Friday, February 6, 2015

Update on US, NJ Conference of Mayors; Immigration Reform

Dear Plainfield,

Although residents have been receiving my weekly email updates on the state of our city, I will also be posting the updates on this blog.  If you want to be placed on the list to receive automatic email updates, please just send an email to: or

Many exciting things have happened since I last communicated with you! I am pleased to share my new information, updates, as well as other useful information. This post focuses on two very important conferences that I attended on behalf of the City of Plainfield.

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

U. S. Conference of Mayors - 83rd Winter Meeting

No longer a freshman Mayor, I attended the informative U.S. Conference of Mayors held at the White House January 21-23, 2015. President Obama delivered remarks at the conference. Below is my synopsis of the Conference topic related to Public Safety.

Strengthening Police-Community Relations in America's Cities
The recent events surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Gardner, and NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu (or other officers lost in the line of duty) cannot be lost in a set of statistics. A report developed by a working group of mayors and police chiefs appointed by the U.S Conference of Mayors provides a series of recommendations.  These recommendations are grouped into six areas. The following are highlights of the recommendations:
  • Building Trust Between Police and Community
    • Police officers need to interact on a daily basis with the community to develop credibility and establish an ongoing dialogue with residents, including those with whom they disagree, to help keep incidents from becoming a crisis.
    • Community policing must be much more than one officer forming a relationship; it involves making inroads in the most challenged areas. 
  • Improving Police Department Practices
    • Departments need to review recruiting and hiring practices to ensure they are reflective of the community they serve.
    • Training should cover more than the procedures of policing. It should help police officers understand their role in a democratic society - how to engage in constitutional policing.
  • Ensuring Timely and Accurate Communications
    • Departments should have procedures in place to ensure that communications will be timely, transparent, honest, and as accurate as possible.
    • It is important to take into account optics - how things look.
  • Conducting Independent Investigations of Deaths Relating to Police Encounters
    • To increase public confidence, police departments should call an independent or outside investigators and agencies when a death occurs during an encounter with a police officer.
  • Addressing Racial and Economic Disparities and Community Frustration with Distrust of Governmental Institutions
    • Ensure that local human rights and human relations commissions are functioning in communities and are focused on police-community relations.
  • Providing National Leadership
    • The Federal government must increase its financial support to local police departments that can be used for hiring officers, providing the needed training and equipment, and improving practices.
  Stay tuned for further conference information in the next few weeks.
New Jersey Conference of Mayors 
As the Mayor of Plainfield, I am a member of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors. This organization provides Mayors in the state of New Jersey the opportunity to meet and discuss issues that face them on a local level and how national and statewide issues may impact their communities. My Chief of Staff represented me at the NJ Conference of Mayors meeting, which was held in Trenton on January 29, 2015.
Opening remarks were made by our old friend and past Director of Public Works and Urban Development, Eric Jackson, who is now Mayor of Trenton. New Jersey State Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) opened the meeting with remarks about the importance of being Mayor and while emphasized the following points: Mayors are on the front lines and whenever there is an issue, people go to them first; Legislators are not sought out by the community and constituents the way Mayors are, especially from a volume perspective; Because of the connection to the local level, Mayors make the best legislators. 

The Speaker spoke at length about the NJ Transportation Trust Fund and how it can be replenished. Funds for the Trust will be depleted at the end of this year. According to the Speaker, "The state has borrowed and refinanced - the can is so big, you can no longer kick it down the road any further." He pointed out that the State's infrastructure is in need of repairs and that Mayors have to work together on the right legislation to help save the Transportation Trust Fund.
One of the ideas I have to help replenish the Transportation Trust Fund is to examine how our current infrastructure is used by the transport of goods via large trucks. Since these trucks are engines that fuel our state and local economy, charging a fee for every container that is picked up and dropped off would help  sustain our local economies. I attended a meeting of the Raritan Valley Coalition on January 26, 2015, where State Assemblyman Wisniewski made some interesting points in his presentation on the Transportation Trust Fund.

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney spoke about the economy and expresses disappointment in our Governor for his recent appointment of an emergency manager for Atlantic City. He perceives this move as an indication that Christie's administration wants the resort to declare bankruptcy. There have been eight bond rating downgrades. The primary concern is that the administration hired two bankruptcy experts to come in and "assist" Atlantic City. According to Sweeney, these moves indicate a belief that the municipality is headed for bankruptcy. The Senate President firmly stated that we cannot let this happen because, if it does, which municipality will next?  It is important to note that the Christie Administration has made no announcement of Atlantic City's declaring bankruptcy. Stay tuned for further state issues that may impact Plainfield.

The President's Executive Order on Immigration – Seminar

My administration will keep residents connected to federal issues that impact our Plainfield families.  On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his executive order on immigration that will have a profound impact on some of the more than 40% Latino population here in the City of Plainfield. Forty residents came out on the evening of January 28, 2015, and attended a seminar and discussion on The President's Executive Order on Immigration. 

The presentation was led by attorney Patrick McGuiness. The discussion centered around work permit eligibility, and how it impacts parents of U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). Details such as changes to the DREAMERS -Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were also an important topic of discussion. The audience was very engaged, took note of important points, and asked many questions. By a show of hands, all participants indicated they want additional seminars on the President's Executive Order on Immigration. Stay tuned for further seminars and announcements covering Immigration Reform.

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