Tuesday, May 31, 2011


David M. Ridgway

WESTOVER — David M. Ridgway, 69, died Saturday, May 28, 2011, at his home in Westover (Virginia). Born in Chicago, he was a son of the late Murray and Ruth Schetzle Ridgway.

Mr. Ridgway served as a captain in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. He was a former CEO at Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield, N.J., for 30 years. He had served as a consultant for GOAL OPC in Boston and was executive officer of St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Westover and Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Pocomoke City, as well as the current president of the Somerset County Historical Society. He was a hearth cook and curator for the Teackle Mansion in Princess Anne. He was a member of St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Westover.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Sallie Ridgway; two children, a daughter, Vivian Limbeck and her husband, Jeff, of Westover and a son, Ben Ridgway of Boston; two grandchildren, Emma and Julia Limbeck; and his brother, Doug Ridgway of Jacksonville, Fla.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Wednesday at 11 a.m. at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Westover, where friends may call one hour prior to the service. The Rev. William Porter will officiate. Interment with military honors will be in Mount Olive Cemetery in Westover at a later date.

Contributions may be made to the Seton Center, 30632 Hampden Ave., Princess Anne, Md. 21853; or the Somerset County Historical Society, 11736 Mansion St., Princess Anne, Md. 21853.

Arrangements are by Hinman Funeral Home in Princess Anne.

Published in The Daily Times on May 29, 2011

Dave Ridgeway

I received this from Dr. Greg LaGana former director of the ER at Muhlenberg and of the Ambulatory  Care center in Warren. Since it came to my Blog there is no way that I can reach Dr. LaGana to request that an Obit be sent to the local media.

 Dave Ridgeway was President and CEO of  Muhlemberg in  the late 70s-early 80s.

I'm writing to let you know that Dave Ridgway died this past Saturday morning - around 1:05 a.m. after a several month long battle with stage 4 colon cancer. He was living down in Maryland, near the Chesapeake Bay. He's survived by his wife Sallie, his daughter Vivian and her family, and his son Benjamin. I thought you might like to know, given the time we all spent together at Muhlenberg "back in the day" as they say.


The hot Memorial Day Weekend is past us. As I write this I have not read anything in the news media about Saturday's "Plainfield against Killing" event  at the High School.There is a  great deal more info we need about "The Plainfield Recreation Center" and I hope Renata will fill us in. Who are the sponsors, where is the funding coming from are just two of the questions  that must be answered before reality sets in.

I am still convinced that the recommendation in the "Vision" study for a Recreational Building and areas in the 4th Ward at t he site of the old Wood foundry  would not be the best answer for Plainfield. Easily available to that part of town and the projects. It would be expensive and perhaps under present circumstances a gamble but there may be grants available to fund such a project.

The Armory would have the same negative site problem as the 1st Ward for the  great number  of 4th Ward kids as does Garfield and East Second Street. This should be a municipal project.

Although the 3rd Ward doesn't have a Council seat up for election this year The Candidate's Forum  at the Cook School tonight (7PM) should be of interest to all. 

Monday, May 30, 2011


A soldier boy in a muddy camp in France 1945

Today is Memorial Day; the day in which we should remember and honor all of those Americans, both citizens and non citizens, who have given their lives from pre-revolutionary days to today in the various conflicts which this nation has been involved. It mattered not whether the war was justifiable or not what is important is that the departed made a sacrifice for this country.

It would be most fitting if everyone; search their inner soul and root out any traces of hatred and prejudice and bigotry. If we admit that those three factors exist, we would be well on the way of overcoming the present social problems that affect this community as well as this nation.

I am flattered that the the Courier news as well as all the other Gannett paper in New Jersey chosen the  chose me  to be an example World War II veteran. Although I was in actual combat areas under enemy fire my risks were never, except with one exception, as great as the front line soldier. They are the true heroes of warfare.

Since the paper did publish an article although there are some errors, I would like to offer some proof that I actually served in the Army and make some corrections. I entered service January 14, 1944 and was separated from the service February 24, 1946. I was discharges as a captain medical officer general duty 3100 that is a line officer Dr. The actual date I became a civilian again was January 2, 1946. It was a great day for at that time I already had two children one of whom I had never seen.

My initial training was at the Carlisle barracks in Pennsylvania for six weeks at which time, although there was a foot of snow on the ground, we were given instructions in how to combat malaria and other South Pacific diseases. We were also instructed in the techniques the Army had used during World War I, modified by experiences learned in the Spanish Civil War; the incubator for much of the tactics of World War II.

While at Carlisle barracks my oldest daughter Pamela was born in Muhlenberg Hospital Plainfield.

For the next six weeks while the Army had to decide what to do with me, I spent at Finney General Hospital in Georgia as a ward officer in the medical ward. One of the most pleasant parts of that experience was that the pathologist in the hospital was Colonel Darlington. Dr. Darlington had been the pathologist in Muhlenberg Hospital before entering service and returned to his duties in Plainfield at the end of the war. It was pleasant because Col. Darlington introduced me every night at the officers club to his tablemates including his wife. Of course I had to have a drink with them..

From Finney General Hospital I received orders to report to the 1st Battalion 194th Glider Regiment's, 17th Airborne Division. This Airborne Regiment had only two battalions instead of the usual three of an regular infantry divisions. What was unique was unlike the regular Army Divisions each medical section attached to an airborne Battalion had to 2 medical officers instead of one. This was in preparation for the potential losses in any operation. In our Battalion there with a total of seven medical officers including a dentist. All of us would go overseas but only four of us returned at the end of the war.

We arrived in England in August 44 and were stationed down in Wiltshire. We were just "unfortunately" too late to be included in the ill-fated airborne invasion of Holland. However, when the Bulge broke in December; on Christmas Day our Regiment was airlifted to France. (good story) I spent New Year's Eve with three aid men attached to Company C guarding a bridge over the Maas River. Two days later in the division's initiation to combat we we suffered about 10% causalities in a counteroffensive attack against a tank supported SS division.

We withdraw from the front lines at the end of the Bulge to a muddy field near Chalons France to be reorganized and resupplied. Our division and the British 6th airborne were to make the airborne portion in the invasion of the German mainland across Rhine. That is a story unto itself. After chasing Germans across Westphalian and the closing of the link around the Ruhr Valley, We spent a short time as occupation forces in Duisburg Germany.

Fortunately, with peace in Europe our division was to be broken up and personnel transferred other wheres. But that is another story. I transferred as Battalion Surgeon to the 82nd Airborne 376 Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, and went to Berlin as part of the initial American occupation forces This is a sketchy story of my experiences. in WWII.

I have posted 2 pictures as some proof that I am a veteran. The top one was taken in the field.
The other for posterity when I returned home.

The Ribbons are unit citations Croix de Guerre ( both France and Belgium)
The ribbon on the right is 'The Unit Distinguished Badge''
The top badge on left is Combat Glider Badge
The ribbon below is the "Purple Heart"
The large bar contains ribbons representing "European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign medal with 3 battle stars and an Arrowhead (for the combat glider landing). and the World War II Victory medal
The last badge is the " Combat Medical Badge"
I hope my memory is right on the names: It has been a long long time. Incidentally I last spoke to my battalion co surgeon DR. Jethro Irby of Martinsville Va. a year ago.
There was nothing gung-ho about my service, I was just doing my duty to my country and if I had a choice would have much rather been in a hospital here in the States. I just did what I was ordered to do. My best duty in Europe was 4 weeks as Chief of the Veneral Disease Service in the only American Hospital in Paris.
My now deceased older brother served as a physician with the Fleet Air Wing of the Navy. He graduated from flight training at the Navy school in Pensacola. He was responsible for the organizing the evacuation of the wounded from Guadalcanal. After the war he became Regular Navy and had a varied career. One of his sons served 2 tours of duty as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam another did a hitch in the submarines.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Memorial Day weekend is not a time when people pay attention to newspaper articles or bloggers. However, I'm at school attention to the article on the first page of Saturday's Courier news that Brian Bilal the principal at the high school for the past three years is not having his contract renewed.

At the last board general meeting Mr. Bilal complained that he had not had an evaluation as required this year and I believe he says for several years. Yet despite improvement in test scoring, and it's overall attendance rate. There is a bill will be in an increase in the number of applicants for college.

I am also reminded that at the same board meeting several teachers from the Hubbard middle school and protested the" rumored" pending transfer of long-term that school. Long-term. Prince principal. The public was told that this was a personnel problem and was not to be discussed open

My comments previously about the ineptness of the BOE in giving directions to the school district. I will not go over the list of superintendence. Dr. Larry Leverett who was superintendent of the district for about five years prior to 2001, I propose a plan to be accepted by the state for a group of small schools. It may have been ideal plan but was never implemented in fact one of the multitude of individuals who have served as superintendent of the district and the Board of Education at that time instituted a plan for maintaining the status quo of the school system.

This lack of continuity in the leadership and direction cool system as a superintendent and principal levels can only result in a district which fails to fulfill its function. Various boards in the past and seemed to have chosen and fired administrative leaders as a result of the whim of various members of the board. Board personalities have been equally responsible for the districts term oral often as a result of individuals perfect personals relationship.

It is too early to determine whether the present board will show a unity of purpose and determine the pathway the  district must use. We can only hope that the present group in the majority will lend support  for the long-term. It matters little whether we end up with a K-8.  plan or three middle schools.

EUREKA !!!!!

7:14 AM I can open this blog editor and post. I expect to do so either later today if I can find the time or by tomorrow. For those interested there is the the 1pm program to try to reduce the crimes in Plainfield at the PHS sponsored by a group of Plainfielders plus former Plainfielders and initiated by Abdul Karriem Muhammad (known to many as longtime community activist Linward Cathcart.

Friday, May 27, 2011


I am entering his on the blogspot editor using my usual Firefox browser without a problem.The computer is a laptop running Windows7.I was just unable to open the blogspot editor running Firefox on my PC. However, when I switched browsers to Internet Explorer I had no trouble-see next post. Reading other logs while in thew Firefox browser when I tried to post a comment to Plaintalker2 I was sent to enter my blog page which I can not do.


This is the entry using Internet Explorer as the browser. Ther seems to be a double problem relating to my PC and Firefox. This is a good week end to try to correct what is wrong. I have cleared the cache, reinstalled Java script and will try other suggestions via Google's help forum


Internet explorer opens this page


HEY my laptop seems to be able to open my blog editor . The PC still doesn't open it same problem continues. I thought it could be in the Java script. check tomorrow or alternate blog

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Since I have been promising to devoted a blog to my concerns about the impact of Obama's health reform laws upon us as a nation, community, and individual.

I am not going to go to any specifics but will deal in generalities. We have to consider that health care has become a product and not a service. Like all products there is a cost with a profit or loss involved. It is a fact of life that you never get more than you pay for, and if it is so then it will be too good to be true. As the old adage goes: If it is too good to be true it probably isn't.

The premise of the health care reform was to bring more people into the system and at the same time reduce the costs of care. Realistically there is only one way that cost reduction can be accomplished in the face of increased participation. That of course is to reduce the payment to providers for the services rendered.

There is another way costs can be controlled and that is by reducing or eliminating services. This is an ongoing process encouraged by the insurance companies and in the case of hospitals by the states forcing the closing of those that cater to a population that is on the lower economic scale. Muhlenberg is an example in which the health care focus area has been deprive of quality care not only by the loss of beds but by an unrealistic safe travel time to available institutions.

The other way of reducing costs is of course the limiting of services either by making it more difficult for the patient to obtain or in the case of medications by substituting so-called equivalent drugs for the prescribed one. By equipment drugs I mean using an older or different chemical formulation for the prescribed medication. This is not substituting available generic medication for a proprietary drug.

The equivalent medication does not always mean it will have the same biochemical action the patient. Physicians have always had to tinker with different drugs to get the best patients affect. We are dealing with a living protoplasmic entity and not with a machine. No two individuals are exactly alike.

With generics there is another problem,; the chemical formulation may be the same as the brand name medication but the media which the chemical is held may alter effective delivery of the medication. A great example of this occurred years ago with two different proprietary brands of the generic drug levothyroxine. Both had the same chemical formula and contained exactly the same amount of medication, however the therapeutic effect was markedly different. It was impossible to switch from one drug to another.

In order to save money this problem with medication goes beyond what the insurance companies and the government will authorize to be paid . Hospitals have formularies in which they will only stock only certain drugs to limit expences. The medication a patient may have been on or one the physician has found most effective for that patient may not be available. Instead the hospital will offer a less costly for them substitute. Often the prescribing physician is not aware that the patient is not receiving ordered medication until he makes rounds. This is a failure should not occur but does. The right of the doctor to treat his patient is being compromised.

Physicians are no longer being practitioners of the art of medicine but have become pure and simple providers. "Provider" is a commercial designation for anyone or institution involved in health care, and is indicative of the change in the practice of medicine from individual patient care unto the inpersonal treatment of a "case".

There's also been another impact upon physician care beyond the many restrictions now in effect but the costs of operating an office have increased to a point where reduce reimbursement will not support that practice. The one or two person practice is now the equivalent of the dodo bird. The net result is group practice where the physician's income quite often depends on productivity. That can only be accomplished by longer hours and shorter time with patients.

This has been only a generalized overview of what I perceive to be the state into which health care has fallen. In subsequent posting house tried to go into specifics.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Whose Truce?

Plainfield's Saturday was a rapturous day of warmth and sunshine having been preceded by almost a week of clouds and rain and followed Sunday and perhaps the early part of this week with the same depressing weather. Elsewhere in the world there was another erupting volcano in Iceland and some of the most severe tornadoes ever in our mid-west states.

Locally there has been reflection and reassessment of the meaning of the "Gang Truce". The positives is that for a few months there should not be shootings in the 4th Ward. The negative is that our local authorities had nothing to do with this armistice. In fact they apparently became aware only after the newspapers had reported on the pancake celebration.

The Star Ledger's editorial columnists pointed out that the Mayor's "hugs and kisses" does not solve the problem. The gangs and drugs are still out on the streets. There is still an authority failure including the leadership in the police department, if rumors are true, that will prevent a permanent solution.

Renata Hernandez in her blog announced a May 28, 1pm meeting at PHS:" Next week a host of Plainfield residence (sic),both past and present, will come together to continue these PEACE efforts. I hope you will be there to lend your support, find out how you can help, and share ideas on how to develop recreational programming for our youth. The ultimate goal of this event is to help support the establishment of a Recreation Center for Plainfield Youth!"

I welcome any attempt to correct the problems facing Plainfield. The intentions of this "host" of unspecified individuals should not be disparaged. However, any major action should not be initiated or conducted by individuals outside of the City's Government. If the intent is to form a non-profit recreational facility that is fine. If it is to create a solution for the core social/economical problems that are the root of the gang problems, that should not be the province of an ad hoc public group.

The proper venue for action to solve the City's problems must be as part of the City's government. Administration should be the leader with the Council's support. Any solution will need dollar support and that has to come from taxes with hopefully grant support. That is why no self organized group can be the driving force.

If the Mayor is ever to show leadership she should appoint a sufficient diversified large, name it what you wish ,task force to devise a broad workable solution. I am sure that no community person without overwhelming personal issues irregardless of race, religion, economic status, age, or political affiliation would turn down a request to serve on such a body.

slight editorial change 10:20am

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Either Harold Camping once again was a false prophet or I and anyone reading this blog is doomed to the fires of hell forever. I do feel sad for 60 year old Richard Fitzpatrick who spent $140000.00 of his life savings for the signs warning everyone to be prepared.

There are many subjects that I could have posted an opine but instead I decided to add to Saturday's pleasant day with some covers from JAMA. Before I post them I shall call attentions to Renata's blog and the announcement of a meeting on May 28 at 1pm at PHS to plan on developing a recreation program for our youths. The goal is a needed recreational center..I am in favor of such an enterprise but regret my limited physical limitations.

If you click on the text below the pictures it will be open and can be enlarged to be readable



Friday, in a brief preliminaries post I wrote” The news today of the "Gang Truce" is a positive one as far as crime. We should thank administration for its role". 

Upon further reading both Courier and the Star-Ledger I learned that the “truth" seems to be that the two gangs decided on their own to initiate the peace gesture. I would surmise that both newspapers were notified that this meeting would take place by the participants themselves. According to the front page Ledger article the meeting with the mayor and City Hall was a complete surprise.

Be that as it may, for a time we should we should enjoy a period of relative peace and safety in the West End. We are told that over the years earlier "truces have lasted up to six months. Ironically this recalled that on May 9 in my blog I referred to Plainfield as Mogadishu*-sur-Greenbrook, . Mogadishu the capital of Somalia  at the time of the 1993 Clinton television invasion had become the side of gang warfare between various warlords and has remained a battleground. It has not been under a true government control since. 
That incident was the subject of Black Hawk Down

The anarchy that has prevailed in Mogadishu has in a microcosmic setting, been replicated  in miniature in Plainfield. Whether this truce is lasting or not will depend neither on our administration or police force but rather on the will of the various gangs and what we do to alter conditions.

Along those lines I commented in that previous blog “The important thing is if WE the City focus on remedial action to remove the causes and "needs" for gangs among the youth and young men of the city. WE have made suggestions in the past as have others". Perhaps we need a task force to oversee implementation of what is practical and can be accomplished as a short term start”.

The problem is obviously twofold: what we should do to occupy the school-aged teens, and secondly what we can do to turn our young adults away from unemployment to a productive life.

The after school hours and early evening hours must be filled with" social-recreational activities". This involves both sexes and should not be solely focused on athletics although they are most important for those so inclined. But there has be others; clubs and groups activities offered in those hours. All of these will require facilities which are available in many institutions in the community including the school system, the churches, and of course the "Y"s. 

Rahway found an answer in its Recreational facility. An ignored recomendation in the recent "planning study for Plainfield" was the building of such a structure on the old Wood's Factory site-Grant Ave. and South Second.  If the West End RR station was reactivated there ity could be a start in a revitalized community.

The function of the Task Force would be to persuade all possible elements to provide and support all these activities irregardless of the affiliation the participants or the institutions. The city does not have funding for these operations however could be hoped that the fiscal support would come from volunteerism of time and money.

Much more difficult would be occupying the minds of the unemployed youths. What I suggest may not be practical but again perhaps the task force   would  include a" grants man" who would be savvy enough to secure a sponsor for a demonstration project which could be similar to the 1930s depression CCC. This group will be charged rebuilding and restoring the city’s infrastructure including roads, building repairs and learning by work tradesmanships that would be applicable to our industrial world. Our system has failed them in providing skills for today's world.

I don't know if this is practical, it may be just a pie-in-the-sky suggestion but I think it could offer a possibility that would be beneficial to all and if presented properly I am sure that a Foundation could be found willing to invest in such a project. I am also sure that there are enough skilled discipline citizens in this city who would be committed to make such projects workable. 

We lose nothing by trying. It is up to our political leadership to collaborate and work to make this possible

*the Capital of Somalia

Friday, May 20, 2011


Uncontrollable circumstances has prevented me from posting my blog the past two days. Hope to be on line  in tomorrow AM.

The news today of the "Gang Truth" is a positive one as far as crime. We should thank administration for its role. The important thing is if  WE the City focus on remedial action to remove the causes and "needs" for gangs among the youth and young men of the city. WE have made suggestions in the pat as have others. Perhaps we need a task force to oversee implementation of what is practical and can be accomplished as a short term start.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


In my haste to post today I forgot to report that  the last "Public commentator" gave a most powerful defense against the charges of  gang activities and other unsafe conditions at Hubbard Middle School where she has served as  a teacher for  over 40 years.

She attributed the "safe" conditions and discipline  within that school  to the strong leadership  of its Principal plus enforcement of a "dress code".  As usual for outsiders Guilt by association is the norm. Such a positive report by an insider should be the basis of PR and reinforced by positive action by the  BOE and system. Perhaps then the enrollment in  that middle school would not be dropping. Its educational failures may not be intrinsic to the building itself but as a result of the foundation created in the  K-5  basis.

The Cook school crisis once again seems to be the result of inherited poor planning by a previous administration who disregarded  capacity projections. The Cook school K-8 project was doomed before it started without spacial relief at the K-5 level. Once again the BOE apparently had failed to do its homework before approval.

It has been called to my attention that  I wrongly identified the High School student's poorly attended play as the " Deputy" when it was  the  "Doubt". . I know little about this production except it too has to do with questions  of  individual and/or group persecution through focused prejudices in the "Church" .

"Doubt" too has a message that seems to  have not been understood by some members of the audience. I would also still recommend the "Deputy" to anyone with an open mind.

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog will know that I readily admit that I am not infallible and do apologize for errors. I have yet to have found one instance of humility in the writings of a certain community leader.


I went to the Board of Education this meeting Tuesday night prepared to ask a few questions. However, I decided that other people and speakers had more important questions regarding to urgent, items. Therefore even though there were a few minutes left at the end of the allotted hour I felt that my concerns could be answered via the blogs.

Indeed most of the comments from the floor were of ones of two subjects.The first had to do with the status of the principal of Washington community school. Various teachers, most of them had been there for at least 10 years, were protesting a yet unannounced plan to replace the present principal.  Besides praising  their principal, they noted that in 10 years there have been five different individuals serve in that role. I there was no comment on this subject at  the meeting by the interim superintendent.

With the repetitive short-term tenured administrative leadership in the school there can be no cohesive plan from year to year. This is a complaint that reverberates throughout the system. This is why the system is dysfunctional.

The other subject was broached by individuals who have children or grandchildren attending Cook school. Apparently, due to space constraints, the PSS has decided to abort implementation of the K-8 plan for school.. It seems that the parents of children who would be in the 7&8 grades feel that they were not given enough time to absorb the planned changes. It is too late this year to find places for their children in a parochial,  private or charter school for 2011-12.

These individuals pleaded with the Board of Education to find a way to keep the 6/8 grades functioning for this coming year. There will be on Thursday night  at the High School meetings with the parents and other interested parties of the children that attend.Cook School at 6:30 and a followup one to explain the proposed  "restructuring" of the Middle schools.

Since the two items relating to the Middle Schools  had been withdrawn I  did leave the session shortly after the last public speaker. Unasked was several questions brought up by this past weeks revelation of a fraud against the system as well as others in the state by a company "Circle" that reconditions athletic equipment.

Unlike the City which has had no organized  fiscal controls for the past six years, the PSS has seemed well structured. But this incident raised the following;
  1. When did the system become aware of the fraud?
  2. Have there been other similar incidents?
  3. Have the fiscal controls been reevaluated to prevent a reoccurrence?
  4. Is there a policy regarding acceptance of gifts? If so what is it?
  5. What remedial action was taken against the official involved?
I do not request names but these questions involved the public's right to know and none should be hidden under a false cloak of personal privacy or institutional secrecy.

Monday, May 16, 2011


After a two-day diversion into" an appreciation of art" is now time to get back to the more mundane things in life. Over the weekend and Monday three bloggers two whom are educators and one newcomer wrote articles concerning their opinion of the state of education the Plainfield school system.

A fourth blogger, Maria Pellum, who is become the local informative and critic of the misadventures of our local public school system and its Board of Education, in an exposé on the restructuring of the middle schools posted apparently the latest reports that she could get: State Board of Education reports on each of  the middle schools  restructuring program dated 2008(?).

There is a consensus that something is drastically wrong with how we are spending our money for the product we are producing. It is obvious that just as the municipal government is dysfunctional, the public school system continue to be floundering in a morass of inconsistent direction.

To add to the mix, the president of the Board of Education in her personal blog in her unique “Rasamantic” English chose to take all the other bloggers to task for not promoting a student play in the high school. Although she is not writing as a president of the Board of Education, her blog and commentary in another blog shows contempt for those who do not completely agree with her.

With the other writers, especially the two who obviously are members of the system, posting that not only is there no sustained curriculum direction but Instead emphasis seems to be on sports with little appreciation of innovative scholastic efforts. Moreover there seems to be a lack of communication at all levels between administrators and teachers. The robotics team bus fiasco is an example.

Tonight at the BOE business meeting one of the subjects for approval is another restructuring of the middle schools. The reports that Maria made available in her blog indicates that no progress for correction of previously no problems had occurred. Both reports indicate a lack of communication and direction between administrators at the district level and the unit level has contributed to the fact that the school system is a complete failure in educating the communities children. 

 Thursday night at the High School there will be a public meeting on the "restructuring".  click  If weather permits I shall attend Tuesday night's meeting.  Unfortunately Thursday's starts during dinner hour.

Kenneth Schuman raises once again the question of whether the charter schools are or have been an acceptable substitute for the public school system he's airing results or in costs. But it is the charter schools do not make up for the drop in enrollment in the middle schools.
The tragedy is that parents who wish to give their children a quality education have to go out of the system to either one of the area private schools or hope that the charter school will provide the education desired. To date except possibly for one there has been no new evidence that the chartered are providing an improved education to justify their costs in the city
To be continued.
As I write this Sunday evening I am only aware of two serious crimes this weekend; A Hispanic male beaten and robbed by a reported gang of 15 African-American youths early Saturday and a dead body found Sunday morning. Both episodes happened north of the railroad tracks on West Front St. area.

Plainfield's violent crime rate must be the highest of any New Jersey community. Yet, we are not told what new counter-crime efforts are being used. One can not expect any economic development to be meaningful under the present circumstances.

While we wait for more info, here is the final 3 of my JAMA people covers;

The first one Tamana Squaw and Dog (1939) an Alaskan native painted by Eustace Paul Ziegler (1881-1969) an ordained Episcopalian Priest who spent years in Cordova Alaska a typical frontier town of the wild west character.

Years ago, long beyond recall, my wife and I took our grand daughter to see the original production of Sunday in the Park with George staring Bernadette Peters. There was a recent revival a few years ago which my son saw. The musical was based on a painting "La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat (1859-1891)click This painting "The Gardner"(1882) was one of some 38 preliminary paintings in oil he made to study light and color effects for his masterpiece.

The final cover in this group is a Self Portrait (1898) by an American painter; Abbott Henderson Thayer (1849-1921) a naturalist who study wildlife camouflage coloration. He too suffered from depression

As I noted previously , further information about the artists can be found in Wikipedia, There is a link to click on for Seurat to the articled in JAMA which can be enlarged by clicking on it

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I have been wanting to do a change of pace for a while and since the political scene in Plainfield has been relatively quiet lately I am posting three JAMA "portrait" covers.

JAMA is the weekly Journal of the American Medical Association and for years it has featured the works of various artists of different disciplines and ages on its covers. There is an explanation page included but to copy as a photo the print is too small to post on the blog.

I have chosen three portraits, the first one "The Young Woman of Albano" ( L'Albanaise) was painted in 1872 by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875) A Frenchman in Albano Italy.

The second portrait was painted in 1884 by Ilya Efmovich Repin (1844-1930) a Russian. The subject is his 29 year old friend Vsevoled Mikhaiovitch Garshin an author who suffered from depression and 4 years after this portrait committed suicide by jumping from his 5th floor apartment..
The third "portrait" by Miguel Mateo Maldonato y Cabrero (1695-1768) in 1750 was not painted from life . The subject Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz lived in the 17th Century. She was an avid reader and by the age of 16 was proficient in Latin, Greek, and arithmetic. The University was only open to males but the Marquesa of Mancera the wife of the Viceroy of New Spain (Mexico) took fancy to her and became her patron, tutor and friend. She left the 'Court life to join the Convent of the Order of San Jeromino.

There she was permitted to write for publication and wrote on "women's right for education", the "double standard" and other controversial subjects years before their times. In 1690 the Bishop of Puebla "suggested" that she abandon her secular writings and concentrated on religious issues. In 1694 she signed a a statement of contrition and died of an epidemic that swept through the Convent in 1695 killing most of the sisters.

Additional information on the artists and their subjects can be found in Wikipedia.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Friday the 13th. If I were superstitious that would be the excuse for (1) the blogger network being down and (2) a Trojan Horse- Vista Total Security- trying to take over  the computer. Actually the 13th had nothing to do with the  blog problems which started perhaps on Wednesday but on Thursday became a system wide catastrophe.

There is one lesson that must be constantly relearned; no electronic data system is fool proof no matter what its pluggers say. To rely solely on a "cloud backup" which our IT savants  champion is dangerous. Important  documents and records  should still have a hard backup using either  a hard drive or solid state server. Also using a cloud record repository could be a double safety feature. Our IT must seriously give this consideration when installing  the systems.

As to the Trojan Horse which masks as a legitimate anti malware program but prevents the use of the computer until the program is purchased I have no idea where it came from as I do not open attachments or email from unknown sources. I had a similar infection last year when I opened a  "so and so " wants to be your friend. Sounded innocuous but it took me over  a day to find a method to save my hard drive.

I can only think that perhaps a google search to try to locate a certain individual was the culprit. Since this "virus" prevents  the running of  your embedded anti malware program.its removal is difficult. It would pay to have downloaded a free anti-malware program - Malwarebytes.  The invader  blocks it under normal circumstances, but shut off the computer, the restart in SAFE MODE.You then will be able to run Mawarebytes . It is faster than any other program  and will completely remove on request the offending program. It is best to rerun Malwarebytes at least once more since occasionally there will be part of the virus that was hidden but now is vulnerable.

Now to blog stuff; How many notice the 5 1/2 pages of of delinquent taxes in Wednesday's Courier. At least 95%  were only for the Sewer portion of the PMUA bill. Although those charges are not a tax the City will place a lien on them for the PMUA. It would be informative if the total amount owed for the sewer charges were stated.   Since they are being treated like a tax we the property owners should have the benefit of including these charges as a tax deductible charge. The numbers suggest that at least this portion of the PMUA activity be restored as a tax item.

The other newsworthy item was Thursday with with the indictment of two principles of a  Athletic equipment  restoration firm for criminal billing practices. In the article it was noted that an official in the Plainfield School System had received  a new set of golf clubs (and bag?) from this company. The city may have been billed for work that was not done.

At this point in time the BOE is right in not releasing any information about the person involved. The name should be an internal matter until some remedial action is finished. However  I believe that the BOE  whether the individual (not by name or job description)  is still employed in the school system.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Sorry but  server was down since yesterday. I will post tomorrow.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


The 4th was the best. Fitting the last COUNCIL TOWN MEETING held in the 4th Ward was the best. It was well attended, all the Councilors were there plus Freeholder Carter as a visitor. The multiple use "Auditorium" is the most attractive in the City. If it is an example of the entire reconstructed Clinton School the City has a facility it should be proud of. This  incarnation of the Clinton School is far different than the one my oldest daughter attended after Irving School was demolished.

As expected the majority of residents expressed their concerns about the rampant gun fire and gang activities that have turned this ward into Plainfield's equivalent of the sectarian wars of Baghdad.

Police Sargent Reid(?)  in charge of the "Street Crime & Gang  Force" spent time explaining his unit's activities. He emphasized that he was available himself by cell phone 24/7 but that a 911 call with particulars would bring a prompt response.

He focused on the fact that it is a joint responsibility of  the public and police to combat this plague. Prompt reporting by  residents about any activity or suspicious action giving as much information as possible is the keystone. The caller can request anonymity and asked that no police come to their residence.  This is to negate the fear of gang reprisal.

From the discussions it is apparent that the "Shot Spotter" under any program is only a tool and at best, no better than a prompt and informative phone call. I am convinced that if that money exists it would be better spent on increasing police personnel  and presence.

Other speakers pointed out the overwhelming need to offer activities to the youth and efforts to reduce the unemployment rate in the teen-young adult age groups.

There was not one mention  of the PMUA except as a second chance employer, or the potholes. This was for the most part the  4th ward speaking.


In today's CN/SPIVEy blog there is posted an article about a free job fair 5/20/11 at Union County College.http://plainfield.injersey.com/
The fair is set for 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday, May 20 in the Union County College Campus Center Atrium, 1000 Springfield Ave., Cranford. Pre-registration is required and can be accomplished online at https://lwd.state.nj.us/formsapp/form/82 or by calling Stephanie Proveaux at 732-745-3006. Participants are being asked to bring a copy of pre-registration confirmation and numerous resumes, and reminded to dress for success.

Would it not be a great service for  Plainfielders who do not have transportation to run a bus to there as an accommodation. Perhaps a School Bus or  the Senior Citizen Bus could be spared or one of the School contractors could  be asked to donate one. Otherwise I am certain that the Council would retgrogradedly approve the hiring of such a  bus

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


For a change I am taking a short sabbatical from reports relating to Monday night's Council meeting. Since this was written Wednesday night,  I shall later today comment on Wednesday's 4th Ward's Town Hall meeting,

It is my policy and I believe that of the three or four agenda-less bloggers to post all comments we receive , complimentary or derogatory, unless they exceed limits of decency.  I was going to use the term "unbiased bloggers" but I am sure some will question that and perhaps with reason since even we bloggers are human, However, I can assure my readers that I try not to slant any of my posts by the use of selected material that would make one side look better than the other,

With that in mind I am going to reprint the first part of a comment posted in Tuesday's blog from an anonymous reader who apparently sent a similar document to Plainfield Today.  :" I just find it so hard to believe that you have to always bash the Mayor of this great city of Plainfield. When are you going to get out there and help with the real issues in Plainfield and that is the CRIME"

If I am "always bashing  the Mayor"  perhaps it is because she merits  negativity. We have  had 6 years of  an administration that has felt it advantageous to leave critical administrative positions  vacant. A Mayor who has prolonged Commissioners terms in office  by not recommending the for another term or proposing their successors. An administration that has more than once openly defended employees defying Council's requests for an appearance. An administration that has never reached out to the Council except in a autocratic manner. 

I f that anonymous person would go back over the few years of my blog or attended Council meetings he/she would  no know that I have not spared the Council and various individual members from criticism whether it be due to its action or more likely inaction. I still feel that the present one monthly business meeting is not conducive to the best governance in Plainfield.

Anonymous, "CRIME" is only one of the major issues in Plainfield, however in the 4th Ward it has created a state of anarchy. There are so many others  especially economic ones with probably not the best expenditures of our tax dollars. The firing of the Police Chief Santiago several years ago not only eliminated   a Hispanic from an most important Community post but left an ethnic group without a voice in Plainfield's government.


We have already reported on the Monarch Bond release resolution. During that discussion it  was reported that 38 units are occupied and are being assessed at full value. The unfinished have been given an assessed valuation  OF of 50% of a completed unit. The tax assessor was going to visit the building and determine if those units are complete enough except for cosmetic changes that they can be  taxed at full value.  We were not informed if the developer was current on his  tax debt.

It was  the PMUA Task Force  that brought forth a bitter debate. That resolution would have a Task force consisting of 1 civilian member nominated by each Councillor presumably from the Councilor's Ward(s).  Councilor Reid after seconding the resolution began a long discourse why he was going to vote against the Resolution.  He noted that it has been two years since Commissioner Green died and that seat still had not been filled. and that there were also two seats that are being occupied by rollover members. He remarked that  in  an informal search he could not get any 1st Ward resident to be willing serve. The 1st Warders like the PMUA services.

Councilor Rivers in announcing that  she to would vote "no".  She descried the Council's rejection of two of the nominees the Mayor had submitted  and suggested that the Councillors  should have submitted names for the Mayor's consideration. She also found fault with a proposal that the Mayor appoint a member to the Task Force and the Council President a second member making the number  as 9. as a political ploy to be sure the New Democrats would have a majority. Rivers now had interjected openly a political  motive for her vote.

When Council President McWilliams reminded Rivers that at the Agenda Session,  the suggestion of an Administration appointee had been raised by the Mayor herself and when in order to have an odd number of voters so that action could be stymied by a tied vote, the Mayor withdrew her request.

Rivers repeated her position  that the Council and Administration should work together. I believe that I can say without any contradiction since the Councilor does not read my blog, that Rivers'  interpretation of working together is not to disagree with the Mayor's selections and/or actions.

Councilor Greaves emerging from her "insignificant" shell complained that all the Council does is talk and talk and nothing gets done She ignores the fact that when the Council by majority vote proposes some action which the Mayor vetoes, she is one of  the block of 3 that makes it impossible to override the veto.. She further remarked that meetings that lasted to midnight or 1 or 2 o'clock were an outrage. This brought a retort from the Council President that meetings are part of the process, if you don't like it you are in the wrong position..

At the end  of the Councils business session the Corporation  Counsel  submitted two requests from the Mayor for the Councils approval, One the Armory "purchase" we have previously discussed, the other was for a transfer of  "unused" funds of  $471,000.00  from one set of line items  to other lines. The Council refused to consider this, which they had seen for the first time at the meeting. Members including Reid complained about the CFO not being available at Council Meetings. The Director of Finance and Administration had left by that time and there was no one to  explain the desired transfers.

It was also felt that the CFO should be present at Mr. Mapp's Administration and Finance Committee meeting. There would probably need to be some adjustment as to time to accommodate every one.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Despite the  relative brief Council meeting Monday night there was enough action to provide material for more than one blog posting.

Flor Gonzalez was honored by a Council Resolution for her role in the arresting a former Salvation Army Captain pastor and his wife  for swindling  immigrant Hispanics. Councilman Mapp also read a letter form Governor Christie's wife announcing that Ms Gonzales has been named a Mew Jersey Hero upon nomination by the Union County Human Relations Commission. That is an honor well deserved by a too often maligned champion for Plainfield's true minority, the immigrant Hispanics.

The Mayor took advantage of a privilege granted her prior to Council Business to announce that she was stepping down as Acting City Administrator a role which she acknowledge was assumed on an emergency basis. Once again we have a patchwork solution while we hope that there is an active search for a permanent City Administrator.  Since this is an important position for City functioning, the status of the search could have  also been communicated t o the Council.

The Mayor also requested that the Council act on a to be submitted Resolution approving  a $1.00 deal transferring the Armory to the City. That there was a deadline to the State's offer and that the Mayor had some undisclosed   prospects for use of the  building. There is a caveat that was not clear concerning the costs of the building maintenance which a figure of $6,000.00 was mentioned at one point. It was called to my attention that this item was introduced by Corporation Counsel Williamson as the Mayor's spokesperson at the end of the meeting.1pm

The Mayor also reported that the "Shot spotter" vendor had  offered a  1year lease instead of the 1 million dollar purchase program. There  is also available a 3 year lease.  AS previously reported this technology can give instant location of a shot being fired and facilitate an immediate police response; provided that there is available resources.

This program may be presented also at the June Agenda session an  at that price may be well worth exploring.

Councilor Reid read a letter from the Director of Legislative Services Brogan in response to his last months letter regarding the poor conditions at JFK's  ER facility. The Director noted that the State had found no deficiencies  at JFK but would monitor the situation  and that this question had not been made at the regional advisory committee's meetings. The mayor noted that no State representative have attended the last few meetings.  In other words, Even if the State Standards for health care are not being met the State will not intercede. The Director's letter stated that the State had no input into replacing the closed facility.

Next we will get back to Council action and one episode of  expressive debate., regarding the PMUA Task Force. which was passed as predicted by a strict "new/regular(?)" vote; 4:3

First Report Council Meeting

First the good news: the Council meeting was over  by 10:30.

Next, the bad news; Councilwoman Rivers doses 't  read my blog , or even  Dan Damons or perhaps Tony Rucker's. Well she did not exactly say that  but for what it is worth, she announced that the only blog she reads is  PlaintalkerII. Congratulations Bernice.

Now even better good news; the Mayor announced that starting Wednesday David Kochel  of Jersey Professional Management will assume the Acting City Manager's role. He has had extensive experience in similar positions  both in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He can fill that  position for the next 90 days and by that time  it is possible a full time  City Administrator can be found.

As expected the Resolution establishing a PMUA task force was approved by the 4:3 vote. There was no  except  opposition to any of the other Resolutions  except a single no vote against the release of the performance bond for the Monarch's exterior appearance.

Later today, probably early afternoon, I shall post more comments  regarding this meeting and the PMUA Task Force Resolution.

Monday, May 9, 2011


The Council's Agenda suggest that this will be a relatively short meeting.R142-11 the PMUA Task Force may be a cause for discussion, more likely in the public comment period before the Resolutions are up for vote. It should pas 4:3 and since the Councilors are to select the membership -one by each councilor it will not be subject to Mayoral harassment.

This has been a bad week as far as guns are concerned in Mogadishu-sur-Greenbrook*.  As I write this I am unaware of any Mother's Day disturbance. I will not be sure until I have read the morning blogs. A very radical thought: Identify all known residences of known or suspected gang members. Get search warrants and use National Guard as well as local and county police agents to sweep the contaminated areas or the entire city if need be.Any one with guns should be awarded the full benefit of the law.

I am sure that there will be representatives from the 4th ward again addressing the Council  about the gang problems in that Ward. It certainly will be the  #1 topic of the next Town Meeting at the Clinton School.

In another world, I have as yet to opine as to my 2011 take on  the Health Care Reformation impact on the near future impact on the "Consumer";you the patient. WE in Plainfield have already been the victims of  the dollar motor on the availability of care, rather than the justified need with the closing of MRMC and the inevitable closing of the mandated residual ER in 2013.

I have written before about the "ER" Electronic Records an Egg Head's solution for better health care. The one spot available record can be a boon in treating a patient. It's benefits  to a new "provider" seeing a "consumer" for the first time is invaluable. However there can be no 100%  assurance that the data in the record is accurate. The old adage"garbage in, garbage out"  can be true here especially if much of the record is check list data. Also despite assurances there is no guarantee  that someone will not be able to hack into the records, or that they will be immune to legitimate or punitive government search. They represent one more step in the loss of privacy.

Non the less they are coming and  as I have noted bonuses are being given to practices that convert to ERs and penalties in the next 3 years will be imposed on those that don't. This is a summary: "In February 2009, Congress passed landmark legislation as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, authorizing the federal expenditure of an estimated $27 billion in incentive payments to clinicians and hospitals over a 10-year period to support clinicians and hospitals in the implementation and use of electronic health records (EHRs). The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provides an unprecedented opportunity to participate in a program that offers incentive payments for implementation and adoption of the EHR. The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals as they adopt, implement, upgrade, or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Registration for participation began on January 3, 2011. EPs can receive up to $44,000 over 5 years under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, and there's an additional incentive for EPs who provide services in a Health Professional Shortage Area. The Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is voluntarily offered by individual states and territories and may begin as early as 2011, depending on the state. EPs can receive up to $63,750 over the 6 years that they choose to participate in the EHR Incentive Program."

* Mogadishu is/was the capital of Somalia which was the site of the 1993 Clinton Television production, the invasion of Somalia to restore order, memorialized in the Movie "Black Hawk Down".

Sunday, May 8, 2011

agenda potpourri

To all you MOTHERS out there in cyberspace; Have a great Mother's Day

 Today I had planned to dedicate my blog to an in depth analysis of  Monday's Council Agenda.After reviewing the material in the library I could find nothing to add to yesterday's blog. However there are still some unanswered questions  of "why".

Why did the review board (2 people; the "City Engineer' who supposedly drew up the specifications and the City's Purchasing Agent) award the South Ave. Contract in the  first place to a bidder who did not plan to meet the specifications?  Who called the "City Engineer's" attention to the deficiency? If the next lowest bidder was not eligible because the plan to use the same non-compliance subcontractor, why was the contract not awarded to the next lowest bidder who was only $612.80 greater than #2?  The other bidders were out of line but the  lowest 3 were: $, $1,098.000.00, and $1,098,612.80. 

Obviously they all were in the same range, so we should know why #3 was not accepted. Are the specs for the new request for bids being changed? If so why?

My other concern is why in two months times there have been submitted appointments to two entities that have not been vital enough to have been in existence to the cities operations for more than  a decade ( that is for 10 years sir), whereas we do not fill important administrative positions for months, even years? Why can no nominees for Authorities such as the PMUA that can be  meet the Council's "Consent and Agreement" criteria be submitted?

Friday, Dan referred to Councillor  Greaves as a "quiet and insignificant person". Some have taken it as an insult. It certainly was not complimentary but on reflection factual. In 2009 Vera Greaves ran unsuccessfully on the party line in the primary for the 4th ward seat. Councillor Greaves is now beginning her fifth month on the Council. She apparently believes in the old adage that the "youngest" should be seen, not heard"  since I can not remember her participating in any meeting debate. Her presence is the antithesis of Councillor Rivers  who has no reluctance in speaking up.  She seems not to have filed any of her Council Committee's reports as requested. Somehow she carries an aura of being bewildered by her duties. .

Why does the City's electorate tolerate a Municipal Government and in the past a BOE  whose hallmark is incompetency? Without a recall petition which I believe is an impossibility we are committed to the present administration for another 2 years.

Three wards do have an opportunity in June's primary to in effect fill 2 of the 7 Council seats. There are incumbent and a challenger running for each of them. I presume that the next four weeks will  be one of a heated campaign. Every eligible vote r should go to the polls and cast there vote not by the candidate's label but for the one that will be best for the city.

Friday, May 6, 2011


A quick first look at the agenda for the Council Meeting shows four Resolutions that were not discussed in detail at the agenda session last Monday night.There are also two new items of non critical significance to be voted on. Some of interest are:

R141-11 Is the certification by Councillors that they have read the 2010 Audit report.This was summarized in the Council's Administration and Finance Committee report. With a part time CFO aboard despite the lack of a qualified City Administrator perhaps in  2011/12 for once the deficiencies repeatedly reported will be corrected.

R142-11 A resolution  creating a task force to make recommendations about the PMUA. This is to be a group with non-binding powers. It will pass by a 4:3 vote.

R143-11 Requesting Administration to take all appropriate steps to relinquish responsibility for maintenance of  State Highway Rt 28. Long over due but no one seems to have found the papers relating to why the city is responsible.

R144-11 Appointment of India Cole as Deputy City Clerk. A necessity, that office is overwhelmed with work and severely understaffed. It has been one of the  hardest hit  offices  by the last two years work force reductions. I believe this represents the transfer of an employee from one division so there will b e no major impact on the budget.

R145-11 Creating "THE PLAINFIELD HEALTH ADVISORY CONSORTIUM". This has not been functional for at least 14 years but the City Health officer says it is a State requirement. I am unclear of ts functions and puzzled why there are only 4 nominees when the City Code calls for 7 individuals. Also it calls for a physician member presumably a Plainfield resident or practitioner, yet the nominee has a "clinic"in Scotch Plains,  is affiliated with Overlook and was never part of the MRMC family. There are still doctors who have a practice in the city, were any ever contacted  for the post ?

R166-11 Authorizing rejection of all bids for the South Ave. reconstruction. The contract was to have been awarded to the low bidder when it was discovered that a subcontractor that he and the next low bidder was going to use was not able to comply with the contract specifications.

I expect to have an opportunity to read the wording of the various Resolutions either Saturday or Sunday am at the Library. After that I shall be more informed to post some comments.


No cerebral epistle today, just some little "this a and that a" thus Potpourri.

Question, why is it that as  the oil futures price rises the same day or the next day the gas pump price goes up, but if the  barrel future price drops it is days before  the pump price reflects the change.

This is a case where blame for profiteering can be placed on the small guy, not the big producers. The station operator pays a set price when he receives  his supply. One gallon of gas  has cost him the same  until his next replenishment, therefore if he is raising his pump price daily or even more frequently  as has been publicized, it is obvious that he is profiteering. The turnpike Authority  got it right by limiting changes in pump prices to once a week.

TAP sent me a comment that I found amusing and also factual. Unfortunately he wrote it as a comment to Wednesday's BOE blog and I feel that it should have better exposure.
 "The move on Bin Laden was strategically timed by the President. Osama's compound had been under surveillance for months and once it looked as though the royal wedding coverage was going to continue unabated, the order was issued to get Bin Laden! This saved us all from British Royalty once again! "(TAP)

At the Town Hall meetings one of the three most frequent public complaints was related to the City's Potholes. The other two were of course Crime and the PMUA.

I use Leland Ave daily and for a month have noticed a tire buster in the northbound lane before reaching Cook School, and  an axle breaker between 7th and South Ave..There are also some small ones that will grow if left alone. It is obvious that no one including myself has reported them to Public Works.

I find it disturbing that no advantage is taken of the fact that the Police do patrol the City's streets. Why can the patrol officer report pothole when they see them? How much has pothole litigation cost the City?

Long ago perhaps on  Facebook I mentioned that "Lilac Time" was my favorite movie. I could not remember why since I was 8 or 9 when it played in Plainfield. Obviously it was a silent picture that was produced when WW1 Airplane  war sagas was the object of the moment. I remembered very little about it, and perhaps my high opinion was a reaction of negativism for the popular favorite; "Hells Angels".

Last night I spent watching a DVD of the movie which my son had located and sent to me. When it was over I decided I didn't know why it had made such an impression. There was only one not well done  "Dog Fight" scene and the picture was really a love story tear jerker. ; boy and girl meet and don't like each other,boy and girl fall in love, boy flies of to battle, boy gets shot down and crashes before girls eyes, Girl stops ambulances and he is taken to an unknown hospital, girl looks for him and finally finds  where is is only to be told he died that morning, as girl is sadly walking away she discovers he is still alive  and they are reunited. At least a better ending then "Love Story". There is one "chase scene" where she is in  the cockpit of his plane when it is started and she goes tearing around the field 

That is why this is Potpourri today. Tonight I should have the agenda for Monday's Council meeting.

One final irrelevant thing. There is an old Scotch saying and lyrics to a song going back to the clan days; "The Campbells are coming", so in honor of the BOE slate victors; one of the songs:
(Lyrics by Anonymous)
The Campbells are comin, Hurrah! Hurrah!
The Campbells are comin, Hurrah! Hurrah!
The Campbells are comin to bonnie Lochleven
The Campbells are comin, Hurrah! Hurrah!
Upon the Lomonds I lay, I lay
Upon the Lomonds I lay, I lay
I looked down to bonnie Lochleven
And saw three bonnie perches play.
Great Argyle he goes before
He maks his cannons and guns to roar
Wi' sound o trumpet, pipe and drum
The Campbells are comin Hurrah! Hurrah!
The Campbells they are a'in arms
Their loyal faith and truth to show
Wi' banners rattling in the wind
The Campbells are comin Hurrah! Hurrah!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


No Plainfield Council posting, no Plainfield BOE posting, indeed nothing controversial in today's post. Well "sort of" without controversy. in my opinion although I am sure that there are a substantial number of citizens that will find fault.

I am writing about this week's big news; the finding and  killing of Osama bin Laden. Even in  this country there will be a substantial number who will claim that this country is guilty of murder because a SEAL shot and killed an unarmed defenceless man in his home.

Instead, we should have read him his Miranda rights  and brought him here for a trial to establish guilt. And if we found him guilty there are those who oppose the death penalty.

What nonsense, were the 3000 innocent victims of 9/11 going about their normal daily activities when the planes hit the Twin Towers or the Pentagon g or crashed in the field in Pennsylvania given the opportunity to protect their lives? Did not that man brag about having initiated the plans that led t o the tragic  results? His Guilty was established by himself without any interrogation.

Some will point to the Nuremberg Trials where the surviving Nazi Leadership was given the opportunity to defend themselves against charges of "Crimes against Humanity". That was different in that there had been no precedent against punishing the leadership of a sovereign state for the indiscriminate  killing of millions of innocent people. And since then there have been trials and convictions of other government leaders who have made a policy of Genocide. Unfortunately there have been many the Western World  ignored because the victims skin was not white.

Osama bin Laden had convicted himself and there  was no alternate penalty other than death. Aside from the extreme cost of  even a show trial, plus  protecting him from some who would take justice in their own hands, and in addition protecting places and people from  attempts to free him, could we justify prolonging the life of this murderer? The answer  is NO.

There are those who will disregard the amazing episode that led to his death and the recovery of material that may prevent further terrorist attacks worldwide. Instead, they will criticise our government for its intrusion into the territory of a sovereign state. Forget that it is virtually impossible for that man to be hiding in a country without the knowledge or assistance of individuals in  import high government posts.

There are others who have condemned  American Leadership for what is termed inhuman methods of interrogation.They may be right when in comes to electric shock ti the testicles, pulling off fingernails or amputation of body parts or whipping etc. But without the use of psychological methods that leave no visible physical harm we would never have found the leads that led to his hideout. No plain verbal interrogation who have exposed the leads that we needed.

We concur that psychological methods are inhumane and may lead to permanent mental damage, but they are not as damaging as the physical methods designed to produce unbearable pain and get a  confession from even the innocent.

We maintain that when the safety of our citizens is at stake the  end can justify the means.What we must guard against is their use for political purposes and to destroy the rights  of citizens whose sole crime may be opposition of those who would destroy our democracy,  flawed as it may be.

There are those who question  President Obama's  decision not to publish photos of Obama's head to prove it was he. Those individuals would have lived happily  in ages from the beginning of time  through at least the 18th Century when it was a custom  to cut of the "criminal's" head and display it on a pike. They are sadists.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

BOE #2

 The Reorganization meeting is an action taking meeting. There were several book keeping items that usually pass on a single vote as part of the Consent Agenda which by definition is not subject to discussion or remarks. By the customary Parliamentary Procedures once remarks are made about any item of business by members of the voting body ,or where the public is permitted to comment by a speaker  it has to be removed from the Consent Agenda and voted  separately.

As I have remarked the BOE marches by a different drummer when it comes to voting procedures. Does  the BOE have a printed rules of order pertaining to meetings and if so should it posted  in the meeting call to avoid confusion. If it does  then the way they treat the Consent Agenda can be considered proper.

Ms Barksdale voted yes for the Constant Agenda with "the exception of  Resolution H which is the Designation of an Official Publication. She felt that it should be delayed for  investigation of other media as the possible source for notices. Once again the organizations procedural rules should reflect the process. Ms. Barksdale did not suggest what alternate route for the Public Notices she was considering. She did however make some remark about revisiting the subject at the monthly business meeting.

Council President Hernandez  request the entire Board to read Resolution X out load. This Resolution was the adoption of  a Code of Ethics for the Board.  Mr Abdul-Haqq's body language suggest that he was bored by the  matter. and sat placidly while the members were reciting.

During the Public Comment period several school teachers appealed that the  terminating of Language teachers in  the elementary schools be reconsider, Resident Maria Pellum at the Microphone began her remarks in Spanish. I am sure that 99 % of the audience and 100%  at the Head Table did not understand her but she  had made a point about the importance of teaching at least Spanish  in the elementary level.

It  was during the Public comment period which focused on the "layoffs" some one  at the Head Table remarked that the speakers must have knowledge of something that the Board did not ,since the Board had had no discussion of that issue. This was addressed in Resolution Y "Reduction in Force"  the subject of the prolong  closed "Executive Session" which interrupted the Public meeting at 9 pm for at least an hour "or more". Read Maria's Blog.

 Mrs. Pellum  presented most of her questions to the Board a copy can be found here (questions.)..The Board did not seem interested in replying but the Interim-Superintendent Bellin-Pyles said that question of "staff review" fell under the  personnel matters  mantra and could only be discussed in closed session.

Since the Question was on a General Subject One and not related to any individual the answer about closed session was wrong and suggested by inference that the reviews had not taken place. So much for transparency.

Once more I will reiterate that I believe that this Board under its focused President Hernandez will be a positive force in revivmg the PSS. I am sure that it  will get its priorities right and set policy that will lead to a better student . This board will understand that the Superintendent, and the Board Secretary work for them in their role as fiduciaries for the public, not the other way. They must rely on those individual for advice as well as cumming up with a long term  plan..


First and briefly some more about Monday night's Council session:  The question of responsibility for  South Ave was again raised and a Resolution was proposed that the City request the State to assume responsibility. This will be voted on next Monday. The bids for the resurfacing were thrown out since both low bidders were going to use the same subcontractor who apparently was incapable  of meeting prescribed stipulations. 

Other road work was approved.. Everything will be voted on this coming Monday. There will be time to comment before then.

The BOE meeting started at 7 pm in the handicap unfriendly 2nd floor Media Room. At 9 pm  the Board broke into an executive session for a stated 1hr period.& I left.  Some wheres in the rambling High School there is supposed to be an elevator but I was told that the custodian had to operate it.
It is an absolute fact that the Board is now firmly in  the "Slam" hands .Mrs. Hernandez was elected the new Board President, with only Ms Barksdale casting a vote to reelect Mrs Logan-Leach.  Mrs Gilbert was absent due to a funeral and Mr Abdul-Haqq did not arrive until after that vote.

For Vice-President Mrs. Campbell was the only nominee. The "Slam" group has an absolute 2:1 majority and under Renata's watch I am sure that there will be  for "better or worse" (this is a marriage  between Community and Board)  a definitive focus on the Boards actions. The district will not be in the  morass of confusion of  the 2008-9 years about which  speakers who represented the district's front line educators  repeatedly referred. The 2010 Board believes that it had started on  the road to stability and my first impression of the new Board  and its leadership is that it will take care of business.

I was impressed that when it came to matters  of usual routine interests such as the appointment of the attorneys the auditors etc. the three new members balked.  Rightly so they object to having to approve by a consent agenda  action that they had no part in deciding. In one case the auditors they were told they had no choice since last years board had signed  a 2 year contract.

I would suggest that the neophyte three at the business meeting alter the resolution to read We acknowledge the presence of a continuing contract between the BOE and the Auditors, not "appoint" them. The three's concern on all these appointments was whether the appointments were issued  by ascertaining  the lowest cost professionals. It is a fact that the state exempts professionals from having to go throw bidding process, but there is no rational in not seeking the lowest cost provider.

The BOE  seams to have its own rules of order. A consent agenda is to be acted on without discussion, once there is discussion on any resolution on the Consent Agenda according to the Sturgis or Robert's Rules of Order,  a separate routine vote must be taken on that item. Only on the BOE's rules of order can one vote to accept the Consent Agenda with an exception to one of the resolutions. One of the earmarks of a professional body is the adoption and adherence to a specific rules of Parliamentary Procedure.

Many of the speakers during the public comment period were educators in the system who expressed their dismay that the personnel cuts would  specifically affect the language teachers in the  K-6 classes. I agree the teaching of a secondary tongue should start in the elementary schools to assure proficiency. America is the only major country where its citizens are not universally bilingual.

We extend our sympathies to Mrs. Lisa Logan-Leach on the recent loss of her father.