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.

12 comments:

  1. For this we spent $200,000 on a concession stand?

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  2. Doc,

    I was feeling a bit under the weather last night. I didn't have the energy to even respond to the foolishness of a bunch of embittered former part-time employees (as well as the former mayor) as they went on and on in their tirade. One even tried to insinuate that the rec division was going after basketball--not true. This is how demagogues operate--they spout nonsense and half-truths--playing to a television-viewing audience, and they waste the time of the residents and the council.

    As you noted, Ms. Jordan stood and spoke about the way the two groups were trying to resolve their differences--she was then blindsided by the other two speakers, who said they could not work with the other group. So, we see CLEARLY that this is not about "the kids," but rather about "childish" adults.

    Jason Greer also said that he, as representative of the former Negro League folks, was reaching out to MLB folks for sponsorship and that they would just be having baseball clinics this year and would be focused on next year. They want to keep the identity that they have developed over the past three years, and they will build for next year.

    That should have ended the discussion. Why, then, is the public's time taken up with this "discussion" item? I knew the moment I saw it on the council agenda that it would be a way to allow politics (as the ridiculous attacks on Mayor Mapp, the recreation superintendent, and other employees can attest) and bitterness to poison the atmosphere. I was not wrong--the usual folks came before the mic with the same old tired attacks.

    I, for one, am insulted by one speaker's insinuation that our children are would-be criminals who, if they didn't have baseball, would be swinging bats and assaulting people. What a disgusting way to characterize the young people in your own city. He seems to subscribe inherently racist notions of black criminality that one would expect him to deride. Offensive and insulting. Our kids deserve better.

    I know that I will be attacked for this commentary, Doc. I am used to it. I just hate when the commenters state that they are defending "the kids," when in fact they are trying to defend an insupportable status quo that doled out patronage jobs for themselves and politically-motivated attacks on others. If they really cared about "the kids," they would be volunteering on behalf of those kids. All the crocodile tears shed look really fake when one considers that those speakers were paid for their work--they didn't work for free. Regarding Hannah Atkins Park--the renovations and safety upgrades should be finished soon--one speaker even tried to turn that into a political attack--the children they purport to care about so much need safe spaces--and they are attacking upgrades and renovations that should have been dealt with years ago? The political nonsense, egged on by some of my colleagues, is sad to see.

    Recreation is designed to serve the needs of all the residents of Plainfield--children and adults (including our sizable senior population). I look forward to the programs that will reach more of our residents.

    Rebecca

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  3. It sounds like the adults are doing this for themselves and not the children and if they spend as much time raising money, they'd be solvent by now. It's also interesting that Sharon is still trying to hide her dirt under the rug. If the city pays for on league they will eventually have to pay for all of them to be fair. I want the kids to have sports, but not using my tax dollars. Rivers seems to still be working for Sharon and Jerry and trying to help discredit the current administration. I wish she was more professional. I'm sorry to see some people on the City Council are not making Plainfield look good.

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  4. Where are these people at the Board of Ed meetings?

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    1. Unfortunately, when it comes to the public schools the majority of Plainfielders only care about sports. Would have loved to see more parents advocating for their children in regard to the upcoming PARCC assessment.

      All the basketball games have been well attended.

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  5. The Council can choose to amend the budget to provide funding for baseball in Recreation; the mayor is under no obligation to appropriate it for that purpose, and hopefully he will not. Bob's comments above are on point.

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  6. The same old tired people attempting to do the same old tired thing... and the same old tired people on City Council perpetuating it...and the same old tired Sharon attempting to hide her corrupt administrations misdeeds... Rivers and Co want it to continue and so it shall.. I wish there was an ounce of honesty in the group to at least say, "Hey, screw the kids, this is about us lining our pockets and we'll use them every chance we get to make a buck off the city".. at least that would be honest. Rivers, you and your buddies are class acts.

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  7. There is one correction to Old Doc’s report. I was not representing QCBL. Council president Rivers requested my participation in trying to work out the baseball situation. I met with the group last Thursday and to say I was blindsided was true but I was stunned by the reversal of what I thought was a mutual agreement. We had what I considered a productive meeting in the short time (one hour) that we had to plan although the extra guests from the “negro league” gave me reason to pause. QCBL was already prepared to go it alone but agreed to the merge to benefit all the children who want to play and it was only going to be for the spring season (March-June). After that the two leagues could go their separate ways but I was foolishly hoping they would remain together.
    I saw two of our appointed executive board members at the Frontiers breakfast. Not a word of concern was mentioned. I saw most of the participants from the meeting before the
    Council meeting started. Not a word was mentioned of the change of heart. I asked “Rev” Greer if he wanted to speak first since he was one of the co-chairs but he told me to go on knowing I was going to report on the successful merging of the two leagues.
    So I don’t know if their intent was to make a fool of me but it proved something else very clearly instead. I said when I gave the history of youth baseball in Plainfield at the agenda meeting that when someone says “it’s about the kids” it rarely is.
    Something I noticed with all the turmoil in this world. There is a mentality of those who have their own determined vision and have no concern or care for the destruction of innocents that suffer from their fallout. This vendetta that the “negro league” has against this administration will be the downfall of youth baseball in Plainfield. Parents I’ve spoken to don’t want any part of the drama and have been going elsewhere. It is truly sad.
    Nancy Jordan
    Just tried to help.

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  8. addendum to my previous comment. QCBL is a good organization that has been through a lot under the previous administration. I have hope in them to build a bigger and stronger program without the fear of an administration trying to destroy them. Any negative comments based on misinformation should be taken as just that-misinformation.
    Nancy Jordan

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  9. Thank Nancy, I did not understand thaht you were acting as a facilitater although I thought you were speaking for the combined group.

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    1. I was reporting the results of our meeting. I did accept the co-treasurer position because QCBL's treasurer has been wrongly slandered for misappropriation of funds. I don't blame her for not wanting to be involved with people who publicly accuse without facts.
      But for now I'm just a free agent once again.
      Nancy

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  10. If the playing field is free to use then why can't the baseball team's hold fund raisers to pay for the uniforms? The concession stand is there also there for use to help the teams earn money for their teams. We need to teach our children that if you want something you have to earn and work for it! For some reason many Plainfielder's think that City Hall is their personal piggy bank.

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