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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Council sets Wards 1,2,3 Town Halls

Turnout was sparse, perhaps because of the weather.

Councilors Williams, Toliver, Rivers, Greaves, Brown
and Storch were present.

Plainfield City Council President Bridget Rivers announced a further three Council Town Hall meetings at Tuesday's lightly attended Ward 4 Town Hall at Clinton School.

Perhaps it was the glowering weather that kept the attendance down, but fewer than twenty people took part in a meeting that usually brings out a roomful.

With six Councilors in attendance (Ward 3 representative Gloria Taylor was absent) and department heads Eric Watson, Ron West, Corporation Counsel David Minchello and chief of staff John Stewart also there, Council President Rivers got the meeting under way by saying, "This is your meeting", indicating residents could bring up any issues they wished.

The evening provided an opportunity for candidates Barry Goode, John Campbell Jr. and Norman Ortega to hit some of their campaign themes.

Residents raised issues ranging from folks running informal auto repair businesses in their driveways (on Myrtle Avenue) to worries about young people hanging out on the street, to questions about tax abatements and conplaints about information.

Except for one resident, everyone was respectful and addressed the Council as protocol demands. The one exception was a woman who -- as the longest speaker of the evening -- took one of the Council's mikes, turned her back on the Council and addressed the audience as if it were her meeting. Council President Rivers did not object to this flouting of proper procedure.

President Rivers announced the schedule of the Town Halls for the remaining wards, as follows --

Ward 2
Wednesday, October 14
Cook School

Ward 1
Tuesday, October 20
Emerson School

Ward 3
Tuesday, October 27
Cedarbrook School

All meetings begin at 7:00 PM and run until 9:00 PM. Residents are invited to attend any or all and are free to speak at any meeting.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

So, this krew wants to run R skools?

The names of the slate would be in the committee name.
How's that again?
As campaign season warms up, signs start popping up, as with the above slate that wants to run the Plainfield public schools.

But check the name of the campaign committee in the detail shot -- are they being sexist, or is one candidate truly worth twice as much as the others?


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Will tomorrow's Town Hall be 'political'?

An attendee at Sunday's Plainfield Democratic City Committee picnic wondered aloud if Tuesday's Ward 4 Town Hall would be "political".

In Plainfield? During the election season?

Folks have wondered why the town hall has come so late in the year (the custom has been for spring, not autumn) and why only this ONE has been announced.

Perhaps Council President Bridget Rivers and her colleagues have had other things on their minds.

The practice of town halls meetings in the four wards was begun by the late Mayor Al McWilliams early in his first term, as part of the strategic planning process in which he engaged the community.

As hundreds took part in the process there was a desire to "report out" the ideas and progress being made. Hence the ward meetings, which were pointedly noted as open to all and arranged in the different wards on different dates as a mater of convenience only.

McWilliams also had all department and division heads on hand to give more detailed answers to concerns and questions that residents might raise.

The town halls under his administration were always well publicized and well-attended.

Since they have been taken over as a vehicle by the City Council, the promotion and attendance have varied widely.

Councilor Williams drew my attention to the fact that this is the first real town hall for a general discussion since 2013.

Will Tuesday's meeting be "political"?

Given the state of relations between the Council and the Mapp administration, what do you think?

The Ward 4 Town Hall is from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.Tuesday, September 29, at the Clinton School, West 4th Street and Clinton Avenue. Parking in the school lot is limited; come early.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Gavett Place closed for NJT bridge project

Warning signs have been up for a week or so.

Gavett Place, the short street between the Plainfield train station and East Second Street is expected to be closed to traffic on Monday for the duration of the last phase of New Jersey Transit's reconstruction work on the Watchung and Park Avenue bridges.

Work has alternated on the two overpasses since this past spring.

The final piece of the jigsaw-like project will be the construction on the ground on Gavett Place of the "faces" of the two rail overpasses. The completed pieces will then be moved into place over several weekends, according to a briefing by NJT officials last spring.

This is a novel technique for New Jersey Transit, so you will want to keep an eye on progress. The technique has been applied in recent years to Chicago's infamous tangle of street-level crossings.

Gavett Place will be closed to through traffic for the duration, though a single pedestrian walkway will be open between East Second Street and North Avenue.

NJ Transit lists the following changes to the #113 bus route (NYC-Dunellen) --
  • New York bound: Instead of turning onto Gavett Place, buses will continue on East Second to Watchung Avenue and thence on the normal route;

  • Dunellen bound: Instead of turning onto Watchung Avenue at East 4th, buses will continue on East 4th to Park Avenue, then right on Park to Front and continue on their regular route.
These changes will hold for the duration of the project.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rec offers Open Mic workshop today

Today, at Cedar Brook Park.

Continuing to expand its offerings to Plainfield young people, the Recreation Division is offering free poetry workshops and an open mic program this afternoon at Cedar Brook Park from 3:00 to 7:00 PM.

From 3:00 to 4:00 PM, Team Pyramid's Sean Battle, Kweem Moore and Dr. Queen Assata will lead workshops on writing, performance and art. Plainfield teens and young adults will be encouraged to express creativity and originality. Materials for the workshops will be supplied by Recreation.

From 4:00 to 7:00 PM, participants will take part in Open Mic Spoken Word performances. A musical backdrop will be provided by a DJ, and free refreshments will be served.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be held in the picnic area near the bathrooms and fountain in Cedar Brook Park.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Sick Leave Ordinance Meeting: No agenda, no leadership, no resolution

Even Magic  8-Ball is having problems.

The meeting several Plainfield City Council members called for to discuss the proposed (and now tabled) paid sick leave ordinance finally took place Monday evening at the Plainfield Public Library.

With no agenda and no chair to focus the discussion, the meeting was rudderless. The only agreement attendees could come to was to meet again.

How did things come to this pass?

The ordinance, modeled on one passed by a number of other New Jersey communities (including Jersey City, Newark, Passaic, East Orange, Paterson, Irvington, Montclair, Trenton and Bloomfield), was introduced this past spring. With four Councilors sponsoring the measure (Williams, Brown, Storch and Greaves), it breezed through first reading with a unanimous approval by the Council.

But, by the second reading, the business community had stirred and complained to Council that they had been blindsided by the proposal and wanted an opportunity for their concerns to be heard.

Council table the ordinance amid vague promises by all that the business community would be listened to.

In August, after several months, Councilor Williams proposed putting the ordinance back on the agenda, and Council President Bridget Rivers concurred. However, things got complicated when the Clerk's office failed to put it on the agenda, leading Councilor Gloria Taylor to issue her standard complaint of "something fishy" going on.

After some wrangling, Council President Rivers agreed their should be a meeting between the measure's proponents, Council and the business community. That is the meeting that finally took place Monday evening.

However, there were problems from the start.

After about twenty people had gathered and pulled their chairs into a circle, the first question was: Who was in charge?

The Plainfield Working Families group were evidently not prepared to take charge, nor did they seem to have a clear strategy of negotiation, a tenderfoot mistake.

Council President Rivers said flat out, "This is not my meeting." Representatives from the SID, who sat together began to ask questions and rather led the discussion by default, though there was no particular focus.

Working Families committee member Carlos Ponton handed out a flyer in English and Spanish that summarized the proposal (the first literature I have seen in the entire process). He also tried valiantly to get the group to agree to use the proposed ordinance itself as the outline for a discussion, but to no avail, with the business community refusing to work on that premise.

The meeting then devolved into both sides making statements and taking pokes at each other (to business people: Who do you represent?; to the advocates: Who are you to offer to drop items from the proposal?).

Councilors Vera Greaves (who had been there from the beginning) and Gloria Taylor (who had come late) took part in the discussion, along with Rivers.

With no chair and no agenda, the discussion lacked focus and began to drift into topics that weren't even germane: Why should I keep my business in Plainfield? How to attract new businesses to the community? Small businesses face too much regulation. Up-by-the-bootstraps stories of inspiring models.

At on point Councilor Taylor chimed in and said, "We're not here to just listen to the business owners' point of view. Where are the people who would benefit from this ordinance? We want to hear from them."

It is no secret that Taylor and I are hardly bosom buddies, but to be fair, the Councilor had a point.

Where were the low-wage workers who would benefit from the proposed ordinance?

The whole experience had a vaguely retro paternalistic feel to it, with an earnest group of well-meaning folks trying to do something "for" a group of people who aren't present and weren't included in the process from the beginning.

The outcome of all this was to agree to meet again, which Council President Rivers would facilitate. No date or place has been set yet.

I am not sure where all this will go, but if the other three sponsors lose the help of Councilor Greaves -- who seems now to be wavering -- it will be curtains for the proposal, whenever it is brought up again at the Council.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Plainfield Democrats' picnic Sunday

Plainfield's Democratic City Committee will kick off the fall campaign season at its potluck picnic this Sunday at Cedar Brook Park.

Scheduled from Noon to 6:00 PM, the event will lead off with a brief but official City Committee meeting at Noon, with the picnic getting under way at 1:00 PM.

Sponsored by the City Committee, the potluck picnic is open to all Democrats in the city. Attendees are asked to bring a dish, dessert or beverages to share (the license includes permission for beer and wine).

While the park is equipped with picnic tables, bringing along a lawn chair would be a good idea.

[NOTE CORRECTION] The picnic will be in the grove on the corner of Arlington Avenue and Park Drive, behind the JFK Hartwyck Nursing Home. Parking available in the adjacent main lot on Park Drive and on Arlington Avenue. No reservations necessary.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

West 7th road mystery solved

Mystery solved, sort of, one month later.
So, a month ago I posted a brief item on Plainfield Today about the mysterious signs appearing along West 7th Street. Posted by the Union County Police (it is a county roadway), they banned parking on two days in late August.

But nothing ever happened.

Then yesterday, a crew materialized from nowhere and started milling and paving along the roadway, beginning at Spooner Avenue and working eastward.

Strangely, they are not milling the entire roadway, but a strip about a car's width down the middle of one side of the roadway, keeping a swath about three feet wide from the curb untouched.

It's not possible to tell whether they are just going to do two stips down the roadway like that, or how far the job will extend. All very strange, but definitely giving the impression of an "el cheapo" undertaking.

This is the third time in over thirty years that the roadway has been done. The first, shortly after we moved to Plainfield, was a complete curb-to-curb mill and pave that was well done and lasted about ten years.

The second time around, it was done in three courses, which looked OK at first, but within a year began to deteriorate along the seams, leaving a rut where they met. Definitely not as good a job as the first time around.

And now, ???

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, September 21, 2015

PACHA invites all to Hispanic Heritage celebration Tuesday

Plainfield's Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs (PACHA) invites all to a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month on Tuesday before its regularly scheduled meeting.

This year, PACHA will focus on the traditions and contributions of the Central American countries -- Costa Rica, Belize, Guatamela, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

The festivities get under way at City Hall Library at 6:00 PM. Visitors can expect to sample tasty specialties of the region and meet local residents whose homelands represented. PACHA's business meeting starts at 8:00 PM. [CORRECTION, 9:00 PM: There is no business meeting following the celebration.] The public is warmly welcomed.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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NJEA sets 'come to Jesus' meeting for Plainfield unit Tuesday

PEA members walk an informational picket in 2013.
After two years without a contract, the parties only recently settled.
NJEA officials have called a special membership meeting of the Plainfield Education Association (PEA), its local affiliate on Tuesday.

NJEA represents New Jersey's teacher and others in the educational system. The Plainfield affiliate represents more than 600 teachers, aides and support staff in the Plainfield Public Schools.

PEA members have complained for years of the manner in which the local unit has been run, and it appears the state orgainzation is finally taking decisive steps to straighten out the Plainfield situation.

Among the complaints of local union members have been the arbitrary and capricious manner in which the local has been run -- including failure to properly notify members of meetings, failure to keep and provide accurate and timely minutes, and lack of financial transparency.

There are also suspicions that the leadership is too cozy with the schools' administration and that union elections have not followed NJEA rules.

In April, the NJEA sent a warning letter to the leaders of the local warning that the PEA was out of compliance with the NJEA's rules concerning affiliaiton.

In late June, another letter was addressed to the local's president, with a checklist of items to be addressed immediately. Sources say the local never addressed the issues or replied to the state organization.

It is not clear whether the NJEA will oust the current leadership and take over the local affiliate pending a reorganization, or whether the local will be given the opportunity to set an election for new leadership.

The meeting, which is NOT open to the public, is set for after school Tuesday afternoon at Plainfield High School.

Stay tuned.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Are Plainfield Seniors safe at the Senior Center? (Sidewalks)

Gap presents a liability issue for the City.

While Plainfield's senior citizen program has been operating in a modern, city-owned space built especially to its own specifications for a number of years now, some Seniors have called several issues to my attention.

Among them is a settlement of the sidewalk in front of the building as you approach the main entrance. The subsidence runs for a stretch of several feet, leaving a gap between the pavement and the fake brick that is dangerous for those walking toward the entrance.

With the City of Plainfield paying out thousands of dollars annually in slip-and-fall settlements, this is a risk management issue that cries out to be addressed.

The situation is complicated though, because while the City is the owner of the condominium unit in which the Senior program is housed, it is not clear who has responsibility for correcting the situation.

While New Jersey courts have recently ruled that owners of a property are responsible for slip-and-falls, in this litigious society, one could reasonably expect the city would be sued in the event someone turned an ankle and fell.

Perhaps we can be thankful that City Council members don't make a habit of visiting the Senior Center or there would be more for them to complain about if any of them took a tumble.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Historical Society's September Soirée Sunday

Renovations and improvements (as here with
as accessible entryway) are a constant need
of Plainfield's Drake House Museum.

The Historical Society of Plainfield is offering friends of the Drake House an opportunity to sip, savor and support the museum at its "September Soirée" Sunday afternoon.

Plainfield's famed jazz pianist Ernie Scott will provide a musical interlude as guests enjoy wine and hors d'oeuvres.

The event is being hosted at the home of board member Rebecca Perkins, 1788 Fernwood Lane (between Watchung Avenue and Sleepy Hollow Lane), from 3:00 to 6:00 PM.

Tickets are available at three levels: Supporter, $75; Patron, $125; and Benefactor, $250, and may be bought at the door.

Proceeds of the event will go toward preservation of the Drake House, Plainfield's museum. All are invited.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Is Jerry Green biting the hand(s) that rescued him?

Is UCDC chair Jerry Green dissing Lesniak and Cryan?

Is Assemblyman and Union County Dem chair Jerry Green biting the hand(s) that rescued him?

Plainfield readers will recall that in the June election for Democratic City Committee, Green's slate was wiped out by Mayor Adrian Mapp's Plainfield Democratic Organizaition. One result was Green's loss of the chairmanship of the local committee and his fate as Union County chair was on the line, too.

Enter Union County power brokers Sen. Ray Lesniak, Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwege and newly-minted Union County Sheriff Joe Cryan. Word is the three cut a deal with Green to allow him to keep the county chairmanship providing he stayed out of Plainfield's political affairs.

Now, word comes that Green is sponsoring a speaking engagement by former ambassador Phil Murphy, who has declared himself a potential candidate for the 2017 NJ governor's race. (See the PolitickerNJ story on the event here.)

Last November, Green posted a rather gushy handwritten bread-and-butter note from Murphy on his blog (see here). Murphy says Green has become "a trusted friend" and he compliments Green on the "exceptional leadership" he displays as [County] chairman".

Trouble is, Lesniak has also declared himself, saying he intends to run for governor and not senator next time up. Cryan is favorable to Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop.

Is Green turning on his allies? Or is he maneuvering to make himself a power broker in the upcoming struggle over the goernor's nomination?

It wouldn't be the first time Green has played this game.

It was a standard gambit in Plainfield, where Green would encourage several individuals to think they had the inside track on a Council nomination -- only to pull a switcheroo at the last moment.

It is also the tactic he attempted last year in the contest over filling Rush Holt's Congressional seat.

Assemblywomen Bonnie Watson Coleman and Linda Greenstein both wanted the prize. Green played coy, though the word in the street was that he was backing Greenstein.

Back then, Green's hand was forced when Mapp made an end run and endorsed Watson Coleman on his own.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chris Christie: The adult in the room?

Not the Chris Christie we saw last night.

Like it or not, Plainfielders and New Jerseyans generally, have a horse in the hotly contested GOP presidential primary run-up. So, how did Gov. Chris Christie do in the 2nd GOP debate on CNN Wednesday night?

Initially, it looked like Christie might not even get an oar in. After a brief answer a few minutes in, it was more than half an hour before he got a second chance to speak. Must have been frustrating for the former Livingston High jock to sit on the bench, waiting for a chance.

Although he criticized the other candidates for focusing on their achievements, he was guilty of the same tactic -- bombastically reminding everyone of how many bills he has vetoed, and what a chore it is to get up every morning being the GOP governor of a blue state.

I was curious what stance he would take, since the "brash boardwalk basher" role was usurped by Trump.

Turns out Christie decided to play "the adult in the room" which is definitely casting against type as far as he's concerned.

A couple of times he challenged his opponents to get off talking about themselves and start talking about the Democrats they will oppose in the general election. To no avail.

He can be thankful for one thing: The others were so busy trying to take down Trump that they failed to zing Christie with his own vulnerabilities, especially Bridgegate and now the Samson-United Airlines resignations mess.

While he might be relieved for the pass, it clearly means that the other candidates don't count him as a serious threat.

It seems the only out-and-out crash-and-burn of the evening was Gov. Scott Walker, not so much from any one flub as from failing to get any sparks flying.

Christie's campaign put a positive spin on the evening, insisting his performance will pay off for him over the coming weeks.

We will see. One thing is sure: No one thinks Christie was the star last night. That honor goes to Carly Fiorina.

For now, he is still the governor of New Jersey, whether or not he spends any time at it.

(For a roundup of debate stories, see today's CLIPS here.)

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

GOP debate time tonight has changed

Even surrounding himself with flags, as here in NH,
hasn't helped Gov. Buster Bluster. (Image from

Even staunchly Democratic Plainfield will be following tonight's second GOP debate. After all, the fate of our mostly-absentee governor is at stake.

CNN announced Tuesday afternoon that it was changing the debate time from 9:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Take note so that you don't miss it.

The change was noted in a conference call by CNN to all the national GOP presidential campaigns (see story here). This shortens the time between the "kids table" forum for the runner-up candidates and the main card to just 15 minutes.

As far as Christie is concerned, Donald Trump has sucked all the air out of the room and he is left struggling to get attention. From a strategy of focusing on both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary (the earliest two contests), Christie has fallen back to betting all his chips on New Hampshire.

In fact, the Monmouth U. poll released on Monday had Christie at 2% in New Hampshire, down from 4% in July -- despite all the time he has invested there (see story here).

In an opinion piece in today's NJ Spotlight (see here), Carl Golden see signs of desperation in Christie's recent flailing at NYC's mayor De Blasio and in referring to New Jersey newspapers as "rags".

What worries me is what will happen to New Jersey Christie's campaaign collapses. He does not strike me as one who will be happy to come back from the high of national ambitions to the quotidian task of running the economically challenged Garden State.

Remember, 8:00 PM on CNN.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Council gets an early start on Mischief Night

Toilet paper is an essential ingredient for Mischief Night.
(See WikiHow here, for how to plan your own.)

With Halloween approaching, Plainfield City Council's
got an early start on Mischief Night at Monday's business meeting.

Where I grew up, we called the night before Halloween "Cabbage Night", and kids did their pranks and tricks on that evening, which were mostly limited to throwing toilet papers rolls into trees, soaping (or waxing) the two stores with store windows in the hamlet, and smearing dog poop on doorknobs and ringing the doorbell, then running like hell.

For City Council last night, it was liquor licenses, the Senior program and the sick leave ordinance.

Police Division recommendations have always carried a tremendous import in liquor license renewals, sometimes triggering hearings that can result in penalties or non-renewal of a license. The procedure was ignored in the case of the Express Night Club.

Council President Bridget Rivers stated that she had personally gone door-to-door in the neighborhood and found residents had no complaints about the business.

Public Safety Director Riley was summoned before the august body and queried about the police report of neighbors' complaints. He stood by the Division's ABC squad, though he did not have the details before him, and they were not present (perhaps thinking their grilling the previous week had discharged them?).

Councilor Taylor even suggested the police reports were themselves suspicious.

So, instead of doing some fact-finding by holding a hearing before making a decision to renew the license, a Council majority (Greaves, Taylor, Toliver, Rivers) pushed the renewal through without getting to the bottom of the disputed police complaints.

Score one for Mischief Night.

On the matter of the sick leave pay ordinance, after protracted public comment on both sides of the issue, Councilor Greaves moved to "table the ordinance indefinitely". A roll call vote showed the same four-member majority in favor (Greaves, Taylor, Toliver, Rivers), while Councilors Brown, Storch and Williams (all co-sponsors of the ordinance) voted against the tabling.

(Note to Council President: Robert's Rules of Order does not recognize a motion to "table indefinitely". A motion may be "tabled" (see here) or "postponed indefinitely" (see here). They differ from one another and have different purposes. The citations are from The Dummies Guide to Robert's Rules, no disrespect meant.)

Score two for Mischief Night.

The evening kicked off with an elaborately choreographed ballet presented as a "discussion" on the Senior program. Council President Rivers put the item on the agenda and led off by saying there were rumors the program, housed in the Plainfield Senior Center, would be "phased out" or "merged into Recreation".

The Mapp administration explained that over the years the Senior program had reported to various different people -- from the Health Officer, to the Director of PAS, to the Department of Administration and Finance.

City Administrator Smiley stressed that the programs were not being abandoned and the staff was not targeted for removal. It was, he said, a matter of streamlining reporting and expanding services for active older adults.

A stream of members of the Senior program came to the mike to say how upset they were at the rumors and to praise program supervisor Sharron Brown.

Councilor Storch suggested the Administration might want to meet with the Seniors and pay heed to their concerns. He evidently was unaware that Mayor Mapp had introduced Ms. Taylor at his monthly meeting with the Seniors on September 3 and had conducted a Q&A session about what the realignment meant, that staff and program would continue as is, and other matters.

The "discussion" gave Councilor Taylor an opportunity to challenge Superintendent Taylor's experience and capabilities, as well as to state "we don't spend enough money on our young people in this town" (remember this remark when budget time rolls around).

When Councilor Williams criticized Taylor for her disparaging and demeaning remarks about Superintendent Taylor, Councilor Taylor shot back, "Who are you to tell me what to do?"

After several points in the "discussion", Council President Rivers interjected "this is wrong...this is wrong".

So, who stirred up this tasty little gumbo? You can bet your bottom dollar the "discussion" didn't just happen by chance.

Score three for Mischief Night.

NOTE: A public meeting tonight of the Working Families Group to which business leaders have been invited was mentioned by more than one speaker. Best I could find out is that it will be at 105 East 7th Street, at 6:30 PM. This was after quizzing three persons involved with the group, none of which could tell me exactly where the meeting is to be held.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Council: Sick leave ordinance, liquor license renewals up tonight

City Council President Bridget Rivers presides over Council meetings.
Annual liquor license renewals and the proposed sick leave ordinance are on Plainfield City Council's agenda tonight.

Because the state is moving to electronic renewal, the annual license renewals were delayed until September. Municipal Clerk 'AJ' Jalloh and his crew are to be complimented for the format in which the renewals have been presented this year -- grouped by category, and with an explanatory paragraph about those not on the list and the reasons why their license renewals have been delayed.

The police diivision reported last week that all conditions placed on renewals by the Council are being met and the only problematic license was for the Express Night Club (formerly the Richmond Beer Garden) at East 3rd and Richmond Streets.

The Police Division recommended to the Council that that license not be renewed. If the Council had moved that recommended item to tonight's agenda, they would have had to hold a hearing before ruling on the matter. Both sides would have the right to counsel and to present testimony in favor of their case. Any decision by the Council would be subject to appeal by the licensee to the state.

But a Council majority declined to put the license in jeopardy and moved it to tonight's agenda where it appears simply as one among many renewals, though with a notation that the Police Division recommended non-renewal. With only Williams, Storch and Brown in favor of the PD's recommendation, it seems likely to be renewed without even any conditions.

Also on tonight's agenda is the first reading of the ordinance designed to implement a sick leave program for some of the workers in the city's retail and food service sector.

With four co-sponsors of the bill (Williams, Brown, Greaves and Storch), it seems likely to move ahead. The second reading and public hearing on the ordinance would then take place at the October business meeting.

Tonight's City Council session gets under way at 8:00 PM in the Council Chambers/Courthouse at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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