The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hispanic Heritage Month Flag Raising & Celebration

Join us this Friday, September 15, 2017, at 6:00 pm for our Hispanic Heritage Month Flag Raising and Celebration on the steps of Plainfield City Hall. The official ceremony will be followed by a reception and celebration in the City Hall Library.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

NAN PLAINFIELD TECH WORLD is here! Tech Job Readiness--Space is Limited!


Back in June 2017, the Plainfield City Council, administration officials, and some city residents attended a sneak preview of the new, 21st Century, state-of-the-art computer training facility, known as NAN Plainfield Tech World,* which is scheduled to open in September. Classes will run from September 5 - November 30, 2017. The program is housed at New Covenant Church, located at 225 East 7th Street in Plainfield. I urge those interested to fill out the application or to call for information ASAP, as space for the workshops is LIMITED TO TWELVE (12) STUDENTS for each of the 3 classes, for a TOTAL of 36. You may also opt to be put on a waiting list if the workshop is full.

Click on the NAN Plainfield Tech World icon on the city's home page (see red circled image at right), or just click on the link to be taken to the page to fill out the online application: PlainfieldNJ.Gov/NAN

The facility, scheduled to open in September, will start with the offering of the first three courses, as noted on the city's website:

1) Computer Basics and Digital Literacy
2) Intermediate Digital Literacy
3) Advanced Digital Literacy: Introduction to Creating a Website, Coding, and App Creation

According to the staff overseeing the program, after successfully completing these classes, "...students will be able to take additional classes at the Plainfield Library and/or receive vouchers to take Microsoft certification exams in Digital Literacy and Microsoft Office Systems...." In the near future, the program will provide training and certification in Cisco Systems through the creation of a Cisco Academy, to teach residents new media technology, routing, switching and networking IT skills so that they are even more prepared for tech jobs, which represent the future in job training. Below is a short video which explains the program a bit more. Please help spread the word so that our residents can take advantage of this exciting program. You may also call the office of Administration and Finance at (908) 753-3237 for specific information, and you may fax the completed application to (908) 226-2574.


*From the NAN Newark site: "Tech World is 1 of 6 (21) Century Learning Centers established in (NY, Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Oakland and Compton California via the leadership of the National Action Network and the Rev Steffie Bartley, NAN NJ Chapters Coordinator and Director. Tech World is focused on basic digital literacy, intermediated and advanced computer skills, coding, routing, switching and networking IT skills.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Charlottesville...and the #Klan President

The events of the past week have thrown into high relief the continuing moral failures of many in our nation--exemplified in the words of the disgraceful Donald Trump--who has decided that it is "okay" to equate the counter-protests of the Black Lives Matter activists and other anti-racist groups with the KKK, neo-Nazis, and the other white supremacist individuals and groups who injured and murdered American citizens in the name of white supremacy and anti-Semitism. Even bastions of corporate capitalism have denounced him (bad for business, bad for our country). As we have seen, these white supremacists have received encouragement from Trump, who seems to enjoy normalizing and fanning the flames of racial hatred and creating a moral equivalency between folks fighting racism and those who revel in its gory violence.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Outrageous. Unprofessional. Threatening. A Councilwoman's Rage.

I have written about this disturbing incident on Facebook, but I figured it would be clearer if I blogged about it.  
UPDATE: Please see the comment posted by Councilwoman Toliver's husband.

When people make threats on your life, you must take them seriously. The Public Safety Director and the Corporation Counsel are aware of what Councilwoman Toliver said to me when she approached my car last night (August 14), after the council meeting in the presence of some of my colleagues. She was out of control and she threatened me. 

Some of you may remember that I took her husband to court for his threat a few years ago suggesting that I should be beheaded: Click here. He offered to plead guilty in court to a disorderly persons offense, but I was hoping that the judge would find him guilty of more serious harassment, which she didn't because the bar for harassment was extremely high--she admonished him, however, and it was clear from her remarks that she believed me. You may also remember when he made a homophobic statement about me during public comment at a council meeting back in 2015, which was caught on tape and reported in the newspaper. Click here.  

Last night, his wife, Councilwoman Toliver, made a threat against me because she was totally out of order at a council meeting and I asked her to save an off-topic question for after our completion of the official agenda? The public safety division is aware and will be monitoring this outrageous and unprofessional behavior. 

Below, I have outlined what happened: 

During the meeting, I (as council president, running the agenda) allowed her ask what I thought was a follow-up question. However, she continued on for several minutes, going on a tangent on a matter that was far afield of the our published agenda. I called a point of order and told her that we could come back to her questions after we completed the agenda. At the end of the meeting, I asked her if she wanted to continue her earlier questions, and she said no, so we adjourned the meeting. Toliver confronted me AFTER the council meeting to complain (I was in my car, getting ready to go home), saying that I was trying to "embarrass" her. As she went on and on, I tried to explain to her that she was out of order (we follow Robert's Rules). She then said to me: "I WILL LET YOU LIVE...TODAY." I took that as a threat, as she certainly was not joking. I said, "You're threatening me...just like your husband did" (see above). 

I got out of my car and went over to Public Safety Director Riley to tell him that I had been threatened by Councilwoman Toliver. Then, Toliver tried to get in my face several times, saying loudly over and over, "What did you say about my husband?" I did not engage her--focusing on Director Riley and moving away from her--but she kept trying to get in my face. Councilwoman Rivers kept trying to pull her away from me, and finally Dir. Riley was able to get between where she was trying to get to me. 

Some of you may remember a case a couple of years ago when Councilwoman Toliver went out of control after a council meeting, becoming very agitated--she actually had to be restrained--and the she filed charges against a resident who she said was getting in her face--those who were present witnessed him being pushed by her. Needless to say, her case was dismissed. Ironically, she was resistant to our moving the regular agenda setting sessions to the city hall library, saying she didn't feel that it was "safe"--well, last night's meeting was at the council court chambers which abuts the police station--and SHE was the one who things "unsafe" with her threat. 

Regarding last night's incident, a police officer, our city attorney, Director Riley and a few others also witnessed her outrageous behavior as she kept trying to get in my face. After speaking with Dir. Riley as he walked me to my car, with his assurances that he had everything under control, I went home. 

Her behavior was outrageous, unprofessional, and threatening. It should not be tolerated. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

National Night Out - Tuesday, August 1

Join your neighbors for National Night Out this coming Tuesday, August 1st, at Plainfield's City Hall Plaza, 515 Watchung Avenue, starting at 6:30 pm. There will be music, food, safety tips from our public safety professionals, and a giveaway of book bags and school supplies (first come, first serve). As we do each year, Plainfield's elected officials will caravan to a few of the events being held around the city before heading back to city hall for the festivities. I look forward to seeing you there! For more on National Night Out, click here.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Community Service: LiVay Sweet Shop's "Smile Drive"

Once again, Plainfield's own Stacey Welch, owner of LiVay Sweet Shop, (home of some of the best cupcakes in the world) is putting the Plainfield community first, with her “Smile Drive,” which will provide our kids with new toothbrushes and toothpaste as part of their back-to-school gear. Stacey is partnering with the City of Plainfield’s Book Bag-Backpack Program to ensure that our young people have everything they need as they begin the new school year. 

Stacey has run several successful community service collection drives—she and her team represent the best of Plainfield, in terms of giving back. Many of you participated in those drives…this one is equally worthy. As Stacey notes, “Kids are taught to brush their teeth twice a day. Let’s give them the toothbrush and the toothpaste to take care of their beautiful smiles.”

LiVay will be collecting the toothbrushes and toothpaste on Saturday, July 15th and Sunday, July 16th from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm at both store locations (104B Watchung Avenue in Plainfield and 1590 Rte. 22 East in Watchung). Here is the link to the Facebook Page of LiVay’s, where you learn more—and also share information on the drive on your own social media page: LiVay's on Facebook  

Also, while you're at the shop, don't forget to purchase some of LiVay's delicious cupcakes and other baked goods--support Plainfield's businesses! The book bags/backpacks will be given out at Plainfield’s 2017 National Night Out event at City Hall on Tuesday, August 2nd, while supplies last.

All the best,



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Thursday Movie Night at Hannah Atkins: The Batman Lego Movie!

This week of summer fun and celebration continues on Thursday, July 6 with a free community screening of The Batman Lego Movie at Hannah Atkins Playground (508-552 Plainfield Avenue). The movie starts at 8:30 pm--free popcorn will be served! Bring the kids, bring your lawn chair or blanket, and join us! (Check out the rest of the schedule as well!)