Monday, March 15, 2010

Queen City Baseball League: Doing "Good" By and For Our Children

Whenever an administration at any level of government does anything within its power that runs counter to the interest of the people, the legislative branch of government has a responsibility to act; that means creating legislation to correct the harm that was done or that can be done to its citizens in violation of the public good.

I am again urging my colleagues to join me in passing legislation that would grant use of the City's baseball field (s) to the Queen City Baseball League (QCBL) for the modest annual fee of $1.00. The administration has clearly, by its behavior and by its communication to the QCBL, demonstrated a hard-line position intended to prevent the QCBL from being a force in the city for the good of our children. We have been talking for months but now, we, the governing body of Plainfield, must act.

Moreover, we must, at every turn, continue to do what is right. Legislation intent on creating pathways that lead our children to clean recreational pursuits which may, one day, lead to life-changing opportunities must be given priority. Furthermore, protective legislation should be written to tie the hands of self-serving, obstructionist individuals who are hellbent on placing barriers into the path of those, such as the members of QCBL, whose only agenda is the empowerment of Plainfield's youth.

We must always be “for the cause that needs assistance, against the wrongs that need resistance, for the future in the distance, and that the good that we can do.” (George Linnaeus Banks)

Let's do “good” by and for our children; let's help as many as possible get to home plate.



Monday, March 1, 2010

The "Con" in Connolly : Compromising a Tenant's Health and Safety

Last week, I was contacted by a longtime tenant at the Pingry Arms apartment building, one of Plainfield’s Connolly-owned properties, about the horrible living conditions of his apartment and the resultant stress. He writes: “my home and my nerves are being ruined and I can't even sleep. There is no emergency response from Connolly Properties. My home smells bad and my floors are wet and buckled.”

After receiving this complaint, I immediately contacted City Administrator Bibi Taylor by email with a copy to the Mayor. My goal was to get the city's Inspections and Health departments involved, since the situation, in my mind, was about the health and safety of this tenant. The city responded immediately and is continuing its efforts to have the situation addressed.

However, I continued to receive emails from this tenant over the weekend about the worsening conditions in his apartment and in the building. So, I decided to visit the Pingry Arms in person, at the tenant's invitation, to survey the damage for myself; I was shocked at what I saw.

Paint was peeling from walls and ceilings, ceilings were buckling under the weight of saturation, the floor tiles were buckling from the “mini-ponds” of water that pooled beneath, the walls and carpets were saturated with water and stained as if they were exposed to the elements, and I saw a roof that is in urgent need of repair. The conditions that exist in this building cry out for immediate and urgent attention.

As long as people are forced to live in such deplorable conditions, they are being conned by an apparently unscrupulous landlord; as long as unscrupulous landlords continue to put pressure on tenants to move from floor to floor in an effort to avoid or postpone needed repairs, the tenants are being conned; if the city does not put the full force of its inspections division and our court system to work to compel Connolly Properties to comply with the city's building maintenance codes, in the interest of public health and safety, the tenants are being conned; if the courts refuse to impose the maximum penalties upon Connolly Properties, which should include incarceration until all repairs are done professionally and satisfactorily, the tenants would be forever conned.

Anytime a tenant is forced to live in the deplorable conditions that I witnessed at the Pingry Arms apartment building, with ceilings falling, floors buckling, and water gushing under one’s feet, the health and safety of that individual has been compromised.

As the city moves forward on this issue, I also encourage all tenants in the affected apartments to use the law to their advantage in filing suit against Connolly Properties to remedy this deplorable situation.

I have included a photo of the ceiling damage in the interior of the tenant’s home; you, too, will be outraged by this appalling image.