Sunday, February 28, 2010

LOOKING BACK and AHEAD

The other day Jay Cooke's article in the paper, which brought back fond memories,was about a fighter in the 50s, Beau Jack" who was exploited by his white managers .

In my not so infamous autobio as part of a chapter in "Maturity" on entertainment I wrote:

In 1948 we a major purchased of a Dumont TV set. The screen was just a few inches wide.(I keep think 3" but perhaps 5"was right). Although the tube was small the Set was a large piece of furniture. There were only two stations available, the Dumont’s network station and RCA’s. In those days professional boxing especially with Kid Gavilan, Sugar Ray Robinson, LaMoto,Willie Pep, and Sandler was some of the best shows on TV. This was the heyday of the Roller Derby.
The Dodgers were still in Brooklyn and Jackie Robinson was a major attraction on televised ball games. The early 50s was also the highlight time of great Yankees teams.
As the tubes became larger and the sets smaller the Dumont set was replaced by an RCA one. The Dumont network disappeared, but CBS, NBC and ABC had stations. This was in the early days of the Show of Shows, Milton Berle. Imogene Coca, Sid Caesar, Steve Allen, Jack Benny, Ed Sullivan and also other Comedians. Quiz shows such as “What’s My Name” and the original $64,000 Quiz Show were very popular on TV until the latter’s great fixing scandal.



Perhaps Rebbecca or Jackie could find some material for their blogs about early TV.

The 50s and late 40s wad a period when people still gave freely to charitable and non profit organizations. Perhaps that was a sense of relief from the ending of the Great War. But it was also the era of the Cold War and the fear of the Russian Atomic Bomb. The years when school children had air-raid drills and crouched under their desks. the years when the fire siren would cause panic if it went off at night.

But it was also the beginning of a change in American Life. We became a more mobile society not only for work but also the children moved far away from the old homestead. The concept of charitable support for all social agencies including hospitals became weaker and a greater reliance of government support, be it Federal, State, or Local. More Nationwide Charities siphoned off small amounts of personal dollars at the expense of the local non-profits. Gradually for such agencies to exist they became dependent on municipal support or even an arm of the local government.

Councilor Burney's Blog 2/26/10 addresses the end result of those changes in life style. I quote him " To do that one has to understand why we have a government in the first place. While many think so, the primary function is not to tax people - the primary function of all governments is to protect it's people and provide services that are best provided under a government umbrella. Taxes are levied to cover these services. Services that the private and non-profit sectors are willing to do, should remain under outside the wing of the government. Services that the private sector is unwilling or unable to provide or the economies are simply not there is where the government steps in. So you could say that a government is a vehicle of last resort for these services that a community needs and wants. "

The last paragraph represents a unique 180% change from his party's traditional philosophy. The Government should be everything to all through entitlements and bureaucracy. But he is right, Social Services should be the responsibility of the community itself not its government that funds through taxes, local as well as those derived from State or Federal grants.

The return to separation of services that a community is willing to support through giving and those that must be supplied by the municipal government is a revolution that must happen before we heave a society bankruptcy. The agencies that supply such services will have to be the non-profits that will depend in part on tax free donations and grant money plus whatever income they can generate. They will be almost completely independent of local tax dollars.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

RUSSIAN POTPOURRI ET AL.

February 26, 2010 — Unless a minor bipartisan miracle happens in Congress over the next few days, physicians will go over the cliff on Monday. That's when a scheduled 21.2% cut in Medicare reimbursement takes effect. From a news release 2/26/10:
"Leaders of organized medicine call this reduction "the cliff" because, in their view, many physicians will not be able to afford to see new Medicare patients, or even stay in the federal program, or even stay in practice if their Medicare pay drops by more than one fifth. They also call it a cliff for seniors who may not be able to find a physician willing to treat them."

Recently I had copied something that I had received in email and posted it on my blog. However, only those who used Microsoft's Internet browser found it to be printed in what I though was Greek. Although it was Greek to me, today I received this email;
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "AN UNUSUAL POSTING":
Предлагаю Вашему вниманию сайт [url=http://theloveland.ru/]знaкомства бeз рeгистрaции[/url] Сайт входит в объединенный сервис знакомств, колоссально известный в России и странах СНГ. Заходите, регистрируйтесь - здесь вас ждут приятные знакомства, романтические встречи и настоящая любовь!!!

Using Google translator "I bring to your attention the site [url = http://theloveland.ru/] znakomstva bez registratsii [/ url] The site is a joint service of acquaintances, hugely known in Russia and CIS countries. Come in, register - here waiting for you pleasant acquaintances, romantic meetings and true love!"

I have not tried the link nor do I recommend any one doing so.

I am continuously amazed who our politicians at state and federal levels considered them not bound by the same standards we poor proletarians must follow. It may be the norm in France to have mistresses or lovers , but only Governors and members of Congress seem to believe that it is accepted practice. Recent examples are the Governor of South Carolina who two years ago went "hiking" in Argentina. Or the Representative from Staten Island or Edwards who produce a child out of wedlock. Some feel that we the people should supply them with goods like the ex Governor of Illinois. The latest is Congressman Charles Rangel, the most powerful Afrfo-American in Congress. Other s believe they can tamper with witnesses as alleged to be Governor Patterson's faux pas.

Without doubt such mental processing occurs in all levels down to municipality leadership. New Jersey has been notorious in the past and there are probably many many more that have not been caught. But we can take solace in that human beings are the same in all 50 States. It takes only a determined opponent to leak the facts to the public. Those that exhibit character aberrations know that the odds are in their favor as along as their party controls the power.

The truth is that too many of our political "leaders" are completely amoral, not only in their personal life but in their political actions.

Friday, February 26, 2010

FLASH BACK 1940

For the past three days I have been ignoring the tavails of Oz (Plainfield). Something dramatic has to happen before the Council meeting, March 1,for me to take the time to post a commentary. The papers and other blogs will keep all informed, if one of the at least two bombshells expected explode.


I hopeyou will enjoy this excerpt from my "Days of Innocence"


V

FRATERNAL RELATIONSHIPS

Perhaps it was natural but Norman and I were never treated the same. He was the “first born” and I was the “baby”. The eight years age difference, plus an intervening “ill” sister, meant that, as youngsters, we would not be close.

As a youngster he was independent. He and an older neighbor boy went trapping for muskrat in Second Brook, which entered into Stony Brook in the western part of North Plainfield. I can not locate Second Brook today; however as a grammar school student I can remember riding my bike there. In one place, there was a beaver dam and a pool that was wide enough and deep enough to be a swimming hole. It has long been destroyed by developments.

Several times Norman climbed down the well at Schroon Lake to retrieve buckets, I was never allowed to do so. They were afraid I would fall and hurt myself. In college he had his own checking account. When I went to college I was allowed to draw checks on my mother’s account. Everything I spent was accounted for. In his last two years at Harvard, he had a Model A Ford roadster. On the other hand I never had a car until I started my practice after the war. Above all, he could do no wrong in girl friends. One summer between his 3rd and 4th years at Harvard he brought his trophy Radcliff girl friend , Jane Wonder, to stay a week with us at the lake. I will admit she was cute, however medical school and time allowed them to grow apart.

In 1940, Norman and I took a month’s vacation by driving across the northern tier of the United States. We had a tent and spent most of the time camping out, only using hotels in the cities.

We followed route 22 through Altoona Pa., passing by the great horseshoe curve of the Pennsylvania RR, over the Alleghenies into Pittsburg. Then heading northwest we crossed the Mississippi River at Minneapolis/ Saint Paul. There we stayed at the Saint Paul YMCA hotel. Our car was parked on the street and during the night someone tried to break into it by smashing a window. Fortunately we had left nothing of value in the car.

We passed through the Black Hills & Bad Lands of South Dakota, stopping at the then unfinished Mt Rushmore Memorial. We continued through Wyoming and Montana. We were impressed by the flatness of the land and that we could tell we were nearing a town, 20 miles away, by the sight of a water tower on the horizon.

After passing through Shelby, Montana, the town that went broke staging the 1923 Dempsey-Gibbons heavyweight fight, we entered Alberta Canada near Lethbridge. This was a coal mining area. We arrived in Calgary when the big rodeo, The Calgary Stampede, was taking place. Even then it was the biggest event in the Pararie Provvinces, and lasted a week. Of course we spent a day at the rodeo.

We drove from Calgary on the highway towards Jasper to the Columbia ice fields to walk on the glacier. Along the way we stopped at one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. It was called Emerald Lake and the water was that color. Using the excuse of fishing, we rented a boat, To be on that lake and enjoy nature's beauty was an end in itself. That we caught nothing was not only imatrerial, but a blessing since I do not kow what we would have done with a fish..

We camped out in the Yoho, Kootney and Banff national parks and also by Lake Louise. Yoho was famous for its hot springs baths, and I can remember the water being so warm that when I tried to swim in the pool I became so relaxed that I almost fell asleep. To pass through the Rockies, the CPR railroad passed through several “spiral” tunnels, in the mountains high above the Yoho campsite. You could hear the train whistles at night.

Lake Louise was as picture perfect as the postal cards depicted. The view from the hotel at one end of the lake to the Rockies beyond the other end was spectacular. Nothing in Europe has matched it. I regret never retrurning there although Helen and I had thought about it.

From these parks we drove on a gravel (small rocks) road around the Great Bend of the Columbia River. That was the Trans-Canada Highway (Rt #1) of the pre war years, and the only route through the Rockies. A rock from a passing vehicle cracked our windshield.The radio antenna which was attached under the running board (that was standard for cars of that era) was jarred loose. However. we escaped having to change a flat tire.

We stopped for the night in Kamloops before finally reaching the Fraser River Canyon. The sides were so steep that the Canadian Pacific RR which had reached there first had taken advatage of the best grades, crossing the river as needed. The Canadian National RR was next and was forced to use the opposite sides of the canyon.

The highway which was built last, had the most difficult grades. It clung to the side of the canyon opposite the one used by the CPR. There were many one track bridges or trestles along the canyon, and by necessity the road shared many of them with the railroad. Guard rails did not exist, therefore in both directions Canadian drivers from the Prairie Provinces would tend to hug the canyon wall side of the road. That could make for some hairy incidents when rounding the blind curves.

We spent a short time in Vancouver before taking the ferry over to Victoria. There, I recall, we wanted Chinese food. We found a nice looking restaurant. Inside we were the only Caucasians present. Next we took the ferry to the Olympia Peninsula and drove around it to Seattle before heading east through Spokane. New Jersey had just changed the license plates to a combination of 2 letters plus 2 or 3 numbers. Because Plainfield was in Union County, ours started with UP, and in Spokane, drivers were stopping us asking where was ”UPs”.

We stopped at the construction site of the Grand Coulee Dam. It was still mostly earth works at that time, but impresive. Then we headed to Yellowstone Park where we camped for a few days. Old Faithful performed as advertised, but we liked the lake area better. In fact. if it were ot for a blond schoolteacher that I dated one night, Yellowstone was a disappointment after seeing the Rockies.

Our month's odyssey was coming to an end. We continued east at the tail end of a heat wave. In those days car air conditioning was unknown. Instead, we had a water cooler attached to a window that modified the heat’s effects

Thursday, February 25, 2010

MATURITY

The next 60+ years finally becoming a mature(?) individual at the cost of full head of hair.

Hospital Staff Picture 50s

President Medical Staff 1980



1996, 50 years a member MSNJ
Not seeing patients,but Medical Director of CJIPA'
Fighting with the HOM's to pay Doctors and not limit
patient care.



August 2009
Where has that head of hair gone?

I was trying to extract me from the background but kept losing the image. Nice sunny day to play with a new software.

The end of this interlude, the next post will have some prose. Thank you for your patience while I admired myself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

EGOTIST #2

In January 14, 1944 I was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the Army of the United States, the entry rank for medical officers at that time. Off I went to the Carlise Barracks for training in military medicine. a tale unto its self.

Behold: Solider Boy

Freshly minted Looie Jan. 44
In a field of mud near Chalon sur Marne staging area between the Bulge and Varsity-The crossing the Rhine. March 45
There is a story about the Flight Jacket

The Soldier Boy has come home, January 1946 just in time to see the greatest parade;My old Division march down 5th Ave in Victory Parade.


Tomorrow: Maturity.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

PS: 2/23/10

I had spent days looking every where without success for one of two childhood pictures that I remember from my folks collection. One was when I must have been about 5 taken in the back yard sitting on a wicker chair, the other is a baby picture that I believe is me. It could be my sister since it is not lab led and it looks like I am wearing a dress. Was that the fashion for baby boys in those days? who knows.

AS would happen to all of us, this am in a drawer that I had been through a skillion times this photo turned up. Please note; I don't think naked photos of babies were the rage in the 20s so I am dressed.

GASCONADE

No I am not one of the "Three Musketeers" or "d'Artagnan himself. However, about ten years ago at my kids' request I complied a folio of about 70 pages plus pictures about my WWII experience which I titled "Old Doc's War". The library should have a copy. I also expanded into a semi-autobiography of four parts the first I called "The Age of Innocence", the second was the wartime section, the third I named "Maturity". Then finally a separate one since we had done a great amount of traveling before it became as easy as it was before 9/11. I titled stories of those trips as "Voyages of Discovery". Unfortunately our ability to travel was limited in the past 15-20 years by health problems.

All of the above is a little bit of nonsense, but since I am reaching another "time stone" I would burden anyone interested with,over the next day or so, some pictures of myself as I progressed through that book. In my egotism I have edited anyone else out. I also feel this beats writing about the City Government and the PSS.

7th Grade Hubbard School 1931


1936 High School Yearbook


1940 FDR was there

1943 Married and now a Physician.

If I had only realized how good looking??? I was then (high school) I would not have been shy around girls. I must say college is a great education!.

Tomorrow;solider boy and on to senility.

Monday, February 22, 2010

HEALTH C ARE FEB.22, 2010

Once more Health Care reform is hot on Washinton's agenda. Perhaps this week' s meetings will bring about progress. President Obama has finally placed his position on the table /(www.whitehouse.gov/health-care-meeting/proposal). Other articles in the Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/health/policy/24health.html?hp&emc=na.

There are many differences that must be ironed out:
  1. The unpopular Senate tax on "Cadillac policies" Union opposition is great.
  2. Tax subsidies; the Dems would extend to moderate-income families, the Republicans propose credits to everyone. Ending tax exclusions will greatly increase the costs of HC.
  3. Insurance exchanges; both parties propose establishing such exchanges to make lower cost insurance available. The Dems would do it on a national scale or if forced statewide. The Repubs call for such exchanges in some versions across state lines.
  4. High Risk Pools and Reinsurance; Many states already have "high Risk Pools" but the premium costs are prohibitive. The Dems. would only temporarily finance them until a national law is passed requiring insurers to accept high risk or previous denied for existing conditions. There is no acknowledgment that there would be an extraordinary increase in premiums if included in the general pool or very high is separate. The Repubs. think that federal subsidized high risk pools would increase the number of insureds at little cost increase.
  5. Wellness and Preventive Care; Both parties have some type of plan. I do not know the limitations or effectiveness in any plans proposed.
  6. Insurance Changes; The BIGY. Dems are of course for barring rejection for pre-existing conditions. The Repubs. also but are demanding removal of annual and lifetime spending caps. (great).
  7. Restrictions on Insurance Carriers Service Areas; At present insurance carriers are limited by State regulations which may differ from state to state. The Republicans-the great advocates for "States Rights" would permit carriers to market across State lines without be restricted by the other State's regulations. Th Dems w would by law permit the carriers to sell in other states besides the one they are licenced using strict federal laws regarding minimal benefits and other consumer protections.
  8. The scope of medicaid involvement is also important as is the wish for care of the "illegals'' to vanish.
This only scratches the surface, but perhaps some realistic progress without political grandstanding can be accomplished before the all important general elections of 2010.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

NON SERMON

Sunday is one of the days that sermons are anticipated and for some of the "listeners" a time for a quick snooze. It is not the prerogative of a blogger to deliver sermons. But, there are certain principles about blogs that always bear repeating.

It is obvious from the number of anonymous commentaries and the ability to check the number of "hits", which I for one have not done, that some of the Palinfield fixated blogs have an extensive audience. For the blogger that is compensation enough for time and thought expended.

It is regrettable that some hiding behind anonymity can not distinguish the difference between blogs and the in line newspaper forums. The later encourage people to post vindictive, sometimes obscene, of without basis attacks on individuals who can not legally counter such garbage. This may be an legal abuse of their first amendment; however the editors are interested in readership so they do not exercise any control over the forums.

The blogger on the other hand has the right to post or reject comments to their postings. The blogger may not be immune from suits for publishing slanderous or false rumor based comments. Under no circumstances should any blogger allow his blog to become an uncontrolled forum.

To often a "whatsis" attempts to do so, this comment by Bernice recently to an individual who submitted within minutes the same "stuff" to three of us is an example: 7:28 PM Bernice reply To 6:49 p.m. - you already put all that stuff on the nj.com Plainfield forum, so why should I post it on my blog? Those files look like something only an insider would have. Are you an insider or an outsider who now feels it is "time for the truth?" Well said.

Sometimes the anonymous one's impressions are weird, such has this from a commentary to Councilor Burney's most recent post; Alan, thank you for your words. You are right - there are no winners in this budget.But according to some local bloggers, it was as if they had won the superbowl.The budget is passed every year. There is nothing special about that event.

I can not recall any of the so called major bloggers cheering about the Council passing the budget. Every one I read and I hope I too complained that the process was a farce since 2/3rd of the year had passed and much of available funds already expended. All have called for an honest approach to the process not a flim flam.

But then again as a reader to Plainfield Today wrote: This just makes me so sad and angry. Sad because it makes Plainfield look worse and worse with no end in sight, and not because of anything the citizens did. Practically everyone in the government is useless: the stupid public safety director, the snitch cops, the incompetent mayor, the crybaby rec director, the slimy schools superintendent, the crybaby bloggers, the bitchy commentators to the blogs, the irresponsible BOE, the all mouth but no brains assemblyman, all of them. Everyone seems a fool or worse.

Please would this individual identify or define "crybaby bloggers". He/she with identity can reply to me and I will keep the reply confidential unless he/she requests my posting it. I guess that "bitchy commentators" refers to those that disagree with this righteous person.

I am always maintained that the purpose of my blog a stated in mt heading is not that of a reporter but among other potpouuri a place to voice publicly my opinions on local or generalized occurrences. I consider Plainfield Plaintalker and Maria's Blog each in its unique way a true honest without biased purveyor of facts that are related to Plainfield. Plainfield Today functions as a fact reporter, a whistle blower, and the source of material that can not be authenticated but must be further investigated. These three attempt to make our community a responsible place to live. Support them, don't damn them.

As almost a non-sequitor; today's CN headline " Board finds way around conflicts" should have read "Board finds way to negate conflicts". The conflicts exists, but what is most important to know is how many of the relatives became employees of the system after the board member assumed office. That is a most pertinent ethical question.

I can understand Board President Cathart's position that only the Board President should make public comments about Board activities. However that Totalitarian Dictatorial position should be relaxed to permit a spokesperson for an opposition to also make a public statement after, not prior to, Board action.

A final statement; I know that each member of the BOE sought that office in an honest desire to improve the PSS as that person invisioned. The only question is the understanding of wach board member as to their fiduciary responsibility, the Board's role, The Superintendent's role aand each one's commitment to the community.

Friday, February 19, 2010

PSS

What a world! This morning Tiger Wood made a public statement which I have not heard, about his recent problems. Also today there appeared on line a story about Director Hellwig's minor indiscretion. Neither story merits comment here today I am absolutely convinced that neither will go away and the backlash will be far reaching. One more facet to the story of Clown City.

My attention has been focus on an integral part of Plainfield, about which I unfortunately have had little integral knowledge since my son graduated from PHS in 1969- 50 years ago. What I know comes from reading the media and in the past few years from the in depth postings by Maria in her blog.

During the intervening 50 years the system has degenerated from one of he best in the country to a unstable nepotistic and patronage ineffective taxpayer's money eater. Costs per student have been inflated by administrative "buy outs" and partisan selections. The BOE has become to the outside observer ignorant of its fiduciary responsibilities.

Thus I was interested to read in the CN (2/17/10) the following amendment to the district's hiring practices:" The existing policy indicates that it is the duty of the city schools superintendent "to see that persons nominated for employment shall meet all qualifications established by state or federal law, including ... certification for the type of position for which nomination is made." The amendment, however, clarifies that the superintendent also "shall provide the board with evidence of qualifications established by state or federal law such as certification, academic credentials, and related work experience for persons nominated for administrative positions."

That the BOE has to put such a clarification of what should have been apparent since they have the final say on all administrative hires or promotions is amazing. That they should have permitted Gallon, who now supports such a resolution as being need for "transparency", to keep important information from them as restricted personnel info defies comprehension.

Equally disturbing is the fact that the two thirds of the Board members have a sibling or parent employed in the system. How can there not be a conflict of interest ? The filing of a "Doctrine of Necessity" in order to perform any evaluation process does not guaranty impartiality.

Perhaps there has been a lack of performance evaluation because there have not been the required number of board members who were not eliminated by personal conflicts.

Is it not strange that in the vetting diligence process three Board members went to Florida to interview Dr. Gallon and also those who professionally were involved with him. The three came back and most enthusiastically recommended his hiring. Yet today two of the committee are his most vocal Board critics.What went wrong with the vetting process?

It is only a matter of time for the PSS circus to reach a definitive final act. How much will it cost us?

AM 2/19/2010 POTPOURRI

The Periodontists this morning and last night's Olympic watching will delay today's PSS comments until sometime late afternoon. No great loss!

That said; a brief comment on the "debate between DD and Councilor Burney in the comments to his recent (yesterday) posting about the budget.

Dan is right, a postponement of the budget vote or rejection would have placed the city into a minimum of another two months delay in passing any farcical budget. By that time the Administration would have had 5/6th (10/12th) of the year to freely spend taxpayer's money without any real constraints. If what has been spent is a fact, what room would the Council have to reduce the tax impact on the citizens? As it is there has been very little left to date.

The Council, and I hope that Councilor Burney is a leader, must force the Administration to have a project 2011 budget ready for presentation in time to adopt the FYI 2011 budget at the beginning of the fiscal year. It can be done if everyone has Plainfield's interests as a priority. There is no place for acceptance of such "crap" as we must wait for the State's appropriation.

Governor Christie has already given an indication of what funding might be available, so act as if it is there, but have a Plan B if there is a shortfall.

This is not a mysterious matter of intra or inter-party politics, Councilor Burney, but citizenship.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

INDIGNATION

There were two "Spivey" articles in Thursday's CN that merit one man's public opinion expression. The first page one relating to proposed BOE action must wait for a separate post.

This is not time for Potpourri, but for an outburst of righteous indignation.

This a crisis time for Plainfield. Eight months after it was due the Council despite an attempt for delay tactics by Administration, the Council finally adopted a near Spartan budget.

Council President McWilliams posted "The adopted budget will not be detrimental to the operation of the City. Rather, it will force us all to live within our means and be more creative and efficient in our operations. Plainfield’s finest will be able to continue to serve and protect, Public Works will continue to plow our streets, and the Recreation Department will continue to serve our kids and will not need to cut a single program."

Today's Courier's article no9ted that there will undoubtedly be more job cuts, some in the Recreation Department. This is from that article: "Believed to be hardest hit by the cuts is the city's Recreation Division. According to Recreation Director Dave Wynn, his staff of two full-time employees and two part-time employees could be eliminated entirely within a matter of weeks, leaving almost all of the division's work to be completed by a roster of approximately 120 seasonal employees.

"Almost impossible,'' Wynn said when asked how difficult adjusting to the cuts will be, adding that the staff reductions are "crippling the office.''

Wynn also alleged that a recent council decision to restore salary funding to the city's Planning Division and cut funding to his staff was "absolutely'' motivated at least in part by race (boldface mine). Robinson-Briggs in her preliminary budget proposed to outsource some of that division's responsibilities to a private firm, eliminating several employees, but the council insisted that the city retain a strong in-house planning staff.

Wynn said his four staff members are black, while planning has "3-4 Caucasians up there.''

How dare Wynn to even think a bigoted racial issue. He is the Director of a Division which has come under some flack for poor presentation of proposed activities. There was nothing racial in the Council's initial hesitance to approve that request.

The proposal to outsource the Planing division was recognized by the Council as not to be in the City's best economic interests for many reasons including not only the expertise provided by our present division versus the third party involvement by a potential pay to play vendor who services could be more expensive and not individualized to the city.

Mr Wynn, the population of Plainfield is plus or minus some 80% black with a substantial number of Latinos not well represented in the City Government, and only a few Caucasians. The 2010 Census if there is full cooperative participation will give exact figures.

It is time to stop using the term " Minority" as a synonym for one whose ancestry or skin is black. Accept the fact that this Country has except for a few diehards like you or the Nazi loving White Supremacists has come to grips that we are a homogeneous nation Even such Rightists populists such as Rush Limbaugh has publicly stated that we should be a "color-blinded nation".

If anyone in the present Administration merits disciplinary action has to be Mr. Wynn. If this was a comment made by a public white individual the outburst of anger from such leaders a s Rev. Sharpten would cost the individual his job, and rightly so. I do not ask for that.

Perhaps the entire City government as well as the PSS should subscribe to The Southern Poverty Law Center's documents on Tolerance.




PRELUDE POTPOURRI

9:45 am: Today's plan to (a) straighten up my "den"; I job that I detest because once my disorganized disorganization is eliminated, I can't find anything. (b) go through some 65+ years of photographs and snap shots to pick out the important ones, and try to preserve on media,(c) I have a new photo processing software that I hope to find time to learn and then play with old on file pictures. Almost all the best I have posted in the past but perhaps I can do something with the second line and I will again occasionally post any that I feel are of interest.

Unfortunately I just read the first section of the CN. Two articles about Plainfield, one requires mild commentary,but the other has made me so angry that I will post about it after I have time to write a second or third draft; words written in anger can be regretted. Anyhow I would not have time to meet DD's deadline so look for it this afternoon early.

10:05 AM-I have just read Councilor Burney's blog posted since early last night. I hope other Councilor's besides the President who have blogs will comment on their view of the budget and the process. would welcome a letter (e-mail) for posting from those who do nor blog.

Our local Assemblyman, JG, has been b very quiet on his blog since Jan. 6 :Gay Marriage". I do believe that there has been such important activity in the various portions of the Plainfield Civic Entity that our local political leader and Assemblyman should have had time to keep his constituency informed. This does not mean the posting of press releases, etc..

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CLOWN CITY REDUX

On Feb. 11 , my blog was titled " Clown City". I am still receiving some commentaries regarding that posting, and have entered a link so that anyone who missed it can now read it.

One unfortunate fact is that not everyone reads a blog shortly after posting and their opinions may be lost.

For your edification unedited;

Anonymous said... Finally, someome see the real truth. Under BOE BR, Gallon was allowed to run a muck and BR covered it all up. Wait until the rest of his foolishness is exposed. And that will be soon! February 11, 2010 6:16 AM
Anonymous said...

The BOE needs to share in the blame. They are supposed to be responsible adults tasked with protecting the school system and its kids. Are there training programs for BOE members like there are for municipal elected officials and board appointees (Planning boards ...) Someone should see if Rutgers has anything.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I believe the FULL blame lies with Carmen Centuolo. Do I believe the BOE has to take some blame in this, yes definitely. Centuolo knew about this situation for a long time, and instead of stepping in like any good boss, she chose to ignore the situation. Remember, she gets PAID to do her job!

As for the Board, now that it's exposed for all of the tri-state area to see, we have to hold them accountable to make the changes necessary.

Anonymous said...

Yes but while we hold the BOE and Carmen Centuolo accountable, who holds the tax payers of Plainfield accountable? We do nothing so we get nothing. Shame, Shame, Shame on us!!!

Anonymous said...

Doc, I am with you on the UEZ funds allocation. Cory Storch stated that Ms. Taylor was going to have to hold the Rec department's feet to the fire to make sure the funds were spent wisely. Let's think about this.

Ms. Taylor has a 74 million dollar budget she has to administer. The UEZ funds have nothing to do with her budget. Cory Storch wants Ms. Taylor to track 40K that is not part of the city budget? I suspect Ms. Taylor has more brains than that.

It seems that the administration's do nothing push down theory is taking hold.

Administration does nothing to introduce to the council a well thought out budget. The Administration did nothing and pushed it down to the Council.

The council does not demand accountability or proof for the 40K they gave to the rec department. The Council does nothing and pushes down to the City Administrator.

Thankfully, we have a City Administrator who is astute enough to know where her priorities lie.

Anonymous said...

The Council totally sucummbed it;s responsibility on the UEZ project. Hiding behind the generic umbrella of "accountability" they capitulated thier responsibility and rewarded the administration for not making any justification on why they should get $55,000.

Who is going to hold the Council responsible for it's failures? McWilliams, Storch and Mapp are allowing the Mayor wild and spend our money.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Yes, the blame is really on the electorate. I agree with your suggestion of a partially appointed BOE. It is legal in Jersey, but Plainfield has an ordinance against it. New Brunswick has a 100% appointed BOE. I used to think this was terrible, until I began to compare the two districts. New Brunswick is a bigger city with higher crime rate and higher poverty levels. Yet, they do not have the problems that Plainfield does. Why? Because the mayor has appointed qualified and competent people to the BOE. THey have better test scores, a new high school build with state, federal, and grant funding, great progrmams within the schools, alternate schools as well as gifted programs, and at lerast one blue ribbon school. If the BOE slips up, they get fired. Here in Plainfield, whichever yahoos attend the biggest churches get their fellow churh goers to vote for them and then they do whatever they weant. Plainfield needs to think about an appointed BOE.

I have yet to read today's papers or the informative blog so any remarks about "Plainfield Thisday" will have to wait.

10:22AM- I just read Plainfield Plaintalker and note that last night's vote on adopting the budget was along party lines. Once again we are paying for Administrations policy of not delivering a working budget until the end of the fiscal year. Besides the BOE situation, there must be a review and charter changes to place more power in the 7 member Council. This will take time but delaying such a citizens study and recommendations can be disastrous. The study may find that the present Charter is fine.

Red face, a rereading of yesterday's post revealed that "which" had become a "witch". Oh that computer devil.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TUESDAY FEB 16,2010

Potpourri it is:

First let me assure everyone although I am a product of the Plainfield School system (1936) , I do know the difference between "their" and "there". (see my comment in Cory's blog). Sometimes word errors between two that sound similar are due to typing to fast which a spelling checker will not pick up. Other times the computer will automatically change a word from "too" to "to" or even "two" without the author's knowledge.

The fact is that a mistake is going to be made by relying on electronic records and not having a paper or photographic back up. There is also not guarantee against electronic records being altered or being wiped out electronically. Hard copy records can be lost but they are permanent and even over hundreds of years with changes in language can be read. Electronic records are dependent on software/ operating systems changes.

I have a file of records relating to the demise of the Raritan Valley Hospital. How many remember it? These files were written on a Kaypro Computer in CPM code which was killed by Microsoft and IBM when they introduce their first personal computer. Today, records in early editions of some software still in use can not be read by the present version. The gist is that if we are going to rely on electronic media it has to be updated with each advance or change in OS. That will open the door to errors, or fraud.

Tonight's special meeting to adopt the budget could be just "oh hum" despite the public commentary session before Council action. If there (spelled correct) are any changes at this time can there be a question of legality in the adoption of the final budget? Perhaps an answer is needed.

Another question, what can be the impact of the : Memorandum of Understanding" FY2010 signed by the Mayor on 1/12/2010 and not sent to the the Council for authorization until Feb 8,2010 upon increase salary lines, promotions and new hires that are in this budget? Perhaps some one will answer these potential pitfalls without being asked from the floor.

Lost in the snow; the PSS/BOE problems which may be answered tonight. We will look for Maria's blog and hope that Mark can show a dual personality by reporting on both meetings.
By the time I post this will there be an official commentary on the "suspension"?

Lost in the days news is the emergence of love letters between JFK and his Swedish lover that covered a period of time just before and after his marriage to Jackie. Of course he was a notorious womaniser all his life, including movie stars. Obviously moral standards have changed since then, ask Tiger, or the many politicians whose careers have suddenly ended. Or do we have a double standard when it comes to an idol?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Fairy Princess extends to her Frog Prince and all of you a happy Valentines day


As long as we are in Fairy Land, Baseball training camps open this week. We just had the Football Superbowl and the Hockey season has still months to go. March Madness (College Basketball) is still three weeks in the future, and there is about a foot of snow on the ground with more to come tomorrow.

BUT, we do live in a world of reality no dreams and wishes and innocence.

The Star Ledger finally recognized the existence of Plainfield with this weekend's local news blockbuster; the Mayor's suspension of Director of Public Affairs and Safety Martin Hellwig for three days as a "minor disciplinary action".

This is not an inconsequential action when it involves a top individual in the City's Administration. Since the Mayor initiated this action there had to be a serious infraction not a minor "improper use of a computer".

Hellwig is the third most important member of the Administration. This action undermines his prestige and authority not only to the two departments he oversees but to the community as a whole. If the "suspension" was hoped to be kept a secrete, once again the Mayor has miscalculated.

Any matter requiring disciplinary action by Mayor can not be "private", instead the public is entitled to an adequate explanation. If the recent vote of no confidence by the PBA,or the budget related actions relating to the Police Department are part of the precipitating determinant to merit such action once again points out the danger of a political appointee as head of the Police Department. Otherwise without knowledge of any city policy about private use of the city's computers there has to be a major misuse to even initiate a minor suspension.

Although the City site has no mention of any Council meetings for Feb., there was a notice in the CN 2/11/2010 of a Special Meeting on 2/16/2010 to adopt the budget as amended.

Other meetings of interest is the one "Community Fireside Chat"tomorrow night organized in part by BOE candidate Renata Hernandez, see her blog PEPTalk: Revisited,. I can not attend but should be of great interest.

We are still waiting for the shoe to drop on the Plainfield School System. My bet is that there may be a State takeover.




Saturday, February 13, 2010

CITY BUDGET & CHRISITIE'S SPEACH

This past week the Governor addressed the legislature on the status of New Jersey's fiscal status. Among the cost savings measures he said must be implemented even if he has to do it by fiat was the following which of course aroused the ire of the state, employees, police, fire, and teachers "

"The total unfunded pension and medical benefit costs are $90 billion. We would have to pay $7 billion per year to make them current. We don’t have that money—you know it and I know it. What has been done to our citizens by offering a pension system we cannot afford and health benefits that are 41% more expensive than the average fortune 500 company’s costs is the truly unfair part of this equation." Governor Christie

The Governor also mentioned a significant decease in all State funds allocated to municipalities.From the numbers which were printed as in the past year and proposed reductions the amount must include School funds as well as municipal social services grants. (Unfortunately I have misplaced the newspaper printed table.)

Monday, the last day of a holiday weekend will end with snow. Tuesday, the City gets back to operational status. There will be a special Board meeting at 8:PM to adopt the proposed budget as amended. Since a temporary budget for March has already been approved, The 2010 budget will not impact on this years spending since by the time it becomes effective most of the fiscal year has become history.

Councilors Reid and Storch have both commented that the work on the 2011 FY budget should start immediately after this one becomes official. The target should be July 1, 2010. State Aid to Plainfield will be cut by approximately $950,000.00 according to a recent newspaper table. If more or less dollars are forthcoming the budget can be amended by Council action to reflect the impact on the budget .

Extraordinary aid is awarded to cities and towns that, because of extreme or unusual financial circumstances, would not be able to provide essential public services without a substantial increase in their property tax rate. Any increased funding should come from extraordinary aid which can not be anticipated and should not be factored into a proposed budget although usual and customary aid can be estimated based on previous year.

In the 2009 budget year ,Perth Amboy received $3.5 million, East Orange $2 million, Irvington $2 million, Weehawken $1.2 million, Passaic $1 million, Hillside $900,000, Orange $500,000, Lawnside $450,000, West New York $450,000, Guttenberg $360,000, Lake Como $350,000, Plainfield $250,000, Roselle Borough $250,000, Ewing $250,000, Gloucester Township $250,000, and Union Beach $120,000.

What type municipalities are Lawnside,Guttenberg, Lake Como that they rate more than Plainfield?


Friday, February 12, 2010

SNOW POPOURRI

This is BLOCKBUSTER WEEK: Two snow storms and Governor Christie's executive order declaring a State financial emergency has the Democrats upset. More later on Christie but bravo. Meanwhile the stuff is falling on the Gallon afair. I suggest you read the commenatriies in Maria's blog, they offer interesting biased insight and again take on susoected contex by individuals with personal interest. Maria is doing a great public service.

In the mean time;

Is this Plainfield?

Look at this


Deer tracks in the snow

"The Mick" says so what, Dad's chair is better than that white stuff




Snow on the trunks of the wild cherry tree

Thursday, February 11, 2010

CLOWN CITY

Plainfield the Queen City, oops the Clown City. Well at least the latest public exposure was only limited to the metropolitan area, not nation wide. That is unless Fox decides to use Arnold Diaz's "Shame" episode on its national news channel.

2/11/2010,10:20AM-- (Addition) I must remind all who have seen the Diaz spot that it is highly edited as to content, and often as in many media presentations including interviews, matter can be presented out of context and give an erroneous impression which the reporter desires. Therefor, any judgement should not be made solely on this TV broadcast.

Although the Superintendent and his two proteges were the subjects, Plainfield's shame should not rest there. Two members of the BOE were vocal in that short segment. If I am not wrong, the Superintendent is selected and hired by the BOE. The BOE apparently gave him a free run, not exercising its fiduciary responsibility, by permitting him to not disclose information about key employees. By failing to understand or insisting upon the true relationship between a "governing board" and the CEO they employed they opened the door for a potential scandal to be leaked to the public.

It seems that in the past few years the sitting board has made many poor choices in picking key administrative personnel resulting in costly buy outs with the wasting of funds need for educational purposes. The manner of selection is immaterial. If the candidates were recommended by search firms, perhaps their track record was not investigated.

But the blame should not belong to the BOE but rather to the 85%plus voters in Plainfield who do not chose to elect the board members. The electorate of Plainfield has total responsibility for all the bad that has plagued this community for years.

For years I have advocated the abandoning of the elected board in favor of an appointed one. I acknowledge that the present city administrations capabilities for the past four years have been questioned. The track record of appointed boards such as the PMUA governors in exercising fiduciary controls is open to scrutiny. The question of political favoritism in appointments is always present. However I would rather have the 50% of the electorate that vote for the mayor rather than 6 to 14% who participate in the school board elections, be responsible for selecting the BOE members with the approval of the Council.

As a compromise which I have no knowledge of being tried or legally permitted in New Jersey, a BOE composed of 50% elected and 50% appointed members might work well, Anything is better than what we have had.

There has to be a reason that according to Wednesday's Courier news Plainfield's cost in educating a student was 30% above the State average and only exceeded by I believe three CN service area communities that are rated high in the "wealthiest list".

Once again I have to express my disappointment in the manner in which the Council handled the Recreation Divisions request for UEZ funds. I think we are entitled to also be informed about the submitted support data, which was not available at the agenda setting session, that convinced the Council to approve. I hope we are not in for another year of the Council being presented with items which must be acted upon because of time constrictions.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

IT IS TILL "GREEK"

I am still waiting for some explanation from some of my computer/Internet savvy readers why FOXFIRE, OPERA, and SAFARI browsers reproduced my posting as written, whereas INTERNET EXPLORER translated the "copied segment" into what I think is Greek.

SNOW POTPOURRI

My male readers may appreciate that I am taking a snow day. I decided that since I will not be in physical contact with anyone that I should forgo the pleasure? of shaving.

It is not an ordeal since I have used an electric razor since the first Reminington electric was on the market; pre WWII. In those days I had to shave twice, my 5o'clock shadow was as bad as 7AM. Moreover even that great invention the safety razor did not eliminate the need for the styptic stick once or twice daily. So the poor quality electric was a god sent.

Today of course technological advances and advertising had created many better choices of instruments. My "beard" grows slower and is easily removed.

I believe that my shaving nadir was reached during the bulge when our washbasin was our helmet, the water cold, and the incentive "General Patton's insistent that the troops must be shaved.Who to the officer he caught with a one day growth, even in combat. In February we were moved to the rear in a village in Luxemburg for a few days rest. A group of Italian ?barbers? had set up shop and all the officers treated themselves to a professional shave. My barber after soaping my face stropped his straight razor and started to shave.He stopped, honed the blade, stropped it again and restarted. This maneuver was repeated several times before he finished. After cleaning the soap off my face and a hot towel he shook is right hand and arm several times and said he had never run into such a tough beard in his life. Ego swelling!

The Council and other Plainfield misadventures can wait until later since there are other pleasant memories that today's snow storm evokes. Picture, and that will take effort, Plainfield in the late 20s. West Fourth Street had a trolley car line that ran from the downtown circle to Evona. My father had a Willys car. My mother drove a 'Willys Knight" But that could be the subject for another time.

Anyhow my memory altered by passing years, seems to indicate that snow like this was rather frequent. My father used to hitch our sleds to the rear bumper of his car and about 5 miles an hour tow us around a circuit; Grant Ave &4th to 3rd, east to Spooner, back to 4th and home. Imagine anyone even thinking about doing that in 2010.

One other self centered snow story. When it snow enough we would take our sleds to Greenbrook Park, and slide down the hills on the South side of the Park. On one of these expeditions when i was somewhere between 10 and 14 I managed to hit a tree dead center. both with my sled and possibly with my head. I was only a little shakened for a few minutes and went back up the hill. I believe that the tree suffered no injury. As I have remarked many times, I must be part cat or most likely there is someone watching over me.

Although reflecting back, it is perhaps that incident that has now resulted in my repeatedly expressed conviction to the Council that the city would be better served if it conducted two business sessions a month. In all due honesty, with two months under her belt, Council President McWilliams meetings are well run and I believe that her "Committee Organization" will be very beneficial as long as all the "chairs" function. The 2010 Council holds great promise for the City.