Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, December 18, 2017

An open letter to the Mayor and Council on the Deer Management resolution passed by the Council

Not every hunter is successful in killing deer.

The Animal Initiative Committee of Plainfield, which sponsors the annual blessing of animals at Leland Avenue Park each October, forwarded to me the following open letter to the Mayor and Council concerning the resolution (R 381-17) to "implement a deer management program in the City of Plainfield" passed at last Monday's Council meeting.

In response to questions posed by resident Nancy Piwowar, the audience learned that the proposed program will focus on the catch basin on Cushing Road. Union County will supervise a culling by hunters using bows and arrows only.

The management of deer in suburban areas by hunting is widespread and controversial (for more see here). Many suggest that the problem of overlarge deer populations is a result of encroachment on their habitat by development and the consequent extirpation of their natural predators.

After minimal discussion at the Council meeting, the resolution was passed by unanimous voice vote.

While I do not agree with all of the letter's ideas (and certainly not some of its tone), it does seem to me that Plainfield would benefit from a deeper discussion of the issues involved than was given in the adoption of the resolution. -- DAN

Here is the letter --

Open Letter to Plainfield (NJ) Mayor and Council: December 12, 2017

The City of Plainfield has worked hard to change the negative image that has followed Plainfield for decades. Despite a beautiful housing stock, diverse population, and active business district, with the reelection of Mayor Mapp in November 2017 a series of reckless, one-sided and arrogant decisions were made.

Among the three most recent, and divisive, decisions pushed through against the will of residents/voters are as follows:

1. The takeover by city/council of the SID, the very active and financially independent association of business owners that has thrived for decades, bringing positive attention to business development and reaching out to residents with activities for all ages. The many accomplishments of the SID were disregarded, and will cost taxpayers dearly as this becomes a government, rather than private, entity

2. The increase of Mayor and council salaries was introduced one day post election. Despite cogent arguments made by residents, the Mayor will now receive $75,000, up from $35,000, for his part-time job. Council is $25,000 from $10,000 for part-time positions.

3. At the same December 11, 2017 meeting, a deer kill was announced with no previous notice to the public, based solely on the desire of council members to mollify a handful of residents whose main complaint was that deer are eating their shrubs. This action is over the will of the majority who have enjoyed the biodiversity of wildlife, with children and adults alike delighting in watching these graceful creatures as part of the overall peaceful living environment.

We, as the Animal Initiative Committee, are responding to the last matter.

Union County is always looking for more outlets to satisfy hunters, and they found a mark in Plainfield.

The catch basin (watershed) on Cushing Road has long been off-limits to human interference. It protects wildlife that has been displaced from surrounding areas due to development and destruction of environment. The development on Cushing Road has done the damage to environment, why are we not addressing that?

No creature should be killed for eating flowers. There are many ways to live peacefully, and still enjoy the beauty of nature.

The council has refused to reach out to the very resources in their own districts that help resolve issues in a humane, non-lethal manner. We also have access to outside resources willing to come in to address concerns.

For over 18 years, the Animal Initiative Committee has presented a yearly Celebration of Animals that attracts people from the City and surrounding areas. It is a joyous time, filled with educational programs on how to live in harmony with all beings. We have a flyer for distribution on living with wildlife. Despite invitations each year, neither Mayor nor council attends.

We received positive feedback last year with the plight of a dog left in the elements. As a result, an ordinance that brings attention to care for animals was established. Plainfield was praised for its animal friendly resolution.

This deer kill will divide community and neighbors, and is in direct opposition to the Mayor's “One Plainfield” theme. Nothing divides like animal issues, as evidenced in the past by the dog situation. This decision to kill will have far reaching effects outside of Plainfield.

We urge you to rescind the invitation to the County for this kill. We do not want the county dictating how our animals are treated, as they have a singular method that is killing.

We are available to discuss and recommend other methods, and end with the following Mission Statement, which should be a resolution of Plainfield:

"Be it resolved, the Animal Initiative Committee is opposed to any violent or lethal methods designed to target wildlife and other animals on any properties: private, municipal, state or county in and around the City of Plainfield".

And finally,

“Never, never be afraid to do what is right, especially if the well
being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are
small, compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the
other way. “ (Martin Luther King, Jr)

Animal Initiative Committee of Plainfield Marie Ansari Gloria Binkowski, VMD MaryEllen Chanda Shirley Edwards Thomas Kaercher Shannon Pacheco

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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