The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Technology pushes Plainfield politics forward


Even political campaigning has benefited from technology.


Though local retail politics still consists mostly of shoe leather, door knocks and phone calls, technology has brought changes to Plainfield political campaigns over the years, and this year will be no exception.

Phones were once one of the biggest expense items in a campaign. The phone company charged an arm and a leg for installing sufficient landlines for volunteers to call voters, and then demanded exorbitant deposits (essentially making campaigns pay for phone service up front). All that went the way of the buggy whip once everyone had cellphones.

The hardest part of retail door-to-door politics is no longer phones or coming up with the blizzard of flyers, mailers, door hangers, and palm cards with which voters are inundated each primary season.

Nor is it designing and renting billboards (including the mobile ones that drove some Mapp opponents to distraction). Nor the robocalls recorded by local candidates and voice talent.

The hardest part is collating the information gathered in the painstaking walking door-to-door in each ward and getting voter input. Is the voter supporting us? Will they take a lawn sign? How about volunteering? Have they given us a phone number or email address? Can they make phone calls on behalf of the candidate? Will they need a ride (or can they drive others) on Election Day?

In the past, the complete voter database for Plainfield (supplied by the Union County Clerk's office) was sorted into "walking lists" and printed out, street by street, in a format where the candidate walked one side of the block, then came back on the other side, thus covering each home before moving to the next block or street.

This generated mountains of information -- that needed to be input into the master records by hand back at the campaign office.

This year, Plainfield Democrats will be putting technology to further use in simplifying the handwork necessary in building and maintaining accurate records.

According to chairman Adrian O. Mapp, this year for the first time, the volunteers who accompany the candidates as they canvass the neighborhoods will be equipped with tablets on which they will enter the answers to all the above questions into the voter database in real time, completely removing the paper shuffle and bottleneck of transcribing from the printed walking lists.

What will be next?

Theresa Ann Moroney Teacher and Plainfield bookstore owner was an avid reader and adventurous cook Theresa Ann Moroney of Plainfield, N.J., died on Jan. 19, 2017, from complications of breast cancer. Family and friends are invited to join together to honor Terry's life at The Landing, 311 Amwell Rd., Hillsborough, N.J., on Sunday, Jan. 22, for brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Terry was born on March 24, 1944, in Summit, N.J., to Mary Gallagher and David Moroney, the seventh of nine children. She graduated from St. Teresa's Grammar School, Summit, in 1958, and attended three high schools: Summit High for two years, followed by a year at Madison High, before graduating from South Plainfield High in 1962. Terry attended Fairleigh Dickinson University while working night shifts at her sister Catherine's diner, becoming the first member of her family to graduate from college with a B.A. in English in 1967. While at FDU she served as editor for the school newspaper. After graduation, Terry and her sister Grace travelled across the country. Terry began her teaching career at Westfield High in 1967 and continued at Plainfield High. In 1972 the call of the highway beckoned once more, and she and Grace continued their cross-country exploration. Upon returning to New Jersey, Terry met and married the love of her life, David Beck, and soon welcomed two sons into her world. In 1980 she reentered the work force, teaching adult education in Plainfield and New Brunswick, N.J., a vocation in which she took tremendous pride. In 1992 Terry returned to high school, teaching at North Plainfield until her retirement in 2009. In 1997 Terry opened "Another Look Books" in Plainfield. A labor of love, the used book store served the downtown community until closing its doors in the early 2000's. Terry was active in the Cook School PTA, and while at North Plainfield she served as advisor for the school newspaper and lent her aid to countless students; she took particular joy in helping her ESL students apply to college. She was an active member of the Plainfield Historical Society and the Democratic Committee in Plainfield. Terry was an avid reader and adventurous cook; the two pursuits birthed an extensive and lovingly used library of cookbooks and personal recipes. Terry was predeceased by her husband, David Michael Beck, in 2014. She is survived by her sons, Andrew David and Richard Evelyn; her daughter-in-law, Christine Beck, and grandsons, Damien Carter and Alexander David. The seventh of nine children, Terry is survived by her sister, Constance Costello Rooney. She was predeceased by her brothers, David, Richard, and James, and her sisters, Margaret, Catherine, Rosemary, and Grace. In New Jersey, Terry will be missed by her sister-in-law, Kathleen Moroney; nephews, Charles Femminella and his wife, Charlotte Ryden, Christopher (Gretchen), Sean (Karen), and Mark Moroney (Kelly); nieces, Regina and Renee Femminella, Maureen Pena (Joseph), Sandra Roberts (Steve Kosciolek), and Jennifer McBride (Sean); in Virginia, by Moyra Moroney; in Arizona, by her brother-in-law, Paul Beck and, in Hawaii, by John Beck; and many grand-nephews and grand-nieces. - See more at: http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?n=theresa-moroney&pid=183660148#sthash.mSuRxaeS.dpuf



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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