Saturday, October 25, 2014

Commenter Has Bad Aim

If using all caps wasn't a clue, the "WOW" tells me exactly who is shilling for the Republican. Too bad you posted on the wrong blog, the old one from May 2010. I don't think many people are going to see that comment.

Election Okey-Doke?

Dear "Concerned Citizen,"

Before you try to put me in a trick bag, remember that there is such a thing as Google where folks can look things up.

The MP3 you sent is obviously from a closed session on personnel and whoever decided to send it to bloggers does not mind breaking the law. Besides, it is about something that happened over a year ago and was apparently resolved, because the person was not fired.

If that is your hole card, it has been peeped.

Friday, October 24, 2014

No Paper, No Plastic - Try Furoshiki

I learned a new word today and a new concept (to me) for carrying things - furoshiki.

All you need is a square of fabric to employ this ancient Japanese technique. It takes shape as you tie knots. See here how furoshiki works.

Maybe on a slow shopping day I will try this at Twin City. I try to bring my own bag and have successfully foiled the bag-surrender rule by having a rolled-up Envirosax bag in my pocket. Sometimes if I am not quick enough, the cashier still stows my stuff in plastic bags. With double-bagging, I can end up with four plastic bags for just two items.

I am already regarded as an eccentric old lady over there for using my own bag. How much more could I shock them by whipping out a flat square and knotting it up into a carry-bag? Of course, this would not work if there was a line. I would hear as much grumbling behind me as when another old person opens a change purse and ever so slowly counts out the exact change.

Plastic bags have been banned in Seattle, You must bring your own or purchase a reusable one. I sent Audrey and Peter some Envirosax and also gave Audrey a clever little bag from JetPens.

Living near Park & Seventh, I have spent a lot of time plucking errant plastic bags out of my garden and the shrubbery. They get stuck in trees and the wind makes them do eerie dances down the driveway. I would love to see them banned in New Jersey.

--Bernice

Be the Change ...

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
--Mahatma Gandhi

Those who say they don't like the local politics have a chance every year to try for change.

In 2015 and beyond, there will be at least three school board seats up for election every year. City Council seats follow a pattern, with Ward 1 paired with the 2&3 at-large seat, Ward 2 with the 1&4 at-large seat, Ward 3 with the Citywide at-large seat and Ward 4 with the Mayoral seat Unexpired terms may also be on the ballot. 

Democrats and Republicans choose committee members and chairs on alternate years. Plainfield has 34 voting districts, each with a male and female seat for a total of 68 committee seats. This year, Republicans filled only 15 and George Gore was elected chairman. Democrats usually fill all 68 seats and in 2015 will choose a chairperson on the Monday after the June primary.

Anyone who wants to run for a local elected office in 2015 would be well advised to start right about now to line up campaign funds and supporters. In January, the Union County Clerk's office publishes a brochure with all relevant milestones, such as candidate filing and election dates and deadlines for voter registration and making changes. Campaign organizers should also become familiar with the state Division of Elections and the Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Generally, party candidates for the June primary must file by late March or early April. For council seats, a Democratic primary win is regarded as tantamount to success in the November general election, given the highly disproportionate number of Democrats to Republicans. Nine times since 2002, New Democrats have won June primaries and once won enough committee seats to choose the chairman.

Independent candidates for council or mayor may file on the date of the June primary. School board candidates used to file the same day, but this year the filing was moved to the end of July.

Politics in Plainfield can be daunting. Candidates must have thick skins and a strong belief in themselves as well as a commitment to serve for the full term they seek. The New Jersey School Board Association offers a candidates' packet that informs those who seek office of what they will be getting into. Council and mayoral candidates may need a mentor who knows local political history to advise them of the obligations and pitfalls of public service.

Good luck to anyone who is willing to try for elective office and to "be the change you wish to see" in Plainfield.

--Bernice

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Happy Diwali



Happy Diwali
to all our
Hindu friends and neighbors

Two New Charter Schools, District Projects Need Update

If two newly-approved charter schools open next year, they will bring the city's total to six and expand a budget line that began at $1.5 million in 2004-05 and is now $17.2 million.

Click on highlighted links for more information.

Gov. Chris Christie approved the two charter school applications Tuesday. Final state Department of Education approval will not come until July 2015 after a review of the applicants' readiness to open.

Details of the proposals were posted in a Courier News article online Wednesday. Cresthaven Academy Charter School anticipates a final K-3 enrollment of 300 students and College Achieve Central Charter School aims to have 1,013 students, though each will start out with fewer..

The city's four current charter schools are the only ones in Union County (scroll down).

Meanwhile, district school construction projects at Cook and Woodland schools appear to have been on hold since 2010. The School Development Authority web site says the projects are in "scope development" with the state Department of Education and the district. Woodland Elementary School is slated for renovations costing $95,200. Frederic W. Cook Elementary School has a project cost of $14.3 million and the SDA site lists a $1.5 fee awarded to Johnson Jones Architects in December 2004. Plaintalker posted a recap of the facilities issues in 2010. Time for an update?

--Bernice

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Read the Public Questions

Public questions on the ballot may be overlooked if voters don't read them ahead of time. The Plainfield League of Women Voters has posted the questions, including one specific to Plainfield, so voters can gain some understanding before going to the polls. Read the full text of public questions here.