Sunday, February 26, 2017

Dem Accord A Contrast To 2015

How times change. Democratic factions in 2015 are now one, according to Dan's report today.

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp will get the party line to run for a second term and attorney Steve Hockaday (rendered by Dan as "Hockabee") will be the Fourth Ward candidate.

In 2015, Hockaday was backed by the Regular Democratic Organization of Union County and ran for the First & Fourth Ward at-large seat in the June primary against Mapp's Union County Progressive Democratic Organization candidate Barry Goode.

Hockaday lost the 2015 primary to Goode by 66 votes, 522 to 548. In earlier unofficial results, the gap was even smaller.

Incumbent Fourth Ward Councilwoman Bridget Rivers recently announced a run for mayor in an already crowded field including Mapp, former Councilwoman Tracey Brown and former candidate Mustapha Muhammad.

In 2009, Rivers won the Fourth Ward primary over Vera Greaves by six votes, 245 to 239. In 2013, Rivers ran unopposed and got 384 votes.

It appears from Dan's report that the 68-member Democratic City Committee, whose members are elected on Primary Day, will also avoid the 2015 clash of factions.On the Monday following the primary, the committee members will choose a chairman for two years. Mapp is currently the chairman and the seemingly healed political split augurs well for his re-election as chairman.

Given the national uneasiness, it could be a blessing of sorts to have some harmony at the local level..


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Demand Booms for Municipal IDs

It's Saturday, but City Hall is open to accommodate a new demand for Plainfield's Municipal ID card.

In 2016, 111 people enrolled, City Clerk Abubakar Jalloh said, but since the first of this year 217 more have obtained the ID, which he said is accepted by all branches of municipal government, including the Police Division.

Jalloh said today City Hall Library is full of applicants for the ID, which requires use of a special computer and printer. His office on the first floor of City Hall will be open until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays as well as from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays to meet the demand. The office will need an additional computer and printer to speed up the process.

"We are currently booked into the last week of March," he said, noting at an average of 40 a day times 33 days, the office plans to book and issue IDs to 1,500 to 2,000 additional people over the present total of 328.

At the "Day Without Immigrants" rally on Feb. 16, Maritza Martinez of the Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs urged participants to apply for the Municipal ID (note an application in the hands of a man at lower right).

The view in the photo is from the steps of City Hall, where the rally began at noon and continued for hours as stores and restaurants were shuttered to demonstrate how Plainfield would look without immigrants. Similar rallies took place in cities across the nation to show the value of immigrants to the economy.

Since then, the Trump administration has launched roundups of immigrants from communities, ostensibly to remove dangerous individuals, but sweeping up innocent people as well. Plainfield has passed legislation designating the city as "fair and welcoming," meaning in part that local law enforcement will not assist in ICE raids. (Plaintalker will post separately on the legislation.)

Click to learn about Plainfield's Municipal ID


Thursday, February 23, 2017

UCIA Renames Park-Madison "The Jerry Green Building"

Regarding my thought that the Park-Madison building could be renamed in memory of Union County Improvement Authority Executive Director Charlotte DeFilippo, a reader informs me that the Union County Improvement Authority voted in December to rename it "The Jerry Green Building."

Assemblyman Jerry Green is the current chairman of the Union County Democratic Committee, a post that Charlotte DeFilippo also held for many years earlier. He has served in the Assembly since 1992 to present.

Green's legislative office is located in the building, which was built on a lot called Park-Madison  that had been razed for urban renewal decades ago. Development plans changed over and over while the lot was used for parking. It was transformed into a grassy commons with walkways during the tenure of former Mayor Harold Mitchell before the UCIA development.

Thanks to the reader who provided documentation of the UCIA vote!


Ervin Garners Consulting Role

Somebody tasked me with finding out about David Ervin's new role with the PMUA. Checking the minutes online, I saw that the deal went down at the December 13 meeting, which I did not attend as I was on a self-imposed break.

So I made an OPRA request (which the inquirer could have done by him/herself) and received a copy of the resolution. It cites the ability of the authority to award a contract for the provision of "in-house specialized consulting services" and goes on to describe a contract with David Ervin of Inner-City Environmental LLC for a 12-month term at an amount not to exceed $17,500.

So there you have it. In my current confused state from being ill, I can't locate the pertinent comment, but as I recall, the writer took umbrage at Ervin's receiving extra money after he and the late Eric Watson received large settlements in 2012.

See Plaintalker's report on the settlement here.

The PMUA needs only three of five commissioners to approve actions.The vote on the new contract was recorded as Michelle Graham-Lyons, Henry V. Robinson and Charles W. Tyndale saying "yes" and Robin C. Bright and Carol Ann Brokaw saying "no." As an alternate, Pedro Estevez was present but not voting.

The make-up of the commission has changed since then, with Estevez now a full commissioner and Brokaw and Tyndale off the board.


Charlotte DeFilippo Passes

Former Union County Democratic Chairman and Union County Improvement Authority Executive Director Charlotte DeFilippo has passed away, according to several news articles published yesterday.

DeFilippo's role in Plainfield included a last-minute denial of the party line to former Mayor Albert T. McWilliams in 2005 as he sought a third term. McWilliams then tried to run as a Republican, but could not for legal reasons. See Plainfield Plaintalker's report here. Finally, McWilliams mounted a write-in campaign.

The write-in campaign did not succeed. See a post on McWilliams' legacy here.

Under DeFilippo's leadership, the UCIA built the large office building at the corner of West Front Street and Park Avenue.and a strip of storefronts on West Front Street. The project also included a large parking deck. The UCIA was also designated to lead development at other sites, as reported here

The office building was never named for anyone. Might it be named in DeFilippo's memory?


Birthday Greetings

Happy Birthday,
Dr. Yood!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Elder Statesman Has A Birthday

Dr. Harold Yood, the elder statesman of the local blogosphere, will turn 97 on Thursday, so be sure to send him a greeting.

"Old Doc," as he calls himself, makes very astute comments about Plainfield government, among many other topics on his blog, Doc's Potpourri.

Except for military service, he has spent his life in Plainfield and knows its history well. But he also shares his views on many contemporary issues. We can all benefit from his wisdom and ability to contextualize the news, whether from City Hall or the White House.