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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mayor 86's Piv, you can hear his side tonight

Piv towers over his opponent in downtown Plainfield.

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs has ignited a furor by having Senior Center member Jim Pivnichny forcibly thrown out of her monthly meeting with the Seniors Tuesday morning.

Piv gets his chance to explain the events at a meet-and-greet tonight, TO WHICH ALL ARE INVITED (see details at end of post). Residents will also get a chance to quiz the Mayor and Piv at a candidates' forum tomorrow (also at end of this post).

Piv, who is running against Mayor Robinson-Briggs in the general election, says he WAS NOT CAMPAIGNING, but merely asking questions as a member of the Seniors organization.

You can read Bernice's full report on the meeting (at which I was not present) here, and the Courier's report

Also, I am printing in full and unedited the email Piv sent around (including to the media) after the incident --
To all interested:

Just before noon I was forcibly ejected by the Plainfield Police from the Senior Citizens Center at the end of the mayor's address. The reason given by the police was for "disturbing the peace". I was only asking questions as other members of the audience were doing, and attempting to make a personal defense to the mayor's statement that the local bloggers sometimes do not tell the truth. I did not leave voluntarily because I firmly believed that there was no legal reason for me to leave.

I was told that I was campaigning and that campaigning was not allowed. However,

(1) I did not introduce myself as a candidate.
(2) I only asked specific questions in response to the mayor's specific statements.
(3) I did not ask anyone to vote for me.
(4) I did not present any statement on any issue related to the campaign.

Apparently my being a candidate prohibited me from speaking anything at the meeting. I was not told of this in advance.

Although I raised my voice to be heard, I did not shout, and I made no threatening statements or motions toward anyone, including the officers ejecting me.

As a final note, I am a member of the organization. Also, I was told by the police that it was a private organization. I do not agree with this since it is funded almost completely by city revenue.

Bernice Paglia was present for at least part of the meeting, but I don not know if she was there when I was ejected.


With all the witnesses on hand, and given Piv's statement, there seems to be a prima facie case against his removal.

This is the SECOND TIME the police have been used by elected officials against attendees at a meeting (the first was in connection with the Dem City Committee reorg, see here).

One of the questions raised at the time the Police Chief's position was abolished was whether the administration of the Police Division would be politicized.

We now have TWO INCIDENTS that raise the alarm in that regard.

Montclair is jokingly referred to as 'the Peoples' Republic of Montclair' for its left-leaning, ultra-democratic ways.

What can we do for a mayor whose behavior would make Benito Mussolini's chest swell with pride? Perhaps, if she can use the police on her personal whim to deny residents their rights as citizens, we should drop the 'Queen City' moniker in favor of something like 'the Fascist Republic of Plainfield'?

ASIDE: Questions around campaigning at the Senior Center have been in the air for years. When Jerry has had the upper hand, campaigning has gone on unabashedly, notwithstanding the Center being technically 'city property'. When he hasn't had the upper hand, the guise has always been that of him or his proxy providing a 'lunch' for the Seniors in the closest possible proximity to Election Day, and then taking the spotlight to slyly campaign. As for Robinson-Briggs' electioneering, one has only to recall her aides handing out 'Re-elect Sharon' buttons at August's National Night Out celebration and the banner over City Hall's front door which was crudely doctored to remove an image of the same button after attention was called to it.

Pivnichny Meet And Greet Tonight .

7:30 - 9:00 PM
At the home of Susan Keller, 1126 Martine Avenue.

Meet and talk with Republican mayoral candidate Jim Pivnichny
and get to hear more about the Senior Center incident.
Coffee and light refreshments.
Free, but please RSVP to (908) 753-1802.

Local Candidates Forum.

Tomorrow, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Plainfield Public Library
8th Street and Park Avenue

Candidates for Mayor (Sharon Robinson-Briggs, Deborah Dowe and Jim Pivnichny)
and Ward 4 Council seat (Bridget Rivers).
Sponsored by Women for Progress in Plainfield.

-- Dan Damon

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Anonymous said...

The police said that the senior citizens organization is "private"? Are they kidding? I think this would be news to center director Sharron Brown. What is her position on this, and what is the position of the city council? Senior membership is open to any resident of Plainfield. I suggest the council request the center's director and staff to appear so that they can clarify the written policy, since there should be one, on the "privacy" of this organization. If it is private, why are our taxes funding a center? Cities don't fund private organizations using tax monies, Dan. I think that Mr. Pivnichny should file a complaint with the Internal Affairs division about this. How is it that Mr. Hellwig allows his police officers to behave in this way?

Anonymous said...

This is very serious business, Dan. As you noted, this is the second instance in which police officers have been used to remove citizens from public spaces. What should have happened is that the police officer should have contacted a supervisor who would have explained the written policy regarding citizens' rights at a public meeting. This mayor has been using the police to intimidate residents for years now. It has got to stop. While Plainfield's Internal Affairs Division is investigating the incident involving the two officers from the Democratic Committee meeting, the city council should be asking Director Hellwig to clarify the role of the police at these events. So far he has remained silent. But I guess that's what political appointees do. It may be time for the attorney general to get involved. By the way, the mayor's behavior just lost her more votes since many of the seniors already have lost trust in her. I echo the 6:48 comment, what is the role of the senior center director and who could she allow members to be treated this way?

Dan said...

To Rob --

Your comment made me smile, but it was a little OTT (over the top) and I'm not putting it up.

Thanks for being a penetrating and laugh-inspiring reader, as always.

Yep I Said It! said...

Aaahhh!!! Come on Dan -I need a laugh after reading this news.

WTF is going on here in Plainfield???!!! Does the Bi . . . I mean . . . Briggs-Robinson OWN this town???

Forget Internal Affairs -they are on her side. The Police Department is on her side.

And all of the $#%^# people who voted for her created a $#%^&*%^ MONSTER!

Get in line Pivnichny -Mary Boninni is ahead of you with Internal Affairs. The police knocked her to the floor at the Dem ReOrg meeting -I was there.

Rob said...

Dan -- Comment noted and as always, I bow to your better judgment.
- On a note of total and complete advice to some citizens as of late who have been abused by this Mayor's Office and her muscle as well as Mayor Jerry's Office.
- Phone Call to ACLU --- PUT THESE PEOPLE IN THE NEWSPAPERS.. let the news teams come into Plainfield and shine the spotlight of public scrutiny on them and make them be seen as the humiliating charlatans they are to the people of Plainfield and NJ. Then and only then will you see their support from above suddenly disappear. Then, like thiefs in the night, so will Sharon and Jerry.
AND - Don't bother calling Anne Milgrim, she is Corzine's Pet Dog and the only person she would speak to would be Jerry. Go over their heads. HUMILIATE THEM IN PUBLIC

Anonymous said...

Now you know why people will not come to Plainfield to shop, live or play. Kiss development good-night.