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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is PMUA now subject to city's new pay-to-play ordinances?

Will the Council's new reforms automatically apply to the PMUA?

Plainfield's newly enacted package of pay-to-play reforms survived the possibility of a mayoral veto when Tuesday's deadline for mayoral action came and went at 2:30 PM with no written communication from Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs.

This makes Plainfield
the 91st municipality in New Jersey to adopt the model ordinances as proposed by the state's good government group Citizens Action (see their website here).

The question now is whether the new ordinances, which will become effective in December, will also cover the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA)?

Resident Alan Goldstein raised the issue during the public hearing on ordinance 2011-11, the 'pay-to-play' ordinance, at the November 14 special Council meeting (see post here), citing the PMUA as 'a hotbed of pay-to-play abuse'.

Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson
responded that while the ordinances would cover the City 'and its instrumentalities', the PMUA was an independent authority governed separately by state law, suggesting it would have to take the measures up on its own. This approach was echoed by Councilors Cory Storch and Rebecca Williams who wished to urge the PMUA Commissioners to take up the good-government measures.

Goldstein, however, did his homework, and in an email circulated to all City Council members on November 19, cited the Department of Community Affairs' manual on the state's pay-to-play law as applied to localities (see here, PDF), which clearly sets out --

The following are examples of agencies and instrumentalities covered by the Law:

            • Any government entity whose board or management is appointed by a county or a municipal governing body or other official. These entities include, but are not limited to:

  • Local, county and regional authorities
  • Public libraries
  • Boards of health
  • Public assistance boards
  • Joint meetings
  • Joint insurance funds
            • Fire districts
            • County constitutional officers
            • County colleges
            • Independent boards and commissions, including but not limited to: Planning and Zoning Boards, Park Commissions, Boards of Social Services, Mosquito Control Commissions, and Workforce Investment Boards.
Of the four ordinances, 2011-10 (Competitive Negotiations for Professional Services) and 2011-11 (Pay to Play Reform) would seem to have the most immediate impact, governing the awarding of contracts and the mandatory disclosure of political contributions by firms seeking business with the PMUA. 2011-13 ('Best Price' Insurance Purchasing) may also apply, though it is less likely that 2011-12 (Developer Disclosure) is applicable.

Will the PMUA automatically have to comply with the new ordinances?

While the language of the law (NJSA 19:44, see here, PDF) is straightforward, Plainfield's special charter often complicates the relation of state law to the laws of the Sovereign State of Plainfield.

Since pay-to-play reform wasn't even a glint in the eye of the pols who drafted Plainfield's special charter (adopted in 1971), I'm tossing my hand in with the State law on this one.

So, who will be the bearer of the good news to the PMUA?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How would an Assembly seat be filled in case of vacancy?

How would an Assembly vacancy be filled?
From time to time, Plainfield Today readers ask how an Assembly seat is filled when its holder dies, resigns or is removed from office.

The recent death of Assemblyman Peter Biondi of Hillsborough, just re-elected earlier this month, provides an opportunity to see the replacement process up close.

New Jersey's Constitution requires that a vacancy -- whether caused by death, resignation, or removal from office -- be filled within 35 days (see here) by a convention of the political party of the person who held the seat. This convention is to include the party committee members from all of the municipalities and/or districts comprising the Legislative District of the now-vacant seat.

For instance, if a vacancy were to occur in Plainfield's district, the 22nd Legislative District, a convention to fill the vacant seat would include the male and female county committee (or, in shorthand, municipal committee) members from --

Union County: Plainfield, Fanwood, Scotch Plains, Clark, Linden, Rahway and Winfield;
Somerset County: North Plainfield andGreen Brook;
Middlesex County: Dunellen and Middlesex.
This appointee, selected by convention and confirmed by the Assembly, would serve until the next GENERAL ELECTION, at which time a candidate would be elected to fill the balance of the regular term (there is an exception when the term is close to its end).

As Colleen O'Dea points out in an excellent article on NJ Spotlight (see here), it has not always been this way.

New Jersey's 1947 Constitution originally provided for special elections to be held in the event of vacancies. Over time this turned out to be quite a burdensome expense and left the election in the hands of a tiny number of voters who turned out for the special elections.

Politicians thought an easier -- if not better -- way was to have the replacements made by the political party of the (former) officeholder and proposed a constitutional amendment. This amendment was adopted in 1988 by a more than 2-to-1 margin, says O'Dea.

As usual with New Jersey politics, there are some pretty cold calculations involved.

Basically, those in control of the District's political machinery try to quietly engineer a single choice before the convention. As evidence, consider that the Ledger reported on Nov. 25 that recently elected Jack Ciatarelli was to be Biondi's replacement (see story here) -- though the convention itself does not take place until November 30.

On the other hand, since this is usually a process of moving pieces up the pegs on a board, it is possible for a fight to break out at a convention over competing candidacies, if not for the seat itself, then for a seat that the appointee may be vacating. That is exactly the scenario with the Biondi seat, where there is expected to be a fight between two factions for the Freeholder seat Ciatarelli is vacating, according to PolicikerNJ (see story here).

For pols, the neat thing here is that the person filling the vacancy -- if even for a few months -- gets to run in the next General Election as an INCUMBENT, which is a tremendous advantage.

According to O'Dea, almost a third of the members of the Legislature have arrived at their incumbencies through the replacement route.

Things could get very interesting in the event of a vacancy involving Plainfield, just because of the complicated demographics of the 22nd District.

Conventional political 'wisdom' with regard to the two Assembly seats has held that there is a 'Plainfield seat', reserved for a minority, and an 'other seat', reserved for a non-minority person.

With the District's demographics shifting (
Plainfield, its largest community, is becoming increasingly Hispanic, as are several other towns), it will be interesting to see how the District's aging white leadership handles such a situation.

Should the need ever arise.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Battery of events this week launches Holiday season

'Ready for my closeup, Mr. deMille'. This West 8th mansion, lovingly restored
(here a new roof), is among those featured in Sunday's house tour.

The end-of-year Holiday season gets under way in Plainfield this week with a battery of not-to-miss events.


Friday, December 2. 6:00 PM. Plainfield's traditional Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on City Hall steps, corner of Watchung Avenue and East 6th Street.

Special guests and choirs will provide an exciting event including carols, a visit from Santa (and pictures with Santa), plus hot chocolate provided by Plainfield's Salvation Army Citadel. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held on December 9.


Saturday, December 3. 3:00 PM. At Shiloh Baptist Church, West 4th Street at Liberty Street. Thrill to music of the season as the Plainfield Symphony and Shiloh's Choirs join to celebrate Christmas! With guest conductor Michael Avigliano, choir director Wendell Woods and soloist Kian Freitas.

Selections include Handel's 'Hallelujah Chorus' as well as classical, choral and Gospel favorites, including Leroy Anderson and Quincy Jones.

Tickets: $40/reserved, $25/regular seating, $20/Senior, $10 student. Tickets may be purchased online at the Plainfield Symphony website here, or at the website of Shiloh Baptist Church here.

Sunday, December 4. Noon to 6:00 PM (Tickets available up to 4:30 PM). Pick up map and start tour at 946 Madison Avenue. Nine of the Van Wyck Brooks' Historic Districts magnificent homes will be open to visitors in all their holiday splendor.

This is always one of Plainfield's biggest draws, with throngs of visitors from the tri-state area. Three of the District's resident artists -- photographer Richard Lear, landscapist Gerry Heydt, and Maria Mijares, who does large transportation-themed installations -- will be taking part, with selections of their work on view and available for purchase. This year there will also be limited quantities of the District's 2012 calendar and a special commemorative Christmas tree ornament.

Tickets are $20/advance and $25/day of tour. Tickets may be purchased online at the Van Wyck Brooks HD website here through December 3, or in person at Swain Gallery, Watchung Avenue at East 7th Street; or Ahrre's Coffee Roastery, 104 Elm Street, Westfield.

Sunday, December 4. 5:00 PM. At Grace Episcopal Church, East 7th Street at Cleveland Avenue (between Park and Watchung Avenues). The traditional Anglican service of Lessons and Carols traces, in carols, congregational hymns and Scripture readings, the arc of salvation history culminating in God's gift of Jesus the Christ.

Featuring the Grace Church choir under the directions of organist and choirmaster Robert Gangewere, with the Rev. Carolyn Eklund, Grace's Rector, leading the service.

This is the perfect way to end a day on the House Tour, with a reflective service by candlelight in historic Grace Church.

The service is free and open to all. Parking is available in the public parking lot across 7th Street from the church. There will be a light reception following the service in the Parish Hall. More information at the parish website here.


Saturday, December 10 (9:00 AM - 4:00 PM) and Sunday, December 11 (11:00 AM - 4:00 PM). At the historic First Unitarian Society of Plainfield (FUSP), 724 Park Avenue. Local crafters and artists' handmade gifts are among the best buys for the season.

Homemade treats, Kids craft activities, Fair Trade items, demonstrations, craft raffles and coffee/dessert/lunches.

The Fair is free and open to all. Proceeds from the Fair support the congregation's work and community outreach. More information at the parish website here.

Saturday, December 10, Noon - 3:00 PM. Two Staging Locations: Downtown at Parklet near McDonalds on West Front Street; South Avenue at Plainwood Square Park (between Leland and Terrill).

Join in this community fun day of an old-fashioned horse & wagon ride, with goody bags for all participants courtesy of Plainfield SID merchants. Bring your camera and take picture of the kids with Santa (Downtown: Noon - 1:15 PM; South Avenue: 1:45 - 3:00 PM).

The rides are free and open to all. Entry forms at both locations will be put in a drawing for a Giant Toy-Filled Christmas Stocking, to be awarded at Plainwood Square Park at 3:00 PM.

Sunday, December 11, 5:30 PM. At Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, corner of Watchung Avenue and East 7th Street.

The Crescent Singers present their annual gift of holiday music of all ages to the community.

Free and open to all (donations gratefully appreciated).

Parking available at Swain Galleries across the street or in the church lot on First Place.

For more information, see Crescent Concerts' website here.

Wednesday, December 14, 6:00 - 9:00 PM. At the YWCA, corner of East Front and Church Streets (one block east of Watchung Avenue).

The 'hanging of the greens' is a tradition of the Plainfield YWCA that harks back to 1924 and marks the beginning of the holiday season. It originated when single women lived at the YWCA and gathered together to decorate the striking octagonal entry hall of the landmarked Tudor Revivial building. Though the YWCA no longer houses young women, the event continues and offers an opportunity for staff, Board and program clients to gather together to thank the YW's supporters and friends and celebrate the holiday season.

There will be music and refreshments as well as information about the YWCA's programs and an opportunity to meet Board and staff.

For more information, call (908) 756-3500 x127 or visit the website here. To help celebrate 105 years of service to the greater Plainfield community by making a gift in support of programs, call Development Director Dana Wilson at (908) 756-3500 x128, (732) 277-8184 (cell), or email her at

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Hidden Plainfield: More cornerstones ID'ed

The U.M.P.A. Church is in an unusual and distinctive location.

Yesterday's Hidden Plainfield was a further selection of Plainfield cornerstones.

Cornerstone A is at the UMPA Healing Temple Church (above) south of Front Street on Clinton Avenue, just before the NJT underpass.

The cornerstone of the rebuilt Crescent Avenue was quarried in the Holy Land.

Cornerstone B is on the front of Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, whose grand Victorian Gothic building burned down. The church was rebuilt on the same foundation, hence the two dates on the cornerstone.

Cornerstone C is on the Main Post Office.

There was once much ado about William McAdoo, who was Secretary of the Treasury when the Main Post Office at the corner of Watchung Avenue and East 2nd Street was built in 1915, though his name may mean nothing to Plainfielders today.

An ambitious man with an interesting career (see here), McAdoo's financial misadventures led him to New York City where he met Francis Pemberton, son of the Confederate Civil War general. He was instrumental in finishing the Hudson River rail tunnels which are now the PATH system in 1908, and as Secretary of the Treasury under Woodrow Wilson avoided having the United States fall into a depression on the eve of World War I by closing the New York Stock Exchange for four months.

This medallion is not really a cornerstone.
I am clueless about the representation (a Revolutionary War figure?)
and its connection with the temple of commerce.

'Cornerstone' D was a trick question. It's not really a cornerstone at all, but an emblem on the exterior wall above the original corner entry of what was built as Plainfield's Sears store at West Front Street and Grove Streets. Originally the site of the former First Baptist Church, which was merged with the Park Avenue Baptist Church (which stood at the corner of Park and East 9th, where the Art Deco apartment building is) to form First-Park Baptist Church at West 7th and Central Avenue, the building now houses the Park-Madison Pharmacy. 

Where shall we go next week?

  • Hidden Plainfield:  "More cornerstones" -- All comments and guesses have been posted.
-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hidden Plainfield: More cornerstones

Also known as Healing Temple Church.
Today's Hidden Plainfield takes a look at more Plainfield cornerstones. Do you know these buildings and where they are located?

Quarried from the Mount of Olives.

While this one should be easy...

This one's a bit trickier...
Answers tomorrow.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's the Cromwellites and the Cavaliers today at Plainfield

No, it's not a re-enactment of the English Civil War. At least I hope not.

The Cromwellites were on the Puritan side. The Cavaliers stood with the Church of England's King Charles.

That's as close as it gets. My sisters and their kids, hailing from Cromwell, Connecticut, (Puritan country) are visiting the Plainfield Cavalier this morning.

An annual event, it means I am taking the day off to prepare lunch.

See you tomorrow.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Pay-to-play ordinances: When does the 10-day window close?

Three possible dates suggest themselves.
Plainfield's City Council passed a package of four ordinances dealing with pay-to-play reform at the local level at its special meeting on Monday, November 14 (see more on the ordinances here).

If signed off on by Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, Plainfield would become 91st municipality in New Jersey to adopt the model ordinances as proposed by the state's good government group Citizens Action (see their website here).

Given the attempt by Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs to derail the actual pay-to-play ordinance (2011-11) the night of the Council's passage (see my post here), it is not at all clear that Mayor Robinson-Briggs will not veto one or more of the ordinances.

The charter speaks, characteristically imprecisely, to the question of a veto as follows --

2.9    Ordinances; veto.

    (a)     Ordinances shall be prepared, introduced, considered and acted upon as required by law. No ordinance may be enacted without the affirmative vote of a majority of all the councilmen.

    (b)     Ordinances adopted by the council shall be submitted to the mayor, and he shall within 10 days after receiving any ordinance, either approve the ordinance by affixing his signature thereto or return it to the council by delivering it to the city clerk together with a statement setting forth his objections thereto or to any item or part thereof. No ordinance or any item or part thereof shall take effect without the mayor's approval, unless the mayor fails to return an ordinance to the council within 10 days after it has been presented to him, or unless council upon reconsideration thereof on or after the third day but not later than its next regular meeting following its return by the mayor shall by a vote of 2/3 of the members resolve to override the mayor's veto.
How exactly are the 'ten days' to be counted?

Quizzing several Council members, I got different interpretations of when each thought the mayor's deadline to act was. Municipal Clerk 'AJ' Jalloh would only point me to the charter itself, saying the ordinances were delivered to the Mayor on Tuesday afternoon, the day after passage by the City Council.

So, looking at the calendar, we can see there are at least three possible options --
  • A: Strictly by CALENDAR DAYS;

  • B: CALENDAR DAYS, not counting public holidays; and

  • C: BUSINESS DAYS only, which would exempt weekends and holidays.
Which will it be? We shall have to see.

Should the Council exercise its legislative prerogative by passing an ordinance to clarify counting the days?

But what if THAT were vetoed?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Can Plainfielders thank FDR for Black Friday beginning on Thanksgiving?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor celebrate Thanksgiving.

Is it true Plainfielders have President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to thank for Christmas shopping's kickoff Black Friday's move to Thanksgiving evening?

Or maybe Macy*s?

From the date of Macy*s first Thanksgiving Day parade in 1920 (see more here), American consumers had come to expect the Christmas shopping season to begin after Santa Claus' appearance in the parade.

The appearance of Santa Claus in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
(here in 1939) marked the beginning of the Christmas selling season.
At the time, Thanksgiving was NOT a national holiday, but was celebrated on the LAST Thursday of November. After the President of the United States issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation, governors of the individual states would issue their own proclamations, all aligning with the President's.

But with the Great Depression of the 1930s, the tone of these celebratory events became much subdued what with the desperate conditions among the American populace with mass unemployment, homelessness and hunger stalking the land (see more here).

In his first Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1933, Roosevelt matched his thoughts with the country's mood --

...May we ask guidance in more surely learning the ancient truth that greed and selfishness and striving for undue riches can never bring lasting happiness or good to the individual or to his neighbors.

May we be grateful for the passing of dark days; for the new spirit of dependence one on another; for the closer unity of all parts of our wide land; for the greater friendship between employers and those who toil; for a clearer knowledge by all nations that we seek no conquests and ask only honorable engagements by all peoples to respect the lands and rights of their neighbors; for the brighter day to which we can win through by seeking the help of God in a more unselfish striving for the common bettering of mankind...
By 1939, the country, though doing better economically, was still not completely out of the grip of the Depression.

In late summer of that year, a retail executive warned the Roosevelt administration that the late date of Thanksgiving that year (November 30) could negatively impact the Christmas sales desperately needed by the country's retailers. (Then, as now, the period from Thanksgiving to New Year's constituted the busiest and most profitable time of the year in retail.)

The hope was the earlier date would boost holiday sales.
The idea of advancing the holiday by way of the President's proclamation worked its way up the chain of communications and FDR decided in late October to move the date up by a week to the next-to-last Thursday of November.

Such short notice of the change caused an uproar: everything from treasured high school and college football games to long-planned local parades and celebrations to retailers' own advertising campaigns had to be changed. FDR's critics had a field day, nicknaming the moved holiday 'Franksgiving' -- a term coined by the mayor of Atlantic City, you should know (see here).

The White House was flooded with complaints decrying everything from potential harm to businesses to the disruption of NYU's annual football game (see sample letters here).

Though the states were divided between the two dates (and two chose to celebrate BOTH), Roosevelt stuck to his guns, making the same declaration for 1940. The ruckus became such an issue that Congress finally resolved it
on December 26, 1941, by declaring the FOURTH THURSDAY of November as Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday. With the country just entering World War II, there was no mood for any further division over such a matter.

Amid all the hubbub this year over whether advancing Black Friday's shopping madness to Thanksgiving evening is a good thing for business or a bad thing for the holiday, it might be useful to reflect on this little bit of history and how a cherished president like Franklin Delano Roosevelt could back into a real public relations buzz-saw.

Oh, did the change of date have the desired outcome for retail sales?

According to Jennifer Rosenberg, writing on, for the 1939 season those stores that moved to the earlier week found their sales spread evenly throughout the shopping season; those keeping to the later week experienced the bulk of their sales in the last week before Christmas (see here). It does not appear that sales actually grew at all.

President Obama, wisely, has stayed out of this one.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Free Thanksgiving Dinners offered by three Plainfield organizations

THANKSGIVING DAY NOTE: Please see the additional offerings for Thanksgiving Day in the comments posted at the end of the story. Happy Thanksgiving to all -- Dan.

Three Plainfield organizations will offer free Thanksgiving Dinner to those who are hungry or alone on the holiday --


Corner of East 7th Street and Watchung Avenue. Noon - 2:00 PM.

This is a community project involving several churches, Unity Bank, the North Plainfield Lions Club and the North Plainfield Italian-American Club.

400 East Front Street. 11:30 AM - 2 PM.

Seniors will be served first at this free Thanksgiving Dinner offered by the Plainfield Senior Center.

Access through the Kenyon Avenue parking lot. 2:00 - 5:00 PM.

A Thanksgiving Dinner for the People of Plainfield offered by the Plainfield Board of Education.
As we approach the end-of-year Holiday season, I will be posting opportunities to celebrate as well as to provide gifts of food, toys and clothing to our Plainfield neighbors. If you are part of an organization offering such opportunities, drop me a line at plaindan at gmail dot com and I will include your information.

Happy Thanksgiving.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

PMUA appointments occupy much of Council meeting

Nominations to the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority's board of commissioners took up much of Monday night's City Council meeting.

As Councilor Storch noted during the Council's public interviews of nominees Malcolm R. Dunn and Cecil Sanders, concerns about the PMUA are number one citywide behind concerns about violent crime.

So it is perhaps understandable that the interviews took up nearly an hour and a half, though they were considerably lopsided in the back-and-forth, with questions to Dunn taking up a far larger share than those to Sanders.

The Councilors' concerns came under several headings --

  • Rates and rate relief;

  • Improved PMUA income through marketing of shared services;

  • Suggestions the nominees have for improvements to the PMUA; and

  • Willingness of the nominees to subscribe to pay-to-play reforms that are in play.
Before the vote was (finally) taken, resident Alan Goldstein outlined campaign contributions by Dunn and the fact that Councilor Reid functions as treasurer for three campaign committees: Mayor Robinson-Briggs, Assemblyman Green and the Plainfield Democratic City Committee.

Reid responded that he was basically the 'bookkeeper' and not involved in raising or spending the funds.

When the votes went down, Dunn was confirmed by a vote of 5-2 (Storch and Williams voting 'nay'), and Sanders was confirmed by a vote of 4-3 (Storch, Williams and Council President McWilliams voting 'nay').

A longtime city employee remarked afterwards in the hallway that somebody ought to alert the PMUA commissioners that their days of crisp, 30-minute meetings were likely over.

At least for the foreseeable future.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Dan in doghouse again, Dagnabit!

Dan, you are such a B-A-D dog!
Plainfield blog Plaintalker II received the following anonymous comment and forwarded same to me for 'a clarification or an apology -- or [gasp!] both'. The comment was in response to a post on Plaintalker II that mentioned the name of a legendary music service in its title (see the post here).

Here is the comment --

This comment came in regarding my post on the music at a local supermarket:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Not Exactly Muzak":

For the record, The music service could not have been Muzak. Although Muzak has over 2.5 million songs in its library, it has for 75 years remained true to its business objective which is to provide music solutions for business. One of its core capabilities is screening songs and lyrics for lyric content. No other music provider offers this. Although some people may not be affended by use of the F Bomb, some will. This is reflected in this short comment string. As a main street business owner, I am not willing to offend even one customer. At one time Muzak was considered expensive, but today they are less expensive that all the other providers. This business owner would be wise to consider Muzak.
I did not say it was Muzak, you did in your teaser. How about a clarification or apology - or both??
The reference is to the CLIPS from Monday, November 14 (see post here), in which the Plaintalker II post of the day is summarized by hapless Dan with the erroneous use of the famous music service's trademarked name -- not once, but twice: in the headline and in the paragraph summarizing what bloggers have posted for the day, incorrectly suggesting Plaintalker II had experienced music from this illustrious music service. (This constitutes the requested CLARIFICATION.)

Having long ago learned not to refer to the famous (formerly cellophane and now plastic) adhesive tape by its trademarked name and ditto for the corporation whose name became a verb AND a noun to denote a photocopied document, I shudder to think of having fallen into this casual error yet once again and regret the lapse. (This is an admission of CULPABILITY.)

Plaintalker II post makes it perfectly clear -- both in its title and its content -- that it is NOT talking about the famed music service, but presumably some other music service with insufficiently high content standards. (This is an EXCULPATION of Plaintalker II.)

However, since I received no similar communication at CLIPS concerning the company's name, I suspect the algorithm (was it a Google Alert) that led to the anonymous comment only turned up the
Plaintalker II headline -- hence the comment.

A PROPOSED REMEDY: I propose we bring back the public stocks, and that anyone caught violating trademarks should be locked up therein for a few hours in the town square (the Park Madison Plaza would suffice) with a placard detailing the offense, to be subjected to the jeers, spittle and other abuse of passersby and thereafter to wear a scarlet letter denoting the offense on their clothing in perpetuity. I volunteer to be the first to suffer the punishment.

As for an APOLOGY, I have forwarded same to the Courier News for publication on their 'apologies' page.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Tonight's Council meeting: $100,00 settlement, new city administrator, PMUA appointments

The Robinson-Briggs administration proposes to give away a really BIG one tonight.

Tonight's meeting of the Plainfield City Council looks forward, among other items, to --

  • Consent of the Council to the appointment of Eric Berry as City Administrator;

  • Consent to the nominations by Mayor Robinson-Briggs of Malcolm Dunn and Cecil Sanders as PMUA commissioners; and

  • Agreement to the Robinson-Briggs administration's proposal to settle a lawsuit by Paulette Brown, Esq., for the amount of $100,000.
City Council business meetings are held at 8:00 PM in the Council Chambers/Municipal Court, Watchung Avenue at East 4th Street.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Hidden Plainfield: 'Quarticos' identified

Home A is in the 1000-block of Myrtle Avenue.

Yesterday's Hidden Plainfield featured a series of four homes -- one in each Ward -- with tetrastyle porticos across the entire front of the home that make commanding presences in their streetscapes.

'Tetra' is Greek for four, and style means column or pillar. (Remember St. Simeon Stylites, the Desert Saint who spent nearly forty years atop a column as his form of asceticism?)

Tip 'o the hat to Maria Pellum, who recognized Home A (above) as being on Myrtle Avenue in Ward 4 -- it's in the 1000-block.

Home B is on Putnam Avenue.

Home B is on the corner of Putnam and Hillside Avenues in Ward 2.)

Home C is on Netherwood Avenue.

Home C is in the 100-block of Netherwood Avenue, between East Front and East 2nd Streets, in Ward 1.

Home D is on West 8th Street.

Home D is on West 8th Street, the first house in the 900-block (which does NOT start on a street corner) and is in Ward 3.

Where shall we go next week?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Today is deadline for Thanksgiving food donations to PAS

Thanksgiving Dinner items are needed by Plainfield Action Services.
As the holidays approach, Plainfielders have opportunities to help those facing difficult times.

Plainfield Action Services (PAS), located in City Hall Annex across Watchung Avenue from City Hall and next to the YMCA, wants you to know that our neighbors need assistance more than ever as we approach Thanksgiving and the December holidays. 

PAS is now accepting donations of Thanksgiving food items and asks that you bring donations to the PAS offices before the planned distribution on Tuesday, November 22nd. Items can include canned goods (candied yams, vegetables, cranberry sauce, etc.), packaged stuffing mixes, instant mashed potatoes and other seasonal non-perishable items.

PAS is also accepting donations of new toys and clothes, gently used toys and clothes, other appropriate gifts, and food items for the Christmas holiday which should be delivered to the PAS offices by Friday, December 16th.  For additional information, please contact Pattie Boone at (908) 753-3524.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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