Monday, May 31, 2010

MEMORIAL DAY

Two from Sarah; Even Brazil has redevelopment projects, and pedestrian mall, Rua Das Flores.
McDonald is international.
Also sunset at Kona.

Have a safe Memorial Day.



Saturday, May 29, 2010

DAY 2 MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

Monday is Memorial Day. How many have ever stopped to look at the "Monument" on City Hall Grounds that list those known Plainfielders that lost their lives in America's wars of the first six decades of the 20th Century. We can thank Brenda Gilbert for her lobbying for this tribute.

The number of WW II names is staggering. Many I knew growing up in Plainfield. One "Jack Glass' was a friend who lost his life on Aug. 1, 1943 in a Liberator bomber (B24) during the costly raid on the Ploesti oil fields in Bulgaria. Of the 177 B24s in the raid 55 were shot down and another 57 were severely damaged.

The planes were based in Libya. They flew across Albania and Yugoslavia to reach their target.They are supposed to have crippled the output of the oil fields and deprived the German armies of much needed fuel.

Although those listed represented families of more than one generation of Plainfielders, I am sure that due to changes in population they mean little to many of the present residents. Yet, all should be revered for having given their life for our country so that we still can have today's freedoms.


On a lighter note; 4 pictures that have no relationship to each other.

Along the Ohio
Southeastern France
Ice for today
This slide was so old that the colors had degenerated but the image could be saved as BW.
This is the Roman road in the "Rose City", Petra

BOE SPECIAL MEETING

Thanks to Plaintalker II I check the BOE site for info on the special meeting. This is the Agenda posted for the special meeting.

PLAINFIELD BOARD OF EDUCATION
Plainfield, N.J.
Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m. PUBLIC SESSION
6:35 p.m. MEETING CLOSED FOR
EXECUTIVE SESSION
. SPECIAL MEETING
(ACTION MAY BE TAKEN)
Place: P.H.S. CONFERENCE ROOM
950 PARK AVENUE
Board of Education Members
Mrs. Lisa C. Logan-Leach, President
Mr. Rasheed Abdul-Haqq, Vice President
Ms. Patricia I. Barksdale
Mrs. Wilma G. Campbell
Mr. Agurs Linward Cathcart, Jr.
Mrs. Keisha Edwards
Mrs. Brenda L. Gilbert
Mrs. Renata A. Hernandez
Ms. Katherine Peterson
Mrs. Anna Belin-Pyles, Interim Superintendent
I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
II. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
III. ROLL CALL
IV. WELCOME
WELCOME to a SPECIAL MEETING of the Plainfield Board of Education. Members hope you will find the meeting
interesting and informative. We thank you for taking the time to attend. Please be advised this and all meetings of the
board are open to the media and public, consistent with the Open Public meetings Act (Ch. 231 Laws of 1975), and
that the advance notice required therein has been provided to the Courier News and Star Ledger on Thursday, May
27, 2010 for advertisement on Saturday, May 29, 2010 and also provided to the Plainfield Public Schools, the
District’s website, the Plainfield City Clerk, Police Department, and Plainfield Public Library for posting.
V. EXECUTIVE SESSION
WHEREAS, the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A.10:4-1 1, permits the Board of Education to meet in
closed session to discuss certain matters, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Plainfield Board of Education adjourns to closed session to discuss:
• Personnel
• Legal, and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the minutes of this closed session be made public when the need for
confidentiality no longer exists.
The Board of Education will recess into its Executive Session

This is the standard Plainfield BOE public notice about executive sessions. This board has inherited multiple legal and organizational problems from the last few Boards. Once again the public will be in the dark and wonder how much money needed for student services will be expended Tuesday night.

There can be no official action in closed session. Agreements can be made but they musty be approved without details in the public session.

DAY 1 MEMORIAL; DAY WEEKEND

My preference is that this Memorial day weekend should be a quiet non controversial Holiday.

Tuesday however is June 1, and I know that all Plainfield Bloggers including the Politicians will focus on June 8.

June 8, can be one of the turning points in Plainfield's history. The voters must make a statement about their interest in the city and its future.

Unless some dramatic news breaks which has a major impact or some individual makes an outrageous statement that must be refuted I intend to keep my blog open only with scattered oldies photos and or some memories of times gone by.

If there is any interest in the locations, just ask. However art and pretty photos should speak for themselves.






Friday, May 28, 2010

JERRY GREEN AND WANNABEES

To my readers, you need not read this but I felt obligated to write this blog since I do not like my motivation being falsely challenged.

I hope that our Assemblyman does not consider me to be a Wannabee. I can assure him that I have never held any envy of anybody in Plainfield or even in this country. Sure I might have wanted a couple of million dollars more than I have, or had earned the reprehensible income that seem to be common among upper level executives today. However, I have lived the life I wanted. I was married to a wonderful woman who adopted my family. Her greatest fault was that she became a better bridge player than I.

Jerry, I think my patients respected me. At least almost all felt free to confide in me even in matters that were not related to their medical problems. To many I was their friend not a body in a white coat, and it was not because they thought that they could get personal favors.

My colleagues knew that I was working in their interest in any position I held as a leader of the Muhlenberg Medical Staff, as Chairman of the Medical Society of New Jersey Hospital Medical Staff Section, as Medical Director of the Central New Jersey Independent Practitioners Association. It is now 20 years since I retired from the Hospital and on the now rare occasions I meet any old patient or physician, I am warmly greeted.

As President of the Plainfield Lions Club our membership reached over 120 Plainfielders. We raised more money for our Blind Funds, Camp Lion for the Boy Scouts, during my watch. Eleanor Roosevelt while visiting Plainfield stop in to say hello at one of weekly our dinner meetings. No Jerry, I didn't do it by myself, I had a great group of dedicated committee chairmen who were deeply interested in Plainfield. But, they worked for me as well as the club.

The day I unexpectedly prematurely assumed the Presidency of the Plainfield Jewish Community Center the executive director resigned.It was not on account of me but for other personal matters. Once again I had one of the greatest boards any organization president could wish for. This board helped run the Center for six months while we searched for someone who was not a worn out hack. My two years as president were golden years for an agency that was dying because of shift in population. The center remained in Plainfield another 10 years.

I could go on but you might misconstrue it as boasting. So, of what should I be a Wannabee?
A chairman of a local political party? A member of the City Government? Perhaps, I did permit my name to be included among the three presented to the Council to fill a interim vacancy. Fortunately the Council picked a much more qualified individual. So politics is not my Wannabee.

Yes. I do have a Wannabee; that is for Plainfield to be as an ideal place for people to live that it was from my childhood until after the riots . Unfortunately in the last 20 years it has regressed into a level that has become the laughimg stock of the state. For the past few decades it has been a town outsiders are afraid to visit.

The States financial problems is not Governor Christie 's fault. Except for a brief period under Governors Whitman and Kean, the Sate has been controlled by the Democrats and much of that time you have been Assemblyman. And, yoiu complain that Governor Christie is not giving us money that the State doesn't have.

It was not Christie that took away our Hospital,but your Governor Corzine. Don't blame Plainfield's financial problems on Christe. For the past 20 years there has been innovative financial policies without accounting. What happened to the 9 million dollars received from the sale of Plainfield's Sewer authority? It did not go into the infrastructure, look at our roads. Where are the financial officers that we are required by state to have. No one in Trenton questioned until this Christie year.

As the leader of the Plainfield Democratic Committee, you could have been a force for good government in Plainfield. Do you honestly believe that you have done so or always acted in the city's best interests? You don't need to reply.

May 27 #2

I am re posting this yesterday's blog since some how it appeared way after two filler blogs. Perhaps some did not scroll far enough down since There was "Dan's " guide to indicate its presence. The unanswered questions are of importance in the coming elections


1-Whether the police arrested 7 (the Courier) or 20 (Star Ledger) individuals yesterday as a result of the shooting spree is immaterial. The point is why were there at least 20 outstanding warrants for presumably Plainfield residents that had not been served. I am sure there must be 100s more all for "minor" offenses. It appears that there is no desire or capability to incarcerate known gang members who have been picked up for possession or intent to sell. The most likely reason is that there is not enough evidence to obtain a conviction.

Public Safety Director Hellwig has been quoted on the positive actions the Police Department is taking. Certainly the limiting access to some of the "projects" which have become known havens of drug activity is a positive step, as is the increased police presence in the 4th ward.

But what is the role or need for the Mobile Command Unit in crime prevention? According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.0 square miles. No part of the city is more than at the most 2 miles from the centrally located headquarters. Is this Mobile vehicle designed for emergency situations just a haven for duty officers? Or is an expensive luxury? Its presence by itself can not be a deterrent.

The establishment of a dedicated street crime unit is a belated admission to facts. This is a result of this years reorganization to an "ideal" TO from the previous answer to all of the city's needs.

2-In the past few days there has been in various blogs questions raised about the city's administration and finances. I have reproduced excerpts from some because of unanswered questions.

"An interesting resolution came up at the past City Council Meeting (May 10, 2010) that deserves some closer observation. The resolution was for authorizing a contract between the city and the firm Remington and Vernick in the amount of $88,725 for engineering services connected with reconstructing Watchung Avenue from E. Seventh Street to Kensington Avenue. According to my odometer this is a distance of approximately 1/3 mile.

I only know roughly what engineers earn per year, but this dollar amount seems close to their typical yearly salaries. Perhaps they earn a bit more. So it seems to me that Plainfield should be getting the dedicated services of one engineer, eight hours a day, five days a week, for nearly a year. It appears that this amount of engineer time greatly exceeds what is required for the project. Reconstructing streets is pretty routine stuff; it’s not the kind of work that challenges NASA engineers. The street is already there, the technology is already there, and the distance to be reconstructed is rather short". (Piv for Plainfield 5/25/10)

"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 . 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". (Dpotpourri 2/18/10) See May 27 #1

On Jan 15, 2010 both the Mayor and the City Clerk signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the State binding the City to its terms. Now the Council like Congress is going to post facto give permission! Please note, once again I am not questioning the legality of the Mayor's and Clerk's action, but that is worth consideration. Or is it back to ye old rubber stamps?. (potpourri 2/2/10)

On April 5, a proposed resolution was titled, "Authorize approval for the emergency procurement for demolition services in excess of $21,000." The actual amount being authorized turned out to be up to $200,000, which will be a debit in the FY 2011 budget year that starts July 1. It is hard to believe two months later that the demolition, disposal and site remediation costs will come in under $200,000. The engineering firm of Remington & Vernick also monitored the demolition process for a number of billable hours. (Plaintalker II, 5/26/10)

"One of the shortest agenda setting sessions on record highlighted by Mapp's charges of irregularities in the City-UCIA-Dornoch transactions. Plaintalker late last night posted a concise review of the "Monarch" issues.
Although Councilor Mapp noted that the Mayor had never executed certain documents that Council resolutions required, Corporation Counsel Williamson in reviewing some old resolutions opined that everything was legal. He also noted that the "Monarch Property" was not part of the master redevelopment plan. This will require further explanation by Administration." (dpotpourri 10/5/09) To this date there has been no explanation.

What has happened to the withdrawn Resolution several months ago presented by Administration to pay Dornoch over $250,000.00 for finishing the Senior Center Space? Has the money been allocated without Council approval? There never was a report back on the "executive committee meeting about this matter.

THE DEMOCRAT PRIMARY ( is there another?)

Memorial week end and then the heavy mail/computer-phone/email/blog barrage for the party candidates on the June 8th election slates.

In Plainfied we have one important race for the 2nd/3rd Ward Seat and 3 Candidates. Each and every one is qualified by experience and/or community activity. Two have had Council experience, the third one is a college educator who has been active with the anti-Green block (ie: New Democrats) and at the same time involved in community organizations.

What makes this interesting is yesterday's mailing from Assemblyman Green purportedly supporting the County Line Ticket for House of Representatives, Sheriff , County Clerk Freeholder, and City Council.

The Reverse side of the mailing has 2/3rds self praising Green's "accomplishments" in Trenton and the Hospital situation. I am happy that he wrote in his recommendations that(1) the Commissioner's office should review this entire process from the beginning.". He had met with the Director of the Office of Legislative Services for DH&SS, not the Commissioner too discuss the "EMS Vehicle" which Solaris has not provided. I am not sure if he was talking about an Ambulance or the MIC which is essential in a life and death threatening situation. Perhaps he will Clarify.

I would hope that any review of the entire process he would mean find a method to undo the Hospital's closing. Anything else is just political lip service.

Regarding the Council race, of interest as third man out Don. Davis was Green' defeated choice for the 3rd ward slot last June.

Green's anointed Candidate is Rashid Burney who originally was elected as part of the "New Democrats" team. He has initiated many positive things during his years on the Council and has
advocated "transparency" in government which does not exist in the present administration. Unfortunately he has become the man Jerry Green "selected" as he recently wrote was his right as local party chairman.

That leaves Rebeccca Williams, She too is highly qualified and will make a good Councilor. Green only comment is "she asked me for my support" and justified why he did not by the usual mud slinging attempt to degrade her by circuitously linking her to Dr. Gallon.

There. is one other nomination of importance to the City Council. Linda Carter, also a former New Democrat is a Freeholder Candidate on the County Party Slate with Green's support. It should be noted that if she is elected in November she will have to resign her Council seat giving Green the opportunity to select her replacement. In the past he has cynically made a mockery of the established procedure for replacing a Councilman'. But once again this will give him the opportunity to control the Council.

Incidental there seems to be an opposition ticked to The Lesniak machine that has a slate for the County offices.

HEALER PLACE

The Phillies have now gone 27innings (3 game) against the Mets and scored NO runs. Vincent Van Gogh (1853-90)( in 1889 painted "The COURTYARD of the HOSPITAL AT ARLES."

(JAMA cover)
The connection; I believe that this was a mental institution.

As we enter Memorial Day weekend let us respect my friends,the next generation,Vietnam and the present one not forgetting the One in between for their sacrifices for our country. We must daily work to preserve the country they they wished for their children. Not accept a Plainfield of anarchy and one with suggestions of fiscal corruption in city government and BOE/PSS.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27 #1

Under Bibi's Administratorship there has been a change with the following postings on the city site. Many of the PDQs will have to do with the outsourcing of previous effective positions eliminated by the long delayed budget cutting process for 2010.

It will be difficulty to see if any savings will be the result of this change. Or how will operations be affected. What is probably a given is that on the "fair and open" process Remington & Vernick will profit and our expense. It would be of interest on how much that firm receives from the city annually. Likewise what are the 'Legal costs" that the City pays during a fiscal year.

The list below is for your information. I am not sure how many awards will ha be to be submitted to the Council for approval.




Requests for Proposals

From my 4/26/2010 blog: "Found on the city site: Requests for Qualifications:INDIVIDUALS AND/OR FIRMS TO PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE EMPLOYMENT AND ANCILLARY JOB DEVELOPMENT SERVICES.
I hope some one on the Council or Administration will be able to expand on this apparently new outsourced position."

Requests for Qualifications

Legal Services

Administration/Finance

Planning Services

Engineering Services


About Plainfield
Media


Who was Sadakichi Hartman?

Like 99.9% of readers of this blog, I had no idea who Sadakichi Hartman was. Thus, I resorted to the not always accurate fount of all knowledge.

Sadakichi Hartmann From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Carl Sadakichi Hartmann (November 8, 1867 - November 22, 1944) was a critic and poet of German and Japanese descent. Hartmann, born on the artificial island of Dejima, Nagasaki and raised in Germany, became an American citizen in 1894. An important early participant in modernism, Hartmann was a friend of such diverse figures as Walt Whitman, Stéphane Mallarmé and Ezra Pound. His poetry, deeply influenced by the Symbolists as well as Eastern literature, includes 1904's Drifting Flowers of the Sea and Other Poems, 1913's My Rubaiyat and 1915's Japanese Rhythms. His works of criticism include Shakespeare in Art (1901) and Japanese Art (1904). During the 1910s, Hartmann let himself be crowned King of the Bohemians by Guido Bruno in New York's Greenwich Village.[1] Hartmann wrote some of the earliest English language haiku. He was also one of the first critics to write about photography. Later years found him living in Hollywood and Banning, California. He made a brief appearance in the Douglas Fairbanks film The Thief of Bagdad as the court magician.[1] In 1944, he died while visiting his daughter in St. Petersburg, Florida.




MEMO

Words of wisdom later today- after noon
Portrait of Sadakichi Hartman
(early 1930s)
Ejnar Hansen (1884-1965) American
JAMA cover

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

FLASH

FLASH; This morning Courier 3rd page:"Police probe 8th shooting in 2 weeks".
Fortunately no one was injured but several bullets penetrated a house narrowly missing a resident.

FLASH;
After 6 years in office the Mayor has "relaunched" the City's Hispanic Affairs Advisory Commission. Suddenly the City's largest minority becomes a matter of Administrative concern. Oz lives on.

By the way Council approval can not be obtained before June 21, well after the election. Do other real minorities have a voice to the Administration?

PROJECT SECURITY


To expand on yesterday's blog on combating Plainfield crime I would reiterate that humans are social animals. Individuals need to belong. The cure as in most diseases may be time consuming, but will never take place unless there is a beginning.

We must first aim at the youth that has not yet irrevocably committed themselves, by establishing "social units" or clubs that offer broad range of interests not limited to team sports.

An initial priority is to provide the venues that are safe and inviting. To staff them with tolerant well trained individuals. The existing recreational leagues and teams whether city sponsored or independent with their dedicated volunteers can be an initial core but their scope is limited and professional help will be needed. This has to be a city endeavor.

Unfortunately our Administration's track record is one that would discourage any hope of effective action from that arm of the government. Favoritism, nepotism, and the awarding of contracts through the so called "fair and open" method of "approved" contractors, rather than competitive bidding is a recipe for failure.

Therefore, the Council must bite the bullet. Although the Council can write the "laws" creating these social units it can not administer them. Thus the Ordinances must give "direction" and indicate responsibility for failure. Ordinances specifying as specific as possible the facilities needed including those that must be constructed. Documented should be a TO with the minimal staffing plans plus recommendations for the desired positions.

The first absolute action that must be taken should be provision for 100% subsidy of the program so that no one will be excluded for financial reasons. This will have to be inserted in the Budget knowing that there will be a tax increase. The public must be made aware that this is an investment to preserve and create a Utopian future for the city.

Such an envisioned project may overwhelm the taxpayer as a source of funding. Therefor an early presentation by administration of the budget is imperative. An on going active search for government sources of financial support, and aid through grants that Philanthropic Foundations requires that there be a person in the administration dedicated to seek the funds.

While his radical plan is in its infancy, the usual anti-crime, anti-gang, anti-drug efforts must be increased. An age related curfew.

There are other not so ancillary factors that can have tremendous impact, including the absolute requirement of an authoritative adult in the home environment; one who can act without fear of irresponsible legal intervention. This does not mean that I advocate the use of excessive force by the adult.

What I have written is only a suggestion on how to in the near,not short, term make the city safe and validate the "Visionary" plans. Undoubtedly there are existing programs that may have worked,. They too should be investigated without delay and a course of action initiated. Without personal security no redevelopment plan will work.

In the short term it is imperative to have a strong aggressive police presence. The structure of the department must be reexamined and the absence of a professional head (chief) questioned. Gang leaders must be incarcerated, and those selling or in possession of weapons rapidly prosecuted. If we need State or Federal help it should be sought. Ambitious politicians might find value in using Plainfield as a model project.

Plainfield will need strong aggressive innovate leadership not only just to survive but to become a desirable locality. If the Council can seize that role then the persistent "naysayers" may turn into willing doers.

"Do I make myself clear"?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

FYI

As an addendum to the previous post.

This is copied from Wikipedia thus the reference marks. The age group that I would apply to a local variation would be consistent with child labor laws.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program for unemployed young men age 18-24, providing unskilled manual labor related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural areas of the United States from 1933 to 1942. As part of the New Deal legislation proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), the CCC was designed to provide relief for unemployed youth who had a very hard time finding jobs during the Great Depression while implementing a general natural resource conservation program on public lands in every U.S. state, including the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The CCC became the most popular New Deal program among the general public, providing jobs for a total of 3 million young men from families on relief.[1] Implicitly the CCC also led to awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources, especially for city youth.[2] The CCC was never considered a permanent program and depended on emergency and temporary legislation for its existence.[3] On June 30, 1942 Congress voted to eliminate funding for the CCC, formally ceasing active operation of the program.[4]

During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide that would become the start of most state parks, forest fire fighting methods were developed and a network of thousands of miles of public roadways and buildings were constructed connecting the nation's public lands


One of the proposals of the "Vision" study is the erection of a recreational complex at the old Wood Printing Press site (Grant and South 2nd).


PLAINFIELD SECURITY

Five shootings in one week! Probably the only ones in Plainfield who welcomed those headlines were the members of the Plainfield BOE who for the time being have been pushed out of the limelight.

Plainfield has become a city in anarchy. It is not, and truly has never been, the haven with a low crime rate that the Mayor and Public Safety Director were boasting about a year ago. Despite repeated news reports of arrests of various gang members the violence continues seemingly unabated.

My thoughts and opinions on solving the problem are only rudimentary and have in no way been crystallized. Yet it is evident that we may be approaching a point of no return.

The 2010 restructuring of the Police Department has not resulted in greater public protection. It seems inconceivable that the establishment of a satellite police station 7 blocks from the main station could increase instead of decrease police effectiveness. It is obvious that the answer to our crime problem does not lie in the so called traditional methodology.

A week ago I wrote in discussing Plainfield's redevelopment; "Redevelopment in the western end, The Grant Ave-Clinton Ave Station areas would be later, but also have an interesting concept that will require one prime factor before there would be any possibility of success. That is of course a sense of security." That statement is applicable to the entire future of the City'

AS an amateur sociologist I accept as a fact that people are not loners and it is human nature to want to belong to a group. The higher the group the more attractive membership becomes. A "hard-nosed" covey offers not only a sense of power but also a belief of security. This is the attraction of the gangs which the public offers no present alternative.

What we must do is change our thought process and understand that it will take drastic and costly measures to make a city a desirable place to live and raise a family.

There are initial steps that only give temporary relief:
  • A strictly enforced curfew even to a degree of martial law if need be. Violators must be subject to penalties, not monetary but perhaps forced public day labor (shades of the chain gangs)'
  • Interpretation of the present laws, so that there can be strict adult control of the family unit. The present atmosphere that convinces the juvenile that "he" can get away with anything because the law prohibits punishment has to be dispersed.
The longer term solutions, some of which can be implemented rapidly, are going to be costly to the tax payer and should have priority over other civic goals. They will take grant monies from State and Federal Government as well as Foundations to succeed but they are doable.
  • First and foremost is the establishment of workable alternates to attract the vulnerable age group. This includes a massive expansion of recreational facilities including the building of new neighborhood venues as well as the use of the established school and "Ys".
  • Staffing has to be even to the point of being excessive with qualified caring individuals. Trust and the desire be part of this program has to have a high priority. But supervision must be strict.
  • The program must not be limited to athletics but should have broad diversified segments including social activities so that there will be something for everybody.
  • The involvement of dedicated volunteers must be a core portion of all programs.
  • A local equivalent of the depression CCC corps with reimbursement to upgrade the towns appearance should be a consideration.
We have created much of the problem ourselves by economising and destroying outlets for youth's energy. What we are doing will not succeed. These are just wild suggestions which I offer as food for thought. I would hope that as a community with the involvement of its political leadership some could be the cornerstone of a progressive solution for our problem.

Let it be understood that what I am proposing cannot in the short term eliminate the ineffective policies now in place but must be considered as an investment in the future of Plainfield. I am convinced that the returns will be rapid as the program progresses.

Monday, May 24, 2010

COUNCIL FORMAT.

The modus operandi of the two arms of Plainfield's government has been a source of my remarks at Council meetings for over 20 years and for the past few years in this blog.

At this time the least said about Administration reflects many citizen's opinion. As I write this there are still no signs that the budget is even being prepared. There is no evidence that a Director of Finance and Administration has been even interviewed or that the CFO position on which the City has already passed one deadline has viable candidates. However to give the devil his due, this administration is not renown for its openness. Unless it is forced to report to the Council, out of executive session, the public will remain in the dark.

Despite the agreement, that the Mayor unilaterally and perhaps illegally signed with the state, which prohibits new hireings without the states permission; this week on the City site there appeared a "Request for Qualifications" for; 9 Legal positions, 4 Administrative and Finance positions, 3 Planning Services position and 7 Engineering Services positions. I will speculate on the significance of these unusual postings n my next blog.

Non-the-less, this week there is supposed to be another round of layoffs necessitated by the long delayed FY2010 budget compounded by the lack of adopting "furlough/ give backs" polices that other communities seem to have been able to initiate.

The Council is another matter. There has been 14 days since the last Council meeting and 28 days before the next Business Session of the Council, and after that only 11 days until the start Today, for the purpose of this and contemplated follow up blogs I will be concerned only how it operates within the assigned role of the City Charter.
2.1 Legislative power
The legislative power of the city, except as otherwise specifically provided by this chapter, shall be exercised by the city council. The council shall have and exercise such other and additional powers and duties as are provided by the charter.

2.8 Investigations; removals

The council may make investigations into the affairs of the city and the conduct of any city department, office, commission or agency and for this purpose, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony, and require the full production of evidence. In addition to any other remedy, any person who willfully fails or refuses to obey a lawful order issued in the exercise of these powers by the council shall be adjudged a disorderly person, punishable by a fine of not more them $200.00, or by imprisonment for not more then 30 days or both.

Council may remove any officer or employee, other then the mayor or a councilman, for cause, upon notice and an opportunity to be heard

2.10 Separation of powers; administration The legislative, executive and administrative powers of the city are divided between the legislative and executive branch. No person or persons belonging to or constituting one branch shall exercise any of the powers of the other unless specifically authorized by the Charter. Neither the council not any councilman shall intervene in administrative matters, except for legislative purpose.

The other factor to remember is that the Council President can set the tone of the Council meetings and in an autocratic fashion limit debate and subject matter, but not the vote. The latter factor is dependent completely on the personal independence from party line of the various Councilors. Thus the Burney Council was far different from the Gibson Council, and the McWilliams Council is radically different from its predecessors.

The concept of a mini -legislature system of working committees meeting regularly with defined goals can be a good one,especially if the Council's meetings are only monthly in its two sessions. I will return to this schedule by and by.

The Council's Committees were to present a written report monthly by inference at the Agenda Setting Session. It was promised that, after citizen's complaints, such reports would be available to the public. For the Committee format to operate effectively the different committees should present resolutions for consideration at the Agenda Session, not limiting its report to "Oh by the way" status.

Thursday,5/19/10, Plaintalker II addressed the subject of Council "committee" reports Committee Reports Need to be Shared.

To date, only the Council's Administration and Finance Committee has submitted a monthly printed report with valid suggestions for potential action. The other committees have either presented an off the hand written report or only a verbal one. I can only remember one set being printed and available in the "public book" at the next business meeting.

Nor, am I aware of any of the recommendations made by the A&F Committee being transformed into resolutions. Despite resistances from Administration, the Council should and can exercise its prerogative to create legislation including Ordinances. Included in its power is the right to issue a resolution of censorship. It does not have to limit its function to acting on propositions originating in Administration or by Corporation Counsel. That is the leverage it can have and must use especially when Administration acts in an unilateral and possibly illegal autocratic manner without consultation with Council.

In this day and age the Council's business can be overwhelming resulting in marathon sessions. These infrequent but long meetings can result in mental fatigue resulting in errors of commission as well as omission. This could be ameliorated by going back to the semi-monthly meeting schedule of yore, especially if the "Committee Format" is not working. as intended.




Sunday, May 23, 2010

Peacful Sunday

Ignoring the outburst of shootings in Plainfield, Sunday should be a day of relaxation. I found the first photo just minor league st

Of all of Sarah's picture this is the one I wished I had taken.
There are actual two great photos in this one. When enlarged the surfers stand out by rthemselves. especialy the one who has just caught the wave.
The rock on the left edge itself contains a self sustaining picture ( Rt.click on pictures to enlarge.)
One more separate photo of the lagoon in Floridana (below) caught a surfer on his way to the water.






Saturday, May 22, 2010

Qué será,será

Things that I learned from Wilkepedia

Language in title and lyrics

There has been some confusion about the identity of the language in the song's title and lyrics. The words are Spanish, but the phrase is ungrammatical in Spanish. Composer Jay Livingston had seen the 1954 film The Barefoot Contessa, in which an Italian family has the motto "Che sarà sarà" carved in stone at their ancestral castle. He immediately wrote it down as a possible song title, and he and lyricist Ray Evans later respelled it in Spanish "because there are so many Spanish-speaking people in the world." [4][5] Both Evans and Livingston probably had learned some Spanish during their early experience as musicians on cruise ships to the Caribbean and South America.

Although "Che sarà sarà" is also ungrammatical in modern standard Italian (where the idea could be rendered "Quel che sarà sarà"), it does appear in an English context over 400 years ago, in Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus (Act 1, Scene 1), whose text contains the line "Che sera, sera / What will be, shall be"). The Italian version of the saying (spelled "Che sara sara") also has served as the heraldic motto of the Dukes of Bedford (England) since at least as early as 1749.[6] It is not known whether Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the screenwriter and director of The Barefoot Contessa, was aware of this use of the slogan.

Spanish-speakers tend to hear the lyric not as an assertion, but as the question "¿Qué será?" ("What will it be?" or "What's going to happen?") — with the second word simply echoed to fit the music. Compare the (unrelated) song "¿Qué será?" by José Feliciano, whose lyrics ask "¿Qué será de mi vida?" ("What's to become of my life?").

"Whatever will be, will be" could be rendered in grammatical Spanish as "Lo que vaya a ser, será" or "Lo que haya de ser, será."

Technically, the title is correctly translated French for "what will be, will be," with "sera" being the futur simple conjugation of the verb "etre," which means "to be." However, the songwriters were likely unaware of this

Friday, May 21, 2010

POTPOURRI INTERLUDE

This mini-summer weekend has started out to be too nice to write anything "heavy" about our land of OZ.

The best news is that the City is continuing the belated attempt to undo the loss of Muhlenberg Hospital. If anyone in the State Judiciary or Government had any concept human welfare, there would be the opportunity to reopen a facility that could offer basic essential not esoteric care. That would include a Critical Care Unit, Cardiac Unit, Obstetrical Services as well as all diagnostic studies and Emergency Room Services as well as normal basic surgical and medical care.

But do not get your hopes up, for if either a favorable Court Decision or Administrative permission happened, it would still take 2 to 3 years minimum to make it a reality. For one thing, in the two years that have past the core body of physicians that once made Plainfield their home has been decimated and scattered.

However, Plainfield does remain embedded in the Land of Oz. While the papers daily run stories of school districts where the teachers have agreed to fore go any raises or even take a "cut", Plainfield's BOE and PEA have just signed a new contract with a rollback 4.5% increase this year and a total of 9.75% over the three years life of the contract. Since the "perks" are unknown it is difficult to judge what was negotiated. What we do know is that there will be larger classes due to reduced staffing. Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)".

So instead of grousing, I am posting some more views of Sarah's Brazil.
Those specks in the water are surfers.
I may prove it tomorrow, but if you click on the picture it will be enlarged.
Another view of the shoreline and the surfers
Impressive
Sanctuary

OH CHARRETTE 2

Charrette or charade? May 19th a second and follow up presentation by the Vision for Plainfield consultants was held at the Washington School. The study and presentation is not a charade but of interest and in depth. Its value will depend on the City's government's willingness to implement the study's guidelines.

Why did I entertain "charade"? One can doubt Administration's commitment. The Mayor had requested this charrette as a follow up to the original session. Councilor Reid had objected to the additional cost of $16,000.00 which was approved by the Council. Although called for to start at 6pm there were no members of the City Administration present although Counciman Storch arrived about 6:10, and was followed shortly afterwards by Concilors Burney, and Mapp as well as Council President McWilliams. Assemblyman Green arrived as the presentation began. Still significantly absent when I left at 8:30pm was the Mayor and the City Administrator. The only administrative person I observed in attendance was Jacques Howard who came at the onset.

The purpose of this meeting was to further refine the "plans' derived from the earlier Charrett(e). The plans for the Netherwood and Downtown are interesting and have some uniqueness over the ongoing projects in Cranford and Garwood to the east because there is a greater emphasis on "green space" and pedestrian walks.

Redevelopment in the western end, The Grant Ave-Clinton Ave Station areas would be later, but also have an interesting concept that will require one prime factor before there would be any possibility of success. That is of course a sense of security.

The keystone of the Clinton Ave projects besides stores and small size multi-residential units on the north side of Front St. would be redeveloping the Mack Building west of Clinton into a dual use building, commercial on the ground floor and three floors of residential (referred to as loft) units. Parking would be along the RR tracks.The example given was the successful conversion of the American Can Plant off the Skyway Rt. 1 in Jersey City.

The Grant Ave project would center on a large indoor recreational facility on the old Wood plant property, along with commercial development along Grant and Front . There would be consideration for low residential units on the south side of 2nd St. This area might be anchored by a supermarket. The beauty of the Grant Ave site lies in its easy access from Rt.22 and also from the south. A similar recreational facility in Rahway has been a boon.

One caveat, as in the cases where old heavy industrial plants once were, there is always a question of site contamination and how costly it would be to correct.

Several important factors gleamed from the meeting (1) the potential availability of funding from the Ford Foundation, (2) under present market conditions, rental units rather than condos would more likely succeed, (3) various portions of the newly developed master plan should be converted into Ordinances to give developers direction and to prevent fragmented development without regard to any overall planning. and(4) strong and enforced codes to assure maintenance of new units.

Has this project been a waste of almost $100,000.00? First we must understand that it is a long term vision although the Downtown could be in advanced stages in a few years with an upturn in the economy. The Netherwood program is also doable with at present high grade rental units.

But unless our City Government shows more openness and commitment by reestablishing a quality function administration instead of the scotch tape setup that has existed for the past 4 years one can only envision hit and run entrepreneur developers showing up.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

POTPOURRI TODAY

The National scene first: The defeat of Senator Specter in Pennsylvania, and Senator Blanche Lincoln facing a run off election in Arkansas bodes ill for incumbent Democrats in November elections. The public dissatisfaction will probably cause causalities at all levels;Federal, State, and even local. The first signs will be at the primary level and then to a lesser degree at the November elections.

Plainfield Today's Wednesday's post about collections from former Muhlenberg patients reminded me that Plainfield's Senator "Pete" Williams after graduating from law school clerked for Judge Hetfield. His job was to collected overdue accounts for the hospital and he had an office in the hospital.

The other day in the legal ads in the paper there was a minimum of 4 pages of Tax Lien Sales by the City of Plainfield that consisted of nothing but S(ewer} arrears and included property held by well known names including some political powers. Be that as it may, I was curious why The city was holding the sale.

My well informed source wrote me that; "Only a certified tax collector can conduct a tax lien sale. I have questioned in the past whether the city gets compensated for the work involved, but never got an answer".

Not only should we question if the City is reimbursed for the work involved, but also for the substantial costs of placing the legal notices. I bet an audit will not reveal an answer.

Also, and Corporation Counsel might answer this, if a Municipal Authority's unpaid accounts are subject to a tax lien sale what is the enabling legislation? Also if such charges are subject to "tax liens" why are the charges not tax deductible? Thirdly, are the monies owed for both Sewer and Trash collections or only Sewer? If the later only what is the rational?

My informant also wrote; "There is a lot of commingling (not just with recyclables) as the PMUA trucks have MG (municipal government) plates and I believe at one time they used city gas.".

My queer logic wonders why if the PMUA vehicle use MG plates, that would mean that it is part of the municipal government which would explain why the city conducts the tax sales. O the other hand if this is true how can the PMUA be autonomous?

And then there is that proliferate writer who sent this as a comment to My Wednesday's blog;
"Response to Pivnichny's blog... I’m surprised that you would print misinformation that Rebecca put on your blog."

Since this has nothing to do with anything I posted, I am sure the Bernice, and Maria but not Dan also received that message with the hope that he would find a kindred political soul. I for on e have not the slightest idea what anon is referring to since I am sure that Jim Pinichny like the rest of the "Plainfield Bloggers" do not use ghost or guest writers. It has been rumored of course that one of the six politician's blog that can be accessed through CLIPS has had several "editorialists".

Did you know that it is possible to identify the origin of every email and/or commentary as well as hits sent to an individuals computer. True not by a persons name but the computer's Internet signature, ie:
(173.71.131.135)(this is as far as I know not a real address)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WEEPY WEDNESDAY it is NOT

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

After banishing two obnoxious cats to Siberia (the hall outside my closed door) at 5 AM I managed several hours of undisturbed sleep. That of course spared you from an early morning blog.

By skipping last night's BOE meeting I was able to start a new book, double task and watch the METS blow another game,and grab material off the Internet. A profitable evening indeed.

Former Plainfielder Rita and the late Al Goldstein's granddaughter Sarah is in Brazil on a University related junket. I believe her interests run in municipality planning and would be interested in summer employment in a related field (free plug).

Rita sent me some pictures from an email she had received that with permission I would share with you. There are enough for several groupings. The title are mine. The site is Sao Paulo, either Brazil's largest city or #2 at worst.

Like all large cities there are areas which the PR people do not promote. The poorer and slum sections may or may not be the site of crime etc., and many years ago Sao Paula had the reputation of being a dangerous city especially for foreigners who work in the commercial capital of Brazil. These photos came from a low income area, but not shanty town. The capitations are mine.
Let There Be Color

Color is the Joy of Life

NOT COSCO'S


CAGE THE ANIMAL
For safety sakes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

GLOOMY TUESDAY

"Old doc objects to Dan' Every morning unless I have an early appointment, the first thing that I do when I turn on my computer is to open Plainfield Today and if it is not up I go to CLIPS, which happened to be #1 today.

Such a greeting! No I do not object to Dan. In fact I have always liked him and his two public blogs,each of which are unique. CLIPS is a tremendous public service, Dan has filled a role of blog facilitator which makes life easy for us clunkers. Plainfield Today, is a personal cosmopolitan blog that can be an exposer, or a whistle blower. or white knight charger. or just an expression of one man's opinions as well as a daily guide to local events.

At least in the "green" of CLIPS, Dan did modify his comment to read; (Olddoc) "pitches Plainfield blogs (tho not happy with Dan's post on Burney fence matter").

Not happy, Dan, is the correct term. I do not object to your being politically biased in YOUR BLOG. You are an outspoken political activist and anyone with minimal intelligence expects your personal blog to reflect that trait. What I was unhappy about was you indulging in a form of mudslinging at the rival to your candidate. Both Rashid Burney and Rebecca Williams deserve better than that, not to ignore Dan Davis the third in the race.

There is an old expression "Blue Monday" which did not fit yesterday. I can't remember any such term for today, perhaps "Gloomy Tuesday" will suffice. Certainly it is a day when one would like to pull the covers over one's head and sleep in. Alas that is only a luxury that seemed to belong in one's long forgotten youth. So---Back to the present.

To be controversial today is too depressing. I am sure though that tonight's BOE meeting, if I get there, may provide enough material for a blog or two. I am also positive that no matter what each of writes that there will be as JG would say "a bunch of naysayers". I will therefore reserve my pontificating hat for tomorrow.

Monday, May 17, 2010

ME

May 14 I posted what I thought was a non-controversial blog referring to Jerry Green's blog about Solaris upholding its commitment to Plainfield.

JERRY GREEN on SOLARIS


Apparently one of my admirers was upset and sent in a comment which I normally would not have posted,but hit the wrong key. This resulted in several responses that could inflate my ego.

Since older postings are not routinely visited , and I like anything that makes me feel like an important person, I would hope you hit the link and read the comments. Thank you.



PLAINFIELD BOGGER'S ROLES

Yes the 2nd/3rd ward seat race for the Democratic ticket slot is heating up. All three candidates have blog sites to pitch their"merits.

I have said that I intend to be apolitical in my blog. I may sound slanted in some of the remarks that I will post , if so so be it. Despite what some of my "admirers" at times write me, the only negativity that will appear will be about postings that I feel are not in good taste.

As a table setter; I would suggest that all who read Plainfield blogs spend time on three sites, of course besides mine: Plaintalker II, M aria's Blog, and CLIPS.

Dan Damon's CLIPS is a great service for Plainfielders. He supplies easy links to every blog relating to our city, including those that are purely politically driven.There are also links to various news items and the various publications as well as other of interest blogs.

Plaintalker II the updated version of Plainfield Plaintalker is the one post that is FACTS not rumors or opinions. Bernice continues to be the consummate reporter. If there appears in her column anything derogatory about any one in political' believe it, they have earned it.

Maria's Blog is a dedication to inform the public how and where the BOE or PSS has strayed. She backs up everything with the official documents. Although she started out to assure that her son received top notch education, she quickly shifted her cause to the entire student population.

There is a fourth blog that also is a must read (besides mine) and that is Dan Damon's "Plainfield Today" Dan prints and finds and prints more news and/or dirt about Plainfield and the County than any of us could imagine. He certainly and justifiably so,not made himself popular with the political and lay leadership of our community by his exposures. He would be the greatest Internet asset to our city except for one ?little? thing. As a founding member and political activist for the Plainfield New Democrats he will tend to use this one blog as an active campaign vehicle.

Unfortunately Monday's attack on Councilor Burney is off base. The fence in question is at the rear of the property on the Kensington Ave side. It is not out of character with the neighborhood extending north to Putnam. The Burney's are as entitled to privacy on their own property as every one of us are as home owners.

The Burney's for whatever was their reason should be complimented for restoring a decaying very historical building to an asset in the community. The vista from Watchung Ave and on Kensington to beyond the rear of the house is outstanding.

I am afraid that Dan has chosen to make a negative political issue out of something that using common sense should be ignored.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

INTERLUDE- PICTORIAL EXTENDED.

Unless the media blasts forth with something worth commenting, I will still be nostalgic and post 4 more oldies. The Blue??? Danube at the "Iron Gate", Norway in the summer, A Loch in Scotland in the highlands, and the Great Swamp New Jersey.









The lull in Oz's School histrionics may end Tuesday night. At present the Agenda does not contain question answers,but they may be there after the executive session when the BOE actually begin the open meeting.

One question, If the Mayor of NYC can present a budget for the new FY while New York State has yet to pass one , why cant the city of Plainfield NJ of about 50000 residents have its ready by July 1, 2010? The lame excuse, we must wait for the State to announce how much aid we will get is nonsense. Estimate it and amend as needed. As long as it is realistic it will only be subject to minor amendments.

8:15 a few post coffee thoughts; Do the suspended four still have use of BOE supplied cars? Are the 4 "double dipping" by earning outside source income while suspended with pay? How often must they report to the BOE headquarters?

INTERLUDE-PICTORIAL

Pictorial interlude: a reprise.

Nothing controversial to disturb a pleasant weekend. Yes the chips may fall Tuesday but even the media is quiet today. It is only a few weeks before primary election, and the only "race" in Plainfield is for the 2nd/3rd Wards seat. Three Candidates, two with Council experience, the third with active community involvement. Unless there is a marked change due to some action that I consider negative to Plainfield, I intend to remain neutral in my blog.

Thus; it has been long overdue to fill space with some of my old a most previously posted slides. Some as presented today have been tweaked in various modes. There is difficulty with some that were 20 to 40 years old before digitalizing and had started to degenerate. The are others that have completely lost all color and can be presented on as B&W or Sepia.

These four are from France, Scotland, Provence(France) and a most interesting street scene in Austria.






Saturday, May 15, 2010

END OF AN ERA

A very sad note in yesterday's mail; the announcement of the closing of the Plainfield's Orthodox Synagogue.

This institution on West Seventh Street was the last remnant of what was once the most vibrant influential Jewish Community in Central Jersey. Gone now are two Orthodox congregations, one Conservative and one Reformed temples. Also an active Community Center with a summer day camp site in Bernards Township.

Once more we are reminded that nothing is permanent in society. and change is the law of nature as well as human events. As the demography of Plainfield has constantly changed in the last 150+years, so will its population in the next few decades. .

Friday, May 14, 2010

JERRY GREEN on SOLARIS

Thursday afternoon, I was looking for a pleasant non controversial subject for Friday's blog when I read Jerry Green's Page, titled "EMS VEHICLE". I was stuck by the title and the context.
http://jerrygreenspage.blogspot.com/2010/05/ems-vehicle.html (sorry I could not activate the link you can paste it in your URL)

When the rape Plainfield took place I thought that part of the CN conditions were for Solaris to provide an additional ambulance to Plainfield to help relieve the increased burden on the Rescue Squad. It now seems that Solaris was to provide an EMS vehicle to replace "Mercy 6" the hospital's mobile emergency unit. Is that unit still based at the old hospital site or has it been moved?

What ever the vehicle was to be, Solaris in its accustomed good faith has reneged, placing the blame on the city's refusal to accede to Solaris' self serving interpretation of the CN. And no one holds Solaris accountable for engaging in virtual genocide against those served by the assassinated Muhlenberg. There is no question that "many lives are in jeopardy" due to prolonged response time and delays in the overwhelmed emergency facilities at the hospital.

Green makes another point :"In moving forward, we need to begin discussing the future of the Muhlenberg campus so we are no longer caught off guard with anything. " Solaris is going tho continue to financially profit from its absorption of Muhlenberg's assets including trusts that were established to provide health care for the residents of Plainfield.

What had happened was a cold blooded government assistance in the embezzlement of the thriving health and financial assets of community in dire need of quality prompt available care. We must hope that even in these bad economic times the Christie administration can find the will and the means to ameliorate the effects of Corzine's actions.