Monday, January 31, 2011

GANGS

Most disturbing but not unexpected is the lead story in Sunday's Courier about the "gangs" in New Jersey

At least Plainfield is not the worst. Three New Jersey towns;Trenton, Patterson, and Newark estimate to have more gang members than Plainfield. Camden and Jersey City did not submit a report so in all likelihood Plainfield is #6. But Plainfield estimates to have over 1000 gang members and is one of the leading cities with about 26 separate gangs.

Most disturbing is the number of different gangs and members in the High School. There has been an increase of over 300% in the membership in certain groups. The nation has underestimated or tried to ignore the problem.

It is past time that we start focusing on real solutions instead of beating our gums. The answer of course lies in money which we ain't got but must find. It lies in active programs for youth with a cooperative effort from the school district , recreational facilities, religious organizations which is this crisis must be nonsectarian in their input, and the people themselves.

The answer of course also involves the young adults by finding for them work opportunities. That would need new resources to settle in the area, assured of safety.

Nothing can be done immediately but will take time for results. However, if there is no initiative and a start without delay nothing will ever improve the situation.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

JANUARY 3O, 2011

1989 was a year that changed world history. The Soviet empire collapsed under people pressure in its satellite eastern European nations starting with the Polish revolution and the collapse of the Berlin Wall. This was followed over the next two years by the independence movements and action of many of the "Soviets" of different ethnic groups resulting in a change in the worlds map.

1989 was also the year of the San Francisco Earthquake. Thousand TV viewers witnessed it live because it happened just before the third game between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. The quake destroyed among other objects the road connection between the two cities.

No one could consider that in this modern era anything of equal magnitude could happen. However, nature wise today is the last day of a historic month. The metropolitan area (NYC) has had the record snowfall month in the weather bureau's chronicles.

Worldwide, at the end of 2010 popular pressure in Tunisia caused a despot to flee. This week the popular pressure has spread to Egypt, Yemen and Jordan. These are all Islamic nations. although one can not classify them as being Arabic.

What is common though is all the other Middle East Islamic countries have repressive governments in power. All these are "friends" of the United States. Collapse of their governments can lead to internal anarchy. Fundamentalist Islamic movements will have the opportunity to seize power and upset the fragile Mid East peace that exists.

As history has shown; Death, destruction, and loss of personal freedom are the fruits of a righteous intolerant theocracy once it is in power.

We can not take any active role in what is happening. Nor can the United Nations act for in each country the unrest is internal. The great danger is that like the Soviet breakup this wave of revolution will engulf every Islamic country including the oil rich Persian Gulf States.

There is great danger economically and ultimately politically to all the "Western World". We will just have to wait and see. We will know that Plainfield is not an island unto itself, but part of the world and we too will be affected by what occurs thousands of miles away.

7:50 AM: We should not hope for a "Democracy" in any of the the Arab nations. What we want to result is any form of government that the people have an input, that permits freedom of speech, freedom of worship, equal opportunity for both sexes, the right to own property, ac accessibility to education and the capability to earn a living (work). How that government is formulated may differ from ours or any of the Western nations but that would be the goal for all including the United States

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A WINTER NIGHT'S POTPOURRI

For two yea I was doing my "Cato" *act during the public portion of the Council meeting. And, after every marathon Council session I would remark in a post that the once a month business meeting was not only an insult to the public who came to listen or address the Council but was counterproductive because they themselves became mentally fatigued and would often fail to followup on motions that they had approved.

Too often the Council had been faced with some administrative action that needed immediate approval due to a deadline. Dasheilds was notorious for that maneuver. If often gave little time between agenda meeting and business session to get facts, since the usual material he had to answer questions was too often his "I will get back to you"

I was happy to read in an other blog that at the end of the Special Meeting a week ago the subject was raised by the Councilors themselves. Councillors Mapp and Williams can be good lobbyists for a righteous cause I hope this month it is on the agenda and will be passed by a 4:3 vote. I am sure that astute politician JG will use what influence he has locally and statewide to persuade the 3 nos to vote yes.

Will it Fly? A bill (A646) is before the Assembly and a companion bill (S1925) in the State senate prohibiting nepotism in the school systems when the there is a relationship with the district superintendent, a board member,personnel director, business administrator, or the district's attorney(ies).

This bill may pass because Sen.Norcross is supporting it in the upper house. Interestingly there is legislation on the books requiring school districts to have an anti nepotism policy. Does Plainfield have one and enforce it. Apparently many districts have ignored such legislation which is the reason for the present bills.

Too bad that the politicians would not consider a similar bill for local, county, or state government. They might even put in provisions that would prevent loopholes. Moreover there are possible situations where adherence to such a law could be counterproductive or impossible to follow.

It already seems to have been forgotten, but one problem the President mentioned in his SOTU address was that the of "illegals". He referred especially to those who are productively employed as well as children born in the United States.

The Children represent a distinct problem. They are citizens of this Country. Amendment XIV Section 1 is the law; "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
These children have all the same civil rights as a child of a citizen.

Although if the parents are here illegally and can be deported the child can not legally. The dilemma then becomes to do something by fiat which is illegal or separate the child from parent. Neither is an acceptable solution.

What can be a remedy? Long term the antiquated biased immigration laws should be revised to permit and make easy for a greater number of residents from countries now deprived of easy access to legal enter this country and seek citizenship.

Secondly those who have been here for a number of years and have been model industrious members of society despite entering or staying in this country illegally should have the opportunity of citizenship without discrimination.

The country was built on successive waves of immigrants of different ethnic or religious origins. This goes back to the original settlers of the 13 colonies and there is no reason today to deny by quota and red tape those from other lands not previously favored.

I believe we should press our representatives in both house of Congress to act on this without delay.

*Cato (the elder) was a Roman Senator who spoke frequently in the Senate and ended every speech with "Carthago delenda est" (or a variation). He was ultimately successful since his cry "Carthage must be destroyed" finally happened and Roma became the master of the ancient world.

Friday, January 28, 2011

SNOW POTPOURRI

Question, this winter's snows have undoubtedly cost the city more than the FYI budget allowed, where will the funds be found?. I am sure that this is a problem faced by all NJ towns as well as the State itself. Can Federal emergency funds be obtained to help. We have at least two more months of potential snow falls.

The bright side of all the heavy snow is that for a few days the potholes will be packed and not a danger. However, as soon as there is a thaw, there will be craters instead of potholes in the roads that must be filled. This is another area where an appeal for emergency funding to the feds by the state must be made.

Since this has been the snowiest January since 1925 , perhaps these two JAMA covers are appropriate.

Winter Landscape-Lovell Birge Harrison (Amer) 1900s

A more somber note is in this painting by a German artist, Caspar David Friedrich (Ger) 1809.

Monk by the Sea

The artist suffered from depression most of his life. It is reflected in the tone and color which sets the mood manifested by the lone figure standing by a stormy seashore.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

REFLECTIONS ON A POST SNOW DAY

Yesterday I claimed that today's bloggers are the reincarnation of the pamphleteers of previous centuries. Plainfield is blessed with a number that deserved scanning every day. Dan Dammon in both his Plainfield Today and his Clips is doing the community a worthwhile service. As an "aggregator" although he may have missed some, he has made it possible to view most of the known civic oriented blogs. In his Plainfield Today blog there are also links to other influential or opinionated blogs around the state as well as political entities.

Recently a most welcome newcomer, QC Progressive, posted by Tony Rucker, has joined the must reads. His Tuesday posting on "Economic Development" and yesterday's on the President's speech are well thought incisive documents.

Rucker points out that the TODs as proposed in the Vision Study may not be the vehicle to revitalize Plainfield. For a community to survive it needs a non residential tax base. Except for the central city zone the commercial developments are ground floor areas of residential (apartment) buildings. With PILOT grants they may actual cost the city more in services than they can bring in revenue.

Even the area around the main station is lacking in substantial commercial development, being dependent on new apartment dwellers as being the attraction. Since these developments are visioned to be composed of a bedside community of those who work outside of the area and since there is insufficient provision for private transportation (automobiles) the residential renters may well be transient. As family's develop or the renters acquire transportation they will move on.

Plainfied has long ceased to be a blue collar town with large manufacturing plants. Since the Raritan Valley Line is only passenger oriented no enterprise requiring rail service will settle here. Some other 21st Century "industries" must be encouraged to set up shop, not in the old factories, but in new buildings adaptable to the computer age or research facilities. The railroad corridor has to be the site of this type development. It will take tremendous effort by dedicated individuals to pull this off. The "City" must set up the organization for this endeavor. It can be mostly volunteers like other city boards.

Reestablishing a West End RR station will be a good idea if increased frequent service with stations not more than 2 miles apart and extended to the old Elizabethport area can be provided.
To be practical that would also mean electrification of the line which is unlikely because of costs. Perhaps provisions for "light rail" service could be feasible using the present tracks without interfering with the regular train service. It is worth a study.

A final word; I do not mean that we should file the "Vision Study" and forget it. It is a tool that in the right hands, perhaps the Planning Board, can be of value once the boiler plate is discarded, and that which is beneficial can be put into action . The Netherwood area may be doable, but until our streets are up to snuff, no matter how inexpensive the residential units are no one of substance will occupy them.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

TOUGHTS FROM THE PRESIDENT

This is the winter of snow and more snow and political rhetoric!

I listened to OUR presidents address to Congress on the State of the Nation. It was a well written conciliatory speech smoothly and effectively delivered. Over and over again he emphasised that this nation has fallen behind other nations.

Although he touched on too many subjects to dwell on today, there were two critical areas in which he felt that this nation as lost the post Sputnik era will to be the best.

We have let our infrastructure deteriorate along with our education standards.These must take priority to repair. It will take money at the expense of entitlements and more importantly abolition of "pork bellies". Tax loop holds and costly government regulations will have to be eliminated.

Education reform must start not at the Federal or State level, but with the local system who must set goals to meet, provide the "where with all" and make sure it is used appropriately. BOEs must ignore personal agendas and concentrate on basics; proving quality good education to all. This may mean using more resources in the classroom and not in administration or in unproven or unused new finagle equipment.

Performance must be demanded in the classroom as well as in administration. Those who do not perform must be replaced. Program testing as a tool does not truly reflect the impact of teaching. Too often too much effort is spent in preparing for the test not in the substance. Results will be obvious in watching how the students perform in class. The levels that should be reached are no mystery. Honesty not CYAisnm in evaluations should be the one dominant factor and where there is below average status then extra effort should be made to remedy the failures.

In Plainfield as in most of New Jersey's school districts, the question is one of whether the local BOE is capable of meeting that challenge. If the local board has the will to insist on standards that the system must meet. If the local board is willing to make changes in professional leadership if status quo prevails. If the local board is willing to partnership , not set itself above,with the entire public, not only those that have children in the system but also those who have an investment by taxes in the schools.

The real challenge however is the willingness of the community to accept responsibility in selecting the local board members. That can only be done if a minimum of 50% of the voters turn out for the elections. Or if the local government appoints a board that is free of politics but is composed of dedicated knowledgeable citizens.

This is where we must start today not tomorrow. Hold everyone in our education system accountable, reward those that do their job and eliminate those that are deadwood.

21stCENTURY PAMPHLETEERS

OUR President spoke long and smoothly last night. I was going to ouch on a few of his topics this morning , but that will wait for some retrospective thoughts. Instead I present this back up.


Today we have numerous blogs relating to matters pertaining to Plainfield. A few or published anonymously, but most have identifiable authors. These bloggers are the pamphleteers of the 21st Century.


"A pamphleteer is a historical term for someone who creates or distributes pamphlets. Pamphlets were used to broadcast the writer's opinions on an issue, for example, in order to get people to vote for their favorite politician or to articulate a particular political ideology." (Wikipedia)

Around 1642 at the time of the English civil wars there appeared printed booklets or pamphlets present arguments for both sides. For the most part the authors were anonymous.

"Beginning with Tom Paine's Common Sense, which altered the course of early U.S. history, pamphlets have played a crucial role in American history. Pamphlet literature has been the medium through which people have expressed their opinions and feelings on contemporary affairs." ProQuest.(http://www.proquest.com/en-US/catalogs/collections/detail/American-History-372.shtml)

One of the most famous pamphlets in the period immediately after the Revolutionary war from 1787 to 1788 were "The Federalist Papers". There were 85 published to encourage the states to ratify the Constitution. Although signed anonymously as "Publicus" it is known that there were three authors; Alexander Hamilton who penned 52 essays, James Madison who wrote 28 Papers, and John Jay the author of just 5.

John Jay was a diplomat who served in Spain and France during the Revolutionary war. He was the equivalent of the "Secretary of State" during the post war period of the "confederation" and subsequently Governor of New York. He was an avid abolitionist. Although he was the only one of the three not involved in the writing of the Constitution he was vitally interested in its adoption and was one of the founders of the Federalist party.

Pamphlets played a pivotal role in the French Revolution and have been a continuous media for various groups to spread a "message" to the public.

It has been important in the protection of civil liberties for public individuals to have the freedom of expression. Anonymity of authorship is only acceptable where there is fear of repercussion either by violent groups or a repressive government.

Supposedly the First Amendment is protection but unfortunately violence can negated it. The 1st Amendment does not give license to slander or libel, nor does anonymity act as a shield once the author can be identified.

Today's bloggers have an advantage over the 17th to 20th Century pamphleteers; they can use their site as a forum for discussion. The caveat is that discretionary control has to be maintained and there is no obligation on the blogger to post comments.





Monday, January 24, 2011

MORE POTPOURRI

Thank you Jerry for posting my reply comment on your blog which took me to task. I regret that you interpreted a statement of fact as an "apology".

Certainly there was nothing for me to apologize. I expressed my regrets that he took offense at a comment I posted and denigrated me for posting something that I could not consider racists. Sometimes people make mountains out of mole hills either wistfully or through a lack of comprehension.. I leave it to the blog readers to form their own judgement. I consider the matter of such little importance that it is fini, kaput, over.

This weekend an incident occurred that once again reinforces my arguments that our political leaders and some of their supporters are jumping on the electronic information band waggon without the slightest comprehension of its pluses and minuses. Electronic document keeping is not the end unto itself. It is only another tool in management and should not be used as a replacement for 'hard copies".

Computer data is not permanent. The storage media is subject to deterioration and corruption. The data base may become outdated or not readable by a current operating system. And above all, there is no known system that is not immune to hacking.

This is not meant to say that we should not computerize completely our operation, but we must remember limitations, dangers and other misfortunes. All essential records and correspondence should still have hard copy back up. Microfilm is good but that is also just another tool and should be treated as such.

Potpourri may be a melange of subjects. With that in mind what is the city's liability for tires blown, axles broken , or even bad accidents as the result of the potholes? With the lack of evidence of the city attempting to repair the most dangerous ones increase the risk. Perhaps a sign on Leland Ave between the brook and the railroad , or on Watchung Ave between Woodland and Leland that say "Drive on your own risk after dark" will exclude the city from legal problems. If the potholes can't be temporarily cold patched at least warning cones or flares should be placed in them.

State highway 28 aka as South Ave. has added some wicked potholes to its notorious bump-outs. There must be other well traveleld streets that are in similar shape. Plainfield looks like a slum.

Can the City apply for emergency Federal funds to restore its roadways to a safe condition. I am not suggesting massive repavement but long neglected repairs are active preventive maintenance are critical.

A prime example of the effects of municipalities neglect is Cushing Road; this past summer the pavement was acceptable with some noticeable trouble spots that were not touch. Today Cushing looks and rides as if a tank force had travelled over it. Since the city line runs down the middle of the street, who has responsibility for its upkeep?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

MINUS 18 DEGREES

-At 7:30 this AM my my porch thermometer which faces the rising sun read -18 degrees. I can never recall such a low reading here. But then again I never has a Celsius thermometer before. Under ordinary circumstances 0.2 Fahrenheit would be cold enough but this will be a better number for tale spinning a decade or so in the future.

Tonight the Council will hold a special meeting. The subject matter is action-approval or not- on several appointments recommended by the Mayor. The total business time will be about 15 minutes. I and most of the public will not bother to attend this meeting.

The minute also will contain an executive session about personnel. The specific subject is not stated which is legitimate. One can not tell how long the public meeting will be in recess which is the joker.

In the call for the special meeting it is noted that "action may be taken". This would permit any recommendation that was reached in the closed session on an unknown matter to be introduced for a vote when the special meeting is reconvened.So much for transparency.

If the Council were to have followed the time honored two business meetings and the agenda setting meetings a month there would be no need for this special meeting or its executive session.

I had a personal email from Renata clearing up the sentence about self selecting meetings. Apparently the Board Members are given a list of available conferences and each member chooses the one(s) they would wish to attend. That is a good policy. Meetings that are in major convention venues should be considered as to the true value to the Board for the dollars spent. As educational experiences they can more often than not be skipped.

I thank Ranata for being an interpreter to this old boy who can't twitter or twatter or understand today's jargon.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Oy.. Oy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oy_veyFrom early school days I knew that I was not and never would be a linguist. The only language of the four that I had to study and still retain some competency is American English. Thus I have little trouble reading most blogs and commentaries'

However, I must confess that no matter how hard I try I have been unable I have had difficulty understanding Board of Education Member, Mrs. Renata A. Hernandez's personal blog which is not intended to reflect board policy. Although her postings are unique with liberal use of color and upper case as well as other font variations to make a point, it is the " Lingua franca Renata" LINK that bewilders me.

The other day her blog was meant to defend the BOE's practice of sending members to various "educational" conferences. To explain the selection process she wrote "The "BOARD" does NOT SELECT which Member attends conferences. Members self select." (Her text is black on white But I have colored it so that it could not be missed.

I believe my statement "I was hoping that she would clarify what she meant by "self select". by amplifying about the process by which a "delegate" is chosen". was just a simple request for her to restate that sentence in a simplistic manner that one as ignorant as I could understand how conference attendees from the board members were selected. Some how my simple request for clarification seems to have been overlooked or misunderstood as a derogatory comment.

In the same post I also had remarked about Assemblyman's post taking me to task for posting a commentary that he found to be racist. I did reply to his blog with an explanation why I did not consider it racist although it may have been sick humor some of the inhabitants of Appalachia. Our snow will melt before JG post my comments.

Renata subsequently chose to write a blog titled " AYE...AYE" applauding Assemblyman Green's application of the First Amendment and his threat of legislation against other bloggers.
In the same blog in her unique lingua franca she defends herself and attacks other unnamed bloggers and ends with taking her hat off to Assemblyman Green .

Her title is most disturbing. The encyclopedic reference to 'Aye...Aye" describes it as the name of a lemur found in Madagascar. I am sure that was not the blog's author's intention.

"Aye aye' can be a sailor's variation of yes yes in response to an order. If that is why she used that titled it would be consistent with her adopting JG's ideas. However, there is unfortunately another possibility which is a sick one. A person with a bigoted sense of humor could intend "AYE AYE' to be a homonym for "Oy Oy"
its meaning. click  would surprise some.   Surely a person who follows the path of righteousness would incapable of such a malicious pun.


If the link above fails for a description of "lingua franca" try this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingua_franca

For

JUST POTPOURRI

In recent blogs Dr. E=MC2 noted that the Plainfield BOE was sending a member out to NSAB national convention in San Francisco. The first delegate was Mr. Cathcart who subsequently withdrew so Ms.Barksdale was authorized by BOA resolution as the person to go.

San Francisco is a pleasant convention city. National Conventions can be informative and a potential learning experience for a dedicated delegate. They also can be an excuse for a good vacation at the expense of the sponsoring organization. Without insinuating that either of the two chosen by the BOE would be placing pleasure above business the temptation is there, That is one of the reasons that certain venues like Orlando, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Antonio, Honolulu have become favorite convention cities.

Where educational programs are mandated by the State there usually are low registration fee or free one or two day sessions within in New Jersey's case a few hours driving distance, that offer the required subject matter.

Therefore, the question is if there is a material benefit of exposing one individual at a high cost or several at a much less expense to receive the same information.

Renata in a recent posting did note that mandatory attendance at education meetings was a requirement. However she also wrote;" The "BOARD" does NOT SELECT which Member attends conferences. Members self select."

I was hoping that she would clarify what she meant by "self select". by amplifying about the process by which a "delegate" is chosen.

Friday, Assemblyman Green in his blog chastise me for posting a commentary which he felt was racist. I did not regard it as such but other that the writer's expression that too many voters cast their ballot in blind devotion to their party and its leaders without any consideration of issues or individuals.

I have written to the Assemblyman thru the comment link on his blog why I had not considered the quote racist and hoped he would accept my explanation. If enough readers share the Assemblyman's opinion I will withdraw with an apology the "offending" commentary.

I am more disturbed by his implied legislation that would restrict the First Amendment rights of bloggers. He is right that we bloggers should take all precautions not to post a slanderous or libelous comment. I assure all of you that I and others do reject those that we feel may approach those statements. This should also include character assignation by inference or innuendo either by the blogger or posted commentaries..

Friday, January 21, 2011

THE STORCH PROPOSAL

Councilor Storch's sponsored Resolution adopted Tuesday night by the Council addresses three budgetary problems that must be solved.

If passed in the form alluded to in his blog and reprinted by Plaintalker I would hope that the author will be activly promoting the process at the all to frequent Council meeting. The first chink in the document calls for the Administration to produce "an aggressive budget timetable for SFY 2012 that includes creating a 5 year municipal budget projection to be presented at the January business meeting."

Since Councilor Storch was aware that the first business meeting would be Jan. 18,2011, and this resolution could not be adopted before then, these statement gives pause to ponder if the goals are real or if this is just another politician's wind blowing.

There are factors involved that are absolute must; The process need the leadership of a competent City Administrator. When is and I hope it is not "is', Bibi Taylor going to return from Maternity Leave?. Has the Mayor taken advantage of Ms. Taylor's offer to do part time work at home while on LOA. Much of the organizational work can be done with the aid of computer interneting, without face to face presence. We now have an high priced IT division in place. Let us see hard results. Let there been progress reports at each Council Agenda meeting.

Storch is 100% right, the FY2012 Budget should be ready for adoption at the June 2011 Council Meeting. The 5 year plan is an executive's tool that because of many factors involved and limited personnel available should be a long term project involving to the expertise of volunteers such as CBAC, At this point the City can not to spend the resources on this project.

More attainable is the restructuring of the various administrative divisions for efficiency and costs savings. No electronic gadgets can replace well functioning unit. Software and hard ware can be no better than the capabilities of those using them.

I agree, the various Social Services agencies operated by the City must become non-profit organizations with funded by grants from Federal, State, County, Foundations, self generated funds, and to a very minor extent a City allocation. This transition has to be a priority that will take active Council involvement.

Once again since this Council can not understand that it's once a month meeting is out of touch with the civic needs of these times, it is absolutely conceivable that this will be just words and not action.

The final major innovation Councilor Storch proposed is reactivating a functional Auxiliary Police Unit under Public Safety. There are many facets involved; The State rules are difficult to google. What is known is that the Municipality has the right to have such units, and determine its scope of function. Usually they are can not carry arms and are limited to be supplemental in traffic and crowd control duties. Their training is a responsibility of the Police Department.

IN some communities The Auxiliary may be trained to carry arms and must meet police standards. Their use and limitations should be well defined. They may be permited to participate with police officers in patrol duties. These are individual municipality decisions.

What must be take into account are potential legal risks balance against the public need. The willingness of the regular force to accept and work with the Auxiliary members. Finally where the Auxiliary Police are allowed to bear arms there has to be strong psychological evaluation, and strict control to assure that they do not become a paramilitary illegal militia.

Once again, I am forced to reiterate that as long as the Council refuses to understand that is present ground rules prevent it from being any m,ore effective that the Administration or truly representative of the people then all great proposed solutions are nothing more than political hot air.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

POTPOURRI FOR TODAY

One blog posting a day is more than enough. Two or more reduce the material for subsequent days. Additionally my concerns about our city has forced me to neglect the original concept for this blog. However sometimes issues arise which if not rapidly address lose reader's interests.

Today, however, there are two newspaper articles that merit a second posting

The first has to do with the arrest by a federal, county, and city task force of 8 local "Blood Gang" members including one leader. This is a small step in the fight against the anarchy that is engulfing New Jersey Communities. Unfortunately, the leadership or membership in the two "Hispanic gangs that have been responsible for the present warfare in our city remain untouched.

I am sure they are well kn own to the authorities but sustainable charges are missing. The situation is similar to the Cosa Nostra Maffia wars of the Prohibition era.

As Assemblyman Green is quoted that the system which allows plea bargaining to prevent the costs of criminal trials ad incarceration must be altered by strong legislation at the state level. I trust he will be introducing such bills in the Assembly PDQ and in his power position accelerate their course through the legislature.

Also in today's Courier on the Daily Briefing page is a story about former Vice-President Cheney's forth coming book and his defence of his policies. Despite his denials, I contend that Cheney was the de facto President and responsible for most of the GWB's administration decisions.

I can find no fault with the military action in Iraq and Afghanistan except that leaderships' judgement was influenced by their arrogance. They and they were the only ones to make policy decisions and they did not need the advice from the ignorant(any one else). That attitude that we had to bestow their concept of "Democracy" on other nations who had no concept or capability of implementing it is why we are are still fighting in these countries.

I mention this because we in Plainfield have an example of similar arrogance. No Council meeting should last FIVE HOURS!. Yet for two years the Councillors have persisted to ignore public interests and maintain an inefficient schedule which if they would reflect is not in the City's best interests.Councilors, you claim to represent your "constituents. If you truly do you should respect them.

On my back burner, I hope for tomorrow a commentary on Councilor Storch's "budget" resolution, and before it becomes to stale something related to the BOE. In the meantime read Dr. E=MC2's blog.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A SAD COMENTARY

Our man to Trenton in his last two blogs has found a new label for those who he wishes to denigrate. Perhaps it may be that our Governor is a Republican or because this is the year State legislature districts as well as Congressional districts are to be redrawn it seems that the anti-people villain is no longer a Republican but a "Tea Party Member" At any rate he is no longer calling anyone who he dislikes politically a member of that despicable other traditional political party but instead a member of a reactionary group in that party. .

In his last two blogs he has attacked with that label Cris Estevez and anyone who found fault in the cynical process that the PDCC regardless of membership in the party, accepted three nominees for the slate that had to be submitted to the Council.

I trust that us coffee drinkers remain in his good grace.

He justifies the fact that two of the names submitted were not party members at the time the slate was voted on as being immaterial because A40:16-11 although it states that the previous office holder's local party committee selects the three nominees it does not specify that they must be party members.

He had four lawyers confirm that opinion. When Lawyers are Consultants they act as Consultants and there will be enough to give the opinion desired.

Jerry indirectly attacks the "New Democrats" by inferring that former Mayor Al McWilliams informed him that he was going to become a "Republican" without consulting him. He does not say if that was before or after the PDCC dumped McWilliams as he Mayoral candidate for reelection.

McWilliams was an astute politician who represented the one real threat to Green in the past 20 years, In the early 90s I had thought that he might be a Republican. Moreover when he ran for the Council as a Democrat he told me that to be elected an d serve in Plainfield one had to be a Democrat. He might run against a Green Candidate never a s a Republican but as an Independent counting on receiving most of the Republican votes in a General Election as well as the liberal Democrat wing. If her had lived he would have been successful.

I might correct the Assemblyman, McWilliams was not "elected by the Democrats" he was elected by the Plainfield voters, the majority who happen to be registered Democrats.

JG also uses as an example Aberdeen Township a community of less than 20000 in Momouth County under similar circumstance five years ago selected from a Democrat party submitted slate Fred Tagliarini a Republican as the replacement Councilman. Mr. Tagliarini is now Mayor which in that type of strong Council government is also the President of the Council elected by that body. It is of interest that all but one of the Council members including Mr. Tagliarini have been long time Planning Board members, that may be a club that is more important than political affiliation.

It is a sad commentary on the Plainfield citizenry that they have accepted Mr. Green's repetitive mockery of the process in selecting a replacement to fill a vacant Council seat.

COUNCIL MEETING FIRST COMMENTARY

"I once said cynically of a politician, He'll double cross that bridge when he comes to  it"  Oscar Levant

 A month ago Councilor Storch posted a self laudatory blog (http://corystorch.blogspot.com/ ) titled " Democracy in Action". Last night according  to Plaintalker he nominated   Vera Greaves, though he said he was “personally dissatisfied with the process.” He is further quoted as saying “The law is telling us we are stuck with this process.” and  “We need to put democracy with a small “d” back in the party.”

There was an unsubstantiated rumor that the Chairman of PDCC threatened to take legal action against the Council if it rejected  the submitted slate as being improper since there was a question of all the nominees qualifications.  Since A40:16-11 does provide for a mechanism for Council action in case the local party committee has not submitted a "qualified"( my interpretation) slate of THREE nominees, Storch  and the Council is wrong by claiming "they were stuck".  

By the way  any one who seeks a public office is by nature a politician. Or as an old Greek,Aristophanes(410BC) said " Under every stone lurks a politician".

Undoubtedly the Council sought the legal opinion of the  Acting Corporation Counsel and in Consultation with the Corporation Counsel who is serving  as  Acting City Administrator. One of the great weaknesses of the City's Charter is that the legal advisor serves at the will of the Mayor. It would be  most unlikely that in questionable issues his advice would be contrary to the interest of his employer. The Charter must be revised to permit the Council to retain its own legal advisor.

This is not the time to go into the structure of the Legal arm of the city government, but it need be completely reevaluated to determine appropriate roles, whether it Corporation Counsel should be full time, how  many part time dedicated assistant or special Corporation Counsels are needed, etc. Legal cost are a big expense item and if controls through increased efficiency can be established then that avenue should be pursued.

In essence, the Council has already established a questionable degree of respect by its actions in this matter. I believe that the actual two votes were meaningless political play acting to save Jerry Green's  face. How could the 1st and 4th ward Councilors, not New Democrats, vote  against the Chairman's prime candidate?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

COUNCIL MEETING EARLY REPORT

An apology; after vacillating whether to attend the Council meeting or not, knowing that Mark Spivey would not be there, I decided to go if I could find parking space on Watchung Ave. Of course there was none, however I did find a spot in front of the Police Station. I had to get out into slush go out in the street to pass another car before I reached a shoveled access to the sidewalk. Otherwise the walks were absolutely clean as were the steps into the Court House.

The first hour of the meeting was devoted to Committee reports and two presentations. The first by Darius Solhoub was a final report and recommendations of the Vision Study. Although the study was predicated on the construction of the Hudson River tunnel. we were informed that the DOT has ordered some diesel/ electric locomotives to provide direct trips into NYC from the non-electrified lines. Although the present tracks will limit he n umber of trains there will be a few and the Council was urged to actively lobby for the Raritan Valley line to get some of the trains.

Mr. Lamar Mackson, Chairman of the Cable Television Advisory Board appraised the Council (and public) of the Plainfied to Sundance project in which 4 interns- 3high school and 1 middle school students- were being sent to the Sundance festival to film Alrick Brown's activities involved with the debut of his film "Kinyarwanda" which he produced in Africa. Funding for the students was by grants and private donations.

Mr. Mackson also dwelled on the the availability of the Council meeting tapes in the City Clerk's office.

Public Safety Director Hellig gave a report on the homicides in Plainfild the past weekend. The third one was a Hispanic male who lived in an illegal rooming house. There are two Policemen assigned to the County Crime Unit . Hellwig noted that last weekend the Police had confiscated 3 illegal guns and in 2010s they picked up 68 firearms. No mention was made of any punishment to the possessor's of these weapons.

At 9:10 the Council went into Executive Session to discus the layoff plans, and also the choice for the vacant Council seat. Undoubtedly the Purchasing Division will be retained and the cut will be somewhere else in critical administrative or Public Works. The matter of the selection of the Temporary Council person suggest that there are a few members of the Council who are willing to stand up for lawful process and not cow tow to Jerry Green's one man's rule of Plainfield politics.

TONIGHT'S COUNCIL MEETING 1/18/11

Crunch, crunch, crunch, 1 inch of frozen powder on my driveway this morning and predictions of rain all day. If it freezes this evening driving may be dangerous. However, tonight's Council meeting is a must and I hope to find parking by the Courthouse.

If Plainfield Today's report on the legitimacy of two of the three names submitted by PDCC is correct, the Council will have no other option but to reject the slate and demand a new one. I have previously posted the State codes that invalidate Plainfield's Charter .http://dpotpourri.blogspot.com/2011/01/selection-of-council-member.html

A40:16-11 states that if the local party fails to submit three nominees within 15 days of the vacancy then the "Governing Body" can chose a replacement from the same party as the previous holder of the seat. If two or even one of the nominees failed to meet the required criteria the although there was a slate submitted it was invalid and the 15 day provisions of the State code is in effect. Does the Council have the stomach to defy the party leader?

The Council must review its budgetary decision regarding the Purchasing Division and act accordingly.

Plaintalker II mentioned two among other lost 2010 Concerns of the Council. I believe that the investigation into the authorization of $20,000.00 to the radio station died due to inaction with the expiration of the 2010 Council. If what was a valid concern in 2010 is still of importance then a new resolution will have to be passed. As to the Dornoch claim; there was and still is unanswered the legitimacy of the charges. I also believe that some where I read about some litigation regarding it. Certainly the builder has not lived up to all his commitments.

TUESDAY JAN. 18, 2011 1

This is the 18th day of year 2011. Including the blizzard of Xmas day we have had 4 snow storms  so far this year, with 3 being significant. The latest because of icing  being as dangerous as any. The good news is that we can not blame Plainfield's government for these acts of nature. What remains to be seen is how long will it be before the street "tire breakers" are repaired  on a temporary basis. They are double dangerous because they also lead to accidents when drivers make sudden moves to avoid a deep one.

These first 18 days have been monumental for 3 murders and at least 5 shootings. This  is an escalation of the explosion that occurred in  2010. 

It has been five months  since that infamous Town Hall Meeting dedicated to countering the rise in capital crimes when $20,000.of unauthorized funds were paid to a radio station. Today, in the Courier Mayor Robinson-Briggs is quoted as saying: "We have to do something,'' --"It's devastating, and not just devastating to the family ... but to the entire community.'' And our Director of Public Safety "Hellwig said of the recent violence 'It's disheartening to have this continue to happen,''' , which he characterized as unpredictable.(Courier News 1/18/2011)

Five months have passed and all we have to show for it has been some hair brain schemes to spend money sorely needed for operations on unproven exotic technology. There has been not concrete evidence that changes in the structure of the  Police Division has been effective.

Governor Christie in addressing the Frontiers on MLK day said that quality education will be the key in turning youth away from the gangs. He is right but although that has an urgent priority  for the PSS it is a long term solution among others that must be pursued, such has  year round recreational activities, not just athletics but other after school and evening monitored groups.
The short term solution seems to be beyond the capabilities of our Public Safety Department.  Homicide investigations are conducted by County personnel and equipment. In communities throughout the State anarchy exists, and the solution may need active State involvement. Some form of martial law as horrendous as it may be, could be an answer. Curfews for certain age groups are a must but of course there has to be numbers to enforce them.

Above all there has to be a statewide crack down on the "gangs" who seem to be a law unto themselves. This fight has to be as serious as the anti terrorist campaigns.

 Plainfield and other communities do not have the resources to combat a cancer that has  gotten out of control because of denial and  ignoring in its formative stages.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

Those who do not read the newspapers or never look at the Editorials should find that there is more to a good paper than a list of murders or sex scandals. The much berated Courier has been blessed with an exceptional talented group of Editorial writers.


Sunday's editorial regarding Dr. King's birthday holiday has a message that although I have not received permission to copy is so powerful that All should read Therefore, I have copied FOR this blog certain parts which we all should read and remember:
"It is not just a holiday for African-Americans. It is a holiday for justice and equal rights under the law for all. Given that such ideals were mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and memorialized in the U.S. Constitution, King's holiday can be seen as one of the nation's most historic."


"To be sure, King's message was primarily directed to the plight of blacks during the civil rights movement. But the call for equality transcends race and time."{ This is such a powerful statement I bold faced it}


"Notwithstanding the noble principles of our cherished documents, the United States has not been a nation of equal opportunity for all. At varying times in our history, many groups have been excluded from their rightful place in American society, or as King famously said, from sitting equally at the "table of brotherhood."


"Immigrants who came to our shores from such European countries as Ireland, Italy and Poland in the early 1900s were hardly given the keys to the city. "Job" advertisements carried the disclaimer "Irish need not apply." Regardless of nationality, Jews were excluded from many aspects of American society into the 1950s, including the nation's best universities, neighborhoods and country clubs. It took women of all races and religions until the social upheaval of the 1960s to begin achieving equal status with men in such areas as the workplace."

"The celebration of King's birthday, therefore, should be seen as a holiday for all the groups who at different times in American history had to fight the establishment and the status quo to be treated with the respect and equality the U.S. Constitition says they deserve. While it was African-Americans who struggled for equality in the 1960s, other groups fought the same battle before them, and still others invariably will fight it as we move forward."


Memorializing Martin Luther King is as much of our Nation's heritage as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It is only fitting that we reserve this day in his memory. However, two generations have been born since  his assassination. It is time for those  few African-Americans who still blame slavery for their present day problems to reevaluate life and join all who have become leaders in all walks of American Society.


It is also time to stop treating Hispanics as sub level human beings and offer a helping hand to all who desire to be Americans. Given the opportunity they will be able to take their place with the Irish, Italians,Poles, Jews, Moslems,  Asians and Indians  who have come to this country and worked hard to obtain the good life. Self pity and hatred of other ethnic groups will not solve any problems.


That should be the lesson Dr. King left with us; we have the opportunity for equality let us take advantage of it, not abuse it and above all not deny it to anyone less fortunate.

I thank the unknown editorial writer for the CN/Home News for his masterpiece.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

COUNCIL MEETING TUESDAY :MORE THA N POTPOURRI

As a pertinent prologue to Tuesday's Council Agenda I would call your attention that among the Comments to yesterday's Plaintalker II, Pat Turner Kavanaugh noted the origin of the once a month business meeting. Bernice then gave a reference to a posting in 2006 which explains the origin of the once a month meeting. I am sure she has a subsequent post on the final decision on consecutive Mondays for the Agenda Setting and the Business meetings. The links: http://plaintalker.blogspot.com/2006/02/council-meeting-schedule-may-change.html

This work well in the post Ray Blanco era when the Council meetings deteriorated to 30 to 60 minutes of rubber stamping. During Burney's presidency the meetings began to become more meaningful with the increased number of "New Democrats" Councilors.

Unfortunately the Council as a whole continued to function as a private club. The public need is glossed over. Once more there is evidence of a disregard or ignorance (either is inexcusable) of Parliamentary procedures relating to public organizations. If you don't follow rules there will be anarchy. The New Democrats can not complain of dirty pool in the PDCC selection process if in the Agenda items procedure has been bypassed.

There are for a change written reports of from all the Sub-Committees. That is a plus. None the less I do not remember any Council action at the reorganization meeting forming the subcommittees.

Sub committees of the 2010 Council expired and the end of that Council's life. Open unacted upon 2010 resolutions also should be no longer valid. That includes the investigation of the $20,000.00 radio station payment which never assigned a facilitator. It will take a new resolution this year to restore that investigation.

Tuesdays night agenda is front loaded with action of consent on the Mayor's Boards and Commissions appointment. The Council has the option of withholding its consent to anyone nominated.

The issue of filling the vacancy in the 1/4th Ward Council position is addressed by a queerly worded resolution without any documentation available in the "Library's packet". The Resolution described in the agenda R031-11 "COUNCILMANIC RESOLUTION MEMORIALIZING THE TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT TO FILL THE FIRST & FOURTH CITY COUNCIL SEAT etc".

Please someone explain the term "Memorializing". with the Resolution available for study it is meaningless. At the Agenda Fixing Session there were questions on the balloting and the acting City Counselor was to submit an opinion. The Council does have the right to reject the three names submitted but the procedure in that case is cloudy.

40A:16-22. Provisions in special municipal charters superseded apparently invalidates the procedure in the City's Charter. 40A:16-11 and 40A:16-13 both address the problem if the Council fails to fill the vacancy with any of the three nominees. They are contradictory in that 40A:16-11 states that the local party committee can then select the individual. It does not state that he/she has to be one of the three submitted nominees. On the other hand and updated the same date 40A:16-13 says that the seat will then remain vacant until the next election.

How and what action the Council takes is important for this years actions. Unfortunately by our charter legal opinions sought by the Council can be tainted by the fact that its advisor is in office by "the will of the Mayor". Potential conflicts of interests are not addressed.

The 2011FY budget is to be approved (R029-11) I hope that an amendment can b e made to fund the "purchasing division" for the rest of the fiscal year.

There is a recommendation in the report of the "Finance and Administration" sub committee that we return to a calender Fiscal Year. I hope that priority be given to this concept.

If it doesn't snow us infirmed citizens out of attendance I hope Tuesday night's meeting will be productive, benefiting Plainfield and not political factions. And above all ending before midnight.

Sad to say former Councilor Burney has removed his site with the City Charter and Municipal Codes. His posting these documents was a tremendous community service appreciated by all. I trust by his removal of those documents it does not indicate that he no longer wishes to be involved in Palinfield's affairs.

Friday, January 14, 2011

THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS

Once again the question of the right without restrictions for individuals to own guns has surfaced with the massacre at Tuscon. The arguments of the NRA and other "gunphiliacs" are based on this one line of the Constitution:
Amendment II
Right to bear arms

A well regulated Militia,being neccessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


There are three key phrases in that one sentence. The first one is Militia which I have copied two definitions:
Militia: The term militia (pronounced /mɨˈlɪʃə/[1]) is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens[2] to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with multiple distinct but related meanings. (Wikepedia) for Legal and historical meanings of militia see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia

In the 21st Century no State I know about has a 'Militia" . The National Guard substitutes for that type military body. Where 'Militia" exists they are in essence illegal bodies associated with neo fascist or similar "hate"groups.

The second phrase-" for the security of a free State" should be self explanatory as it probably referred to the 13 original States whose first concept was a confederation of independent states and thus needed assurance that they could still retain liberties in an union.

It therefore delegated for each State to enact its own set of laws. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_the_United_States_%28by_state%29 . defining the 'the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.

The framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights could only conceive of "Flintlocks, Muskets, and hand guns either single shot or double barrel aka "derringer". These had a side percussion pin. The early revolvers were "cap locks" and each chamber had to be loaded individually like a musket. The "pistol" or early "Colts appeared about 1847, and the The Colt Revolver Rifle, one of the first repeating rifles, was used during the Civil War.

It is obvious that the writers of the constitution could not vision the automatic weapons of today or even the multiple cartridge clips used in today's automatic pistols.

There can be a legitimate use for an individual not in the military or law enforcement to have a hand gun, and for hunting a shot gun or rifle, However, there can be no reason for a law abiding citizen to obtain an assault weapon or automatic hand gun. There has to be in all states strict consistent laws that control their sale and distribution and severe penalties for sellers as well as buyers.

The human element has to be taken out of the right to own a gun. Emotional stability must be a constant and there has to be periodic reevaluation. Nothing is going to keep guns out of the hands of determined criminals except prolong jail time for sellers.



CFO AND PURCHASING DIVISION

Cabin fever? Not quite, but one of the reasons for the delay in posting each day has been the hour or more bed time in the morning. Another problem has been indecision about subject matter: something relating to the BOE/PSS (and Christe), The Tuscon shootings reaction political and public, reminiscences which I hope some enjoy, health care, and lastly the ever presence source of material-Plainfield politics.

It was Mark Spivey's first page Courier article today that focused me onto Plainfield's governance.

Once again the political animosity which has marked relationships between Administration and Council may be precipitating another crisis. This was has to be with the lack of funding the Purchasing Division in the adopted 2011FY budget.

Although I have been an ardent critic of the Mayor on the issue of the Purchasing Division t he Council is way out in left field. It is true that her "personal government" philosophy. has been in essence no oversight, no accountability, my way or no way, and by spur of the moment whim.

The Council has acted without consideration of potential impact and economic anarchy by its steady fast refusal to maintain the present structure until the newly appointed "part time" CFO can bring an organized financial structure and controls into the City Administration.

Even that staunch Mayor supporter, Councilor Reid, has constantly bemoaned the lack of a CFO and qualified Director of Administration and Finance over the last 3 years. The incoming CFO will have enough to do to enforce fiscal controls that supposed exist while reorganizing processes that have been disregarded .

There are reported 40 city bank accounts. who can keep track of what funds are in each and how that have been used. The potentiality for fraud is rampant. There must be consolidation to just the minimum necessitated. The auditors have repeatedly noted that as a must be corrected. Both Mayor and Council have not followed through

With the possible exception of Councilor Mapp, I doubt that any of the present 6 Councilmen/women are sufficiently knowledgeable in the finances of organization the size and complex as the City Budget to ignore the recommendations of the CFO.

Personal political agendas must take a back seat until our fiscal chaos is under control. We must not endanger losing the one individual who is the most important administrative resource with the exception of the City Administrator.

Since there is only 3 months left in the fiscal year after the termination date schedules for closing the division perhaps our City Administrator can find dollars to transfer to keep the o purchasing division functioning until the next FY and until the CFO bring our dollar flow under control.

Plainfield's financial problems will never be solved as long as all the big unions with the exception of the PMEA continue to refuse to make needed work and financial concessions. Local Politicians must face the issue and bite the bullet. With the 100% support of the local PDCC leadership, the Mayor should recommend and the Council must pass legislation that may be challenged by any present union contracts which will result in savings of substantial funds that can be used elsewhere.

12:04PM: Councilor Mapp is quoted into today's CN as saying that CFO Zilinski's objections were made under duress. Please Councilor explain what pressures could have been put on an individual who has taken a part time time job after he retires from a better position. I hope because of personal conflicts you are not been irresponsible and risking us losing the position that we MUST have.

SNOW DELAY

Come back after noon time. Thank You

Thursday, January 13, 2011

MEMORIES

As a change of pace from local politics I found among my "papers" commentary from the early 90s which although slightly embellished would need a complete revision to day.

I was fortunate that my career coincided with the truly golden age of medicine. For the first 20 years it was also the era when doctors and patients had a congenial relationship.

As a medical student, the only true antibacterial drugs were a few sulfonamide compounds. By the time I had retired, there were multiple generations of antibiotics as well as some anti-viral drugs available,

Tuberculosis was synonymous with the sanatorium, where it was hope that by exposing patients to fresh and often cold air the disease could be arrested. Rheumatic fever and the contagions cut short many a youngster’s life. Septicemia, including an infection on a damaged heart valve was inevitable fatal. I don’t remember when was the last time a patient died from sub acute bacterial endocarditis.

Evolution takes place in bacteria as in all forms of life. To survive many of the bacteria have developed resistance to the antibiotics that used to kill them. It is a constant battle to stay ahead.

We now can prevent the scourges that used to kill children. With the present vaccines there is no reason except ignorance for a child to die from measles, chicken pox, mumps etc. Adults as well are protected from various hepatitis, influenza as well as other viruses.

There are even vaccines to protect against fatal bacterial disease among the meningitis and pneumonia.

Poliomyelitis was a feared disease. The worse complication was not some degree of peripheral paralysis, but the involvement of the respiratory muscles including the diaphragm. When this occurred, life could only be maintained by the use of the iron lung.

The Spanish Civil war had been a great impetus in the understanding of trauma and its treatment. The process was accelerated in WWII.

The life saving use of blood, plasma, and intravenous fluids with the control of shock were a direct result of wartime experiences.

The surgery of the 50s was still crude compared to the sophisticated techniques at the end of the century. Micro-surgery and the use of laparoscopes and similar devices made procedures easier, less painful, and shortened the morbidity period. Intravascular catheterizations and open heart surgery saved many lives. Physicians can now abort heart attacks under favorable circumstances.

Instead of simple x-rays, the advent of first the CAT scan, Isotope imaging, ultrasound, and the MRI have not only increased our diagnostic skills but have also enhanced our capabilities for therapeutic procedures. Focused x-rays are now used to treat brain tumors as well as other cancers.

As late as the 60s, brain tumors could only be diagnosed by inference through x-rays using air injected into the spinal canal, a painful, hazardous, and most often inadequate procedure.

Patients now survive and are even cured from malignancies which were always fatal in first few decades of my practice.

It is unfortunate that economics are beginning to deny many of the benefits of modern medicine.

A bilateral candid patient-physician relationship is the basis of good medicine. Unfortunately, since the advent of Medicare and the HMOs this type relationship has been destroyed. Patient’s choice of physician is often limited by plan directives. This can also apply to hospitals and even medications Dollars and cents now drive medical practice not patient welfare.

Universal health care would be utopia. Unfortunately everything has an intrinsic cost and there is a level beyond which restrictions are impossible. Either quality of the careers or the availability of services will be the end result. Economics has already robbed us and many communities of health care facilities. In many ways health care today is inferior to that of the 70s.

California was in the forefront of unrestricted “health curers” advertising. By the 50s, the ads in the telephone directories were so bizarre that it would be impossible to differentiate a reputable physician from a quack. The government, the courts, the media, and above all the competitive atmosphere created by the insurance carriers have made it impossible to rationally find the best health care provider. Anyone or any facility can proclaim by name itself as the center of bull without having to publicly validate that claim.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More Council Stuff

I was more impressed by the three nominees for PUMA Commissioners. They expressed what they conceived to be the relationship between the Commissioners and the Executive Officers. However none seemed to be clear on what is meant to be transparency. All expressed some degree of acknowledging that there have been consumer complaints. The Sitting Commissioner Rev. Tracey Brown felt that the PUMA's public meeting was an adequate forum to voice dissatisfaction.

When asked about once week collection of "garbage" all thought that it would be a good idea especially for the elderly who do not fill a can and would reduce the costs. None were asked if it would half the cost. The once a week collection might work if it were seasonal; in the late fall, winter and early spring months, but once the weather reached 70% it could be at best an odor nuisance or even become a health hazard without the semiweekly collection.

No one as explained why property owners should be charged for the "shared services" a city agreement with PUMA. If the cost were to be allocated to the property owner for city services it is in effect a tax and should be on the tax bill not an item which can not be deducted.

The final reason for my attendance was the Highland Global Strategies-Public Safety Presentation. This was a professional job enumerating various modalities in scant detail of technology available and how it all could be tied in. They would like to do a study in Plainfield with recommendations. They evaded Councillor's Reid's question about costs and what hey would do, stating that could be answered when the study was completed. Once again it would seem to me that The Director of Public Safety should have had a written plan including required personnel and use of technologies available with costs to be reviewed by the Council for adequacy before any high price consultants are hired.

They were also reluctant to name communities who had used their services. If the Council shows further interest it should asked for all in the past 2-3 years, not be satisfied with their selected references.

The Councillors received a descriptive pamphlet to which the public was not privy at the end of the presentation.

SELECTION OF COUNCIL MEMBER

It really is not important what my opinion of the three nominees to fill the 1st/4th Ward council seat for 2011. The seat must be on the ballot in November either for filling an unexpired term or for a full 4 years new term.

What at present is of utmost importance is the process that must be followed to fill that seat. Both the Council members and our legal advisers seemed unclear about the procedure. I knew that I was, thus before expressing my opinion on the Candidates for selection by the Council to replace Freeholder Carter, I reviewed much of 40A:16-* the portion of the States Statues regarding municipality officer holders.

It would seem that on March 29,2010 the legislature and Governor Christie who had to sign the revisions were very busy. The first important article is
40A:16-22. Provisions in special municipal charters superseded This article makes it clear; our special charter has no meaning: "The provisions of any special municipal charters which are inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter are hereby superseded. L.1979, c. 83, s. 1, eff. April 26, 1979. Last modified: March 29, 2010"

Now we know that the State will dictate how the vacancy will b e filled. However there are two statues ,40A:16-5 and 40a:16-11 that address the methodology of filling the vacancy.

Alas, since there are differences between the two sections there is a question of which has precedence. 40A:16-5. Filling vacancies in municipalities holding general elections "Whenever a vacancy occurs as provided in N.J.S. 40A:16-3 in the office of a mayor or in the membership of the governing body of a municipality holding general elections, the vacancy shall be filled in the following manner:a. If the vacancy occurs any time subsequent to September 1 of the next-to-the last year and up to the expiration of the term of the officer whose office has become vacant, the office may be filled for its unexpired term by appointment by the governing body as hereinafter provided;b. If the vacancy occurs at any other time, the vacancy shall be filled for its unexpired term at the next general election to be held not less than 60 days after the occurrence of the vacancy. The governing body may fill the vacancy temporarily by appointment as hereinafter provided".L.1979, c. 83, s. 1, eff. April 26, 1979. Amended by L.1980, c. 101, s. 2, eff. Sept. 11, 1980.Last modified: March 29, 2010.

40A:16-11. Appointment to fill vacancy where incumbent was nominee of a political party; time to fill vacancy
40A:16-11. Appointment to fill vacancy where incumbent was nominee of a political party; time to fill vacancy. If the incumbent whose office has become vacant was elected to office as the nominee of a political party, the municipal committee of the political party of which the incumbent was the nominee shall, no later than 15 days after the occurrence of the vacancy, present to the governing body the names of three nominees for the selection of a successor to fill the vacancy. The governing body shall, within 30 days after the occurrence of the vacancy, appoint one of the nominees as the successor to fill the vacancy. If the governing body fails to appoint one of the nominees within the time prescribed herein, the municipal committee that named the three nominees shall, within the next 15 days, appoint one of the nominees as the successor to fill the vacancy, and such person shall be sworn in immediately. If the municipal committee which nominated the incumbent fails to submit the names of the nominees within the time prescribed herein, the governing body may, within the next 15 days, fill the vacancy by the appointment of a successor from the same political party which had nominated the incumbent whose office has become vacant.If, on the effective date of this act, the governing body had previously received from the municipal committee the names of three nominees to fill any such vacancy and had not filled the vacancy, the governing body, within 30 days after the effective date of this act, shall appoint one of the nominees as the successor to fill the vacancy.Last modified: March 29, 2010 And finally there is another provision if the Council fails to fill the post. Does this negate 40A:16-11 delegating the selection to the local party committee if Council fails to accept any one of the three."

I would suppose that our Acting Corporation Counsel with the help[ of the Acting City Administrator will be able to fill Solomon's role and decide which procedure we must follow.

To further complicate matters there is this statue also revisited in the great rewriting;
40A:16-13. Failure of governing body to fill vacancy in membership of governing body
40A:16-13. "Failure of governing body to fill vacancy in membership of governing body. If a governing body shall fail or decline to fill a vacancy in the membership of the governing body by appointment as provided in N.J.S.40A:16-4 or 40A:16-5 within the time prescribed by N.J.S.40A:16-12, the office shall remain vacant for the remainder of the term or until the election and qualification of a successor, as the case may be." L.1979, c.83, s.1;amended 1980,c.101,s.5; 1990,c.57,s.2.Last modified: March 29, 2010I hope that every thing is now clear!

Now that we are clear on the process except the to be determined question . should there be one ballot with three names and the Councilors voting for one, or three separate ballots. In either case the successful individual will need 4 "yes" votes.

AS to the Candidates themselves; Bluntly, none impressed me that they would be an adequate replacement for Ms Carter. None showed any knowledge of the Council's functions. I can not remember over the years of any one of the three addressing the Council or exhibiting a citizen's interest in its activities by attending the meetings. If I am mistaken, I will gladly accept correction of that misconception. Two of the nominees would return the city to pre-riot days, but gave no plan how that could be done. All seem to be in the same position that Renata recently wrote she had to face when elected to the BOE; "having to learn what the organization did, its responsibilities and limitations." I for one could not support any of the three if I had a vote. I hope that the Councilors if they share my forebodings are not willing to accept just a body and would hope for more.

If the Council did not accept any of the three, then one of the 3 statues quoted above would have to take effect. We could live a year with the qualified Council as presently constituted. Or, we could hope that if it was thrown back into the hands of the DPCC a more knowledgeable activist citizen of one of the two involved wards could be found who would be willing to serve. Good statesmanship should lead to seating a positive figure on the Council irregardless of his/hers political vent.

Let it snow