PLAINFIELD TODAY

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Souza and Strauss Saturday at Plainfield Symphony


John Philip Souza is America's undisputed March King.

 
Things are sure to have a red, white and blue hue Saturday evening as the NJ Army Reserve Band takes part in the Plainfield Symphony's second concert of its 100th season.

Though I don't know what they'll be performing, it doesn't matter -- John Philip Souza's music is designed to get everyone pumped up and feeling patriotic.

The program will also features works of Strauss.

Tickets may be purchased online here, and are also available at the door: Reserved seating (first 6 rows) $65/person, General admission $45/person, Seniors (over 65)/Students (with ID) $30/person.

The concert starts at 7:00 PM sharp. The Plainfield Symphony Orchestra performs at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, at East 7th Street and Watchung Avenue. Parking available in the church lot on First Place, on the street or in the Swain Galleries lot across from the church.




  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Monday is cut-the-cord day


Our house is cutting the cable cord Monday.

 

Monday is cut-the-cord day at our house.

Sometime before 1:00 PM, a Verizon technician is supposed to arrive to get rid of our cable connection.

We will still use Verizon for Internet access (their other business arm).

But for TV, it will be YouTube, Netflix and Hulu.

Savings per month on the order of $100.

Though I am a news junkie (MSNBC, CNN, Fox), there is little else that I really watch except TCM (otherwise known as 'the old farts' channel').

I have been assured everything I'm interested in will be available -- on my laptop or the big TV screen.

Let's see what happens.

Anyone else already done this? Comment on FB.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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A sly take on Trump's week (cartoon)

Tom Tmorrow's take on Trump.
Click to enlarge or print.



 

I'm not a huge fan of Tom Tomorrow, but this strip is hilarious.

Hope you enjoy it.

Back to Plainfield tomorrow.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Local artists invited to Plainfield Arts Council's networking event Friday


Logo of Plainfield artists' organization.


 
CORRECTION: The event is Friday, Nov. 15. Plainfield Arts Council invites all local artists and members of the Plainfield arts community to “Talk and Taste,” a networking event on Friday, November 15, 2019 from 6 - 8:30 pm at duCret School of Art, 1030 Central Avenue, Plainfield, NJ.  The event will feature wine and food tastings from local restaurants.

“Plainfield is home to a vibrant arts community, and this event will help artists connect and support each other,” said Arne Aakre, president of the Plainfield Arts Council. “We invite those directly involved in the arts – music, theater, visual arts, film – and those who support Plainfield’s arts community to attend.”  Aakre noted that the Plainfield Arts Council hopes to make this a regular event.

The Plainfield Arts Council is a 501 (c ) 3 organization established to promote and celebrate the arts in Plainfield, highlighting the city’s variety, multiculturalism, and rich historical legacy; and to support community growth and engagement through arts and culture.  This event is free to attendees, with a suggested donation of $20.

 For more information, visit www.plainfieldartscouncil.org or visit the Council’s Facebook page here.

mmm






  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Is Cleveland Avenue project a 'canary in the coal mine' for future Plainfield projects?


Rendering of proposed mixed use project
at Cleveland Avenue and East 5th Street.


Approval by the Zoning Board of Adjustment this past Wednesday of a mixed-use project for the Bradford's Wreck-a-mended building at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and East 5th Street raises a the question of whether this is a 'canary in the coal mine' case.

Canaries were used by miners in the past to give them an advance warning of deadly gases in the mines. The canaries would expire long before the gas was noticed by miners.

The phrase has come to mean an event or circumstance that gives warning of a larger issue.

In this case, the matter is parking.

The building is planned to have 18 rental apartments: 9 one-bedroom and 9 2-bedroom. Plus a store and a bakery.

Yet the plan calls for only 11 on-site parking spaces. The issue was raised by members of the board, but it did not deflect them from voting unanimously to approve the application.

Think about it. Parking will be required not only by residents, but employees of the bakery and the additional retail space that is planned.

This alone makes the number of spaces allotted suspect of being inadequate.

Whether or not this is a 'canary in the coal mine' will depend on what parking arrangements are proposed as more developments in this 'Arts District' come forward.

At least, though, it seems one mystery has been solved: Why the block of Cleveland Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets was recently turned from one-way to a two-way street.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Mayor's Executive Order #1 and other items of interest from Tuesday's Council agenda


President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued over 3,000 Executive Orders.
The most notorious was No. 9066 (shown here)
interning Japanese citizens during WWII.
Governors and mayors have also used them.
They have the force of law.


Plainfield City Council meets in a combined agenda and business session on Tuesday, November 12 (Monday is a holiday), at 7:00 PM.

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp's first-ever executive order has occasioned considerable comment and questions. But there are plenty of other items worth paying attention to as well.



EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 1
 

Although this is a first for Plainfield, executive orders at the local level are not unknown in New Jersey.

Mayors Steve Fulop of Jersey City and Ras Baraka of Newark have both used them to reaffirm their city's 'sanctuary' policy regarding undocumented immigrants.

Most often though, they appear to be used exactly as Mayor Mapp is using his: to clarify policy and put departments on notice of the Mayor's expectations.

In this case, it concerns the 'administrative assistants' that Mayor Mapp added to the revised city charter request.

While the revised city charter specified these were to be hired outside of the Civil Service structure, the language in the EO suggests future hires would follow Civil Service guidelines. Perhaps some clarification is needed about the language here?

What is also unusual about the Plainfield EO is that it is presented to the City Council as 'correspondence from the Mayor'.

In other communities, they are simply publicly announced -- though Newark has had a requirement that they be advertised.



OTHER BUSINESS

EMERGENCY APPROPRIATION: The $600K bond ordinance for the emergency appropriation to pay reinstated employees' back wages is up for second reading and passage.

STATE HEALTH PLAN: After having left the state plan, the City is rejoining. I am told coverage under the state plan is better, which begs the question why the City left in the first place.

REDUCING CONTRACT AMOUNTS: Something unheard of -- change orders to reduce contract amounts. Two street resurfacing contracts are being lowered by about $8,000. A first for Plainfield, far as I can recall. Congrats to Director Oren Dabney and crew.

BUS FOR SENIORS: The Senior Center is proposing to make use of a federal program that will pay for 80% of the cost of a new bus for senior transportation. 20% is to be paid by NJ Transit. Kind of makes you wonder why Plainfield never applied before.

REDEVELOPMENT PLANS: The condemnation and non-condemnation plans that have caused so much comments are on for adoption (again), as are proposals to do studies on two vacant inidustrial buildings on Waynewood Park (the street next to Auto Zone), and the former SSYC property on South Second Street.

SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT: The 2020 budget for the new and handily-named Plainfield Central Business District Management Corporation is up for approval also. That total is $162,323 and covers salaries, rent, utilities, insurance, and other overhead. No program expenses are listed (except for $30,000 for holiday decor -- which looks like it is money already in the bank). Looks a little skimpy to me, especially in light of the generous contracts to outside vendors for promotion and 'rebranding' of the city. A Rumpelstiltkin operation?


SCATTERED-SITE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN: The 20-something year-old plan for vacant, abandoned, and city-owned properties is being whittled down in a fifth amended plan, dropping 28 properties from the current list of 78. This was an unusual redevelopment plan because the properties were scattered throughout the city. Development was partially successful with a number of new houses being built, but developer misconduct led to the abandonment of the original effort and nothing has been done for years. All but one of these properties is listed as 'privately owned', and the city-owned one is probably too small to build on.
City Council meets for a combined agenda and business session at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers / Courthouse at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street. Parking available on the street and in the lot across from Police Headquarters.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

PLAINFIELD TODAY is 15 !


Has it really been 15 years?



PLAINFIELD TODAY is fifteen years old.

I began the blog in November of 2005 out of exasperation with the Courier News which did not find a story about the city's first online auction of BANs (Bond Anticipation Notes) to be 'newsworthy'. You can check out that first post here.

After I retired in 2006 I began posting daily (sometimes more than one story per day); in recent years I have slowed down to four times per week.

Nevertheless, PLAINFIELD TODAY has had 5,308 posts -- 167 short of one per day.

Not too shabby, considering I was out of action in 2012 for my leg amputation, in 2016 with my heart attack and bypass surgery (see here), in 2017 with a pacemaker implant, and in 2018 commencing dialysis.

It is still my pleasure to cover Plainfield politics, government and culture.

Look forward to more.





  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Vulgar or not, the truth is the truth (Impeachment thoughts)


The simple, vulgar truth of this impeachment.



Sometimes the truth can be simple.

Sometimes the truth can be vulgar.

Sometimes the truth can be simple and vulgar.

But the truth is always the truth.

I owe the inspiration for the graphic above to my friend (and retired Plainfield Police Captain) Siddeeq el-Amin, who posted a version on Facebook recently. (I have made one small correction.)

Vulgar as it is, it is important for everyone to grasp that this underscores an essential truth about the current impeachment investigation.

The Republicans are claiming that President Donald Trump is a victim.

Please bear in mind that the ongoing investigation is focused on conduct involving the national interests of the United States, an attempt to extort a foreign power to provide dirt on a political opponent of the President, and obstructing Congress' investigation into these matters.

Whatever else develops, we should keep in mind that these are the people who impeached President Bill Clinton over lying about a sexual peccadillo in a civil trial and encouraging another to lie (obstruction of justice). No national interest. No extorting foreign countries. No involvement of cabinet members or other high officials.

Keep that in mind through all the blizzard of words supporters of Trump will throw up.

If you are interested in reading up on impeachment, here are two small but excellent books --

IMPEACHMENT: AN AMERICAN HISTORY

Four authors outline the Constitutional debate on impeachment by the founders; the impeachment of Andrew Johnson (Lincoln's VP and successor); the impeachment of Richard Nixon; the impeachment of Bill Clinton; and a section on Donald Trump. Note the book was published in 2018, before impeachment became a real issue for Trump. I found a bargain copy (new but sold as used) at Amazon here.
IMPEACHMENT: A CITIZEN'S GUIDE
Published in 2017, Cass Sunstein approaches the topic as a handbook for citizens interested in understanding the process, several misconceptions that he corrects, and various scenarios that explain why some cases are easy and some hard. Through it all, he works to dispel fog about this crucial tool in the Constitutional toolkit. I found it on Amazon here.





  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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