The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Monday, December 23, 2013

Celebrating the Spirit of Giving - Happy Holidays to All!

On Saturday, the Community Service Team of the New Democrats for Plainfield held its Holiday Party and Toy Drive for the children of the Elm-West Residents Association in the Fourth Ward.


Santa and Mary Claus "HO-HO-HO-ed" and posed with the children during the gift distribution. Along with fabulous toys, gift cards, and fellowship, the kids got to enjoy loads of delicious pizza from Italian Village Pizza (thanks, Giuseppe!), cupcakes, and soft drinks.

I really want to thank Carol, Jim, Jennifer, Inez, Bob, Frank, Liz, Mary, Greg, Linden, Karen, Paul, Shep, Tatum, Warren, John, Jan, Jeanette, Patricia, Ursula, Anthony, Breanna, Dee, Juanita, Dan, Nat, Adrian, Amelia, and Marion for donating toys and gift cards.

 I want to thank Ethel, Ursula,
Breanna, and Carmencita for coming to help out, Lenore and Holly of Jack and Jill, Inc., for "donating" Malcolm and Kenyon, who assisted with serving pizza and gift distribution. 


Third Ward Councilman and Mayor-Elect Adrian Mapp stopped by to offer greetings, and Randy Wood of the Housing Authority of Plainfield came to say hello and offered thanks to the New Democrats Community Service Team for its efforts. 


The indefatigable Carol (The Antler Lady) deserves a special thanks for her hard work. Ethel, Joann Hollis, Michelle, and the rest of the Elm-West team lent their talents to making this Christmas a wonderful and enjoyable one for all the kids--thanks, everyone! 

All best,


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holiday Party and Toy Drive for the Children of Plainfield's Elm-West Residents Association!

*Please note correction in address below--the flier has also been updated!

The Community Service Team of the New Democrats for Plainfield is once again collecting donations of toys and gift cards from all who would like to help us provide a wonderful holiday for the children of the Elm-West Residents Association at a special Holiday Party, right here in Plainfield!

Unwrapped toys for any age and gift cards usable in area stores are most welcome. 

Donations may be left at 1083 Hillside Avenue (the home of Carol and Jim) up until Friday, December can call ME (Rebecca) at (908) 447-6268 and I can come and pick up your gift! 

The holiday party is scheduled for Saturday, December 21, 2012 from 2 – 4 pm at the Elm-West Community Center.* 

We look forward to a fun afternoon with the children, where we will distribute the toys, fellowship, and enjoy music and refreshments! All are welcome—join us!

*The Elm-West Community Center is located at 543 West Third Street in Plainfield (enter via the driveway directly across from the 4th Street side of Shiloh Baptist Church). 
Here are some images from last year's party, where we had a fabulous time--the looks on the children's faces were precious!


Monday, November 11, 2013

In Honor of Veterans Day

I want to say thank you to all the Veterans who serve in our armed forces, past and present. My maternal grandfather served in the Canadian Army during World Wars I and WWII. My father and my Uncle Henry served in the Air Force during the Korean War. Other uncles and aunts served before and during the Vietnam War, and many cousins and friends served in the wars since--the Gulf War, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan. Many serve still. Here I am, pictured with one of my favorite veterans, Marine Donnie DeMary.

Thank you.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Unfunded Promotions?? The Mayor’s Latest Scheme

I was deeply troubled by an alarming rumor I had heard--the rumor was that several police officers were going to be promoted. I attempted to call Police Director Hellwig yesterday to receive his reassurance that this was not so. As it turns out, the director was at that very moment in municipal court at a PROMOTION ceremony for several officers from sergeant to lieutenant. You can imagine my surprise—I am always invited to these events, and when I am able, I have attended them. Other members of the governing body have also attended, as their schedules permit.  

Note: Having checked my city email, I found no notice of this event—the Director said that notification had been sent to me, and that he would have it re-sent. There was no notification on the city website, no mention of it on the Plainfield Police Division site, or anywhere else I could find--why would the mayor keep this "hush-hush?"

I have always had a good relationship with the Public Safety Division, great communication with the director, and mutual regard. We meet regularly to discuss public safety initiatives, upgrades and enhancements, crime trends, and bringing the department up to its full complement. This is why I am so surprised about thee promotions. In my August 2013 report, I noted the following, in terms of personnel: 

In June, I reported on the 3-4 officers in the academy—they should be graduating by the end of the year—November-December. The 4 recent retirements in the Police Division will create room for potential future promotions, and there are 5-6 more recruits entering the academy in September—these new hires should bring us up to our full complement. (Currently, there are 4 captains, 9 lieutenants, and 27 sergeants.)

In discussing the “potential future promotions,” the director has always phrased this in terms of the incoming administration, speaking of the person who would be replacing him, as he would be leaving. Why, then, was the administration holding a promotion ceremony at the end of a lame-duck an administration, one with less than 8 weeks to go? What is the potential impact of this promotion scheme on our city's public safety, in terms of supervision at the sergeant level? How much more money will Plainfielders have to pay to fill the vacancies with out-of-title pay?  

Why would the mayor promote individuals to unfunded positions? We passed a budget—during the budget hearing for Public Safety, Director Hellwig had ample opportunity to request additional money—the division received what he requested.

There is no money to pay for these promotions. 
Where is the money coming from? 

Is the mayor once again planning to “rob Peter to pay Paul,” as she did in taking thousands and thousands of dollars from Recreation to pay for her fraudulent “Family Fun Day cum Anti-Gang” event, which she didn’t bother to attend? You will remember that she willfully (and, I would add, maliciously) refused to grant permission to Council President Rivers and Councilwoman Greaves to host a true community event! You will remember that she illegally used grant funds--in advance of county approval! Why are Plainfield taxpayers being given this bill of goods that will impact the current as well as the next budget??

Is the mayor attempting another last-minute budget transfer scheme with these unfunded promotions that will hamper the city council, the incoming administration and, most importantly, the taxpayers of this city? 
Under state law, in terms of checks and balances, several individuals have to sign off. There must also be a certification of funds. Did the CFO provide a certification of funds? Otherwise, it seems that the promotions are invalid, and the mayor has created a huge problem by unlawfully promoting officers whose promotions may be invalidated. Why is she attempting to destroy police operations, and who else is complicit in this last-minute, desperate, and ethically, morally, and legally questionable action? 

Which other administration officials approved of this? What are the positions of the City Administrator, Director of Admin/Finance, the CFO, and the Personnel Director? These are questions that will be asked of the administration, and the Union County Prosecutor and state officials will also be contacted.

I would urge residents to come to the Tuesday, November 12 council meeting to voice their concerns to the governing body over this latest scheme by the mayor. She has once again shown the utmost contempt for the residents of Plainfield as well as for the governing body. I cannot imagine that my colleagues would allow this scheme to go forward with just a few weeks left in the current mayor’s term—it is unconscionable and contemptible, and I hope you will share your outrage at the meeting!  

The mayor has always treated your tax coffers as her personal candy store. Now that she is out of options--no job prospects, no more taxpayer-funded salary, no state NAACP presidency--she has decided to add one more affront to the residents and taxpayers of this city, a final coffin nail for her eight-year legacy of failure. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Safety in Plainfield

In my October Public Safety Report, I noted that I had discussed Halloween safety with Public Safety Director Hellwig. In that meeting, the director spoke about the strategic plan that has been put in place for this week--Mischief Night (Wednesday) as well as Halloween (Thursday)  to curb acts of vandalism and other crimes. 

The Mobile Command Unit, which has been on the streets, will be a part of this plan. I will also be on the streets on Thursday evening with my council colleagues who represent the 2nd and 3rd Wards, visiting constituents and ensuring that everyone (our kids as well as adults!) has a pleasant experience. The Centers for Disease Control (click HERE for the website) puts out a guide to "Halloween Safety Tips," which I have reproduced below. 

Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don't run from house to house.

Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation. 

Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe. 

Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Have a safe and fun Halloween, everyone!