The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Faux 'Forum' v. Real Thing: It's Silly Season, Folks


Sharp-eyed Plainfield Today readers caught the faux forum being hawked for after this evening's presentation by Assemblyman Jerry Green on Muhlenberg at the Washington Community School.

Here is what one wrote (you can read all their comments HERE) --
Hello Dan,

I opened my email a little while ago to see that Joan Hervey sent me an email about a forum tomorrow following the meeting about Muhlenberg. It's by a group calling itself Women for Progress in Plainfield. Do you know who this group is?

Some may also have spotted a tiny community notice a few days ago concerning another faux forum, by the same group, for First Ward candidates.

Posing as a 'nonprofit', these 'Women for Progress in Plainfield' flim-flammed the Courier into running a piece in yesterday's edition for tonight's faux forum (see HERE). For a REAL Plainfield forum, see the end of this post.

This is the same sort of partisan trap set up three years ago, during Mayor Robinson-Briggs' contested general election campaign. At that time, these 'progressive women' scheduled a faux forum for the same night as the League of Women Voters' forum, also at the Washington Community School.

Now you should know that Plainfield's League of Women Voters, one of the oldest in the country and in the forefront of women's struggle for the vote in the early 20th century, has been holding candidate forums as a regular part of the November general election season for nearly ninety -- that's 9 - 0 -- years. And without any competing event until Assemblyman Jerry Green's handpicked candidate had to face a questioning public.

Like the 2005 'group,' you can expect these progressive women of 2008 to vanish like the mists over Lake Woebegon when the sun shines bright on them.

This time around, 2008, it is the Assemblyman who is really on the hotseat. While busy engineering a smooth closing of Muhlenberg for Solaris Health System, with which he has had a longstanding -- and profitable -- relationship, he was caught off-guard by the rage and dismay of his constituents over the Solaris proposal.

Not wanting to endanger his handpicked -- again -- candidates for City Council, it should come as no surprise that the 'silly season' has led to another faux forum á là 2005.


A real community organization -- Netherwood Heights Neighbors -- has scheduled a REAL FORUM for Tuesday, May 27, at the Plainfield Public Library. 7:00 PM sharp.

Being held in the Public Library's Anne Louise Davis Meeting Room, it will be conducted in a truly non-partisan way by following the League of Women Voter forum rules --
  • An independent moderator with NO ties to the community and NO axe to grind, which increases confidence in the forum process;
  • An agreed-upon format: opening statements, questions from the audience, closing statements, with strict timekeeping;
  • Candidates address the audience, not each other;
  • Written questions from the audience; and
  • No partisan literature or signs allowed.
For good measure, being held in the Public Library -- where partisan political activity is forbidden -- just reinforces that this will be a fair forum for all candidates.

Here is the complete comment of a second reader, who has seen it all before --
Regarding the earlier post about the group Women for Progress in Plainfield I read a brief bit about it in today's Courier. It is listed as a nonprofit organization but there is no mention of its members, board of trustees, or even the event organizers. This is puzzling, as nonprofits are supposed to be registered with the state. There is no state listing either. I checked on the lists of non-profits in the city and there is no listing for them. There is also no contact information in the press release about this group, which is VERY unusual. Is this yet another one of Jerry Green's "sham" organizations set up to promote his political candidates? If not, why do they not mention their names and the group's mission, goals and what they have done for progress in the community? If so, it sure does smell. It will backfire on him in a bad way. I plan to go just to see if the same old stale divisive political cronies and faces that usually surround Jerry are there. You can usually tell by the tone of the event. I remember a few years ago a group called Women Across the City, also a fake nonprofit group. It will be immediately clear if this is some more political grandstanding on the backs of the residents of Plainfield who are truly concerned about Plainfield. If so, shame on Jerry Green, his candidates, and all these so-called Women for Progress in Plainfield. Jerry Green has for years shown that he will go beneath the gutter to get his candidates elected. Let's see if this is more of the same.
With eyes wide open, you will not be fooled.

-- Dan Damon

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Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the heads up Dan.
If these "not-for-profits" don't really exist, yet at operating as such; indeed, actively advertising their events, isn't there some watchdog at the state level who governs non-profits?
If so (and if they are effective), some legal pressure can be brought to bear down on these people.
I can't imagine that there isn't some agency governing such things -otherwise we'd be run over with sham organizations asking for $$.

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is, you gotta be kidding me!!