Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rick Smiley for State Assemblyman

Rick Smiley is a good man who is an Assembly candidate in the Democratic primary for the right reasons. He really wants to put Plainfield first. I served on the school board with him and he was a positive influence at a time when the school board was divided. Ultimately, he helped unite it and was instrumental in bring Dr Larry Leverrit to Plainfield as the Superintendent who set the Plainfield schools on the right path.

The one argument against Rick and for the incumbent, Jerry Green, is Mr Green's experience and seniority in the state legislature. Until recently I believed this argument for Jerry Green's tenure myself. That is until the closing of Muhlenberg Hospital and the state take back of Abbott school funding. It's not that Mr Green is at fault for the closing of urban hospitals. And the new school funding formula, while increasing Plainfield's property taxes, does have it's merits when viewed from a state-wide perspective.

The problem is that Mr Green is reactive. He doesn't have a vision for Plainfield. So when larger, state-wide and national forces hit home, he isn't ready to help his local constituents. He jumps into action when it is too late, when the only thing to be achieved is protecting his own public image. One of his strategies for self preservation is attacking others, even when they have no jurisdiction over a problem.

Mr Green -stop complaining about Dan Damon's blog. Simply respond with some facts if you don't agree with his. Stop attacking family members of local officials, people like the wife of Christian Estevez. Chris is an asset to our community. And don't you realize that attacking his wife opens the door for people to attack your sons who to my knowledge are doing real work for local governments. Stop making insinuations about real estate families. What are you talking about! How dishonest it is to hint about improprieties with no facts whatsoever. Put your cards on the table.

As for your attacks on me, please continue. My constituents think more of me because of them.

This brings me back to Rick Smiley for Assembly. Even if he wasn't a good, honest man, even if he didn't have a Masters degree in Public Policy from Rutgers University, even if he didn't have years of government experience, he is the right choice because he will represent Plainfield first. Jerry Green represents his own survival first and in the most divisive way.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mapp is the Leader Plainfield Needs

In my last blog I explained why the PMUA issues offer leadership opportunities and only Adrian Mapp stepped up to the plate. Here are some other reasons I support Adrian:

1. He was one of the council members who initiated the road paving program five years ago. Mayor Sharon dropped the ball on it and we are only just getting to the roads, after a 3 and a half year delay.

2. Municipal finance is one of the weakest aspects of city hall performance. Mayor Sharon has had a revolving door of finance management staff, leading to budget mistakes, misinformation and missed opportunities. Adrian has a strong finance background, including municipal finance.

3. Adrian would bring honesty and transparency to city hall. Mayor Sharon and her coach, Assemblyman Green, have been anything but transparent. Sharon was a no show at a debate organized by Shiloh Baptist Church. Her campaign literature has no credible facts supporting her accomplishments with the exception of completing the Monarch/Senior Center. That's not much to show for 3 and a half years.

4. Mayor Sharon has yet to disclose that as Mayor she is on the Board of Trustees of Muhlenberg Hospital and has not attended one meeting, not even when the hospital was operating.

5. Adrian has a positive approach to serving the public. Contrast that with the strategy of Sharon and Mr Green, who are waging a negative campaign through his blog. Jerry Green's Page is used for insinuation, misinformation and personal attacks. Sharon allows the Assemblyman to make her attacks for her. A leader would disavow and seperate him or herself from such vindictiveness.

This is a choice between business as usual and positive change. There are other mayoral candidates but it comes down to Adrian and Sharon. Plainfield needs Adrian Mapp.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Election Issues in Plainfield

A recent poll by Monmouth University/Gannett Polling Institute indicated that property taxes are the issue of the day. Monmouth U. pollster Patrick Murray states that most years there are more than one top issue for candidates to campaign on. But New Jersey 2009 apparently is the year of tax concerns: 36% of those asked said so. For a gubernatorial election year that is the highest percentage for "top concern" since 1972!

It would make sense that 2009 New Jersey legislative candidates would tune in to property taxes. And it seems that our very own Assemblyman Jerry Green is doing exactly that. He is on record as opposed to all kinds of spending, but it all seems to be municipal rather than county or state spending that has captured his attention. He is against spending for municipal information technology, visioning study and most recently has called for the state to investigate the spending habits of the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority.

I support all serious efforts by elected officials and citizens to question government spending. A healthy debate on government finances is needed to improve efficiency of services and eliminate waste. But it needs to be more than election season rhetoric. Lets consider how serious Assemblyman Green is about local spending.

The Assemblyman has called for the state to investigate local finances on numerous occasions. Over the years he has claimed to call for investigations by the Attorney General, the County Prosecutor and the Department of Community Affairs, always targeted on his political opponents. It always seems to be a request reported in the news media and during election season. There have never been any findings announced on these investigations and some people have questioned whether he has actually made any formal requests for these investigations. It is possible that his requests are merely election campaign tactics. Mr Green could clear that up for us by releasing his written communication with state and county agencies on these matters.

Mr Green's PMUA "investigation" is more interesting yet. Echoing the call of others for transparency on PMUA travel and conference expenses, Mr Green presumably is opposed to any wasteful PMUA expenses such as patronage jobs. So why did he call me several times to ask my support for the PMUA to hire Bob Ferraro? The quid pro quo, according to Mr Ferraro, was that he promised Mr Green not to run in anymore City Council elections. At least that is the message Mr Ferraro left on my telephone answering machine at the time of his hire as PMUA inspector. Now he is running for mayor so maybe he wasn't telling me the whole deal he said he made with Assemblyman Green.

Just because a candidate states opposition to property taxes or PMUA rate increases, it doesn't mean they can deliver an effective solution to the problem. Jerry Green's PMUA message is not consistent with his past behavior and his timing looks self serving. Sharon Robinson Briggs has been silent on these matters. Adrian Mapp made a proposal to address PMUA concerns and he did so before all the Courier News headlines about PMUA trips to California. I am supporting Adrian Mapp for Mayor and this is one example of his offering a serious solution to a Plainfield problem. In contrast, our Mayor and Mr Green don't look like leaders. Leaders are what Plainfield needs.