The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Plainfield PBA Local #19 endorses Mayor Mapp for re-election


Funds for the memorial to fallen officers at Police
Headquarters were raised by members of PBA #19.


In a letter dated May 31, Plainfield PBA Local #19 endorsed Mayor Adrian O. Mapp for re-election.

The endorsement letter, signed by PBA president Carlos Gonzalez, pointed to promises made -- and kept -- by Mayor Mapp in his first term.

Chief among them was a focus on the Police Division and increasing public safety.

Gonzalez points out a 25% reduction in crime between the years of 2014 and 2016, "which we would like to see continue for another term." Gonzalez further notes Mayor Mapp is approachable, supportive of the Division and recognizing its hard work, and is always looking out for the interests of the citizens of Plainfield.

The Division has implemented division-wide community policing, officer training, improved technology, better hiring practices, and a clear vision of how to address issues that affect the community.

He also points out that last summer the City employed 180 young people and 20 adults in the Summer Youth Employment Program,in addition to enhanced recreational opportunities for youngsters and food assistance for families.

Those familiar with the Division will know how disastrously police morale suffered under the prior administration's abuse of hiring and promotion practices and allowing rampant abuses such as favoritism and overtime hanky-panky to undermine the Division.

But it is a new day under Mayor Mapp and Police Director Carl Riley, as Gonzalez says in closing --
"The structure and chain of command set forth has increased accountability for the entire Police Division, which is great news for this community."
Well said!

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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(2017 Dem Primary) Tracey Brown flunks first LWV forum question



At LWV Forum, candidate Tracey Brown flunked the first question.



Mayoral candidate Tracey Brown failed the opening question at Wednesday evening's League of Women Voters, and had to be called to order by the moderator.

The question?

"Name a project [you] have initiated that benefits the community."

Tracey started by stating that when she was on the Board of Ed, she helped deliver balanced budgets and had no major layoffs.

She was asked to address the question: What project have you initiated?

It was not a good start for her performance.

The truth of the matter is that she has no projects to her credit -- whether they benefited the community or not.

She cited the need for mixed use development that brings jobs to the city, singling out the $50M South Avenue project in particular for not having a retail component.

But Tracey herself has not brought a single developer to the table. She has not shown a single retail establishment or small manufacturing business the advantages of Plainfield.

It's a matter of deeds vs. words.

She knows the buzzwords, but where's the delivery we're all looking for?

Adrian Mapp is the only one who has taken the bull by the horns: Right off the bat, he hired an experienced professional in economic development. We now have upwards of 60 projects totaling $250 M in play and about $80 M under construction right now.

And Tracey's contribution by way of a project? Nada.

The Primary Election is next Tuesday, June 6. Vote the "A Team" all the way -- the team that delivers for Plainfield.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

(2017 Dem Primary) Tracey Brown: Bold? Honest? Leadership? Think again.


Bold? Honest? Leadership? Think again.

Tracey Brown's supporters have been distributing a piece in her campaign that features an image of her standing beside a callout that says "Tracey Brown / Mayor of Plainfield / Bold Honest Leadership".

Leaving aside the "Mayor of Plainfield" assertion, which she definitely is NOT, let's review her claims for herself.

BOLD?
Tracey Brown has had years in the public eye to show her boldness. What does she have to show for it?

She points to her participation in the Safe Haven after-school project which helped for five years to provide many of Plainfield's at-risk students an innovative after-school program at Washington Community School that included tutoring, recreation and nourishing snacks. Unfortunately, the program folded when its leadership failed to secure funding beyond the initial five-year period. Thanks, Tracey.

She served on the Board of Education. That service isn't even a footnote in the history of the Plainfield school district. She is not known for championing any initiative while on the school board.

She then went on to serve as a PMUA Commissioner. Bold leadership at the PMUA?

Brown never uttered a peep when the number of employees rose from 122 to 173 in three years (2007-2010). She did not protest the commissioners' abuse of travel, entertainment and conference allowances.

Brown supported four-year contracts for two top employees (whose previous contracts had been year-by-year, laying the ground for the situation described below.

She was absent at the meeting when the commissioners aborted a mediation process which two former employees were about to lose badly and instead settled with the former employees for an amount in excess of $1 million.

An amount, mind you, that was to be borne by the ratepaying public. And the PMUA employees, which Tracey was kind enough to suggest -- in executive session -- should be involuntarily furloughed so as to raise part of the money needed.

In 2012, when she ran for the City Council, Brown refused to answer any questions about her service as a PMUA Commissioner at the FOSH candidate forum (see here).

As a Councilwoman, Tracey has badgered Mayor Mapp for years about her perception of the need for a "teen center", which she has never fully defined.

When Mapp's new Superintendent of Parks & Recreation found the division rife with petty theft, extorted cash payments from youth sports teams to use city fields, low-show / no-show hirees, gross mismanagement of the physical facilities (the city's pools had not been inspected for years, an annual state requirement), and what's more, Tracey lashed out in a vituperative text message about the Superintendent to Mayor Mapp which caused Brown acute embarrassment when it become public (see here).

As a Councilwoman, Brown shared a unique opportunity with the other Council members: once the Administration's budget proposal is submitted to the Council, the Council members have the prerogative of changing it as they see fit.

Teen center needed? The Council can put it in. Modify the Rec budget? Go ahead and do it. More police. Make the changes to the budget.

But Brown made no move to amend any budget she ever reviewed. And last year, she barely participated in the budget process, choosing not to even show up for most of the Council's budget deliberations.

So much for BOLD.
HONEST?
I have previously catalogued Brown's pronounced habit of ignoring ELEC rules -- which have the force of law in keeping campaign fundraising and expenditures on the straight and narrow.

Tracey has yet to admit messing up in last year's campaign by not declaring what the billboard she had at Front and Watchung cost and how it was paid for. Though the billboard itself declared it was paid for by her campaign, there was no entry in her financial reports (see story here).

This year, Brown did declare a mailing in her 29-day pre-election report. But a close look at it raises red flags.

Brown declares that for the mailing, the campaign paid --
  • $1151.18 for postage
  • $1659,01 to the mailing house
Having used that mailing house before, I know that the "lettershop" services (mailing labels, sorting, bagging and delivery to the Post Office) run about $650.00. This means Brown is suggesting that the printing of the mailing piece (for a citywide mailing) came to about $1,000. Not even within the realm of possiblity!

Besides that, her mailing pieces are tagged "Paid for by Brown for Mayor". But there is no campaign committee of that name. According to ELEC, her campaign committee is "Rev.Tracey L. Brown for Mayor" -- which is the way it should be noted on her ads and printed materials. Is Tracey once again letting unknown donors pay for portions of her campaign in violation of the ELEC laws?

So much for HONEST.

The real BOLD HONEST LEADERSHIP on display is that of Mayor Adrian O. Mapp.

Only Adrian Mapp has been bold enough to envision a better Plainfield for all, built project by project, one step at a time, bringing more than $250 million in investment across the city (including new apartments across the street from Tracey's church).

Only Adrian Mapp has the vision to actually create a teen center at the Hannah Atkins Playground and to build a skatepark for our young people (the groundbreaking is this Friday).

It's a matter of deeds vs. words.

Vote the "A Team" all the way on June 6.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Mapp & Green headline "Column A" GOTV Rally Friday in support of Murphy


(Click to print or enlarge.)

Union County Dem chair Jerry Green and Plainfield Dem chair Adrian O. Mapp will headline a Get Out The Vote rally for the "Column A" team this Friday, June 2, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM on the steps of Plainfield City Hall.

The rally is in support of Democratic guberntorial candidate Phil Murphy and will feature an appearance by special guest Sen. Cory Booker.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Monday, May 29, 2017

League of Women Voters Candidate Forum Wednesday




Plainfield's League of Women Voters chapter will host a forum for candidates in the June 6 Democratic Primary this Wednesday (May 31) at 6:30 PM at the Emerson Community School cafetorium.

The four mayoral candidates (Tracey Brown, Dr. Henrilynn Davis Ibezim, Adrian O. Mapp [the incumbent] and Bridget Rivers) will take part in one forum.

The six Council candidate (Ward 4 candidates Terri Briggs, Steve Hockaday and Elliott Simmons; and Wards 2/3 at-large candidates Alma Blanco, Cameron Cox and Joylette Mills-Ransome) will appear in the second forum.

All of the candidates supplied brief biographies and answered questions posed to them by the local LWV chapter. Those bios and answers are online here.

Audience members at Wednesday's forum will be able to pose questions in writing to the candidates.

Emerson Community School is at East 3rd Street and Emerson Avenue. Parking available in the school lot on Emerson Avenue and on the street (please mind the neighbors' driveways!)



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day: Plainfield's War Memorial Flagpole



A bronze plaque encircles the base of the flagpole.


(Memorial Day 2017: I am reposting this entry from 2007, one of a series that year. Links to the others are at the end. This year's observance takes place Monday at City Hall, 10 AM. -- Dan)

The placing of a bronze plaque in 1922 in the rotunda of City Hall honoring those who served and died in World War I seems to have been the genesis of the idea of a monument honoring Plainfielders who had given their lives in all past wars.

In June 1925, the Common Council organized a War Memorial Committee with the purpose of drawing up a proposal for such a memorial, to be submitted to the Council at a future date. A number of town notables, as well as several Councillors and veterans of past wars were appointed.

The War Memorial Committee made its report to the Common Council in January of 1926, and in May of that year, a contract was awarded for the construction of a flagpole to be mounted above a bronze sculptural base, the whole sited on a granite plaza.

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, which owns the triangular plot at the intersection of East Seventh Street and Watchung and Crescent Avenues, drew up an agreement permitting the city to "erect and maintain" a War Memorial on the site, providing only that the city "keep the plot in good order," and indemnify the church against any liability.

Although the contracts were let, and the manufacture and construction appeared to get under way in a timely fashion -- with dedication set for Armistice Day, November 11, 1926 -- an enormous brouhaha broke out between the central council of the veterans' organizations and the Common Council, dragging into it the minister and trustees of Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church.

The source of the controversy? The inscription.

The inscription proposed for the sculptural base is the underlined portion of this selection from the prophet
Isaiah:
Isaiah, Chapter 2

2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
The controversy raged for over a year, leading to the Memorial's belated dedication.



The Memorial Day series--
Saturday: Memorial Day I - Early History
Sunday: Memorial Day II - A Remembrance of all who have fallen

Monday: Memorial Day III - Plainfield's War Memorial Flagpole

Online resources:

The US Memorial Day Organization website
The Memorial Day Foundation website
The VA's Memorial Day Resources website
Waterloo, NY - Birthplace of Memorial Day
The Buddy Poppy: "Moina Michael adopted poppy to memorialize soldiers"
Moina Michael Stamp: "3-cent commemorative stamp honoring Moina Michael"


-- Dan Damon

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ARCHIVED POSTS OF PLAINFIELD TODAY FROM 11/03/2005 THROUGH 12/31/2006 ARE AT
http://plainfieldtoday.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Memorial Day Observance at Plainfield City Hall Monday


Mayor Adrian O. Mapp will lead Plainfield's
Memorial Day observance Monday.
(Click on image to enlarge or print.)


The annual Memorial Day observance is set for 10:00 AM Monday, May 29, at Plainfield City Hall, Watchung Avenue at East 6th Street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

(2017 Dem Primary) Shiloh candidate forums draw large crowd


The pastor and people of Shiloh welcomed a large crowd
to Thursday's candidate forums.



Despite a misty, drizzling evening, a crowd that eventually swelled to about two hundred and fifty came out to Shiloh Baptist Church for two forums featuring the mayoral and council candidates in the 2017 Democratic primary election.

The four mayoral candidates (Tracey Brown, Dr. Henrilynn Davis Ibezim, Adrian O. Mapp [the incumbent] and Bridget Rivers) went first.

An out-of-town League of Women Voters representative moderated both forums.

In the mayoral forum, ten questions from cards handed in by audience members were asked. Though many touched on frequently asked questions such as cooperation with the school district, crime, youth services and activities, and vacant and foreclosed properties.

A question on tax abatements for construction projects was put forward as though developers pay no taxes whatsoever. Mayor Mapp quickly corrected this misimpression with a recitation of the facts concerning the large South Avenue development. Interestingly, not one candidate brought up the South Second Street development (directly across the street from Brown's church), which also makes use of a tax abatement program.

A question on the upcoming 2020 Census really winnowed the candidates out, with only Mapp showing a mastery of the complex issues involved and the benefits of as accurate a count as possible.

However, the most interesting question to me concerned what the candidates would do to keep young people like the questioner (a millennial?) in Plainfield. The question seemed to catch the candidates somewhat by surprise.

I can imagine the questioner was wondering about places to go and things to do (like dancing, dining and having a drink), as well as more shops that catered to their needs and interests. A question worthy of considerable thought by all the candidates. After all, all this development is aimed at a much younger demographic -- with its own ideas of what makes a community interesting and attractive.

After a short break to rearrange the seating, the forum for Council candidates took place. There were five candidate present (Ward 4 candidates Terri Briggs, Steve Hockaday and Elliott Simmons; and Wards 2/3 at-large candidates Cameron Cox and Joylette Mills-Ransome). Candidate Alma Blanco was absent due to illness, according to Ms.Rivers.

Questions ranged from how candidates would help foster successful prison re-entry programs to their visions for their wards. From homelessness and what to do about it to "wht drives crime in Plainfield", and what to do about incarceration rates among young Black and Brown women.

To my mind the most egregious cheap shot of the evening came from Cameron Cox in his closing statement, when he asserted "a lot of things haven't been working" (of course, without citing any specifics).

The first lesson I ever learned about Plainfield was how passionate everyone is about their community. That same passion was in evidence at the Shiloh forum, not only in the candidates answers (where you would expect it), but in the eager attention given by the audience (and ripples of laughter now and then that showed how hard everyone was listening).

These forums serve a valuable function. After all, the voters are considering giving the keys to our own "757 airliner", with more than 50,000 passengers, to three of these people.

You want to make sure you do the right thing as a voter.

Thanks are due to Pastor Hodari K. Hamilton and the members of Shiloh Baptist Church for their gracious welcome of the candidates and the community.

There is one more forum: The League of Women Voters candidate forum is next Wednesday (May 31), 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Emerson Community School, East 3rd Street and Emerson Avenue.

For more information on that forum, biographical sketches of the candidates and their responses to questions posed by the LWV, go to the League website here.

See you next Wednesday!



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

(2017 Dem Primary) Retired Police Captain El-Amin reviews candidates, endorses Mapp


The Mapp Team. Front row: candidates Steve Hockaday,
Mayor Mapp and Joylette Mills-Ransome are on the June ballot.


I am pleased to offer for your consideration the following guest column received from retired Plainfield Police Captain Siddeeq W. El Amin, whom I have known and respected for more than twenty years --
In the City of Plainfield, as we all know, there are four candidates campaigning and competing to be elected in the June 6 Primary Election for the right to advance to the General Elections for the Office of Mayor of the City of Plainfield.

One candidate is the incumbent, Mayor Adrian O Mapp. Another candidate is, in my opinion, a little known resident seeking his first elected position in Plainfield. And then there are the two veteran candidates also seeking the Office of Mayor. I want to talk about the two veteran candidates.

In January 2014, in the auditorium of Plainfield High School, during the Municipal Council Reorganization Meeting, when Mayor Adrian Mapp offered two candidates for confirmation into his new cabinet, then-City Council President, Bridgett Rivers, made a speech about the candidates, stating that one of them had some major personal issues that needed to be investigated before any action could be taken on his nomination.

This [position] was also supported by then-Councilwoman Tracey Brown, Councilman William Reid and newly elected Councilwoman Gloria Taylor.

Mind you, Council President Rivers, Councilors Brown and Reid all had an opportunity to interview and “interrogate” the candidate in private session in the Municipal Court Chambers prior to the Reorganization Meeting. None of them posed any probing questions if they believed that there were “issues that needed to be investigated.”

In making the announcement of an investigation and calling for an official city council investigation into the matter, Rivers and Brown together made the insinuation that the candidate’s reputation and character were being called into question, all in an open public meeting.

Needless to say, both Rivers and Brown never followed through with their investigation, never responded to requests on the status of the investigation, and, according to Plainfield Corporation Counsel, no special investigator was ever contracted as Rivers said would happen. All the while the candidates’ reputation was held as suspect. This went on for almost three years.

In mid-2016, during a City Council meeting, the “citizen candidate” made a final appeal to the [sitting] City Council for an apology from each of them and restoration the reputation of the citizen. All the then sitting Councilors extended their apologies for the travesty that occurred, with Councilwoman Brown being the reluctant last to apologize.

Councilwoman Bridgett Rivers, the leader of the initial false and malicious slander to the citizen refused to apologize for her unprofessional and unethical behavior. To this day she has never offered an apology.

Which bring us to this year’s campaign for leadership of the City of Plainfield. The people of Plainfield have a clear choice.

First, a man who has, to my knowledge and experience in the city of Plainfield, having served this city officially for 30 years in law enforcement and never encountered him in any capacity, has never been an active participant in the affairs of the city.

Second and third, two women, former Councilwoman Brown and current Councilwoman Rivers, that have, during their tenure as elected officials, demonstrated a lack of character, professionalism and ethical principles by openly embarrassing and denigrating the character of a 30-year Plainfield Police Division law enforcement commander in a City Council Meeting, and [later] only under duress, after waiting almost three years, only one of them, Mayoral Candidate and former Councilwoman Brown, offering an apology for the maltreatment to one of its citizens. Mayoral Candidate Councilwoman Rivers to this day and writing stills remains the arrogant holdout.

And Fourth, a man who has during the course of his tenure as an elected official, former Union County Freeholder, former City Councilman for Plainfield, and our current Mayor, Adrian O. Mapp.

Nowhere during his tenure in all the offices that he held has there been any act of unprofessionalism, unethical behavior or lack of character. During his three years in the Office of Mayor, Adrian has brought the City of Plainfield forward, without any scandal or impropriety. He has establish a positive record of achievement for the citizens, with economic growth, reduction on crime, and restored and upgraded the financial credit rating of the city, all of this initially with limited City Council support.

Since 2016, Mayor Mapp has increased his support on the council and Plainfield has seen the positive results. More streets are being resurfaced, more city residents are being hired in law enforcement and fire safety, and more developers see Plainfield as the next growing economy and there is increased trust by the youth of Plainfield.

So Plainfield, let us not be fooled by the lack of accomplishments of the other candidates who, while in office, did nothing to advance Plainfield but now criticized progress. One of my favorite quotes  is a Chinese proverb that goes like this: "The person who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it!" Councilors Brown and Rivers, please stop interrupting progress.

The choice is easy: People of Plainfield, let’s re-elect Mayor Adrian Mapp in pushing Plainfield Forward.

OnePlainfield One Future!


Siddeeq W. El-Amin
Retired Captain
Former Citizen Candidate

Remember, there is a candidate forum at Shiloh Baptist Church this evening (May 25), to which all the candidates have been invited.

Shiloh Baptist Church is at West 4th Street and Lliberty. Parking available in the lots on West 5th Street.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Candidate forums at Shiloh Baptist Church Thursday evening


Shiloh Baptist Church will host a community forum
for mayoral and council candidates on May 25.


Shiloh Baptist Church will host a forum for the mayoral and council candidates in the Democratic Primary Election this Thursday evening (May 24) starting at 6:30 PM, according to an announcement by the Rev. Hodari K. Hamilton, the church's new pastor.

The forum will take place in the sanctuary of the church.

All mayoral and council candidates have been invited; some have yet to confirm.

Mayoral candidates will take part in one segment and Council candidates in a second segment.

The forum will be conducted using the League of Women Voters rules, with League facilitator Marlene Sincaglia as moderator.

The League of Women Voters will host its own forum at Emerson Community School on May 31 starting at 6:30 PM. See more information on the League's website here.

Pastor Hodari K. Hamilton welcomes all to the event. Shiloh Baptist Church is at 515 West Fourth Street (at Liberty Street). Parking available in the lot on West 5th Street. Visit Shiloh on the web at shilohplainfield.org/.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, May 22, 2017

"X marks the spot" event sets stage for cooperation between Mayor Mapp and other mayors


In 1963, the Scotch Plains engineer shows South Plainfield engineer
the exact loaction where the four towns meet.


The four town meet near The Woodlands Nursing Home
on Woodland Avenue.



Mayor Adrian O. Mapp and the mayors of thee surrounding towns -- South Plainfield, Edison and Scotch Plains -- will join together Tuesday (May 23) for a ceremony and a working lunch designed to recreate a similar event that took place in 1973.

Because of its historical development, dating back to the colonial Dutch, English and other settlers, New Jersey has very few townships that come together in a 'four corners' configuration. One exception is the intersection of the townships of Edison and Scotch Plains, the borough of South Plainfield and the city of Plainfield.

The fact was duly noted in an event that was publicized in the Courier-News on May 27, 1963 (see photo above) that commemorated the cooperation between the four communities.

Mayor Mapp has arranged for the four mayors -- besides himself as mayor of Plainfield, Thomas Lankey (Edison), Al Smith (Scotch Plains) and Matthew P. Anesh (South Plainfield) -- to gather for a commemorative photograph to mark the occasion.

Following the photo session, the four mayors, along with officials and guests from the four municipalities, will gather for a working lunch to explore ways to join in more cooperative actions.

"I am excited to join with my fellow mayors to commemorate and recreate this historic photo and the commitment to cooperation and friendship that it symbolizes," said Mayor Mapp. "Now more than ever, it is essential that we work together and support one another in order to better serve our communities. I look forward to identifying additional ways for our local governments to cooperate."

Officials from the four communities, the two counties (Middlesex and Union) and the State have been invited to the event which will take place on the grounds of the The Woodlands Nursing Home on Woodland Avenue, near Sprague Avenue.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mayor Mapp hosts one-day "Youth Take Over" event at City Hall Monday


Earlier this year, PHS students gathered at City Hall to express
their concerns at an expected Board of Ed budget shortfall.
(Photo courtesy City of Plainfield.)


Mayor Adrian O. Mapp is hosting a one-day "Youth Take Over" event on Monday (May 22), where sixty students from Plainfield High School will shadow and be mentored by thirty-seven city officials for a day of simulation of "running" the city.

"This event is not only about exposing our youth to the inner workings of city government," Mapp said. "It's also about lighting a spark which can lead to civic engagement on several levels. Providing mentorship and paths to education is not merely an act of good will, but one of obligation,one of many creative ways my administration seeks to engage that responsibility and build Plainfield's legacy for the future."

The students will be taken by bus from Plainfield High School to City Hall, where they will meet the mayor, have breakfast with their mentors and go through a job orientation.

Throughout the day, the students will shadow their mentors, learning how their city government works, the different jobs they might think of pursuing and the education needed, as well as discussing community issues and developing proposals for solutions.

After lunch, the day concludes with a youth "Town Council" and award ceremony acknowledging youth leadership.

The event is facilitated by Dr. Janice Johnson Dias of the GrassROOTS Community Fountion, who has previously led highly successful "Youth Summits" for Plainfield youth.

I am heartened that this program is taking place. It is an old idea and a good one, but I have not heard much of its use in recent years.



When, as a high school student, I participated in an event
like this one, the "Council's" main discussion concerned
this coal-fired power plant that displaced a popular beach.

Such a day-long experience piqued my interest in politics and public service when I was in high school (back in the Middle Ages).

Dunkirk, NY, was then a smaller city than Plainfield. When I was involved (shadowing Public Works), one of the "projects" was learning to calculate and budget for the amount of salt needed for the roads during the winter months (Lake Erie snowstorms can be huge and unpredictable) of a "typical" year and then develop alternate plans in case of more or less snowfall.

When we had our "Council" meeting, the main item of discussion was how to react to the power utility's plan to expand the coal-fired Dunkirk generating station from 200 megawatts to 600 megawatts in the late 1950s.

The coal-fired station had been a boon to the city's economy (in property taxes), and with jobs (several hundred), but at the expense of losing most of a popular municipal beach. The expansion would pretty much take the rest of the beach.

This was in the days when huge smokestacks were a sign of progress; pollution and climate change were not even on our radar. Nor was the prospect of large-scale cancer deaths among workers owing to the exposure to tremendous amounts of asbestos throughout the plant (who even knew there was a connection between asbestos and the cancer known as mesothelioma?)

Time has since moved on: the Niagara Mohawk Corporation sold its generating plants to NRG. NRG got a $110M subsidy from the ratepayers, then announced that a plan to convert from coal to natural gas was not feasible. The generating plant was mothballed in January of this year, all the workers laid off, and the City of Dunkirk deprived of $8 million in property taxes -- devastating to a small rust-belt town.

Folks long ago forgot about the beach that was impacted.

So, even though the student involvement in the 1950s learning project was perhaps misfocused (we cannot know the future), it did achieve its primary goal: to encourage students to consider career and civic involvement possibilities.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, May 19, 2017

FOSH garage sale, house tour, Crescent Singers, Rescue Squad open house this weekend


Soprano Marilyn Moore will perform with the Crescent
Singers Sunday afternoon.


A full-on Spring weekend in Plainfield--

SATURDAY
'Home Sweet Homes' House Tour, 10 AM - 4PM
Seven unique Plainfield homes will be open to the public this Saturday in a benefit house tour for COTA (The Children's Organ Transplant Association).

For over thirty years, this national organization has provided financial assistance to transplant families. Your support helps families help save their children.

Tour begins at 940 Glenwood (at Charlotte Road). Tickets may be purchased at Swain Galleries in advance for $25/person. Day of event tickets available at 940 Glenwood for $35/person.

Plainfield Rescue Squad Open House, 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
This open house and tour will help you know more about the Rescue Squad and the services it provides to Plainfield residents.

Meet the EMTs, tour the building and ambulances! Membership applications will be available for the EMT Cadet Corps, Auxiliary and Explorer program.

A simulated motor vehicle accident will show you how the EMTs work, and provide tips about what to do if you are in a vehicle accident.

Plus the City of Plainfield Recreation and Health Divisions will provide health screenings (blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol), as well as fun and games and prizes.

Food will be available from local vendors.

The open house is free and open to all.The Plainfield Rescue Squad is located at 700 West 7th Street (at Spooner Avenue). Parking available on the street -- please be mindful of neighbors' driveways.

SUNDAY
Annual FOSH Garage Sale
FOSH holds its annual Garage Sale event from 9 AM- 4 PM.

My suggestion is to drive up Watchung Avenue and look for one of the participating homes -- you'll see ballons out front. Each location will have copies of the map of this year's participating homes.

There is always plenty of variety (and some surprise items). Proceeds of the sale benefit the FOSH scholarship program for graduating Plainfield High School seniors.

For more information, contact Shannon Pacheco at (917) 204-2112.

Crescent Singers presents 'The Poet Sings'
Crescent Singers and special guest artist Marilyn Moore will present the final concert of the season, entitled 'The Poet Sings: American Poetry Set to Music'.

The concert is at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church and begins at 3 PM. Note this program will take place in the Assembly Room. Use the church office entrance at the rear of the Watchung Avenue side of the church.

Tickets at $20/person, $15/senior and $5/student.

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church is at East 7th Street and Watchung Avenue. Parking in the church lot on First Place, on the street, or in the Swain Galleries lot.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mapp team goes into final weeks with cocktail fundraiser for the mayor


Mayor Mapp's 2017 Team: (front row, l to r) Steve Hockaday,
Mayor Adrian Mapp, Joylette Mills-Ransome. (Standing,
rear:Barry Goode, Rebecca Williams, Charles Mc Rae,
Linda Carter and Cory Storch.



The Mapp team speeds into the final weeks of 2017 Democratic Primary with a cocktail reception tonight (Thursday, May 18) at the home of Wayne Clarke, a longtime friend and supporter of Mayor Mapp.

The spacious grounds and patios of Clarke's home offer the ideal location for an outdoor event (now that the weather has finally turned a bit more friendly).

Old-timers will have many happy memories of campaign events at Wayne's when Mapp's team mates were beginning to build a council majority.

Contributions are welcome in amounts from $2.600 to whatever you can put in the hat.

The reception is from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM tonight. The address is 971 Kensington Avenue (between Watchung and Prospect). Parking is available on the street (mind the speed bumps!).

Make checks payable to: Mapp for Mayor 2017, 535 West 8th Street, Plainfield, NJ 07060.

See you there!



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Shiloh Baptist Church presents Primary Election community forum May 25


Shiloh Baptist Church will host a community forum
for mayoral and council candidates on May 25.



The new minister of Shiloh Baptist Church, the Rev. Hodari K. Hamilton, has announced that the church will host a forum for the mayoral and council candidates in the Democratic Primary Election.

The forum will take place in the sanctuary of the church on Thursday, May 25, starting at 6:30 PM.

All mayoral and council candidates have been invited; some have yet to confirm.

Mayoral candidates will take part in one segment and Council candidates in a second segment.

The forum will be conducted using the League of Women Voters rules, with League facilitator Marlene Sincaglia as moderator.

The League of Women Voters will host its own forum at Emerson Community School on May 31 starting at 6:30 PM. See more information on the League's website here.

Pastor Hodari K. Hamilton welcomes all to the event. Shiloh Baptist Church is at 515 West Fourth Street (at Liberty Street). Parking available in the lot on West 5th Street. Visit Shiloh on the web at shilohplainfield.org/.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, May 15, 2017

(Board of Ed) Marry in haste, repent at leisure


PEA is circulating this flyer with qualities desired
in a new Superintendent. It is an excellent start.
Click on image to enlarge or print.



Tonight's Board of Ed meeting (8:00 PM in the PHS Cafeteria) looks to be very interesting.

Several stakeholder groups are organizing to push for the immediate hiring of Accting Superintendent Sheard as the permanent superintendent. This includes the Plainfield Education Association (PEA), whose flyer is at the top of this post, and various parents and community members. My mailbox has had at least one message every day for the past week or so asking for support for Dr. Sheard or to sign a petition advocating her hiring.

I only see her at public meetings. I do not know her personally. She seems quite competent. But I could hardly recommend her hiring for any position based on what I have seen or know.

The PEA flyer has a good list of qualities the District needs from its new Superintendent, and lists some of her positive qualities in reference to their list.

But the problem is that the PEA list is incomplete and if those were the only qualities on which a decision was made, the Plainfield School District might shortly find itself up to its ears in quicksand -- with no way of being rescued.

I can appreciate wanting to put the bad experiences of the recent past in the rear view mirror, but there is more to it than that.

Two things that must also be considered in any search are someone who understands developing a consensus-based strategic plan for the district, the ability to maneuver the legisltive funding minefield that we are facing, and a strong program for contending with the ever-encroaching charter school situation.

And that's just for openers.

My mother used to say "marry in haste, repent at leisure", meaning that if you make quick decisions without the proper thought, questions and planning, you will have a long time to repent of the mistakes you made in your haste.

We should all take a deep breath. We should all treat one another with respect. We should listen to all ideas about how to proceed that are put forward. All stakeholders should be taken into account.

If we can't honestly check off these minimum conditions as met, we are not ready to hire anybody for Superintendent -- even if they appear to walk on water.

Parking is available in the Kenyon Avenue lot, with entry to the cafeteria directly from the lot.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

(2017 Dem Primary) Opponents make a "Devil's bargain" against Mayor Mapp


"Devil's bargain" flyer being circulated by Tracey Brown
supporters (falsely) as a real story from Essex News Daily,
is full of lies and distortions.
(Click on image for larger view or to print.)



Compare with the real story from
the Essex Daily News of Jan. 10, 2017.

(Click on image for larger view or to print.)



Tracey Brown's supporters were passing out the anonymous flyer above this past Friday, wrapped inside her campaign literature. Is she hoping a bargain with the Devil will give her the upper hand on Primary Day, June 6?

The "Devil's bargain" is a flyer smearing Mayor Mapp as if it were a story from the media. The flyer purports to reproduce a (January 19, 2017) story from the Essex News Daily, an online news site (see complete story here) covering Essex County communities.

First, a little background. The FBI is indeed probing what happened to a $48,000 HUD grant to the Orange Public Library, as the story says --

The warrant and subpoena served on the Orange Public Library and City Hall in 2016 are tied to a $48,000 federal Housing and Urban Development Department grant received through Essex County and then repaid to the county after questions about its origin and use arose that attracted the attention of the feds.
Mayor Mapp is an employee of the City of Orange Township, not the Orange Public Library.

His name appears nowhere in the public record in connection with this matter. He has not been subpoenaed or mentioned in any way in connection to the investigation -- though plenty of other people have.

So, let's take a look at the "Devil's bargain" flyer --

  • For openers, assertions that Mapp is "being investigated by the FBI", and will "soon be arrested" are untrue.

  • Next, the reader is advised to "read the newspaper article below". Trouble is, it is not a newspaper story, it is a reworking of the story to insert Mapp's name.
Compare the "Devil's bargain" story at the top with a screen shot of the actual online story that was cribbed --

  • The actual "story" from the Essex Daily News is an extended photo caption, not the entire story.

  • Going through the "Devil's bargain" version, you will note that "Federal Bureau of Investigation" is bold-faced to call attention to the words. In the original it is not.

  • That sentence stops with the word "Wednesday" as though it refers to the current week. In the original, the date is given: January 10 (2017). The "Devil's bargain" piece wants this to look like new news, which it is not.

  • Finally, the sentence beginning "Adrian Mapp works for..." is entirely made up for the "Devil's bargain" flyer and appears nowhere in the original.
Lastly, there are two callouts at the end of the "Devil's bargain" flyer --

  • The first refers to Mapp as a "criminal", which is not true.

  • The second says Mapp is an "embarrassment" for Orange and Plainfield -- also not true.
Why do people put out such rubbish?

Seems to me that those distributing this flyer -- which reminds me of the ones that used to appear under windshield wipers in City Hall parking lot -- believe that anyone who picks one up is an ignorant fool and will be taken in by this faked "news". And that Mapp's opponents' only hope in the election is to spread lies.

You can always count on one thing: Those who are too cowardly to put their name on such a piece are not looking to do right by the voters.

They are looking to benefit from a "Devil's bargain".

Pastor Brown, of all people, should know the Devil will get his due.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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