Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Plainfield Democratic Primary Election is About the Residents Interests

The City Council just approved a Go-Go Bar on Richmond Street.  For the record, I am opposed and I thank my Council colleagues Rebecca Williams and Tracey Brown for voting no.  But why did the Council majority vote for approval?  This is surprising for a number of reasons and makes me question exactly who the City Council represents.

To understand the regulation of liquor licenses, you need to know that the City Council is also the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC board for short).  The ABC can only enforce the regulations with the collaboration of the police department. This partnership has not always worked well for reasons that were not clear to me for some time.

For many years the City Council echoed the complaints of residents about bar fights and underage drinking at some of our establishments.  But always fell short of voting to crack down on bad behavior.  Only since Mayor Mapp appointed Carl Riley as Police Director has there been the collaboration needed to do the right thing. 

So I was surprised when we took a step backwards with the Go-Go Bar on Richmond.  Why would the Council majority vote for this when they are indignant about "immoral" behavior and like to say as much at Council meetings.  The previous go-go bar at this location was known for bad behavior.  There was even a fatal shooting outside the bar in the past.  And there is the concern about exploitation of women at these establishments.

It appears to me that the answer is connected to Jerry Green. He receives generous campaign contributions from liquor license holders (look at his ELEC reports).  Could this have anything to do with the Council majority about face on the go-go bar?

In addition to campaign donations, there is an opportunity to influence ABC decisions through the police department.  And there is much evidence of Jerry Green's hand within the police department.   Think back to Green's choice of the previous Mayor and her first election campaign with her police security detail. I know from experience that Green tried hard to force Mayor Mapp to appoint his own choice for Police Director. Right after Mapp stood strong to appoint Carl Riley, Green publicly attacked Mapp for being a bad Mayor (this was 4 months after Mapp took office!).  Why would he do that?

This is partly circumstantial evidence but it points to a pattern of behavior on the part of elected officials that results in a lack of enforcement of liquor regulations at some bars.  This is to Plainfield's detriment. We have been deploying our valuable police resources to break up bar fights all too often. The police should be responding to resident calls.  We need to hold the license holders accountable and make them hire security and install surveillance cameras.  On their dime, not the taxpayers. 

Campaign contributions are flowing into Jerry Green's campaign account. He appears to want to use the police for his own agenda.  And he has already been on video saying "I run this m".  But should the City Council be representing his interests or the residents of the area surrounding the Richmond Go-Go bar?

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Democratic Primary is About Jobs and Tax Ratables

The Adrian Mapp administration is moving the city ahead on economic development.  This after 8 years of moving backwards, of scaring businesses and developers away from Plainfield because of incompetence and neglect. 

Many residents were asking me why all the other towns along the Raritan Valley rail line were getting developed.  And it was true.  Just drive through Fanwood, Garwood, Cranford and Union.  Or Somerville going west. 

Finally, and not by coincidence, we began seeing development action on the home front right after Mapp got elected as mayor.  He hired a reputable director for economic development in Carlos Sanchez.  He brought in a CFO known throughout the state for his expertise who cleaned up the financial mess left by the previous administration.  Crime is on a downward trend.  These steps and other business friendly initiatives have attracted investors back to Plainfield.

Economic development is important because it brings jobs, tax ratables and more shopping to Plainfield.  It will bring vitality to downtown Plainfield at night.  All this takes time but it is beginning to happen:
  • New buildings are going up near both of our train stations. 
  • Our downtown was designated a Transit Village by the state.
  • We finally have the one seat ride to and from Manhattan - off peak hours.
  • We are much more active in the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, aiming for peak hour one seat service to Manhattan.
  • Our Planning Board now expedites development applications, attracting even more developers to town.
Plainfield just got the coveted Smart Growth award from New Jersey Future.  This is because we are concentrating new development around our train stations and protecting the character of our residential neighborhoods by keeping them low density for housing.  At Elmwood Gardens, a public housing project known for frequent criminal activity, we are knocking down the projects and building new units at a lower density.

All this points to a brighter future for Plainfield.  That is, if we embrace the changes necessary for progress.  On June 2, you can choose the Democrats in column C if you want Plainfield to continue down the path Mayor Mapp has set for Plainfield.  Any other choice is only going to deter Plainfield from being all it can be.

Monday, May 18, 2015

What the Plainfield Democratic Primary Election is About

The voters have a real choice in this election. Its about leadership, integrity and competence and the campaign literature illustrates it well.  The Storch Goode team led by Mayor Adrian Mapp emphasizes the progress Plainfield has made in the 16 months he's been in office. There is a vision for the betterment of Plainfield.  The message from our opponents is mostly negative.

There are some astonishing lies coming from the Jerry Green team.  One that is misleading, ironic and shameless at the same time is about grant money Plainfield has lost.  Jerry's team, which includes former Mayor Sharon Robinson Briggs, says Mayor Mapp lost $500,000 in grant money.  The fact is this money was lost during Robinson Briggs administration.  The grain of truth to their claim is that the money was given back by Mapps administration.  That's because the grants were mismanaged by Robinson Briggs people and the grant periods expired.  We had to give the money back.  Apparently the grants were mismanaged to the extent that Robinson Briggs wasn't even aware that the money wasn't being used.  So Plainfield lost these resources. 

When Adrian Mapp took office he appointed qualified people to take charge of the financial mess left by Robinson Briggs.  They cleaned up the grants mess.  This included a resolution passed by the 2015 City Council effectively canceling the grant accounts so the money could be sent back to the funders.  So Plainfield can hopefully get back in the good graces of these funders for future projects.

What is truly sad is that Robinson Briggs is back on the Jerry Green team  This is after he lost faith in her and turned to Adrian Mapp in the last mayoral primary election.  For some reason, Jerry keeps undermining Plainfield mayors - Mark Fury, Al McWilliams, Sharon Robinson Briggs and now Adrian Mapp.  Does this list go back far enough?  I'm not sure.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Second Ward Family Fun and Community Picnic Day - this Saturday

The Plainfield Recreation Department has a family fun day for each ward every year.  For the 2nd Ward, it is this coming Saturday, May 16 from 11 am to 3 pm.  It will be at Leland Avenue Park aka Cook School Pond. 

There will be food and beverages served.  Building on last years successful event, the recreation department has even more games in store for children and adults. 

If you are interested but don't know which ward you are in, just come on over.   All Plainfield residents and their guests are welcome.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Public Safety - What Barry Goode and I Stand For

Voters have to sift through the verbiage to find candidates they want to support.  Here is what Barry and I stand for on public safety so you can compare us to our opponents:

Plainfield residents need to feel safe and be safe in their homes, neighborhoods and downtown.  We back that up with specific pledges:
  • as Council members, we will make sure that there are sufficient funds for surveillance cameras to be working in our downtown and around crime hot spots.  After many years of talk, its about time we make this happen.
  • as Alcoholic Beverage Control commissioners, we will strictly enforce the rules at bars with a lot of criminal activity.  Right now some of these bars are using our police to respond to these problems.  Our police are serving as their security force and the taxpayers are picking up the bill.  Going forward, these bars will pay the consequences of the problems they cause.  If they can't, we will shut them down.  Our residents will have top priority for police respond to calls for help.
  • we will redirect the huge overtime pay budget to hire new officers so we can come back to the full compliment of officers we need.  Crime fighting takes precedence over building pensions.
  • we will give our full support to the Mayor and Police Director as they refocus our police resources for the benefit of our residents.  The City Council, as it is today, is not supportive and actually makes it more difficult for city hall to make the positive changes Plainfield needs.
Support Barry Goode and me in Column C in the Democratic primary on June 2.  I challenge our opponents to say what they will do for Plainfield.  Will they do more than criticize and complain?  Do they have specific plans to help Plainfield other than merely saying they are for Plainfield? 

Monday, May 4, 2015

It's time for a change.

It's election season in Plainfield.  How do we know?  Jerry Green sent out a negative piece in the mail.  There is very little true in this campaign piece except:  Mapp and his County Committee team on COLUMN C want to take over the Democratic Party. 

We do want to take leadership of the Plainfield Democratic Committee from Jerry Green.  Mr Green has led the party for most of the last 20 years.  In 2015, true to form, he decided who will get the party line in the June 2 primary.  Problem is - he didn't  consult his 68 committee members, all of who were elected by registered Plainfield Democrats.  He has run the local Democratic Party in most undemocratic fashion.  Even worse, he frequently selects people to run for local office who are not prepared for the responsibility of representing the people.

Follow the messaging from the two Democratic Party groups.  One is about a vision, about the potential for Plainfield and what we can do about it.  The other is negative messaging.  After 20 years running the Plainfield Democratic Party, we would hope that Jerry Green has something positive to say, something to show Plainfield about his accomplishments.

Democratic voters have a real choice on June 2.  Column C is for progress, for the people.  Column A is to help Jerry stay in power.    Vote for me, Barry Goode and our slate of Democratic Committee members.  We have no special interests other than the people of Plainfield.