The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy Kwanzaa

On Saturday, I attended the 14th Annual Plainfield Kwanzaa Celebration at Washington Community School. After bringing greetings to the people as an elected official, I sat back and watched this wonderful event. The principle of Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) was the focus for Day Two (yesterday). 

Today's focus is Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility). The awesome Tamara Horn sang "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," and the Emcees for the day were MBa Heru Ahket and young Ryan Brown, from New Jersey Orators. Storyteller Mfundishi Jhuty Mes Hassan K. Salim also poured the libations for the ancestors. There were also performances by the Universal African Dance Ensemble, the Emerson Community Youth Theater, and others. Special thanks go to the Division of Recreation and a great group of volunteers for making it an awesome event. Below are just a few photos.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Millions March NYC"

March for justice and
Internalize the meaning:
"Black lives do matter."
Herald Square, Saturday, December 13.

Monday, December 1, 2014

World AIDS Day 2014:Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation

The theme for World AIDS Day 2014 is "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation." The link below will take you to the official government site, which lists activities and events:

The statistics among African American youth remain alarming--here is the CDC Factsheet (from February 2014):

As we voice our concerns about violence committed against our youth at the hands of the state, let us also keep in mind that there is another killer among us--we must work with our young people to "focus, partner, and achieve an AIDS-free generation"--the statistics clearly show the likelihood for youth to contract HIV/AIDS--70% don't even know that they are infected. 

As in the past, I have posted the IMPACT (Intensive Mobilization to Promote AIDS Awareness through Community-based Technologies) Initiative Statistics for Plainfield for the year ending 2013. 

Plainfield remains on the list of the Top Ten Cities with the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases (we are number 9). The IMPACT Initiative is “… a city-by-city community mobilization initiative designed to galvanize and support African American leaders to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in cities with the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS.” (from the NJDHSS web site).

Further, as you can see from this chart, black women in particular represent 64% of women with HIV/AIDS cases (the fastest rising group): Female NJ Residents at Diagnosis

A couple of years ago, I posted a link to filmmaker Cyrille Phipps's documentary, Seen But Not Heard: AIDS, Sexual Politics, and the Untold War Against Black Women. Here is a link to the trailer for the documentary:

As you go through your day, talk to a young person about getting tested and about protecting herself/himself from HIV/AIDS. 



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

Indebted for life/
A moral obligation/
Love and care for vets.

Thanks to all our veterans for their service to our country. Thanks, especially, to those in our city of Plainfield. Today, we will honor veterans at a ceremony at City Hall, scheduled for 10:30 am, followed by a ribbon-cutting will at 12 Noon at the Plainfield Veterans Center, located at 400 E. Front Street. Below is an article from CNN--it offers insight into ways that we can help our veterans with more than the usual annual platitudes. The veterans were asked how they wanted to be honored and, as the story notes, “They encouraged a constant, creative and sensitive focus on veterans' needs, like improving access to jobs and health care, particularly at Veterans' Affairs facilities.”

We can help those service men and women in need of assistance by listening to them and doing what we can to truly honor them in a meaningful way. 



Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I want to thank all the voters who came out in support of me (and Senator Booker and Congresswoman-elect Bonnie Watson-Coleman) during the election. Thanks to your overwhelming support, I have been re-elected to a second term. Interestingly enough, for those of you who have been following the silly antics of the so-called "45th most powerful person in NJ politics"--you know him as Jerry "I Run This Motherf&#@er" Green--his "leadership" of the county party cost him votes in Plainfield.

UPDATE: I received MORE VOTES THAN ALL the Jerry Green-backed Union County candidates in the 2 Wards I represent (Wards 2 and 3). 
Here are the vote totals in those wards:
Rebecca Williams:      3,743
Sheriff (Joe Cryan):   3,610
Surrogate (LaCorte):  3,613
Freeholder (Estrada): 3,552
Freeholder (Hudak):   3,592
Freeholder: (Wright): 3,611

Jerry Green's stupid election tricks backfired on him, and likely cost his county candidates votes--I am sure they are looking at the numbers. I hope the county powers-that-be are taking notice of how Jerry Green is (not) running the county Democratic party. It's time for him to GO!


In addition, the team I endorsed for school board--Rutherford, Jeffers, & Bellamy--all won DECISIVELY. Congratulations to you all! 

And, finally, despite the dirty election tricks and lack of support he received from the Union County Democrats, Jerry Green, and the Freeholders (I received no support from them, either, at the behest of Jerry Green), Derek Armstead WON the Linden election and will be the next mayor of Linden, also making history as the first African American mayor of that city. Congratulations to Derek on a hard-fought and hard-won race.

Time for bed!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Jerry Green and "The Deep End"

So-called Union County Democratic Chairman Jerry "I Run This Motherf&%#@r" Green has truly gone off the deep end.

A robocall for his BOE slate that tells voters not to support me? Is he deliberately trying to suppress the Plainfield vote for my fellow running mates, who include Democrats Cory Booker and Bonnie Watson Coleman? What kind of Democrat is he? The bylaws of the UCDC: ARTICLE III. SECTION 3. It shall be the obligation of the members and the officers of this Committee and Democratic elected and appointed officials to support the purposes for which the Party exists, and to work for the proper fulfillment of same and to support those Democratic candidates for election to public office duly nominated in a Primary Election.--Constitution & By-Laws Governing the Union County Democratic Committee.

It appears the chairman has lost his marbles. He is not supporting duly-nominated Democratic mayoral candidate Derek Armstead of Linden, and now he he politicizes the school board race (which is non-partisan) by telling voters not to support me? So much for his chairmanship--he is an embarrassment to the party.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Do the Democrats Support Derek Armstead?

FYI: Interestingly, I am teaching a novel called The Marrow of Tradition, written in 1901 by Charles W. Chesnutt. It is about a group of white supremacists who are attempting to disenfranchise black voters through political maneuvering and campaign tricks. Their greatest fear is having black men in leadership roles in their town. As we move toward November 4, a question has arisen in Union County politics that needs to be answered: 

Does the Union County Democratic Party support COLUMN A Democratic Mayoral Candidate Derek Armstead for Linden mayor? 

Chris Hudak and Linda Carter
This question is being asked of UCDC Chairman Jerry GreenFreeholder Chairman Chris Hudak serves as Chairman of the Linden Democratic Party, and yet his support for Derek Armstead is missing. According to the committee by-laws, the party is supposed to support the primary winner: ARTICLE III. SECTION 3. It shall be the obligation of the members and the officers of this Committee and Democratic elected and appointed officials to support the purposes for which the Party exists, and to work for the proper fulfillment of same and to support those Democratic candidates for election to public office duly nominated in a Primary Election.
Thus far, support has been non-existent, and we have actually seen the mailer that Jerry Green put out deliberately obscuring Derek Armstead’s name on the facsimile of the sample ballot. I have reached out to Linda Carter (our Plainfield freeholder) on this matter. Linda did not openly support me during the primary season—presumably, she did not want to anger Jerry Green, whose attacks on me reached new heights of silliness. That’s fine—I clearly did not need Linda’s support to win (although it would have been nice, as I ran her very first campaign when she was a reform candidate). 

However, Derek Armstead has earned the support of the party--he WON the Democratic primary. He stands to make history as the first African American Mayor of Linden--where is the support among the other African American elected officials in county government--specifically Vernell Wright, Mohamed Jalloh, and Linda Carter? I fully expect that all the freeholders will be on the ground in Linden this weekend, working to get him elected. If they do not, they have violated the very by-laws they were sworn to uphold.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Jerry Green - #45 - "Powerful?" - No...More Like Pathetic.

"As Democratic Chairman, the biggest laugh I get, to me it’s a joke, that I do not support all the candidates on column A, when that is my job to do so." --Jerry Green 
So, Jerry Green responded to the TRUTH about his not supporting Derek Armstead for Mayor of Linden with another silly blog post touting the fact that he came in at #45 out of 50 elected officials on a poll. So there are 44 MORE powerful people than Green in New Jersey. 

Interesting…but what Green conveniently ignores is the following, from the Union County Democratic Committee By-Laws: "ARTICLE III. SECTION 3. It shall be the obligation of the members and the officers of this Committee and Democratic elected and appointed officials to support the purposes for which the Party exists, and to work for the proper fulfillment of same and to support those Democratic candidates for election to public office duly nominated in a Primary Election." So, where is Jerry Green’s support for Derek Armstead, the duly-nominated Democratic candidate for Mayor of Linden? I posted what he sent around—deliberately obscuring Derek Armstead for Mayor on a mailer in Linden. Here it is again, at left.

Um...the photo there is of a council candidate--Armstead's name is covered up--deliberately so. I have reached out to Freeholder Linda Carter of Plainfield about this—I urge everyone to reach out to the freeholders about this. If Jerry Green is violating the by-laws of the organization that he (#45) is purported to be the head of, THEY NEED TO CALL HIM OUT.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jerry Green - Fake Democrat - Is Not Supporting Democrat Derek Armstead of Linden

Although I don’t live in Linden, I felt compelled to comment upon the outrage that is occurring in Linden, New Jersey. Democratic Councilman  Derek Armstead is the Democratic Candidate for Mayor of Linden, and is in Column A, which he won, fair and square—just as I did here in Plainfield, in the primary.

Yet, Jerry Green, the so-called “chairman” of the Union County Democratic Party, is encouraging folks to SKIP Armstead's name on the ballot. Take a look at the mailing that was sent out to Linden voters. Why is Jerry Green working AGAINST the Democratic standard-bearer of the party he is supposed to be chairman of? Was a deal made? I attended a fundraising event on Derek’s behalf back in June, and Green was there. I assumed he was supporting Democrat Derek. 
However, if you look at the mailing, you will see that Jerry is asking voters to SKIP Derek’s name--Derek is in Column A on Line 8, yet this information is obscured on the ballot. Why would Jerry Green do something like this to Derek who, having won the primary, is also poised to make history as the first African American mayor of Linden?

Freeholder Chris Hudak is the chairman of the Linden Democratic Party, and he is on the ballot as well—why isn’t he supporting Derek? This speaks of collusion--it speaks against the Democratic process, and it needs to be called out. I encourage everyone to ask our freeholders, and especially representatives Linda Carter, Mohamed Jalloh, and Vernell Wright, what they think of this sleazy tactic by Jerry Green. 

Is Cory Booker aware of what is being done to divide the Democratic vote in Union County? Is Bonnie Watson-Coleman, who is poised to become the first African American congresswoman from New Jersey, aware of what Jerry is doing? Again, history will be made. Jerry Green is deliberately attempting to suppress the Democratic vote in Linden with that mailing. 

Here, in Plainfield, Green appears to be doing the same thing. He has been telling people that he had "reached" out to me some weeks ago--a lie. However, just this past Wednesday, October 22, I was “invited” by telephone (a call at 9:01 am from one of Jerry Green’s people) to a photo op event in Rahway with Cory Booker scheduled for 9:30 am that morning. Yes, 29 minutes before the event—do you think Jerry Green really wanted me to be at the event?

Green had the nerve to try and paint me, a progressive Democrat, as a "tea party" type. Jerry Green is a tool of his bosses. Now, we see that Jerry Green will do whatever HIS bosses tell him to do. Is he really the head of the Union County party? Or is he just a craven huckster doing the bidding of his bosses? It’s time for him to go. To deliberately work against Derek Armstead—who, like me, WON the Democratic Primary fair and square—clearly shows that Jerry Green will do whatever HIS BOSSES tell him to. What kind of Democrat is Jerry Green? Shameful.


P.S. I will be blogging about my own campaign this week.