The needler in the haystack.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Is Jerry Green about to resign his Assembly seat?

Assemblyman Green's chief of staff, Maria Del Cid,
is leaving.

As if the turmoil around choosing a successor for Jerry Green as chair of the Union County Democratic Committee were not enough, speculation is now rising as to whether the Assemblyman will soon give up his seat in the Legislature.

The speculations come on the heels of news that Green's chief of staff, Maria Del Cid, is leaving.

According to published reports (here and here), Del Cid, who heads the Union County Young Democrats, will become Director of Legislative Services for the NJ Department of Health.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

'State of the City'? Plainfield shrugs

Seal of the City of Plainfield, settled in 1685 and
chartered as a city in 1869.


On Thursday evening, Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp delivered the annual 'State of the City' address, as required by the city's special charter.

This is the mayor's annual opportunity to make the Queen City shine -- to tout the achievements of his or her administration in the previous year, and to outline some of the proposals for the coming year.

As long as I have been in Plainfield (35 years) it has always been an exhaustive (and often exhausting) catalog of things done and to be done. And often enough, attendance has been standing-room only.

Plainfielders are well known for being interested in the improvement of their community. They turn out in droves to hear, discuss and work on community improvement projects.

When Plainfield won the arts grant from AT&T and launched the 'New Audiences' project to assess the condition of the arts in Plainfield and lay out a cultural action plan, over 400 people participated.

Later, during Mayor Al McWilliams' first term, more than 500 people turned out to work for months on a long-range strategic plan for the community, with mass meetings at the nursing school at Muhlenberg.

Even a display of a fantasy complex for Park-Madison, including a hotel and banquet hall, proposed by the architect nephew of real estate investor Rose Walker drew hundreds. And it was just a 'concept'!

Mayor Mapp's 'State of the City' addresses have always been well-attended -- until last night.

When elected officials, senior city staffers, and highlighted volunteers -- such as the Vision 2025 Executive Committee -- are subtracted, the total audience was meager indeed.

With all the good news there was to report (you can find both the State of the City address and the Vision2025 report on the city's website here), I was dumbfounded by the poor turnout.

The Mapp administration would be wise to ask what has happened? and why? and what does it mean? and what is to be done?

It was an opportunity to celebrate our progress.

And Plainfield shrugged.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mayor Mapp's 'State of the City' address Thursday at Washington School

Mayor Mapp will present the 'State of the City'
address Thursday evening.

Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp will deliver the 'State of the City' address on Thursday evening (February 15) at Washington Community School.

This is the mayor's first survey of the Queen City since his re-election to a second term in November. The evening will focus on a review of 2017 achievements as well as a special presentation on the results of the Vision 2025 Initiative undertaken last summer and fall and involving citizen panels focusing on specific issues and opportunities.

The meeting gets under way at 7:00 PM; doors will open at 6:30 PM.

At Washington Community School, 427 Darrow Avenue (parking available in the Spooner Avenue lot or on the street -- mind not to block neighbors' driveways.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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In Union County Dem race, Scutari blinks, ceding high ground to Mahr

Sen.  Nick Scutari is in a 3-way race to replace
Jerry Green as chair of the Union County Democrats.


Plainfield Democratic City Committee members will gather with others from Union County on Wednesday February 21 to elect a new county chairperson to replace Assemblyman Jerry Green, who resigned last week.

Three candidates have emerged: Colleen Mahr, mayor of Fanwood and Acting Chair of the County Committee; Sen. Nick Scutari of Linden, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee; and Anthony Salters, chair of the Hillside Democratic Committee. The tussle is getting rough.

Over the weekend, Scutari penned an OpEd on InsiderNJ (see here) in which he cites the county organization's bylaws as calling for an open ballot -- in which electors indicate their choice in public by raising hands or standing to be counted.

That is indeed what the bylaws call for.

Mahr, on the other hand (joined by Salters), wants to use voting machines to allow delegates to cast secret ballots. She argues this will protect delegates from embarrassment and/or retaliation, and simplify the tallying with a verifiable vote trail which would eliminate arguments over the tallies.

Mahr says she has case law on her side and has lawyered up to take the matter to court (see story here).

Whatever the outcome, Scutari has blinked and ceded the high ground to Mahr.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Council set to settle pothole accident for $220K Monday


Plainfield City Council meets for its business session Monday (February 12) in the Council Chambers/Courthouse at 8:00 PM.

Among the items are appointments of department heads and Planning Board members, as well as several contracts -- including $54,000 for the remodeling of Dudley House into apartments for homeless veterans.

Also on the agenda is Council approval of a $220,000 settlement in a pothole accident that occurred in 2014.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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