NOTE: For a REAL candidate forum, hosted by a REAL organization, come out tonight to the Plainfield Public Library at 7:00 PM. A candidate forum hosted by the Netherwood Heights Neighbors, the association for the Netherwood Heights Historic District.For Plainfielders, next Tuesday's Democratic Primary election will be a referendum on Assemblyman Jerry Green's rule of Plainfield's political and economic life.
Assemblyman Green makes no secret of this in making sure he mugs with his team of Council candidates -- Harold Gibson (at-large), Don Davis (Ward 3) and William Reid (Ward 1) -- in both mailing pieces and TV ads running on Comcast.
I will devote the next few days to reviewing the reasons this primary election is so crucial for Plainfield and what you can do to stop the ripoffs and conflicts of interest.
Jerry Green is, as the Courier noted, the 'King of Plainfield.' Make no mistake about it, since his proxy Sharon Robinson-Briggs took office in January 2006, every decision of importance has been made as Jerry Green wished. When Council votes were called for, Jerry's team of Gibson, Davis and -- since January -- Reid have been there for him every time.
Here are just a few samples of Assemblyman Green's decisions that have picked your pocket --
- THE MAYOR'S MILLION-DOLLAR BODYGUARDS: While you struggle to pay your property taxes, Jerry Green has seen to it that Mayor Robinson-Briggs has bodyguards soaking up your tax dollars. Without ever proving they are needed, the public has been saddled with the expense of their salaries, overtime and fancy cars. They were recently spotted 'guarding' Her Honor at 10 PM in New Brunswick's theater district;
- THE 'CORRUPTION TAX': By turning Plainfield's development and redevelopment over to the Union County Improvement Authority, which is headed by Union County Dem chair Charlotte deFilippo, Jerry Green has assured her of the ability to pick Plainfield taxpayers' pockets to give bloated contracts to politically connected developers. As a result, Plainfielders can pay up to 40% more for equivalent services and products -- what is commonly called the 'corruption tax';
- POLITICIZING THE POLICE: Jerry Green used the Council's ability to legislate to fulfill a personal vendetta to remove Plainfield Police Chief Ed Santiago by eliminating the position (and New Jersey's first Hispanic police chief), which had been in place since Plainfield became a city 139 years ago. In this, he had the special help of Council President Harold Gibson, himself a sworn officer of the law. While Gibson engineered the passage of the ordinance eliminating Santiago's position, he was able to safely duck having to vote on it since Green already had enough votes to pass the ordinance. The Police Division is already suffering the effects of political influence as a result; and
- TRASHING PLAINFIELD WITH ILL-CONSIDERED PROJECTS: Jerry Green forced the Planning Board to adopt flimsy redevelopment plans such as that for East 3rd/Richmond/Cottage Place (where the engineer accidentally revealed the deal had already been done before the Planning Board even voted), taking away property from longtime businesses in order to benefit politically juiced developers and their shoddy projects.
Why else is he spending so much money on his candidates?
What to do?
Since the winner of the Democratic primary in Plainfield only has to show up in November to get elected, the real decision facing Plainfield voters is the ballot the cast in June.
A vote for Jerry's team is a vote for four more years of the same.
Something we DON'T NEED.
That is why I will be voting for Annie McWilliams (6E) and Adrian Mapp (7E).
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-- Dan Damon
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