Friday, October 28, 2016

Commentary on the Candidates' Forum

It was fairly clear at Wednesday's candidate forum that former two-term Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs is still not over her long competition with current Mayor Adrian Mapp. She lost a third-term bid to him in the June 2013 primary, but showed up to chide him at many meetings after he took office in January 2014. Now she is running as an Independent against Democrat Charles McRae for the Third Ward City Council seat which Mapp previously held.

This post on a few topics is a follow-up to my earlier post on the forum.

Hiring and Firing: After eight years as mayor, Sharon Robinson-Briggs should have a better understanding of the separation of powers. As a Third Ward council representative, she would be in the legislative branch, not the executive branch and so would have no power over hiring or firing staff, despite her remarks Wednesday.

Economic Development: Robinson-Briggs contrasted the city with Westfield and Cranford and said Plainfield has "more than our allotted number of dollar stores and nail places." Prior to her administration, the city had a cabinet-level deputy city administrator for economic development, but she p but the responsibility in the hands of a middle manager of Community Development who could be found on the city website only by drilling down several steps. Currently Economic Development is on the front page with a link to the deputy city administrator levels.

The Vet Center: Former Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs signed a deal with developer Glen Fishman that said the Veterans' Center would be sold to the city for $1 only after all 63 condos on the upper three floors were sold. After years of limited sales, some condos were rented and the proposed center remained an office for the Monarch management. She said Wednesday it was the "council :led by our mayor" that would not allow a fee to be paid to open the center during her tenure. It was not occupied by veterans until Veterans' Day 2014, at which time the former mayor took credit.

The Typo: I was not sure I heard Charles McRae take credit for finding a large error in a past city budget, but Dan today wrote "McRae pointed out that, as a member of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee, he caught a $1 million+ error in the budget that Robinson-Briggs had submitted (he politely refrained from naming her, only saying it was during a 'previous administration')"

Actually, I found that error and urged then-City Administrator Marc Dashield to take a look. Initially I did not want to "be .part of the story," a grave sin for journalists, but as a blogger it kind of got to me how the error went unnoticed by so many officials who sent the Municipal Data Sheet document to Trenton with their signatures on it. Read "A Bit of a Stretch" from 2008.

The general election is Nov. 8. Check your sample ballot for your polling place and review your choices for president, Congress, freeholders and Third Ward City Council. (In the other council race, Rebecca Williams is running unopposed for the Citywide at-large seat.

As of Oct. 23, there are 23,321 total Plainfield registered voters, including 14,524 Democrats, 12 Green Party, 12 Libertarian Party, five National Law Party,  two Reform Party, 930 Republicans, six Socialist Party, 23 Conservative Party and 7,793 unaffiliated voters. In the general election, you can vote across party lines as you wish.


  1. We are so VERY fortunate to have a solid Democratic Party town. Just think of the problems we would have otherwise.

  2. Bernice,

    You may remember that a couple of years ago, the Plainfield Chapter of the NAACP, the supposedly non-partisan local chapter of the organization, engaged in partisan politics--in violation of its status--by promoting candidates who were, at that time, running against Charles and me for the Democratic nomination. At the time, Peter Briggs said that it was an oversight and he was not aware that the information had been posted. He wrote, "Thank you for the notification that the information was posted there. I was not aware that the information was posted but will take full responsibility for the issue. My apologies go out to all for the lack of oversight. Peter Briggs President Plainfield NAACP." It was then deleted. Well, once again, we see former Plainfield mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs using the Facebook page of the supposedly "non-partisan" Plainfield Chapter NAACP to promote her candidacy for the 3rd Ward City Council seat. I posted the image from Facebook on my city council blog this morning. They have no credibility as "leadership" of our local NAACP--they continue to endanger its non-profit status by using it as their personal political tool. Shameful.


  3. Rebecca, Did you read Bernice's response to the blatant lie your running mate told regarding $1 million budget error? Before you change the subject, why not address her comment.

    1. I would not call it a "blatant lie." There was dis-remembering on both sides. I probably couldn't remember exact details of things that happened here myself without a written record to consult.