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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Campbell capers, Mapp coup top 2015 stories

Winners Cory Storch, Emily Morgan and Barry Goode
celebrate with Mayor Adrian Mapp on election night.

Mapp's City Committee slate swept the decks
in the June election.

As you might expect with a blog that focuses on Plainfield politics, political happenings drew the most interest in 2015. In particular, the Mapp coup in the primary and general elections and the Campbell clan's capers involving both the Council elections and the Board of Ed.

Going head-to-head with Assemblyman Jerry Green for control of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee in June and for the party slot for two Council seats, the Mapp teams swept the boards.

Cory Storch and Barry Goode won the primary election (story here, and a review by-the-numbers here).

Following the election, there were questions of whether current Council opposition would get the message (story here), the no-no of Green's office preparing the notices for City Committee reorganization on a state computer (see here).

The smooth transition to Mapp leadership of the City Committee (here) left the question of whether the 2015 election cycle was Jerry Green's 'last hurrah' (see here).

Storch, Goode and Board of Ed victor Emily Morgan took a victory lap in November, after the voters sealed the primary winners' victory (see here), despite Election Day wrangles.

The Campbell clan ran on two tracks (City Council and Board of Ed) in this election cycle and their capers garnered a lot of reader interest.

BOE president Wilma Campbell's husband John was surreptitiously appointed to a vacant board seat during the year and stood for election to the balance of that term in the November election (see story on the candidate forum here).

Meanwhile, son John cleverly filed in June to run for the Ward 2 Council seat as an Independent candidate. His first public outing was at the candidate forum in October (see report here), but his splashiest campaign stunt was to plan a campaign event at Leland Avenue Park, which is a property of the Plainfield Public Schools.

When I blew the whistle on that caper (story here), things got really interesting. Turns out young Campbell had gotten the OK from the District (how hard was that?), but had failed to secure the necessary city permit. Mayor Adrian Mapp responded with a public statement and advised the city would not issue a permit for the event (story here). The flap led to cancellation of the planned rally and coincided with a hush-hush pre-election Board of Ed meeting that raised eyebrows and questions (see here).

Retribution for the embarrassment caused by the cancelled Leland Park rally was swift -- on the afternoon before the November 3 election, Mayor Mapp was advised that the school district was withdrawing from a citywide youth summit (slated for November 13), a Mapp initiative that the district was hosting at PHS (see report here). Of course there was no connection (wink, wink). The cancellation of the Youth Summit led to a brouhaha in which Councilor Brown posted a Facebook comment at variance with the facts reported by Mayor Mapp (see here).

The final caper was for the Board of Ed to take the first opportunity after the November election to move the school board election back to April -- at an annual cost to the taxpayers of at least $115,000 per year -- without public notice or discussion (see here).
So, the stage is set for 2016. It should be an interesting year.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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