Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

PACHA to discuss ID cards Thursday

Mayor Robinson-Briggs authorized a private organization
to issue ID cards. That organization has since discontinued them.

Plainfield's Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs is expected to take up a discussion of city-issued ID cards at its meeting tomorrow (April 9) at City Hall Library.

Chairperson Flor Gonzalez hopes the commission will have a quorum and will be able to make a recommendation to the Mapp administration in the matter, after weighing the advantages and concerns.

Members of the newly-formed Tri-County Latino Coalition of NJ (TLCNJ) attended last month's meeting to discuss the matter, which they strongly support, but no formal action could be taken as a quorum was not present.

Since the meeting was small and informal, Chairperson Gonzalez broke with protocol and invited the group to sit at the commission's table for an informal discussion.

Following that meeting, I received a letter from TLCNJ to PACHA concerning the matter, which I have posted online here, and embedded below.

There are a couple of things to note.

First, this letter now brings up the matter of ID cards for "those coming out of jail", which is a new topic and not part of the PACHA mandate. This complicates the discussion.

Secondly, the letter misrepresents what Mayor Mapp has written on the matter (see his complete blog post here).

The TLCNJ letter states --

...the Mayor said "if the PACHA so advises". he will happily "forward a detailed proposal to the City Council for funding". He also noted that PACHA must advise the City Council and the Mayor before the 2015 budget is adopted.
Contrast this with what Mayor Mapp actually wrote on his blog --

I have no objection to the idea of a city-issued ID card being looked into but, because it would involve the City’s fiscal participation, there are several issues that would need to be ironed out. Therefore, I propose the following:
  • The matter should be taken up by PACHA, which would have the power to make any recommendation for action to the Council and the Administration;
  • Secondly, I will recommend to the Council that it appoint an ad hoc committee of three members to work with PACHA on determining the need, advisability and feasibility of such a City-run program; and
  • Thirdly, that Ms. Salavarrieta and her organization should have the right to defend the existing arrangement before the PACHA.

Further, if the PACHA so advises and the Council committee concurs, my administration will happily forward a detailed proposal to the City Council for funding. Note that if the 2015 budget is adopted before a conclusion to the investigation is reached, the matter will have to wait for the 2016 budget cycle.
Note that the TLCNJ letter leaves out any reference to an ad hoc Council committee studying the issue and making a recommendation. It also neglects the TWO "if" conditions -- If the Council committee and PACHA both positively recommend an ID card program.

Lastly, Mayor Mapp takes into consideration the timeline, saying "IF the budget is adopted BEFORE a conclusion to the investigation into the matter is reached", it will have to wait for the 2016 budget.

Advocates do not help their cause by misrepresenting things.

PACHA meets in the City Hall Library Thursday, April 9, at 7:00 PM. Meetings are open to the public and opportunity is given for public comment.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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