On Tuesday, May 26th, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs felt the need to call a press conference in a feeble attempt to refute the crime data reported in the Uniform Crime statistics by the Plainfield Police Department, data that clearly demonstrates an increase in crime of 12.4%. As I walk the streets of our city speaking with homeowners, many have expressed grave concerns about their personal safety as a result of the reported burglaries, home invasions, assaults, car break-ins, and car thefts as well as other crimes that affect their quality of life.
Yet, whenever the issue of crime comes up, the Mayor prides herself in disseminating misleading information that she ought to know is factually incorrect and statistically impossible. For example, she likes to claim that murders are down by 300%. The mayor should know that if she has 15 marbles and she loses all fifteen, she has lost 100 % and would not have any more marbles to lose. In other words, she would have lost all of her marbles.
Another piece of misleading information the mayor has disseminated is her claim that she hired more police officers since taking office on January 01, 2006. Not true!
Here are the FACTS, provided by her own cabinet members, City Administrator Marc Dashield and Police Director Martin Hellwig: when the mayor took office in 2006, there were 151 police officers in the Plainfield Police Department; 95 lived outside of Plainfield, and 56 lived in Plainfield. Today, in 2009, there are only 146 police officers on the force, a decrease of 5 officers since the mayor took office.
In 2004, the city council, of which I was a member, made cuts in the budgets of several departments in an effort to control costs and rising taxes so as to ease the burden on Plainfield’s taxpayers. At the time, the Plainfield Police Department had a duplicate medical prescription plan that was costing Plainfield tax payers $350,000 a year—this plan was not being used by its members. The previous administration and the council had tried, unsuccessfully, to convince the PBA to give up the duplicate prescription plan in an effort to save the jobs of some of its members. The refusal of the PBA leadership at the time to compromise and save the jobs of its own members resulted in the administration having to layoff 8 officers, bringing the number down to 151.
I have had numerous conversations with residents over the last six months regarding their quality of life concerns, and one thing that was made very clear to me is that people don’t feel safe. I intend to address this concern as Plainfield’s next mayor. Plainfield needs a new beginning; we cannot allow ourselves to be stuck in the past—we must move forward. I intend to live up to my promise, with support from the council, to bring the number of police officers up to 160. I will pay for these additional officers with the savings from retirements and attrition and the dollars made available in America’s Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into office by President Obama.
My hand will be open and I will reach out to the leadership of the Police Department and to its union to initiate dialogue and to create a partnership based on mutual respect. As we approach the end of this campaign season, I ask the voters of Plainfield to reject desperate last-minute attempts by the mayor and her supporters to skirt the truth. She has had a whole mayoral term to make good on her promises, and she has come up empty. She has shown that she lacks the capacity to do the math:
12.4 % crime increase
+ 20 % PMUA increase
- 5 police officers
+ 1 closed hospital while the mayor was on the board and said nothing
= a failed administration.
As President of the New Democrats for Plainfield, I am committed to continuing the New Democrats' legacy of ethical, honest leadership for Plainfield’s future. I ask you to give me the opportunity to carry out my vision for the city so that I can deliver the change that is needed. I will govern with an open mind, an open heart, and with care and compassion.
On June 2nd, remember to vote for me, Adrian Mapp, and the entire New Democrat team in column F. Vote for change—vote for Plainfield’s Future.