Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Green Promises Civics Sessions

Assemblyman Jerry Green told seniors he will bring elected officials to their center next year to explain what they do and to hear the seniors’ concerns.

The promise of civic education came after a senior asked Green to explain what he does as an assemblyman. Green said his job is to make laws and help formulate the state budget. He also heads a housing committee that reviews all proposed legislation on housing issues.

Green spoke after Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs met with seniors Tuesday. He said he and the mayor “spent all day” Monday with the proposed developer of a new senior center and a contract is ready to be signed for the $15 million development.

Questions on elected officials came up after Green said he received personal congratulations from U.S. Senator Bob Menendez for the support he received in Plainfield. But one center member said Menendez should visit and give his thanks in person to voters. She said after elections, voters don’t see the winners for years.

Green used himself as an example of an elected official who spends time with constituents, but said some others don’t.

“You’ve got a lot of them that only show up for their paycheck on Monday,” he said.

Green promised to bring elected officials from local, county and state levels in to meet with seniors.

Center member Emily Washington asked Green to add voter education to his civics lessons, saying seniors may not understand how the new electronic voting machines work.

Asked about vacancies on city boards and commissions, Green said there are many openings and urged seniors to apply. He said one land use board was unable to get a quorum recently, costing a developer a lot of money for experts hired to testify at the failed meeting.

One speaker asked for a directory of vacancies and for the openings to be advertised. Green said he would be “aggressive” about filling the vacancies.

Last year’s Civic Responsibility Act called for a roster of boards and commissions to be created and publicized, but so far it has not happened. The City Council has since added several new boards and commissions, but few appointments have been made.

--Bernice Paglia


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