Thursday, May 15, 2014

Veterans Still Seeking Own Meeting Place

The unresolved issue of veterans having their own gathering place predates this blog, but one of its early entries (on Veterans Day 2005) was on the subject. It came up again at Monday's City Council meeting.

At present, the designated space for a veterans' center at 400 East Front Street is unavailable to them due to terms of the development agreement that calls for it to be turned over once all the building's 63 condos are sold. The agreement was signed in 2007 and celebrated in an event at the old senior center, which was to be replaced by a new one on the ground floor of the condo complex.

 The senior center had a one-day opening before the June 2009 primary won by Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs.

The developer sought a tax abatement in which condo owners would pay less than half their taxes, but it was not approved. As condo sales lagged, units were rented, meaning by 2010 the trigger of total sales for veterans' center occupancy appeared unattainable.

With an impasse caused by terms of the agreement, veterans were left with an option to meet at the new senior center, but found it galling as noted in a 2011 update on the blog. As late as last year, Veterans Center occupancy was a promise not kept.

Nonetheless, at Monday's council meeting, Robinson-Briggs (now the former mayor) dabbled in revisionism by attempting to lay the problem at the feet of Councilwoman Rebecca Williams, saying Williams blocked sale of the Armory where Robinson-Briggs proposed housing veterans in the garage. Insisting the veterans would have had a home, Robinson-Briggs pledged, "I'll  go and cook free one day a week if you give them a home."

Veterans Leroy Sampson, Alex Toliver and Shawn Weeks spoke Monday about the need for a meeting place. Councilman William Reid said the administration would "look into it," but Finance Director Ron West reminded the council of the terms of the development agreement signed in 2007.

"We sold it for a dollar and we can't have a veterans' center?" Council President Bridget Rivers said.

Councilwoman Gloria Taylor said she would volunteer to work on the issue.



  1. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a rival for revisionist history...although me thinks his company is more desirable to most anyone who's been of victim of SRB's caring, attention and adoration.

  2. What about the Tepper's basement as a location?

  3. How is it Rebecca's fault?

    Wasn't this under the old mayor's administration? She couldn't figure it out?

    Why is it that some people in Plainfield can be so duped?

    The real problem as I see it, is that politics in Plainfield is a personality contest, and has nothing to do with qualifications.

    People like SRB because she can be warm and bubbly - so there is an automatic assumption that she is qualified to run a business. Blinders seem to keep people from looking at the facts.

    Adrian Mapp - warm and fuzzy - not so much. But, he is a smart man who understands how government runs and how to run a business. But because he is not Mr. Personality, people overlook the facts and his accomplishments.

    And, by the way SRB - a garage??????? You think that an appropriate place to put men and women who risked their lives for us is a garage???? Seems to me, that supports my assertion of her not getting it?

  4. Robinson-Briggs's "revisionism" regarding my blocking a sale of the armory is an outright lie. How on earth could I block the sale of a state building?? Laughable! I am one of 7 councilors--perhaps she is confused. Also, the idea of housing veterans in a garage was never part of any proposal the mayor brought forth. Actually, the problem was that the administration NEVER brought forth anything--all we received was talk. I wrote several times on the Armory back in 2011 (June 16 and June 21, especially), and my thoughts are available for all to see. My main complaint was that the administration never provided the city council with any proposal. All we got was a presentation by a company that builds charter schools which wanted the city to sign on as a guarantor of their financing! And, we would have to pay $72,000 per year to maintain the armory building until such time as...blah, blah, blah. The mayor never said anything about housing veterans in a garage! Why would we put veterans in those garages?? Another ridiculous idea from a failed administration. I really think the former mayor should take several seats. Her desperate attempts to remain relevant are quite sad to witness.


    1. True that. I guess Sharon's loss has also caused lost memory. Too many of us know what really happened during Sharon's eight years, we also know how the City Council voted and who is making Plainfield government dysfunctional now.

  5. Veterans centers to be had:
    1) Teppers basement.
    2) the City-owned building at 2nd and Netherwood underneath the billboards.
    3) order that a key be provided to the senior center.

    1. East second st where the plfd police allows crack to be sold while they sit in their car and text and sleep the east second st location ownee by the city where they rent the billboard space tp cbs for only dollars a year

  6. Can someone give the reasons why the municipality has the responsibility to provide a hangout for veterans?

    Is federal money available to pay expenses? State? County? Private donations?

  7. I can not help recall the great line which the grandfather mutters in the film "Moonstruck: "I'm confused". Will someone please explain why the Veterans are refused a key to the Senior Center?
    Are they deemed untrustworthy? I suspect many of them qualify as both Seniors and Veteran's.

    Adding to the confusion is the stipulation that the Veterans are not permitted entry to the Veteran's center until the last Condo is sold. In other words this space, apparently fully completed and available for occupancy, must lay fallow pending the final sale. Moreover, it is now laying fallow and unused. What was in anyone's mind when they accepted these onerous provisions? I'm confused.

    Bill Kruse

  8. I believe the senior center key issue is related to liability - letting non-city personnel occupy a city-owned space on their own. The Veterans Center was being used as a sales office for the condos.

    1. Hire an Official Government Key Keeper, 1st prerequisite being a Vet. $1 a year, no benefits.

  9. I wonder who agreed to allow use of the Veterans' Center as an office until all units were sold. Many of us knew that the "Monarch" was a bad idea from the beginning. Someone is getting a free office and the Vets get nothing. That's not a good solution. We're also paying outrageous maintenance fees on this "free" Senior Center. Someone was not thinking clearly and representing Plainfield's best interest here.

  10. During World War II is there was a rivalry among the women in Plainfield and Dunellen as to who [female wise] could attend the dances held for the departing troops over at Camp Kilmer. I was told stories of how all the boys wanted was to talk about their girls back home, as they were soon to be sent to war in Europe. I hope this does not continue at any dances the Plainfield group will possibly have. [smile]

  11. Pat Turner KavanaughMay 16, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    This is so silly.
    Anyone sensible in Plainfield knew the "Monarch" wouldn't sell on Front Street, without reasonable walking distance to the Main Train Station. Blogger Jacquie seems to walk further from Front Street to tha Main Train Station, and take photographs along the way. You go, Jacquie.
    As to JFK's proposal, for what is it?, 600 condo units along Randolph Avenue - LET's GET SERIOUS,,,
    NO NO NO

  12. While I appreciate the service and sacrifice veterans have made to our country, I don't understand why they seem to be so upset with the new mayor over a meeting space. they didn't seem to be as vocal as when the old mayor was there, yet she's leading the charge.

  13. I h ave to agree with 9:18... why is it the City's responsibility to provide a veterans center? I am truly thankful for all they have done, but why is the center the City's responsibility? Raise money to build one. Buy a house and make it into a center. Plainfield is involved in too many day care, drug rehab... Lets focus on running the City and getting things in order first. The Monarch will never sell out unless they drop the prices drastically. Its time they move the RENTAL office into an apartment upstairs and let the veterans have their space. More than enough time has passed. Time to get it done.