Saturday, July 31, 2010

NOT SO TRIVIA POTPOURRI

The City's Internet site on its directory lists an area titled "Information/Downloads" There are several sub units including Calender of Events, Agendas and RFQ.

As of July 30,2010 the Calender of Events for August is already filled. That in itself is unusual since it is most often empty or incomplete. Yet, there may be a slight degree of confusion or as we used to say in the army; SNAFU.

The Calender has Aug. 2 as the date of the Council Agenda Setting Session. On the site allotted to the Council information the Agenda Meetings list Aug 9th as the date with the business meeting the next week.

The RFQ site is note worthy, not for information but rather the lack of it. Despite the vacancies in the Director of Administration and Finance division and the need for a CFO there is no listing for either job. In fact I can't remember ever seeing any such a position listed. How active has the search ever been?

It seems that the City's site fulfills three functions; misinformation, disinformation, and no information.

Let us clear up any confusion about whether a certain elderly man is cantankerous or not.; the other day a certain prominent blogger stated that her use of the description "crotchety" was correct because I have stated in my blog that I was "Trying to be the "last angry man" about any and all improprieties of stated interest.

This person who may never have heard the phrase 'Last Angry Man" wrote that it was a synonym for crotchety. Just another flight of fancy.

Crotchety is defined as "subject to whims, crankiness or ill temper".

"The Last Angry Man"years ago became an euphemism for an individual often a cynic who would publicly rally against inappropriate actions by governments, big business and other organizations indeed against all the in justices in the world. The Phrase was also the title of a 1959 movie staring Paul Muni as the fiercely dedicated general practitioner who tries to help the sick, the poor and the unfortunate in his decrepit neighborhood, Paul Muni is the testy old man who faces life without compromise and David Wayne is the troubled television executive fighting to preserve his career.

There is no commonality between the word and the phrase.

Friday, July 30, 2010

SLOW HOT DAY POTPOURRI

The just announced Town Hall Meeting, "A Call to Action", to be held this Sunday at 6PM i the Washington School will have as its featured panelist the Rev. Al Sharpton. The rest of the panel is still to be announced. Nor has the budget for this exercise been made public.

You may recall that the last time Rev. Sharpton paid a visit to Plainfield there was a question about the validity of an organized protest in the 2nd Ward.

Meanwhile the City affairs go on and on. One month into FY2011 and no sign of a budget. Will a progress report be available Aug. 9 at the Council Agenda session? Will an experienced qualifies unhampered by baggage be present to the Council as a candidate CFO, and will a candidate for Director of Administration and Finance with a good track record be submitted to the Council? Time will tell.

Have you read about the audio detection equipment for detection of, and the pinpointing of the location of gun shots? The whole concept is fascinating but has overtones of Orwell's "Nineteen eighty four" and other SF interpretation of the future. Where will the government invasion of privacy end?

Don't misunderstand me; any modality that will reduce and control violence in our community and others is welcomed. But we must not fail to focus on eradicating the causative factors.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SPECHIAL MEETING JULY 28,2010

The Council has taken a lesson from the BOE. The Special meeting did start about 8:10 Pm but immediately the Council went into executive session which lasted until 9"49 PM. Thus the public business of the evening was delayed 1hour and 50 minutes.

One can not blame the Council entirely for the delay. OF the two item s on the agenda the one asking for Consent and Advice for appointment of a Director of Administration and Finance was submitted without a name. Explanation," an offer has been made but the person has not responded". Not good enough. If this is supposedly a local person, that individual has been around all the months and no position appointee was suggested gives the impression that her Honor is still trying to flim flam the Council and all the taxpayers of Plaimfield'

The Candidate for CFO was late on arrival so his interview was delayed. By rumor there was a significant question about Mr. William I Scherer's qualification. He has had his certificate f or several years but has not even served one day as a CFO. Supposedly he has been a Councilman and Mayor in Manalapan NJ. and also runs a DMV agency. what other municipal, state, or political experience he has had remains a mystery since his CV was not shared with the public at the meeting. I would hope that it is available in the Clerks office or Library.

Since Councilwoman Carter was not present I am guessing the the opinion voiced in the closed meeting was split 3:3. When the Special Meeting reconvened the motion to approve Schere was tabled indefinitely pending more information.

Although a tabling motion is an action, when asked what the effect on the resolution to request help from the state would be,I understood the Council President to remark that the Council was prepared to sent that request that night.

As a concerned but not crotchety elderly citizen, I hope that the Council does do what should be done, ask for help.

If in 3rd person information that I received about the candidate is true then Council must not even give him a second thought. Plainfield dos not need to be a training ground for a political hiring.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

MEETING POTPOURRI

The web is not the only focus of heat these days, in fact with yesterday's 90+% day this July is almost a cinch to be the hottest month on record. Perhaps it is that heat which has limited much discussion on the web. But tonight there is a Special Council meeting to vote on a CFO and a Director of Administration and Finances. Both positions have been vacant too long.

There is also a Special Meeting of the BOE tonight. Once again the subject is not published yet if their is action may have a significant impact on this city..

Both Roberts and Sturgis document that the call for a Special Meeting must specifically state what items are to be discussed and if there will be any vote. Nothing not stated in the meetings call can be added to the agenda after it is legally posted. If the Special meeting is obligatory so that the body can withdraw into closed session, the subject matter must still be noted, although certain specifics can be omitted.

I have noted that none of the BOE special meetings ever contain that essential information.

More about meetings:
One of complaints about the BOE meetings is the size of the posted agenda often running to 40+ pages compared to the Council's 8 page agenda. This is because each organization has a legitimate concept of what the agenda should contain.

Both the Council's posted and printed agenda presents the Resolutions and Ordinances in summary form. To read the resolution etc. as written one has to go to the Clerks Office or the Library. Alternatively Everything is available in a volume at the Business meeting. This "book" has the printed agenda followed by pages in order of the text of each Ordinance or Resolution. Thus one can read only those that are of interest.

The Board of Education's agenda contains the complete wording of each item to be voted upon, and each report.in the order of business that it will come up.Not only is there a problem in having to read everything, to find the actions of interest but everything starts out with paragraphs of boilerplate which for the most part is unnecessary.

There is pluses in either format. All information is available on the web in the BOE Agenda. One has to go to a not readily available "book" for the wording of Resolutions and Ordinances to be acted upon at the Council meeting.

If the Council would PDF the "book" for the City site it would be doing the public a service.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Barack Obama Academy

I hope I am not insulting any supersensitive BOE members by again writing about the Barack Obama Academy. However,since there is an article in today's print edition of the Courier which if read objectively reiterates what I and other bloggers have speculated as to the schools.

For those who do not read the Courier in print I quote several excerpts:

"Principal Shirley Johnson-Tucker and several key staff members at the Barack Obama Academy for Academic and Civic Development were transferred to other schools via board vote last week, and district officials are remaining silent about what the changes mean.

Interim Schools Superintendent Anna Belin-Pyles did not return a phone call seeking comment Monday, and School Board President Lisa Logan-Leach said she did not know whether any plans are forthcoming to shutter or otherwise alter the school that served approximately 60 students during the 2009-10 school year.

At no time did she (Belin-Pyles) say that the school is closing," Logan-Leach said. "But she also made it clear that if there was any merge or change, there would be dialogue with students and parents."

Schools spokesman Eric Jones said that such dialogue has been scheduled for Aug. 4
"
***************************************************************************
"Jones also said he did not know what specific plans the district has for the school",
******************************************************************************
"Several academy employees last week were transferred to the high school, prompting speculation that the district plans to move alternative classes back there. Logan-Leach said she believed that such a plan would save the district money, but she declined to estimate how much.

"She (Belin-Pyles) is looking at everything that's part of our budget right now," Logan-Leach said.

Logan-Leach declined to comment on what preference the board might have regarding the academy, saying the topic has yet to be broached by the district's governing body.
"

If it looks like a duck,walks like a duck, talks like a duck it must be a duck!

It has been my apparently distorted impression that in an organization the role of the Board is to make and supervise the implementation of policy. This can and should be done in conjunction with the system's CEO. The CEO (Superintendent) function is to oversee the day by day operations of the system including the placement of personnel and planning future development.

If this be true than I am amazed at the President of the BOE, Logan-Leach, having no knowledge of the reason for transfers which the members of the BOE approved by vote. Either "Transparency" is just an election catch word or this Board like previous Boards lacks concept of its function. Until there is proof other wise, this "crotchety old man" has to believe that both may be factual.

Monday, July 26, 2010

PUFFY-THE SAGA - CONCLUSION



This brings us to the despot of Cushing Rd, Puffy. Although she denies it our daughter Paula by holding the front door open contributed to Harvey’s escape. In the mid 70s she found a most nondescript baby bird on our front porch. Since it couldn’t fly even a few feet, it was easy to capture. Paula shared her mother’s compassion for animals so she brought that little bird inside knowing the Helen would take care of it.

When we moved from Kenyon Ave, among the extraneous stuff (junk) that we had brought over was Harvey’s pristine cage We had a home for that bird, which we identified it as a Cat Bird. We noted it had a defective tail with uneven feathers. However we hoped that he would only be a short term resident


Note the tail, that bird had only one side feather and never grew another.

These birds members of the thrush family related to the mocking bird are fruit eaters, thus my wife put this chick on a blueberry diet. This was fine but (1) he got first choice of berries and (2 by fall time, when unlike today, Blueberries were no longer available. a change in diet seemed inevitable. However that first winter we were able to buy frozen berries. In the spring we found that the bird would eat peeled quartered green grapes and shredded lettuce, which remained its diet until its death 14 years later.

Why was it named Puffy? Well it must have been a male since he developed a crush on Helen. His cage sat on a desk in the far entrance to the kitchen. Whenever she would come into the kitchen were we kept his cage on a desk in an alcove, this bird would expand its feathers so that he look at least twice his normal size. He was in his male mating mode. and would shriek a greeting to her as he started to puff up..

Helen tried to get this bird to fly in our screened porch. Because of his tail defect his flight was like a kite when the wind is not blowing.

As he grew too big for his cage, we had Ray Jacobson make a special large cage for him. There were two doors, large enough to pass in a Sarah Lee pound cake tin filled with enough water so Puffy could take his morning bath. Of course he liked to splash the water all over so after his bath the newspapers lining the cage floor had to be changed. And we hallways had a surplus of “Pound Cake for various desserts. The “tins” were thin and needed frequent replacement.

Puffy’s meals, bits of peeled grapes and lettuce, were served to him on a large jar lid. Since I was the early riser in the house every morning I had to uncover his cage and feed him. Since he would raise hell, I could not have even a cup of coffee much less breakfast first. Placing his food in the cage was an adventure because he would attack the hand of his food giver except those of the love of his life.

Puffy had a strict routine; he would yell to have his cage covered at 7:30PM EST, and would carry on like mad if anyone came into the kitchen and turned on the light after he had retired for the night.

Paula when we had first moved in found a coal black kitten Samantha meowing in the weeds by our driveway. It obviously had been dumped. That American Alley Cat who was one of the New England mutations with 5 instead of 4 claws became an integral part of our family for almost 20 years.

Puffy in the safety of his cage would tease Samantha. The cat would watch him bath and Puffy would deliberately splash water at her. Sometimes Samantha would lay on the top of Puffy’s cage. Other times on the desk eyes fixed on the bird. and always an active observer of the food and bath rituals. Over the years it seemed that the two needed each other to coexist.

The household also included in the early years two dogs; a wirehair terrier Sparky and a miniature pincher Bambi. These two would be a tale onto themselves. During Puffy’s later years are resident canine was a Tibetan terrier, “Charley”.

At one family festival dinner during Puffy’s early years just before the turkey came out of the oven Puffy managed somehow to escape from his cage and after a few abortive flights and crash landings ran across the kitchen floor and disappeared under the cabinets.

He had found an inch space between the dishwasher and the cabinets and could not be persuaded to come out. Four concerned adult chidren plus one disturbed wife waited for the calvary to come. To the rescue came Frank Watkins a meticulous craftsman who pulled out the washer and removed some of the wood facing to recapture that bird.

I must admit that for fifteen years I would dread or hope that when I removed the Cage cover in the AM that I might find Puffy on the floor of the cage. Day in and day out it was the same routine; feed the bird before ines breakfast, mid-morning slip the pound cake tin with warm water into the cage without spilling for its bath, clean out the dirty and wet newspaper lining and r eplac ewithf reassh paper. And be sure to cover the cage at 7:30 EST so that he could go to sleep. G*D forbid that you would return and turn on the light any time after that b efore ther next morning unvailing. If you did you were the object of raz quality v e rbal abuse.

It was with mixed feelings when fifteen years after his arrival that one morning there he was on his back his feet in the air. I finally had my kitchen back and no longer had to eat pound cake.

Somewhere s in an unmarked grave on Cushing Rd. in a shoebox casket lays the Puffy’s remains.

DICTION ARY DEFINITIONS

Definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Perp : a perpetrator especially of a crime.

If someone writes that an individual although not named but easily identified is a "perp" "blood sucking" or not that individual is being called a criminal. To publicly label a person who has not committed a crime nor ever been charged with one as a criminal fills the criterion of "Libel".

For the benefit of those that have questions this is the definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:Libel: 2 a : a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression b (1) : a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt (2) : defamation of a person by written or representational means (3) : the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures (4) : the act, tort, or crime of publishing such a libel.

The entire document in question meets every possible criteria to justify libel.

However in this instance at the present time I can not consider the author worth the expense and results of a suit.

Rather, it would be better if every reader would review not only the post in question and the one focusing on Laura but all of her previous postings. It is sufficient for every one to make their own judgement about the attributes of an individual charged with the responsibilities of a trustee of public education as reflected in that individual's interpretation of "freedom of the press".

It is obvious that that person is not capable of admitting that she could be wrong. Instead of a simple apology she uses the tactics of a verbal offense as protection of her concept of her worthiness. I urge all to read her definition Sunday of her mission in life.

With that I shall end any discussion of this matter. Unfortunately I have had to put off the final segment of the "Puffy Saga" until tomorrow.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

IN FAIRNESS

In response to my "open letter to Renata" I received the following from her which I have reproduced in italics accompanied in standard text by my paragraph remarks:

Old Doc -- Like you I have the RIGHT to WRITE what I please about those who have chosen to represents themselves as Amateur Reporter of this city's News and Opinions -- ESPECIALLY and quite frankly WHEN it is in response to or involves MY name in print or the Body I have been elected to serve.
No one denies you the right to write what you please but be assured that I never represent myself as an reporter-amateur or professional'. I do not consider my opinions as amateurish and I have never criticized you for your outspoken opinions. Yes I mentioned your name, but can you deny that you and Maria feud in your blogs? I can find nothing wrong with my comments about the Lincoln School which by the way I agreed with you that it is inadequate for the purpose that it is (was)being used. You have not been elected to serve the BOE, but to serve the people on the BOE. Moreover you were elected because of a hope that a change in the BOE would make it more accountable for its fiduciary responsibility.

If you want to see me...Come to the Board meeting. Let's chat it up.
The BOE has in the past shown little respect for the public's time and there still seems to be a practice of keeping the public waiting for prolong periods even up to hours before the open meeting commences. However this matter has nothing to do with the Board but is about an Internet posting about which which you yourself apparently had second thoughts or you would not have obliterated it.

You dear man -- should not allow PEOPLE to incite you so...so this chip seems to be well placed on your very own shoulder. Don't fret as I made no mention of a name. The funny thing is -- is that PEOPLE made assumption based on information I provided, which could only mean some of what I said must remind them of you or your behavior.

You might not have mentioned "a name", but the blog must have been pointed enough for several unfortunately mostly anonymous individuals to send comments- (only one did I post)- to the effect that "Renalta slammed or dissed you". Since you saw fit to remove that posting before I could read it I would hope you might appraise me of the "information I provided " You can also clarify "my behavior". '

I share a computer so My Google ID and PW were swipped as default and I have forgotten them so I was not able to respond to Maria. But I think that is more of a BLESSING than a hinderance. Remember to practice what you preach; itis a model behavior for responsible citizenship.
You are the only one that seems to question my exercise of my citizenship responsibilities.
All I asked of you was to apologize in your blog if you had written something inappropriate. I have had no reluctance to do so when I have been in error even if it was just a matter of hitting the wrong key in a name. Instead it seems that your reaction is to go on the offensive. Who has the chip?

Good Day (Renata)

In a second personal email Renata wrote the following statements;
A thing must be untrue or portray someone in a false light, which again your PEOPLE made the leap this was about YOU...so the TRUTH and LIGHT of the writing must have some character association to you for THEM to make this about YOU. Again -- if you are serious about getting answers come see me. *** And bring your friends who are telling you this; I'd like to meet/speak with them too.

I make these public since I am puzzled for I have not the slightest idea who my "PEOPLE' are. I neither formally or sub rosa represent any organization or ethnic, or political group. I hope that I am an advocate of the rights of all Plainfielders. As to the "friends who are telling you this" I know that you are cognisant that these reports came from those who identify themselves as "Anonymous". I would find it most difficult to bring an unknown anonymous person to a meeting.

You mentioned the 'TRUTH and LIGHT of the writing". I am curious what that is. You may email to me at "olddoc3@verizon.net" This is a box that I use when an email address is required for informational purposes from a business that I have no desire to be on a mailing list. Since I very infrequently check that box for the next day or two if you wish I will be checking it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

PUFFY-THE SAGA - PART 2

This is a continuation of a non controversial saga titled "Puffy"

Picking up the tale of "Gabby": Helen truly taught the bird to fly in the Kitchen. She would hold him in her hand and then gently toss him into space. For self protection he became an adept aviator. Ultimately she decided that he was ready to go out into the wide world. She took him outside one morning, and after is "launching" away he flew into the wild blue yonder.

However this tale did not end then, for in that evening just outside on a low branch by the kitchen door, was Gabby waiting for Helen to let him in to roost in his cage.This routine was repeated for several days.


It is illegal to keep a wild bird. The ultimate solution was acting on a suggestion by my good friend Dr. Ed. Loizeaux who took him from us to a wild bird sanctuary in Connecticut.

Ed, who died prematurely, was an unique individual. He loved people as well as hunting and fishing. Ed had one fault; he would carry to an extreme treating patients and not pressing for payment. Imagine that in today’s society. But then in the 50s a charitable society was the norm not the present mercenary world. Unfortunately too many took advantage of him and he left his widow and children in poor financial state.

The penultimate bird was Harvey, a Parakeet.who some how joined our household on Kenyon Avenue for a short time in the early 60s. I cannot remember how Harvey came to live with us but that is immaterial to the story.

Harvey's cage door was often left open and he did have the freedom to fly in the house, which he did not abuse. That is until one early fall day when
on the back of our dog Lassie he rode out the front door which my daughter was holding open.

Although
for days Helen would look for him and leave food outside but he never returned. That is, and this is open to doubt, one day the next spring Helen found a Parakeet which she swore was Harvey in the bushes outside our house. How this tropical bird survived a rather severe winter is beyond comprehension, but certainly there could not have been another rouge parakeet. I do not recall Harvey II’s ultimate fate but I don’t think that bird survived many years.

LETTER TO RENATA

Several individuals have reported to me that for a brief period of time a malevolent posting "http://standinginthegapforpps.blogspot.com/2010/07/bugbegone.html" directed at me was present on that blog. Even its brief presence made it public property Therefor, I am addressing the following open letter to the blog's author.

To Renata Hernandez, I have been informed that you had posted and then subsequently withdrew a malicious post regarding myself. Although by the time I became aware of your post, it was no longer available. Never the less, others did read it and reported it to me.

Since you chose to make your remarks public even briefly, that constitutes LIBEL.

The least that I would expect is a public apology and a public renouncing of your maligning assertions.
Otherwise!

I would also suggest that if you truly wish to be a public servant, you take the chip off your shoulder and practice what you profess to preach.


"olddoc"

PUFFY-THE SAGA -

Two recent stories; one by Maria in her blog about a wild baby bird that she had found after it fell out of the nest and the other a recent tale by a good friend regarding her daughter finding a lost parakeet while walking her dog brought back memories of the birds that had been part of our life over the 69 years.

The last one was “Puffy” a male (?) catbird that dominated life in our kitchen for at least 15 years. His story must remain for last since this tale is best in chronological order.

Shortly after we were married we rented an apartment which was on the second floor of an old house on 14th Street in Charlottesville, one block from the hospital and medical school. This apartment had two large rooms, one of which was a combined kitchen/ bed room and the other on the other side of a long hall was our living room. The best attraction in the apartment besides my wife, was the bath room which had a four legged cast iron bath tub that was large enough for a six footer to stretch out and relax. This is of course unnecessary verbiage scene setting space filling.’

Shortly after we moved in we purchased two green "love birds" as parakeets were called in those days. The m ale was Alphonse and the female Arabelle. They lived in a hanging cage and occasionally we would let them fly around the living room.

They were very noisy birds who always raised a racket especially when we had company. Like all birds their cage was covered at night so we could, if being quiet, be in their living room. But they were deliberately very messy. They would sit on their perch and toss the husks of the seeds that they were eating out of the cage on to the room floor. Perish the thought that they would dirty their home.

When we moved to Syracuse where I had my internship (now called 1st year residency) Helen’s mother became their adoptive parent. They lived with her for several years.

It was not until we were living for several years on Kenyon Ave. that we next had a bird in residence with us. This was a baby Grackle which apparently had fallen out of its nest and was on the ground. Helen rescued it and we obtained a cage for him to live in. I can’t remember what Helen fed that bird, I presume wild bird feed but "Gabby” flourished in our kitchen.

Grackles are noisy birds and are quiet social as evidence by the large flocks they travel in. The ones we see here are more fluorescent purplish black than those pictured. I have been told that they like Crows can be taught to “speak” We had no luck with Gabby. This bird if let out of the cage would follow Helen around in the Kitchen. This was during a cat-less period in our life, although we always had one or two dogs plus four kids.

(Part 11 soon maybe tomorrow)



Friday, July 23, 2010

PSS NONSENSE.

I was wrong all is not quiet in OZ or at least on the blog front. There seems to be a resumption on the skirmish between Maria( http://crescent-times.blogspot.com/) and Renata Hernandez (http://standinginthegapforpps.blogspot.com/).

Facts are facts mot gossip. Of course the source may have been distorted, but unsupported accusations have little validity.

One can arrive at a conclusion that if personnel are being transferred out of the Barack Obama Academy and there are no replacements the the school will be nonfunctional due to lack of staff. That is in effect "closing".

"Can we agree that Lincoln School was not EVER appropriate for those students?" (Hernandez) Absolutely, but it was the Board of Education that approved of that site and 5/7th of that Board are still members. The building's acceptability has not changed. If it should not be used now it never should have been chosen. If there is no available acceptable alternative, it should be free standing, then the old decrepit Lincoln School must be used until a new site can be created.

The project is a worthwhile necessary one and transferring it to be even a separate subdivision of the High School will negate all of its value. Will the advocates of "transparency" stand up and practice what they preach.

In today's economic climate it is mandatory that the PSS administration and the BOE exercise their fiduciary responsibility to the voters and stop the secrecy. especially in the allocation of funds and personnel.

JUST POTPOURRI

Although it is not suppose to hit 90 today , the past days do not make this an official heat waved despite tomorrow's expected 100%+ temperatures.

All seems to be quiet in OZ this morning. Bernice reports more on her life of misadventures at he apartment. The only Plainfield related news in the on -line edition of the Courier starts out;
A 23-year-old Plainfield woman has been committed to a Trenton psychiatric hospital after police said she parked her vehicle horizontally on the Garden State Parkway, blocking traffic and exposed herself to passing motorists.

That parking is not a reportable feat. Would we not have appreciated it more if she had parked vertically. Lets chalk this up to the heat.

In as-much-as OZ seems to be quiet this AM it is relaxing time with art(?).

Art is how you see it. Here are three examples from recent JAMA covers that represent different eras in the concept of art:

Night Intersection
Charmion von Wiegand 1896-1959
American
The Arrest of Christ,
BOOK OF KELLS 800 CE
Irish
Album of Twelve Flowers-
Yun Shou-p'ing 1633-1690
Chinese Ch'ing Dynasty

Night Intersection may well represent our OZ, but some one will have to explain it to me.

The BOOK OF KELLS:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Book of Kells , sometimes known as the Book of Columba) is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created by Celtic monks ca. 800 or slightly earlier. The text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina. It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure. The illustrations and ornamentation of the Book of Kells surpass that of other Insular Gospel books in extravagance and complexity.

The decoration combines traditional Christian iconography with the ornate swirling motifs typical of Figures of humans, animals and mythical beasts, together with Celtic knots and interlacing patterns in vibrant colours, enliven the manuscript's pages. Many of these minor decorative elements are imbued with Christian symbolism and so further emphasise the themes of the major illustrations.

The manuscript today comprises 340 folios and, since 1953, has been bound in four volumes. The leaves are on high-quality calf and the unprecedentedly elaborate ornamentation that covers them includes ten full-page illustrations and text pages that are vibrant with historiated initials and interlinear miniatures and mark the furthest extension of the anti-classical and energetic qualities of Insular art. The Insular majuscule script of the text itself appears to be the work of at least three different scribes. The lettering is in iron gall ink, and the colours used were derived from a wide range of substances, many of which were imports from distant lands.

The manuscript takes its name from the Abbey of Kells that was its home for centuries. Today, it is on permanent display at the Trinity College Library, Dublin. The library usually displays two of the current four volumes at a time, one showing a major illustration and the other showing typical text page.


The Wikepedia entry is worth looking at for the many other illustrations.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

JULY COUNCIL MEETING #4

Now is the time to examine the big money Resolutions the the Council acted upon. We will start with the big ticket or most controversial ones.

R298-10: This resolution authorizes the award not to exceed $184,659.00 to the 'Incubator" from a stimulus fund awarded Grant to provide self sufficiency services , job retraining etc. to those out of work.

There was no answer to expressed public concerns about the track record in this field of this organizations which has dealt with small business support. Moreover. although there were questions about allocation of funds including $75,000.00 for a van as well as for Health Insurance, food and other services, the best answer from Administration was that the vehicle was being negotiated and lease versus purchase was now being pursued.

Once again despite the presence of an allocation breakdown in the body of the resolution, the Council and Public were either told that is was to be negotiated or completely ignored. Also, when Corporation Counsel corrected himself and retracted his statement that this was the only response to the RP, by admitting that there had been another one, there was no explanation why it had been withdrawn. It was remarked by observers that this was initially part of a Grant that was expiring and had been originally allocated to a non profit last fall and then for some reason had fallen out. Once again the vendor has a close relationship with the local political scene.

R287-10 (originally on the consent agenda) Submission of a renewal contract application with NJ DHSS for woman's and children's supplemental nutritional program $740,800.00

I am not sure who oversees the allocation of funds and what fiscal controls are in force. The city site does not list the name of the director of Health & Social Services. The nutritional coordinator of the WIC program is Prema Achari , but I am sure she has no financial responsibility. Health and Social Services is under the Department of Administration and Finance which up to this date for the past 5 months has been without a director. The City Administrator with one (1) assistant has been overseeing that Department which only had one full time Director for a few months at the end of 2009. and one month at the beginning.

R290-10: Authorizing approval for submission of an application to the New Jersey Enterprise Zone Program (NJEZPF) for project funding of $1,000,000.00 to capitalize a revolving loan fund.

Unanswered was the make up of the Loan Committee as well as who would be the project director. Once again a Grant is being sought without a structured program for support in place. The answer the Council received from the City Administrator was that the details would be worked out after the Grant is approved. Good business practices?

R291-10 : Authorises an application to the NJEZPF to implement phase III of the project for downtown surveillance cameras in the amount of $800.000.00.

I believe that the use of the City owned Tepper's basement on which $460,000.00 was spent a few years ago is no longer an option, reason not given. Also apparently the cameras will not be subject to 24/7 live observation. It has been a long time since the work on the basement but I believe that the contractor was a local concern.

R274-10: Resolution awarding the award of a contract to BC Productions for videography services for FY2011 not to exceed $30,000.00.

I may not be correct, but I believe that the recipient of this contract awarded by the "Open and Fair process" has a relationship to a failed candidate in the recent election.


R290-10: Authorizing approval for submission of an application to the New Jersey Enterprise Zone Program (NJEZPF) for project funding of $1,000,000.00 to capitalize a revolving loan fund.

Unanswered was the make up of the Loan Committee as well as who would be the project director. Once again a Grant is being sought without a structured program for support in place. The answer the Council received from the City Administrator was that the details would be worked out after the Grant is approved. Good business practices?

R265-10: Resolution authorizing settlement of claims in the matter of KANSAS STATE BANK OF MANHATTAN (I presume Kansas) vs CITY OF PLAINFIELD ET ALs..

The nature of the suit and settlement amount are not on the agenda, nor is the identity of the "ET ALs". Unfortunately I did not read the resolution itself so I have no other comment except that it was revealed that there was an additional fee for the Special Counsel who worked on this case.

On the subject of awards by the "Fair and Open Process", two more contracts were awarded by the "Fair and Open Process to Remington and Vernick engineers making the total for the 6 months to date to be near "$800,,000.00

Looking over the list one gets the feeling that contracts are awarded by the Fair and Open Process encourages nepotism and patronage. Whereas this is not criminal the contracts thus awarded may not represent the best usage of our dollars. And with this Administration reluctance to fill the important financial control posts we have had incomplete knowledge where the money goes

Clarification: Yesterday in the following paragraph I used a poor choice of words which have been called to my attention :

On the Resolution requesting State aid for a CFO, the Administrations unexpected blockbuster announcement resulted in a tabling action on an amended motion until July 28, when the Council should have time to interview the individual. The resolution urging the Mayor to appoint a Director of Administration and Finances was also tabled to July 28 when it could possibly be moot.

Each resolution contained an amendment that postponed the effective date to the July 28 meeting and that resolution would no longer be valid if the vacancy no longer existed. Although action was postponed they were not "tabled" in the Parliamentarian sense which would have required two votes each; one to make it eligible for a vote and the vote itself. Since both resolutions contained a voiding clause I inadvertently equated that with tabling.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

JULY COUNCIL MEETING #3

During the Passover Seder on the first night and for the very observant Jews,the second night, the youngest at the table asks several traditional questions with the preface of " Why is this night different from all other nights" followed by specific subjects. Likewise I would ask " Why is this Council different from all other past Councils"?

The answer is of course Annie McWilliams' incisive formidable leadership. The Council President prior to public comments and Council action on Resolutions took time to comment that there were significant matters that had to be approved so that the City could regain control of its finances and her hope that they would all be passed unanimously.

Her job is difficult because the 2010 Council makeup consists of one dedicated "Green party member" who 98% of the time supports Administration and the other 2% of time he will point out gross defects in the pertinent resolution and vote "NO'. contrary to Administration's stated position . A new Council member who had won her nomination by defeating the selected party candidate usually votes with the "party". All the other five members including McWilliams were first elected as " New Democrats", however only two others can presently be counted as her supporters. The other two vacillate and often try to straddle the fence before committing themselves. Yet even their vote can usually be calculable. I had rightly predicated that the vote on two issues would be 4:3 although I could not accurately predict if there would be 4 Yeas or 4 Nays.

On the Resolution requesting State aid for a CFO, the Administrations unsupported blockbuster announcement resulted in a tabling action on an amended motion until July 28, when the Council should have time to interview the individual. The resolution urging the Mayor to appoint a Director of Administration and Finances was also tabled to July 28 when it could possibly be moot.

Yes. once again the Council had waffled.

A "Councilmanic" resolution making it mandatory for the Administration to advertise for proposals for banking services was tabled indefinitely. This resolution of course was opposed by Administration.

One statement made by City Administrator Taylor was an objection to the public's questions on resolution which she categorically refused to answer as the meeting not being the proper forum.

Administration also objected to a perceived injection of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) into the budget process. The Council President pointed out that this time the Committee is being given a specific set of charges to act upon and that the request for participation of various Administration members was for resource purposes only.

To be continued, tomorrow the big money resolutions.

JULY COUNCIL MEETING #2

Monday I wrote: The biggest question about tonight's Council meeting concerns the Council's Resolutions regarding the CFO and the vacant position of Director of Finance and Administration. ******Will the members stick to their guns? Does anyone want to make book?

So sad, no one took me up on my offer. Since the sequence of events at the meeting were so bizarre I will comment more about this portion of the Council meeting later as well as concerning other actions.

However, I must remark that the Administration's refusal of Council Presidents McWilliam's request to produce the so called "offer letter to the candidate for CFO" would suggest that it was just a figment of opportunistic imagination. Yes indeed a post facto letter may be available today, but did it exist on July 19, 2010?

Lets us focus on Dwayne Wilkins comments regarding the Recreation Commission or Committee (I am not sure of the exact title) activities made at the request of the Council President just before the Public spoke.

This citizens group was appointed by the Mayor about 3 months ago. It has made an in depth review of the City's outdoor recreational,primarily sports, facilities and has either made recommendations for or themselves have actually done upgrades needed.

Although the Ordinance creating the Committee states that reports were to be made to both the Mayor and Council, Mr. Wilkins was under the impression that he was only to report to the Mayor.

Once again here has been difficulty in communication between a citizens group and the Division of Recreation. David Wynn, Superintendent of Recreation attended only the first meeting and none thereafter. Mr Wilkins noted that he had a few personal 1 on 1 meetings with Mr Wynn.

Mr Wilkins rightly noted that in Plainfield's ongoing conflicts with street gangs' violence recreational activities could be a major weapon.

Regrettably, probably due to the present problems between Recreation sponsored activities and those by volunteer Plainfield citizens' groups the Committee has given no thought to the indoor activities that could be presently viable and will be an absolute necessity once the outdoor fall sports season ends.

If Plainfield is to successfully challenge the lure of the gangs there must be multiple alternatives available. Since the City itself has not as yet constructed any indoor facility there must be active unrestricted cooperation by the Board of Education and the "Ys" as well as other non profits and churches, to open their gyms and club rooms to Plainfield's youth. Recreation Division must be allowed to coordinate and oversee all such activities. Territorial rights have no place in this war against the criminal elements.

The other major problems is money needed to increase staff and support such programs. There must be Grant funds available and if necessary some adjustment may be needed in the City's budgetary priorities.

Above all, Recreation must be willing to encourage and use volunteers wherever possible. At this time its track record is questionable.

Will this happen? I doubt it. Unless those with authority are truly committed to "Plainfield's kids" all their public statements are nothing more than brownie points verbiage. It is time to put up or show your true colors.

NOTE: Apparently the Courier News Reporter, Mark Spivey is on vacation and no alternate reporter covered the meeting. We will have to wait until the Star Ledger finds space for its reporter's observations. In the meantime read all the Plainfield bloggers and especially the posted comments even if that means going back a few entries.

Monday, July 19, 2010

THE MIRACLES ON WATCHUNG AVENUE

I left the Council meeting at about 11:35PM and the Public Commentary portion had just begun, so at this late hour do not expect an in depth report on the meeting until at best late AM Tuesday.

However I must note the three Miracles that occurred Monday night. The first was the Mayor was present. The second was miraculously at 8:40 or there abouts City Administrator Bibi Taylor announced that the Mayor had sent an individual a letter offering the position of CFO. The third even more astounding was at about 9:40 PM the City Administrator remarked that they were attempting to contact a Plainfield resident to offer her the Directorship of the Finance and Administration Department.

There will be more about this tomorrow in all the blogs and perhaps by Wednesday in the Star Ledger.

This must suffice at this late hour.

TONIGHT'S COUNCIL AGENDA

The biggest question about tonight's Council meeting concerns the Council's Resolutions regarding the CFO and the vacant position of Director of Finance and Administration. Also the Resolution/Ordinance subjecting the Administration to financial restrictions similar to those imposed by the State in the infamous "Memorandum of Understanding". Will the members stick to their guns? Does anyone want to make book?

Among the other Resolutions to be approved are several that are disturbing in part because of the dollars involved but also regarding how and to whom they were awarded. These three are examples

R298-10: A contract to "the Incubator" for "services related to self sufficiency" for $184,659.00 grant from the "Community Services Bloc Grant "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funded Program. " Was this a contract awarded by bid? What is the vendor's experience? Why $70,000.00 for a van. Also disturbing is the vendors principle's relationship to a politically connected individual.

R292-10 A contract to Remington and Vernick for $140,875.00 for engineering services for the reconstruction of South Ave from Woodlend to Terrill Rd. Awarded by the "Fair and Open process". Among other matters for over a year there has been an unanswered question about when and why the city became responsible for a State Highway Rt28. The terms of the agreement have never been provided to the Council despite member's requests.

If memory serves me right and I do not know the year, but the City assumed responsibility for Rt28 in order to make 5th street a one way street from Roosevelt Ave to Plainfield Ave. I am not sure if and why the City agreed to all or just part of the Highway.

The people might find it of interest if some one had the time to tally up and report the sums of all contracts awarded to R&V for FYs 2009 and 2010.

R288-10 Another contract to Remington and Vernick for 'General and Miscellaneous Services" not to exceed $90,000.00. This I believe has to do with the short stretch of Watchung Ave from 7th St. to Kensington. Jim Pivnichny has question this when it was previously introduced.both at the Council and in his blog.

R287-10 This is on the "Consent Agenda" which is supposed to be for "routine matters". Since it is for $740,000.00 I do not consider that a routine matter. I will admit that this is for the 'Women,infant, and Children Supplemental Nutritional Program and is for the submission of a renewal of a contract between the State HSSD and the City's Dept of Health for a year starting 10/1/10. Who administers the program? What are the fiscal controls?

If you are perturbed about Plainfield , you should attend these meetings, observe, and express your concerns during the Public Commentary portion of the meeting