Thursday, October 27, 2016

LWV's Third Ward Forum

Sharon Robinson-Briggs, Charles McRae

Third Ward City Council candidates in the only local Nov. 8 contest met the public at the Plainfield League of Women Voters forum Wednesday. 
Moderator Sandra Matsen of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey posed questions from the local league and the audience.

In opening statements, Democrat Charles McRae described himself as a 32-year city resident steadily involved in "organizations that push the city forward," including his block association, PTA, city Zoning Board and Citizens' Budget Advisory Board. He said he is "self-motivated and very energetic" and wants to represent the Third Ward on the City Council. Sharon Robinson-Briggs said she is a registered Democrat running as an Independent and led off with a couple of anecdotes about registering people to vote when she was only six years old and supporting same-sex marriage in her first term as mayor. She also took credit for a veterans' march, a City Hall garden, a clock at Municipal Court and street repairs.

Among the questions:

Q. What have you done to prepare yourself for this position?
Robinson-Briggs named serving two terms as the city's first female mayor, school board service including presidency, affiliations with numerous organizations including her block association, NAACP, Angels for Action and CBAC
"I show leadership and continue to show advocacy for the city of Plainfield." she said.
Democrat Charles McRae, Column A
McRae described founding the first African-American fraternity at Rutgers University, PTA presidency and working to pass a $33 million bond issue to build Washington Community School, serving on CBAC and dealing with a $1.8 million budget omission, presidency of his block association and mentoring 70 young men.

Q. What is the city's single biggest issue and specific steps you will take in your first six months to address it?
"Taxes," McRae said, vowing to work with the administration to find ways to reduce taxes. McRae pledged to "be fiscally responsible and not spend money frivolously."
Independent Sharon Robinson-Briggs, Column C
Robinson-Briggs named crime and unemployment as the most serious issues facing the city and called for establishment of a youth center and a training center to reduce crime and help people become gainfully employed. She urged going back "to things that actually work," such as mentoring, community outreach and a gun buy-back program. 

Asked about her most meaningful contribution to government, Robinson-Briggs cited school and city budgets over 11 years and her "unique experience" as mayor.

McRae said he would bring "civility and knowledge, wisdom and understanding of government" to the council, as well as professionalism and Robert's Rules of Order. He said he would read the agenda, interpret the information and be able to have questions ( ask).

Questions from the audience concerned speeding, infighting among council members, how to assess need for veterans' services, Third Ward needs, youth development, quality of life, uses for the former Muhlenberg hospital site and how to keep the city moving forward. On the last one, McRae said he would work with the administration on "projects we have right now," citing a "new-found zeal " of developers to build in the city. he said one issue is the time it takes to move projects through various board approvals and said a technical review committee now helps streamline the process. He said the council also has an Economic Development Committee that should be working to help the city get good, sound development.

Robinson-Briggs said, "We've had positive investment in Plainfield for several years. We're suburban, urban, rural." 

But she objected to a "gigantic" new project on South Second Street, "across from a house of worship."

"I definitely have to learn more about it," she said. "It's not a good look for Plainfield."

(To be continued)


  1. So Briggs objects to a South 2nd St project that is industrial and replaced an industrial project that burned down. What's the problem? What did she do with the empty lot while she was Mayor. And no offense house of worships are on every corner.

  2. That’s strange that Robinson-Briggs would think the South Second Street project is intrusive to the neighborhood, particularly for the house of worship (where she is a member) that sits across from it, don’t she know her good friend and spiritual advisor/pastor Tracy Brown who sits on the council was all gung-ho and a strong advocate for this development.

  3. Mr. McRae "be fiscally responsible and not spend money frivolously." Take a look at City Hall. To many Chief's and not enough Indians.

  4. Amazing that Robinson-Briggs would talk about a project that is bringing more jobs to Plainfield, and also providing affordable housing to the residents in that area. ABC Supply is expanding in our city. Brown and Rivers support this project and even granted a PILOT. She is so ridiculous.

  5. I will be voting for the fabulous Sharon

  6. Last night was Sharon debating McRae or Mayor Mapp. Her focus seemed to be all about what Mapp did or did not do.

  7. I am definitely voting for Sharon a vote for charles is to just rubberstamp everything Mapps does or want. He already has the votes come Jan.Does economic development just mean apartment buildings,and no employment. If Charles think those youth centers are adequate youth centers he is more out of touch than I originally thought.The centers he named are not the type that will keep kids off the street at night, they operate during the day, and close at dusk. Also it is unfair to have the League of Women voters host this type of event, they are all Mapps people. They never attend the NAACP forum. Since they never attend the NAACP forum the League of Mapps voters should not attend LOWV.

  8. I find it disturbing that both canidates mention affiliations with black only support. Briggs NAACP and MCRae founding the first black fraternity. Do they represent all of Plainfield or only black Plainfield. It seems to be a problem in our town, there are many other races who pay taxes that need representaion

    1. I think both organizations were formed initially the provide necessary representation for those who didn't have it. Other ethnicities have groups as well to gain representation in the mainstream population.

    2. To anonymous who commented on the N.a.a.p to learn about mr. Spingarn and the naacp and how it started with blacks and whites on the founding board. Mr. X

    3. Mr. X, can you please stop posting these incoherent comments. Thank you.

    4. Sharon had every budget come back from Trenton with many changes required and she gave her responsibility over to the City Council to balance her budgets. She was always fiscally irresponsible and I don't trust her at all. Go Charles!

    5. Both candidates mentioned their various affiliations. Nothing wrong with that that I can see, and it doesn't mean either is locked into a unitary view of the city. Mr. X gives a brief and truthful insight into the founding of the NAACP, but Anonymi 5:01 and 2:24 apparently have their own bias issues they want to regurgitate by their trolling. Actually, I think Sharon offers not much else but continuing Council skirmishing, while Charles would do best to keep an independent stance that puts all of us above blind factionalism. Meanwhile, Rebecca points out today how both Briggs have once again utilized the local NAACP Facebook page they control to advance their own political aspirations. This should be enough for the national organization to de-certify the local Briggs-run chapter unless its members make a change in leadership.

  9. Joel Spingarn and other whites we're early members of the NAACP. Mr. X