Sunday, January 31, 2010


Today's on line Times synopsis edition carried this story:

Northeastern Republicans Envision a Comeback

WASHINGTON — The Northeastern Republican was nearly driven to extinction by political
climate change, but the species appears poised to make a comeback.

The successful run of Scott Brown in the Senate race in Massachusetts, coupled with the frontrunner status of Rep. Michael N.Castle in Delaware in his bid for the
Senate and other strong candidacies, could bode well for Republicans in a region that has been shedding them because of a sense that the party had grown too conservative and focused on the South.

In the House, no New England state is represented by a Republican, and neighboring New York is down to two. The Senate’s two moderate Republicans, Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, say they would certainly welcome the company.

“I love the irony that it is Massachusetts that has come to the rescue of the Republican Party,” said Collins, referring to how the election of Brown from the deep blue Bay State is energizing her party and raising the spirits of candidates who now know it is possible for Republicans to win
even in Democratic strongholds. Republicans see Brown’s win — and an earlier victory in the New Jersey governor’s race — as evidence that independents are moving back their way.

What a change from decades ago when the Northeast was the home of the die hard slightly to the left of center Republicans. I for one was not aware of how radical the change in political atmosphere had become. In New Jersey we would have intermittent periods where the Republicans controlled Trenton but the rapidity of the change to a Democrat voter majority had been like \a tidal wave in the past 30 years.

There has been no question that the loss of registered Republicans in the past decades has been due in part to generational changes and also to migration out of the State. Although there has been a true increase in designated Democrats perhaps the biggest phenomena has been the growth in the number of "Independents" who now can sway any election.

Long ago the Republicans lost the support of subservient members disillusioned by the influence of bigoted dogma bound demagogues who have tried to make the party as a mirror of their own inflexible beliefs. At the same time the Democrats, who at the local and state levels would give away everything except the kitchen sink, and that could be had, attracted so called minorities and baby boomers. The true phenomena was the rise in the unaffiliated who defaulting on their ability to choose party candidates were force to select from slates that would limit individual rights or would go overboard in the financial involvement of government in every day affairs. The latter was most often the lesser of two evils.

What the elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts have demonstrated is that the Independent voter is once again exercising his/her rights under Democracy. Despite these last elections, unless the Republicans understand that it is their positions on women's rights and religious impact in government that has turn many who would opt for them into the never never land of Independents, the party will soon be another Dodo bird.

On the other hand, Democrat leadership must recognize that there is a place for civic organizations in social services and health care, that we can not survive a benevolent giving government or they too will be sandbagged by a rising unaffiliated electorate.

Both parties now have 9 months to determine if they are willing to become meaningful in the public interests , or are going to destroy the country (state and county) in politics as usual. On the last day of January that seems to path being followed. Statesmanship is a lost art.


Up late this am and still not in a writing mode, that may come later. However, before we dive into all the worlds ills there is always time for laughter. This is thanks to Granddaughter-in-law Amber. Enjoy


1. She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes
of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before. After she
applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But
Gramma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I will probably
never put lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet
paper good-bye.....

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He
asked me how old I was, and I told him, 62. My grandson was quiet for a
moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old
slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair.. As she heard
the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin.
Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room,
putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she
heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice,
"Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own
childhood was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing
made from a tire, it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony.
We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed,
taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you

5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know
how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No,
how are we alike?''...... "You're both old," he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word
processor. She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he
"I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colours yet, so I
decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what colour it
was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I
continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you
should try to figure out some of these, yourself!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the
lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects.
Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy
whispered, "It's no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are coming after us
with flashlights."

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not
sure..." "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised, "mine says I'm 4
to 6."

10. A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother,
"Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies today." The
grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool..
"That's interesting," she said, "how do you make babies?" "It's simple,"
replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant," said a
teacher. The small boy wrote:
"The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took the lad
aside to correct him. "Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked.
"Sure," said the young boy confidently. "It means carrying a child."

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day
when a fire truck zoomed past.
Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The
children started discussing the dog's duties.
"They use him to keep crowds back," said one child.
"No," said another. "He's just for good luck."
A third child brought the argument to a close."They use the dogs," she
said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived.
"Oh," he said, "she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go
get her. Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good good things,
but I don't get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

15. My Grandparents are funny, when they bend over you hear gas leaks,
and they blame their dog.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Not directly part of the Health Care issues that have stalled the bills in Washington is illustrated in this story about Haiti aid. Humanitarian issues take a back seat to money. Paste this in you address line.


There is a uniqueness in January that impacts on blog writers. Either they go into hibernation or just have more important issues in life which limits their blogging time.

An example is the political bloggers; Only Councilor Storch, 10 days ago, has made a recent pertinent posting this January. Council President McWilliams this month posted two significant blogs, the second one after the Council meeting in the attempt to defuse the fears especially those of the Latinos that the city was abandoning the Social Service Agencies in order top meet budget limitations.

Couniclor Burney is still resting on his laurels as Council President last year. There were some foreward steps ,but more important no disasters. However, the greatest negative action in his watch was the adoption of a Council schedule that resulted in only one action meeting a month. Many of the problems with personnel and budgetary items c an be traced to the fact that there is no longer a two week period between meetings bout a full months. Now an important Ordinance takes at least 50 days from time of first reading to become functional instead of the previous 35. Appointment of Division and department directors are also delayed allowing the administration to operate with acting directors for excessive periods of time.

The greatest negative in 2009 was the lack of any transparency in communication between the Administration and the Council. Also good intentions with the creation of Citizen's Advisory Committees seem to have vanished into a fog of inaction.

Nothing has been heard from Councilor Mapp of late, and Jerry Green seems to have disappeared after his valiant post defending "gay marriages". Apparently there is nothing going on in Trenton. Nor with the reorganization of the Assembly have we learned if his third most powerful post still exists.

The BOE bloggers have had a plethora of subject material. They have done their best to keep readers informed in their own distinct style. This is a area where much of Plainfield's future hangs in the balance.

Happily Bernice has returned to the keyboard ofter a two days absence. And Maria digressed to Terry-Lou Zoo. That Zoo in the Hollow at the junction of Raritan Road and Terrill was the source of many years of pleasure for my children and grand children on visit. My 40 year old granddaughter still talks about going there when she visited us. It was a true "Petting Zoo" and an experience children do no have now. Towards its demise there were many'"violations" of "animal rights" and conditions that made it impossible to continue to operate.

How many of the inspections were initiated by neighbors who wished to be rid of the traffic at the zoo, or were the response of health department inspections will always be open to question. The site was once under consideration by Temple Sholom in Plainfield for its relocation and they even had architect drawings for a very forward designed building, but residents' objections to traffic made that an impractical goal.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


A day off from Plainfield's political and personnel mess involving both Education and Administration. Instead back to the National Scene.

This was copied from the front page of today's NY Times in order that you can better understand the Health Care Reform Status as of this date. There may be a change after the President's "State of the Union" address tonight.

I do hope that the Democrats do not resort trickery by attaching segments of the program as amendments to budgetary reconciliation legislation. That would be one bad political maneuver. Instead, Congress and Administration should take their time and produce a bill that satisfies 75% of the population. There never will be anything near 100% satisfaction.

"democrats put
lower priority
on health bill
WASHINGTON — With no clear path forward on major health care legislation, Democratic leaders in Congress effectively slammed the brakes on President Obama’s top domestic priority on Tuesday, saying that they no longer felt pressure to move quickly on a health bill after
eight months of setting deadlines and missing them.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, deflected questions about health care. “We’re not on health care now,” he said. “We’ve talked a lot about it inthe past.” He added, “There is no rush,” and noted that Congress still had most of this year to work on the health bills passed in 2009 by the Senate and the House.

Reid said he and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, were working to map out a way to complete a health care overhaul in coming months. “There are a number of options be-
ing discussed,” Reid said, emphasizing “procedural aspects” of the issue.

At the same time, two centrist Democrats who are up for re-election this year, Sens. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Evan Bayh of Indiana, said they would resist efforts to muscle through a health care bill using a parliamentary tactic called budget reconciliation, which seemed to be the easiest way to advance the measure.

The White House in recent days had said it would support that approach."

Not until a bill is passed that does not indirectly result in an increase in the individuals cost of health care through large increases in premiums, indirect pass through of cost to insurance companies, and employers by mandated taxes or coverage, and penalties to those who do not participate will the public come close to supporting needed reform. And there still will be a large percentage of population some because of immigration status that will be denied care not on humanitarian grounds but bigotry and self interests.

Of interest in the News is the proposed closing and bankruptcy of New York's venerable landmark Saint Vincents Hospital leaving the 'village" area in the same state as Plainfield. Also today's paper notes a growing shortage of primary and certain specialist physicians in New Jersey. Universal Health Care will be a farce if there is no economic support for the doctors, nurses and hospitals that must provide that care. The politicians and socialists are focusing only on a idealistic principle and overlooking those who will be obligated under law.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Belated thought: The BOE/PSS mess certainly could be a god sent in taking the heat off of the Administration's "Cabinet Appointments", IT director, job adjustments etc.

WE should continue to focus on the whole picture. Nor should we be lulled into believing that the construction of two two family houses on a Brownfield site in the near future is a mark 0f a positive acting administration. Incidentally I believe that the Council approved the Brownfield cleaning of the site at the last meeting.


You will note that I did not make any mention of Dr. Gallon and the PSS administration in my earlier posting. That was deliberate since his role in the present mess has nothing to do with the Board's action last night.

By all extraneous evidence Dr. Gallon seems to have been guilty of a serious lack of moral turpitude in the employing of his two Florida "friends". What personal relationships there are is immaterial and not a subject of discussion.

However any illegitimacy in his recommendations for their employment or the creation of new and apparently innovative jobs to accommodate them is enough to disqualify him from employment here.

If he falsified or withheld pertinent information to the Board I am sure that he could be discharged with cause and not due a "buy out". Yes there will be legal costs but if the BOE did their job the position should be solid.

The crux of the matter we need to know more. Moreover, I for one have little confidence in the BOE's capability of acting responsibly.

The sad sad fact in the whole smelly matter is that Gallon seems to have made a positive imprint on the PSS's fulfilling its education mission. I hope that the gains will not be lost.


Am I happy that my gut feeling was not to try to go to last night's BOE meeting.After seeing the posted agenda that which I feared would occur proved correct. I am not sure if the BOE's rules of order for public meetings provide for a period of public comments or if any rules exists. Perhaps like thew Council they should be published.
Any civil body that schedules meetings for the 6 t0 6:30 pm slots is brandishing its contempt for the public that created it. Traditionally in urban, and suburban America those are the hours for the family's one get together at a meal.

The rational for those meeting hours is of course to reduce public participation and scrutiny. To advertise a public meeting and agenda and to go into an immediate hours long closed executive session and then after 2 1/2 and immediately adjourn without an explanation to the public or allowing the opportunity of public comment is disgraceful.

It is obvious that there is a critical matter which will impact upon Plainfield's education system and if ant rumors are valid will also result in the needless loss of taxpayers' dollars that might be put to students benefit.

Plainfield does not need this BOE which has continued to show a lack of fiduciary responsibility to those who elected it. Whether all the members of this board know their responsibilities and roles as the Plainfield Citizen's overseers of our children's education is extremely doubtful.

The Board must at once issue a public statement clarifying what problems are of such serious nature that emergency meetings and long executive sessions are required.

I have long been an advocate, yea even a lone voice crying into the wind, for an appointed board. This latest fiasco has reinforced my impression of our need.

I know that many in this community fear the appointment of a responsible authority or board by the present administration. This is justifiably so if one examines the past 4 years track record. However, under this system the 'buck stops at the Mayor's desk, or can be traced directly to the local political boss.

There are other forms of BOEs that could be permitted under NJ laws; perhaps a small 8 membership 50% elected and 50% appointed would be a workable compromise. Whatever happens would take a charter change force by active public pressure.

The Governors and Administrators of the PMUA, the other city "Authority", have also been continuously also guilty of similar mockery of the public that pays its salaries. The inconvenient scheduling of public meetings and the frequent cancelling and rescheduling is designed to keep the public uninformed. In this Authority the Board of Governors projects a role as acting as the agents of their own employees.

The burden on Plainfield taxpayers is not only limited to the "City's Budget" but also to the operations of these two independent "authorities", the BOE and PMUA. All three including Administration, must be held accountable.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Monday;dark, dreary, wet and almost 60 outside. My morning spent waiting for the washing machine repairman. So, at last there is some time for a few thoughts about health care.

What is the story about Health Care Reform? Is it dead? Probably not, but in the Senate a revised compromised bill with the House may pass only with difficulty. Perhaps the Massachusetts hitch is a blessing. However I am not going to examine each and every factor, but just some generalized random comments.

True Health Care reform can not take place under our political system in which power groups such as the Insurance Industry, The Unions, The Trial Lawyers Association (that is not its actual name), Large Industry, the AMA, and the AARP to name a few who can influence the law makers.

For years one of the high cost items has been the impact of malpractice premiums on physicians costs. Malpractice suits are usually a win-win situation for the plaintiff without any reference to the legitimacy of the claim since most insurers will settle rather than risk court trials and adverse jury decisions. The lawyers receive a large percentage of the judgement and therefore will take the case on a contingency basis. Their DC lobby spent over 1 million dollars last year to remove any limitation on tort suits. If you remember Obama had made that a campaign promise.

The Insurers who first saw a goldmine with mandatory insurance,campaigned effectively against any government run program. They and the Unions are opposed to the so called Cadillac tax on high cost comprehensive plans. The insurance carriers are an active lobby against a Federal pool plan, prefering each state offer a private funded pool plan.

Voters in States that already have universal or near universal health care such as Massachusetts felt that they were going to be taxed twice for the same care. Many States resented paying for Medicaid costs of other states especially the sweetheart deal Nebraska received.

One law in place will require a 21% reduction in Medicare fees paid doctors as of March this year. The law has been in place for several years but there has always been a last minute legislative negation for that year. As part of the AMA support that law was to be repealed. Since Medicare reimbursement has not kept up with the cost of living and increased operational costs any reduction of such a nature would make it impossible for physicians to service patients. Therefor many would stop treating Medicare and TRICARE ( for military families) patients. Those that would continue to do so would have to increase volume in the same time period. Net result a unacceptable decrease in quality of care.

Unmentioned is that any increase in the number of high risk cases such as the previously un-insurable. would in their paying an excessively high premium even for basic coverage or a marked rise in every ones premium.

Health care insurance premiums are actuarially based like any risk insurance. That could be OK for auto or home or life insurance, but the elderly who represent greater risk find as they get older their premiums continue to rise to a point that many can not afford that insurance. If there were to be true universal health care and mandated by law a requirement to have insurance to cover that care then the playing field should be leveled and the risk (ie premium) spread equally over the entire population. Of course that would not fly since the majority of the population is under 65 and their premium would be increased.

There also is a strong opposition to being required to purchase insurance or pay a penalty.Likewise, small business is resisting the mandatory providing of insurance.

The only sure thing is that any health care related tax or mandate, the increase cost to the manufacture and/or the vendor will be passed on to the consumer. This is a cost factor not figured into all and any estimates of increased costs under new legislation.

This is a brief and rambling report on some of the problems that must be answered before any form of regulation is approved. (to be continued)

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I need time to digest Christie's messages and the impact of the lame duck Corzine's destructive partisan moves. Also personal stuff and football games make it unlikely to print anythin about Health Care and Obama's promises of changing politics in Washington.

We all knew that was campaign gibberish, and since Ethe Democrat party is heterogeneous even a overwhelming majority would not guarantee smooth sailing on pre-election claims.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


"NO CONFIDENCE VOTE IN PLAINFIELD" today's Spivey CN headline. It turns out as no surprise the the 'no confidence' is directed after at Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig in his 22nd month in office. The Plainfield PBA "No Confidence" vote has not any relationship to Hellwig's performance during that period of time, but to a proposal to reduce personnel cost in the department by demoting several Captains to Lieutenants with a subsequent reduction in base pay. Forgotten is the fact that this will permit the increase the number of grunts by 6 and follow a recommendation years ago that the department was top heavy at the command officer level.

In 2004 a similar "no confidence" vote was take against then Police Chief Santiago due to a proposal to reduce by restructuring the top ranks in the Department and increase the number of in field officers. When the competitive civil service Police Chief's position was eliminated by political action and replace with a civilian director for various reasons the PBA apparently welcomed the change. Is it not wonderful how a simple matter of personal dollars can influence one's opinion of a leader.

At the core is the issue which Administration in 2009 skirted through non action. How to trim the human cost in the city budget to an acceptable level without affecting services. No one was willing to bite the bullet and by decree cut overtimes, create furlough days, and even reduce salaries across the board from Mayor to the yard bird. Instead 17 ( the number has varied) low level jobs were to be eliminated. They are still scheduled to take place in February.

Despite the fact that Governments from States to municipalities all over the country have preserved jobs but enacting those individual impacting salary reductions despite the fact that all have union contracts. This city has used that as an excuse not to initiate such drastic action in an alternative to job loss.

If there is to be better utilization of finances for employment, the savings must b e across the board and not pointed at specific sections. There has to be a freeze in annual raise and moving individuals to a higher paying position without any change in responsibilities. A close look at perks and increased worker fiscal participation in benefit packages is an absolute necessity. At no time should the government approve postponing needed funding of pension plans as a method of balancing a budget.

Where several tax payer supported agencies are providing similar services there should be consolidation. This unfortunately may result in loss of superfluous jobs. An attempt should be made if possible to retrain or replace those affected in vacant quality producing positions.

This is Challenge that Administration and Council must face; to cut the fat out of the budget without creating a void in services including those that fall into the "Social Service " category.

I still intend to write a column on my "take" on health care reform. However the numbers of hours in the day are still 24.

Friday, January 22, 2010


No wonder Mark Spivey received the "2009 Reporter of the Year Award" according to Plainfield Today. Unfortunately the certifying organization was not mentioned. However Plainfield is such a fertile field for an enterprising reporter who writes so well and factually that it appears that little is cut editorially from his submissions. In fact he even has time to have an avocation as a brew master columnist.

When I picked up today's Courier, my planned tour de force on the Health Care Reform fiasco went out the window. I hope it will blow back in as more info becomes available'

Mark had the good and the bad articles on the front page;

First the good if true. As an "outsider" with only contact through the Council meetings I have been very impressed with Bibi Taylor. For the first time in years during her brief period as Director of Finance etc and recently as Acting City Administrator there has been a sense of organization and "following the book" in the functioning of her positions.

At both Agenda Sessions and Business meetings she has presented facts when requested no "I will get back to you". Her attitude has been most professional and too date there seems to be no BS. With the difficult fiscal times ahead for the city she will be inheriting a thankless job. We are happy that if true she will not leave the city and stay as Administrator. The best of wishes to her.

Now to the bad!. Once more the Board of Education seems to be involved in what is as best described as questionable tactics by scheduling a meeting the day after doting down a request for that meeting. Since I could not find any legal notice on searching were all legal requirements met for such a meeting? Who and what was the subject? Was there a violation of the OPRA laws?

Even if everything was legally acceptable, the matter has the aroma of manure. The personnel issues that have surfaced in the past few months are so vital to the public support and confidence in the educational system that they can not be hidden in executive session.

Once more we the public must question the competency of the BOE members. Or should we instead focus on the PSS administration? Perhaps there is malfeasance in both areas? Should the State DOE take oversight of the system until the present personnel mess is settled? Is there any criminal culpability in the ongoings in this matter. We have the right to know.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I know I am ancient but when it comes to acronyms especially one that sounds bad it would be nice to understand what is being involved. This is especially true of the blogs focusing om the BOE and the PSS. An example what is "RICE" not of the following definitions seem to apply to Dr. Gallon?

Rest Ice Compression and Elevation

Rest Ice Compression Elevation

Reading in the Content

Rhode Island College of Education

Rhode Island Consortium for Educators

Rest Ice Compress Elevate

Reports Interfaces Conversions Extensions

Rest Ice Compress and Elevate

Rest Ice Compression Elevate

Radio Ice Cerenkov Experiment

Radio Ice Cherenkov Experiment

Research Institute for Cell Engineering

Research Institute for the Care of the Elderly

Rapid Interconnect Circuit Evaluation

Research Institute for the Care of Elderly

Research Institute of Construction and Economy

rest, ice, compression, and elevation

Rochester Institute of Christian Education

Reports Interfaces Conversions and Enhancements

Rest, ice therapy, compression, and elevation

Reports Interfaces Conversions and Extensions

Rapid Interconnect Circuit Evaluator

Regional IT Center of Excellence

Research and Information Centre on Eritrea

Rest Ice Compression and Elevate

Research Institute for Christian Education

Returns Invested in Children and Education

Rural Institute for Community Education

Routines for Implementing C Expert

Regional Initiative for Community Excellence

Regina Integrative Cognitive Experimentation

Right to Comprehensive Education

radar interface control equipment

Raahe Institute of Computer Engineering

I know there are duplications in the list, but even the slang list was not helpful. Please educate the ignorant or use English

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I had posted no commentary relating to Tuesday night's Council meeting since the high points are covered in Wednesday's Plaintalker and in the on line edition and today in print by the Courier News.

My concerns with the Council are focused on interactions and relationships between Council and the public. However before addressing that topic I would be remiss if I acknowledge the Council President's handling the three large groups present who were waiting for the appropriate moment available for public comment.

Suspending the regular order of business in order that they could be heard before business commenced and without the pressure of limited time, not only a unique public accommodation, but enabled the Council later to proceed expediently with its normal order of business.

The Latino community was under the false impression that the Council was planning to approve "dumping" several social agencies especially the Bilingual Center by a transfer to a non-profit agency. Their fears were ameliorated by the assurance that there was no action on the agenda related to these agencies. They are items that must be addressed and funded in the 2010 budget which after 6 months into the fiscal year has still to be presented. The Council would like to find an alternate way to continue the operation of the three concerned social agencies in order to decrease their impact on the budget.

However, the Council would like to investigate, if similarly to the Dudley House the agency could become part of a non profit agency and thus not a taxpayer's burden. Not mentioned of course that the Dudley House was dormant for a year while such an agency was sought at a snails pace.

There is a difference ,in that there have been many non-profit rehab social services in successful operation, that operate with the aid of subsidies from the city plus State and Federal grants as well as the United Way and individuals'

Perhaps the Bilingual Center itself could be come an independent agency similar to the King's Daughters Day Care or the "Ys" with That may be a road to at least investigate.

The Council assured the public that they were establishing a committee including citizens from the Latino Community to find a solution.

The other large group consisted of merchants and the community troubled by a proposed ordinance which would great increase fees and licences. The Acting City Administrator had presented the Council with an amended fee schedule that would activate some of the new fees in two stages, but others would take place immediately. I would have questioned the legality of passing and amended but not published first reading, however the Council later voted to table the ordinance.

Unrelated to the commercial fee raises, there were specific references to various certificates and pet licenses, some being up to a 500% increase. Councilor Reid echoed my comment that in cases of some certificates where for legal purposes multiple copies might be needed, the increased fee could be an excessive financial burden. This too should be reconsidered. However there is no question that overall fees have not been in step with the rising cost of living and some readjustment should take place.

For years in compliance with the OPMA there has been two periods when the public can address the Council and express their concerns.

The First is immediately before the Resolutions and Ordinances are presented for a vote. Unfortunately the speaker is limited to a period of 3 minutes for the residents to address their concerns about proposed legislation. Not only is that an insufficient time if the citizen wished to discuss more than one matter, but he/she is deprived of the right to seek clarification of an answer or to expand their remarks. Or, even remind the Council that they had not received an answer. These restrictions can and does make this portion of the meeting an exercise in cynicism.

By law the Council can set these limits, and should rightfully do so to prevent the anarchy of an open personal debate. I do consider that the inflexible limiting time of a speaker without recourse a potential violation of civil rights. Absolutely, there can be no justification not to answer a citizen and still muzzle that person so that his comment is ignored.

Likewise, since the Council has cut the number of meetings in half the Public Commentary session at the end of the meeting has resulted in what I hope is unintended downgrading the citizens rights. It is true to compensate for the lost time the period for comments has been extended to an hour from 30minutes, but that just accommodates more speakers. The individual still has only 3 minutes again without any opportunity for elucidation. Without that latter privilege and a full 5 minutes per speaker, this is again an exercise in lip service.

Council and Administration should take heed i the results of the NJ Gubernatorial election and the Massachusetts's Senatorial election that the public is demanding a greater role on civic affairs.

POLITICS 1/20/2010

An old axiom is that when writing a letter while in a "pique" one should put it aside for several hours then reread it, tear it up and rewrite another letter on the same subject. Next put it away overnight. Upon rereading it the next morning you may still wish to send a less stringent epistle.

My Council report will wait, not because of what was to me a not insignificant faux pas, but Plaintalker has covered the meeting in depth. Perhaps tomorrow I shall express some generalized comments.

Of greater significant than Plainfield's Council on a national scale was the election of a Republican to the late Senator Kennedy's seat. In a state that is 3:1 Democratic in registered voters there is a message that politicians should not ignore; the public can get fed up with individual legislatures with their party's support, using legislation aimed at public benefit to grab funds for their own pet agendas. The deal with Senator Nelson gaining complete Federal funding for Medicaid exclusively in his state in exchange for his support was one of the most fragrant of many ball breakers the Dems used in the Senate to pass their corrupted version.

Forgotten in Health Care reform is the fact that those who were denied coverage before and the elderly will now have to pay markedly increased premiums to maintain coverage. The public is not too naive to have missed that there has been a great deal of flim-flam to hide the true cost of what ever is being delivered.

It will be interesting to see if there is a concerted effort to have the house pass the unaltered horrendous Senate Bill just to get legislation on the books. With the Republicans now being able to maintain a filibuster another health bill completely manufactured by the Democrats may never reach the floor.

One week later the enormity of the disaster of the Haiti Earthquake has still not completely hit us. I am , because this blog is already too long, post some information regarding the role of Health Care professionals in the relief effort.

I wonder if those who are already actively opposing the arrival of orphaned children into the country for sanctuary and possible adoption, are dedicated house of worship attendees.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


In the daily public seeking of funds for Haitian relief overlooked is teh fact that within two days of the quake not only did "Doctors Without Borders" have three (3) operating tent hospitals on site, but Israel had a fully operating, also in tents, but including Maternity and Pediatric care units in operation. Israel is slightly farther from Haiti than the US., but obviously is better organized for a disaster than we are.

Of course I think we have come far from that day in the late 1940s when a munition barge blew up in South Amboy. A call went out for Nurses and Doctors nearby to come to the scene. I among others from Plainfield drove to as near to ground zero as we could. When we arrived there was such disorganized confusion that we were utterly useless.

I am reprinting a release from the AMA on volunteer response to disaster. Although the earthquake is the focus the subject has universal importance. Importantly, a community the size of the greater Plainfield area must have a plan in place, and over the past year I had the impression that there are words but no plan. And above all there must be available a functioning medical facility for an area this size. Did Trenton consider this when they forced the closure of Muhlenberg?

The final reprinted item is the makeup of an effective traumatic emergency field unit.

January 16, 2010 ( UPDATED January 17, 2010 ) — "The spontaneous volunteer has no place in disaster response," asserted James J. James, MD, DrPH, MHA, director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response, at the American Medical Association (AMA), during a webinar held today for medical and public health responders to assist them in preparing for the Haitian earthquake disaster relief effort.

The webinar was held in collaboration with the National Disaster Life Support Foundation Inc, the American Public Health Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office of Injury Response, the American Nurses Association, and the AMA's peer-reviewed journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness.

"Volunteers must be part of the solution, not the problem," Dr. James emphasized. In addition to today's webinar, the AMA is planning to develop a clearing house for appropriate volunteers.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, part of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), recently devised the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS "provides a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life and property and harm to the environment."

NIMS provides the template for the management of incidents, and the National Response Framework provides the structure and mechanisms for national-level policy for incident management.

For physicians and nurses who want to volunteer, Dr. James urged, "Don't go unless you are as part of an organized team or have assurance when you arrive that you will be joining one.

"In addition, he said, "note the following:

  • You will be entering an austere environment.
  • Personal security may be an issue.
  • Resources will be very scarce.

"Volunteers must be self-sufficient or they are a part of the problem," Dr. James emphasized.

Volunteers need to know the following:

  • Their local role.
  • Their group's organizer or local contact.
  • How to incorporate local assets.

"The most important message for health professionals who wish to volunteer to help in the wake of a disaster," asserts Cheryl Peterson, Senior Policy Analyst for the American Nurses Association (ANA), "is that they should never deploy outside of an organized response system."

Health professionals, including nurses, who just show up at an accident or disaster site (called "spontaneous" or "unaffiliated" volunteers) are unknown to command and control personnel and cannot be used to their full potential.

Those in charge of relief efforts will not know who you are, what your abilities or educational background are, or even if your license is valid, the webinar organizers pointed out. There is no on-site procedure for validating your professional status. In some cases, it merely creates more work for those leading the response operation to deal with spontaneous volunteers.

Organized response registries for healthcare professionals exist at both the state and federal levels.

This earthquake already has a high mortality rate, with estimates of around 100,000 already being reported. Médicins sans Frontièrs/Doctors Without Borders is also reporting incidences of looting and threats to the security of their personnel, causing them to change the site of one temporary hospital and hampering relief efforts in general.

The Sphere Project provides the handbook Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, which contains guidelines for handling disasters.

Those who wish to volunteer should check with their respective professional organizations for specific advice. There is also this message from Partners in Health (PIH):

"We are deeply grateful for the multitude of people who have contacted us wanting to provide medical assistance, medicine and supplies. While we wish we could use all of the support so generously offered, we urgently need the following: orthopedic surgeons, trauma surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, OR nurses, post-op nurses, and surgical technicians."

"Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate any volunteers without significant surgical or trauma training and experience. If your qualifications match our needs, please fill out this form."

PIH is also requesting orthopaedic supplies, surgical consumables (sutures, bandages, nonpowdered sterile gloves, syringes, etc) and large unopened boxes of medications. The group is unable to accept small quantities or unused personal medications.

Blankets, tents, and satellite phones with minutes are urgently needed. People with private planes willing to fly medical personnel and/or large quanities of supplies are also greatly needed. To donate any of these goods and services, complete this form.

PIH Haiti Earthquake Volunteer Form

We are currently prioritizing deployment of surgical teams of which we have, thankfully, received multiple offers. Ideally, team composition would include 2 orthopedic surgeons: 2 anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists: 5 nurses (2-3 OR; 2-3 post-op/critical care). Please add team composition (number of volunteers and profession in the comments section).

We will continue to supplement the teams with individual volunteers especially nurses with perioperative and medsurg experience.

Just Potpourri

Is it not a commentary on American politics, when the outcome of Health Care Reform depends on today's Senatorial election in Massachusetts. The Democrats are already making plans to try to get the House to quickly approve of the grossly flawed Senate Bill if they should lose the Kennedy seat.

They are sure that once they lose their 60th vote in the Senate they will not be able to pass another more realistic bill through the Senate. Under any circumstances they are not delivering what is needed to make available adequate care to all. They are also ignoring the true costs by taking certain cost in creasing subjects out of the omnibus bill and passing them as separate unrelated matters.

Tonight's BOE meeting's agenda again seems like a short novel. Most of it is approval of what should be personnel matters that are the Administrative responsibility yet need board oversight.
One item I am curious about, What is the "Perkins Grants"? It (or they) seem to use a large amount of human resources.

While that is going on, I shall be at the Council meeting. Since we are all i n the dark as to the Agenda, will there be surprises in appointments or even any report on the status of searches for various Directors and managers?

One serious matter. Yesterday I removed a malicious commentary that I had posted , but on reviewing found it contained numerous personal charges that were unsustainable but character assassinating. I had posted it with a followup comment of my own that only hiding under the banner of anonymous could the writer escape being sued for slander. My comment was obviously not strong enough so that I did remove the commentary. I subsequently learned that the same person posted similar remarks in the cesspool known as the Star Ledger Forum.

I promise that in the future I will exclude any comment that bears an unsubstantiated personal attack submitted anonymously. That may and can include those using a "pen name".

Monday, January 18, 2010


Martin Luther King day, the nicest weather wise day so far this year that one tends to forget the true meaning of the day. Too many forget that prejudice and inequality may be a two way street dependent upon the times. For some the last election was an abomination. For others only the Afro-Americans suffered racial degradation.

Today six decades after Hitler there are those both black and white, Christian and Muslim that will go to great length to assert their claim that the Holocaust never happened. Darfur, Bosnia, Cambodia, other post WWII areas of genocide were just news media propaganda. King and Gandhi were true brothers under the skin in their belief that all are equal human beings with the same right of equal life opportunities. Yet, Sadly many of those who have become leaders or holders of power as the result of these humanitarians efforts deny that which they gained to the new minorities.

Philosophy has little practical meaning in today's world. We have become too materialistic to truly care for the unfortunate. The adoption of a religious obsession tends to be self serving for one's own "soul". The "non believer" must be converted or else his soul will be lost. That is true for all three "people of the book". Those that are moderate and believe and act in true brotherhood have betrayed their faith according to those who have found their way.

One thing is certain, we all need "belief". How or where we find it is immaterial since despite the name and trappings we reach the same destination. The key is to respect fellow human beings. If you are unable to respect others than you are following false gods.

This drivel is better than intervening in the PSS/BOE mess. Maria and Renalta, the Courier and occasionally Bernice are serving Plainfield well in their publications. I can only offer impressions, such as to boast about "Tangible Highlights" as accomplishments when they are only the result of doing your job is camouflaging reality.

I may be a lone voice calling for change from an elected BOE whose members seem to have little concept of their fiduciary responsibilities, or the fact that any Superintendent of Schools works for them rather than dictates to them, to an appointed one although it will surely be subjected to a flawed patronage political system.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


The State Department of Education's "AYP report regarding the Plainfield schools may actually represent progress. Most of the elementary schools passed. Three that were reported as failed did not seem to have any grading in the two areas checked thus the reason of failure is not obvious. Jefferson failed the reading/language arts test. Maxson failed the math test for year#4, while both Hubbard and the High School failed both portions of the test for the 7th year.

I am not privy to last years testing but if the records for the lower schools represent an improvement, I would consider that both middle schools and the high school will improve as the students who are at present in the elementary schools matriculate. Maxon this year passed the "reading/language arts" portion of the testing.

The alternative could be extensive extra-curricular tutoring in the early years in the middle schools.

Serendipitously, coincidentally with all the flack about the BOE and PSS and certification today's mail brought a "Progress Flyer" (or propaganda) from the Superintendent of Schools. Impressive but I am confused "Measurable" and "Tangible" Highlights. Measurable is either by a criteria or against a standard. So I expect that everything listed under that heading is compared to the last year of the previous administration.

Tangible is either "Substantially real" or "capable of being precisely identified". I grant that everything listed represents an improvement but I am not sure that "Tangible" is a correct definition. Never-the-less all represent a needed plus for the district.

What is missing are the basic information about improvements in the operating structure of the BOE and the PSS's TO. Until there is true "transparency" any scholastic improvements are endangered.

Friday, January 15, 2010

January 15

I am egotistical enough to hope some people look forward to reading my blog. For various reasons I have been a slacker of late but hope to have the time and worthwhile material to resume a daily post. I am happy that my blog's truancy has not disturbed "stevekilduff" who only reads Bernice's Plainfield Plaintalker.

I heartily agree with him that her blog is the one reliable source of facts about Plainfield, which is not not tainted with prejudice or speculation although I believe that a certain political leader will disagree with me on that statement.

However there are others that are worth reading especially one that keep tabs on the BOE. She too is preforming a vital service to the community. I hope Steve reads hers when he has the spare time. As to mine, it is Potpourri and I acknowledge although I admit that it express my impressions I try to be factual and welcome any corrections on erroneous facts and always post them.

To me it is disappointing that non of the Democratic -old, new and in between-"political" blogers have not individually commented on Plainfield's sudden loss of a very civic committed person who happens to have been a Republican.

To all enjoy this holiday weekend that honors a great martyr in the cause for equality. Let everyone of us uphold what he stood for.

Note: I was going to title today's blog as 'The Ides of January" until I learned that the "Ides" a Roman calender term only applies to the 15th of March, May, July or October. On all the other months the Ides refers to the 13th day. That is factual.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Wednesday was a day that had to be devoted to important personal matters. Late afternoon I had time to sit at the computer and read the blogs as well as the news. Reading some of my recent ones I was upset at the typos that I had failed to catch before posting.

I am not a touch typist,but a one fingfer two hander and often hit the wrong but adjacent key, or sometimes as a klutz strike two keys at once An example is in the preceding sentence. Some of my most common are words like " tghe". Another problem is one hand seems to get signals from the brain faster than others and a very common typo is "teh". Often the letter "s" usurps "a" or "d" in my documents.

To counteract some of these problems I rely on the word processor's spelling checker. Frequently a perfectly correct word is not recognized and if I am not alert another word is substituted which often has no relationship to anything in the sentence. That is one reason I must be sure that the automatic correction as one types option is turned off. Even so, often when I check the document for errors, and choose the correct spelt word, I find an entirely different word in the posted document.

Some recent boo-boos were:
another poetical hack
Since the school is BOE property they must have approves of the rental
Dr. Gallon's reluctance to discuss the matter under 'confidential person in formation"
Laura, your comment not posted ("was" missing)
On e exception,
I would suggest one fee forf the original
inability of citizen commentators to e able to have
The first has to do weith the ongoing BOE

Of course we could use a poetical hack instead of a "political" one in City Hall. That might make some of the resolutions more entertaining. I am also sure that Dr. Gallon does not need to give "information" in formation.

You will note that the accidental space between letters is a frequent error as is the dropping of the first letter in a word as in the above examples.

I do beg your forbearance and overlook these errors. If you see any, please point them out to me, I will not be offended.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bill Hetfield

Bill Hetfield's unexpected passing comes as a shock to all civic minded Plainfielders.

Bill best represented the transition from the old guard of Plainfield to the present. He never lost his desire to preserve that which made Plainfield the Queen City. In his desire to restore the city's vitality, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor against insurmountable odds .

Bill continued the tradition of the family's intimate personal involvement in the welfare of the city as well as the existence of Muhlenberg Hospital.

To the Hetfield family, I extend my sincere condolences on their tragic loss.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I had seen the light last night at the Council meeting. Too bad it will be extinguished on Jan.31.
I am referring to Acting City Administrator Bibi Taylor's performance as City Administrator, not only her ability to answer all questions but the organized no nonsense presentation of facts and having all Department and or Division heads present to answer any questions the Councilors desired.

What a breath of fresh air after so many years of obfuscation and never "getting back to you later". It would seem so typical of Plainfield Politics that any individual well qualified and competent would not be retained, and will probably be replaced by another poetical hack. All verbosity and pomposity and no substance. I hope I am wrong, but past administration performances bodes ill.

Although all Seven Councilors were present for the preceding executive session once the public meeting started for whatever reason two disappeared. Is this an indication of the importance of one Agenda Setting Meeting a month. Hopefully the business meeting will be well attended.

The Acting Director of Public Works although not absent did not arrive until after all the business had been completed.

Interestingly the only money resolution that did not merit any discussion was:


No mention was made as to why the reintroduced resolution showed an increased of $62,645.00. Unfortunately I did not have the actual wording of both versions for comparison.

Many of the resolutions to be acted upon were to comply with State financial regulations, and to remove a bookkeeping recurrent error on the annual financial Statement balances. May Taylor's successor also be well qualified.

The Cabinet and other appointments will probably the subject of next weeks meeting. Let us make sure the Administration and Council don't return to mediocracy and political favoritism.

Monday, January 11, 2010

potpourri BOE

Two Potpourric items. The first has to do weith the ongoing BOE hassle; If the person in question answered NO to both the below questions and certified to be truthful she has committed perjury and should be promptly relieved from employment. If she answered the first with a yes then a complete explanation is required for her application and is a matter of public record not "confidentiality"

C. Certification Failure to complete these items will result in rejection of the candidate’s application for certification.
Circle whichever applies
Have you ever had a certificate revoked or suspended in this or any state?
If yes, enclose a statement indicating the action taken and provide the pertinent details. Yes No
Circle whichever applies
Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense in this or any other state
or any jurisdiction outside of the United States? If yes, enclose a statement
indicating the municipality where this occurred and provide the pertinent details. Yes No
D. Verification of Accuracy
I certify that all statements and information provided herein are true and accurate.
Applicant’s Signature (in ink) Date
Sworn and subscribed to before me this ____________________day of _________________________, 20______
Notary Seal Notary Signature

The second has to do with the "Seminar" at Cook School- See Piv's blog. From all appearances this is a commercial venture by two individuals seeking clients under the guise of public information.
The presence of two Public Plainfield officials on the panel may at best present some ethical issues which I hope the Corporation Counsel will clarify.

Since the school is BOE property they must have approves of the rental.What are the criteria for rental of BOE property. Are there any City Ordinances that must be met? If not, why not?


EUREKA! Life can now return to FUBAR. The Council is holding its monthly Agenda Setting Session tonight. The first 19 proposed resolutions should be routine as they designate Council Committees and Subcommittees. What is the difference? I thought a "subcommittee" was part of a "committee", but this seems to be semantics.

The real business is:(1) finalizing the Dudley House agreement. (2)Ten resolutions from the Department of Administration & Finance mostly procedural although I have no memory of similar wording in previous years.(3) Four from Department of Public Affairs & Safety which are interesting and I will refer to anon.(4) two from Public works which raises questions since both request increases dollars from the previous contracts. One has to do with roads (Carnegie Ave ?) for a project scheduled for 2007. The other is another "Brownfield" engineering grant increase. (5)The ordinances including setting the Director of Police salary range form $97163 to $131130.

The first Department of Public Affairs etc resolution amends a November 16, 2006 resolution R486-09 contract award with a decrease from $289,129.00 to $ $233,925 a savings of $74,204.00 due to the substitution 30 minute oxygen tanks for 45 minutes. Was the original criteria unnecessarily to high?.

The second of interest is an increase in the amount requested in a resolution withdrawn from the Dec 2009 meeting for protective turnout equipment from $ 176,315 to $ 232,960 or pus $66695.00. My memory was poor but I thought that the two resolutions withdrawn at the last meeting were for renegotiation of contracts at a saving? This contract was not awarded by competitive bidding and use FEMA and Dept of Homeland Security grant money.

Undoubtedly there will be surprises anticipated in communications from the Mayor as to appointments, although this may wait until the Jan 18th meeting.

It is time to lower the heat on the BOE mess but not to ignore it. To quote Maria "The only question I have been asking since I got here has been when it comes to personnel is: Do they have the qualifications to do the job they have been hired to do? The jury on this one is still deliberating. " Comment 1/9/10 blog. That, the criteria, and integrity must be resolved.

Added-1PM;I forgot to thank Rashid for continuing posting the resolutions/ordinances besides the agenda on his web site. This is a great public service.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Sunday, Jan. 10 the second day of the Football Playoffs and the coldest day of the winter. However, the Internet became heated with the dialogue (?) between Maria and Renata. Interesting reading but not one into which a senior male citizen would dare venture any comments.

Never the less I must admire both protagonists desire to force the PSS and BOE to provide untainted high level education to the children of Plainfield. Maria's bulldog perseverance in asking, seeking, and posting answers to questions is a great public service. I hope her own educational endeavours will not interfere with her being the town's most dedicated education advocate.

Renato's blog is cryptic at times and her use of the idiom can be confusing to old fogies, but her desire for her family to receive the education they deserve is meritorious. That she is willing to commit the time to spend as a Board Member could be a positive step.

May both bloggers continue as they have done without becoming sidetracked in personalities. The focus is and must be the BOE and the integrity of the PSs.

That brings us to today's Courier article relating to Lesley Borg's appropriate certification for her position on the PSS staff, as well as that of her fellow Floridian, Lalelei Kelly an d Superintendent Gallon's defense.

Since Ms Borg's personnel record from the Florida Department of Education
are public knowledge under OPRA Dr. Gallon's reluctance to discuss the matter under 'confidential person in formation" is as the use of " Presidential Immunity" .

Whether a pretrial agreement expunges a criminal charge is a legal question that I do not know the answer. At least a negative answer to a conviction is appropriate. And 15 years of exemplary behavior is commendable. Thus the criminal act is a moot subject and if we are to believe in rehabilitation it must be forgotten as a stupid youthful mistake.

What is still unanswered is the integrity of all involved. Even if both women have now received the appropriate certifications for the position they now occupy, there remains serious questions.

What in either one's record is there documentation of experience that would qualify a 250% salary increase from that they were getting in Florida? Have the position's descriptions been defined in basic English or are they so vague to allow administration freedom.

The newest TO shows three (3) new positions reporting to Dr. Gallon that were not on the previous 2008(?) TO. Actual Borg's position of Coordinator-Special Projects & District Affairs replaces one of Administrator held by Doris Williams.

Lealelei Kelly's position as '"Coordinator -Strategic Planning/Acc.(?) is new. What is "Acc."?

The third new direct reporting position is held by Kim Artis s Coordinator of Recruitment, Ret.(?) and Lic.ense. Is "Ret." retention or retirement?. This job was formerly under the supervision of the Coordinator of Human Resources who reported to the Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services - then Dr. Bailey. That position has been retitled and downgraded? to Coordinator.

From this writer's catbird seat it would appear that there was an extraordinary personal relationship that influenced the recruitment of the 2 Floridians. Integrity?