The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

As political season starts, Jerry Green goes it alone

Plainfield Dem chairman Assemblyman Jerry Green.

Plainfield Democratic City Committee chair Assemblyman Jerry Green seems to have assumed dictatorial powers as the 2015 political season approaches.

With defections to the Mapp-led Plainfield Democratic Organization -- notable among them Dem stalwart Dottie Gutenkauf and former Councilor Elliot Simmons -- Green has had trouble organizing a full slate of candidates for the City Committee, which is up for election in June.

Evidently Green's solution will be to avoid the possible humiliation of a meeting of the Democratic City Committee to nominate a committee slate and candidates for the Ward 2 and Wards 1/4 council seats that are also up this year. All nominations are due by 4:00 PM on Monday.

Though he has never been too finicky about abiding by the PDCC's bylaws requiring a five-day written advance notice of a meeting, submitting candidates on his own say-so would be a sign of weakness rather than strength.

Meanwhile, the Plainfield Democratic Organization, under Mapp's leadership bids fair to submit a full slate -- far surpassing the 45 candidates that the late Mayor Al McWiliams ran in the 2003 race that saw Green lose the Plainfield party chairmanship.

Since Green is playing his cards so close to his vest, we have only rumors about who his candidates will be. Whispered as possibles for Ward 2 to oppose incumbent Cory Storch are Charles Eke and Jeff Dunn.

Eke, a former Green appointment to the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA), lost to Rebecca Williams in the most recent Wards 2/3 at-large contest.

Dunn, head of the struggling Plainfield Chamber of Commerce, is the son of former Councilor, PMUA Commissioner and longtime Green ally Malcolm R. Dunn. The younger Dunn has been most visible in regular appearances during the public comment section of Council meetings, where he usually engages in rambling and sometimes incoherent rants against the Mapp administration.

As for the Wards 1/4 at-large seat, currently held by Vera Greaves, who was handpicked by Green, word in the street is that she will not get the nod. For one thing, Greaves had the temerity to oppose Green when he decided to dump former Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs. In addition, even Green has been embarrassed by her apparent inability to fully grasp the Council's business, often betraying that she either hasn't read or doesn't understand the materials in the agenda packets.

But who will Green pick?

One thought is that questions about Councilor Bridget Rivers that were asked in his two recent push polls (for one of them, see my previous post here) hint at Green running Rivers for the Wards 1/4 at-large seat in the primary and then appointing her successor to the balance of the Ward 4 term if she were successful.

This is an interesting hypothesis, but one wonders whether the Ward 1 voters would find the volatile Rivers an attractive candidate. Meanwhile, Mapp's Plainfield Democratic Organization has recruited an energetic candidate who will be revealed at Monday's filing.

In his most recent push poll, conducted on Friday, respondents were asked to rank both Jerry Green and Mayor Mapp on a scale of five from most favorable to least favorable. In addition, they were tested on their inclination toward a recall of Mapp.

That last becomes laughable when set against the news that Moody's has bumped up the city's bond rating to A-1 (see here), removing the negative outlook that it has given Plainfield since 2011 under Green protege Robinson-Briggs.

At any rate, your 2015 election questions will have their answers Monday afternoon.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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