Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Friends of Sleepy Hollow / Shiloh Baptist Forums

Last night I had an opportunity to attend the Friends of Sleepy Hollow (FOSH) meeting regarding the PMUA. I was very impressed by the Friends of Sleepy Hollow in putting this meeting together. They did an excellent job in presenting fairness and non-partiality. I look forward to working with them in the future and gathering answers they are presently seeking.

I attended the meeting not to be critical, but to gather information from the public and their concerns because I am already reaching out to the different agencies who conduct business with the PMUA. Therefore, before making any public comments, I would like to have the facts in front of me. Many good questions were presented on last evening. Those questions that were not answers, or could not be answered, are those that I will present to those agencies that oversee the PMUA on the State level.

I hope that as we move forward with this particular issue, all sides realize that the way the government has done business in the past, has to change. What was ‘ok’ last year, last month, even a week ago, is not the same anymore. As Chairman of Local Government in the State of New Jersey, all local governments come before my committee. I am hearing the same questions asked by other local governments as I am hearing in Plainfield. Our local elected officials should be prepared to give answers and solutions. I have been accused in the past of being the ‘leader’ in Plainfield. One person said last night even that I have the most ‘influence’ in the City.

It is to this instance I must disagree. Yes, I have a working relationship with local elected officials as Chairman of the Plainfield Democratic Committee. However, a line separates political influence over another elected official versus citizen solicitation of elected officials. I am not allowed to, nor have I, used my political accomplishments as influence over another elected official. I have as a resident of Plainfield however, asked elected officials to exert responsible and accountable practices of governance. These freedoms are those that all residents have the right to exercise. Those elected officials then, who continue to mislead the community in saying I use political influence over local officials, are doing the community a huge disservice.

So the ‘influence’ some elected officials have allowed the public to think I have, I am going to use to support any organization, like the Friends of Sleepy Hollow, who feel they are not receiving local cooperation in having their questions answered and their concerns heard. I will continue to practice such action in sound, ethical, and legal means.

As a taxpayer in the City of Plainfield, I came away from the forum at Shiloh Baptist Church with no solutions, and no real answers to the questions being asked. When the candidates at the forum were allowed to put forth false information to the community, without any rebuttal or challenges to this information, this does not help remedy the concerns of the public. For example, there were no real answers from the candidates as to what they would do as mayor regarding the Muhlenberg issue. There was no plan presented by any of the candidates.

The majority of the candidates stated they would not work with politicians in finding solutions for Muhlenberg. In a political arena, whom are they going to deal with? I am dealing with the Governor’s Office, Commissioner of Health’s Office, POP, and area hospitals experiencing the brunt of the closure, daily. Not one of the candidates who participated in the forum has been in communication with these agencies as to how to deal with the Muhlenberg issue.

Another issue last night was dealing with our youth. One of the biggest issues our youth face is the lack of job opportunities, wrong life choices, and a lack of second chances for them. The latter is exactly why I am thoroughly addressing re-entry programs in the City. I am sure then that the majority of the public went away questioning how these candidates would be able to govern the City as mayor.

Another example of questionable facts offered by a candidate was that there are unaccounted monies in City Hall. That candidate then, needs to bring that grievance to the Prosecutor’s Office. Therefore, when one has this type of forum where people are heaving false, baseless information out, it strongly takes away from the credibility of the forum, and it not fair to the other candidates who have to put up with these accusations.


A few days ago, I brought to the attention of the public an issue dealing with a young female whose rights may have been violated by a security guard at the Plainfield High School. Because the Mapp team controls the Board of Education, their point person, Christian Estevez, who is running on the New Democratic slate as a Committee person, is working very hard behind the scenes to not allow this to become public knowledge. Any other time, Dan Damon and the other bloggers would make this an issue if this were done by the Mayor and her staff. So again, I ask the Mapp and Christian Estevez team, is this true or not? Or are we going to wait until this becomes public knowledge and the City get embarrassed again. Again, Christian Estevez, who is the point person for the Mapp team, is this true or not.

If this were a member of his family, I am sure this issue would have been handled more responsibly. I wonder; is Mr. Estevez more concerned with his wife’s $100,000/yr job, or with the welfare of our City’s children.

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