Well put thoughts on our new President and America's role in the world, caught at the corner of Kensington and Thornton Avenues.
-- Dan Damon
The needler in the haystack.
"'I came to take them out of the cave and put them in a shelter. They were allowed to stay there only for three days. So we gave them clean clothes, food and they looked like honorable people. But the three days were over and I did not know what to do, I can not let them out in the street again,' [Salavarrieta] said.Those familiar with the provision of emergency housing services will recognize the 'three days' as what is offered to those in obviously emergent need, pending their enrollment in one of the existing, government-funded, assistance programs.
"She was able to put some of the men in a small apartment she owned. Others found places with friends. Plainfield's mayor even chipped in, Salavarrieta said, footing the bill for some hotel rooms."
What touched me particularly was the fact that the conversations regarding these [national] issues revolved around the truth that we ALL have to work TOGETHER to progressively conquer and overcome the crises that was birthed on the federal level, and has poured down to the state and local governments. These blunders, as we all can see, are negatively affecting our ability on the state and local level, to deliver services to our communities.Further, Assemblyman Green notes how important Mayor Robinson-Briggs will be in representing the interests of New Jersey's 566 municipalities (including her own) to all levels of government --
I would like to take this time out now to share with you a portion of the press release announcing Mayor Robinson-Briggs’ nomination:When asked at Monday's City Council agenda session about a submission for the stimulus funds, Mr. Dashield said there was no submission by Plainfield to his knowledge.
On Friday, November 21, 2008, New Jersey’s mayors elected Sharon Robinson-Briggs, Mayor of Plainfield in Union County to serve on the Executive Board of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
As a member of the League’s Executive Board, Mayor Robinson-Briggs will help lead the Association of New Jersey’s 566 municipal governments. Mayor Robinson-Briggs will represent the interests and needs of New Jersey’s local elected officials to county, state, and federal governments.
|ITEM ||GRADE ||LINK ||COMMENT |
|01/29/09: Stimulus Program? What stimulus? ||F ||See story HERE. ||Failed to submit proposal. |
1) FOCUS ON COUNCIL BUSINESS, NOT EXTRANEOUS MATTERS. Often, presentations made to Council on topics concerning upcoming business are over-long, ill-prepared and poorly delivered. Additionally, the public is often shut out with regard to handouts, charts and maps. When this business is necessary, require that presenters keep to strict time limits and provide materials for the public as well as the Council. Banish huffery and puffery and cutesy bits and the public will praise you for it.As Council President Burney has said, "Why not give it a try?"
2) AMEND THE RULES TO ALLOW PUBLIC COMMENT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE AGENDA-SETTING SESSION. Allowing the public to have input on items on the proposed agendas AT THE BEGINNING of the meeting would do more than almost any other measure to reassure the public of the Council's desire for transparency. There is plenty of evidence the public is not stupid and can raise important and valid questions the Council should take into consideration as it sets the agendas for its business meetings. The general procedure for comments used at the business meeting could be applied, and might actually SHORTEN the meetings and reduce the level of frustration among the public in attendance.
Cornel West with kids.
Libby with A.J.
'Power to the people'!
Barack Obama’s election as president had a thousand fathers in the long history of the struggle against American racism. But three events stand out as decisive in creating the possibility of an African-American president.So begins Anthony Lewis' review of a new book which examines in depth both Dr. King's 'I have a dream' speech and the context in which it was delivered.
The first, in 1863, was Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which promised freedom but was followed by a century of harsh discrimination. The second was the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, signaling the end of legal tolerance for discrimination. The third was the speech the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave at the March on Washington in 1963, 100 years after Lincoln’s proclamation.
By Eric J. Sundquist
Illustrated. 295 pp. Yale University Press. $26
SATURDAY, January 17 - 7:00 PM
All are invited to a 'Potluck Party' sponsored by the New Democrats and graciously hosted by Councilor Adrian Mapp and his wife Amelia. Bring party food and beverage to share. Music by Joe Bonini. At the Mapps, 535 West 8th Street. FREE.
TUESDAY, January 20 (Inauguration Day)
10:00 AM - NoonThe Plainfield Public Library invites the community to watch the Inauguration ceremonies on the 12-foot screen in the Anne Louise Davis Community Room at the Plainfield Public Library, 8th Street at Park Avenue. Coffee will be available. FREE.6:00 - 11:00 PMAssemblyman Jerry Green will host an evening of dinner and dancing at Pantagis in Scotch Plains. Cocktail hour is from 6-7, followed by a sit-down dinner and dancing. Tickets: $100/person; free for City Committee members. Proceeds go to 'Jerry Green for Assembly'. (Corrected by withdrawing the Assemblyman's office telephone number, 1/16/2007.)7:00 - 11:00 PMThe Democratic State Committee is holding an inaugural ball at the Holiday Inn at Raritan Center in Edison. $50/person includes buffet dinner and open bar; formal attire optional. The event will benefit Elijah's Promise feeding program in New Brunswick, the Highland Park Food Pantry and the Community Foodbank of NJ. Tickets to the event can be purchased by calling 609-751-4844 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Would you feel safer if the City Administrator and Public Safety/Police Director lived in Plainfield instead of at a great distance?Any reader may vote and may check the current status of the poll (note that the poll only allows one vote apiece, so there can be no ballot-stuffing). Once you've voted, the tally view stays open. Reload the page to see a fresh tally.
- Not Sure
This whole thing started in the days of one car families. An "Important" staff member was allowed to take a vehicle [car, pickup, van] so they would have NO excuse as to why they could not be called in on a moments notice. Then the Fire Chief took his down to Florida [with its special hitch to pull his boat] and things got out of control. PS: All City cars were to have DECALS on them [except undercover Police & Health Div confidential inquiries]So, if the official in question has his/her OWN VEHICLE, there wouldn't be a reason to give them a take-home City vehicle under this line of reasoning. Also, identifying decals would be on these vehicles.
Dashield said the cost per vehicle assigned for 24/7 use is $1,200 a year. Shoot - let me use a city vehicle 24/7 and I'd pay the City Back double that. Imagine what I would save on car insurance each year (a minimum of $1,000 a year) Imagine what I would save on gas back and fourth to work if I lived 40 miles away. (that's 400 miles a week at 15 mpg @ $4/gal) That's over $5,000/yr. for gas. Plus I would never have to pay for oil changes, tires and other vehicle maintenance or even a mechanic. And I could even get my car washed anytime I wanted to without paying for it.Let's see: Gas, insurance, maintenance -- that could certainly add up. Have the officials getting this perk been paying taxes for it as compensation? Good question, and let's thank Mr. Dashield for putting it on the table.
Hey - could I "Pimp My Ride" at taxpayer expense too???
Though enacted several years ago in an effort to ensure an open and transparent process to citizens to volunteer for board and commission service, it has never come to fruition. The Council discussion made this seem more difficult than I think it really is. It's a very straightforward process (though a little time-consuming in setting up): 1) List every board and commission and its mission and membership requirements per the Charter; 2) List all seats, who holds them, and when their terms expire; 3) Provide an online form for submitting a request to be considered and a resumè. The concern that the information is private when submitted is easily addressed by having the submission form designed to be read only by authorized personnel in the Clerk's office. (Note though that once nominated, the information becomes part of the public record.) Time needed to create lists? Couple of work days by an existing City staffer at the most. Time to create web page? An hour or two once data has been set up. Cost? Data prep by in-house staff; web page consultant should cost less than $300. What is so frigging hard about all this?COUNCIL COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS
Council President Burney assigned various members to eighteen different committees. In an effort to focus on the most important assignments, he asked that the Board of Ed and PMUA liaisons and the Finance, Economic Growth and Code Enforcement Committees meet and prepare 2009 goals for presentation to the full body. Given the dire economic straits the country is in and the impact on the Plainfield business environment, I was struck that the SID liaisons were not included in this task, especially since this is a partnership between the merchants and the City in which the merchants have voluntarily assumed an extra tax burden to promote Plainfield's businesses.CONDUCT OF THE MEETING
Time was when any input was needed from staff or consultants at agenda sessions, the relevant people were summoned to the Council table at the commencement of that item on the agenda. This had several advantages: a) all of their remarks were clearly and properly recorded by the microphone placed on the Council table, b) they were formally introduced at the beginning of their testimony so everyone knew who they were, and c) they had all the documentation at hand that would be necessary to answer Councilors' questions until discussion of the item was concluded.Tomorrow, I will begin taking up the three items (open bidding on contracts, citizen input on projects, and take-home City vehicles) that deserve separate attention.
All in all, it was a much more professional and dignified method than the one on display where, as last evening, the Administrator and the engineer call to each other from across the room and over the heads of the Council.
|ITEM ||GRADE ||COMMENT |
|Preparation of documents for Council ||C||There is no excuse for not checking before submitting.|
|Withdrawing Resolutions ||C||Half-fast is not the way to go. |