The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Democrats Rebecca Williams, Emmett Swan, & Charles McRae


On Tuesday, June 3rd, we will be in Column E, for
Ethics, Excellence, and new Energy!

I am running for re-election as your Councilwoman At-large for the Second and Third Wards, along with Charles McRae for Third Ward Councilman (left) and Emmett Swan for First Ward Councilman (center). We have begun rolling out our campaign, and we look forward to sharing our vision with you. We will be laying out our campaign message and focusing on the issues important to you in the coming days.

As you know, this is a critical election, one which will determine whether Plainfield moves into the future, or whether we remain mired in the past, with dysfunctional individuals who care only about themselves. We are committed to bringing ethical leadership to Plainfield--I hope that I have demonstrated my commitment and loyalty to you, the people of Plainfield. That said, we are a volunteer campaign--we depend on donations to pay for our mailings, phone calls, and campaign literature. 

Please visit our website and make a donation--it takes less than a minute, and it will help us to move Plainfield forward--thanks!





Monday, April 21, 2014

Improving Life for Liberty Village Residents



The politics of misinformation, denial, and obfuscation on the part of some of the councilors have resulted in a mess. The future of the residents at Liberty Village lies with those simply shed crocodile tears, wring their hands, and who would rather see them remain in abject living conditions versus those who believe that all Plainfielders deserve a good quality of life. I am hopeful that the councilors who voted NO on this project (Greaves, Reid, Rivers, and Taylor) will respond to community pressure--it's clear that they don't respond to common sense.

Given the unbelievable and embarrassing animosity that Councilwoman Rivers displayed toward me for merely suggesting that Mr. Abdul-Haqq had a 1st Amendment right to speak during public comment, as well as the disgusting display of Councilwoman Greaves (who says that she doesn't get paid enough) yelling at a constituent who had the temerity to suggest that she (Greaves) is paid to read and analyze the information in her council packet, I am hopeful that my colleague, Councilwoman Brown, who (along with Councilman Storch and me) supports the proposal to continue the PILOT with the prospective buyers, will be able to convince them--along with Taylor and Reid (who also voted NO for no reason I can ascertain) to vote in favor of the prospective buyers, who have agreed to the terms to improve the lives of the residents at Liberty Village.
  
I will be at the meeting as well. I hope it is productive, and not simply another effort to obstruct progress in our city by playing politics with the lives of our residents for the gain of profiteers. When that happens (as is happening all too often), the residents suffer.

No matter what happens, though, the council will still get its $9,000--even though Councilors Greaves and Reid don't think it's enough for the "work" they do on the council.

Rebecca


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Show Me the Money!" Screams Underpaid Councilwoman



For those who bore witness to the disgusting and shameful display of raw, naked political pandering at last night's council meeting--what you witnessed included: appointed council members  as well as other councilors playing politics with the lives of the folks who live in the 4th Ward's Liberty Village, as well as a shameful display of fake concern for said individuals. Appointed Councilwoman Taylor, who is filling a vacancy, again spoke vaguely about "some people" (I guess meaning me and Cory) not really caring about Plainfield. 

One of the lowest points of the evening for me—it’s really hard to say exactly which was the lowest because there were so many—was when Councilor Greaves literally yelled at a longtime Plainfield resident who had the temerity to suggest that the council should have had enough time (two weeks) to read through the packet on the Liberty Village proposal and resolution because, after all, the governing body gets paid to do so. That’s when Greaves when into high gear, raising her voice to a high-pitched, insulting level, railing about how she doesn’t get paid enough to be on the council. You will remember a previous post wherein I told you of the attempt led by Reid and Greaves to raise the city council salaries, and how Bill Reid voted against the budget (the most important role of the city council) because I wouldn’t go along with the scheme.

Well, in my opinion, it is obscene and offensive for her to suggest that she is "underpaid." She is paid $9,000.00 dollars per year by the hardworking residents of our city--paid with your money--to represent the citizens of the 1st and 4th wards. No other resident who lives in those two wards gets $9,000.00 from the city for doing the work that Councilwoman Greaves wanted the voters to elect her to do. Perhaps she should ask them whether they think she should get more. It is clear to most council watchers that Greaves often has not appeared to have read the accompanying documents that come in our city council packets—for $9,000.00, that is the least Plainfield residents should expect.

To witness a council person screaming at a resident was one of the worst spectacles that I have ever seen in my three years on the council—she was allowed to go on her singularly embarrassing rant about being underpaid and wanting more money for several minutes without a single bang of the gavel.
  
You also witnessed a former mayor come forward to try to get the city council to pay invoices that she keeps trying to submit from last year. Regarding the copies of documents Robinson-Briggs submitted as monies owed to her (what else) food and other vendors, etc., she "whited out"--altered, thus falsified--the dates and other information on them before giving them to the council to hide certain aspects of the supposed "expenses" she wants taxpayers to foot the bill for.

In the world I live in, it's criminal to falsify documents and then submit them to a municipality as authentic. There is no proof that these bills were incurred for city events. Again, she thinks that you, the taxpayer of Plainfield, should pay a bill with missing information that she whited out. The city council cannot pay invoices that have been altered--we have to protect you from any attempts to possibly defraud the city.

Later, when resident Rasheed Abdul-Haqq stood during public comment to express his displeasure at how Jerry Green 1) controlled some members of the city council; and 2) disenfranchised duly-elected Democratic City Committee members by picking and choosing candidates he wanted, Council President Rivers told him to go down to Trenton to complain about the assemblyman. Thinking I was off-mic, I suggested that all residents should be able to come to the microphone to exercise their First Amendment rights.

It was then the council president turned on me in an obnoxious and bullying manner—ranting and raving that she was “sick of me,” that I was “disrespectful,” and so on. When I said that I had a right to speak, as I, too, was a councilwoman, she then decided to play politics, referencing the fact that I am up for re-election, saying, “Not for long,” or something to that effect. The whole thing is “caught on tape,” as they say, if you have the stomach to watch it.

Regarding the rest of the embarrassing evening, all I can say is this: You have an opportunity on June 3rd to make a choice about where you want this city to go. Do you want forward progress, or do you want to go back to the past, where politicians and their loyal cronies work only to enrich themselves, to feed the patronage pits of their bosses at the expense of the people of Plainfield? You have a choice, folks.

Rebecca

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Supporting Our Youth in Plainfield!

Basketball game at Stillman School--Sigma Community Enrichment Initiative
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the Sigma Community Enrichment Initiative's (SCEI) 2nd Annual Dance-A-Thon fundraiser at Stillman Elementary School on West 4th Street. For the event, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. (Chi Sigma Chapter, 21st CCLC) partnered with Plainfield Public Schools and the Roselle Public Schools. The day started with a Zumba Warm-up, followed by the dance-a-thon. Also, "Healthy Living/Healthy Eating" workshops took place every hour on the hour, and free refreshments (healthy sandwiches, salad, fruit, water, and juices) were provided to all attendees.

While at the event, I ran into one of Plainfield's Finest--Lt. James Abney, who also serves as the city's Coordinator for the Office of Emergency Management. Lt. Abney, a Sigma, is also familiar to many as a member of the Planning Board and as the public safety liaison for the Plainfield United Block Association. I was especially pleased to meet Roselle Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kevin West, who (in addition to his outstanding educational background and leadership) is well known for his work in the Sigma Beta Male Mentoring Program.

In addition to the Dance-A-Thon, there was face painting, basketball, and other youth activities enjoyed by Plainfield's young people through the mentorship of the Sigmas. It was great to see the collaborative spirit among the youth as well as the adults! 
Finally, it's not too late to make a donation to this vital community enrichment organization--click here to learn more about SCEI and to make your donation!

All best,

Rebecca

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rumors of "Unintentional...Bracketing" and Collusion


Rumors of "COLLUSION" and/or a "FIX" on the part of certain individuals have been spreading like wildfire throughout Union County since an article on "bracketing" in CD-12 story was published on Friday.  


There was an interesting article posted on Friday's edition of PolitickerNJ, the online journal for political junkies in our state. I have highlighted the portion that I find most troubling.

Dan Damon wrote about this strange article on his blog yesterday--see that here. I have a few comments to make about things that struck me as very strange. I have posted the article in its entirety below:

CD12 and Plainfield
Watch Plainfield in the 12th Congressional District contest on June 3rd.
Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15) will potentially benefit from a brutal local rivalry where Mayor Adrian Mapp is fighting Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) with three local council seats at stake.
A highly locally motivated Green and Mapp both want those local wins, and they both back Watson Coleman for Congress.
The one possible hang-up for Mapp may be the unintentional off-the-line ballot bracketing of Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D-17) with Mapp's candidates.
In that case, Mapp will have the mechanical challenge of reminding voters to vote for Watson Coleman - who's running on the Union County line - while maintaining their allegiance to local New Democrat candidates opposed to Green's Union County democratic Party-backed candidates.
In that case, Mapp will have the mechanical challenge of reminding voters to vote for Watson Coleman - who's running on the Union County line - while maintaining their allegiance to local New Democrat candidates opposed to Green's Union County democratic Party-backed candidates.
First of all, the New Democrats for Plainfield has its own slogan--New Democrats for Plainfield. As Dan correctly pointed out, we are running our off-the-line Democratic campaign under our own slogan, as we have always done. In order to "bracket" with any other group, both groups have to agree to be bracketed.

I will point out that, back in 2009, when we did attempt to bracket with a group of independent Democrats who were running county candidates:

County Clerk Rajoppi herself denied the bracketing, saying that we could not.  

We were then placed in Column F. Interestingly, the previous year (2008), the clerk placed Adrian Mapp in the SAME column that his opponent (Olive Lynch) was in--Column E. Back then, she gave the reason that the ballot would be too crowded if she added an additional column. Many thought that this was a deliberate attempt to confuse voters--there was no need for this sort of "placement," which certainly favored the county candidates.

How, then, in the following year, could she have created SIX columns and placed the New Dems in Column F if, in 2008, FIVE columns were the maximum? This is one of the questions I was asked--I don't know, is my answer right now. There have often been many more columns in the past.
 
Thus, the suggestion that we may be unintentionally bracketed with Assemblyman Chivikula is a thoroughly erroneous one, and I am sure that County Clerk Rajoppi, with whom I have had a good relationship as a councilwoman and as an officer of the League of Women Voters of Plainfield, will correct the record.

Further, we have endorsed Bonnie Watson Coleman--it should be considered a violation of our right to association to force us into placement in the same column with someone whom we are NOT supporting, and of this Rajoppi must certainly be aware.

So, how then, could a rumor exist that we would be bracketed or placed (against our will and in violation of our slogan) in a column or on a line with a candidate with whom we are NOT affiliated?
  
To add another bizarre omission to the PolitickerNJ story, no mention was made of the other Democratic candidate, Linda Greenstein, or the other candidate, Andrew Zwicker. If any discussion of "bracketing" was underway, why wouldn't at least the third Democratic candidate for CD-12, Linda Greenstein (who is said to be in a statistical dead heat with Coleman in current polls), be mentioned?
 
Why would the rumor be only about "unintentional bracketing" with Upendra Chivukula?

It is here that the suspicions arise, that rumors of a potential "fix" have come to the surface regarding this election. That only Chivukula (and not Greenstein) is mentioned suggests some sort of attempt at "trickery."

For anyone to attempt to force bracketing upon local candidates by putting them in a column with those whom they are not supporting brings with it hints and murmurs of collusion. The rumors can only be abated by County Clerk Rajoppi, who can clarify that there will be no bracketing or "placement" with candidates we are not running with.


We are supportive of Bonnie Watson Coleman, as noted in Mayor (and former New Democrat President) Adrian Mapp's endorsement of her, as well as from my own endorsement. 

Again, the New Democrats for Plainfield filed petitions under our own slogan. We are not bracketing with ANYONE for this primary election, and will be running in our own column. 

Further, any attempts to "place" us in columns with other off-the-line candidates will be seen for the political machination that it is--the people will not stand for transparent game-playing by the bosses!

All best,

Rebecca

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekend Events in Plainfield




Mayor Mapp with owners Terrence and Arlene and the staff of "Just Turkey."

This was a pretty full weekend in Plainfield, with numerous events on hand. On Saturday, I joined Mayor Mapp at the grand opening of Just Turkey, a new business located at 638 South Avenue, just past Berckman Street. The event, with a live band playing, was celebrated with champagne toasts, delicious cake, and samplings of what Just Turkey does best--we had turkey chopped barbecue, turkey salad, turkey wings, turkey burgers, and more. Just Turkey also serves traditional breakfast fare, and is open from 6:30 - 9:00 pm. Below are some photos!
With Alicia Lam at "Just Turkey"
With Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs












Mayor Mapp then headed over to Shiloh Baptist Church to participate in their annual "Kings in the Kitchen" fundraising event. 




 

 The mayor served up buffalo wings, while Charles McRae, my 3rd Ward Democratic running mate, dished out his fabulous banana pudding--Charles took home 1st Prize in the dessert category! 

Celebrity Chef Vonda McPherson of the incredible Vonda's Kitchen also participated in "Kings in the Kitchen"--her shrimp and grits were amazing!







On Sunday, the Plainfield Soccer Club opened its season at Rushmore Park. Here, teams from a number of countries--Guatemala, Barbados, El Salvador, Jamaica, and Dominican Republic, to name just a few--gathered on the field on this beautiful day to prepare for a season of great sportsmanship, collegiality, and fun! Mayor Mapp welcomed the teams and reiterated his commitment to recreational opportunities for all of Plainfield's residents. 

 



I was able to say a few words as well, and the crowd responded enthusiastically to the news that the Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs (PACHA) has finally been reactivated. PACHA President Flor Gonzalez graciously assisted in translating, and Mayor Mapp and I each got to perform an opening kick for the season!


All best,

Rebecca