Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Saturday, June 9, 2018

PDCC meets Tuesday on Council vacancy; nominees email committee for support.


Filling the vacancy created by Rebecca Williams' move
to the Freeholder board is the last of the falling dominoes
set in motion by the passing of Assemblyman Green.


Plainfield Democratic City Committee (PDCC) chair Adrian O. Mapp has called a meeting of the committee for Tuesday June 12.

The principal topic of the meeting will be his presentation of a slate of three names to submit to the Plainfield City Council, which will then select one of the three to fill the vacancy created by Rebecca Williams moving up to the Union County Freeholder board.

In the notice distributed to committee members at Democratic headquarters on election night and mailed  to those not present, three names were put forward by the chair: Elton Armady, Alma Blanco, and Tony Contreras.

Armady is a committeeman from Ward 4, District 3; Contreras is a committeeman from Ward 3, District 2. Blanco, who has run several times off the line, is not a member of the PDCC (the reference in her email is to the addressees). For the reader's information I am appending each one's email at the end of this post.

This will be the last falling domino in the chain of events set off by the death of Assemblyman Jerry Green on April 18 (replacing Green with Linda Carter in the Assembly, then replacing Carter with Rebecca Williams on the Freeholder board).

The special meeting gets under way at 7:00 PM. Don't be late, though, as you may miss the action.

PDCC headquarters is at 33 Watchung Avenue (next to Antojito's Restaurant).

Visitors are always welcome though they may not participate in the meeting without the Chair's permission.

PDCC headquarters is at 33 Watchung Avenue (next to Antojito's restaurant). Parking is available on the street and in the public lot next door.


NOMINEE EMAILS

ELTON ARMADY
Dear Plainfield Democratic City Committee Members,

As you are all aware, Councilwoman Rebecca Williams was recently selected by the Union County Democratic Committee to fill the vacancy left by Assemblywoman Linda Carter on the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. With her departure, the at-large seat on the Plainfield City Council has become available. As a result, I’m reaching out to all members of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee to seek your full support in being nominated to fill the vacancy and be the party’s candidate in November to fill the rest of her unexpired term.

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and my background to those of you who don’t know me well. I’m the son of Nigerian immigrants who moved to this country in search of better opportunities. After meeting in Houston, Texas, where I was born, my parents moved to New Jersey. My parents, three siblings and I have been residents of Plainfield’s fourth ward for twenty-nine years. From an early age, my parents have always stressed the importance of getting an education to be successful in life. As a result, I’m a proud graduate of Penn State University where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing in 2009, a Master of Business Administration in 2016 and am currently pursuing my Master of Public Administration through their online World Campus, which I hope to complete in 2019.

I believe that I’d be uniquely qualified to join the Plainfield City Council given my experiences at the federal, state, county and local levels of government. As an intern on Capitol Hill, I was given the opportunity to work in both Houses of Congress. While there, I was able to work for the late New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, former Congressman Rush Holt and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Through those positions, I was able to develop a deep understanding of the political process by working with legislative staff on national policy issues, attending committee hearings and tracking floor votes and debates.

After graduating with my MBA, I worked as legislative aide to the late Assemblyman Jerry Green. In that role, I advised the assemblyman on legislative and public policy matters, and provided constituent services to district residents. I currently work as a program analyst in the Department of Economic Development at the County of Union, where I manage all facilities and public improvement projects that are funded by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Notable projects that I’ve worked on include the rehabilitation of the Plainfield Public Library’s steps and the installation of a walking path at Milt Campbell Field. As the neediest community in the county’s consortium, Plainfield receives the lion share of the grant every year, which comes out to about 23% of $4.5 million (or ~$1 million annually). In addition to facilities and public improvements, the grant also funds many social services and housing programs in the city as well.

At the local level, I was elected to the Plainfield Democratic City Committee in 2017. I’ve also made it a point to regularly attend city council meetings starting in January to get a better command of local issues. Early this spring, I was nominated by Councilman Cory Storch and appointed by the city council to serve on Plainfield’s 2018 Citizen’s Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC). As a member of the committee, I worked with my colleagues to analyze the city’s budget and make recommendations on the administration’s funding priorities. At this month’s upcoming council meeting, I expect to be appointed to join the city’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) to offer my insights on the possible expansion of the historic district and work with members to address other issues.

As a 32-year-old millennial candidate, I pledge to bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the council if I’m appointed. The initiatives that I’d focus on include the following:
  • Regularly attending public events and community meetings to understand and address resident’s concerns in order to provide a high level of constituent service;
  • Engaging our seniors with new programs (such as music, arts and exercise);
  • Collaborating with businesses and nonprofit organizations to provide jobs and career development opportunities for our youth;
  • Working with ALL of my council colleagues to ensure that timely and fiscally responsible budgets are passed and the city’s A1 long term bond rating increases;
  • Identifying ways for the city’s departments to use performance measures to determine how efficient programs are being run and where savings can be made;
  • Using the connections that I’ve developed over the years to liaise with all levels of government to advocate for Plainfield’s needs;
  • And partnering with the Mapp Administration to continue moving Plainfield forward!
In the coming days, our local party Chairman and Mayor, Adrian Mapp, will lay out the appointment process for the committee. I humbly ask for your consideration and support. I look forward to the potential opportunity of using my energy and passion for government to serve my community to the best of my ability. I thank you all for taking your time to read my email and would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

TONY CONTRERAS
To the PDCC and City Council members

I’m reaching out to all of you to seek your support to fill the vacancy for the at-large seat on the Plainfield City Council created by the departure of Councilwoman Rebecca Williams to be our new Freeholder.  Many of you know me from working on the Democratic City Committee but we have not had any conversation about my background and what I bring to the table for the at-large council seat. Here is a list of my work and civic experience.

Resident of Plainfield for the past 27 years.

Bilingual ( English & Spanish)

Education:
  • Graduated from Robert E. Lee High School, Baytown, Texas
  • BA – Social Science/ History, Thomas Edison State University
Professional Career:

25 years management experience in telecommunications, human resources and marketing.

  • Manager Network Maintenance & Administration
  • HR manager Network Administration Division
  • Technical instructor
  • Systems Engineer
  • Project Manager
  • Technology instructor
Systems integration consultant with AT&T, Lucent Technologies and Telcordia.

Elementary school substitute teacher.

Military Service: US Navy
  • Vietnam veteran
  • Advanced from E1 to E7. Commissioned as an Ensign (O1) and retired as a Lieutenant (O3) with a total of 21 years of service. Highest service award was the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
Community service activities:
  • ESL tutor at the Plainfield Library for 8 years
  • Plainfield Area Humane Society for 12 years
  • Plainfield Symphony fund raising volunteer
  • Mayor’s initiative - Vision 2025
  • Member of the Democratic City Committee 
Family:
Married to Pat Van Slyke for 27 years. I have a daughter Denise who is a nurse and has specialized in the Neo-Natal ICU at several hospitals in Houston. I have two grandchildren, Cecilia and Nathan. Cecilia is married and has blessed me with a great-grandson and a great granddaughter. Cecilia is a lawyer with the VA in Dallas, Texas, specializing in labor litigation. My grandson was born with Down syndrome but is doing well.
As a first generation American, I’m well aware of the difficulties our ever increasing Hispanic community needs to over-come in their effort to assimilate into our city. As a former Board of Education candidate, I know the time requirements that will be placed on mein the November election.  My agenda as a the Councilman at Large is as follows:
  • Attend community events as a means of reaching out to the citizens of the city to understand their concerns and bring those concerns back to the council. Revisit the Vision 2025 study and ensure that we are moving in that direction.
  • Work with my council colleagues on issues that affect their wards and serve as a backup resource to better serve the community.
  • Review our budgets to make sure the monies spent are providing the community with the best services for the lowest price.
  • Work with the economic development department to attract more business to the city.
  • Review the performance of the various departments in city government to make sure the community is getting the quality services they deserve and pay for.
  • Drive the streets of Plainfield to get a first hand look at all the wards of the city and identify potential areas of concern, and proactively address them before our constituents feel the need to complain to get our attention.
You may have seen me participating in local running events so you know I have a high energy level. As a retiree I can devote as much time as needed to fulfill the requirements of Councilman at Large. There you have it.

I respectfully ask for your support and thank you for taking the time to review my qualifications.
ALMA BLANCO
Good Afternoon,

I am reaching out to you as a distinguished Plainfield Democratic Committee Member. I am honored to be chosen by our Mayor as one of the names to be considered to fill the current City Council At-Large vacancy. Our Mayor has clearly reflected his true intent to unify our great city and strengthening our local democratic party. In the past, we may have been on opposing sides. Just as history has shown, even our greatest politicians have been on grueling opposite sides, such as Obama and Biden and Obama with Hilary. They chose to sit down and work with each other and with that unity, we experienced great strides in our country. With Mayor Mapp choosing my name for consideration, he has chosen this same symbol of unity that great political figures before him have chosen and all for the sake of progress while combining like-minded passion to reflect that working together and not against each other is the only way to advance the future of Plainfield. After running for City Council twice unsuccessfully, I have not given up my passion for involvement. The tenacity and determination I have demonstrated is what I can offer as my role as Councilwoman if I am chosen. I have continued to seek a platform that would combine my desire to serve the community along with showing my willingness to join the progress that our city has experienced under our current leadership. This is what lead me, over time, to expand my views and vision and acknowledge that I too share the same direction that our Mayor and this Administration is heading. Our next Council member will need to bring innovation to the table, as well as diversity, and new ideas that will benefit Plainfield moving forward. I can offer this along with the ability to create inroads to further unify our city. Through progress, we all benefit. I want to express my sincere desire to work collaboratively with our Mayor, current Council members and this Administration to create pathways to continue to grow our city forward.

We must ensure our city continues the positive trend of redevelopment and success that requires effective teamwork while tearing down any barriers that separates our communities. We can only do this with the right elected officials that seek the same common goal. I am excited that I can be part of the team that will continue to move Plainfield in the right direction. I conclude with humbly asking for your vote and support to allow me to serve as your next Councilwoman of this great city.


 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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