Thursday, May 31, 2012

COUNCIL SPECIAL BUDGET MEETING

A very interesting and productive meeting plus a post meeting verbal donnybrook. Too late for writing tonight but will post about the meeting later Friday

TODAY'S POLITICAL POST SHORT

Five (5) more days to election, Six (6) more days minus 68 years to D DAY.

That event years ago created the world we live in today. In this country more than in any other we have the right to determine our fate; to elect our leaders. WE also are free to protest against the government without fear of being shot or jailed.

Yes it took time and leadership and sacrifice by many including Martin Luther King. Remarkably an avowed racist , President Johnson was the driving force behind the "Great Society" legislation that included laws that upheld civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, and his "War on Poverty." These were the key acts that are the keystone of the political liberty we enjoy.

Five days from now we again have the opportunity to be sure that those privileges at the local level are to be used wisely for the common good and not for personal attainment.

Tonight the Council will meet again and try to come up with a solution to the $1.500, 000.00 shortfall in the Mayor’s submitted budget. Responsibility falls on the Council when the Administration fails in its fiduciary role.

We cannot afford a Council that blindly condones management irresponsibility.

There is only one choice in each race; Mapp and Taylor.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

THIRD WARD CHOICE

It has been 40 years since I could vote in the 3rd Ward., If I could today there would be only one choice; Adrian Mapp.

Yes Mapp has his faults. The greatest one is his ego. The other is that he is a professional politician. The later is truly not a fault unless it is dominated by ego.

On the other hand, Mapp has a greater knowledge of city government rules, regulations and finances than anyone else in the community. That in itself is reason to return him to the Council. Without him on the Council I am afraid that there would be a majority who if spoken to would give away the kitchen sink. I do not believe that he will sell out the public.

Abdul-Haqq is a very nice man who I highly respect for his commitment to youth and the appearance of Plainfield. But it was obvious at the Candidates’ Forum that he was out of his depth. If perhaps he should be elected he would be eaten alive by the sharks on the Council and in Administration.

For Plainfield to remain with even a minimal spark of life as a functioning community it is essential to re-elect Adrian Mapp.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

THE PULPIT DOES NOT BELONG IN GOVERNMENT

One week to making an important decision about the future of Plainfield. This year’s Democrat Primary election although tainted with confusing political alliances will perhaps be the greatest indicator of how the voting residents feel about their home.

Again and again I repeat that I have steadfast conviction that religious leaders should not hold elected office. In an earlier blog I have explained my reasoning.

This country was founded with the concept that there should be a separation of church and state. It matters not what the religion espoused by the leader; the various Protestant sects, Catholic, Orthodox Judaism, Reformed Judaism Shiite Islam, Sunni Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism all will promote their own beliefs when controversial legislation is in issue.

Rev. Brown’s campaign is based on the fact that she is a minister. Her mail literature emphasizes her on the pulpit in a montage which I believe is suppose to show the President and our Senator standing along with her.

This flyer starts with THE OBAMA TEAM and list to reelect President Obama, Senator Menedez ,Congressman Holt, and elect Councilwoman Rev. Tracy Brown. Absent is her ticket running mate CouncilPresident Adrian Mapp. : Green is out Robinson-Briggs is in.

Her credits note service on the BOE, during a period marked by turmoil and lowering standards.

She at present is still a Commissioner of the PMUA. Although she was absent when the former Director and assistant Director were vote million dollar pay off; she did approve of “arbitration”!

Neither was fired without cause. Both resigned and took their terminal owed benefits. There was no moral or legal additional fund owed them. The Commissioners should have denied outright any payout even though they would have sued. Since there was no contract basis for their suit they had little chance to beat an honest defense.

She is for “streamline city budget” whatever that means since the present Administration led by her personal friend the Mayor has repeatedly submitted an incorrect and often underfunded budget. See this year’s reports.

It would be space consuming to add more reasons why this candidate should not be placed in a position to govern our city.

The choice is clear vote for Roni Taylor.

Monday, May 28, 2012

From Belgium

Dear Friends,

Like every year, European people are presents for the Memorial Day . Young, old, Girls and boy from Belgium, France, Holland, England and USA hundreds personnes spend thed this day together . Prayer and souvenir are the two words of this moment . Twice a year we have the opportunity to show to the USA that our heroes are not fogotten . They are still in our heart .

God Bless America

S/Sgt Dominique Potier
Belgium Army


Memorial Day

Click on the link to view pictures.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

THIS WEEKEND

I had just gotten out of my car in the supermarket parking lot when a man stopped and asked “You were in the Airborne”?’

No he was not a miracle worker or a psychic. My car has for years had a rear large bumper sticker which reads “Proud To Be Airborne with pictures of a parachute, a helicopter, and a glider. But this was for the first time in many years that anyone had mentioned it.

Yes, I told him, and in answer to a further query I said WWII from the Bulge, across the Rhine by glider and into Berlin. We then parted.

But this brought back membranes of what this weekend stands for; and those who have fallen in the service of our country. Especial memories of the 7 Doctors/Dentist in my Regimental Medical detachment who went to Europe and the three that never returned.

Vague memories of the other officer friends that lost their lives in combat, and especially memories of the 33 officers and GIs killed in a glider training accident in England when the tail fell off an English Glider in flight. Memories of Medical School classmates who died at Normandy. Memories of High School friends who perished during that war.

Gratitude for those who served in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf as well as the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, whose sacrifices helped preserve for us the freedoms and liberties that even some of our fellow countrymen, would destroy.

That includes that precious right to express our opinions for and against our political leaders and above all the freedom of all to choose them.

Although I have been critical of the habit of opening meetings with a pledge of allegiance to the Flag as a symbol of the nation; I salute because it represents the meaning of the sacrifices of those we memorialize this weekend.

I do not and will not criticize those whose religious beliefs prohibit the pledge to the Flag as a matter of idol worship. I decry the belief that saluting the Flag or standing during the playing of the national anthem is an indication of “loyalty, for many of those who do so belong to groups that would obliterate the rights granted under the Constitution and Amendments especially the Bill of Rights. And above all I find it incongruous that some who’s religious and political belief would divide the United States in separate ethnical nations but stand although not saluting the Flag and hope to be inconspicuous.

If the last group would prefer to sit, the First Amendment gives them that right as citizens, and I would defend them (10:10PM )

Yes when we enjoy this long weekend we should give thanks for those who have made sure that we do not live in nations like Syria ,or Iran, or Nazi Germany, or any of the others that restrict human rights. We should dedicate ourselves to uphold the rights of all who live here irregardless of religious, ethnic,or national origins.

While reading a book Sat.night I suddenly realized that I am recalling events of 68 years ago. How many of you were yet born?

Friday, May 25, 2012

ABOUT THE BUDGET

Someone berated ME for not attending the Budget hearing meetings. I responded that it was a waste of my time. Events as reported this Friday May25 in both Plaintalker II and Plainfield Today prove the accuracy of my reasoning.

The 2012 Fiscal Budget was present for public hearing and receipt by the Council at the April 9th Council meeting. It had been submitted on the last legal day the State had permitted for 2012.

If memory serves me right Director of Finance and Administration Restaino admitted that it had not been finished until just before the Council meeting. The Video's of the April Agenda and Business meetings if unedited will confirm the validity of this statement.

Administration was under a legal deadline to present a budget 4 months into the fiscal year so some one just threw in numbers. Once again the City was without responsible financial officers. The CFO had departed, the new (again) City Administrator had arrived on board just early this year and would have had little time to review fiscal matters from all of 2011, including the second half of FY2011 which ended in June and the 6months interim fiscal period.

The only three persons that could have knowledge to prepare a proper budget were; The Mayor, perhaps the Corporation Counsel, and in the absence of a City Administrator the Director of Finance and Administration.

The Mayor has shown a complete disregard for fiscal controls, apparently she feels her title makes her the most qualified to spend the taxpayers money even when funds are not available

The Corporation Counsel's expertice in legal matters and a 90 day stint as Acting City Administrator as well as his pending position as CEO of PMUA are his credentials.

I am not sure that except for his long time association with this administration as Director of Community Development** a Division of Public Works and Urban Development ; Al Restaino qualifications as Director of Administration and Finance is open to scrutiny. Incidentally since he is concurrently filling both posts; is he being paid accordingly? The description of Community Development is below**.

As I write this it has become apparent that the residents, taxpayers and renters will suffer because except for a few brief moments in the past six years there has been no one competent to be in charge of Plainfield's 72+million dollar budget.

Perhaps as Mr. Darden repeatedly advocates it is past time to have the State do an audit and take an active part in the City's fiscal affairs.

Plainfield can not continue as a place to live under present circumstances. It is possible to make sure things to not get worse by voting responsibly this June 5th. There can be no other choice than Mapp and Taylor no matter what your personal feelings are.



**The City of Plainfield Office of Community Development administers the following programs:
I. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program

The CDBG Program which is funded through Union County is designed to:
  • Eliminate conditions detrimental to health, safety and public welfare.
  • Reconstruct, replace, rehabilitate, acquire or construct facilities, including; street, water, sewer, fire protection, recreational, parking, neighborhood centers and barrier free facilities.
  • Conserve and expand the City’’s housing stock.
  • Assist in the conservation, expansion and construction of commercial and industrial facilities.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

FOR FRIDAY

50% of the OH Hellers will be here Friday; stopping at Italian Village for lunch before debarking here. That will not be enough for competition which is best with five players but possible with four. Of course they are bringing my grandson-in-law's niece with them as a graduation present from High School to show her the Big Apple. She could be a ringer.

Anyhow any blogging till late Tuesday will be catch as catch can. Have a safe Holiday weekend

9:30 AM: Busy morning but hope to post a brief comment on the Budget by noon or ASAP. If unable there will be a longer one Saturday post noon.

FORUM IMPRESSIONS

Unlike Bernice aka Plaintalker II I have only on a memo size pad 8 pages of notes. I may be able to decipher my doctors hand writing and not think they are of the “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” messages.

Seriously both PLAINFIELD TODAY (Dan Damon) and PLAINTALKER II (Bernice) have covered the responses in detail and to repeat them verbatim would be redundant. If you have not read their two blogs; do so. I will comment on the overall remarks of the candidates.

Mapp;; He reiterated His published statement that the ER was not enough and was in favor of something he referred to as “Quality Health Care”. He again mentioned the need of “community input” which was previously the subject of his blog. That selected committee would be meaningless without political support at all levels.

As to a “perceived conflict” with the Mayor” he noted that 1604 Administration sponsored resolutions had been passed by the Council in the last 3+ years, and that the number vetoed or not passed in the Council was only a few. He did not mention that they involved critical polices.

He did recommend reconsideration of last year’s vetoed Recreation Committee (Commission) that would be independent and superior to the Recreation Division.

Mapp has published his positions on economic development, the PMUA, and the Library

Taylor wondered how anyone on public service could not discuss possible “conflict of interest” referring to Reverend Brown's refusal to talk about the PMUA. She noted that we should try to get an acute care facility but offered no road plan. She supported the Council’s investigation of the PMUA a process which seems to have been lost in administrative bureaucracy. Regarding Quality of life she called for better police presence. She strongly supported adequate funding for the Library.

Rev. Brown again ducked any. discussion that reflected on the PMUA She said that her remarks about the Muhlenberg property was due to her not having done her due diligence but she was prepared to answer now.

Brown is not in favor of the apartment plans but was in favor of a health facility there. She did not elucidate on that point. On Quality of Life issues she talked about a youth center and various non profit and church supported programs for seniors.

Among her other low points was insisting that The Library could function well with the use of volunteers. In response to questions if the candidate could give the time needed for the Council, Rev.Brown noted that she already had 2 meetings a month as a PMUA commissioner so that proved she had the time for Council activities.

As I earlier wrote Rasheed Abdul-Haqq seemed overwhelmed by the questions and the less said the better. His performance no way reflected his contributions as a citizen activist.

I cannot see Haqq as a replacement for Mapp on the Council. In the same vein Rev. Brown’s reticence in answering questions that reflected on PMUA and her lack of understanding of the functioning of the Library and its value to Plainfield along with her admitted lack of knowledge on the Muhlenberg issue make s her a poor candidate to fill the irreplaceable Annie McWilliams's seat..

I will concede that I have previously expressed my antagonism for a religious leader who holds a position of authority in his/her faith from holding an elected public office. That is not reflected in this analysis which is based solely on impressions received Wednesday night.

The answer from this debate is that on June 5th those voters who judge the candidates will split their vote for 1 ticket member and 1 independent. If those who by habit vote a straight party line or an anti-party ticket that I believe this community is in deep ******.

DYSFUNCTIONAL PLAINFIELD

Mick the CAT has a doctor's appointment this morning. That is one of three items that will delay my continuation impression of last nights Candidate's Forum.

The other two you will find in today's hard copy Courier. The first is Mark's report on Tuesday's Mayor sponsored Forum with the "Hispanic Community". Suffice to say,about 40% of the City's population have "Hispanic" origins. This is not a cohesive "community since their nation origins are diverse representing at a minimum 6 different nations.

I will attempt a commentary by tomorrow.

The other issue in the Courier(Hello Mr Darden) is 11 pages of TAX LIENS at a cost of nearly $18,000.00 , A quick glance indicates that over 95% are for defaulted sewer charges. The same quick glance reveals that there are 41 different tax "liens" against Dornoch Plfd, LLC(Monarch). representing a total of about $51,000.00. I surmise that these are for "rented units not sold condos.

There are some prominent names including one for a John G Campbell for $7948.00 for both taxes and sewer for an Arlington Ave property as well as at least two against the City !!!

The fact that most are for PMUA charges specifically the Sewer fees is significant. Unanswered is why the City acts as a collection agent for PMUA, treat the sewer charges in the same manor as taxes? And we can't deduct the cost from our income tax returns which we could when the municipality was responsible for the service.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

CANDIDATES FORUM

Sadly the FOSH voters forum took place last night with over a 100 residents in attendance.

The participants were the Democrat Candidates for the At Large seat and for the 3rd Ward seat: respectfully The Reverend Tracy Brown , Roni Taylor and Adrian Mapp, Rasheed Habdul-Haqq.

Brown and Mapp have the Committee’s endorsement; while Taylor and Abdul-Haqq are running as independents. This makes for a weird ticket since Rev. Brown is the Mayor’s friend and Mapp and the Mayor are bitter antagonists.

I am not planning to go into overall answers to all the questions. Unfortunately Haqq’s performance was substandard. In this observer's view Haqq's repeated references to a permanent Fee Market at the Wood site (Grant and South Second) suggested a poor concept for economic development. He was obviously very uncomfortable with the format.

For this first report on the Forum I consider the grading of the participant’s performances as :
  • · Mapp…B+#
  • · Taylor B
  • · Brown B-*
  • · Haqq D

*Rev.Brown refused on legal advice to address any questions referring to the PMUA. The question was about a conflict of interest issue. In her closing remarks she did refer to it as that unnamed entity which should not be an election issue. Where I to take into account this action her rating would have been at best a C

I will go into more detail comments later,but I wish to post this for the morning.

This was added at 11:45,
# 7:AM; I felt that Mapp only rated a B+ not an A because +although his thoughts were well organized they represented no new positions. The nature of the questions asked did not help-more later.