Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Media, Liquor Licenses Dominate Council Meeting

Residents had an hour to chat at Monday's City Council meeting while the governing body met in closed session to discuss a personnel matter. When the meeting opened, Lamar Mackson Sr. led off public comment with a diatribe on the June 4 firing of his son, Lamar David Mackson, the former producer of PCTV programming.

The elder Mackson had railed against the firing last week, along with more than a dozen other supporters of his son, and Council President Bridget Rivers called it a "travesty." She called last week for a closed-door session on the spot to discuss the issue; presumably that was what happened Monday.
Besides praising his son's work at the local television channel, Mackson Sr. alluded Monday to a "biased" transition team report on the media division that he said did not take his son's accomplishments into account.

"It was completely negative," he said.

A member of the team later became the city public information officer and competed for his son's job, he said.

Complicating the subject further, the agenda for Monday's meeting included a resolution for $17,499 to hire a local firm for videography services. The firm includes the person taping the meeting and she had previously worked with the younger Mackson in the same capacity. Finance Director Ron West said there should have been a contract for the services drawn up at the beginning of the year and the action Monday was to "legitimize" the service.

"There should have been a resolution all along," West said.

Councilwoman Gloria Taylor questioned whether the videographer had been getting paid all along.

Rivers said the council and administration were "still in discussion in reference to the future of the media department."

In amending the budget last month, a council majority took funds out of the media salary line specifically for the title of public information officer.
The closed session, along with 49 resolutions and five ordinances, pushed the meeting to nearly four hours.

Many of the resolutions had to do with liquor license renewals, which must be approved by June 30. The roster of proposed renewals last week included three club licenses, eight bar or restaurant licenses and seven liquor store licenses. The council did not receive police reports in last week's packets, but upon review of the number of incidents requiring police response, resolutions for three bars and three liquor stores were tabled Monday.

Councilman Cory Storch began the move to table by noting that a Front Street night club, Faraones, had 148 incidents. Police Captain Steven Soltys said the reports were on non-criminal incidents, such as fights and disorderly conduct, but Storch said the club owner was in effect using the city police force as security. He called for a hearing on the license renewal, but Corporation Counsel David Minchello explained that the governing body, acting as the local Alcoholic Beverage Control board, could impose conditions without a hearing.

"A number of these reports are very troubling," Storch said, and the council went on to table more resolutions for renewal, even though police had approved them.

In public comment later, La Bamba Inn attorney Robert Ferb said putting the resolution off until July would mean his client's license would expire as of June 30. Minchello said the license holder could obtain an ad interim license, but Ferb said it would cause his client an expense.

"Very sorry, Mr. Ferb," Minchello said.

According to the state ABC Handbook, the temporary ad interim license is $75 plus $5 per day. The next regular council meeting is July 14. The other tabled resolutions were for El Palacio Latino Corp., Ben Franklin Liquors, San Homa Liquors and Pickwick Liquor Store.

A resolution to renew the license for Plainfield Liquors was added as a new item and passed, leaving 13 others still not ready for renewal by the June 30 deadline.

The council voted to deny renewal for Arlington Liquors/Clinton Grocery &Deli, based on a police recommendation. Minchello said that action will trigger a hearing.

The next council meeting is an agenda-fixing session at 7:30 p.m. on July 7 in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.



  1. Farones 148 calls how many arrest?quality of life is horrible in plfd. Motorcycles all night on north av and richmond st call the police no attention those bikes zooming up and down north av all night its be the cause of someones death whats the use of having top heavy administration and poor response with citizens complaints. Farones are gonna have events with thousands and liquor. This is crazy!

  2. Think about how much taxpayer money is being spent for the police to go to that establishment 148 times--filing reports, breaking up fights, etc.Consider how much money we are actually talking about in dollars and cents. Consider how many officers are pulled away from other duties to serve as security for this place. It would probably serve the residents of Plainfield more effectively for Mr. Garcia to hire off-duty cops as security, rather than for him to abuse city resources in this way. Rather than giving thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Jerry Green, which is what he does, Mr. Garcia should invest that money in proper security.


    1. Mr Garcia will NOT willingly invest in proper security unless he is forced to do so.
      Why can't you introduce an ordinance that charges a commercial establishment every time over a reasonable number that public safety professionals have to be called to intervene with a patron? If you can't pass that how about setting a threshold number of calls a year and if your establishment exceeds that number your liquor license automatically gets revoked or at least comes under serious review? Or how about if you have more than x dollar volume you must have paid-for security?

  3. Why are the police not taking pictures of the people drinking afternoon and night behind the liquor store? DOES GERRRY GREEN HAVE PUPET STRINGS ON POLICE OFFICERS THAT WERE JUST PROMOTED? They all just stay inside their nice safe Police Station and leave us all out here to take care of ourselves.

  4. anon 12:38 you are a sick person why do you continue to blame Mr. Green for everything. You hare to see a black man with so much power. Stalker

    1. Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
      - Abraham Lincoln

    2. Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.
      - Edward Abbey

    3. Power is like being a lady... if you have to tell people you are, you aren't.
      - Margaret Thatcher

    4. Character is power.
      - Booker T. Washington

  5. Yes, then those persons would be able to spend more time downtown or at the library .... drunk.

  6. 1:05 p.m., you are making allegations of criminal activity against that nightclub owner. Can't you make your point without doing that?

  7. lets give them a few more years of chances.. this is Plainfield after all....

    ..Alcohol is NOT the issue.. it's not the sale of it.. it's not the use of it... it's not what you decide to do with it whether it's to stare at it in your liquor cabinet or shove it up your butt...

    The city is either going to play hardball with those who profit from the sale of it ( and I truly believe there should be as many places as economically can be supported by the commerce of it so the city can reap the windfall of taxes ) and SHOW THEM THERE IS A RESPONSIBLE WAY TO BE A BUSINESS OWNER SELLING ALCOHOL or NOT....

    You speak to the chief of police, public safety, hall monitor or Dr. Feelgood ( what year is it and which way is the wind blowing in Plainfield ?? ) and state what IS A MINIMUM CODE OF CONDUCT FOR BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS IN PUBLIC regarding alcohol... THAT"S IT.. BOTTOM LINE.. MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE STANDARDS AND BEHAVIORS.. and the police are given full authority to enforce and are ENCOURAGED to do it..
    THAT"S IT PEOPLE.. not the back and forth puritanical condemnation of something that is so blah for a subject is SO MUCH OF THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.. the city near where I grew up easily less than half Plainifelds population has 10-15x more places to drink, buy and consume alcohol and there are hardly the issues you see going on in Plainfield.
    Why are these issues going on in Plainfield, because it's allowed. It's been allowed, it's being allowed and it will continue to be allowed until people grow a set and start holding business owner accountable. No whinning and moaning, " Ohhhhh, I feel bad, this is a person's livelihood." THEN THEY SHOULD BE TREATING IT AS SUCH.
    When is the last time you walked into work, gave your boss the finger and told him to screw off ?? WHEN ?? NEVER !! WHY ??? Because it's your livelihood and you are treating it with respect and care. All the things that are thrown by the wayside by many of the business owners who sell alcohol here in Plainfield..and why do they do it.. BECAUSE THEY ARE ALLOWED TO BY A BUNCH OF WEAK KNEED WHINY ASS WISHY WASHY PEOPLE. Stand up, do your job, create a minimum standard for business and individuals behavior regrading alcohol and ENFORCE IT at least as strong as this city enforces uneven sidewalks in front of homeowners properties.
    Damn.. it is so amazing to watch so many people wring their hands and cry "whoa is me".. over something as pathetically uncontroversial as alcohol.

  8. The residents of Plainfield were lambasted over low turnout for primary elections, and you wonder why. The basic issues affecting the average homeowner are ignored ie: dirty streets, streets in need of repair, crime, speeding, loitering etc. Plainfields Fattest (police dept.) are padding their pensions while stuffing their faces at tax payers expense, so obviously they are too busy responding to all the bar fights instead of the needs of the people who pay their salaries. Are these bar patrons voters, homeowners, taxpayers....citizens??? Or are our elected officials getting so much payola that our high tax bills aren't enough?

  9. To add to Ms. Johnson's point, voters don't think there votes matter anymore. With each new administration comes a revolving door of patronage jobs given to people who do nothing to improve the lives of the people they are hired to represent. The Police Dept. is top heavy in both salary and girth. The local politicians like the perks of their position but not the work required to do the job well. The in fighting between Jerry Green, City Council and Mayor Mapp means the City of Plainfield losses. This is why you have a low turnout @ the polls....nothing changes.

  10. 1:06 p.m., I am not publishing anonymous allegations.