I noticed the other day that the bike racks at the downtown train station were completely filled on a weekday.
Is it a reaction to the price of gas?
Will NJT be adding more? Looks like they could be used.
The needler in the haystack.
With Gustav taking aim at the Gulf coast just three years after Hurricane Katrina, here are a couple of reminders from
1999 1998 that Plainfield is not immune to these storms.
Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs ... said Muhlenberg would be a key topic of discussion for a community forum to be held at 6:30 tonight by the city at Washington Community School. (Emphasis added.)You will note that Muhlenberg isn't even mentioned in the flyer shown above (only the seriously unkind would bring up that I mentioned it in my post of yesterday), though now it is suddenly 'a key topic'. You may also note that the adverbially-challenged notice, cited in the Courier story in quotation marks (meaning 'this is the way we received it'), has been doctored. For the money the taxpayers are paying to underwrite this stuff, you'd think more care would be taken before things are sent out.
Just got a call that a natural gas leak is being reported at the corner of East 2nd and Church Streets, where New Jersey Water contractors have recently been working on relining the water mains.
Union County College's Plainfield campus has been reportedly evacuated. Both East 2nd and Church Streets are barricaded, and word is that owners of vehicles parked in the lot behind Pete's Fish Market have been ordered out.
Will post more later, but let me leave you with this question:
Now that Muhlenberg is closed, what becomes of the disaster plan for Plainfield developed a number of years ago and predicated on a fully functional acute-care hospital being a part of any disaster response?
Makes you feel real safe, right?
The Muhlenberg situation became a major issue for the current administration as soon as it took office because the former administration chose not to do anything. In fact, during a meeting with the former administration and Solaris, I was advised that Muhlenberg Hospital was in danger. The former administration chose not to fight.Whether or not there was a meeting between Green, Solaris and the McWilliams administration (and I would want date, place and agenda from an independent source as verification), Green has tipped us off that -- as he himself says -- Mayor Robinson-Briggs and the Council knew FROM DAY ONE of her administration (that is, January, 2006) that the fate of the hospital was 1) A MAJOR ISSUE, and 2) that Muhlenberg might CLOSE WITHIN A YEAR WITHOUT A BUYER.
When the current administration and City Council came into office, we were told that, without a new buyer, the hospital would be closing within one year. This administration and the City Council have been working diligently to find a new buyer because the handwriting was on the wall ... (Emphasis added.)
I have been working with the leadership of Solaris Health Systems for years to make sure that Muhlenberg has received special funding from the state, and I am continuing to do that. (Emphasis added.)In fact, questions around how Green 'worked' for Solaris surfaced last October at the time of the exposure of his previously undisclosed job as a VP for the Alllman Group of Westfield (see my post "As Green leaves, questions remain")
MAYOR ROBINSON-BRIGGS: Since Muhlenberg's fate was an issue 'as soon as she took office', she needs to explain to the people of Plainfield and the Muhlenberg service areaSo, as Assemblyman Green suggests, let's 'clear the air':
ASSEMBLYMAN GREEN: It has been years indeed, since Jerry knew Muhlenberg's situation was troubled. As a matter of fact, he advocated for their cardiac surgery license application nearly ten years ago, and in 2003, he stunned those involved in planning new construction and upgrades for Plainfield's public schools by flying in from left field with a wild proposal to build a school on the Muhlenberg campus as a 'demonstration project' under the Abbott construction funding scheme, with -- as rumored at the time -- a sales price to Solaris of $100M for a slice of the Muhlenberg campus. Alas, that scheme came to naught. (See here and here for details.)
- Why, as a board member, she only attended one Muhlenberg Board meeting between taking office in January, 2006, and the announcement of the closing this past February [and THAT was a cocktail sip!], and
- Why there is no prior evidence of an effort to find a buyer for the hospital if it was so high on her to-do list.
- The pertinent question to Assemblyman Green is -- Knowing what you knew and when you said you knew it: What did you do about Muhlenberg between 2003 and the announcement last November that it would be sold and/or closed?
Postscript: While print media flounder, their online presences do better, as can be seen from this exclusive report posted online this morning by E&P -- see here.
Keeping Muhlenberg's license active, a key face-saver for the Assemblyman and the Mayor, has been an issue for some time now, as the Assemblyman himself has made clear. As has also Dr. Reddy Dandolu and his investor group -- in fact, they have said failure to keep the license active would be 'a dealbreaker'.THE LICENSE
The Assemblyman said Howard 'reassured us' the license issue would not be a problem. Is this a retreat from the call to keep the license active? Is this a sign the Assemblyman's lack of mojo is letting the people down once again?Howard and Green both said a key outcome of the discussion was a mutual agreement to work toward ensuring that the issue of licensing, a hot-button topic in recent days, not be allowed to jeopardize any prospective sale of the hospital ...
... The absence of an active license for the hospital is regarded as a major pitfall by two of three known investors' groups to have expressed recent interest in Muhlenberg, according to Green ...
... "We're talking about reducing the risk of a potential buyer making the sale contingent on the license," Howard said.
VIABLE BUYER(S)'Viable buyer(s)', 'a viable plan', and 'a viable offer' seem to be the weasel-words behind which 'Chainsaw Heather' and Solaris are going to hide. I have the feeling that if Warren Buffett showed up and offered to write a check on the spot and in full for the purchase of Muhlenberg, he would be found to be 'not a viable buyer'. This smokescreen and the license issue can be seen as the strongest cudgels in the successful implementation by Solaris of any strategy of preventing competition in its service area.
JERRY THREATENS SOLARIS?
Is the idea that Muhlenberg's property would be put on the tax rolls (as a non-profit hospital, the property is currently tax-exempt), with a cost to Solaris of $3 million a year, a threat to them by the Assemblyman? You be the judge.
HEROES OF THE HOUR?Assemblyman Green and Mayor Robinson-Briggs, both of whom face re-election next year, garnered nice words from Commissioner Howard which will be useful in next year's campaign flyers, I am sure. You will note, however, that Assemblyman Green rather than the Mayor is quoted extensively in this story, which brings me back to my question of yesterday: Was she only going to be the hand-puppet of the Assemblyman?
Three Plainfield schools are among 114 in special-needs school districts (they're not referred to as 'Abbott districts' any more) statewide that will receive $60M for emergency repairs, according to a story in today's Courier-Post of Cherry Hill.
Plainfield High School and Cook School will receive funding for emergency roof repairs; Stillman School gets money for window replacements.
Read the full story in the Courier-Post here.