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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sharon supporters show signs of shift

Muhammad signs are springing up in Ward 1...

...while Sharon's neighbors sport Campbell signs.

As Labor Day approaches, Plainfield's political sign wars are beginning to heat up.

The familiar blue and white signs for 'Scutari-Green-Stender' are seen throughout the city, often enough paired with green 'Barbara Buono' signs.

Most interesting though, is the shift taking place in neighborhoods that sported signs for Sharon Robinson-Briggs in the June Democratic primary.

In Ward 1, many of those who had supported Sharon are now sporting 'Mustapa Muhammad' signs, whose independent campaign headquarters is located on the corner of East Second Street and Netherwood Avenue.

In Robinson-Briggs' own neighborhood around Pemberton and Central Avenues, her Sharon signs have been replaced with those supporting young John Campbell, GOP candidate for Assembly.

No signs have been spotted yet for the second independent mayoral candidate, D. Scott Belin, nor any signs of a campaign headquarters (though some are expecting him to inherit the old Sharon HQ across from City Hall).

Enjoy the holiday weekend, then it's back to the wars.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Belvidere Avenue home badly damaged by fire

A vacant home on Belvidere Avenue was extensively damaged
in a fire Thursday night.

A vacant home in the 700-block of Belvidere Avenue in Plainfield's Netherwood Heights neighborhood was badly damaged by a fire on Thursday evening.

A neighbor and I were at a meeting when the neighbor received a phone call from yet another neighbor about 9:15 PM that a fire had broken out in the vacant home.

By the time we got there a few minutes later, the Plainfield Fire Division was busily extinguishing the flames. The police had barricaded both Belvidere and Berkeley Avenues, making for minor traffic jams on this quiet 'shortcut' street just blocks from the Netherwood Train Station.

The home has been vacant since it was damaged by Hurricane Irene in August, 2011, when a tree crashed into the roof causing the home to lose power and suffer water damage.

Since that time, the vacant home has become an eyesore greatly upsetting the neighbors in this quiet, well-maintained historic district.

There is no word yet about whether the fire is of suspicious origin, but a routine arson investigation will be conducted.

An insurance adjuster and home repair crews were on the scene already at 8:00 AM when I went by for a daylight photo.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Percy Fennell, owner of Plainfield KFCs, dies

Word came Thursday evening of the passing of Percy Fennell, owner of Plainfield's two KFC franchises, located on South Avenue and at West 7th Street and Clinton Avenue.

Percy was a longtime supporter of the Plainfield community and served for more than twenty years as a  member and board member of the Plainwood Square Merchants Association.

'We will all remember his wisdom and generosity,' said Donna Albanese of the Plainfield Dairy Queen and the Plainwood Square Merchants Association.

The viewing is this evening from 4:00 - 8:00 PM at the Damiano Funeral Home, 181 Franklin Avenue, Long Branch.

Friends and family will gather at Second Baptist Church of Long Branch at 9:00 AM on Saturday, August 31; the funeral service will be at 10:00 AM. Second Baptist Church is at 93 Liberty Street, Long Branch.

Condolences may be left on the Damiano Funeral Home website at

-- Dan Damon [follow]
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

65-foot PSEG poles reach Plainfield

New 65-foot poles are being placed along Clinton Avenue...

Standard pole behind officer's patrol car
is dwarfed by the newcomer which will eventually replace it.

PSEG's push to install new 65-foot telephone poles has finally reached Plainfield.

Over the past few weeks, the giant poles have begun a relentless march up Clinton Avenue and have now entered North Plainfield.

Crews have planted the new poles alongside the older, shorter ones and will eventually suspend the wires from the new taller poles and remove the old ones.

The taller poles, designed to carry PSEG's new 65 kilovolt service (an upgrade from the standard 26 kilovolt lines), have drawn considerable comment from some towns in northern New Jersey, especially Glen Rock and Ridgewood, where residents complained that the taller poles were being installed without prior notice. PSEG engineers responded that they had met with town officials months before and explained the power line enhancement program.

PSEG says that the newer configuration is needed because of heavier demand and for greater reliability. The taller poles, which have already been installed in some sixty New Jersey communities, will be protected from lightning strike by special 'shield wires' that would shunt lightning strikes and safely ground them. In addition, newer breakers are being installed that shut down power on a line as soon as a fault is detected.

Though some North Jersey homeowners complained of the smell of the new poles, PSEG engineers said they are treated with the same preservative as is used on lumber for building decks on homes and that the smell gradually dissipates.

Watching the work on Clinton Avenue, it occurs to me that having the wires moved out of the way of tree branches can only be a good thing when contemplating the damage that windstorms often do to Plainfield's older trees.

While the Robinson-Briggs administration has kept mum about whether it was informed of the PSEG program in advance, one can only wonder if we will begin to hear public comment at Council meetings once the program reaches other neighborhoods.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Giant sunflower spotted

Special care leads to special sunflowers...

I have always found sunflowers fascinating, from those grown yearly at Plainfield's Bethel Presbyterian Church's community garden at East 6th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, to the wild roadside beds that used to be visible along Inman Avenue in Edison.

But Tuesday, I was wowed by a yardful of giant sunflowers in front of a Clinton Avenue home. Tucked in a neat fenced-in yard, the towering giants had somehow magically escaped the predations of squirrels, who always broke the leaves off mine while climbing up them for the seeds.

-- Dan Damon [follow]
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Something new for Plainfield: Coping with success

Food, music and cerveza have brought tens of thousands of visitors
to Plainfield, and some conflict...

While listening to the squabbling at Plainfield City Council's special meeting Monday evening to (re)consider allowing Edison Garcia's Central American Independence Celebration festival to go forward, it occurred to me that everyone -- Council, merchants and public alike -- are learning to cope with an unusual situation for Plainfield: Success.

Some merchants and plenty of residents have complained about the sound levels of the amplified bands. Disinformation and misinformation has been spread about whether attendees are kept within a specific area while drinking cerveza (and the propriety of having children witness adults drinking beer). There are complaints that the food vendors are all from out of town (not so, others say).

One business owner's petition against allowing the festival is said to contain some fictitious names; others are said not to have known what they were signing. After a lengthy discussion at a SID (Special Improvement District) board meeting, the board adopted a resolution asking the Council to deny Garcia permission, suggesting a location away from the central business district. In the end, the Council agreed to grant permission for the Festival, with modified hours and a shutdown of amplified music at 9:00 PM (Storch and Williams were the only 'no' votes).

Some grumble that Garcia seems to have a special access that allows for circumventing the Council's decisions. Dottie Gutenkauf suggested to the Council that one problem was the inconsistencies in how it treats different instances coming before it, including allowing Rodney Maree's event longer hours.

Councilor Mapp argues (and no one disputes him) that the festivals have brought thousands of visitors to Plainfield's downtown. But there is no evidence that the influx has had any positive impact on the downtown businesses (aside from the two sponsors' bars: Faraone's and Chez Maree).

Not only do we have the festivals, now the City is bombarded with requests for street closures for everything from a bike show on Front Street and 'customer appreciation days' for Hugo's Lounge on Church Street, to another bike extravaganza on several blocks of North Avenue between Richmond and Berckman Streets, and at least two religious groups seeking encroachments or street closures.

The Robinson-Briggs administration has not even attempted to assess the situation, let alone offer guidelines for coping with the impact of the large-scale events. And just as nature abhors a vacuum, so the Council feels it must address the issues since it is caught in the crosshairs, though the issues are complex and not easily resolved around the Council table.

Everyone has some reason to complain, but no one seems to take into account that if the festivals (and the other events mentioned) were not so successful, there would be no reason to complain because they would have disappeared.

Perhaps Councilor Mapp has taken the best approach by recognizing that the influx of visitors is a good thing, not a bad thing.

Now, what needs to happen is for all the stakeholders to sit down and work out some measures that bring a measure of fairness and economic benefit to everyone. That is certainly within grasp, but it is clearly not within grasp of the Robinson-Briggs administration.

So, folks will have to be patient and look forward to a better response to the challenges and opportunities that success will present to a new Plainfield mayor come January 1.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, August 26, 2013

UEZ layoffs, Latino festival at tonight's special Council

Magic 8-ball having trouble?
Plainfield's City Council holds a special meeting at 7:00 PM tonight to consider (or is it reconsider?) two items: the UEZ layoffs plan and Edison Garcia's request for permission for (another) festival in City parking lots 8 and 8-A.

The Council has gotten itself in a bind over the UEZ business.

After Councilor Mapp pointed out that the UEZ funds on hand are not a 'grant', cannot be considered a 'grant' and should not be put on the books as if they were a 'grant', the Council previously removed the funds from being available as if they were grant funds.

That meant that the two UEZ positions, which the Robinson-Briggs administration had been funding with UEZ monies now had no funding since Robinson-Briggs did not include them in the regular budget.

The only recourse was to submit a layoff plan to the State and carry it out.

However, at last week's business session, with only five councilors in attendance, three (Brown, Greaves and Reid) voted against the layoff plan.

While it is possible that Councilors Brown and Greaves just didn't understand that funding can't just be wished into existence (notwithstanding Sharon's attempts to spend money she doesn't have), there is no excuse for Reid's vote since he has years of experience in public agency management and perfectly well understands the ins and outs of fiscal procedures.

With Councilors Storch and Rivers presumably back in the saddle again this evening, the outcome may be presumed to be different.

As for Mr. Garcia's request for another festival (his second this year), Bernice has aptly raised the question of whether the Council has thrown its own rules (45-day adance notice) out the window. Has Mr. Garcia gotten hold of some magic button to push?

It all unfolds at 7:00 PM tonight in the Library at City Hall.

-- Dan Damon [follow]
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Holy, flockin' flamingos!

Flamingos flockin'...

Flocks of flamingos have been spotted around Plainfield
recently, and this one was seen in front of a Plainfield Today reader's home Saturday afternoon.

Someone having a birthday?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Suddenly, a quiet summer weekend

The Shakespeare Garden can be an inspiration...

2013 has been one of the busiest Plainfield
summers I can remember. However, with the cancellation of today's West 3rd Street community event and the Mayor's ill-timed, ill-planned event for Hannah Atkins Park, we are left with a quiet late-summer weekend.

I'm taking advantage with a lazy day, maybe out photographing with my new camera.

Tomorrow is Grace Church's annual Peach Festival and Carillon Concert at Noon.

The sun is out, enjoy!

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Sharon using city money to campaign for NAACP presidency?

Is Sharon trying to use City money to campaign for NAACP office?

Is Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs trying to use City money to campaign for the NAACP's state presidency?

Mayor Robinson-Briggs is said to have sent an email to department heads Wednesday that the planned 'Community Appreciation Day' slated for this Saturday on West 3rd Street between Liberty Street and Plainfield Avenue would not be allowed to take place as Her Honor was withholding her (required) signature from the street encroachment permit.

City Council had approved the street closure Monday evening, after former Councilor Joanne Hollis had made a presentation to the Council on behalf of the event at the August 12 agenda-setting session.

It appears that the Mayor applied for a permit on Wednesday, August 21, for the use of Hannah Atkins Park at the same time for a 'baseball game and community event'. That is two days after the Council's approval of the first event.

Staff members were aghast when the mayor's initial proposal to spend approximately $7,000 on the event was upped to $20,000.

You should know that the Mayor's budget for the entire 2013 year has been spent down to zero, meaning that any money for her Saturday event would have to come from other funds. It would be improper, if not illegal, for Mayor Robinson-Briggs to take money from any other account without Council approval -- which she is not seeking.

For those who have a sense of déjà vu all over again, this sounds like a replay of the bad movie where Sharon misappropriated $15,000 meant for July 4 Parade expenses to cover the cost of the infamous WBLS broadcast of her 2011 Town Hall meeting. The pressure on employees to kow-tow to Her Honor's whim reminded many of the prior fiasco.

Supposedly, she leaned on Administration and Finance Director Al Restaino to get the $20,000 appropriation on an emergency basis from the county-administered CDBG (Community Development Block Grants) program in order to replace monies she would (improperly) spend on Saturday's event. County officials are said to have told Mayor Robinson-Briggs that she would have to make her appeal directly to the Freeholders, whose regular meeting was last night.

A Plainfield resident who attended the Freeholder meeting told me later that Mayor Robinson-Briggs was not in attendance and the matter was not brought up there. Checking the City's website early Friday, it appears the event has been rescheduled (see screen capture below). Meanwhile, the West 3rd Street folks have rescheduled their event for next month. Thank you, Sharon!

As of this morning, the event appears to be postponed.

In announcing her candidacy for NAACP office, Sharon said
she would be in Washington, DC, on Saturday.

My suspicions about Sharon's motives are raised by two coincidental facts --

  1. She applied for a permit for the use of Hannah Atkins Park, which the Mayor need not do if an event is city-sponsored; and

  2. In her letter announcing her candidacy for the statewide NAACP presidency (see my post on her announcement here), Mayor Robinson-Briggs asserted that she would be in Washington, DC on August 24, commemorating the 50th anniersary of Dr. King's 'March on Washington'.
Is Sharon planning to use City money in her campaign for the statewide NAACP presidency?

What do you think?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Calling Dave Wynn?

Was cellphone 'overlooked'?

The latest rumor making the rounds at Plainfield City Hall is that Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs failed to require former Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Dave Wynn to turn in his cellphone and laptop when he resigned a year ago.

Does the city keep tabs on this kind of equipment and make sure it is turned in when people leave city employment?

When I retired, there was no procedure in place. I personally drew up a list of all the equipment (including cellphone and computer), keys, and files that I was turning over to the City, and had it signed off on by the Purchasing Agent and myself.

Without such a document, how would anyone know if Wynn had turned his cellphone and other items in?

One possibility would be to call his old cellphone number and see who answers.

Can someone please send the number along?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Plainfield school daze

I don't know what time (or even whether) Plainfield's Board of Education got through the 117-page agenda for Tuesday evening's business meeting, but they did it without me and a bunch of other people who got tired of waiting for the meeting to start.

There were several items of interest in the mind-numbing agenda, and one interesting tidbit
that surfaced from the parallel universe of school reality you never learn from the smiley-face website or public BOE meetings.

Noted in Tuesday's agenda were the following --

Workforce Investment Board Grant (page 78)
The District is accepting a grant in the amount of $30,000 to provide summer work and an after-school program for twenty (20) students for the 2013-2014 school year.

Get this: The summer work component of the program will run from August 22 to August 30. And then the program will continue as an after-school program through November 22.

First of all, 20 students? And secondly a 'summer' program that begins the week before the end of summer vacation? What's wrong with this picture?
The Polonsky Brothers Foundation (page 93)
On a brighter note, the District proposes to accept an in-school program of assistance by the Foundation for 50 talented high school students to receive counseling, skills courses and workshops, mentoring and motivational programs to prepare for HSPA and SAT tests and prepare for successful college careers. The program includes social skills development and workshops for parents. All of this at no cost to the District.
Teachscape Inc. Teacher Evaluation Video Enhancements (Page 100)
This proposal is for purchasing a video capture system to be used by administrators to evaluate teachers.

Though it has the creepy air of dashboard cop cruiser video cams we are familiar with from reality TV shows, it is being presented as a tool for 'professional development'. Evidently this is part of the new world of 'teacher evaluation' (whatever happened to the days of an administrator actually sitting in on a class?).

You will be happy to learn that the kit (tripod, microphone, wide angle lens, iPod Touch 4, and carrying case) will cost a mere $44,910. Face to Face video training is an additional $2,850.
Plainfield Neighborhood Health Services Agreement (page 115)
There is an agreement proposed to contract with Neighborhood Health Services (alias the Plainfield Health Center) to provide medical exams/school physician services, including athletic physicals, visits for illness, general physical exams and obesity prevention education. The monthly $8,949.41 tab rings up at total of more than $107,000 for the year.
The tidbit that you won't find in any agenda or on the website?

Word has it that ten teachers from Stillman School resigned to take other jobs over the summer and the district had to scurry for replacements. Stillman is one of the smaller elementary schools and sits hemmed in on its block-square location at West 4th Street between Arlington and Madison Avenues.

The school is one of two Plainfield public school facilities under direct monitoring by the State (the other is Hubbard Middle School). The two were among six Plainfield schools highlighted in April 2012 as in need of improvement (see my post at that time here).

Scuttlebutt has it that the issue at Stillman School is the high rate of student transiency. It seems to me that is an issue that is beyond a school district's competency, but it certainly will be reflected in a school's performance on state-mandated tests when the student population is not stable and hence results cannot show improvement as would be more likely expected when there is a steady cohort moving through the system.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Greaves test-drives Council; will UCIA agreement stick?

Public use of the parking deck is among issues covered in a
proposed UCIA-City settlement agreement.
With Plainfield
City Council President Bridget Rivers and Councilor Cory Storch absent at Monday's meeting, Councilor Vera Greaves was elected president pro-tem to conduct the Council's August business meeting. (Storch is on a family trip; Rivers' absence was unexplained.)

Though Greaves has participated in many Council meetings, it is always different to be in the driver's seat. At the first public comment portion, she let some speakers get away with not speaking to a specific item on the agenda (which is supposed to be the point of the first comment period) and let former Councilor Malcolm Dunn turn his back to the Council at one point to address the audience and then engage in a back-and-forth with members of the Council.

As the meeting finally got into gear (after an hour for the initial comments period), Greaves conducted votes on several items without bothering to ask for 'no' votes and abstentions; when she finally began to do that, she resorted to a 'yea-abstention-nay' order for the remainder of the items.

At one point, Councilor Reid, who is chair of the committe of the whole, took over and read the Council President's part aloud, following it by saying, '...and then I say...' and finishing with his own script.

I was put in mind of watching a beginning driver learning to use a manual shift in the high school parking lot -- a lot of bucking and stalling before getting the hang of it. Word in the street is that Greaves would like to be council president in the new year. Was Monday's performance a test drive?

Though there were a number of encroachment and street closure requests for various events that generated considerable discussion among Council members, including proposals by Councilors Williams and Mapp that the matter be studied, all were approved except, apparently, Edison Garcia's request for a second Latino festival in lots 8 and 8A in September. Williams' suggestion the police, fire and public works vett the requests before they come to the Council bears following up on.

One of the outstanding issues is the historic
'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' clock.

Though the denial of the renewal of the Naicken liquor license drew the most public comment, the biggest deal of the evening, which got the least notice from the audience, was the proposed settlement of outstanding issues between the UCIA and the city. (Bernice scooped everyone on the details, you can read her report here.)

The proposed agreement addresses the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) on the County Office Building, use of the parking deck, and the matter of 'a clock' for the plaza (see my 2006 post on the outstanding issues here). (No mention is made of the two retail buildings facing West Front Street; these are contributing under a separate PILOT.)
While Corporation Counsel Minchello is to be commended for the hard work he put in on the deal, everyone may yet hear more on the 'clock' matter, since the sticking point was not whether the UCIA would put a clock in the plaza, but whether it would put the historic clock located across Park Avenue into the Plaza. The advocate for that clock, referred to by Councilor Mapp on Monday as 'Carol's clock' is Carol Bicket, who is in the Maine woods at the moment. But she will be back soon, and Mr. Minchello may expect a phone call.

More pertinent to my mind is whether (or when) the agreement will stick.

As chief executive, the Mayor's signature is required on all deals. The word is that Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs did not want to see the settlement agreement made and is in no mood to sign off on it.

If true, we may have an agreement, but it may not be ratified until there is a new Mayor in office come January.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Denial of liquor license renewal up for vote tonight

Maybe the city should declare the site 'in need of redevelopment'?

Plainfield City Council has a number of important actions up for a vote tonight, but the vote to deny renewal of the liquor license for the Clinton Deli/Arlington Liquors will be precedent-setting.

As I pointed out in an earlier post (see here), the establishment on West Front Street just west of Clinton Avenue has been a source of trouble for years -- as it also was when the license was held at a location on Arlington Avenue and Randolph Road.

City Council decided this year, because of the issues raised by the Police Division and the large number of service calls to the establishment, to sit in a special meeting as the local Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and conduct a hearing into the licensee's conduct of business.

At that hearing, the Council members present (Council President Rivers and Councilors Mapp, Reid and Williams), heard sworn statements from police officers relating to --
  • Sale of alcohol to an underage person by the owner;

  • Sale of drugs on the premises by the owner's daughter;

  • The owner's daughter found on the premises after being barred by court order; and

  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages by the owner while working.
These were in addition to a large number of calls for service because of fights and other disturbances at the store or on its property.

The recommendation of the Police Division was to not renew the license for the 2013-14 term.

In my post, I noted that the owner, Vadrajan Naicken, appeared without counsel at the hearing. When asked several times if he wished to speak on his own behalf, he declined the opportunity. This seemed odd.

But nothing could be more surprising than to hear four Councilors (Brown, Greaves, Reid and Council President Rivers) vote AGAINST bringing the resolution of denial forward from last week's agenda-setting session to tonight's business meeting for a vote.

As Corporation Counsel Minchello pointed out, refusing to bring the resolution of denial to a vote was tantamount to allowing the license to be renewed.

After Councilors Williams and Mapp objected, Williams reiterated the testimony of the police officers. Councilor Mapp said that 'given the evidence and the compelling case the police presented, telling the police: We don't care how hard you work, we are going to look the other way, is not acceptable. Now is the time to act.'

Councilor Brown, to her credit, at this point raised her hand and said that since she hadn't been present at the hearing and hadn't had a chance to read the findings, but that based on Director Hellwig's findings she wished to change her vote.

The change on her part meant that the item was moved forward to tonight's agenda.

It seems to me a fair question to ask why Mr. Naicken seemed so smug at the hearing. Was it because he believed the 'fix' was in?

Council President Rivers spoke with passion last Monday about 'not taking away his (Naicken's) right to earn a living'. That might be arguable on a first offence, but this licensee has been in trouble year in and year out.

Councilor Reid has been just as vociferous as anyone over problems with liquor licensees at renewal time, yet he also was willing to overlook the violations at Naicken's establishment.

What is going on here? Was a deal cut?

We shall see tonight.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's official: Robinson-Briggs runs for state NAACP presidency

Sharon, from a previous campaign.

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs has formally announced her candidacy for the presidency of the NJ State Conference of the NAACP.

A letter addressed 'Dear NAACP Family' was released Saturday, and is copied below --

Dear NAACP Family:
I am proud to be a Candidate for the Office of President of the New Jersey State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NJSC NAACP). Over the past twenty years, I have a proven track record of standing up for my beliefs and the rights of all people. Whether I was meeting with rival gang members and helping them to form a truce to save lives; or on Capitol Hill marching and chanting to defend Brown v. Board of Education; or at the State House in Trenton while testifying at a Senate Gun Control Hearing or riding a bus with Rev. Al Sharpton to Washington, DC to protest against police brutality and the murder of African immigrant Amadou Diallo, I have in the past, and will continue to stand up, fight for, be heard and be supportive of our mission and vision as it relates to civil rights and equal and fair treatment. Moving forward, I will be traveling to Washington, DC on August 24th for the March On Washington in support of our rights.
I have served this association in several leadership capacities, on the local and state level as:
Plainfield Four Term Branch President
* NJSC 1st and 2nd Vice President
Plainfield Executive Committee Member
* 9-Time Freedom Fund Chairperson
7-Time NJSC Convention Chairperson
* NJSC Treasurer
NJSC Central Area Branches Secretary
* Certified NJSC Trainer
* NJSC W.I.N. Member
NJSC Executive Committee. Member
* Fully Paid Silver Life Member
As a diligent, visible and vocal volunteer and community advocate, it is humbling to be the recipient, on behalf of those who we serve, of several Awards, Certificates, Resolutions and Proclamations. I am ready, willing and capable to lead our association to greater heights by being goal oriented, inclusive, open, honest and fair. I have the ability to work with everyone. Together, we will return our State Conference back to being the premier civil rights organization of this nation. We will put peaceful mechanisms in place to let our voices be heard, to vote our values, to show our power beyond measure and to peacefully effectuate positive results in upholding civil rights for all.
Something new and exciting has been planned for our state-wide membership, and you're invited. There are three Forums planned which I will be a panelist, as follows:
Central Area
* August 29, 2013, 7:00 pm—8:30 pm
Reformed Church of Highland Park, 19-21 South 2nd Avenue, Highland Park, NJ
Southern Area
* September 10, 2013, 7:00 pm—8:30 pm
Public School
426 East Charleston Avenue, Lawnside, NJ 08045
Northern Area
* September 17, 2013, 7:00 pm—8:30 pm
Greater New Point Baptist Church, 60 Paine Avenue, Irvington, NJ
These Forums will give me an opportunity to provide my vision, answer your questions and hear your ideas on how together we can make the NJSC NAACP a stronger, more effective and unified body. With your support, I can provide the leadership, professionalism and skill level that our State Conference demands. Hope to see you soon. All the best to you. Thank you for your support and advocacy.
Respectfully submitted,
Sharon Robinson-Briggs
Presidential Candidate, NJSC NAACP
Robinson-Briggs has a website for the NAACP campaign here, which appears to have been gone online early Thursday afternoon.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

YMCA bike ride; Library photo exhibit opening today

PCTV tapes awarding of prizes at 2012 Bike Ride.

Busy Saturday in Plainfield today, what with the YMCA's annual bike ride, the opening of the Library's Hispanic Heritage Month photo exhibit and Adrian and Amelia Mapp's community BBQ.

YMCA Bike Ride
The YMCA's 4th Annual 'Send A Kid To Camp' bike ride takes place today with registration at 10 AM and kickstands up at 11 AM for a two-hour escorted ride through scenic NJ.

A free bike show gets under way at 1 PM in the parking lot of City Hall, featuring bike-themed Tees and other clothing items, novelties, food and a DJ. There will be prizes for bikes in different categories -- Custom, Cruisers and Speed.

Proceeds help fund the YMCA's annual summer youth camp experience for Plainfield youngsters.
'Cosechanda Memorias' Exhibit Opens
The Plainfield Public Library celebrates an early kickoff to the annual Hispanic Heritage Month observance with an opening of a photography exhibit 'Cosechando Memorias' of works by Angelica Munoz Castano.

A Colombian-American fine art photographer, she returned to Colombia in 2003 and photographed the workers in Colombia's coffee-producing region, seeking to explore their cultural identity and preserve their cultural traditions.

The show is hung in the Room 2 Gallery on the Library's lower floor. Today's opening reception is from 10 AM - Noon. The show will hang through October.
Mapps' Community BBQ
Adrian and Amelia Mapp open their home this afternoon to their annual Community BBQ. See details at my prior post here.

All are welcome.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, August 16, 2013

SID's Downtown Family Fun Night tonight

What's this? I had to get out of the car to find out.

Tonight is the Plainfield SID's annual 'Family Fun Night', set to run from 6 PM - 9 PM at the County Office Building Plaza at Park Avenue and West Front Street.

There will be activities for all ages, including Moon Bounce rides for the kids, a DJ, and a car/truck/bike show. Impersonator C.P. Lacey will do what he does. And the Police and Fire Divisions will have a fire truck and a patrol car on hand for kids to pose in for pictures (always one of the most popular activities).

If it rains (unlikely), the event will take place next Friday, August 23.

Once again, a certain sign philosophy seems to have taken hold. I had to get out of the car and take a picture of the sign to figure out what it was for.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mapps host 6th annual Community BBQ Saturday

Plainfield Councilor and mayoral candidate Adrian Mapp and his wife Amelia continue a family tradition on Saturday by opening their home for the sixth annual community BBQ.

This event has become one looked forward by many in the community each year for the scrumptious food, good company and plenty of libations and music.

This year, Adrian and Amelia are asking guests to bring along some nonperishable food items (canned goods, pasta, etc.) as a donation. 'Hunger,' says Councilor Mapp, 'knows no slack season, and those with scarce resources need help as much in summer as in winter.'

Donated foods will be used, as with those given at the annual MLK birthday party, by the Food Pantry at Shiloh Baptist Church, one of the most active in the city.

The partying begins at 4:00 PM this Saturday at the Mapps' home, 535 West 8th Street and continues until the last one goes home.

See you there!

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How Plainfield and Union County voted

How Union County voted. (From NJ Spotlight).
(Click to enlarge or print.)

Plainfield figures, courtesy of Municipal Clerk 'AJ' Jalloh.
(Click image to enlarge or print.)

Plainfield went for Cory Booker as the Democratic candidate for the vacant seat of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg. No surprise there.

The map above is from NJ Spotlight's interactive map of the election results, showing the figures for Union County. You can view the complete New Jersey map here.

Plainfield's numbers are courtesy Municipal Clerk 'AJ' Jalloh. They should be available on the city website later (see here).

Union County Clerk Joann Rajoppi posts the election results on the county website here. They are not up yet, but check back later.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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