Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Will Michelson's blog post end his campaign for Ward 2 seat?

Michelson's blog post brings to mind a famous scene.
If it had a hook, my phone would have been ringing off it yesterday as folks read GOP Ward 2 candidate Bill Michelson's blog post of September 25 (see here) entitled 'Why I'm Running for City Council'.

It might as well have been titled 'How NOT to Win Friends and Influence People', judging from the comments I received, starting with its opening paragraph --

I know what many people think.  I must be crazy to want to serve the people of Plainfield’s 2nd Ward, a fractious bunch in the best of times.  I must be crazy to think anyone, even in the 2nd Ward, would vote for a Republican.  And I must be crazy to think I can actually make a change for the better, since the Council would still consist of 6 Black Democrats, and only 1 of me... [Note: Michelson removed the word 'Black' at some point during the day, without comment or apology. -- Dan]
I doubt there is a Black resident of the 2nd Ward who would consider voting for Michelson after reading those words -- and I'm including Black Republicans, who ought to be embarrassed that a fellow Republican is so retrograde and insensitive.

And that's just for openers. Michelson then goes on to bash the electorate in general, portraying the source of all Plainfield's problems as having Democrats in office, and he is condescending to his opponent, incumbent Cory Storch.

I'm disappointed.

I expected Michelson would campaign on issues, but instead -- besides setting himself up as The White Man versus the Black Democrats -- he suggests that he should be elected because he is an iconoclast (you may want to check the definition here), which calls to my mind a shouting, arm-waving demagogue rather than an even-tempered legislator intent on collaborating with his colleagues for the benefit of the community.

As a programmatic initiative, he suggests 'we need to let our population fall by 20% over the next 20 years' in order to cut our budget by $10 million. Think that one through for a minute. What sense does that make? None, as far as I can see.

Michelson and Storch will have opportunities to debate each other, I am sure, and I look forward to their exchanges.

However, I can't help but think that Michelson has sabotaged his own campaign.

It puts me in mind of the Wicked Witch of The West shrinking away -- crying 'Look what you've done! Look what you've done! I'm melting, melting...' -- after Dorothy throws a bucket of scrub water on her in the 1939 film classic Wizard of Oz (see a short clip on YouTube here)

Except in this case, Michelson has thrown the water on himself.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Congrats..the City of Plainfield has their first Tea Party candidate

Bob said...

I'm white, living in the second Ward and was offended by Michelson's remarks. If the national GOP field is as callous and unthinking as Michelson, then Obama is sure to win. I think Michelson forgets that Storch is white and got elected handily in the second Ward opposing a black man. So why all the stupid rhetoric?

Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

Dan: Democrat incumbent Cory Storch and GOP challenger Bill Michelson are participating in the usual Plainfield League of Women Voters debate on Wednesday 19 October at the Plainfield Public Library. Also on the docket that night starting at 6:30 p.m. is the debate among two Republicans and three Democrats vying for seats on the Union County Board of Freeholders. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

True American Patriot said...

So Dan, are you one of those Freedom from Speech Liberals?

Rebecca Williams said...


I sent a follow-up comment to Mr. Michelson, but here, generally, is what I said--revised for commenting on your blog: "...if I become your colleague, there are only 5-and-a-half Black Democrats to gang up on me." I find this response to my comment just as offensive as his initial post. To suggest that he will be victimized by "Black Democrats" who may "gang up" on him makes me think that he has a bias against Black people serving in elective office. Why would we "gang" up on him...because he is white?? Why the continued reference to skin color and race? Again, what does the racial make-up of the city council have to do with it? I was elected to serve all the residents of the 2nd and 3rd Wards, respectively--I don't serve racial agendas. Also, when he says that he is writing about what the rest of New Jersey "sees," what is that supposed to mean? That seeing a majority Black city council sends a wrong message or something? Also, exactly who is "the rest of New Jersey" who would presumably have an issue with it? What demographic is he discussing here? The state of New Jersey has hundreds of all-white or majority white governing bodies, and several of the towns surrounding Plainfield do as well (I'm thinking North Plainfield, Fanwood, Summit, Westfield, Scotch Plains, etc.). Is Mr. Michelson as concerned about how the racial makeup of these surrounding municipalities may be seen by the rest of New Jersey? I have not heard him express his concern. Why, then, is race important regarding Plainfield's city council? He then says he thinks that we need more "political diversity" on the council--that sounds completely disingenuous, given his hyperfocus on race. Also, I don't ever "gang up" on anyone on the council, and I don't find his "5-and-a-half" comment funny. He seems to be saying that the "White" part of me won't have an issue with him, but the "Black" part will. That is racist.


Anonymous said...

Michelson seems to be a little slow, and has very little self awareness. How could he not see how incendiary his casual (and unfunny) comments on 6 (or even worse - after Rebecca tried to school him and he proved incapable of learning - 5 and 1/2 black democrats)are. From the depths of his ignorance, he believes he has some special insight. It is not fun to watch someone implode.

Anonymous said...

A well thought out argument from Ms. Williams. But what's with her calling Michelson "a racist" . Shouldn't that be left for residents to decide and not from our elected officials to spin on us?

Rob said...

To anonymous...I doubt Tea Party but more like Stupid Party.
Much like I cannot stand closet bigots and racists who hide behind innuendo and slight of word -- Can anyone say Jerry Green?? I don't appreciate vocal expressions of opens bigots or racists either. Even worse...people too stupid to know they are being racists.
I have the ability as a former Republican to say wow...I would never have voted for this person EVEN if they were the only Republican running...
Lesson learned Plainfield ??? I know, I didn't think so either. Vote Democrat right ?? 4 more years for Jerry ( silent tennis clap in the background )

Anonymous said...

To 2:38 and everyone else. This is not a reason to keep Jerry Green in office. Mr Michelson let his true colors show before election and for that I say Thank you! However, he is not running against Jerry Green. So for 2nd ward I say vote for the Democrat and for assemblymen vote Republican! It's time for Jerry and Sharon to goooooooo!

Bill Michelson said...

It's certainly nice to see how the local (New) Democratic leadership respects free speech and open-mindedness. I did tweak my blog article, but perhaps should have left it as it was.

Those who lament the wholesale abandonment of Plainfield by the rest of New Jersey, those who complain that we can't attract any tax ratables or even keep the ones we had, those who wonder how the powers-that-be could have let us lose our hospital, look in the mirror.

My comments about the current City Council were inspired by, of all things, the recent brouhaha about rebuilding South Avenue. The $1.4 million price tag is a bitter pill indeed, especially since it was rebuilt (but defectively) only a few years ago. Two of our Council members said out loud that we should somehow force the State to take Route 28 over - it is NOT a state highway despite the numbering. I pointed out to them that Plainfield is in no position to ask expensive favors from a Governor who wasn't given the time of day by our black voters.

To answer Rebecca's point about how the rest of the Council might treat me comes out of watching how Bob Ferraro was treated. Since he held office for one term as a Democrat and one as a Republican, and he was just as badly treated during both terms, what do you expect me to think was the reason?

Our City is now home to several identity groups of people (whether self-defined or defined by others) who, not so long ago, were either not here, or ignored. I think all of them have the right to speak about issues that arise from this fact, and air whatever is bothering them. Anyone who disagrees, drop the pretense and admit that you don't want democracy anymore, and want free speech squelched, if it doesn't coincide with your views. It is the ultraliberals, whose view of themselves is as distorted as their views of everything else, who have a problem with me.

I'm a quadruple minority in this town: white, gay, Jewish, and Republican. Can anyone beat that?

Being a lightning rod for leftist fury doesn't bother me a bit. My outspokenness, honesty and devotion to free speech are now front and center, thanks to you and some of your readers. That's exactly what Plainfield needs on its City Council.

Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

Hey, Rob:
Bill Michelson is running against Cory Storch for city council; Joan vanPelt is running against Jerry Green for assembly.
We (I've been registered Republican in the City of Plainfield since I was allowed to vote), Democrats and Republicans can and should vote for Joan, whatever Bill's nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Gee Dan. . .there you go again. . .look at you seeking another bloggers apology while we all still wait for your apology to my friend Tony Rucker for calling him a Nazi.

jim spear

joan said...

Dan - I'm sorry I stopped reading the comments too early. I was asked about Bill's remarks in my blog and replied: I believe that Bill’s statement in his blog was in-artfully worded at best. First of all, I believe that the Republicans can and should embrace all peoples who share a similar concern for fiscal responsibility. I also believe that while a homogeneous group could represent the community, any governing body can benefit from having a diverse membership. In a community as richly diverse as Plainfield, we should have a council that reflects that diversity be they Democrats or Republicans. I’m happy that women are well represented, but would like to see Hispanics on the dias as well.

On another topic, I am sorry that the League of Women Voters chose not to include the Assembly candidates this year. They did 2 years ago and the district hasn't changed. I was looking forward to a chance to have the voting public compare the candidates face to face.