credence must be given to his , unlikely as it may have seemed,
statement before the council. His retraction must be made with sworn assurance that no pressure of any type was applied to him.

BO VASTINE has impressed me with his concerns and knowledge of Plainfield's problems and along with his running mate MARTIN MARKS represent a new beginning for the 22nd Assembly District. The 22nd needs the change, party lines in Trenton be damned.

CHRISTIE the imperfect white knight is the only available answer for Governor. Corzine has proven inept, much of his entourage have been found to be guilty of Criminal action and others suspected. While we can't have a clean sweep we can start one piece a a time.

I will vote in their respective races for PIVNICHY. VASTINE and MARKS, CHRISTIE. Hope you will follow me.


Monday, September 28, 2009

SUNSHINE'S POTPOURRI

As a public service, because of the recent controversy over the legality of the recent aborted Executive Session on Thursday Sept. 24, 2009 I am reproducing the following summary. Note that I have "boldfaced" certain passages.

NEW JERSEY'S OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT
“THE SUNSHINE LAW”
New Jersey’s Open Public Meetings Act, known as “The Sunshine Law,” is designed to ensure that decision-making government bodies in the state conduct their businesses in public except in specific circumstances where exclusion of the public is needed to protect the privacy of individuals, the safety of the public or the effectiveness of government in such areas as negotiations or investigations.
The main points of the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A 10:4-6 (1973), are:
All meetings of public bodies in New Jersey must be open to the public unless closure is specifically permitted by law. If a meeting by members of a public body is closed to the public, the reason given must be one specifically authorized under the law.
• A public body is a group of two or more persons, empowered as a voting body or public fund-spending body to perform a public governmental function. The judicial branch, the Parole Board and the State Commission of Investigation and all political parties are excluded.
• A public meeting is one held by a public body at any level of government – state, county or local – with the intent to discuss or act as a body on public business. A meeting may be in person, by telephone conference call or by other means of electronic communication.
• Advisory bodies are not subject to the Sunshine Law, such as when a mayor or governor meets with department heads. However, if an advisory body has the power to eliminate options available to a decision-making body, it too becomes subject to the law.
It is not necessary that a meeting result in some action; mere discussion of public matters is enough to make it a meeting public.
• Violations of the law may result in voiding of decisions made by the public body. Also, executive session discussion may be made public by court order, and penalties may be assessed against individual members.
• PUBLIC NOTICE: Every public body must publish its meeting schedule by Jan. 10 or within seven days of its annual organization meeting, whichever is later. A 48-hour written notice must also be given for any regular, special, adjourned or unscheduled meeting giving the time, date, location and as complete an agenda as known at time of notice. The notice must be prominently posted in a public place, usually in the municipal building, and delivered to at least two previously designated newspapers. Exceptions to public notice requirements are:
o Emergency meetings, which may be called by a three-quarters vote, may be held only if substantial harm to the public interest would result from a delay and the need for the meeting could not have reasonably be foreseen. Whenever possible, the body must provide at least 48-hour notice. Discussion must be limited to the matter which prompted the emergency meeting.
o Closed or executive sessions.
• CLOSED SESSIONS: Closed or “executive” sessions may be held without public notice, or during the course of a public meeting, provided that the subject matter is covered by one or more of the following legal exemptions:
o Matters made confidential by state, federal law or rule by court.
o Disclosure would result in an unwarranted invasion of individual privacy, unless the person affected consents in writing.
o Disclosure would impair the body's right to receive federal or state funds.
o Collective bargaining.
o Lease or acquisition of property, setting of banking rates, investment of public funds if disclosure would harm the public interest.
o Investigations into violations of law.
o Strategies to protect public security.
o Pending, ongoing or anticipated litigation or contract negotiation, including attorney-client privilege. The threat of litigation must be more than theoretical for this exemption to apply.
o Personnel matters affecting employees of the public bodies, unless all parties request or consent to a public hearing. Prior to discussion of personnel, affected employees must be given notice, known as a Rice notice, which gives the employee the right to request a public hearing.
o Proceedings that could result in a suspension, civil penalty, or loss of a license or permit.
• Closed sessions are limited to discussion; all formal actions must be made in the open, regardless of subject matter.
Prior to any closed session, the body must adopt a resolution stating the general nature of the subject to be discussed and the time when the discussion can be disclosed. The precise nature of the matter discussed may be withheld until the need for the closed session has passed.
• MINUTES: Minutes must be kept of closed sessions. The minutes should start with a statement of the time, place and manner of notice, or in the case of an emergency meeting, a statement sufficient to satisfy the emergency meeting notice requirements. Minutes should show, at a minimum, the names of the members present, individual votes of each member, subjects considered and actions taken. Minutes must be promptly made available once the necessity of the closed session has passed.
IF YOU WITNESS WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE A VIOLATION OF THIS LAW, SAY IN A CLEAR VOICE:
"I am _____________________, resident of _________________. (or reporter for __________________.) I protest the closing of this meeting. I ask that you reconsider your intent to discuss this matter in closed session and further ask that this protest be recorded in the official minutes of the meeting."
VIOLATIONS: If you believe there has been a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act you can file a complaint with the appropriate county prosecutor or with the state Attorney General’s office. Or you can file suit against the public body in state Superior Court.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Society of Professional Journalists - New Jersey Chapter
www.njspj.org
New Jersey Foundation for Open Government
www.njfog.org
New Jersey Press Association
www.njpa.org
This summary is provided as a handy reference for journalists, public officials and the public by the Society of Professional Journalists,
New Jersey Chapter. (Sept. 2007)

Having read the above, you can now judge for yourself if Councilor Mapp's protest was justified. Do not base your decision on our unfortunate political issues but on the legitimacy of the law.

Perhaps Plainfield's Corporation Counsel, or The City Administrator, or the Council President can explain how the aborted meeting complied with the exceptions provided in the law.

There was also a violation in that that meeting was never approved by Council Resolution which would have been subject to public comment.

I would hope that I now have time to revisit the state of Health Care Reform starting tomorrow.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

AH! POTPOURRI

Congratulations to Huiling Liu and Martin Hellig. May they enjoy many years of marital bliss.

Two blogs by Councilors in the past 48 hours calls attention to a "feud" in the Council that must precede Thursday's aborted Executive session. I respect both parties involved and will try to be impartial.

Councilor Mapp was right in objecting to the meeting as being a violation of the Sunshine Laws. I have already taken in print that position.

In view of the antagonism the Union County Democrat leadership, and Jerry Green has to be included as the city boss, has directed at him, I feel he was right in taking umbrage at the resolution granting him $375.00 to attend a meeting as being petty.
In the past 20 years I have attended Council meetings there has always been an item in the Councils budget for meetings. Some time it has been abused, but the only actions I can recall was to authorize attendance at certain conventions. The Council President was always keeper of the funds. Some years there was an allotment to each Council member and it was used. Thus the only action should have been to authorize attendance at a meeting which might have been stretched to be Council Business.

I feel that Council President Burney is justified to be upset by the accusation of playing the Administration's patsy. Burney is a party men although he will deviate from support when he believes that administration's position is wrong. He did have the advice of the Corporation Council that the session was legal, a position that I ,not a lawyer, also disputes.

The problem is that although the Corporation Counsel's office is supposed to represent the City, he/she is by nature of the Charter the Mayor's man.Counsel Williamson has been the Amendment's champion at the Council Meetings.

In the past when there has been conflict between Administration and Council, the Council has had to hire its own attorney. This present issue again brings forth the need to review in entirety the City's legal resources and the need for revision which may save money.

A Brief on Health Care Reform; A recent pole in the New York Times revealed that;
  • 56% of the population feel that Obama has not clearly explained his plans for Health System change
  • 76% believe that the Republicans have failed to explain their plans
  • 59% find confusing the reforms under consideration by Congress (and I might add that I think 90% of Congress has no clear conception)
  • 30% think that the changes will have a negative effect on Medicare. Only 15% felt it would be improved
  • 30% feel that changes will allow illegals to obtain health insurance, 22% believe it will not.
  • 26% think that the proposed plan will give the government influence in end of life decisions for seniors,only 23% believe there will be no effect.
  • 63% favor a government sponsored insurance plan to compete with the private insurers. The opposition= 26%.
Since none of the percentages add up to 100 the difference is either no opinion or did not have sufficient knowledge.

One other Item, The Senate subcommittee rejected a plan to force pharmaceutical companies to give a bigger discount to low income Medicare patients.

Other changes proposed is the mandatory extension of insurance to those with preexisting conditions will carry a risk adjusted premium. That ain't good.

MONARCH ENCORE

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive! " Sir Walter Scott 1771-1832

What better words could have ever been written to describe the machinations of Green/Briggs, UCIA and Fishman through the Plainfield City Administration for the past few months?

There has been an all out effort to have Plainfield citizens subsidize the sale of the overpriced, according to a local realtor, condos in the new Monarch building.

If it were not for Councilor Mapp's refusal to participate in a "closed" executive session of the Council which he felt was in violation of the "Sunshine Laws", the abatement ordinance would have been present Thursday night.

Yes, there was an attempt to hide under the exemption from public attendance by claiming it was a "Contract Negotiation"
(Legal notice 9/22/09). That clause is intended to keep private negotiations between a civil entity and a union, not a municipal body passing a tax ordinance.

Once again these are the only exemptions that can be discussed in closed meeting

  1. Potential unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
  2. Open disclosure which would impair the body's right to receive Federal or State funds.
  3. Confidential matters by Federal, State law or Court order
  4. Collective bargaining
  5. Lease or acquisition of property, selling of banking rates,investment of public funds, if disclosure would harm the public interest.
  6. Investigations into law violations
  7. Actions to protect public security
  8. Pending, ongoing, or anticipated litigation.
  9. Personnel matters affecting employees of the public body.
  10. Proceedings that could result in a suspension, civil penalty or loss of a license or permit.

The tax abatement does not fit any.

Why then at the open special meeting where the Ordinance was to have been presented for first reading were lawyers representing the UCIA and Fishman present? Despite the fact that contrary to customary practice there was no provision for public comments prior to voting? Yet the attorneys seemed to be prepared to speak.

We will never know since the matter was tabled if they were going to be permitted to make a pitch.

Also who did invite the UCIA attorney since the proposed tax abatement is strictly a City issue? Does UCIA still have a legal involvement in the Monarch project? If so, and in this matter I doubt it, then it behooves Plainfield's Administration to elucidate it for the public knowledge.


The Mayor's Friday's press conference announcing that the city has become the state's 21st participant in the Live Where You Work program was a shocker since the program, a New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency initiative that provides low-interest, fixed-rate mortgage loans to buyers purchasing homes in municipalities where they are employed, has been in existence for over 18 months.

Along with some of the state's largest cities such as Trenton, Jersey City, Newark and Paterson, other participating Central Jersey municipalities include Elizabeth, Rahway, Carteret, Woodbridge and New Brunswick.

What is most disturbing was not only the belated timing of this agreement, but that it was entered into unilaterally by Administration without a Council enabling resolution.

Moreover the suspicious timing was not only tied into Monarch building according to these quotes from the Courier; "Robinson-Briggs also pointed out that prospective buyers at The Monarch, a new downtown condominium development that is the subject of a much-debated tax abatement proposal, could qualify for the program".

The Agency Executive Director ,"Della Vecchia called the development "a perfect fit" for the initiative (Monarch), and Vanessa Brown of a local Coldwell Banker branch delivered a short sales pitch for the condos with a Monarch leasing agent by her side "The taxes ... we're still in discussions about that," Brown said with a smile.
"

"City Administrator Marc Dasdhield said that the city didn't sign up for the program with the Monarch in mind according to the Courier but did say “it helps"."

All of this merits the question; "Who is benefiting from the passage of the Monarch Tax Abatement Ordinance". Certainly not you and I the residents of this city. Should we trust our Administration to act for Plainfield?


Saturday, September 26, 2009

SATURDAY ADDED POTPOURRI.

I am not one to deny anybody the right to express in print their opinion as long as it is not inflammatory or violence provoking against any group or individual. If they are cowards or in fear of retribution they can do it anonymously, but if they have some guts let them adopt a name "tag" and use that every time they write. Their identity would still be a mystery.

On the other hand many " anonymous" commentators deserve recognition for their thoughtfulness. An example is 9:30 AM 's comments to "MONARCH/SPECIAL MEETING #3. which is well thought out although depressing. Its author deserves recognition even if he/she is known as "Cato". Please consider an authorship name when you write, it increase the value of your remarks by making them personal.

I was hoping that I would have a week free from Plainfield's politics before the Oct 5th meeting and could get back to (a) Health Care Reform, (b) Plainfield and Muhlenberg memories,(c) old pictures, and (d) spur of the moment Potpourri. Unfortunately there are still some lose ends from the Special Council meeting and the newspaper article regarding Friday's Press Conference that I feel obligated to post. bear with me until tomorrow.

In the ancient innocence days before WWII there was a popular comic strip , Little Abner, which had a character who walked around with a dark cloud hanging just over his head. Today I imagine he is Plainfield and the cloud is the possibility of a deal between The UCIA/Green interests and Fishman. Time will tell.

MONARCH/SPECIAL MEETING #3

Once again we have heard from the Administrator that the success or failure of the Monarch is important to the future of development in Plainfield. Words not facts.

There is a constant reference to the fear that the Developer will turn the condos into rental units. At present he can't legally do that.

From the Agreement FOR SALE OF REAL ESTATE executed between the UNION COUNTY IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY (SELLER) AND DORNOCH PLAINFIELD,LLC (PURCHASER) dated 4(? illegible)th day January 2007- the "7" is hand written over the "6" but not initialed-
Article 7 (a) Intended Purposes.Purchaser shall developed the property for the Intended Purposes (the Intended Purposes" or "Project"), for which the Property shall be deed-restricted. :
  • (iv) The second, third,and fourth floors will contain twenty-one (21)two-bedroom condominium units on each floor , totaling sixty-three units. Each unit will have approximately 1,170 square feet of floor space. Other units will have have approximately 1,400 square feet of floor space. Some of the units will have balconies on the exterior.
It would appear despite some incongruities in the floor space description that this states that the units are to be condominiums and no mention or right is granted for rentals. If the developer tried to rent any units the City could legally stop him.

Of course the agreement is with UCIA not the city, and the Agreement states that the covenants can only be changed by written agreement with the Purchaser (Dornoch) and the Seller (UCIA). This would imply that nether the City of Plainfield nor P & F Management LLC can alter the terms of the Agreement.

I hope there is a notarized copy of the Agreement on record because the copy I have has several errors. For instance the first page dates the making of the agreement on what appears to be the 4th of January 2007. yet it is signed and only one witnessed dated Dec. 21,2006.

Now that we have swept the rental question under the rug, what about the threat of chasing potential developers away? Again a bunch of balderdash (I am being polite). There have been many developers whose plans have been approved by the Planning Board since the 2006 assignment of redevelopment procurement to UCIA. The one positive is the Park Madison building which we have been told has not yet been issued a CO and is operating under a temporary these past few years. All the others have not materialized or the planers have disappeared.

The truth of the matter is that no developer is going to start any project until there is a reasonable expectation of economic success. And as Campbell remarked , once the direct connection into New York City becomes a near reality quality condo developers will appear because then there will be a market.

That brings me back to the "Tax Abatement" and getting the developer's chestnuts out of the fire. It will come up again Oct.5 at the Agenda Session at Hubbard School. As of today it is unacceptable. Before any consideration of even a markedly modified measure the following is needed;
  1. A true evaluation of the a workable selling price for the units.
  2. A realistic "common expenses". It is noteworthy that Mr, Campbell inferred that they were abnormally high . The condo owners will be responsible for 1.35 % each, the City for the Senior Center 13.96% and after the Veterans Center is deeded to the City, 14.98%. That money must come out of our tax dollars. The Center did not come for free.
  3. A specific time that ownership must be maintained.
  4. Guarantees that the unit will not be subleased. The individual condo owner will not be bound by the terms of the agreement.
  5. A very short term if any abatement.
  6. Wording so that the developer is not the recipient of the abatement.
Monarch will not make or break Plainfield's future. What will is a honest concerted effort to improve the town's ambiance something that has been neglected for years. To make the commercial centers attractive to those who fear to come into Plainfield.

That will take astute and dedicated political and civic leadership. Do we have and can we have it? That is the question.

Friday, September 25, 2009

SPECIAL MEETING #2

It took me all morning to compensate for last nights insomnia. Sorry that this is being posted so late today. However Plaintalker has a good factual report on the meeting, and I expect that tomorrow's Courier will be even better space permitting.

What did I hear or learn last night about the Council meeting;

Corporation Counsel is the spokesperson for the Administration. He commented that the Mayor and the Administration are determined to have the Abatement Ordinance passed. He also stated that the 'Certificate of Occupancy was issued (or in his hands) that day. All that awaited was discussion with the developer's attorneys (Lesniak's firm?) on the transfer of title. I would that the legal documents would also include the city's fiscal responsibilities as a condo owner.(see my comment on John Campbell's appearance.)

The Corporation Counsel noted that the Senior Center is just one of 64 condos in the building. Therefore its CO was not dependent on any CO for the building. In response to a question in the Public Comments session as to why the code violation delays since the May dedication in the Senior Center had not be corrected 4 months later, Dasheilds noted that in additional to each condo needing a CO, the building had common areas which also made it to require a separate CO and some of these violations impacted upon the condos like the Senior Center.

Apparently, there is a violation in required parking that must have been reviewed by the planning board and zoning boards before any building permit was issued. Why should a parking problem develop now. Other code violations that according to Dashield impacted on the center's CO included the landscaping "plantings!'

I can still not discount an impression that the delay in opening the center because of easily correctable code violations or faulty parking provisions was a ploy to the granting of the Abatement.

Councilor Mapp remarked that he could find no written documentation of any agreements with UCIA and the City relating to the Monarch property led to a heated exchange with the Corporation Counsel who insisted that every thing was legally attested to and he would research and have the documents in the Council's hands before the next meeting.

Despite Mapp's difficult in retrieving the agreement papers with UCIA from the City files I can not conceive people like DeFllipo from not having a document in her organization files. I can also believe that Plainfield's copy may have been misfiled.

To return to John Campbell; During some of the questioning and comments by The Council members I got the impression that the Council has had its own market appraisal for the Condos, Campbell noted that is firm had done a preliminary one earlier when real estate was better, and found the units over priced. Not only is the asking price out of line with the present market conditions in Plainfield but the developers condo maintenance charges are way too high. He felt that the monthly carrying costs are not conducive to selling the condos. He did offer to supply free to the Council his company's present day appraisal.

Campbell also remarked that Tax Abatements are not unusual for new developments, but developers ask for them before the deal is consummated not after the building is completed.

My only problem was the timing of Campbell's appearance and the Q&A period seemed too scripted to be spontaneous.

I can not shed the conviction that the the delay in opening teh Senior Center and the tax
abatement are interwoven.

(more to come)

SPECIAL MEETING #1

First an apology to the Council. I had written that i could not find mention of the Special meeting in the legal notice. Although I had thought I had read it when first published, yesterday I reread the notice and printed it off the Internet and still saw no mention about the Special meeting. Finally it was pointed out to me as what appeared to be part of a paragraph in the call for the executive session labeled 1- Tax Abatement Agreement/(nest line0 Monarch Building Special Meeting etc . I mistook the whole "paragraph" as been part of the Executive Session notice. I have yet to find the Star Ledger notice and will keep looking.

I will organize my notes and write a report about the meeting later. Suffice to say that there were two items of omission. Although the legal notice mentioned "Introduction of 2010 FY Municipal Budget it did not appear on the Agenda. . Dashield's said it will be ready for the Oct 5 Agenda Session.

AS a Parliamentary rule, once a subject appears in the meeting notice it should be on the agenda and can be officially tabled for the future or a specific date, or indefinitely.

The second item was the tabling of the Tax Abatement issue probably until the next Council meeting.

Suffice to say the Public Comments portion of the meeting took more time then the Council's business. more to come

Thursday, September 24, 2009

WHOA

The character (anonymous can have no other identity) who accused me of being angry may finally be right, I am prepared for a "Special Council Meeting" to night. But---

THERE CAN BE NO SUCH MEETING TONIGHT!!!!!

Yes I have an agenda titled SPECIAL MEETING AGENDA, Thursday 24,2009.There is one Resolution and two (2) Ordinances for first reading on the agenda. I will get back to this agenda for an illegal meeting.

The City Charter provides for Special Council Meetings: Special meetings upon at least 2 days public notice may be called by the mayor whenever he deems necessary, and shall be called by the city clerk upon written request signed by a majority of the councilman. The call for a special meeting shall specify the purpose of the meetings, and no other business may be conducted at such meetings.

I read a legal notice in the Courier published 9/22/09 which I thought had complied with that requirement, but on rereading I noticed that the only meeting reference was to an Executive Session at 7PM. No mention of a Special Meeting. I went back through the printed Public Notices from Sept. 14, 2009 and although Council President Burney had announced that the would be a Special Council Meeting on Sept 24 in which among other matters the 2010 Budget would be introduced (Dashield's statement) and the Monarch Tax Abatement Ordinance would be reintroduced I can not find any legal notice for such a meeting.

As to the proposed Agenda; 1-There is no mention of the 2010 Budget introduction only an Ordinance to exceed the Cap. 2- The Monarch Tax Abatement Ordinance is.

Once again I am confused for whom this Ordinance is to benefit. The title says agreement between the City of Plainfield and P&F Management,LLC. The whereas es and Section 1 refer to P&L Management LLC. This was pointed out many times with the previous introduction of this Ordinance as a typo that should have been corrected. Since it still reads that way is there introduction of another Fishman entity besides Dornoch Plainfield the original purchaser of the property from UCIA?

I also contend that Section 1 is the issuance of a blank check to Fishman in whatever guise the developer may be cloaked. How can the Council even entertain this Ordinance?

I may revert to conjecture and surmise that it is politically expedient for the present administration and the leadership of the City Democrat Committee to have the Senior Center opened for use before election. The CO has not been issued because of undisclosed code violations which the developer must correct before the end of October or be in default. Could he be using the code violations as a lever against administration to obtain his abatement? Conjecture yes but not out of the question of possibility.

While I am faulting tonight's questionable meeting , the Agenda does not provide as is customary in ever y business meeting, the opportunity for the public to speak on he proposed resolutions and ordinances. Is this also an error?

One more item, there is a rumor that the Council met privately this morning.