The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Monday, May 30, 2016

Honoring Our Dead - Memorial Day, 2016

This Memorial Day, I thought I would provide the words of Frederick Douglass, the great American patriot and abolitionist who delivered a speech at Arlington National Cemetery in 1871 in honor of Memorial Day (then called “Decoration Day”). Two of his sons, Charles and Lewis, fought in the Civil War—Lewis, a Sergeant Major with the Massachusetts 54th, was wounded in the Battle of Fort Wagner (dramatized in the film, Glory). Although both sons survived the terrible conflict, Douglass reminded listeners of the true meaning of the day, and urged them not to forget the causes of the war. Here is an excerpt—click here for the full speech.

Friends and Fellow Citizens:

Tarry here for a moment. My words shall be few and simple. The solemn rites of this hour and place call for no lengthened speech. There is, in the very air of this resting-ground of the unknown dead a silent, subtle and all-pervading eloquence, far more touching, impressive, and thrilling than living lips have ever uttered. Into the measureless depths of every loyal soul it is now whispering lessons of all that is precious, priceless, holiest, and most enduring in human existence.

Dark and sad will be the hour to this nation when it forgets to pay grateful homage to its greatest benefactors. The offering we bring to-day is due alike to the patriot soldiers dead and their noble comrades who still live; for, whether living or dead, whether in time or eternity, the loyal soldiers who imperiled all for country and freedom are one and inseparable.

Those unknown heroes whose whitened bones have been piously gathered here, and whose green graves we now strew with sweet and beautiful flowers, choice emblems alike of pure hearts and brave spirits, reached, in their glorious career that last highest point of nobleness beyond which human power cannot go. They died for their country.

Below is the transcript of President Barack Obama’s final presidential proclamation in memory of our fallen solders:

- - - - - - -

With courage and a love of country that knows no limits, America's men and women in uniform exemplify patriotism at its core -- stepping into harm's way to protect our people and to safeguard the ideals that have long sustained our democracy.  Those who serve under the stars and stripes embody the highest form of citizenship, and on Memorial Day, we pay solemn tribute to those brave Americans who laid down their lives to defend our freedom.
Since America's earliest days, proud patriots have forged a safer, more secure Nation, and though battlefields have changed and technology has evolved, the selflessness of our service members has remained steadfast.  They have stepped forward when our country was locked in revolution and civil war; fought threats of fascism and terrorism; and led the way in securing peace and stability around the globe.  They have sacrificed more than most of us could ever imagine -- not for glory or gratitude, but for causes greater than themselves.  In the children who replicate their courage and strength, in the spouses and partners who forever seek to mend their broken hearts, and in the parents who mourn the absence of the sons and daughters they raised, we are reminded of our enduring commitment to do right by our fallen warriors and their families.
Those who gave their last full measure of devotion for the values that bind us as one people deserve our utmost respect and gratitude.  In recognizing those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we pledge to never stop working to fulfill our obligations to all members of our Armed Forces so they know we stand beside them every step of the way -- not just when we need them, but also when they need us.
Today, and every day, let us remember the servicemen and women we have lost, and let us honor them by rededicating ourselves to strengthening our Nation's promise.  With love, grace, and reflection, let us honor our fallen fellow Americans, known and unknown, who sacrificed their freedom to ensure our own.
In honor of all of our fallen service members, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, as amended (36 U.S.C. 116), has requested the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer.  The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe, in their own way, the National Moment of Remembrance.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 30, 2016, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time during which people may unite in prayer.
I also ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. I request the Governors of the United States and its Territories, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control.  I also request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period. 
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Hannah Atkins Pool Opening - Tomorrow - Saturday, May 28!

1st  & 4th Ward Councilman Barry Goode with Mayor Adrian Mapp
For  the second year in a row, the Division of Parks and Recreation will be opening the pool at Hannah Atkins Playground in time for Memorial Day so that our community can enjoy the wonderful weather and get a head start on summer. As noted in the flier below, the pool will be open from 12 noon - 5:00 pm. Kids can meet the pool mascot, "Finn, the Dolphin," and enjoy free popcorn and popsicles. The first 50 children to arrive will receive FREE swim goggles. The other pools, at Seidler Field and Rushmore Park, are being readied for the regularly scheduled openings in June.  

The City of Plainfield website has the summer schedule of recreation activities and events, including outdoor movie nights, fishing derbies, free yoga, and more. Click on this link, Plainfield Division of Parks and Recreation, to be taken to the page of activities--please remember to check back regularly, as more events will be added throughout the summer.

I would also urge those of you who use Facebook to "Like" Plainfield's official Facebook page, where you can find out about all the events and happenings through our city. Click here: City of Plainfield, NJ - The Queen City

Contact the Division of Parks and Recreation at (908) 753-3097 or email to find out more information. Enjoy a relaxing Memorial Day.



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Plainfield Activities and Events

Queen City Baseball League players lining up
Zumba on the Plaza--at Plainfield City Hall
There are a number of activities going on in Plainfield--just last week, I attended the open of the Queen City Baseball League, the Youth Fishing Derby, and Zumba on the Plaza (co-sponsored by the City of Plainfield and GrassRoots Community Foundation)--and these events were just the morning activities!

I sometimes get messages from folks who say they didn't know about this or that event--I post events on my blog, on the Facebook pages that focus on Plainfield, and on my own Facebook page. I would suggest that folks go to the city's website--click on the link: to get additional information.

With the Hamilton Family at the Youth Fishing Derby
I also encourage residents to LIKE the city's Facebook page--click on the link: City of Plainfield, NJ - The Queen City so that they can be updated on happenings and news in our city. 

Residents may also want to sign up for the Mayor's weekly online newsletter, which has updates from the various departments and divisions on the administration's initiatives. Just contact Ms. Cynthia Blake at (908) 753-3310 to be added to the list.

There are many more events going on in the coming weeks as we move into summer--the pool openings, summer camp, and other local activities--please sign up to receive updates!

Friday, May 20, 2016


The weather forecast calls for rain all day tomorrow, so, regretfully, we will have to cancel the 2nd Ward Family Fun Day. It will be rescheduled for a later date!

Friday, May 13, 2016

2nd Ward Family Fun Day at Leland Avenue Park - Saturday, May 21

Next Saturday, May 21, from 12 noon - 3:00 pm, 2nd Ward Councilman Cory Storch and I will again co-host the 2nd Ward's Annual Family Fun Day at Leland Avenue Park (next to Cook School). Click on the flier at right and download it! This is an opportunity for all residents--adults and to come out and eat hot dogs and other refreshments, play games, and to enjoy a wonderful after with their neighbors. Although this event is being held in the 2nd Ward,* all residents are invited. I hope to see you there! Below are some photos from our past Family Fun Days!

The egg toss!

 *Family Fun Days in the other wards are being scheduled for later in the summer and fall. Please contact Recreation for those dates.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Haiku for a Rainy Mother's Day

 When I contemplate/The days of my life thus far/Gratefulness abounds. 
  Thanks, Mom...for everything.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Plainfield Budget Passes

This year, I took on the monumental task of serving as Chairperson of the Administration and Finance Committee for the City Council. Going through the budget, line by line, is not an easy task--but it is the greatest responsibility of the council. Working with the Finance team, the goal is to hear from the various city departments and divisions on the administration's introduced budget during the council's budget deliberations, to consider the recommendations of Citizens Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC), and to pass a final budget for the calendar year. 

The administration handed us a very responsible budget, in my opinion, and the hearings went smoothly with those who attended. Every line item asked about was explained in detail by the department and/or division head, with follow up at later meetings. I am happy to say that we were able to hold all the public hearings, get feedback from the CBAC, hold an additional public hearing on budget amendments, and successfully adopt the budget earlier than any other time within memory. 

One recommendation that the CBAC made that should definitely be included is that of requiring council members to attend budget hearings. When the meeting schedule was adopted several months ago, all councilors were asked to approve the proposed dates--all did so. Unfortunately, some council members only attended one of the four meetings. Since passing the budget is the most important responsibility of the council, I think that attendance should be given priority. That said, we got it done.



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Column A Democrats Campaign Kick Off! Keep Plainfield Moving Forward!

Thanks, everyone, for coming to our campaign kick off breakfast! We kept the speeches brief and, right after, we hit the campaign trail. Councilman Barry Goode, Mayor Adrian Mapp, Charles McRae, and I were out all day yesterday, knocking on doors and talking with neighbors. 

With Bonnie Watson Coleman
Over the next five weeks, I will be coming to your block to ask for your support as I vie for the open council seat to become your citywide at-large councilor. I will be campaigning with our Freeholder Linda Carter (Plainfield's own!) and the rest of the COLUMN A Democrats. Linda and I and the rest of our campaign team will be in your neighborhood soon. I am also proud to be on the ballot with Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, the first African American woman to be elected to Congress from New Jersey. We will be campaigning with our congresswoman as well. Please visit our website to join our grassroots movement! We look forward to seeing you all on the campaign trail as we continue to KEEP PLAINFIELD MOVING FORWARD!