Sunday, December 31, 2017

BYE BYE 2017

 A face that only a parent could love


 The coldest and last day of 2017.Monday is January 1, 2018 and Dawg and I wish everyone a healthy and prosperous year.
  Jan.1 is also the reorganization meeting of the Council at which time besides the state of the city address by the Mayor who is starting a new term; certain housekeeping item such as the swearing in of newly elected individuals as well as the appointment of various civic job holders which are subject to the Council approval.
  This includes a resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement between the City of Plainfield and David l. Minchello, esq. to perform legal services as corporation counsel for the city of Plainfield. , and a. resolution granting the advice and consent to the reappointment of Richard J. Gartz as chief financial officer for the City of Plainfield.
  I was unable to find any reference to the City Administrator or any of the Department Heads. I would assume that their appointments are for the duration of a Mayor’s term in office which for Mayor Mapp would expire 12/31 2017. He is being sworn in as Mayor for 4 years on 1/1/2018  which is in effect a new person so I would consider that those positions are vacant and in need of (re)appointments. Or perhaps they will not be filled since the Mayor is now receiving compensation greater than some neighboring full time Mayors.
  I was unable to open any of the Resolutions so I could not view the Council meeting schedule for 2018. I have heard from a reliable source that there will be instead of the customary vacation time July/August combined meetings that there are now FIVE combined agenda fixing and business meetings. This Council is certainly earning its self-voted raise.
  Transparency is not a  fact for Trump’s Administration and Plainfield’s government in 2018

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017


At this time of the year we all can take a break for something light and non-political. Thanks to my nephew David who had fwrd this.

Meet Walter  Barnes
   All golfers should live so long as to become this kind of old man! 
   Toward the end of the Sunday service, the Minister asked, "How many of you have forgiven your enemies?" 
   80% held up their hands.  The Minister then repeated his question. 
   All responded this time, except one man, Walter Barnes.  
   "Mr. Barnes, are you not willing to forgive your enemies?"  
   "I don't have any," he replied gruffly.  
   "Mr. Barnes, that is very unusual.  How old are you?"  
   "Ninety-eight," he replied  The congregation stood up and clapped their hands.  
   "Oh, Mr. Barnes, would you please come down in front and tell us all how a person can live ninety-eight years and not have an enemy in the world?"  
   The old golfer tottered down the aisle, stopped in front of the pulpit, turned around, faced the congregation, and said simply;
  "I outlived all them assholes."
Then he calmly returned to his seat.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


 Dentist appointment this am and attempt to get glasses for computer reading, so no substantial blog.
There will only be scattered blogs these two weeks due to every one being busy with holidays, and family.
 Of note House passed that Tax reform bill. From USA Today memo"
 "Tuesday’s 227-to-203 vote in the House split mostly along party lines, with 12 Republicans joining all House Democrats in opposing the bill; the measure is expected to squeak through the Senate with a narrow GOP majority on Tuesday evening" Some Republicans put principles above party!
 Freeholders raisess for themselves and staff was along increase of living lines not as our Council and Mayor acted.Shame Shame
 According to a Medscape article:
A senior official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did advise her colleagues not to use seven words in budget documents, according to a source close to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to which the CDC belongs. However, although this source confirmed earlier published reports in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other news outlets citing the seven words, he emphasized that no "directive" was issued.
Three of the words, "diversity," "entitlement," and "vulnerable," were mentioned in a document that went out across all HHS agencies, the source said. "Fetus" and "transgender" "came up" in the CDC briefing, he added, and work-arounds were suggested for "evidence-based" and "science-based."
However, the source stressed, "there wasn't a directive not to use" any of the words. "It was suggested you try to avoid them. But if you feel it's necessary to use them, you can."
 For interesting reading and an insight into DC politics, try this article  I hope it works.
  To night is the last for Hanukkah, we can now concentrate on religious and secular holidays such as   X-mas, New Years and Kwanzaa.

Monday, December 18, 2017


Tom Kaercher asked me to post this letter. Too bad no other group of
concerned citizens have risen in  protest to the Council's actions about
thei rs and the Mayor's stipends as well as the SID takeover and the 

An Letter to Plainfield (NJ) Mayor and Council:    December 12, 2017

The City of Plainfield has worked hard to change the negative image
that has followed Plainfield for decades.   Despite a beautiful
housing stock, diverse population, and active business district, with
the reelection of Mayor Mapp in November 2017 a series of reckless,
one-sided and arrogant decisions were made.

Among the three most recent, and divisive, decisions pushed through
against the will of residents/voters are as follows:

1. The takeover by city/council of the SID, the very active and
financially independent association of business owners that has
thrived for decades, bringing positive attention to business
development and reaching out to residents with activities for all
ages.    The many accomplishments of the SID were disregarded, and
will cost taxpayers dearly as this becomes a government, rather than
private, entity.
2. The increase of Mayor and council salaries was introduced one day
post election.    Despite cogent arguments made by residents, the
Mayor will now receive $75,000, up from $35,000, for his part-time
job.   Council is $25,000 from $10,000 for part-time positions.
3. At the same December 11, 2017 meeting, a deer kill was announced
with no previous notice to the public, based solely on the desire of
council members to mollify a handful of residents whose main complaint
was that deer are eating their shrubs.    This action is over the will
of the majority who have enjoyed the biodiversity of wildlife, with
children and adults alike delighting in watching these graceful
creatures as part of the overall peaceful living environment.

We, as the Animal Initiative Committee, are responding to the last matter..

Union County is always looking for more outlets to satisfy hunters,
and they found a mark in Plainfield.

The catch basin (watershed) on  Cushing Road has long been off-limits
to human interference.     It protects wildlife that has been
displaced from surrounding areas due to development and destruction of
environment.   The development on Cushing Road has done the damage to
environment, why are we not addressing that?

No creature should be killed for eating flowers.   There are many ways
to live peacefully, and still enjoy the beauty of nature.

The council has refused to reach out to the very resources in their
own districts that help resolve issues in a humane, non-lethal manner.
     We also have access to outside resources willing to come in to
address concerns.

For over 18 years, the Animal Initiative Committee has presented a
yearly Celebration of Animals that attracts people from the City and
surrounding areas.    It is a joyous time, filled with educational
programs on how to live in harmony with all beings.     We have a
flyer for distribution on living with wildlife.    Despite invitations
each year, neither Mayor nor council attends.

We received positive feedback last year with the plight of a dog left
in the elements.    As a result, an ordinance that brings attention to
care for animals was established.    Plainfield was praised for its
animal friendly resolution.

This deer kill will divide community and neighbors, and is in direct
opposition to the Mayor's  “One Plainfield” theme.     Nothing divides
like animal issues, as evidenced in the past by the dog situation.
This decision to kill will have far reaching effects outside of

We urge you to rescind the invitation to the County for this kill.
We do not want the county dictating how our animals are treated, as
they have a singular method that is killing.

We are available to discuss and recommend other methods, and end with
the following Mission Statement, which should be a resolution of

"Be it resolved, the Animal Initiative Committee is opposed to any
violent or lethal methods designed to target wildlife and other
animals on any properties:   private, municipal, state or county in
and around the City of Plainfield".

And finally,

“Never, never be afraid to do what is right, especially if the well
being of a person or animal is at stake.   Society's punishments are
small, compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the
other way. “    (Martin Luther King, Jr)

Animal Initiative Committee of Plainfield

Marie Ansari
Gloria Binkowski, VMD
MaryEllen Chanda
Shirley Edwards
Thomas Kaercher
Shannon Pacheco

Sunday, December 17, 2017


"Have You No Sense of Decency?" These words uttered by Boston lawyer Joseph Welch to Senator Joseph R. McCarthy” on June 9, 1954, may mean nothing to today’s politicians locally and nationally or to today’s public who condone raping the taxpayer’s money.

Certainly that may explain why Council Vice President Goode had the Council to reconsider and pass an ordinance raising the stipend for Councilors after it had been defeated.

Of course since he had been on court on a DUI charge earlier that day may have something to do with his actions. One should read the article in Saturday’s Star Ledger to judge his ethical competency to serve as a public official. You made read an electronic version in Dan’s Clips. Or that of the Councilors who voted themselves and the Mayor substantial raises

Then there is the GOP scam in about how the tax bill will help the middle class. Any benefit for them has a sunset of 8 years. But even with that we in NJ will be taxed more because we lose the property and state taxes (income and sales) deductions. Even with a sop of $10000.00 maximum we will be paying a double tax. Also as the bill is written those with incomes below 70K will pay more in about 2 years.

According to the WSJ chart I who have to use income from the sale of stock to meet living expenses will pay 4% more on the latest levels. See chart.
Oh can you believe this: “Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden terms are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of “science-based” or “evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered”. Sounds like a Kimmel skit.

“The Trump administration is planning to disband the Labor Department division that has policed discrimination among federal contractors for four decades, according to the White House’s newly proposed budget, part of wider efforts to rein in government programs that promote civil rights.” That will help the patronage scammers.

The craziness of this administration goes on and on.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


The Problem of Content Discrimination
   Much of American free speech law is premised on the principle that government—whether it is the executive branch, the legislature or the courts—cannot make distinctions based on the content of someone’s speech, especially if the distinction is based on preferring one point of view over another. Thus, although the views the white supremacists espoused in their August marches were as wrong and false as they were offensive, American free speech law reflects what Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell observed in a 1974 libel case: “Under the First Amendment there is no such thing as a false idea.”
  The opening qualification of this pronouncement is important. Justice Powell was no relativist or post-modernist. He believed there were true and false facts, and true and false ideas. But he believed as well, along with his Supreme Court colleagues, that the dangers of allowing officials to determine the truth or falsity of expression outweighed the dangers stemming from the proliferation of false facts and false ideas.
  Here again reasonable minds and reasonable nations have disagreed, but the aversion to content discrimination remains firmly embedded in American constitutional law. However false and harmful white supremacist ideology is, American free speech doctrine worries even more about granting officials the power to determine which ideas are false and which are harmful. If today’s officials can suppress coalitions on the right, then tomorrow’s will have the power to suppress a united left. Republicans in power would be able to suppress Democrats, capitalists would be able to suppress socialists, and vice versa, depending on how the political pendulum swings or the wheel of the world turns.
  Or at least so American law has long held. Other countries are not nearly so worried about the discretion of officials to determine the falsity of white supremacy or the harm of anti-Semitism, but the American approach—encapsulated by the phrase “content discrimination” and the traditional American fear of it—is to the contrary.
The Public Forum
   Leading up to the August Unite the Right rally, the city tried to relocate the planned demonstration away from Emancipation Park (formerly Robert E. Lee Park) downtown to McIntire Park on the north end. More than content neutrality came into play to thwart the attempt. The city also had to overcome the strong constitutional protection of a “public forum.” Although the city owns Emancipation Park, the Supreme Court has held since the 1930s that municipal authorities cannot close streets, sidewalks and parks to parades, picketing, demonstrations or other forms of speech.     When the journalist A.J. Liebling observed a century ago that “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” he reminded us that free speech requires not only a speaker but also the resources to make that speech possible. The same holds true for picketing, parading, rallying or demonstrating, all considered forms of speech. The participants need the physical space to perform their activity, and so the First Amendment requires the authorities to keep public sites open to them.
  This mandatory right of access is not absolute. Cities may adopt reasonable “time, place and manner” regulations, but such regulations must be content neutral. Charlottesville may regulate noise levels, time of day and size of crowd, for example, but it must do so without regard to the views of the speakers. Thus, when U.S. District Judge Glen E. Conrad ruled that the organizers of the Unite the Right rally could not be compelled to move their event to McIntire Park, he based his ruling in part on the fact that only the Unite the Right demonstrators, and not those who were demonstrating against them in other parks, had been asked to move. For Judge Conrad, the city had drawn a distinction based on the views expressed and thus violated the First Amendment in a way that an order to move all the demonstrations would not have.
  The recent Charlottesville events bring these difficult questions to the fore, and existing law provides little guidance.
  The arrival of torch-carrying neo-Nazis to Grounds Aug. 11 presented a more nuanced public forum issue. As a public institution on state land, the University’s open spaces are subject to the First Amendment, but they are also subject to regulation, so long as it is content-neutral regulation. As such, the open areas on Grounds can be considered “limited purpose public forums.” The administration may, for example, limit the use of its property to those who have some connection to the University, but it cannot favor certain connections over others based on a group’s views or politics. So it was that the University found itself forced to allow demonstrations by those whose views essentially the entire University community found abhorrent.
  Since then, the Board of Visitors has put tighter regulations in place, including reclassifying the Academical Village as a “facility,” subject to a permitting process and firearms prohibitions. In enforcing those rules, the University will need to treat all would-be demonstrators alike, regardless of whether their grievance is anti-Semitic, anti-Trump, anti-war, pro–civil rights, or even anti–the serving of meat in University cafeterias.
The Problem of the Hostile Audience
   The Unite the Right protesters drew counterprotesters or, in the parlance of First Amendment analysis, the speakers drew listeners. The clashes that ensued between them raise the constitutional issue of the “hostile audience.” Before the civil rights and anti-war demonstrations of the 1960s, the solution was to restrict speech likely to spark violence between speakers and audiences. Since the 1960s, courts have rejected that approach as empowering a hostile audience to silence contrary but protected speech, known as the “heckler’s veto.” Courts and law enforcement alike now accept that their first responsibility is to protect speakers exercising their First Amendment rights, even if the rights being exercised are racist or otherwise hateful and harmful.
   Although the law is now clear about the initial responsibilities of officials and law enforcement, it is less clear about when, how and on what basis authorities can step in to restrict the speaker or force an end to a previously constitutionally protected event. When we learn that University of California, Berkeley recently spent almost $2 million to protect just two highly controversial right-wing speakers, and that it cost Charlottesville more than $30,000 to provide law enforcement and related services for the July Klan rally and another $70,000 for the Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12, we wonder just how much a city, a state or a university is required to do. Must they call upon the state police before disallowing or closing an event? Must they ask the governor to deploy the National Guard? How quickly can they close an event when actual violence seems imminent? There is also an evidentiary issue: Can a speaker’s past record of inciting violence be used to restrict the person’s upcoming appearances in a way that would otherwise be impermissible?
  The recent Charlottesville events bring these difficult questions to the fore, and existing law provides little guidance. The issue is not only with First Amendment doctrine, however. It lies as well with the unwillingness, appropriate or not, of courts, law enforcement and universities to impose harsh punishments on those who attempt to restrict hateful groups from exercising their First Amendment rights. As long as that is the case, there is little reason to believe that the problem of the hostile audience will disappear. (My emphasis)
  Short of an openly hostile audience, there are also cases where the interaction with speakers is less violent but nonetheless interfering. Counterprotesters can assert a heckler’s veto in nonviolent ways, such as using drums or horns to prevent speakers from being heard, or with attempts to block speakers from reaching the location designated for their speech. Should such actions be applauded as part of the civil disobedience tradition? If so, should those who interfere be willing, as so many civil disobedients have been, to accept their punishment? Or should such actions, even if technically legal, be condemned as attempts to interfere with someone’s free-speech rights? And have we achieved a fair balancing of interests between offensive speakers and offended listeners if we refuse to prevent even the most unacceptable of words and ideas from being heard?
Speaking About Speech
  The point of the First Amendment is in part to encourage dialogue, but ironically and regrettably, we seem to have little serious public dialogue about the First Amendment. Those who oppose this or that speech restriction parrot standard platitudes, such as “The remedy for bad speech is good speech,” without stopping to consider whether this proposition is actually true. On the other side, those who favor restrictions trot out Oliver Wendell Holmes’ 1919 observations that speech can be restricted when there is a “clear and present danger,” and that no one has a right falsely to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, all the while ignoring almost a century of legal embellishments and qualifications on what were originally little more than offhand remarks. And as the opposing parties hurl hackneyed slogans at each other, we find little serious public thought about the values of freedom of speech and the qualifications that should be imposed on it.

  The problem is exacerbated by the all-too-frequent failure to distinguish what the law is from what it should be. It is entirely appropriate to consider what is wrong with the existing constitutional law of the First Amendment, but students, faculty, staff and administrators at a state university remain subject to the law as it exists, warts and all. We should recognize that officials have the obligation to follow the law, even when they disagree with it. We should also recognize, however, that just because the law is the law doesn’t make it immune from criticism or change.
  (Frederick Schauer ; David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia)