Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Plainfield Comes Through Once Again

Shiloh Baptist Church
1 Chronicles 29:14: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”

Amelia and I, along with members of the New Democrats for Plainfield, would like to thank all those who attended and/or contributed to the Annual MLK Food Drive and Potluck party.
Your generous donations of over a ton of canned goods and other non-perishable food items will be put to good use. This year's donations were given to the food pantry at Plainfield’s Shiloh Baptist Church, where hundreds of needy families are fed on a weekly basis. Please click on this link for more information on the food program and clothes closet:

Because of caring friends and neighbors like you, we were able to make a difference in the lives of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. We are most grateful for your continued support of one of the many worthy causes in our community.
Again, we say thank you and may God bless you.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

MLK Food Drive Tonight: Celebration and Reflection!

Tonight's Annual MLK Jr. Holiday Food Drive & Potluck Celebration will benefit the Shiloh Baptist Church Food Pantry. We will also be kicking off Obama 2012, with a very special guest making an appearance--we look forward to seeing you there!  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Annual MLK, Food Drive and Potluck Celebration

The Annual MLK Jr. Holiday Potluck Party and Canned Food Drive, scheduled for Saturday, January 14th at 7:00 pm, has become one of the primary fixtures of the New Democrats for Plainfield's community service initiatives; it is also a "must attend" event for Plainfielders interested in helping those who are unable to help themselves. Each year, the New Democrats Community Service Team selects a local Plainfield food bank to donate non-perishable foods to. This year’s donations will be given to the Shiloh Baptist Church Food Pantry on West 4th Street.  This annual coming together of friends and caring individuals will be hosted again this year by my wife, Amelia, and me, at our home, located at 535 West 8th Street. 

It is with a sense of community that Amelia and I gladly open our home so that the entire Plainfield community can come together as one, to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

In addition to a delicious variety of potluck food dishes, we will once again have wonderful live jazz guitar music during the evening, provided by Plainfield's own Joe Bonini. We will also have an informal kick-off of Obama '12, so feel free to wear your Obama gear!

Those who are able to donate are asked to drop off canned goods and other non-perishable food items on our front porch, any day of the week, beginning today, and continuing every day up to Saturday, January 14th. Those of you attending the party can bring your donations with you. 

Amelia and I look forward to welcoming you to our home and enjoying a pleasant evening.

Warm regards,


Please note: A snow storm cancels the event, but food items may still be dropped off!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Council President's Remarks: An Agenda for 2012

First, let me begin by thanking my colleagues for the trust and confidence they have placed in me by choosing to elect me as their leader for the 2012 council year. Also, let me extend to all of you here, and to all of the residents of Plainfield, a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

We want, very much, to work cooperatively and collaboratively with the Mayor and her administration to improve the quality of life for all citizen, through enhancements to our public safety across all neighborhoods, proper enforcement of our property maintenance codes, and major improvements to our decaying network of roads.

We also intend to pursue greater partnerships with our other governmental entities such as the BOE, the PHA and the PMUA by way of meaningful shared services agreements. We are asking the Mayor to work with the Council to create shared service arrangements that will advance the goals of City Hall, the Board of Education and other governmental entities.

The Council stands with you to make this happen. To that end we propose the establishment of a Shared Services Committee with representation from the council, the administration, Board of Education, the PMUA, the Plainfield Housing Authority and the Plainfield Public Library. The purpose of this committee would be to identify opportunities for shared services and to make recommendations on how to best leverage resources to reduce cost and improve services.

Also, I have asked the Clerk’s office to reach out to the BOE to arrange a joint meeting between the BOE and the governing body, the agenda will be determined jointly by the two bodies.

Our Senior Citizens have been on the frontline of every battle of every kind that has been fought on every front; they have paid their dues. Colleagues, I ask you to join me in the creation of the Council’s Senior of the Year Recognition Award, an award that will go to one of our seniors for his or her service and dedication to our city and our nation.

Council members: we have an opportunity to appoint a commissioner to the Plainfield Housing Authority this year. Let’s make sure this person brings something positive to the table and is supportive of the redevelopment of Elmwood Gardens; a person that understands the role of a commissioner and who does not seek to cross the boundary that should exist between the commission and employees.

Let's work closely with the Union County One Stop Career Center; let’s create a jobs friendly ordinance aimed at creating employment opportunities for Plainfielders. Every redevelopment project and project funded with government money should go to the One Stop Career Center located in the Park Madison Complex to find Plainfielders who need jobs. Development has begun in our downtown; therefore, the time is right for us to pass an ordinance, in 2012, that makes job creation a reality.

Council members: let's press the Mayor and her administration to take more aggressive actions on bars that serve liquor to patrons that break the law and disturb the peace. We serve as the Alcoholic Beverage Control board and we must insist that police and code enforcement do whatever is necessary to clean up these establishments or put them out of business. We cannot afford to continually send our police officers to break up bar fights; they have more important work to do protecting our residents and making our neighborhoods safe places to live and work.

There have been many discussions during the past year about ownership of the 4.7 miles of highway known as Rt 28 that runs through our city. An agreement that dates back to 1927 placed responsibility for the upkeep of Rt 28 on the backs of Plainfield’s tax payers; it is an agreement that is now beyond our ability to bear. Hence, one of our goals for 2012 is to work with our 22nd district representatives to have legislation introduced that would seek to return Rt 28 to its rightful owner, the State of NJ.

As elected officials, we must be willing to be a part of the shared sacrifices that we are asking of our citizens and tax payers. To this end, the 2012 council will introduce legislation to end health benefits for all elected officials. Additionally, I will propose a Lame Duck Ordinance that will preclude lame duck legislators from attending seminars and conferences at the city's expense.

During the first one hundred days of this year we intend to adopt a capital ordinance that will result in the rebuilding of several of our roads; we will also encourage the administration to use our in-house equipment to preserve the life of our roads through the use of tarring and sealing techniques, and we will provide the financial resources to do so.

Transparency is something that we strongly believe in, that is why our council meetings can be seen on television. We want to expand this service by taping the meetings of the PMUA for broadcast on our cable channels. Additionally, we will work on creating a program that will give each member of the council an opportunity to address the community via 30-minute recorded interviews.

Let me say this: there is no partnership with the Council more important than the one between Mayor and Council. In 2011 the Council saw fit to increase its oversight on the Mayor and her administration. Whether this continues, increases or decreases depends on the level of transparency, mutual trust and respect. Let's all be honest, there is a huge need for improvement, and there are no easy fixes. I call for an improvement process that will lead to a revised schedule for the timely submission of resolutions for the council’s agenda and for an agreement which will result in directors and senior managers meeting with the various council committees. Today I am extending an invitation to the Mayor to meet with the Finance and Administration Committee to work out an agreement.

The people of Plainfield deserve a 2012 that is better than 2011. Therefore, let’s get to work forging meaningful partnerships, improving on our constituent services, delivering on our promises and delivering results. Again, happy New Year, and may God bless each and every one of you.



Thanks to my Colleagues for Their Vote of Confidence

Earlier this evening I was elected president of the Plainfield City Council; my name was moved in nomination by Councilor William Reid and seconded by Councilor Rebecca Williams. I received the unanimous support of my colleagues. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all of them for the trust and confidence they have placed in me in choosing me as their leader for the 2012 council year. I last led the council in 2004; I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role again. With the ongoing support of my colleagues I intend to shepherd some much needed reform, during this legislative session, building on the reform agenda led by former council president Annie Mcwilliams, over the past two years.

Much work lies ahead for us in the coming months; I intend to lead a united council in accomplishing the goals that were outlined during last evening’s re-organization meeting. We must work together in order to harness the untapped synergies of the seven for the common good of, one, Plainfield. I encourage each one of us to get out into the community and make service to our constituents more than just a mantra; let it be our reality as elected officials.

Again, thanks to my colleagues for their vote of confidence.

Warm regards,