Wednesday, January 21, 2015
JANUARY COUNCIL MEETING
It was after midnight when I was finally ready to call it a day. That was when I had finished listening to my ‘taping” of President Obama’s penultimate “State of the Union “address before the combined Houses of Congress.
Why so late? I had made the mistake of attending the Council meeting. No the actual business of the Council which took about a half an hour to accomplish was not the factor that made the meeting a “time mistake”
It was not the first order of business listed as a discussion item by the PBA. That turned out to be the presentation by PBA President Andre Crawford of two needed defibrillators to the Plainfield Rescue Squad.
Instead about 45 minutes was then devoted to the ongoing squabble between two groups wishing to promote youth baseball.
One group the ‘private” independent Queen City Baseball League is activity seeking players for this season. It has a signup fee of $85.00 to pay for uniforms, equipment, officials, insurance and other unstated operating expensive. This league is the direct successor to the teams sponsored in the past first by Kiwanis, then by the PAL, and then successfully up to three years ago when the Recreation Division decided to sponsor its own league under the direction of Roland Muhammad. QCBL came often to Council complaining that they were being shut out of use of the City’s facilities including fields and the concession stand especially at times that were ideal for youth baseball.
Last year the Mapp administration insisted on a combination of the two leagues. However at the Agenda Setting Session Representatives of the Plainfield NEGRO Baseball League mad a plea for money support up to $30,000.00 from Recreation although the present Administration had made it clear that they would not support any sport program over and above providing facilities etc.
The two leagues were instructed by Council President River s to meet together with City Administrator Smiley and Acting Director of Public Works Watson and work out their problems.
Apparently they did so with former Mayor Robinson-Briggs in attendance as an interested party.
The subject was on the Agenda as a Discussion item and the first speaker who represented the QCBL remarked that they had come to an agreement for the Plainfield Baseball League with co officials in important posts such as the Treasurer since finances was the subject of dispute.
Then came the bombshell, that first speaker was blindsided by individuals including Reverend Greer who said that there was no agreement and asked for the Council to provide financial support for their league which they claimed had over 300 registrants last year at $25. Each.
Other proponents for the Plainfield Negro Baseball league including Roland Muhammad continued the talks for about 45 minutes. It is apparent that Council President Rivers actively supports them and although continued mention was made that it was for Plainfield’s youth there was no question that this is also a political attack on Mayor Mapp and his Administration.
At the end of the meeting in the Public Comments section the PNBL supporters again for another 30 minutes repeated their complaints, all were given extended time by the Council. Muhammad once again went into a tirade during which he directed an inappropriate remark at Councilman Storch.
The final supporter speaker was Robinson-Briggs who said the money could be found in various places including dropping the “ridiculous” forensic audit of the Recreation Division during her administration.