Monday, February 16, 2015

An Open Letter to Norman Ortega and Margarita Guillermo of the Tri-County Coalition of NJ

I was surprised to read your blog post of Thursday, February 12 (see here) for three reasons, and am addressing my reply primarily to Mr. Ortega, who has some history with this issue:
  • First, you chose to write me in the form of an open letter without having made any effort to reach out to me by phone or email or face-to-face meeting (I will remind you that I have set Wednesday evenings aside for meeting with the public to discuss these sorts of issues). Writing an open letter is unfortunate, because it conveys the impression that this is a topic you have broached with me as Mayor before, which is certainly not true.
  • Second, this is exactly the type of issue that the PACHA (Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs) was designed to handle. You have often and publicly stated that you played an important role in drafting the ordinance creating PACHA with my late friend and colleague, Council President Ray Blanco. Not only that, you were on the very first slate of appointees to the Commission, so you more than anyone should know that PACHA is the place to bring these issues. So I find your open letter even more surprising.
  •  Lastly, I recall that you were deeply supportive of the prior administration's effort to authorize Ms. Carmen Salavarrieta and her Angels In Action organization to issue exactly this type of card. Are you telling the world that you no longer support Ms. Salavarrieta in this matter? If so, the community deserves to know why you have withdrawn your support.
I have no objection to the idea of a city-issued ID card being looked into but, because it would involve the City’s fiscal participation, there are several issues that would need to be ironed out. Therefore, I propose the following:
  • The matter should be taken up by PACHA, which would have the power to make any recommendation for action to the Council and the Administration;
  • Secondly, I will recommend to the Council that it appoint an ad hoc committee of three members to work with PACHA on determining the need, advisability and feasibility of such a City-run program; and
  • Thirdly, that Ms. Salavarrieta and her organization should have the right to defend the existing arrangement before the PACHA.
Further, if the PACHA so advises and the Council committee concurs, my administration will happily forward a detailed proposal to the City Council for funding. Note that if the 2015 budget is adopted before a conclusion to the investigation is reached, the matter will have to wait for the 2016 budget cycle.

Creating One Plainfield - One Future,
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield

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