PHS students crowd City Hall Plaza to protest possible
school budget cuts. Photo by Councilor Bridget Rivers.
A cop I know swears there's no such thing as coincidences.
That thought came to mind as I read the Courier's story on the Plainfield High School students' march and rally over the impending school budget shortfall -- and the consequences which may follow. Read the Courier story here.
The story featured a photograph of the crowd in City Hall Plaza, with a credit to Councilor Bridget Rivers. The story mentions her running mate Alma Blanco and the fact that they met in the City Hall Library with a group of the students. Along with Richard Wyatt, a school board member who happens to also be a City of Plainfield employee.
I got several texts, phone calls and emails as the event happened but wasn't able to get over to City Hall before things had gotten back to normal.
But the incident raised some questions.
Both Mayor Mapp and Councilor Rivers have full time government jobs. The mayor was at his job in Orange. But Councilor Rivers, who works for Union County in the Westfield offices was instead in Plainfield?
Question: Did she take the time off properly?
Question: How did she know to be there at all?
Question: Why was Rivers' running mate there? Was this supposed to be a campaign event?
The same question could be asked of Mr. Wyatt, who works in the tax collector's office. Did he take time off properly to engage with the students? And why were there no other board members present?
Lastly, where did the PHS students get the idea to march from the school to City Hall, since the City has no direct responsibility for the school budget?
I can hear the voice of former Councilor Gloria Taylor now, saying "This smells of dirty politics".
-- Dan Damon [follow]