Delivered to 15,000 Plainfield "doorsteps" Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Muhlenberg a big focus of races

Sign on a Watchung Avenue yard during Muhlenberg closure crisis.

Plainfield's Muhlenberg Hospital is the gift that keeps on giving -- headaches, that is -- for incumbent candidates Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs and Assembly incumbents Jerry Green and Linda Stender.

Though taxes, crime and development were among the issues focused on in the League of Women Voters' mayoral forum Wednesday evening, attendees were plenty vexed over the loss of Muhlenberg Hospital and the role of incumbent politicians in same.

Mayor Robinson-Briggs totally ducked a question asking what she had done BY WORKING THROUGH HER MEMBERSHIP ON THE MUHLENBEG BOARD to save or reopen the hospital. Avoiding any mention that she has NEVER TAKEN UP HER SEAT ON THE BOARD, she said she and Assemblyman Green had chosen instead to 'deal directly with Trenton'.

To what effect we can all see.

Assemblyman Green was at pains, as he has been throughout the campaign, to point out that he had done 'nothing illegal' in being a vice president with the Alman Group, which lobbies on behalf of hospitals throughout the state according to Green.

Green's relationship with Alman was previously undisclosed until an article appeared in the Courier in October, 2007 (see here), detailing how lawmakers can hide conflicts of interest.

The day after the story appeared, Green announced he had resigned from the lobbying firm (see here).

Ever since, Green has gone out of his way to point out that he did nothing illegal, a point with which his opponent 'Bo' Vastine agreed at Wednesday's League of Women Voters forum. Citing New Jersey's 'culture of corruption', Vastine was careful to say that he was not accusing Green of breaking the law, but that the exact point he was making was how the way ethics have been defined in New Jersey make profiting from abuses of the public trust perfectly acceptable.

Screenshot of Jerry Green's page on the Alman Group website, 10/1/2007.
(Click to enlarge or print.)

It's an old story, but will it make a difference to voters as the go to the polls on Tuesday?

That Muhlenberg is an important issue, on which incumbents Jerry Green and Linda Stender feel vulnerable, can be seen in the expensive, four-color mailer which hit District 22 mailboxes on Tuesday.

The piece, titled 'The TRUTH About Muhlenberg' simply repeats the laundry list of issues with Solaris, asking the reader to 'join [Green and Stender] so that together, we can re-open Muhlenberg hospital'.

The other side reprints a Courier editorial of March 20, 2009, lauding Jerry for saber-rattling against Solaris.

That editorial did Green no good at the LWV forum, where one of his opponents, Marty Marks, read the Courier's endorsement of the Marks-Vastine team over incumbents Green and Stender.

Meanwhile, both Vastine (see here) and independent mayoral candidate Deborah Dowe (see here) posted a letter from GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie promising a top-to-bottom review of the Muhlenberg closure is he is elected.

Muhlenberg is obviously on voters' minds. How much of a difference it will make in Tuesday's elections is an unknown.

But all parties seem to agree it will make some difference.

Why else spend so much time and money on the issue?

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.


Rob said...

I received Mayor Jerry, Stender The Spender & Assistant Mayor Sharon's little 4 color glossy about the "TRUTH" yet it didn't mention-
1) The Assistant Mayor NEVER showing up for her seat on the hospital
2) Mayor Jerry & Assistant Mayor Sharon SAYING AND DOING NOTHING while citizens INCLUDING DOTTIE FOUGHT to do something to save the hospital
3) Stender the Spender sitting and saying and doing nothing until Jerry coached her what to say...
- PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep this trifecta of SMARTS in power.
Withleadership like this Plainfield MUST be in the Top 10 Places to live in New Jersey