The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Independence Day Parade, Concert, and Fireworks - Saturday, July 2!

Plainfield's Annual Independence Day Parade along Front Street is scheduled to begin at 10:15 am this Saturday, July 2nd, with the theme "Our Seniors, Our Foundation." The parade will be followed by a concert in Cedar Brook Park at 5:00 pm, featuring the legendary soul group The Delfonics and hip hop artist Rahzel, formerly of The Roots. There will also be local acts performing, and vendors will be on hand for concertgoers to purchase refreshments. The fireworks are scheduled for dusk (about 9:25 pm).* So, bring a chair, some bug spray, and some of your own treats and enjoy the day!

*This is a rain-or-shine event--however, in case of rain, the fireworks will be rescheduled to Sunday, July 3rd at dusk (9:25 pm).

Monday, June 27, 2016

Plainfield Community Outdoor Movie Nights Begin This Thursday, June 30!

It's that time again! Plainfield Outdoor Movie Nights are set for this summer, starting this week! The first movie is Avengers: Age of Ultron, scheduled for this Thursday, June 30 at Rushmore Field (1503 W. 3rd Street) at 8:30 pm--dusk, for best viewing.* I attended several of the movie nights last summer, and had a blast. Bring a chair, some extra snacks, maybe a little bug spray, and enjoy being outdoors. The sound system and screen are awesome. The image at right has the entire schedule of films so that you can make plans. Once again, the films are being screened at a variety of locations throughout the Plainfield community, with a focus on kids, teens, and adults. I look forward to seeing you there!

*NOTE: Rain Dates are set for the Friday immediately following the original movie night--i.e., the rain date for this Thursday's screening would be Friday, July 1.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Michael Popper of Plainfield

The sad news of the death of Michael Popper reached us all yesterday. Michael was a wonderful, community-minded man, well-known and well-loved by Plainfield residents, especially in his Netherwood Heights neighborhood. Michael and Jenn, outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers, traveled all over the world, most recently to Machu Picchu. One thing Michael always did was to post photos of his and Jenn's hiking shoes as they hiked around the world, and even close to home--the photo at right is at the Watchung Reservation. Below are a couple of photos of Michael from past community cleanups of the Plainfield Public Library's grounds. Jenn was able to survive the horrible accident that took Michael's life, and I extend my prayers and thoughts to her, to their families, and to their extended family here in Plainfield as they express their profound grief.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Necessities of Life

"It is necessary to constantly remind ourselves that we are not an abomination." --Marlon Riggs

For those of you who snicker, call names, make homophobic comments (and/or stand by while others make them), who minimize the nature of this specific attack on our LGBT sisters and brothers of color with attempts to deflect or deny that this was a hate crime, who don't believe that people like me (black, gay, out, proud) deserve the same rights as you, who misuse religion to spread hatred while saying that you are a Christian...for those of you who deny the children, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandparents, friends, mothers, fathers, and church friends in your own lives whom you KNOW are LGBT family...think about the seeds of destruction that you have sown through your own acts and thoughts, and how that contributes to horrific acts of violence. 

A vigil will be held on the steps of Plainfield City Hall (515 Watchung Avenue) tomorrow (Friday, June 17) at 7:30 pm.  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Of Christ and Politics

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be." (James 3:9-10)
During this election cycle, I was castigated for how I expressed my Christianity by my (presumably) Christian "brothers and sisters." Also, because I do not pledge to a flag, I was called un-American, even though many Christians (such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and other Christians--as well as some Muslims, etc.) do not pledge to an emblem. The absolute hypocrisy on display on Election Day was stunning in its selectivity. I will say this: NO ONE--and I mean NO ONE--will police the way in which I express my Christianity; I do my best to remain true to my religious precepts--I will not compromise or pander to anyone to win an election or to win the "hearts" of those who would stoop to such low levels to try to make me "cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions."*

As I noted elsewhere, I was literally called "the devil" by some of my opponent's supporters, along with snickers and the tacit assent of some current and former elected officials--some of whom were also shouting and spreading falsehoods about me. To those taunts--what the kids would clearly call "bullying"--I simply stood and smiled--I have been taunted and bullied in the past. What was really unfortunate, though, was the fact that this continued even as the children were being let out of school. 

For example, while I was at Hubbard Middle School, one such taunter and bully, Danny Dunn, continually harassed and screamed throughout the entire time that I was there--with not a single word of admonition from the opposing campaign team. As one of the "faces" of that campaign, he did them no favors--some voters were turned off by his tactics. Others who were there shouting at voters looked extremely foolish, especially those elected officials who apparently think that voters still don't know who they are voting for by the time they get to the 100 foot marker. Those voters were harassed as well--many startled by the lack of manners. Where was the civility? What is better: shouting at the top of one's lungs at folks who CLEARLY have come out to vote, or just handing them a palm card and kindly asking them to consider supporting your particular ticket?  

As an adult, I believe that it is important to model behavior to our young people. Those kids who witnessed what I had to deal with just shook their heads and looked confused by their so-called "leaders" acting in such a negative way in public. The immaturity and outright hostility on display at that location (as well as at others I visited) was certainly not in the spirit of Christ. The nasty commentary about me by people who wouldn't know me if they fell over me was also very un-Christian. 

In spite of the hateful and sophomoric attempts to cast me as something I am not, the voters quickly saw through the foolishness and I won the election. I did not scream...I did not shout...I simply asked Plainfield voters whether they had the confidence in me to serve them more effectively as their citywide council representative. 

The people said "YES." 

*Paraphrasing a favorite quote by Lillian Hellman. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Victory - Thank You, Plainfield

Victory...the result of extremely hard work and really getting out the vote. Thank you, Plainfield, for your confidence in me as I pivot with my running mate, Charles McRae,* toward what will be a truly historic Presidential election.

Again, I want to thank everyone who supported Charles and me. Our message got through, and you, the voters of Plainfield, responded to the call. Charles and I will be on the ballot together, but the aesthetics of "Rushmore Redux" precluded--lol. Here's another take!


Monday, June 6, 2016


Well, folks, it's just about over. The final decision as to whom Plainfielders will elect as their At-large and 3rd Ward council representatives is up to the voters. You will, I hope, take a look at my legislative record, my council achievements, and my attendance record since I have been on the council. Charles and I have been endorsed by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Freeholder Linda Carter, Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, Councilors Barry Goode and Cory Storch, the Plainfield Democratic City Committee, and the Union County Democratic Committee. We have been focused on positive results.*
  • My leadership as Chair of the Finance Committee this year led to the earliest budget adoption in recent memory
  • My tenacity as a councilor finally secured passage of Plainfield's Earned Sick Leave Law
  • My advocacy resulted in shutting down a dangerous 4th ward liquor store
  • My commitment to my constituents in Liberty Village ensured that they would not lose their homes
  • My dedication to our youth is why I volunteer for them by leading writing workshops
I have been attentive, present, and deeply involved. I read my council packet every week, and I ask the questions that you, my constituents, expect me to ask. I pull no punches, and honest, ethical leadership is what I have always brought to the table. I am excited to have longtime community activist (and Zoning Board member and former Chairman of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee) Charles McRae, my 3rd Ward running mate, join my colleagues and me on the council so that we can Keep Plainfield Moving Forward.

We are true advocates for all of Plainfield. Vote COLUMN A--All the Way!

*Over the weekend, I received a number of calls, texts, and Facebook messages about the extremely negative and dishonest mailers and handouts that were being distributed in public venues--including at churches (!!!). These were attacks on me, personally and, frankly, beneath the dignity of the office which I seek. It was extremely disappointing to see such desperate measures being used, but I just want to reassure you all that the attacks on me say more about those making them than they do about me. I know who I am and I know the work I have done as a councilor--I take it very seriously. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Bonnie Watson Coleman Endorses Rebecca and Charles on COLUMN A

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman has always been a fighter. That's what I have always admired about her. I had a chance at a recent function to publicly speak about why I am so honored to be on the ballot with her. She is a true progressive, and has fought on behalf of social justice issues throughout her political career. The Congresswoman, who calls me "Professor"--lol--said some very kind words about Charles and me as well. Here's what she said: 
“Rebecca and Charles are committed to creating opportunities to benefit middle class families in Plainfield. With a focus on enhanced public safety, stronger protections for our children, and expanded job creation, I believe that they will continue to be outstanding public servants.” 


Friday, June 3, 2016

Service to the Public - Fulfilling A Dream

As a young politico--lol.

As the standard bearer of the Plainfield Democratic Party running for the open at-large seat on the Plainfield City Council, I pledged to run a clean campaign, and I did. I have always been interested in serving the public, ever since I was a little girl. I always wanted to make my family proud.
As we roll into the final weekend of our campaign, I want to stress that I have been positive throughout...focused on policy issues, contrasting my legislative record, achievements, and attendance record to show that I have been a legislative leader, dedicated to serving ALL the people of Plainfield for all the time that I have been on the city council. I have knocked on your doors, provided you with the best constituent service of which I am capable, and I have shown that I have the ability to get things done.
That is why I have been endorsed by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Freeholder Linda Carter (and the other Freeholders), Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, Councilmen Barry Goode and Cory Storch, the Union County Democratic Committee, and the Plainfield Democratic Committee. I pledged to run a clean campaign, and I did. On Tuesday, I hope you will support me, along with Charles McRae and the entire Column A ticket.

With Clerk Laddie Wyatt (ret.) during my first run.