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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Plainfield Dem Committee meeting Saturday takes up Union County Dem chair questions

Union County Dem chairman Jerry Green has resigned and
must be replaced within 30 days.

Plainfield Democratic City Committee chairman Adrian O. Mapp has called  meeting of the organization for this Saturday, February 3, at 10:00 AM at Democratic Headquarters, 35 Watchung Avenue.

The meeting will focus on the resignation of Assemblyman Jerry Green as chair of the Union County Democratic Committee and the process of electing a new county chair, including a discussion of the various candidates for that office.

Union County municipal Democratic chairs were to meet Wednesday evening to set the time and place of the mandatory county committee meeting to vote on a new chair. That meeting must take place within 30 days of Assemblyman Green's resignation.

It is a long-standing tradition of the Plainfield Democratic committee to welcome guests at its meetings. However. guests may only participate in the discussion with the permission of the chair, and do not vote under any circumstances.

Plainfield Democratic Headquarters is at 35 Watchung Avenue (next to Antojito's restaurant). Parking is available in the adjacent municipal lot and on the street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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In a time of Democratic crisis, consider Lincoln's leadership qualities

When thinking of leadership, consider Lincoln's qualities.

Times when organizations must face choices over new leadership are times of crisis. Because much depends on the quality of the outcome, they are times of both danger and opportunity.

What constitutes good leadership? And to what extent do the candidates offering themselves possess it?

Those are important questions and well worth serious thought and argument. After all, the next leader of the Union County Democratic Committee is likely to serve decades (like the late Charlotte DeFilippo) rather than just a few years (as in the case of Jerry Green). It's important to try and get it right.

Abraham Lincoln came to the presidency during another time of crisis. In her book on Lincoln and his cabinet (Team of Rivals, 2005, available on Amazon here), author Doris Kearns Goodwin considers the qualities that made Lincoln a great leader.

We should keep them in mind as Union County Democrats wrestle with the decision facing them:

[Team of Rivals] then, is a story of Lincoln's political genius revealed through his extraordinary array of personal qualities that
  • enabled him to form friendships with men who had previously opposed him;
  • to repair injured feelings that, left untended, might have escalated into permanent hostility;
  • to assume responsibility for the failures of subordinates;
  • to share credit with ease;
  • and to learn from mistakes.

He possessed an acute understanding of the sources of power inherent in the [office];
  • an unparalleled ability to keep his governing coalition intact;
  • a tough-minded appreciation of the need to protect his presidential prerogatives;
  • and a masterful sense of timing.

His success at dealing with the strong egos of the men in his cabinet suggests that in the hands of a truly great politician the qualities we generally associate with decency and morality -- kindness, sensitivity, compassion, honesty, and empathy -- can also be impressive political resources.

We must remind ourselves (though every day it grows harder) that when founded in the 1850s, the Republican Party was a progressive -- even revolutionary -- force in the American experiment, a "curious amalgamation of former Whigs, antislavery Democrats, nativists, foreigners, radicals and conservatives" (Goodwin again).

But perhaps the last word -- again appropriate for our own circumstances -- should be given, as Goodwin does, to Abraham Lincoln himself:
"Of strange, discordant, and even, hostile elements," Lincoln proudly claimed, "we gathered from the four winds and formed and fought the battle through."

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sweeney endorsement of Scutari for Union Dem chair doesn't necessarily play well in Plainfield

Senate President Steve Sweeney has endorsed Nick Scutari
to replace Jerry Green. But there's a history here...


Nothing in Union County politics is ever as simple as it seems. This is even more true of Plainfield in particular.

Take, for instance, Senate President Steve Sweeney's endorsement (see here) of Sen.Nick Scutari to replace Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green as chair of the Union County Dems. The endorsement came Wednesday evening, just a couple of hours after Jerry's resignation became public.

By Thursday morning, Max Pizarro of InsiderNJ had connected the dots between Sweeney and a mailer Sweeney put out in the 2014 election cycle smearing Plainfield Councilor Rebecca Williams (see post here).

Here are images of that mailing piece so you can see for yourself how thuggish the Senate President was --

2014 Sweeney mailer contained a letter attacking
Councilor Rebecca Williams..

... and saying Plainfield's New Democrats
used "Tea Party" tactics.

On Monday, InsiderNJ posted an in-depth retelling of Sweeney's ham-handed dealings with another woman -- then Assembly Speaker, now Lieutenant Governor -- Sheila Oliver. Read that post here.

However, that is not the end of the story of South Jersey putting its nose in North Jersey business.

Those with long  memories will recall that Sweeney's predecessor Joe Roberts "wheeled" $300,000 to the 2005 Plainfield mayoral campaign of Sharon Robinson-Briggs. Though Robinson-Briggs -- a Jerry Green protégé -- won the hard-fought election, she turns out to have been one of Green's costliest political mistakes, ultimately causing him to lose support of the Democratic base throughout the city.

So, while Sweeney's endorsement may count for something in other parts of Union County, in Plainfield his name only reminds us of his and his South Jersey pals' misadventures in Queen City politics.

(It is interesting to note that the Sheila Oliver piece leads off with a Latin epigram -- Dux femina facti (a woman was the leader of the deed) -- from the first book of Virgil's Aeneid. The woman in question was Dido, the legendary founder and queen of Carthage, who "led that city into prosperity at a time when women were expected to 'walk behind the men'." (My thanks to Prof. Michelle Scandurro for that insight (see here).)

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

In contemplating shuffle set off by Green resignation, has Williams been overlooked?

Mayor Mapp and "The A Team", 2017.

When Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green announced his resignation as chair of the Union County Democratic Committee on Wednesday, speculation in the media swept all before it, as though a dam had burst.

On Wednesday, InsiderNJ's Max Pizarro opined that Sen. Nick Scutari, who wants the county chairmanship, had cut a deal with Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp for Mapp's support of Scutari in exchange for Scutari's support of Mapp getting Green's Assembly seat at a future date (see the story here).

According to David Wildstein (of Bridgegate infamy, but before that he started the granddaddy of NJ political websites, the former PolitickerNJ), Scutari denied on Thursday (see here) that a deal with Mapp had been cut.

In the rush to cover the story, errors were made -- Wildstein had to correct a story saying Linden mayor Derek Armstead was backing Scutari; he is not (see here). It seems Scutari, who began working the phones furiously before Green's resignation was even made public, got a little ahead of himself.

A number of women have expressed annoyance that it seems that an unrepentant "old boys network" kicked in -- without regard to the half of the County committee that is composed of women, or the niceties of observing the county organization's bylaws.

While it may appear unseemly for there to be speculation on Green's Assembly seat at this point, it is only to be expected given the paucity of information about the nature of his illness and the likelihood he will resume his legislative duties any time soon.

One speculation that floored me came from Wildstein. Citing "two (unnamed) Union County sources", the scenario was that Green would step down, to be replaced by Adrian Mapp, with Freeholder Linda Carter becoming Plainfield's mayor and Amelia Mapp, the mayor's wife, to take Carter's Freeholder seat.

This flies in the face of realities on the ground in Plainfield.

Aside from the mayor, the person who has worked the longest and hardest -- not to say the most successfully -- in the electoral vineyards has been Councilor Rebecca Williams.

If there is to be any talk of Mapp going to the Assembly, Williams is the logical choice to succeed him.

That would be not only the fairest choice, but the most likely to meet with success.

I can only wonder if one of the mayor's opponents floated the whole scenario as a way to "poison the well" in advance.

Meanwhile, both Scutari (see here -- including Plainfield) and Mahr (see here) have updated their lists of supporters.

The county committee (over 800 members) will have to make the choice within 30 days.

Chairman Mapp has called a meeting of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee for Saturday, February 3, at which the county chair election will be discussed.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Laptop problems delay further post on Jerry Green replacement

There is more on the developing story of replacing
Jerry Green as Union County Dem Chairperson.

There is more -- much more -- to report on the matter of a replacement for Jerry Green as chair of the Union County Democratic Committee, but a cranky laptop which refused to operate properly Saturday night has led me to postpone a post on the matter until Monday.

Be sure to check back.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Jerry Green resigns Union County Dem chair. What's next?

Chairman Green at a 2013 fundraiser.

Jerry Green has resigned as chairperson of the Union County Democratic Committee. The word came in a press release issued by the county party's executive director Nick Fixmer in an emailed press release late Wednesday afternoon.

Word had started circulating earlier in the afternoon, and InsiderNJ's Max Pizarro had posted a story at 2:22 PM on the rumored resignation and Sen. Nick Scutari's working the phones for support as Green's replacement -- beating the official announcement by almost two hours.

The "official" reason given in the press release is a "longer-than-expected recovery process" from an unspecified illness. I regard that statement as a continuation of the denial and disinformation that Jerry's office has been putting out since before the November election.

As I wrote earlier, when I was in JFK's cardiac unit in October, visitors reported seeing Jerry a few doors from me on the same ward -- as a patient. Jerry is seriously ill -- this resignation is another indicator -- and no one knows whether or if he will be able to return to his duties in the Assembly.

The resignation has kicked off a race for the Union County Dem Committee chairmanship between Sen. Nick Scutari (who has already garnered major support from Elizabeth, Linden and Plainfield) and Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, who is vice chair of the county committee and succeeds Green as acting chair, according to the group's by-laws.

Mahr has received rough treatment at the hands of Green in the past, being passed over for the Assembly seat resigned by Linda Stender after her husband brought opprobrium on her when his Sandy-related scandal came to light.

I had a long conversation with Mahr after Jerry passed her over in favor of former Rahway mayor Jim Kennedy. She made no secret of her feeling that she had been unfairly treated by Green (and others), and now appears to have aligned herself with Union County's newest state Senator, former Sheriff Joe Cryan.

The county party chairmanship is not all that is at stake.

Looking down the road, it seems clear that if Jerry Green's health does not improve he will be facing pressure from colleagues in the Legislature to step aside there as well.

Max Pizarro at InsiderNJ has put forward his analysis of the maneuvering now going on (for his view, see here). As he sees it, Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp -- who was close to Cryan in the run-up to Gov. Murphy's election -- is now aligning himself with Sen. Scutari, with an eye to Green's Assembly seat if/when it becomes available.

Looks like things are going to get politically pretty interesting in Plainfield pretty damn quick.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Monday, January 15, 2018

Tuesday's combined Council meetings features attorney contracts

What a ride!


Tuesday's combined Plainfield City Council agenda and business meeting is the first of five such double meetings scheduled for 2018 and gets under way in the Council Chambers / Courthouse at 7:00 PM.

Nineteen of the 37 resolutions on the agenda are concerned with the professional services contracts to attorney for a variety of legal services to the city -- ranging from workmen's compenstion matters to litigation/defense counsel to labor/personnel matters.

There is clearly a pecking order, with contract amounts ranging from a high of $65,000 (two contracts, for tax foreclosures and labor/personnel matters) to a low of $5,000 (seven contracts total).

Keep in mind that these are the opening contracts, more charges may accrue during the year.

It's rather like getting in a New York City Checker cab in the old days -- when the cabbie drops the flag, you owe the first amount before the cab ever leaves the curb. It only goes up from there.

The full agenda is online here.

Mind the starting time: 7:00 PM, not the usual hour.

The Council Chambers / Courthouse is at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street. Parking available in the lot across from the police station or on the street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Former Plainfielders endure 'shopping while Black' incident in New Hampshire

(l. to r.) Kevin, Mark, Sam and Steven with their dog
Sebastian and a family friend in 2009 (from Facebook)


Many Plainfield Today readers will remember Mark Newton and Sam Delgado who, with their adopted sons Kevin and Steven, lived at 990 Central Avenue. They were active in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District and were renowned for their parties. Mark's work eventually took the family to New Hampshire, from which the following story comes, by way of the website (view it online here) --

‘Such a shock’: 2 Black Teens Accused of ‘Casing’ NH Jewelry Store by Owner, Family Says

Written by Avalon Lustick on
CONCORD — A Hopkinton family's annual downtown window shopping trip turned into a reality-check about race.

On the afternoon of Dec. 26, in what has become a tradition, Mark Newton along with his brother Thom Newton and Mark's two sons — 15-year-old Kevin Newton-Delgado and 14-year-old Steven Newtown-Delgado — took a trip to downtown Concord.
The family stopped in Speer's Fine Jewelry at 24 North Main St. to browse the merchandise.

As Thom Newton asked a salesperson about watches, Mark Newton and his two adopted African-American sons looked at the merchandise. The trio talked about rings they could get significant others one day or watches they could buy when they were older. During their discussion, Kevin listened to music on his phone and Steven used the Snapchat app. 
After 15 minutes, the group said their goodbyes to the salespeople and left to visit other stores.

Little did they know that their tradition would be spoiled.

When the group left The League of NH Craftsmen at 36 North Main St. about 15-20 minutes later, Joe Speer, the owner of Speer's Fine Jewelry, confronted the teens, Mark Newton said.

Speer approached Kevin and Steven and accused them of "casing" his store while pointing his finger and making contact with Kevin's chest, the family said.

At first, the father and uncle thought the confrontation was a joke but soon realized that Speer's robbery accusation was serious.

"It was such a shock," said Mark Newton, who said he runs in similar social circles with the shop owner. "We have been regular customers for the last several years."

Speer returned to his store after the accusation, the family said.

Eventually, Mark and Thom returned to Speer's to ask why he had confronted the teens.

"That was the most insulting thing I have ever heard in my life," Mark Newton recalled saying to Speer at the time. "That was blatantly racist."

Mark and Thom said Speer told them the store goes through a lot for security. They said Speer's wife then joined the conversation, saying, "We don't see color."
Steven said that the family's relationship with Speer was "gradual and friendly."

The family said they did not see any signs prohibiting cellphone use or photography within the store.
Speer refused multiple requests to speak to NH1 for this story.

Afterward, Mark and Thom posted to Facebook about their experience. Mark's post has been shared almost 200 times and generated hundreds of comments.
Sam Newton-Delgado, Mark's partner, said he reached out Mayor Jim Bouley about the incident, and that Bouley called the family and discussed his high expectations of the citizens of Concord.

Both teens are active members of their school communities. They play basketball for Hopkinton Middle School and High School. Kevin has volunteered with children and Steven also plays lacrosse, indoor and outdoor soccer, and is a member of the chorus.

Kevin and Steven said the confrontation confused them because from their perspective, they did not do anything wrong but still ended up apologizing. 
"I thought he could have handled it differently," Steven said. "I thought he handled it immaturely."

Steven said this isn't the first time the boys have experienced discrimination because of their skin color but that this is one of the more public displays.
Mark Newton said he had not witnessed other incidents but hopes others learn from their experience and think before acting.

"We want people to know this is not acceptable," he said.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Where's Jerry? Green's absence a mystery as politics marches on

Assemblyman Green's absence noted as political season heats up.


Questions about Assemblyman Jerry Green's health and whereabouts continue to mount.

I noted in November 2017 (see here) that Green had been spotted as a patient at JFK by visitors who were leaving my room when I was there in October.

After the November general election, Jerry's office sent me a personal email with the press release noting his reappointment as Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore (see here). I could just imagine him telling his office staff, "You make sure that son-of-a-bitch knows I'm still alive and kicking."

In an article posted Wednesday afternoon by Max Pizarro of InsiderNJ ("Union County Confidential: Deep Democratic rivalries put the CD7 endorsement on edge"), he goes over the intr-party struggle in Union County over the endorsement of a Democratic candidate to oppose Republican Leonard Lance in the 2018 mid-term election. (Plainfield is not in the 7th Congressional District, though many of the other towns Assemblyman Green represents are.)

We learn several very interesting facts from Pizarro's story --

  • Green missed Election Night festivities,

  • He also missed the Union County reorganization meeting, and

  • He missed Tuesday's legislative reorg meeting, at which he was reappointed Assembly Speaker Pro Tem.

Pizarro continues, "Sources say the chairman is ill, but his confidants (sic) insist it’s not terminal. In his absence, Executive Director Nick Fixmer has played a more visible role as point person for the county party organization."  (Some have suggested to me that Jerry has developed Parkinson's disease; on the other hand, I was in the Cardiac Unit at JFK, the same unit Jerry was spotted in, suggesting a heart condition.)

The main thrust of Pizarro's story, of course, is getting to a Union County Dem endorsement for a candidate to oppose Lance in November. Pizarro outlines the oppoisng forces of former sheriff (and now Senator) Joe Cryan and Lesniak ally Sen. Nick Scutari.

Green's absence leaves Fixmer, who is allied with Scutari, filling in -- amid questions about his "neutrality" in the process.

Meanwhile, Union County's municipal Dem chairs (including our own Mayor Adrian Mapp) are scheduled to meet Friday at 5:30 PM at the Berkeley Heights home of Union County Dem heavyweight George Devanney to hear a pitch from another possible candidate, Tom Malinowski.

Will Jerry Green be there?

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Dawn Patrol: Early morning doctor's appointment

Taking a day off -- early doctor's appointment. See you tomorrow. -- Dan

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Frontiers' 42nd Annual MLK Breakfast next Monday

Radio personality Gary Byrd is this year's speaker.
(Image: WBLS)

Plainfield's chapter of Frontiers International presents the 42nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast on Monday, January 15, at the Plainfield High School cafeteria starting at 8:30 AM. The Breakfast is the longest running tribute to Dr. King in New Jersey.

This year's guest speaker is Imhotep Gary Byrd, radio personality, poet and songwriter. Byrd's radio program, The GBE, is the longest-running Black radio broadcast in New York City. Among his many credits are two songs for the soundtrack of the recent Spike Lee movie Bamboozled. He has been inducted into the National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame and is considered a modern day griot, "telling our story and lifting every voice."

The Breakfast, an annual commemoration of the life of Dr. King, highlights student groups, awards scholarships, and recognizes those in the community who have made outstanding contributions.

Honorees at the Breakfast will receive the Westry Horne “Excellence in Education” award for their contribution to the Plainfield School System, the "Community Service Award" and the "Service to Youth" award. Westry Horne, one of the founders of the Frontiers International Plainfield Area Club, was an avid tennis player and master educator. The auditorium at Plainfield High School bears his name. Among those being honored this year are Richard Wyatt, newly elected president of the Plainfield Board of Education and Malcolm R. Dunn, businessman and former City councilman.

The Breakfast will be a truly special event where the entire community can enjoy a delicious repast with entertainment, honor Plainfield’s finest and pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Tickets are $15/person, $10/students and seniors. For more information or to reserve tickets, contact Andrea Kee at (908) 327-8002, John Brinkley at (908) 868-8704, or The Marshall Group at (732) 968-7500.  

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Monday, January 8, 2018

Asssemblyman Green's expungement bill signed by Christie

Assemblyman Green outside Plainfield County Office Building.


A bill sponsored by Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green was among a package of three bills easing and broadening expungement of certain criminal records that was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie just days before Christmas 2017.

While Green was a sponsor of all three in the package (S-3306A-5036, S-3307/A-5037, and  S-3308/A-5038), he was the prime sponsor of the Assembly version of the bill (A-5036) which strengthens an earlier law banning employers from asking about criminal records in a job interview or application. Under Green's bill they are now prohibited from doing online searches for criminal records of job applicants.

While these are certainly major advances and may help to greatly reduce recidivism, there is much more that could be done -- especially in shortening the waiting period before expungement can be requested.

Those with long memories will recall that Green was the chief sponsor a number of years ago of a bill that bars those with past criminal convictions from being able to serve on Boards of Education.

Among those who would appreciate the irony of Green's latest legisltive success would be the late Rasheed Abdul-Haqq, who lost his seat on the Plainfield Board of Education as a result. His crime? A youthful drug-related offense, after which he for decades lived an upright life as a community activist.

As the Portuguese say, "God writes straight with crooked lines." 

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Mayor Mapp and First Lady will host 10th annual MLK potluck

The Mapps' potluck is one of the winter's most popular events.

Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp and First Lady Amelia are welcoming the community into their home Saturday, January 13th for the 10th Annual MLK Potluck and Food Drive.

Begun by the New Democrats club, the event has been sponsored by the Adrian Mapp Civic Association in recent years. The must-make event provides an opportunity to socialize over a potluck dinner, honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and pitch in to help fellow Plainfielders experiencing rough times.

Donations of non-perishable food items -- canned goods, pasta, beans, rice, etc., or toiletry items (especially women's products) -- will be gathered for delivery to Shiloh Baptist Church's food bank. Items may be brought along to the potluck or left ahead of time on the mayor's porch at 535 West 8th Street.

Any kind of dish will be welcome for the potluck, which always includes an amazing variety of tasty foods plus a dessert table.

The event runs from 6:00 PM to midnight.

Come along and have a good time!



6:00 PM - Midnight

The home of Mayor Adrian and Amelia Mapp
535 West 8th Street

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mini-melodrama as Plainfield Board of Ed reorganizes

New Board member Cameron Cox is sworn in...

...Along with member Terence Johnson...

And fellow member Dr. Avonia Richardson-Miller.

There was a sort of mini-melodrama at the Board of Ed reorganization meeting Wednesday evening. After new members Cameron Cox, Terence Johnson and Avonia Richardson-Miller were sworn in at the meeting in the PHS cafeteria, the next item of business was for the new board to elect its president.

Before that could begin though, the Board's attorney interrupted to describe for the public the BOE's policy on voting. As he explained it, votes by the Board require a majority of those present and voting. He pointed out that with full attendance at the reorganization meeting, there was a possible total of nine votes (if all vote). It interested me that he did not explain that a member could be present but NOT be counted in the vote total if they responded "present" when their name is called (rather than voting "no" or abstaining).

I was somewhat puzzled at this intervention. In the event, his remarks were quite timely.

Two names were put in nomination for president: Dorien Hurtt and Richard Wyatt.

The whisper all over town during the day had been that Wyatt would be the new president.

When Acting Secretary Yolanda Koon polled the Board, the results were --
  • Hurtt: 3 for, 6 against
  • Wyatt: 8 for, 1 against
Wyatt was declared elected and took the president's chair. T
he rumor was confirmed.

The next item of business was to elect the Board vice president. Board President Wyatt called for nominations, and three were offered.

Dorien Hurtt was nominated (again), along with new member Cameron Cox and Lynn Anderson.

In the first round of voting, Hurtt had 4 votes, Cox had 4 votes and Anderson had 3 votes. Since none of the three had the required five, another round was required.

The attorney explained the Board could simply vote again, have a runoff between the top two vote-getters, or leave the choice to the Executive County Superintendent of Schools (which, he sid, could take up to 45 days).

After some discussion, the Board voted 8-1 to have a runoff between the top two, Dorien Hurtt and Cameron Cox.

In this final round of voting, Hurtt polled 4 yes votes and Cox polled 5, making him the winner and new Board vice president.

It was the most dramatic event of the evening.

President Wyatt and the other new members made a few remarks and thanked their families, friends and supporters. Wyatt graciously thanked Emily Morgan for her service as last year's president and issued a call for "all hands on deck" -- challenging the group to work as a team in the new year.

Acting Superintendent Dr. Caryn Cooper congratulated the new Board president and Board members, whom she said she looked forward to working with.

Now begins the real work, and the real drama.

It is nearly a year since the former Superintendent was deposed and the Board has yet to even begin the search process.

And then there is the looming budget deficit -- what is it now, $11 million?

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Plainfield Board of Ed reorganizes Wednesday evening

The Plainfield Board of Education will conduct its annual reorganization at a meeting Wednesday evening (January 3) in the PHS cafeteria. The public portion of the meeting starts at 7:00 PM.

Due to be sworn in and seated for three year terms are --
  • Cameron E. Cox
  • Terence J. Johnson
  • Dr. Avania Richardson-Miller
They will replace outgoing board members Terrence Bellamy, Carletta Jeffers and David Rutherford.

The agenda, which includes a number of standard reorganization housekeeping items, is available online here.

Parking is available in the Kenyon Avenue lot.

I wish the new Board success in the many challenges they will face in 2018.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Plainfield Mayor Mapp addresses residents at the Council reorganization

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp was Union County
Mayor of the Year for 2017.

Plainfield's City Council reorganized on Monday (New Year's Day) in the auditorium at Plainfield High School.  The mayor and new council members were sworn in, and after Adrian O. Mapp was sworn into his second term as Mayor he addressed the gathered residents.

Here is a transcript of his prepared address --
Members of the City Council, Cabinet Members, Honored Guests, fellow Plainfielders, and friends of Plainfield, Good afternoon.
Once again, you the residents of Plainfield embraced your constitutional duty, cast your votes and re-elected me as your Mayor for another term. I want to thank you for the opportunity to continue working alongside you as we enjoy the resurgence of our beautiful City and prepare for even more opportunities over the next four years.
Each election is an opportunity to reflect on the things that make us American; the freedom to vote, the democracy to choose and the tenet that binds us together. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Over the last four years we have worked collectively and intently as a City to make our financial future more secure. We have improved our credit rating significantly; we reduced audit findings by over 75% and in 2016 received a Moody's investment grade rating of 1, which reflects strong fundamental credit quality with excellent liquidity. We achieved an unprecedented tax collection rate of 97.08% and  generated a surplus of $5.6 Million. Between January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2016, property values in our city have increased by an outstanding 8.01%. We are still tabulating figures for 2017, but we expect them to continue on this upward trajectory.
These actions have resulted in reduced borrowing and financing costs which have allowed us to stabilize taxes. As a direct result, we have been able to provide more services to our residents. We've paved over 63 roads and put more police officers on the street, hiring our neighbors, Plainfield residents and we have continued to reduce crime, there has been a 25 percent drop to be precise. We are a safer city, a city ready to expand its prosperity for all our residents. We have increased redevelopment activities turning blighted and environmentally impaired properties into new tax ratables, and in the process, we have raised overall property values in the City. Plainfield is now well positioned for explosive growth.
As we enter 2018, I intend to continue to support and advocate for improvement in education for all our children and those who are continuing to pursue higher education or trade. A quality education is the backbone of a prosperous future for our children and the foundation for overall economic well-being for the city of Plainfield. We’ll re-visit the Plainfield Promise which could be the pivotal tool in giving every Plainfield student an opportunity at a high-quality education that is so vitally important for today's job market. I am pleased that we have added new early childhood space for Neighborhood House and the new Second Street Youth Center which will have a new facility for the 2018/2019 school year.
I want to see more of our children involved in stem based educational programs. This year I’d like to see us host a hackathon and work more closely with the union county college, NJIT and Rutgers to have programs locally in Plainfield that can teach our youth programming and app building skills that can be used as a vehicle to create self-employment opportunities. Ultimately, this will improve the employment opportunities for our youth and all residents. We have to become a city dedicated to embracing technology and creating ongoing opportunities for our residents. I want us to become a city that is filled with entrepreneurs. We can do this.
Friends, I want us to be a Plainfield that celebrates our true greatness. Our greatness lies in our pride in our city, our love for our neighbor, and the care we show for each other. In this New Year let’s each resolve to love our neighbor more. Let’s help the senior who lives next door to us by caring for their lawn or helping to cut shrubs or assist with small painting projects. Let’s reach out to the little girl or boy who needs help with homework.
Let’s be even kinder to each other and embrace our community as family. Let’s attend a basketball game at the high school and cheer for our local home teams, let’s support our football and tennis teams. Let’s celebrate the Plainfield track and swim teams, the baseball league, and the soccer players and let’s give love to our cheerleaders who recently won a national cheer competition. Let’s pray to our creator in our mosques, our churches, our temples and our synagogues. Let’s remember to be kind to each other and endeavor to be a City that uses its kindness as an asset.
As we progress through 2018, let's be very vigilant about protecting our civil rights. As an immigrant to the United States, I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices made by so many to make it possible for me to stand here as your Mayor today. Plainfield was and continues to hold a significant place in the history of civil rights. Let us remain vigilant against the onslaught that is being made against the right to vote, the right to keep families together and the attacks that are being made against people every day in this country because of the color of their skin, their gender orientation or their desire to be fully contributing members of our society. It can’t be stated enough that we must be kinder to each other. We cannot forget that we are standing here as a better society because of people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Marcus Garvey, Harriett Tubman, Shirley Chisholm, Bob Kennedy, Delores Huerta and many ordinary Americans who were not afraid to stand up for justice. Every single one played their part in helping to make us a better society. Let us be vigilant in ensuring that we do not regress as a Country and as a City.
In closing, I'd like to say that the vision of One Plainfield, One Future is still the driving force behind every decision we make. My administration remains focused on building, growing, educating and uniting. The energy of renaissance is in the whisper on every breeze; the excitement is palpable. The Queen City is poised to step up and reclaim her crown. We are ready to work locally, and to partner with believers of change on a county, state, and national level. We embrace the diversity that makes us uniquely Plainfield, understanding that each culture represented is another opportunity to learn and grow.
It's time to trumpet the pride we have in our City and let the world see that we are Plainfield Strong, Plainfield United and together we are building One Plainfield, One future!
Thank you, may God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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