Well, here I am again staring at a screen and wondering what difference it makes whether I post or not.
Within 48 hours, the voters will decide which Democrat gets on the ballot for the Nov. 7 general election. Partisans of three of the four mayoral candidates have declared themselves on social media and blogs. (The fourth is apparently just a spoiler.) The obligatory last-minute bombshell was publication of Fire Chief Tidwell's lawsuit against the mayor and other city officials. Never mind that both sides will be heard in a court of law and a decision will be rendered at some future date.
I started a list of pros and cons for each candidate, but my pros and cons may not be yours. I don't expect supporters of Bridget Rivers to be swayed by my opinion that she has not gained sufficient professionalism in her two terms on the council and previous school board experience. Rev. Tracey Brown has moved in more circles beyond Plainfield, but her involvement with the Campbells make me think there will be dues to be paid if she wins. Mayor Adrian Mapp's accomplishments are self-evident to many, though not to his enemies.
The mayor that I think the city needs now is one who can go to Trenton or Washington and advocate for Plainfield as resources dwindle and competition mounts. This mayor must be able to express what the city has done for itself to deserve consideration. At home, this mayor must set an example of fairness and regard for diverse populations that make up the city.
The most valuable skill to have in Plainfield may be the ability to negotiate political pitfalls. Parties want loyalty and solo practitioners want to get paid, one way or another, for their skills. An elected official may face coercion to reward the powerful for their help and must be able to say no when the demand is transgressive.
Council candidates need to know and embrace the legislative role they are seeking, which means reading what they will be voting on, consulting with the executive branch as necessary, listening to constituents and then voting their conscience. At a minimum, council candidates must demonstrate that they know the difference between the executive and legislative branches and will respect the parameters.
What are your standards for a mayor or council member? Make sure your choices measure up and make sure you vote.