The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mayor Mapp throws down gauntlet to Plainfield Board of Ed


Dr. Caryn Cooper (l.) and Dr. Inez Durham at Tuesday's Board of Ed
meeting. Dr. Cooper will become Acting Superintendent July 1.
(Photo courtesy Plainfield Education Association, via Facebook.)


The clock was approaching 9:30 PM when Plainfield Board of Ed president Emily Morgan announced that the next two members of the public at the microphone would be the last to speak in "Privilege of the floor."

When the young woman who was last got to the mike, she asked the Board to yield  her time so that Mayor Adrian O. Mapp could speak.

Taking the floor, the Mayor noted that Dr. Debra Sheard, who was made Acting Superintendent when Anna Belin Pyles agreed to step aside, was "a breath of fresh air" and, among other things, had begun to actively engage the community -- something he felt should be encouraged, not discouraged.

Mayor Mapp noted that as he campaigned door-to-door in the recent mayoral primary, residents all over town would ask "When are you going to do something about the school system?"

Noting that he does not have any legal authority over the Board of Ed, he said he nevertheless has worked over the past 18 months to identify individuals he believed would "do a good job" as Board members. (With Mayor Mapp's help, newest members Lynn Anderson, Dorien Hurtt (now VP), and Carmencita Pile were elected.)

But, he continued, he has been very disappointed over recent months and weeks to see the Board shift its position on Dr. Sheard -- whom the Board had welcomed with open arms last October -- to the point that it would not even "at a minimum" extend her contract as Assistant Superintendent of Schools.

Then he threw down the gauntlet:  "It is important for me to support candidates who are supportive of people like Dr. Sheard", pointedly reminding the Board there is an election in November in which three seats will be at stake.

As he closed his remarks, the room erupted in thunderous applause.

In other business, the Board voted to appoint Dr. Caryn Cooper, principal of Cook School, as Acting Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1. The next step in the process of finding a new Superintendent will be to name an Interim Superintendent of Schools.

Regarding the 2017 School Board elections, which take place at the same time as the November General Election, the deadline for filing a 2017 candidate petition is Monday, July 31, according to the NJ School Boards Association website (see here). Petitions must be turned in to the County Clerk's office no later than 4:00 PM that date.

The Plainfield Board of Ed is composed of nine elected members. They serve three-year terms, with three up for election each year. Those whose terms end in 2017 are: Terrence Bellamy, Carletta Jeffers, and David Rutherford.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Plainfield concludes LGBT Pride Month with staged reading of 'Five Husbands'


Playwright and Plainfield resident B. V. Marshall.

Plainfield will conclude its celebration of LGBT Pride Month this Friday (June 30) with a staged reading of the comedy Five Husbands, written and directed by award-winning playwright and Plainfield resident B.V. Marshall. The presentation is free and open to the community and takes place in the Theater Space at the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield (FUSP), getting under way at 7:30 PM

Five Husbands details the travails of Oliver, the owner of a small boutique who, despite being successful in other areas of his life, prefers to sleep with unavailable men. The new legality of marriage equality notwithstanding, Oliver rejects marriage and celebrates his independence with his best friend Sally, who is equally free–wheeling. When another man from their mutual past returns, it sets in motion a series of events that forces Oliver to examine his fear of commitment to a relationship, the men in his life and his own views towards commitment.

A member of the Dramatists Guild, playwright B.V. Marshall has received fellowships from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, the Victor Bumbalo/Robert Chesley award for LGBTQ playwriting and four playwriting awards from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His full-length plays include The Red Train CafĂ© at Interact Theatre (Philadelphia) and Pride Film and Plays (Chicago), One Legged Race at Playwrights Theatre of NJ, The Balcony Goat (O’Neill Conference semi-finalist) at Luna Stage (NJ), and Henry’s Bridge at Theatre for a New City (NYC). Marshall’s short plays have been produced around the country. Most recently, his play, Incident at Willow Creek won the Bauer-Boucher award from Kean University and received its first professional reading at Writers Theatre of NJ.

“I am proud to support this event which not only showcases the immense talent to be found here in Plainfield, but also provides a platform for our LGBT community to be highlighted,” said Mayor Adrian O. Mapp. “We are committed to building a more unified Plainfield and events such as these serve to pull us closer together.”

This reading, hosted by Plainfield Council President Rebecca Williams, is being co-sponsored by the City Council and the Office of Community Development under the leadership of Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, and is being produced by Yendor Productions. “I am very excited to be a part of this event for LGBT Pride Month,” stated Council President Williams, the only openly gay member of the City Council. “Plainfield has a large and very diverse LGBT population, and we are happy to celebrate our artists with events such as this.”

The staged reading will be followed by a reception with refreshments and conversation in the Parish Hall. This event is free and open to the public.

FUSP (First Unitarian Society of Plainfield) is at 724 Park Avenue.  Parking available on the street or in the public lot across Park Avenue.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Tuesday Board of Ed meeting could be contentious


There's a lot going on that may make
Tuesday's business meeting contentious.

With all the progress that Plainfield is making in economic development and quality of life issues, the Queen City is becoming an attractive proposition for those looking for reasonably priced housing in a state that has far too little of it.

The public schools are attracting attention because of the perception they are lagging the rest of the community in making Plainfield a more desirable place to live, work, shop and raise a family.

We desperately need to get beyond the current patch of rough road the school district is trying to navigate. Will Tuesday's business meeting bring any progress?

With two special meetings as well as the regular work/study session already this month, it seems the Board is trying. According to the Plainfield Education Association (PEA) Facebook page, tonight's special, closed meeting (June 26) is to interview six internal candidates for the Acting Superintendent position (see the page here).

Among concerns that the PEA is sharing with the public are --
  • The union is "devastated" that Dr. Sheard has not been rehired;


  • There are 120 employees anxiously waiting to be rehired; this is supposed to be a walk-on item at Tuesday's regular business meeting;


  • Concerns over Maxson Middle School if the Board does not support 'Project Lead The Way', a school-wide STEM program; and lastly,


  • Why is the Board seeking waivers for "background clearances/criminal checks" for substitute teachers?
Here are some thoughts and questions I have about the concerns the PEA raises --

In the first place, every resolution that comes before the Board begins with this statement: "The Acting Superintendent of Schools recommends and I (i.e., the Board President) move, adoption of the following:..."

It is the Superintendent's (or Acting Superintendent's) job to put forth the resolutions, so why blame the Board if the Superintendent does (or does not) put forth expected resolutions?

In the case of the 120 employees awaiting reappointment, it should be noted that the Acting Superintendent HAS PUT FORWARD 966 appointments and the hiring of 370 substitute teachers on Tuesday's agenda. Has she some reason for not putting forward the other 120? If so, it is the Acting Superintendent who should be asked the question -- not the Board.

The question of criminal background checks for substitute teachers is only part of the problem in that area. Plainfield, like many other cash-strapped districts, relies heavily on substitute teachers to fill out its teaching staff. Subs are paid on a per diem basis and are much less expensive to the district than full-time teachers. It would be a good thing to have a thorough public discussion of the reasons for using subs and what that does to leave our children shortchanged in the educational process.

As for the proposal to make Maxson Middle School the District's STEM school, I was somewhat mystified by the discussion at the June work/study session, where the Principal was pretty thoroughly questioned by some board members on the proposal.

I sat behind the Principal as she answered the Board's questions, and she seemed quite uncomfortable. Why wouldn't the question of Maxson becoming a STEM school have been worked out before this?

And certainly such a plan would need to be strategized, with a minimum three-to-five year plan laid out. There was no talk of a plan; it all seemed to be stitched together rather hastily.

Is Maxson under special pressure because of the State's view of its performance? Who gets to decide a school's focus will be on STEM? The principal? The Superintendent? The Board? Or some combination of all three?

There is no doubt the charter schools have focused in on a STEM approach (specifically UC TEAMS, Barack Obama Green HS and the College Achieve charter school), and they have been eating the Plainfield District's lunch for years now. I was not persuaded by the discussion that the District has a plan for recovering the initiative from the charter schools on this front. Am I wrong?

All stakeholders will want to come out for the Board of Ed business meeting at 8:00 PM, Tuesday, June 27, at the PHS cafeteria. The agenda (minus any walk-on resolution(s) is online here).

Best parking is the Kenyon Avenue lot, where you can enter the Cafeteria directly.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Saturday, June 24, 2017

This is an unabashed commercial


Header from the Mayor's summer activities email.

This is an unabashed commercial for the Mayor's Email Newsletter, which comes out every Friday to those who have subscribed (more on that below).

This week's issue -- Welcome to Summer!, Volume 4 - Issue 25 -- is a "keeper"

Just about every summer activity for Plainfield residents -- young and old alike -- is listed with dates, times, locations, and fees (where applicable).

Boys' soccer camp?

Got it.

Archery and Martial Arts at Washington School?

No problem.

Summer outdoor movies. Outdoor concert series. Rec Division programs. School District programs. YMCA programs. They're all here, plus more.

If you're not subscribed to the Mayor's newsletter, which also covers weekly updates from City divisions and departments, it's easy to do.

Sign up by calling (908) 753-3310 during business hours Monday to Friday, or send an email to communications@plainfieldnj.gov. If you want the full "Welcome to Summer" email, be sure to mention it.

You'll be glad to be up-to-date with Plainfield happenings and activities.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Friday, June 23, 2017

Trash2Treasure Flea Market tries to beat the weather a second time


The secret of flea markets: Someone else's trash
can be your treasure.


If you're an early bird and like to get busy in the morning, consider the "Trash2Treasure" Flea Market being hosted by the Union County Chapter of the Jamaica Organization of New Jersey.

The event runs from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM This Saturday (June 24) in the vacant lot on Watchung Avenue at East 6th Street, between City Hall and the Salvation Army. (This is a replay of the original, scheduled for earlier this month but rained out.)
The name says it all: here's an opportunity to turn someone else's "trash" into your "treasure".

The event is free. Why not stop by before the R&B concert? Parking available on the street or in the lot behind City Hall.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Long disbanded Plainfield organization being reborn


A classic Plainfield view.

A long-disbanded Plainfield educational and leadership organization is being reborn.

I came upon this energetic group accidentally. They are reviving an organization that formerly functioned in Plainfield for many years.

I will shortly post a notice of their chartering meeting, to which the public will be invited.

Stay tuned.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

9th Annual SID Block Party is Saturday


SID President Nimrod Webb and event specialist Pat Fields,
at a SID Block Party.


Plainfield's Special Improvement District (SID) hosts its 9th Annual downtown Block Party Saturday, June 24, from Noon to 4:00 PM.

The popular FREE event features non-stop entertainment on a stage set up on Front Street between Park and Watchung Avenues.

This year's lineup includes Sandra Rey (Ecuadorian music); Clown Cepellin del Salvador; the group Tus Rumberas; the Balcon Andino Dance Group; and Banda De Guerra El Sombrero Azul (El Salvador); plus Ballroom Dancing exhibitions.

More than thirty local vendors and information booths will line the street, including services and nonprofits.

Kids will enjoy a FREE bounce house, and all will have an opportunity to tour a Plainfield Rescue Squad ambulance.

The rain date is Saturday, July 8. For more information, call (908) 756-1088.

The Plainfield SID is composed of hundreds of businesses and property owners focused in two areas: the Downtown Business District, and the South Avenue District. Supported ny voluntary assessments and the City of Plainfield, it engages in a series of activities throughout the year to promote shopping and dining in Plainfield.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Food Nutrition program kicks off Wednesday


The Summer Nutrition Program kicks off Wednesday
at Hannah Atkins Playground.


Plainfield's Summer Nutrition Program kicks off this Wednesday ()June 21) at Hannah Atkins Playground from 3:30 to 7:00 PM.

The program, offered in partnership with the Plainfield Public Schools, guarantees free delicious and nutritious meals for Plainfield youth to age 18 while school is out over the summer months.

Wednesday's kickoff will start the program in a festive atmosphere, with food, fun, games and more.

The City of Plainfield had nearly 8,000 eligible youths in 2016, with nearly 1,800 served in the program, second highest in numbers served in Union County. The aim is to increase family participation in 2017.

Part of the outreach effort is recruiting "Hunger Heroes", residents who agree to share the feeding site information on their social media accounts and by other means. Signups may be made at the Kickoff, with a free "Hunger Heroes" T-shirt to participants (while supplies last).

Recreation staff and volunteers will be doing a literature drop aon Thursday, June 22, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

The program, which is for all city children under 18, will operate in four locations:

  • Hannah Atkins Playground, West 3rd Street & Plainfield Avenue
  • Rushmore Playground, West 3rd & Rushmore Avenue
  • Seidler Field, North & Netherwood Avenues
These three will provide meals Monday through Friday, June 26 to August 18, with a snack at 2:30 PM and Dinner at 5:30 PM.

The fourth site is at City Hall, East 6th Street & Watchung Avenue, where the schedule is Monday through Friday, July 5 through August 11, with breakfast at 8:30 AM and lunch at 11:00 AM.

There is no registration paperwork or income eligibility.

For more information, contact the Division of Recreation at (908) 753-3097.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Council tables animal control services contract


Residents questioned the high euthanization rates by the City's
animal control services provider.

Plainfield's City Council certainly deserves an "A" for comportment at Monday evening's business meeting.

With only 10 non-consent items on the agenda, resolutions rolled along at a nice clip, which shows how well things can go when circumstances are right.

Members of the public raised several questions about the animal control services contract, which turned out to be one of only two surprises for the evening. Among their concerns were very high rates of euthanizing and failure to provide activity reports in a timely fashion to the City.

When time came to introduce the resolution to hire Associated Humane Societies for the animal control services, there was silence as no Councilor offered to move the resolution. After a moment's hesitation, and an inquiry to the Corporation Counsel whether a motion to table the resolution would be in order (it was so ruled), the resolution was quickly tabled on a unanimous voice vote until the July meeting.

The other surprise came in the voting on the first reading of the Muhlenberg Hospital Redevelopment Plan (MC 2017-17). Councilor Toliver voted 'no', stating that she was doing so because there had  been no consideration of using the site for a new municipal complex. The ordinance passed on first reading 5-1, with Toliver voting 'no'. (Councilor Rivers was not present at the meeting.)

In open comments, resident Tom Kaercher asked for an explanation as to why there was a resolution to commemorate "National Gun Violence Awareness Day" after it had passed.

Resident Tim Priano had several questions, including whether the Council could shorten the time political signs are left up after an election; issues with NJ Transit keeping its properties clean; and not having heard anything further about the Bierstadt paintings (I seem to recall Mayor Mapp asking his committee for a report "in six months", which would probably mean September or October).

Rresident Alan Goldstein spoke to several issues he considers outstanding concerning the PMUA's performance in re: the Interlocal Services Agreement between the city and the agency.

Council President noted that the meeting between the Council and the PMUA Commissioners has been rescheduled for July 10, and invited interested parties to email her questions and comments in advance of the meeting. She can be reached by email at rebecca.williams@plainfieldnj.gov.

The next meeting of City Council is a combined agenda/business meeting on July 10 -- along the the joint meeting of the Council and PMUA commissioners, it looks to be a full evening.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Expungement information session offered in Plainfield Tuesday


Expungement can help give someone a fresh start.

Expungement of criminal records in New Jersey is NOT automatic. Though it is possible to have records expunged, it is up to the person involved to initiate the process -- at the correct time and place.

In cases of persons who have been charged with a crime and the charge is subsequently withdrawn, knowing the correct steps and timing can reduce hassles with potential employers in the future.

The cities of Plainfield and Elizabeth are cooperatingin offering two information sessions to equip those who may qualify for expungement to take advantage of the program.

The Plainfield session, which is free and open to the public, takes place Tuesday, June 20, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Plainfield Public Library. For more information, call Comunity Development at (908) 753-3377.

An identical session will be offered at the Elizabeth Public Library on Wednesday, June 21, also from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. (For information, call (908) 820-4052.

David Beverly, ombudsman for the Union County Vicinage, will conduct both sessions.

The Plainfield Public Library is at Park Avenue and West 8th Street and is an accessible facility. Parking is available in the 8th and 9th Street lots. For more information about library hours and programs, visit the library's website at www.plainfieldlibrary.info/.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Council business session Monday, Board of Ed work/study Tuesday


Even Magic 8 Ball has learned to be cautious
about predicting Plainfield meetings.


There are two important Plainfield meetings this week: the City Council meets for its business session on Monday, and the Board of  Ed has a work/study meeting on Tuesday.

COUNCIL BUSINESS MEETING

The first business meeting since the June Primary election has only ten items marked as non-consent (see agenda here), a tantalizing prospect of a shorter-than-usual meeting. However, it would pay not to count your chickens before they're hatched.

Monday's Council meeting will take place in the Council Chambers / Courthouse at East 4th Street and Watchung Avenue. Parking on the street or in the public lot across from Police Headquarters.

BOARD OF ED WORK/STUDY

The Board of Ed's June 20 work/study meeting is scheduled for the PHS Conference Room (see agenda here), but may be moved if public attendance is expected to be large. (Word in the street is that the Sheard matter will once again be a focus of the meeting.) Check back for any changes in the venue.

Parking is always a guessing game when a large crowd is expected. Normally, parking on the street or in the Stelle Avenue lot work best when the meeting is in the Conference Room. However, if the venue is changed to the PHS cafeteria, the Kenyon Avenue lot is your best bet.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Rec Division has two kids' activities this Saturday


Fishing and Father's Day Arts & Crafts offered today.


The Plainfield Division of Parks and Recreation has two kids' activities slated for this Saturday --

FATHERS DAY ARTS & CRAFTS
Sunday is Father's Day. To help kids who are looking for gifts for the occasion, the Recreation Division is offering an arts and crafts workshop at Hannah Atkins Community Center from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM Saturday. Young people will be able to take part in a variety of projects to make a gift for Father's Day.

The Hannah Atkins Community Center is at East 3rd Street and Plainfield Avenue.

HOOKED ON FISHING
, NOT DRUGS
The Saturday morning fishing program will continue until August 5th. The program runs from 9:00 to 11:00 AM every Saturday at Cedar Brook Pond in Cedar Brook Park.

Registration on Community Pass is required for this popular program. Go to the city's website here, and click on the Recreation button in the right column and find your way to Community Pass.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Raising of Rainbow Flag marks Plainfield observance of Pride Month


Rainbow Flag being raised over City Hall
at Thursday's celebration of Gay Pride Month.


Council President Rebecca Williams took the lead in organizing a flag raising on Thursday evening in celebration of Pride Month.

After an invocation by the Rev. Demaris Ortega of the United Church of Christ-Congregational, the Pledge of Allegiance led by Human Relations Commission chairman Bob Bolmer, and remarks by Mayor Adrian O. Mapp on Plainfield's support of its LGBT community as an integral part of the city's slogan "One Plainfield, One Future, the Rainbow Flag was raised on the City Hall flagpole, after which a councilmanic resolution was read aloud.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Board of Ed action on Sheard expected next week


Board members Morgan, Jeffers, Anderson and
Wyatt at Tuesday's work/study session.



There was palpable tension in the air prior to Tuesday's Plainfield Board of Ed work/study meeting.

Rumors swirled all day long: this board member or that one would not show, causing voting problems; Board members would -- or would not -- have to publicly explain their votes on the non-renewal of Dr. Sheard's contract; etc.

Imagining a monster crowd like that in May, I was surprised to pull into the Kenyon Avenue lot about ten minutes before the meeting and find only about 15 cars there. The school security officer standing outside confirmed that the Board meeting was going to be in the cafeteria and not the conference room as originally scheduled.

Agendas for the evening were piled in a box near the doorway and people greeted each other and made small talk while waiting for the meeting to begin -- which it did finally at 8:15.

After the roll was called, Board President Emily Morgan advised the audience the board's attorney had an announcement to make. The gist of the attorney's statement was that the public explanation by Board members of their "no" votes on Dr. Sheard's contract had been "rescinded" that very morning. (English teachers would note the use of the passive voice, rather than simple, direct declarative sentences; perhaps it's a lawyer thing.)

At this point, Acting Superintendent Sheard asked Board President Morgan to allow her to show a short video. Apparently surprised, Morgan asked what it was about. "Achievements in the District from February (when Sheard assumed the acting superintendency) to now," Sheard said. Morgan consented.

It took a few minutes to get the video up and running (evidence of not having conducted a dry run -- never a good idea).

When the short video (maybe four or five minutes) finally got under way, it featured an introduction by Dr. Sheard and then a series of photos of students and staff -- many holding certificates of one sort or another -- cascading, twisting, curling over, and shuffling across the screen (demonstrating that someone knew how to use slide transitions).

The whole thing was a
commercial for Dr. Sheard. There were almost no notations (I did see one) of what the occasions were for the certificates, etc.

The whole production struck me as inappropriate. The Board's reaction was, if anything, flat.

Adding this to the earlier adventures by Dr. Sheard in scheduling "listening sessions" with the community -- which I see as inappropriate for an 'acting superintendent' and unfortunate in not being seen as part of the Board's overall search strategy.

There seem to be boundary issues with the Acting Superintendent.

The Board of Ed meets for its business session next Tuesday, June 20, at 8:00 PM. Check the school's website for the location -- I will hazard a guess that it will be the cafeteria.

Dr. Sheard's case is expected to be on the agenda.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Plainfield celebrates LGBT Pride with flag-raising Thursday


Plainfield will celebrate LGBT Pride Thursday evening.



Plainfield will celebrate LGBT Pride with a flag-raising ceremony at City Hall on Thursday, June 15, at 7:00 PM. All are invited.

The city issued the following press release --



On Thursday, June 15, 2017, at 7:00 pm, the City of Plainfield will hold a flag raising ceremony at City Hall Plaza, located at 515 Watchung Avenue. Council President and Citywide At-large Councilwoman Rebecca Williams will host the event, which is being co-sponsored by the city council and the administration.


"In the shadow of the one-year anniversary of the massacre in Orlando, I think it's important for us to come together to celebrate the great strides we have made as part of the LGBT community in Plainfield and the U.S.," stated Council President Williams, the only openly gay member of the city council. "I would add, though, that even as we celebrate, we cannot take for granted the freedom that we enjoy, and we cannot forget that heinous act a year ago, which was fueled by hate and discrimination. It is fitting that we reflect upon the struggle for equality that continues, and are mindful that the LGBT community is still under attack in many corners of the U.S., whether through legislative means, through job discrimination, through poverty, through lack of health care, and through vicious physical attacks and murder."

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp said "As we continue to grow our City it is important that we send a message that there is no place for intolerance, hatred or discrimination of any kind. Plainfield has always celebrated our diversity, and we are proud of our inclusiveness which is a model for American freedom. I am pleased to celebrate this event with our LGBT community.”

Reverend Damaris Ortega, pastor of Plainfield's United Church of Christ-Congregational, will deliver the invocation, followed by resolutions and proclamations, words from members and allies of the LGBT community in Plainfield, and the flag raising itself. The public is invited to join in the festivities.
City Hall is at 515 Watchung Avenue (at East 6th Street). Parking in the lot at the rear of City Hall.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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County Clerk Rajoppi throws cold water on Plainfield election fantasies


Unofficial tallies on election night were adjusted
upward for several candidates in the final official count.


Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi has released the official counts in the June 6 primary election, dumping cold water on those who have been saying the total non-Mapp votes indicated the mayor did not "really" win the Democratic primary.

Here are Rajoppi's numbers --



CANDIDATE OFFICIAL TALLY
Adrian O. Mapp 2,970
Tracey Brown 2,331
Bridget Rivers 470
Henrilynn Ibezim 148
Total Mapp: 2,970 Total all others: 2,949

All the "alternative facts" crowd may now go sit down.


Thank you.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Plainfield Democratic City Committee reorganizes


Mary Burgwinkle conducts the election of officers.
(l to r): Union County chair Jerry Green, Plainfield
chair Adrian O. Mapp, treasurer Burgwinkle, and
recording secretary Carmencita Pile.


Winners in the voting for Plainfield Democratic City Committee gathered at party headquarters Monday evening to reorganize for the next two year period.

After opening remarks by Chairman Adrian O. Mapp and Union County Dem Chairman Jerry Green, Mary Burgwinkle called the roll of those elected (including one tie vote).

The first item of business, according to state law, was to resolve the tie vote in Ward 1 - District 3. RDO candidate Christian Penaloza and Tracey Brown candidate John W. Smith each received 24 votes. Ms. Burgwinkle read the names of both candidates (only Penaloza was present), and called for a vote. Penaloza won with no opposition.

That being done, the floor was opened to nominations for chair. Adrian Mapp was nominated. There being no other nominations, the voting proceeded unanimously with raised hands and calls of "aye".



Amelia Mapp offers a slate of officers
for nomination.

The floor was then opened for slates of the remaining offices to be filled. Ms. Burgwinkle recognized Amelia Mapp, who entered the following slate into nomination --


OFFICE NOMINEE
1st Vice Chair Rebecca Williams
2nd Vice Chair John Stewart
3rd Vice Chair Jeanette Criscione
4th Vice Chair Sean McKenna
Recording Secretary Carmencita Pile
Corresponding Secretary Beverly Calland
Treasurer Mary Burgwinkle
Sergeant-at-arms Siddeeq El-Amin
Parliamentarian Joylette Mills-Ransome

There being no other slates offered, Ms. Burgwinkle conducted the vote, which was unanimous for the slate.

The remaining item of business was to elect ward captains, who together with the other officers, constitute the Executive Committee.



A portion of the attendees at the reorg meeting.

Attendees broke into four groups, one for each ward and caucused to select one person as Ward captain. The results were: Ward 1: Marleen Powell; Ward 2: Deborah Vietze: Ward 3, Charles McRae; and Ward 4: Elton Armady.

The Union County Democratic Committee meets for its reorganization Tuesday evening (June 13) at 7:00 PM at the Gran Centurions in Clark. City Committee members are also members of the Union County Committee. Chairman Jerry Green is expected to be re-elected.

The banquet hall is at 440 Madison Hill Road in Clark.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Plainfield Dems reorganize Monday; Council agenda session, Board of Ed work/study meeting Tuesday


Bit by bit,we are inching our way toward "just and capable
government."


Primary election over, folks are getting back to work --

PLAINFIELD DEMS REORGANIZE

The Plainfield Democratic City Committee will reorganize for the 2017-2018 term on Monday (June 12) at 7:00 PM at Dem Headquarters, 35 Watchung Avenue.

Newly elected and re-elected members will be seated and officers will be chosen for the next two year period.

Guests are always welcome at PDCC public meetings.

Plainfield Democratic Headquarters is at 35 Watchung Avenue (next to Antojito's Restaurant. Parking available on the street or in the adjacent public lot.

COUNCIL AGENDA SESSION


City Council meets for its June agenda-setting session on Tuesday, June 13, at 7:30 PM in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Avenue. A joint session with the PMUA Commissioners is scheduled for Monday, June 19 (the Council's regular business meeting).

Defeated in the mayoral primary, Councilor Bridget Rivers will serve out the balance of her term through December 31.

The agenda is full of routine matters -- including appointments to the Youth Commission. The Muhlenberg and TODD West redevelopment plans are also on, to be voted on next week. Will Councilors Rivers and Toliver find items to fuss about? Your guess is as good as mine.

Parking and entrance from the lot at the rear of City Hall.

BOARD OF ED WORK/STUDY SESSION


After a hiatus during the primary election period, the Board of Ed will resume its schedule with a Work/Study session, also on June 13. The agenda says that meeting will take place in the PHS Conference Room at 8:00 PM.

However, the appearance of the ominous words "action may be taken" indicate a probable walk-on resolution. If the topic is expected to be contentious, the meeting may be shifted at the last minute to  a larger venue, such as the cafetorium. Be sure to check for any changes before going.

The PHS Conference Room can be accessed through the main entrance at 950 Park Avenue. Parking on the street and in the Stelle and Kenyon Avenue lots.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Shiloh Baptist Church installs 9th Pastor this weekend


Pastor Hodari Hamilton with President Barak Obama.


Shiloh Baptist Church will install its 9th Pastor, the Rev. Hodari K. Hamilton, over the weekend.

The officers and members will host an Installation Banquet on Saturday (June 10) at 2:00 PM at the Bridgewater Marriott.

The Rev. Dr. Lance Watson, Senior Pastor of St. Paul's Baptist Church, Richmond, VA, will preach the installation message. Rev. Dr. Johnnie Fleming, Senior Pastor of Second Baptist Church, Chester, VA, will also take part in the program.

The celebration continues on Sunday, June 11, at Shiloh's 9:00 AM worship service, where REv. Jaimal Hayes, Senior Pastor of Abner Baptist Church in Glen Allen, VA, will be the guest preacher. Rev. Fleming will officiate at the Act of Installation at this service.

Rev. Hamilton, a native of Sacramento, California,, was licensed to preach at age 16. He believes he has been called to equip and encourage God's people through God's Word.



Pastor Hamilton with his wife, the Rev. Khadijah Hamilton, and
their five children.


He is married to Rev. Khadijah Hamilton, M.Div, PMP. They are the proud parents of five children: Hodari, Jr., Nehemiah, Grace, Kendra and Bennaniah.

NOTE: Though the deadline for banquet reservations is past, there may be a few spaces left. If interested, call Pat Fields at (908) 369-1152. The Bridgewater Marriott is at 700 Commons Way, Bridgewater. Donations: Age 13 and up: $45/person; ages 6-12: $20/person; under 6 free.

The Act of Installation will take place during the 9:00 AM service on Sunday morning.

Shiloh Baptist Church is at 515 West Fourth Street (at Liberty Street). Parking available in the lots on West 5th Street or Liberty Street. Visit Shiloh on the web at www.shilohplainfield.org/.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

2017 Dem Primary: Unofficial City Committee results, write-in votes online here


Write-ins from Ward 2, District 3. How's that again?

I am posting the unofficial totals for Plainfield Democatic City Committee online here.

Note that the winners are in GREEN type, the losers in BLACK, and tie votes are in RED. While 60 of the 68 seats are going to the Regular Democratic Organization (Mapp candidates), Tracey Brown and Bridget Rivers did take a few seats, and Bridget Rivers Ward 4 slot and Diane and Alex Toliver's Ward 1 committee seats fell to RDO challengers.

I am also posting the citywide write-in ballots (except for Peter Price,whose write-in is included in its Ward 2 - District 6 slot). See here for the write-ins. There are the usual jokesters (Minnie Mouse got one vote), but I was surprised at the number of write-in votes for people who were already on the printed ballot.

Some write-ins were for people who were on the ballot but the write-in voter indicated an office for which they candidate was NOT running.

Does this mean the ballot was confusing? Or that the voters were "misremembering"?

On to November!


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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