Monday, December 17, 2007

Proceed with Hope and Caution

The sun came out for a brief moment while it was still raining Sunday and I hurried to look out the east window opposite the sun’s location. Sure enough, there was a rainbow arching over the city.

It was nice to see that symbol of hope, if only fleetingly. The city needs some hope right now with so many gaps in leadership.

Meanwhile Dottie G. is trying to keep hope alive that the administration will not cut a position that the Planning Division wants retained in the FY 2008 budget. She is urging people to come to the City Council meeting tonight to speak out on the subject. The meeting is 7:30 p.m. in City Hall. That layoff was already on the table, but last week City Administrator Marc Dashield cautioned that the council’s proposal to cut the budget by $350,000 could result in more layoffs. The discussion may not result in amendments by tonight, but may go over into January.

Residents as well as Planning Board members are increasingly perturbed by the shift of redevelopment studies and plans to an outside agency. There is a sense that decisions are being made before they come up for Planning Board or City Council votes. The two bodies still have the deciding votes, but they have to be careful not to miss anything in the proposals.

Here’s an example: The Netherwood study approved this month was quickly followed by a draft plan, even before the council asked for one. Now, with the administration’s great desire for redevelopment, it could be assumed that the two bodies will follow through on all the steps in due course, so a little foreshadowing does no harm.

But one element in the Netherwood draft plan needs thorough consideration. It is the call for a Revenue Allocation District. Plaintalker in November 2006 described a presentation by attorney Thomas Hastie on New Jersey’s RAD statute. It deserves a careful review before Plainfield authorizes any such district.

Click here to see the Plaintalker post and click here to see Hastie’s presentation.
Hastie called himself the “Pied Piper” of RADs. Before following anyone piping this tune, take a good look at what it means.

--Bernice Paglia


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