The needler in the haystack.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Jerry Green screws Plainfield (Part 1)

Jerry Green found this foreclosed property perfect for his
campaign pitch last year.

Since Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green is fond of mixing sex and politics and I am a sucker for metaphors, I though it would be interesting to have a little fun at Jerry's expense -- while discussing some serious topics -- in the runup to next Tuesday's Democratic Primary election.

Today: Housing, including Jerry's role in foreclosures.


As chair of the Housing & Community Development Committee in the Assembly, and a member of the Joint Committee on Housing Affordability, Jerry holds himself forth as a powerhouse in housing matters in New Jersey.

Truth of the matter is he is a toothless tiger when it comes to championing affordable housing in a state where both purchase prices and rents are among the highest in the nation. In 23 years in the Assembly, Jerry Green has not notched up one victory for affordable housing in New Jersey.

Not only that, when the nation teetered on the edge of collapse as the housing market imploded in 2008, nary a sharp word from Jerry Green about the bankers and their shyster products that got us in all that trouble.

Foreclosures in Plainfield were above the 800 mark, more than 10% of private homes in the city. Yet, as Plainfielders foundered in a sea of rising mortgage debt, falling home values, job losees and a depressed economy, what did Jerry do?

Through his puppet, then-mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, Jerry supported renting a tour bus to take speculators around Plainfield for a tour of "opportunities".

Got that? While people needed help coping with a disaster not of their own making which had befallen them, Jerry and Sharon were hawking those same properties as "investment opportunities".

True tenderheartedness beyond belief.

When Jerry Green and Sharon Robinson-Briggs foisted Glenn Fishman and his Dornoch Monarch Condos -- and Senior and Veterans Centers -- upon us, Jerry swore the project "would not cost Plainfielders a dime".

Building during the market's collapse and coming to market when prices had soured, the $350,000 price tag per unit that Jerry held out evaporated.

However, through the intense efforts of local realtors on the ground, about twenty units were eventually sold, though at discounts over the original asking price.

In violation of the developer's agreement, which stipulated "owner occupancy only", Fishman began renting the units out. Unable to sell them, he eventually sold off the units he owned (see my April story here), at an average price of $87,804 per unit -- leaving those who had bought units at two or three times that price effectively under water.

Whispers are that the new owner of the 40+ units is looking to rent them as Section 8 housing. Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe that those on hard times should get a break -- including help with housing costs.

But investors have found a way to scam the Section 8 program, lining their nests with exorbitant government subsidies while offering the least possible in services. Forget about amenities.

Owners of condo units at The Monarch now report stepping into the halls to be greeted by steaming piles of dog poop from renters' dogs.

Thank  you, Jerry Green.

Lastly, consider the helpless.

For years, Jerry Green has opposed the YMCA's shelter and housing programs.

He has finally been able to witness the eviction of these residents, some of whom have been blameless and harmless residents of the YMCA for over thirty years.

Congratulations, Jerry.

As Jerry Green sits at the top of the greased pole of political power, his main goal is not to get shafted.

Elected two years ago as the chair of the Union County Democratic Committee after the ignominious demise of former chair Charlotte DeFilippo, Green has got to prove his mettle in this year's primary election to have a chance of getting the chairmanship for another two years.

Make no mistake, there are sharks in these waters.

Meanwhile, the Plainfield Democratic City Committee seats, on which Green's power as county chair rests, are also up for a vote in the Democratic Primary on Tuesday, June 2.

Green, who after more than twenty years was unable to field a full slate of committee candidates this go-round is facing a strong challenge from Mayor Adrian Mapp's Plainfield Democratic Organization. Not only have Mapp's forces reached out to the Latino community (Jerry has no Latinos on his slate), they have enlisted younger people in the political process -- where most of Jerry's slate is old hands with 40 or more years in the trenches.

A defeat for Jerry Green in the City Committee contest could spell the end for him as Union County chair as well.

If you are tired of stepping out of your door to be greeted by the boarded up, weed-infested foreclosure on your street, there is something you can do.

If you are tired of seeing fresh dog poop in your hallway at The Monarch, there is something you can do.

If you see a homeless person panhandling downtown, there is something you can do.

Whether you are a registered Democrat or an unaffiliated voter, your participation on Tuesday can make the difference in Plainfield's future.

You can vote for the candidates in Column C -- re-electing Cory Storch if you live in the 2nd Ward, and electing Barry Goode if you live in Wards 1 or 4. In every ward, you will have an opportunity to elect a male and female friend or neighbor to serve on the Plainfield Democratic City Committee. Those names will also appear in Column C.

If you are an unaffiliated voter (not registered in any political party) you may still participate in the Democratic Primary by signing the voter book at your polling place, thereby indicating your intent to vote as a Democrat.

If you have already voted by absentee ballot Thank You! If not, lay out your schedule for Tuesday June 2 and do your duty. If you're tired of being screwed by Jerry Green, now is the time to return the favor.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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