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.


olddoc said...

If you wrote this on the 10th why waas I not able to read it until the 17th? I check yur blog daily.

Your comments on Green are right on the mark. Don't however just focus on Ferraro as a patronage appointment. How many of the Commissioners have been appointed to a paying position as a political windfall?

Anonymous said...

"and his (JG) timing looks self serving"

Say it isn't so, Cory!!!!