Sign by Muhlenberg supporter in front of his house, Watchung Avenue.
If Plainfielders want evidence that Council President Harold Gibson slept through the Muhlenberg crisis until it was out of control, he gave it at Tuesday's candidate forum.
In response to a question about Muhlenberg, Gibson said he had been to every rally.
While yesterday's Courier editorial made the point that Muhlenberg is a 'microcosm' of the state of New Jersey's hospitals (see more HERE), Council President touts his attendance at rallies.
The issue here is that Harold Gibson is in a position of power unlike that of ordinary citizens. Why hasn't he used it?
As Gibson himself pointed out, he has access to information ordinary citizens do not. Average citizens like us did not have the opportunity of secret information about how dire the situation at Muhlenberg was.
Harold Gibson did, though he did nothing with it.
We do not have the power to force Solaris to stop shutting Muhlenberg down.
Harold Gibson does, though he will not use it.
As Council President, Gibson could use his power to sue for an injunction to prevent Muhlenberg's shutdown by Solaris.
But he does not.
Why not? Gibson had no problem going to court -- expensively -- to get rid of Police Chief Ed Santiago, so why not to save our hospital, save 1,100 jobs, save Plainfield's business community?
There is ONE glaring reason -- it would put Gibson's patron, Assemblyman Jerry Green, in a more difficult spot.
Jerry Green is already between a rock and a hard place.
On the one hand, he has profited greatly over the years from his association with Solaris, pushing its agenda in Trenton, posturing as a 'rainmaker' and basking in the glory of being Muhlenberg's champion.
On the other hand, he now faces angry voters. Voters who feel he blindsided them by keeping Muhlenberg's difficulties from public view. Voters who feel he betrayed them by organizing a task force to shut the hospital down rather than use his clout in Trenton to keep it open.
Gibson, who owes his seat on the City Council to Assemblyman Green, finds himself in the position where using the power he has to force Solaris to keep Muhlenberg open would embarrass the Assemblyman.
What do you think he's going to do?
For an idea of what Council President Gibson thinks is the REAL use of his power, we have to go no further than Tuesday's candidate forum.
To illustrate his idea of real service to the community, Council President Gibson cited the matter of a resident who had a bus stop in front of her house. People waiting at the bus stop would routinely litter the area with trash. In response to her complaint, Gibson got the bus stop moved.
The garbage didn't go away, it just went in front of someone else's house. This is how to solve problems?
Among other things, representatives on the City Council have a responsibility to be good stewards of Plainfield's resources. That includes jobs, services, and institutions serving the community.
Every Councilor should leave Plainfield a better place than when he or she found it.
That can only be done by being proactive, by using the special knowledge and power one gets from elected office to actually BENEFIT Plainfield.
Plainfield needs someone who will not sleep through its crises as Harold Gibson has.
Someone with energy. Someone with new ideas. Someone who will not sleep through a community crisis like Muhlenberg.
Someone who will not ever let Plainfielders be blindsided again.
That is why I will be voting for Annie McWilliams (6E) and Adrian Mapp (7E) on Tuesday, June 3.
And I hope you will, too.
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Other posts in this series ---- Dan Damon
Wednesday: "The Buying and Selling (out) of Plainfield"
Tuesday: "Primary A Referendum on Assemblyman Jerry Green"
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