Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Struggle Is On

Last week I heard a radio interview with Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City and was impressed by how articulately he described his city, its strengths and its needs. His comments reminded me that mayors in the current climate must be their cities' best ambassadors to state and federal government and other funding entities. In another interview Cornett and other mayors said political infighting must be set aside for the sake of maintaining and advancing their cities.

Having covered seven administrations as a reporter or blogger, I have seen a broad range of approaches to the role of mayor - diplomatic, kleptocratic, shunning phonies, hiring cronies,  acting regal, barely legal, governmental, kind of mental, up to the task, don't even ask! Some think the title is all about them, some understand they are stewards  for a term. Iron fist in velvet glove, or acting purely out of love ...

Well, the filing date for the June primary is April 3. The mayoralty and two City Council seats are up for election this year. In this heavily Democratic city, folk wisdom is that winners of the primary will take the general election in November. Plainfield Republicans are outnumbered more than 14 to 1 by Democrats, but there could be a GOP candidate or two this year. On Primary Day (June 6), independent candidates can file to be on the Nov. 7 ballot. I would not be surprised to see some spoilers emerge to water down votes for the primary winner(s).

If you think "fake news" is bad, wait till you get a load of fake campaign charges in the local elections. Last year a Facebook troll created an account and added all kinds of "friends" before the primary, then started slinging mud in the name of "truth." It retreated into its lair after November, but has slithered out again, so make sure your ish-detector is in full effect of you go on the local Facebook page.

One of the phrases I have heard about Plainfield politics over the years is "crabs in a barrel" - people just clawing over each other to reach the top. In the Trump era, individual ambition may have to yield to a united front for survival as resources dry up and vital programs are gutted. We are already seeing the people marching and resisting as those in power take aim not only at entitlements, but basic human rights.

Here's another phrase I am hearing in 2017: "Trump, escucha! Estamos en la lucha!"



  1. "In the Trump Era ..."

    Thank goodness Plainfield is ALL Democratic Party, that is why things flow so smoothly and we all are peaceful and happy here.

  2. Anon 9:01 that is incorrect you have republicans acting like democrats to get VOTES. As Trump said in his own words if I ran for Mayor I would run as a Republicans because hey are stupid. I am glad Plainfield have city full of intelligent Democrats. We must be much smarter this year when we go to the polls and VOTE for the JUNE primary.

  3. It's my basic human right to have my government protect me from criminals, terrorists and others who sap public resources. Why have people lost sight of the fact that we can't trust or take care of every person who enters this country illegally? That is in part why Muhlenburg closed - can't afford all the charity care. What about the public safety concerns from overcrowded housing with 20 mattresses on the floor in one house. People please get over your liberal agenda and see things as they really are.

    1. Anon 11:24 - that is one scary fake world you live in. I will stay in my world - the one that has its challenges but also has a tradition of taking care of our weakest citizens and also one that welcomes new arrivals to take part in the American experience.

    2. Hallelujah! I'm so glad someone said it. I am in total agreement.

      Let's take care of ourselves first and then, maybe, we can try and take care of others.

      We are living in RADICALLY different times. Emma Lazarus' quote inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty didn't necessarily have in mind insurgents from foreign lands who would come upon our shores with intent to harm us. Unfortunately, a few bad apples do spoil the barrel !

      It's completely understood that we can't paint everyone with a broad-brush -- no matter what side of the issue you find yourself.

      What is even more disgusting in all of this is the opportunistic and pandering politicians, at any level, who use moments like this to secure votes for their next election -- Chuck Schumer comes to mind - safe us all your crocodile tears Chuck!

  4. is time we post a sign that reads
    " you get caught loitering and exctreting on our street after you get drunk you will be arrested and deported ".

  5. Yeah, freeze them all: Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Iraqis, Chinese, Italians, Poles, Irish, Germans, Japanese, Sioux, Seminole, Cherokee, and every other group the "Nativists" have gotten up in arms about since the beginning.

  6. Nativists? Perhaps some are. But is there not another component that you have omitted? I remember a day in September 16 years ago. Our daughter was scheduled to attend a meeting at 8:00 AM in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. We watched traumatized as we saw the second plane hit and subsequently the Towers collapse. We watched the trapped souls leaping to their deaths. Our daughter's home office in Jersey could not reach her or the company office in Tower II. Understandably; the office no longer existed. At about 10;30 our daughter's secretary called us. We saw the number and picked up the phone with trepidation. Miraculously the meeting at last minute had been moved to mid town and she was safe. Our daughter's daughter and all the children whose parents worked in or near the Trade Center were sequestered in a room in their High School while they awaited news regarding their parents. My granddaughter attempted to comfort her classmate who learned that afternoon that she would never see her father again. He was in an ash pile. The next day when my daughter took the commuter train home from work the cars that would never be reclaimed at the various stations had bouquets placed on their hoods. The parents, widows and orphans of thousands of victims Catholic, Jew, Protestant, Muslim, Agnostic and Atheist wept. How can you have the temerity to conflate these realities and the effort, admittedly perhaps imperfectly implemented, to prevent them from recurring with your political bias?
    Bill Kruse

    1. Bill - That is a reality that many of us have a close connection to. However, the muslim ban is not a solution. As you noted, that tragic event was 16 years ago and we have not had any jihadist terrorist attacks on US soil from foreigners (American citizens of middle eastern origin don't count and the figure is still extraordinarily small) originating in any of listed countries in the Presidents ban. Interestingly, a good number of the 9-11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia - and they were not included in the ban.

      Shutting ourselves off from the world is not the answer and it never has been. It will actually create issues and increase recruiting of fools and lost souls into these terrorist organizations. Walling ourselves in is a symbolic surrender and gives the impression that the American public is living in fear. We aren't, in spite of the GOP's best efforts to manipulate. Here are some figures to put it in perspective:
      Number of American's killed annually by (10 average):
      ** Islamic Jihadist Immigrants = 2
      ** Far right-wing terrorists = 5
      ** All Islamic terrorists (US Citizens included) = 9
      ** Armed Toddlers = 21
      ** Lightning = 31
      ** Lawnmowers = 69
      ** Being hit by a bus = 264
      ** Falling out of bed = 737
      ** Shot by another American = 11,737

      So I will do my part and focus on the far bigger dangers, effectively immediately I am banning toddlers with guns and lawnmowers from my home.

      When we are afraid we lose.

    2. Your statistics are comforting. Tonight I will sleep content that the fine young gentlemen roaming the desert in their all terrain vehicles, their heads obscured with balaclavas, waving uzis and black flags are boy scouts on their 14 mile hike. The occasional stop to behead a few non-conformists, or perhaps spice things up with a little immolation, are far away and need not be of concern. You are probably too young, or not a sufficient student of history, to remember the entry into the Sudetenland and what it portended.
      Then too there was that Army Captain who took out some of his brother soldiers. The two mischievous youths who caused a little commotion at the Boston Marathon. Of yes, wasn't there something about a nightclub in Florida? On the west coast a couple who had an attitude toward some postal workers? A few Jersey boys and a Times Square gentleman whose intentions were interdicted? And the men on the USS Cole whose young lives were shortened by some pranksters. Now France and England are in a different universe so I suppose their problems can be dismissed with impunity. A little something in a London subway, or was that WW II? Paris one night and a truck somewhere? Let the French can deal with their problems, we will focus on lawnmower safety. Now, convinced thee is no existential threat to our country form radical jihadists, we can focus on a rational solution. What is wrong with having a hiatus during which we establish a sane process for immigration? Who can look at the faces of the children in the liberated cities and in refugee camps and not be heartbroken. It is massive problem that requires a massive solution. Were you to permit unrestricted immigration it is reasonable to assume that literally 10's of millions from every continent would overwhelm us. What is it that makes people want to live in in our insidious environment? The result would be that our institutions would be eviscerated. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats a lifetime. The United States remains as a bastion of hope, provider of material aid, and example. I suggest that we supply technical and financial aid to rebuild and repopulate the countries that the "boy scouts" have mutilated. To demonstrate through our conduct that a the free economy and democratic principles, with all their limitations, are none the less superior to the alternatives. We can't export our political philosophy any more than we can legislate morality. Immigration should be generous, but rationally administered with regard to rates of entry, numbers entering and the safety of our population. We can debate the methods by which these are achieved, but unrestricted immigration is self defeating for everyone in the long haul, whether it arrives through the deserts on Arizona or Kennedy Airport. Bill Kruse

  7. Bernies riding the struggle bus

  8. To Bill, I am glad your daughter escaped the tragedy of 9/11 and was unharmed.

    9/11 was perpetrated 19 individuals. 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia, and the others were from the United Arab Emirates (2), Egypt, and Lebanon. None of these countries are listed on Trump's immigration ban. Why is that?? Because this ban has very little, if nothing, to do with terrorism.

    Either way, the idea of making broad generalizations of any community based on the actions of the few and then discriminating that entire community based on those generalizations is irrational and inhumane. Should Americans profile young white males who enter schools and religious sanctuaries? One could argue that they seem to have a propensity to kill those within those buildings (Sandy Hook, Columbine, Charleston, Quebec, etc.)

    No, that would be stupid, unconstitutional, and unethical. So is true for an immigration ban on Muslim immigrants (That is Muslim immigrants from countries America does not have strong business ties with).

    Richard Stewart

    1. can read my reply under Anonymous 3:52. To your comment regarding business ties I agree it looks bad. It may well have been Trump's motive for exclusion. These 3 countries do have historic and current relationships that distinguish them from the others that were enumerated; Lebanon in particular. But they all, without exception, are populated by hordes who would very happy to see, and very possibly sacrifice themselves, or willing to strap explosives on their children, to see every American dead. For that reason they should have been on the list.
      Bill Kruse

  9. Bernice,

    Your rhyming skills are dope!