Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Obama Administration and its Influence on Plainfield

"The Obama Administration" - words that still have me smiling 5 days after this historic election. Enough time for some of the euphoria to wear off and get me thinking about impact on Plainfield. Here is what I see in my crystal ball:

1. Young people of color will become more interested in public service, government and politics. Look for more Annie McWilliamses at the local, state and national levels.

2. Much credit is due to some local elected officials for helping turn out huge numbers of voters for Obama. Rashid Burney was there from the beginning. Will this help his political career? One can hope so, for his sake and for the sake of our city.

3. Obama ran for change. What does that mean at the local level? Certainly not the municipal budget mess we are currently dealing with. Certainly not the inadequate website and overall communications between the city and Plainfield residents. Not the inability to move on a shared services agreement with the Board of Education. I hope Obama's recent words about the economic downturn - "swift action needed" - is heeded in Plainfield, 3 years into the Mayors 4 year term.

4. Obama ran on tax relief for poor and middle class citizens. In Plainfield, we are facing property tax increases that are double the cost of living. The people who struggle the most are retired homeowners and working people in the middle income brackets. Will the City Council face up to some hard budget decisions this year and for the foreseeable future? I believe President Obama will. Will we in Plainfield have the courage to think out of the box about police, fire, inspections and public works services? Two new Council members, Adrian Mapp and Ms McWilliams, will help.

5. I think the tone of political campaigns is changing. The McCain campaign tried some desperate negative messages, especially near the end of the race. The people didn't buy it and Obama remained focused on his positive message. In Plainfield, it's the same. Dirty tricks, whisper campaigns and last minute smears will backfire on those who are foolish enough to try.

Plainfield was a leader in providing a huge plurality for Obama, for change. Can we now show leadership for change within local government? I urge you to listen carefully to elected officials. Important elections are coming in June 2009 that will decide Plainfield's leadership for years to come. Lets support the elected officials and candidates who are for the kinds of changes that Obama embodies:
  • environment friendly strategies that create jobs, save on energy bills and make our cities healthier places to live
  • using electronic media for meaningful communication with the people
  • grassroots campaign fundraising that shifts the balance away from big business and towards the average citizen who can give $10, $25 or $50 for the candidate he or she believes in
  • making public service a commitment to the greater good rather than a private club for pay to play contributors, family and friends

Plainfielders take note: November 4 is now glorious history. The all important June 2009 primary is before us. Everything said and done by local officials will be influenced by that event. We will select a Mayor and all 68 Democratic City Committee seats. This Committee selects a chairman who becomes the most powerful person in Plainfield, bar none. Lets hope the 2009 primary election results are as good for Plainfield as the November 4, 2008 result. Plainfield deserves it.


Anonymous said...

The democratic primay in June, 2009will reveal if the Obama effect, (change-change-change) can be duplicated in Plainfield. I hope you & Councilman Rashid Burney will play a key role in determining who this person is. Plainfield needs a vision not grounded in false promises and mediocrity of performance that collectively is killing the spirt of the Queen City. The tipping point occured with the closing of the hospital and the dismal record of the Green/Briggs administration with quality of life issues and economic development. Sounds like you are with us.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you blogging Councilmen!

Unsigned. . . .