The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Monday, September 26, 2011

Watch City Council Meetings on PCTV 34/96


At my first city council meeting, back in January 2011--a time of innocence.
Plainfield residents who are unable to attend city council agenda and/or business meetings are able to watch the meetings in their entirety on our public access channel, PCTV 34/96 Channel 34 (Verizon) or Channel 96 (Comcast). The meetings air every week at the following times:

Thursday evenings: 8:00 pm

Friday evenings: 9:00 pm

Saturday mornings: 8:00 am

The meetings also can be "DVR'ed" by those who have this capability. In addition, a DVD copy is kept in the City Clerk's office at 515 Watchung Avenue. These videos are available to all councilors and the administration, as well as to the public.

I am bringing this up because I have received feedback from residents who are unable to attend the meetings, and yet have some specific comments on what I may have said, or on particular council actions. Frankly, I cannot remember everything I may have said, even when I write notes during the meetings. I have gotten into the habit of reviewing bits and pieces of the meetings--not out of any narcissistic desire on my part to see myself on television. I watch parts of the meetings to recall correctly the exchanges between myself, my fellow councilors, the administration, and the residents who come before us. I find that I have to pay particular attention to the discussions that occur at our agenda setting sessions, as these sometimes go on for several hours.

I have to admit, I missed a portion of one agenda meeting on July 11 of this year, as I was on a flight that came in a bit late, but I was able to “catch up” on the discussion when it was aired over the public access channel. I was thus able to go into the following week's business meeting (July 25) knowing what was discussed in my absence, and knowing what my fellow councilors' views were. Certainly, all of us on the city council should be able to comment before voting at the business meetings, or to offer some additional feedback on items coming up for a vote before us, but I feel it is my obligation to make sure that I am aware of the discussions that occur in my absence without having the entire discussion discussed ad nauseum before voting. 

Several regular attendees of our meetings have said that the constant repetition shows a disregard for the public, as they think it is our collective duty to be professional and to be aware of all discussions, as we are public servants paid by them. I agree. On occasion, of course, it is possible that some among us will miss a meeting or a television airing, but it should remain a rare occasion. 

I hope that you are able to catch some of the meetings on television--it's certainly not as much fun as watching The Office, or Prime Suspect, Rachel Maddow, or some other more entertaining program,but it is important to watch how public servants, elected by you and beholden to you, act and vote on your behalf.

All best,

Rebecca

Friday, September 16, 2011

Library Grounds Clean Up Tomorrow!

Saturday, September 17, 2011, 9:30 am 
Volunteers Meet on Library Steps
Gloves, rakes, bags, and water will be provided
 
Neighbors Jim and Rebecca at previous clean up

Plainfield Public Library exterior
 
 
The Plainfield Public Library is located at the center of our city, and belongs to all of us. It is our obligation to ensure that our city's premier cultural and community resource is kept clean. We will gather on the library steps at 9:15 am to begin our work. If you have hedge trimmers, please bring them! We would also like to clean the weeds out of the sidewalk cracks, especially on the Park Avenue side of the library, so if this is your area of expertise, please assist us!
 
The Children's Library is set to open on Saturday, September 24, so it behooves us to ensure that every one of our little visitors is able to see our library at its finest--meaning spruced up, cleaned up, and dressed up! 
 
See you there!
Rebecca

 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

Diego Rivera: No. 9, Nature morte espagnole (Spanish Still Life), 1915

National Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15 and runs through October 15. This year's theme is "Many Backgrounds, Many Stories...One American Spirit." 

When I served on the Plainfield Cultural and Heritage Commission several years ago, the commission sponsored a number of activities to celebrate Hispanic/Latino culture in Plainfield, including film screenings, musical events, a dance concert, and an evening of history, discussion, and reflection with a number of prominent Plainfielders, including New Jersey labor leader and former school board member Christian Estevez (also founding member of Latinos Unidos and currently serving as 2nd Vice-Chairman of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee), Flor Gonzalez, President of the Latin American Coalition, and Eva Rosas Amirault of the Bilingual Day Care Center.   

We also held a special tribute to the late Councilman Ray Blanco with a special screening of his now-classic 1997 film, Black and White in Exile, an important documentary on Cuban and Haitian exiles and the reception each group received, respectively, upon coming to the United States to seek political asylum.  I have provided a link below to the federal government's site, where you can find all kinds of great links on exhibits, history, and other important contributors to our American culture. 
All best,

Rebecca

Click here: National Hispanic Heritage Month      

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memoriam

In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. 
                                                         -- Abraham Lincoln



Lincoln was writing a letter of condolence to the daughter of a close friend who had been killed in a battle in Mississippi during the Civil War. I chose this quote because I have been thinking this week mostly of the young children of those who perished, and wondering whether what was incomprehensible to them ten years ago is now more easily understood. I suspect it is not. Here is the link to the correspondence: Letter to Fanny McCullough, December 23, 1862

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fall Library Grounds Community Clean Up!


Saturday, September 17, 2011, 9:30 am 

Volunteers Meet on Library Steps
Gloves, rakes, bags, and water will be provided
Councilman Adrian Mapp with Vivi and Gigi at past community cleanup!
Hi, all--it's that time again! The Plainfield Public Library, our community treasure, is due for another community clean up of its exterior grounds. Those of you who could only access Internet service or use the free WIFI at the library during the past week because of the hurricane can certainly speak to how critical the library is to our city and its residents. 
As I have mentioned in the past, we, as a community, need to add to our priorities the protection and enhancement of the cultural institutions that are the life-blood of any city. Last year, one of the community service projects of the New Democrats for Plainfield Club was to assist in cleaning up the exterior grounds of the library for our children and all other library patrons. To that end, I hope you will join me, club members and all other community volunteers as we get out our brooms and bags to make the library look fabulous in anticipation of the exciting opening of the renovated Children's Library.
The Children's Library is set to open on Saturday, September 24 at 9:30 am, so it behooves us to ensure that every one of our little visitors is able to see our library at its finest--meaning spruced up, cleaned up, and dressed up!
We will gather on the library steps at 9:15 am to begin our work. If you have hedge trimmers, please bring them! We would also like to clean the weeds out of the sidewalk cracks, especially on the Park Avenue side of the library, so if this is your area of expertise, please assist us!
We will provide rakes, gloves, bags, water, and camaraderie. Hope to see you there! 
All best,
Rebecca