Saturday, April 12, 2014

What Do We Want For Plainfield?

The flood of comments to a post on Tuesday appears to have been a fluke, but still the tone of many indicates the need for honest talk about Plainfield.  What kind of city do we have, and is it the kind of city we want?

I have lived here for more than 30 years now, and as a reporter I got to interact with perhaps many more parts of the community than most residents. The majority of Plainfielders, of whatever race or class, get along as neighbors and have a common interest in the betterment of the city. In block associations and other organizations, diverse individuals have no problem joining together for the common good.

But in recent years, I have observed an increase in people drawing distinctions and getting off in their own ideological corners. I think the public comment portion of many City Council meetings would bear that out. Some speakers see plots where there are none. Others fling characterizations that do not exist in fact.

My hope had been earlier this year that the proposed revival of the Human Relations Commission and the Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs might foster greater understanding among city residents in all four wards and of all ethnic backgrounds. However, I have not seen any meeting schedules for these organizations so far (nor for several new boards and commissions). Most of us are very busy with work and family and though we may try to advance harmony in our personal interactions, it is up to some of these appointed groups to take on the general task of helping us all get along.

I hope we will soon hear from these organizations and what they are doing to promote good will among Plainfielders. Many people choose to live here specifically because it is a diverse population, but once factions arise and start drawing lines in the sand, diversity is no longer a good thing. If people feel forced to take sides and show solidarity by condemning "the other," the city suffers.

Perhaps later this year we shall see more of a movement to embrace what we have in common as Plainfielders and leave off the negative race and class distinctions that separate us. Let it be so.



  1. Well said. If the list of membership posted on the city site is correct, there are only 3 members listed for the 9 positions. When did the Commission last meet? One problem in the past was that the commission membership was mostly clergy and not representative of multiple ethnic and religious groups that make up this city. Human Relationships was not one of he last administration's priorities.

  2. The Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs (PACHA) met to choose dates for the public meetings--AJ will have the schedule of meetings published. Given that there are so many board/commission meetings, we had to find a date that would conflict with the others at city hall--look for it within the next week, Bernice.



  3. To understand better start by not calling us "we". There's no such thing as "Plainfielders" except in the legal sense. Any assumption that there are or ever can be common goals or attitudes for more than brief periods crashes against all we know of human nature.
    Alliances may shift but factions remain with their conceits, distrusts and prejudices. Hope for stability, search and celebrate the bright spots.

  4. Hi Bernice,

    The Human Relations Commission, of which I am a member, has only had two meetings. We are working on a direction and the needs of Plainfielders. Part of our job is to be a liaison between the Police and Fire Department and the community. As we look at the Charter there is not much of a clear cut direction for us, so we are exploring how we can foster "community" in this town that needs it so badly. We had eight or more years with that feeling being eroded, so we have our work cut out for us. Anyone with concerns or suggestions should be able to leave us a message on the City website or they can email me at People interested in joining us at meetings can do so in the City Hall Library on the second Tuesday evening of each month at 6 p.m. If anyone wants to become a member of the commission, they should get an application from the City Clerk's office and submit it to the mayor's office.

    Thank you,

    Bob Bolmer

  5. 99% of the young people will say "Not to get punched on my way or in the [public] school"

    Believe me I know what is it like to walk "In Fear" at Plainfield High School. If it was not so people would be knocking on the doors trying to enroll.

  6. What I wish for more then anything is honesty in Plainfield politics. Don't say you are a "plain" talker when in fact you are not.

  7. I Want plainfield to be free of all negative people. Be a place where people can come and act as a community, where we can all be behind our schools and support them. Wher we can all leave our property behind for our offsprings. Where our young people can one day call home.

  8. RICHARD GOLDENBERGApril 13, 2014 at 2:15 PM


    Please clarify:
    your definition of a "plain talker",
    who "you" is.

    I think Bernice is as objective and plain spoken as it gets. If you are impugning her honesty at least do it openly and tell us your name.


  9. lets be frank the problem is and always has been with our cities so called leader. Hes done nothing but used this city to make money for his political donors thats a fact look at where the contracts go and who greens donors and you have your answer. They see this city as a trough they can continuously feed until now where the trough is almost dry.

    It really is a shame that his die hard supporters cant see through the every 2 month all you can eat shrimp dinner to see what hes done to this city.

    The man cant even point to a record in trenton to run on anymore. Lets stand up to him this june and his slate of unqualified candidates.

    Send green and his bosses lesniak and charlotte a message that this city is no longer going to sit back and take what they are offering

    Then next year we send him off to his long overdue retirement

  10. It will never happen because of the apathy that exists in Plainfield. Even as people complain about the PMUA, I continue to see a lot of PMUA garbage receptacles. Why? Because people are just too lazy to take the step and free themselves from it. You've been given the chance to opt out, SO DO IT. What do you think would happen if 80% of Plainfielders opted out of the PMUA? If the city can't even unite to do something as simple as opting out, well then, good luck trying to vote Jerry Green out. There is strength in numbers, People, unite for a better Plainfield!!!!