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Friday, June 28, 2019

Worldwide helium shortage won't deflate Plainfield's July 4th parade

Balloons, such as this patriotic star, are a traditional
treat at July 4th parades.

Despite a worldwide shortage of helium, which is used to inflate those giant balloons which are a July 4th staple, Plainfield's 96th Annual Central Jersey July 4 Celebration will step off on time and with a record number of floats and marching units.

"The City of Plainfield has put together an outstanding package of July 4th events," according to Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Veronica Taylor, adding that promotion of the July 4 events as part of the City's 150th anniversary is expected to increase attendance at all events.

In addition to the tradition of elected officials in celebratory sashes distributing trinkets to bystanders, this year's parade will feature floats representing various Plainfield organizations and those of nearby communities.

Marion L. Johnson (shown here with a proclamation
from her hometown Savannah, GA) and her husband
Frank are this year's Grand Marshals.

This year's grand marshals are Marion L. Johnson, a mathematician whose calculations helped make possible America's first moon landing in 1969, and her husband Frank.

Giving folks a break to enjoy picnics and barbecues at home after the parade, the festivities resume in Cedar Brook Park with an outdoor concert that gets under way at 4:00 PM and runs until dark.

Highlights of this year's concert will be --
  • Vocalist Melba Moore
  • The Trio Force M.D.S.
  • The Full Force Brothers
  • DeVerne and The Vintage Soul
  • La Kontrol Salsa Band
  • House Music Sensation Viola Sykes
  • Exodus Supreme Caribbean Band
  • New Generation Worship Center
  • and DJ's Cheese, Bookeem, Storm Norm, and Tactics
The holiday celebration concludes with a spectacular fireworks display at dusk.

The Parade steps off at 10:00 AM Thursday July 4 at Johnston Avenue and East Front Street. While you may find it easier to park near the Eastern end of the parade route, true parade buffs enjoy the press of the crowds, vendors hawking their wares, and the exuberant patriotic costumes and accessories to be found near the Watchung and Park Avenue intersections.

Oh yes, the helium shortage this year means there will be no giant balloons.

While helium is the second most plentiful element, it is hard to come by as a gas. And, it is important and more urgently needed for medical purposes (MRI machines and other medical devices -- read more here), the National Weather Service (see here), and national security uses such as rockets (see here).

We'll be just fine, thank you

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Dan is woke -- at last?

A life-clarifying toon shared by my niece
to her FB friends -- and now to you!

So that's the secret!

There is NO "Life Approved By Everyone Around You Award".

Just had to share that little tidbit with everyone. So, if you've been stuck in that bag, consider yourself woke.

I am now, thanks to my niece Sue Foust in Tucson -- who runs, climbs and hikes with the best -- and shared this toon with her Facebook friends.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Pride Month celebration continues with a FREE screening of "Jewel's Catch One" tonight

FREE screening of the documentary about LA's famous
gay Black disco and it's owner, Jewel.

Plainfield's Pride Month celebration continues tonight (June 21) with a FREE screening of the documentary "Jewel's Catch One" about the historic Black-owned club in Los Angeles. (View the trailer here.)

Jewel Thais-Williams opened "Catch One" as one of the first Black discos in the United States in 1973 in Los Angeles.

After graduating from UCLA, Jewel opened a boutique. When that failed, she decided to open a bar. She got an $18,000 loan based on $1,000 up front money and was able to buy the bar.

Despite initially losing all her white customers and having employees quit (because they didn't want to work for a Black woman), she pushed forward, making the bar not only a disco but a hub of community activity.

Her former bartender asked for his job back (and got it) and she got a mentor in a "redneck named Tex". Slowly, some white customers came back.

During the days, "Catch One" was a white, blue-collar bar and at night it was a mostly-Black disco.

Over the years, performers at "Catch One" included Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Janet Jackson, Donna Summer, Whoopi Goldberg, Rick James, and Madonna.

Finished in 2016, the documentary by C. Fitz premiered at the Provincetown International Film Festival and has received wide acclaim at festivals worldwide.

The documentary celebrates Jewel's 40-plus year career and her life-changing impact on the community.

The FREE screening is at 7:00 PM at the new Plainfield Cultural Center (formerly FUSP), 724 Park Avenue.

Parking is available on the street and in the nearby public parking lot.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Sen. Cory Booker gives a shoutout to Plainfield's own Rebecca Williams

US Sen. Cory Booker gave a shoutout
to our own Rebecca Williams on Facebook.

As part of his recognition of June Pride Month, US Sen. Cory Booker posted a the above shoutout to Union County Freeholder (and Plainfield resident) Rebecca Williams.

Booker cited Rebecca's many years of service on the Plainfield City Council as well as her passionate advocacy for her constituents.

He closed with "Thank you Rebecca for the work you don on behalf of Union County and to advance the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ+ community in New Jersey."

And I want to add a personal "Thank you". Rebecca and I are friends from so far back we can refer to it as "BP" -- Before Politics.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Council meets for combined June sessions Monday evening

The City Hall cupola is leaking -- again.
I took this photo during the cupola's
restoration. The terra cotta urns in the photo
are a yet-to-be completed restoration item.

Plainfield City Council meets Monday (June 17) for a combined agenda and business meeting.

The June meeting marks the beginning of the "Summer Hiatus" (June, July and August) during which Council will sit only for combined sessions.

Among items of interest --

The Shotspotter contract is up for renewal.

  • The Police Department (R 208-19) seeks a 16-month renewal of the Shotspotter® installation for a total of $184,585.68. This represents about a 20% reduction in the amount paid on an annual basis (the initial contract in 2012 was for $169,000/year). After some initial hiccups, the system has become a necessary part of the city's crime-fighting strategy.

  • The Fire Department (R 209-19) is looking to enter into an MOU with Union County which would make Plainfield part of the FirstAlert system. The multiple phone alerts folks got as tornado warnings a few weeks ago were a demonstration of that system. Plainfield would be able to use it to broadcast its own alerts as well. The MOU cites a cost of 12¢ per call for phone calls, with "no additional cost for emails and sms-text messages."

  • City Hall's cupola appears to be leaking water into the building's third floor, per a contract proposed for Pennoni Associates ($133,800.00). The cupola was restored through a historic preservation grant about 20 years ago. Part of the "problem" addressed at that time was -- water getting into the third floor. There is also a component to test the air quality for the presence of mold -- always a concern when there is dampness in buildings.

  • There are two proposals from Economic Development. One (R 224-19) is to designate 829 South Urban Renewal LLC as the developer for a project at 829-881 South Avenue. The other (R 223-19) conditionally designates SRV Plainfield LLC as the developer of a series of parcels between East 3rd Street and Cottage Place to the east of the current Union County College parking lot.

  • The Planning Board is being authorized to conduct a review of all city-owned parking lots and their adjacent properties with regard to determining if any areas NOT already designated as "in need of redevelopment" meet the requirements of such a designation and should be so designated.

  • Among Councilmanic Resolutions are ones to support the ban on assault firearms, recognize June as LGBT Pride Month, honor PHS Hall of Fame 2019 inductees, and (introduced by Councilor Ashley Davis) celebrate Juneteenth.

  • There is also an ordinance proposed to rename the Greenbrook Trail the "Albert T. McWilliams Memorial Trail". (The idea was first championed by the late Mayor McWilliams. It should also be noted that the Council has already declared the triangle of city-owned land at East Front Street and Park Avenue as "Albert T. McWilliams Park", though no plaque or sign has ever been erected.)
City Council meets for its combined agenda and business session at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers / Courthouse at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street. Parking available on the street and in the lot across from Police Headquarters.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Health Center drama continues to inch along (hearing time corrected)

The latest on the Health Center bankruptcy.

NOTE: I am told the hearing on June 20 is at 2:30 PM, not 11:00 AM as originally reported.

The Plainfield Health Center (NHSC) drama continues to inch toward its final scene.

Since the last update (see here), there have been two more court updates -- actually one update, and one failure to meet an agreed-upon deadline.

The court-appointed "Trustee in Possession," Stephen V. Falanga, Esq., reported to the bankruptcy judge, Vincent P. Papalia on May 9 --

  • The management consultant would remain in place through June, 2019.

  • The consultant's rate has been negotiated down from $100K/month to $75K/month for May and June.

  • The consultant will transition Dr. Kerri Powell (former Chief Medical Officer) in the chief executive role.

  • (As previously reported, CEO Rudine Smith has been terminated.)

  • Total post-petition IRS debt of the NHSC is $4.5 million. NHSC is in communication with the IRS and the State to determine the exact amount.

  • The IRS has agree to allow NHSC to pay what it owes over a period of decades.

  • The IRS has agreed to give NHSC a $500,000 credit.

  • The NJHCFFA (which has loaned money to NHSC) asserted (by conference) that the agency would not agree to a self-sustaining Plan of Reorganization.

  • The trustee-in-possession planned to submit a self-sustaining Plan of Reorganization to the court on May 24, 2019. The plan would include a contingency for the sale of the 1700 Myrtle Avenue property.

  • As of the due June 9, the Plan of Reorganization had not been submitted to the court. (No explanation as to why.)
The next status hearing is scheduled for Jun 20, 2019 at 11:00 AM before Judge Papalia in the MLK Federal Building, 50 Walnut Street, Newark.

Many thanks to Beverly Chrisp, who keeps the community updated on this sad saga.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Good manners are good -- even in politics. Some people have them and...

Remember the "magic words"?

Last Tuesday's Primary wasn't the nastiest we have ever seen by a long shot. But it was intense, and many are glad that it's over.

I was thinking about the good manners we probably all learned in 1st Grade -- or maybe even Kindergarten --

What are the magic words? "Please," and "Thank you."

We got plenty of the "please" in the weeks running up to the Primary. But what about the "Thank you"?

So, I went looking.

Councilor Goode posted a "Thank You" on his Facebook page.

A screenshot from Councilor Goode's FB page.

Councilor Storch posted a "Thank You" on his blog here.

Screenshot from Councilor Storch's blog.

Candidate Briggs Jones has a Facebook page, but I could not find anything there. However, she did post a "Thank You" on Facebook addressed to her fellow 1982 PHS classmates.


Candidate Briggs-Jones thanked her PHS classmates on FB.

Candidate McKenna? I looked on his blog and on his McKenna for Council Facebook page. Couldn't find anything.

Same for candidate Bridget Rivers, who has a Facebook page, where I could find nothing posted.

Guess not every lesson sticks with every student.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Mapping the anti-Mapp sentiment in the 2019 Primary Elections

Ward 2 City Council race results.
(Click to enlarge or print.)

Could Tuesday's primary elections outcome have been avoided?

That will probably be a subject for debate for a long time to come.

But I think anyone can agree that if the elections had been held in January of 2018, the outcome would have been wildly different. Chairman Mapp undoubtedly would have swept the field, following up the success of his election to a second term.

I did not hear him say it, but I am told by a reliable source that during the fall 2018 campaign season, Chairman Mapp said, "I am the new Jerry Green."

That may be true, and in senses that the Chairman may regret.

Today, I thought to map out the anti-Mapp sentiment displayed by voters in the 2019 Primary.

Is this a perfect indication of how he is doing? No, but there is none better at this point in time.

We must bear in mind that the campaign season just past was intended to be an all-out assault on his leadership of the Democratic Party in Plainfield. It was an attempt to "kill the king".

It did not achieve its objective, but there is much to be learned from the experience.


I chose to color individual maps of each ward in both the Council and PDCC races. (The numbers used to calculate the maps are the unofficial results from election night; there was only one instance of a changed outcome, noted below.)

Anti-Mapp candidates (whether People First or Democrats United, but not Bridget Rivers -- who ran solo but didn't score any serious hits) are indicated in BLUE highlighting.

Mapp candidates are indicated in GREEN highlighting.

A district which is colored SOLID indicates that the candidate took the majority of votes in that district.

A district shaded with alternating BARS of color and white, indicates that the winner took LESS THAN 55% of the vote.

Contested districts are outlined in BLUE.

Districts where Mapp forces won (with more than 55% of the votes) are left without any highlight color.

The intent is to give some visual indication of the strength of anti-Mapp sentiment throughout the city, district by district.

(Readers will note some little inconsistencies. I refined things as I went along; however, each sheet has indicators of what the shadings mean for that sheet. Maybe next time it will be better.)

I will take up the Council races first, then the PDCC.



Ward 2 is where the anti-Mapp forces had their strongest showing.

Incumbent Cory Storch was bested by McKenna, 628 to 461 (58 - 42%).

The map (at the top of today's post) shows McKenna took 7 of the 11 districts (Storch took only 1, 4, 7, and 11).

Not only did McKenna take them, his lead was solid in 6 of the 7 districts, with only one (2) offering any resistance.

Storch campaigned hard and has a commendable record on the Council, and even though he is a (sometimes critical) supporter of Mayor and Chairman Mapp, he was defeated by a wave of anti-Mapp sentiment on which McKenna based his campaign.

Wards 1 and 4 Council race results.
(Click to enlarge or print.)

Wards 1/4 at-large ended up being a three-way contest between Mapp's candidate (incumbent Barry Goode), Dems United's Terri Briggs Jones, and solo candidate (and former Councilor) Bridget Rivers.

In the event, Rivers did not gain enough votes to take any district in the two wards, so the only colors indicate either Goode or Briggs Jones.

Goode failed to win in the 4th Ward (where he resides), falling to Briggs Jones: 190 - 215 - 83.

Briggs Jones took Districts 1 and 5 (with a commanding lead in 1).

Goode won Districts 2, 3, and 4 -- but never with more than 55% of the vote, indicating considerable anti-Mapp sentiment.

What pulled Goode's fat out of the fire was his performance in Ward 1.

Here he took four districts solidly (3, 6, 7, and 8). But, while he won in the remaining four districts (1, 2, 4, and 5), his margin never exceeded 55%, showing strong anti-Mapp sentiments among the voters.

Goode carried the First Ward: 388 - 219 - 89.


Ward 1 PDCC results.
(Click to enlarge or print.)


There were only three contested districts (3, 5, and 7). Chairman Mapp successfully challenged anti-Mapp candidates in three others (2, 4, and 8).

Mapp candidates won all 8 committee seats (with the lowest percentage of support being 61% -- quite respectable).

Ward 2 PDCC results.
(Click to enlarge or print.)


The PDCC results in Ward 2 largely echo the Council results in the same ward.

Anti-Mapp forces took Districts 3, 6, 8 and 9, splitting District 10 (male for Mapp, female anti-Mapp).

Mapp won Districts 2 and 7 with less than 55% of the votes.

In Districts 1, 4, 5, and 11, Mapp won outright. Mapp had successfully challenged the male and female candidates in 2-5

Ward 3 PDCC results.
(Click to enlarge or print.)


Ward 3 -- where Chairman Mapp resides and is a committee member (3-9) -- has never been his strongest ward, and it is a mixed bag in the 2019 PDCC races.

Anti-Mapp forces took two districts completely (1 and 5).

Mapp was successful in challenging opponents in Districts 3-4 and 3-9 (his own). The remaining Districts (2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 10) were contested.

While Mapp won them, his margin in two of those Districts (6 and 7) was less than 55%, showing strong anti-Mapp sentiment in the very heart of the ward.

Ward 4 PDCC results.
(Click to enlarge or print.)

Ward 4 is a little complicated. There were anti-Mapp candidates in three districts (2, 3, and 5).

Mapp successfully challenged Dems United candidates in three districts (1, 3, and 4). However, Bridget Rivers and her husband ran in District 3, though they garnered no more than 37% of support.

Mapp took the entire ward, with his lowest rating being 57%, which does indicate some strength by the anti-Mapp candidate (Claudette Lovely-Brown).


Putting it all together, Mapp retains control of the PDCC, but with sizeable anti-Mapp sentiment throughout the city, but especially in Wards 2 and 3.

Startlingly, this map strongly resembles the results the New Dems obtained in their first major foray against Assemblyman Jerry Green more than fifteen years ago.

They quickly learned that just being "anti" the Assemblyman might earn them a steady base of around 30%, but it was no formula for long-range success.

The New Dems did take over the PDCC early on, but Al McWilliams did not appreciate the importance of the victory and subsequently lost the committee, never to regain it in his lifetime.

The anti-Mapp forces, on this their first outing, find themselves in the position of the dog that caught the bus.

Now what?

Chairman Mapp, unfortunately, finds himself in the position of the late Assemblyman Jerry Green, with a considerable "anti" sentiment in what should be his strongest bases.

Totally ironic.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Is there a message for Chairman Mapp in the Primary numbers (City Committee)? (Corrected)

Taking a closer look at the PDCC election.

CORRECTION: A reader has informed me that TIES in the election of city committee candidates are resolved by a vote of the duly elected members:

"Dan, ties are resolved via vote of the elected Committee Members at the Reorg meeting, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:13-20 a. (4)."

At one such PDCC meeting, such an issue was resolved BEFORE the new chair was elected.

From the look of things Tuesday night, Chairman Mapp did well except in the Second Ward, and maintained a healthy majority of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee.

The anti-Mapp forces only gained 13 seats (9 in Ward 2 and 4 in Ward 3). There was one tie in 3-6 and is to be expected the Chair will resolve it by picking his candidate as the winner.

But the fact that anti-Mapp forces recruited a nearly full slate to begin with indicates that this was far more than simply a contest over a few PDCC seats. This was meant to be an attempt to take control of the PDCC and unseat Mapp as chairman.

[The PDCC will meet to reorganize on Monday, June 10, at 7:00 PM. Guests are always welcome, though only members may participate in the meeting.

PDCC Headquarters is at 31 Watchung Avenue (next to Antojito's Restaurant). Parking behind headquarters and in the public lot adjacent or on the street.]


First of all, the term "City Committee" is somewhat of a misnomer. The male and female representatives elected on Tuesday are elected as members of the Union County Democratic Committee.

There are one male and one female representative for each of the city's 34 voting districts. (That tradition is coming under assault with court challenges, and several counties now elect two representatives per district without regard to gender.)

The "City Committee" exists as a subset of the UCDC. It has its own bylaws and tends to Democratic affairs in the City of Plainfield.

However, it is not "democratic" in the small-d sense. Nothing in the bylaws indicates how candidates for public office (Council and Mayor) are to be chosen.

Which means it is perfectly within the chair's prerogatives to personally choose each and every candidate. As was done this year with candidates Cory Storch and Barry Goode.

On the other hand, the chair could let the City Committee do it in a truly small-d democratic fashion, as was done last year with the nomination of Ashley Davis for the Ward 1 Council seat.

As long as things are fine with the County party, Plainfield is left pretty much alone to run its own show.

When they are not fine, the County chairs can exercise their role as trustees and nominate without regard to the chair or the local committee. This is what happened when Mayor (and chairman) Al McWilliams ran afoul of the County leadership when he wanted to run for a third term. The county chairs voted 20-1 against him and the line went to Sharon Robinson-Briggs. (The only 'yes' vote was his own.)


All city committees are responsible for the groundwork necessary to win primaries and general elections in their communities. Plainfield is no exception.

Some committees engage in other activities throughout the year, including voter registration and educational programs or discussions on topics of interest.

Plainfield has had some engagement with voter registration, especially when Rebecca Williams was on City Council and the PDCC.

The PDCC has also made attempts to socialize periodically, but this seems to have fallen by the wayside.

The PDCC has an Executive Committee composed of several vice chairs, plus a treasurer, a recording secretary, a corresponding secretary, and a Sergeant-at-arms.

Though the bylaws call for several meetings of the PDCC as a whole and the Executive Committee (with five days written notice), the pattern is not followed rigidly.

In fact, Chairman Mapp has not made use of the Executive Committee, and has delegated other duties without regard to who was elected to the post.


When Mayor Mapp was sworn in to his second term in January 2018, he was riding the crest of a huge wave.

Not only had he won re-election handily. He was control of the City Committee without a whisper of dissent.

Then came the fateful struggle to replace the ailing Assemblyman Jerry Green as chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Thinking the PDCC votes were his to dispose of, Chairman Mapp expected the committee to support Sen. Nick Scutari's candidacy unquestioningly.

That was not in the cards. And the PDCC was rent asunder on the contest between Scutari and Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr.

In October, word began to circulate among PDCC members that the chairman was planning to sack everyone who voted for Mahr when the time came round for the next PDCC slate. (As it turns out, he also sacked one who wasn't even involved in the Scutari-Mahr vote).

In the event, Chairman Mapp nominated 36 new PDCC members (18 males and 18 females, though not all are paired).


The anti-Mapp forces worked to mount two complementary slates -- People First Democrats [allied with Mahr], and Democrats United for Progress [said to be allied with John Campbell].

These two combined to make a nearly full slate (see my post on the complete slates here).

Once all petitions were filed, both Chairman Mapp and People First Democrats filed challenges. You can see Municipal Clerk "Ajay" Jalloh's ruling (which was upheld) here.

Jim Spear of People First Dems challenged the RDO candidacy of the 2-8 RDO candidates. In the event, the male withdrew immediately over questions of who circulated the petition, and the female withdrew the petition altogether after several signatures were challenged. In the event, this left RDO with no candidates in 2-8.

In 2-9, the RDO never mounted a male candidate, leaving People First Dem Sean McKenna unopposed for the male seat.

Chairman Mapp submitted 17 challenges. 16 candidates were removed as a result, putting a serious dent in the competing Democrats United slate.

As it turns out, the anti-Mapp slates had been given outdated and incorrect materials indicating the number of valid signatures needed on petitions. Rumors still circulate that this was done purposely as a way of the Mapp administration putting its thumb on the scale in the contest.

While no one knows why the wrong petition requirements were given, it was obvious they were from 2015 and on one asked about that fact.

Also, as folks seasoned in the petition process know, a circulator better get double the needed number of signatures because all sorts of people will sign a petition without knowing whether they in fact are even registered to vote because "in their head" they think of themselves as a Democrat.


There are surprises aplenty.

First, consider that if the PDCC election had been held in January of 2018, I think everyone would agree that Chairman Mapp would have won 100% of both PDCC and Council races hands-down.

So, what surprises are there with regard to the PDCC in 2019?

In Ward 1, challenges materialized in only 3 districts (3, 5, and 7). None of the challengers took more than 31% of the vote.

Ward 2 was a disaster for Mapp. Anti-Mapp forces took 3, 6, 8, 9, and split 10 (with Cory Storch winning for Mapp, and Lois Mattson losing to Jennifer Popper). In two districts Mapp won with less than 55% of the vote (2, and 7). Only in 1, 4, 5, and 11 did he win undisputedly.

In 2-8, Jim Spear and Farah Pidgeon were unopposed (due to the foul-up of the RDO petition).

In 2-10, Mary Burgwinkle won handily with Sean McKenna (who was unopposed). Burgwinkle had been with Mapp since the earliest days and is treasurer of the PDCC until Monday.

In 2-3, Shep Brown and his running mate were defeated. He has been on the PDCC since the New Dems first took control in 2005, I believe. His running mate was hand-picked by Mapp to replace Joanne Macaluso, who was booted.

Another surprise was the failure of Canon Leroy Lyons and his wife Michelle Graham Lyons in 3-6. They were handpicked by Mapp to replace two he had booted: Peter Price and Jeanette Criscione, who won as People First Dems.

In Ward 3, the anti-Mapp forces took districts 1 and 5. While on paper it looks like Mapp took all the others, he was contested in five of the eight and won with less than 55% in two of those. In three districts (including 3-9, his own), Mapp had no challenges.

It would have been interesting to see how the contest for Mapp's district would have played out had former Fire Chief Frankie Tidwell been on the ballot. Tidwell was enormously popular as chief and many feel his suspension before retirement was unwarranted.

In Ward 4, only three districts ended up being in play. The highest anti-Mapp percentage was in 4-2 at 42%.

If Mapp hadn't been so successful at challenges and if the anti-Mapp opposition had been more astute the outcome might have been less favorable for Mapp.

As it is, there are worrisome signs behind the facade of victory.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Is there a message for Chairman Mapp in the Primary numbers (Council)?

With the Primary past, will it continue to be Dem vs. Dem?

Sixteen-year councilor Cory Storch lost the June Primary election, meaning his run on City Council will come to close on December 31.

Councilor Barry Goode won the Wards 1/4 Primary only because former Councilor Bridget Rivers played the role of spoiler in the contest.

Are there any messages for Plainfield Democratic chair Adrian O. Mapp in all of this?

I think the answer has to be "Yes". But what are they?

To understand the implications of the 2019 Primary vote, it is useful to go back. Way back.

The New Democrats were born when the late Mayor Al McWilliams decided to go for a second term. The whole movement began with him as mayor and Adrian Mapp as a supportive councilman.

Al had been a councilman before becoming mayor and lived in the Second Ward. His primary voter base was in the Second Ward, and this remained true of the New Democrats even after Al's untimely passing and Mapp's designation as chairman of the organization.

The New Democrats strength was always in this descending order: Ward 2, Ward 3, Ward 1, and Ward 4.

There were always strong currents of support for Assemblyman Jerry Green in Wards 1 and 4, against which the New Democrats failed to make much headway over the years.

Ward 3 was always a contested ward. Sharon Robinson-Briggs was able to build a substantial and persistent base in Ward 3.

Mapp, even though he lived in Ward 3 and consistently won a committee seat in District 3-9, was not able to dominate it in the same way that the New Democrats dominated Ward 2. (Witness the two attempts to get Charles McRae elected to City Council).

All this leads to one point: Ward 2 was crucial for the New Democrats' defeat of Assemblyman Green -- both in control of City Council and the Plainfield Democratic City Committee (PDCC).

Is it still?

I think so.

So, what does the loss of the Ward 2 contest and the Wards 1/4 results mean?


While the turnout in the 2019 Primary was not exceptional (there were no national or statewide races), the nature of the campaign and pattern pattern of voting are important.

First, the campaign. Though on paper it appeared as a contest between a 16-year incumbent (Storch) and an upstart challenger (McKenna), the campaign itself revealed a different target.

Instead of attacking Storch on his policies or stands on issues, McKenna's campaign focused on Storch as a proxy for Mayor Adrian Mapp and his policies and projects.

What were the major issues the McKenna campaign focused on? --

  • Budget cuts to the Library and Recreation;
  • Seven SUVs for the Mayor and high-ranking City employees;
  • The large increase in the Mayor's salary;
  • Construction of a Wawa on South Avenue; and
  • Taking a delegation of seven to the US Conference of Mayors conference in Hawaii.
Storch played no central part in any of these issues, protested some of them, and was in NO position to block any of them.

However, McKenna was able to use them to successfully defeat Storch in the Primary.

Not only was Storch overcome, it is helpful to see the voting patterns.

Storch took four of the ward's eleven districts (1, 4, 7, and 11). Three of these had the lowest turnouts in the ward. And he lost the vote for Council in his own district (10), with just one third of the vote.

Not only did McKenna take seven districts, they were the heaviest voting districts in the ward (9, 6, 3, 10, 5, 8, and 2).


Once the New Democrats cemented their victory with election of Mayor Mapp in 2014, taking control of the Council and the PDCC was a matter of a mopping up campaign.

With the departure of Bridget Rivers (Ward 4), the only dissenting voice on the Council was Diane Toliver (Ward 1). In 2017, Mapp assumed leadership of the PDCC.

Barry Goode was Mapp's first successful pick for the Wards 1/4 at-large seat and was elected in November 2015.

His Primary race this year was complicated by having two opponents -- Bridget Rivers and Terri Briggs Jones.

Rivers, it turns out, played the spoiler role. If she had not run, it seems likely Briggs Jones would have defeated Goode.

Briggs Jones echoed some of McKenna's themes (the Wawa and the Hawaii trip), but added a third, a personal attack on Goode over an unresolved DUI charge from 2017.

Goode lost Ward 4 to Briggs Jones (190 to 215), with Rivers coming in third (83). His victory came from Ward 1 (388 - 219 - 89), where he won with the assistance of Ward 1 Councilor Ashley Davis.

What does all of this imply for Mapp?

While he could have been expected to lead a unified Democratic Plainfield after the passing of Jerry Green, he has instead presided over its fragmentation.

There appears to be a considerable anti-Mapp sentiment, which the 2019 Primary results lay bare.

It looks like trouble ahead when Mapp runs in two years, unless he is able to  make headway -- especially with Wards 2 and 3.

Next year's contests for Citywide at-large (Elton Armady) and Ward 3 (Charles McRae) will provide yet another opportunity to see how the various wards and their districts line up and whether the anti-Mapp sentiment will have evaporated.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Storch the main casualty of anti-Mapp forces in Tuesday's Primary

Unofficial results of the Democratic Primary on Tuesday.
(City Committee results not shown; click on image to enlarge.)

Incumbent Cory Storch fell to insurgent Sean McKenna in Tuesday's Democratic Primary election, meaning McKenna will be the Plainfield Democratic party's standard-bearer in the Second Ward in the November general election.

Incumbent Barry Goode held off challengers Terri Briggs Jones and Bridget Rivers for the Ward 1/4 at-large seat.

Unless an independent candidate files, the two will be unopposed in the November election, which is why winning the Primary in Plainfield is considered tantamount to election. Those elected in November will take office on January 1, 2020.

McKenna bested Storch 628 - 461 (58% - 42%).

Goode bested his opponents 569 to 451 (Briggs Jones) and 175 (Rivers). Had Briggs Jones been the only challenger, the result might have been otherwise. The percentages are: Goode (48%), Briggs Jones (38%), and Rivers (14%).

The upticket results were overwhelmingly positive for the Union County RDO.

The Freeholders, Assembly candidates and Surrogate all did extremely well.

However, Plainfield stars Linda Carter (2,264) and Rebecca Williams (1,930) outshone their running mates.

Carter now has broken the long historical trend in which Assemblyman Jerry Green always trailed his Union County running mates.

Chairman Adrian O. Mapp addressed the crowd at Democratic Headquarters after the results were tallied.

In his remarks, he congratulated McKenna on his win and said he looks forward to working with him on the City Council.

Chairman Mapp did say that his City Committee slate took 51 of 68 seats (the PDCC ran 65 candidates), however the Committee results were not available as a single table, so I will post those results later.

The Plainfield Democratic City Committee meets next Monday at Democratic Headquarters at 7:00 PM to reorganize for the next two years.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, June 3, 2019

On Tuesday, vote the BEST! Ignore the rest.

Plaifield's own superstars -- Linda and Rebecca.

Tuesday's (June 4) Primary Election is an important opportunity to make sure that the very best candidates will represent Democrats in the November general election.

Not dissatisfied cranks.

Not Republicans masquerading as Democrats.

True Democrats, with proven experience.

Let me give a special shoutout to Plainfield's very own hometown team --

  • Assemblywoman LINDA CARTER
  • Councilor CORY STORCH (Ward 2)
  • Councilor BARRY GOODE (Wards 1/4 at-large)
and the City Committee representatives in your district.

Polls are open 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Don't miss your opportunity to make democracy work.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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