Friday, August 31, 2012

THE MAYOR'S MEETING

Since none of the bloggers were able to attend the Mayor's Town Hall Meeting I have in the interest of public information taken the liberty to post this letter which I received from an attendee.

Dear Doctor Yood:

As the expression goes, YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP.

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs called a forum for residents of the Third and Fourth Wards for tonight (Thursday, 30 August) at 6 p.m. Because I was out of town last Thursday when the mayor held the comparable meeting for the Third and Fourth Wards, I went over to Washington Community School at the appointed time.

This morning on Plainfield Today, Dan Damon had said, “See you there.” He wasn't. Bernice wasn't. You weren't. Maria Pellum wasn't. Nor any of the periodic bloggers, Jackie, Nat, Renata, the Councilors (where did that term originate, anyway?), DaShon, Ronnie, on and on.

So pen and paper in hand, I took notes, initially to grab the info about upcoming events that should interest people who receive the FOSH email newsletters – the art show, the PMUA Environmental Fair, the Historic Plainfield Run, and, yes, good news, the extension of brush and yard waste drop-off at the City Yard on South Avenue, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. To 2:30 p.m., through 7 September..

Now, here's why I want your readers to stay tuned as I natter on. YOU CANNOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP. Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briss, who has announced she will seek her third term as our HEAD OF GOVERNMENT, told us we were lucky that in 2010 “If they (the bad guys) could shoot better, we would have bodies all over the City of Plainfield.” (This reporter asked Martuin Hellwig to confirm this statement. His answer, “You're not going to use that?”)

Resident Roland Johnson pointed out that in 2010 there were shots fired every day and two people shot each week. Asked to confirm this, Hellwig said, “There was a lot of shooting.:

Oh, did I mention that Washington School was locked tight at the start time, and the custodian who answered the door expressed surprise there was a meeting taking place. Peter Briggs had knocked on the door; Dottie G and I were there at 6 p.m. Dottie speculated that I had grown up elsewhere, since I don't function on “Plainfield Time.” Well, Dottie is right that I don't operate on Plainfield time, but wrong on the other statement: I did grow up in Plainfield, as did my Mon and Grandmother.

Others showed up through the evening. By my count, there were 13 individuals in the audience at one time or another.

The Mayor arrived not too long after the starting time, and announced she would wait a few minutes for the crowd to swell (my word, not hers.) She started at 6:15, and promised we would finish at 7:15. (The conclusion came about 8.) The Mayor read through the material I gather from the blogs she delivered a week ago: streets paved, Planning Board passed a capitol budget, Fourth of July Celebration (on 7 July) came in about $400 under budget, the Administration wants to provide a concession stand at Milt Campbell Field (has grants for some of the costs, but there will be City money needed), (no mention of concession stand at Rock Avenue ball fields – my interjection.) Community garden in boxes on Lee Place. Mapping of Brownfields. New data on homes in the flood zones. Drop in Part One crimes.

Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig listed the seven categories of Part One crimes, the most serious, and said they are down 116 from the same date last year, or 8-9 percent. “Last year there were 10 homicides” at this point on the calendar, this year there have been three. Hellwig said the City is installing “several new sensors” to the SpotShotter system, he will take part in a webinar on new software for SpotShotter (my question – increased cost?) Hellwig said CCTV (closed circuit television) is coming to the Downtown; that 10 police recruits have graduated from the Police Academy and will finish their training by the end of the year, another six are entering the Academy.

The Mayor said Jim Spear, president of Netherwood Heights Neighbors, had asked at the previous forum about “traffic-calming devices” in conjunction with the South Avenue reconstruction project; he received a call from Eric Jackson, city head of all that stuff. (Not there last night; represented by Cynthia Smith for the Engineering Department.) (Other administrators on hand: City Administrator Eric Berry, and City Solicitor David Minchello – whose firm is in Union. Smith spoke briefly. No word from Berry or Minchello – got to wonder how much Minchello bills per hour to sit mute at Washington School. He does smile, though.)

The Mayor said another question at the previous forum concerned the PMUA study committee: the Administration has done its part; waiting on the Council. (Where was Annie or Adrian or Rebecca or Corey, or, for that matter, Bill or Bridget or Vera?)

Mayor Briggs touted the clean-up of City Hall, and urged everyone to visit.

The Mayor asked the administrators present to comment. Responding to my announcement about the FOSH Celebration of Animals on 30 September at Leland Avenue Park, Director Hellwig said he was glad to know there would be spiritual leaders blessing the animals as he has a demonically-possessed bird.

OK. Time for public comment. Made me wish I had brought a stopwatch: my rough guess, without one, is that the Mayor spoke 80 percent of the evening.

Dottie G poimted out that the meeting about the closing of Muhlenberg Hospital – the Mayor had announced this vaguely – is at City Hall Library on 13 September at 6:30 p.m. Dottie urged everyone to attend..

Roland Johnson asked what the City's Economic Development staff is doing to replace the 1100 jobs lost with the hospital's closing. He then asked if City contracts require hiring Plsinfield residents. After some verbal tap-dancing, the answer wss “no.”

Having drunk Martin Hellwig's Kool-Aid on the decrease in crime, one woman asked why the City “doesn't get the word out” about this vast improvement. The questioner said she doesn't read the papers, doesn't look on the Internet (hyper-local blogs, like yours), but does look at the local cable TV channel. Hellwig said this was his responsibly – he needed to communicate better. (Hullo Director, you were quoted on the front page of The Courier today asking to the public for help in solving a particularly nasty sexual assault, “out in the open on Madison Avenue” (his words.) John Stewart, president of the VanWyck Brooks Historic District, asked why the public, or, at least, the neighbors, hadn't been approached for assistance earlier.. (John also spoke about the positive publicity generated by the VanWyck Brooks Historic District through “This Old House” magazine and TLC on cable.

When a City resident and local Realtor named Robin Bright (spelling uncertain – I'm not paid for this) asked about outsiders' perception of crime in Plainfield, the Mayor talked about the Queen City's “couple of museums,” (news to me – what in addition to Drake House, Mayor? ) ,“the lawns, the mansions, two train stations.”

It was when the issues were crime and gang violence that the Mayor ventured into the thicket of the August, 2010, three-hou4 radio broadcast, - she called it “a wonderful forum” - for which, she said, the City Council had “slammed her.” She noted that the bulk of the cost came from a “donation” (intended for the Fourth of July Parade) .That's when Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs told us we were lucky the bad guys couldn't shoot straight, or, when you woke up and looked out the window, you would have found a dead body in the lawn

.

Reporter's. Note: For That I Should Pay almost $10,000 in property taxes? No body on the lawn when I go out to pick up The Courier, The Ledger and The Times?

The Mayor returned several times to the success of the radio forum, ably assisted by Martin Hellwig, who seemed to confuse the time line between the August, 2010, Al Sharpton Show and the Great North Plainfield IHOP “gang truce” meeting.

Nonetheless, in the year of the GREAT RADIO BROADCAST, the were 10 homicides. Then two years later, Plainfield has experienced the three. Inn my opinion, three is too many (Check out Director Hellwig's pride that Plainfield has suffered fewer homicides than Chicago. Plainfield has a census population of fewer than 50,000; Chicago has almost 3 million residents and 45 million visitors. Plainfield is six square miles; Chicago is 227.63 square miles. Maybe Plainfield needs Elliott Ness, rather than Martin Hellwig. And where is it Director Hellwig lives, where his City Car spends the night? It aint Plainfield. Too much crime, Director?)

There was some unhappiness about the “loiterers” on Front Street (i.e. Latinos). The Mayor, to her credit, said they were “day laborers,” guys looking for work. Someone asked whether “loiterer regulations” could solve the problem. Stewart asked if the people cruising to pick up cheap help might be prosecuted.

To her credit, Her Honor spoke up about the need for people to find work, and the City's efforts to provide an alternative location for these transactions, And she refused to blame any ethnic groups, although this reporter saw no “little brown ATMs” in the audience,

There was more, Old Doc, but I have exercised my opinion., and will stop. Yup, OZ.

Pat Turner Kavanaugh

Thanks Pat; this blogger believes that an informed public is the best bastion of Democracy.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

ROMNEY'S TALK.

The mob arrived at 21.15 hours (that is 9:15 pm for the non military and non European folks).

For at least the next few days it is unlikely there will be a blog, although I will try to opine Mitt's speech. At this moment all I can say is impressive.

Unfortunately I had turned on the TV when Clint Eastwood took over the rostrum. What a ridiculous move. At best it was baaaad comedy.

FYI

Since I posted some of Ryan's statements critical of the President's Administration; I am surprised that I have not heard from that Plainfield "from birth to death Democrat Anonymous" who condemns any blog that contains material which is anti-Obama as racist, bigoted , and the ultimate insult for the writer; a "Republican".

His remarks and those of other speakers in Tampa as will those this coming week in Charlotte should be taken with more than a grain of salt. As Tony Blankley remarked; "The closer one gets to elections or wars, the further one gets from the truth."

With that in mind I am posting this from the Internet: FactCheck.org, the respected veracity project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, had a succinct roundup of most of Ryan’s most significant “false claims and misleading statements.”

The congressman from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee accused Obama of funneling money away from Medicare “at the expense of the elderly.” The website noted that Medicare’s chief actuary says the law “substantially improves” the system’s finances. It also noted that Ryan’s own budget had “embraced the same savings.”

It was a nice rhetorical twist when Ryan called the Medicare plan “the biggest, coldest power play of all.” He didn’t leave any national TV time for his own plan, which eventually would try to move many Americans onto a system of vouchers, would avoid reducing health benefits, as many analysts believe it inevitably would.

Ryan also accused Obama of doing “exactly nothing” when his own bipartisan debt reduction commission came forward with recommendations. What most of the audience couldn’t have known, until the fact checkers set to work, was that Ryan voted against the commission’s plan and encouraged his fellow Republicans to do the same.

Multiple news outlets were particularly dismissive of Ryan’s attempt to hold Obama accountable for the closure of the Janesville, Wisc., auto plant — which he had hoped during the last campaign would remain open for another 100 years. Politifact.org was among the many to rate Ryan’s barb "false," since the plant closed a month before the Democrat took office.

There were other misdirection plays, like when Ryan made it sound like Standard & Poor's downgraded U.S. debt solely because of the president, when the agency actually cited the inability of the two political parties to work together — something Ryan played at least some role in as a GOP leader. The new veep candidate also made it sound like not a dollar of stimulus spending had gone back to any taxpayer, when FactCheck.org pointed out that “more than a quarter of all stimulus dollars went for tax relief for workers."

More long-term inconsistencies — matching current words to past actions — will crop up for Ryan in the coming days. Already on Wednesday, NBC host David Gregory accused the VP pick of “ideological amnesia” for not expressing nearly the same level of deficit concern when President George W. Bush was prosecuting two wars (among other things) at the time of major tax cuts.

Former anchor Tom Brokaw added that there was a time when the same Ryan seemed to have no problem with stimulus spending and expanded government. He voted for both the auto industry bailout and the TARP legislation to bail out financial institutions.

The question is whether the public even accepts the findings of these truth squads anymore. Too many in the audience simply shuck off findings they don't like -- and troll for a Internet, or corner of the Web, that suits their fancy.

Recent days have already seen umpteen outlets knock down a Romney falsehood — that Obama would end work requirements that came with welfare reform. But the GOP ticket and its surrogates have just kept on flogging the claim.


Since the debunking source may be a Democrat I hope there will be similar material after the Democrat Convention.

THE RYAN TALK

Paul Ryan’s talk was as expected two pronged; an introduction of himself to the nation and an attack on the Obama administration. Like all politicians he made no specific mention of programs that the Republicans would advocate if elected.

He attacked this Presidency for not correcting the economic crisis. After nearly 4 years unemployment remains high, college graduates can’t find work in the field for which they trained.

He faulted the administration for a lack of aggressiveness in foreign policy and for a 50% increase in the national debt; from 10 billion to 15 billion.

Ryan did denounce the Bush administrations as well as the Clinton years for their fiscal policies stating: “In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of G.D.P., or less. That is enough.”

His strongest words were about "Obamacare"; a subject that I have strong feelings “Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country.”

“And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly.” referring to a provision of the health law that cuts more than $700 billion in projected spending from the Medicare program.

At the same time he promised that the Republicans would preserve Medicare. It is presumed from previous statements that he is referring to those presently covered and/or eligible, not those who would become eligible in the future.

Please note that I am trying to be neutral in my comments about the speakers at this convention as well as at next week’s Democrat Convention. Subsequently over the weeks prior to the elections I will express opinions on the candidates.

CONVENTION STUFF DAY 2

Inexcusably the Republicans started Condoleezza Rice’s address to the convention over 5 minutes before the major networks began their 10 o’clock coverage. In fact even after they went on the air the channels insisted on their experts vocalizing their nonsense instead of directly broadcasting the words of one of this country's most brilliant women.

One of the truths that history has shown to be fact*; she iterated; "We must work for an open global economy and pursue free and fair trade to grow our exports and our influence abroad," she said. "In the last years, the United States has ratified three trade agreements, all negotiated in the Bush Administration.

"If you are concerned about China's rise, consider this fact: China has signed 15 Free Trade Agreements and is negotiating 20 more," she said. "Sadly we are abandoning the playing field of free trade and it will come back to haunt us."

Rice harped on the theme that each of us can and must help ourselves rather than depend on the government doing it for us. She remarked in referring to her own career “On a personal note, a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham, the most segregated big city in America. Her parents can’t take her to a movie theatre or a restaurant. But they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, she can be president of the United States, and she becomes the secretary of state.” A Republican before Hillary Clinton.

I am trying to digest Paul Ryan’s talk before commenting. I hope to do so later Thursday. If not I do not know when since from later tonight I will be entertaining a daughter, son-in –law, granddaughter, great grandson , myself proclaimed 2020 Olympic gymnastic gold medalist( she is 8), and a family friend. The Ohio gang of four will be leaving on Monday but son-in-law and daughter will be here in various stages until next Sunday.

Do note that I will be giving the same standard of "coverage" next week when the Democrat Convention starts. It will be afterwards that I may express my own convictions.


* It has been acknowledge that the restrictive trade tariffs of the 20s contributed to the great deprerssion.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CONVENTION THOUGHTS

It is a good thing that New Jersey will be a safe state for the President. Tuesday night Ann Romney wowed them. Chris Christi blew his own horn as Keynote Speaker but was forceful in his endorsement of Romney.

The election may be closer than people expect but it would take an unforeseen disaster for Obama to lose New Jersey. Many of the other 49 States are "committed" it is the few swing states that will decide this election.

We must remember that our election system gives proportional electoral votes to each of the of the states. It is the popular vote in each state that counts; not the total popular vote. That may seem wrong, but it truly is a better system of nation wide representation. No state with an overwhelming population can dominate the results. The United States is that; a confederation of individual states each with its own character. It is the parts that make the whole and although many will disagree it is the system that has worked best.

We in Plainfield, in Union County and in New Jersey should pay greater attention to the candidates that are up for election than to the Presidential race.

Monday, August 27, 2012

TUEDAY GAB.

It is still summer and Tuesday; so just a few comments; tonight NJ goes on national TV, Governor Christie is the Repub's keynote speaker. Will it be fire and brimstone or just an extolment of why we need a change.? I will DVR it so if I fall asleep,very likely, I can if I wish listen to it tomorrow.

Due to the competitive lull between the two conventions and Isaac the TV media must be hard put for news for ABC (7) to flash as 'Breaking News" the accident at Park and 7th. Eyewitness gave the impression that the dump truck belonged to PMUA. They did not specifically state so but seem to imply that it was the Utilities vehicle. Turns out that the truck belongs to the BOE.

Along with the news Monday night was the report that the Bayonne BOE has approved lowering the passing grade from a 70 to 65. The reasoning is to give more students the "opportunity to succeed (in school) and have a greater opportunity to participate in after school activities".

I suppose that the score sheet will look better with more entering students graduating. Will Plainfield follow suit? Unlike other states such as New York with its Regents; New Jersey does not have a state standard passing grade. A district could make 50% or even 25% as its level.

And, I thought that the goal of mandatory education was to have a literate population.

LOCAL BETTERMENT ISSUE: Dunellen just received State designation an support for a Transit Village development. Over six/seven years of outside consultants and studies for Plainfield has yielded ZERO results. Chalk that up to this Administrations commitment to improve the city.

MONDAY AM 8/27/12

No Isaac is not responsible for this non-blog. My car is due in the hospital early this morning. It seems that one has to be careful in stopping at a stop sign. Beware of the car behind you. The old fashion rear bumper served a purpose especially at 5 mph.Wraparound i/3rd car panels look pretty and they must help the economy (Republicans take note) but they do not do the job the old timers did.

Many years ago I had a Studebaker Avanti; it was the second one delivered in Central NJ. One day I was hit on the right front fender. That car was one of the first fiber glass bodies made. Instead of a dented mangled fender there were multiple pieces of fiberglass on the street which I picked all of them up.

When I took the car to the body shop I was told that I had done a good thing because they could cement them all back together, which they did. They did not know when they could get a new fender. Do you think anyone would consider doing that today?

This is the anniversary of Irene, and along is coming Isaac. It is the middle of the Hurricane
season . Perhaps it is symbolic that the Republicans would schedule their convention in Florida.
But, the Democrats also goofed and have a conflict in Charlotte NC due to the Labor Day weekend activities. They too will have a shortened convention. We will be spared lots of hot air.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

MEMO

Son and daughter-in-law visiting Saturday. Summer rules this weekend. Can you believe college football this coming weekend?

Please note; I found out that I can accidentally delete forever all comments fpr the past two weeks. Sorry! Also I have no control over those horrible security codes that must be entered.

Friday, August 24, 2012

OZmania tidbits.

Friday in summertime was to be a serious blogging day. There should be no excuse for the doldrums, but life is what it is. Thus after Labor Day and a visit from 40% of great grandchildren we plan to try (key word) posting early every morning.

Great names: “Freeze”, The weatherperson on NY TV;”Tort”, name of one of the partners in a legal firm listed in the August Resolutions.

This coming week was to be dominated by the Republican Convention in Tampa with our Governor as the Key Note Speaker. In a change from the days when the networks made a major issue of the Convention shenanigans the major networks have announce that there will be limited coverage because of “lack of public interest”!.

That may be true. In the mid to late 20th Century conventions the candidates were not selected beforehand and politics was rampant. The “demonstrations” were often spontaneous and viewer fun. Since there is now so little unknown except for some elements of the platform; in recent years those outbreaks have been so orchestrated that they are sterile.

The two most important events about this year’s Republican Convention will be the impact of Isaac and whether the Republican Party will remain a viable force in American politics.

It has been reported that of the ignored speakers will be Mrs. Romney. As the candidates wife I would thing she would be just as important as the Democrat Candidates wife, who happens to be the present “First Lady”.

Politics in Oz will be an ongoing subject for the next 9 months until the Primary 2013 elections. The suspense is over; the Mayor recognizing the City’s need for efficient clean government has succumb to the pressure and announced her intention to run for a third term.

Oz continues to be a subject for prime time TV. Fortunately it is not always bad or bizarre.

Only in Oz would several good Samaritans help a criminal escape from her victim. Overlooked in the laughter is the fact that in OZ there are individuals willing to take the risk and intervene in a criminal act.

It is nice to know that not all Plainfielders are criminals. The Council should pass a resolution in their honor.