Campaign High Jinks Continue Tonight
Moderator Martha Royster had candidates introduce themselves by name only. When it was Green's turn, one testy citizen yelled from the audience, asking whether Green was running for mayor. But that was not the only outburst. A seat with a name card for Assembly challenger Rick Smiley was vacant at the start. When he arrived, Royster directed him to his prepared place, but Smiley told the sudience, "I have everything but an invitation!"
Royster directed Smiley to give his opening statement as others had done, but Smiley again protested the circumstances.
"This campaign is interesting in a number of ways," he began, noting the forum had been publicized as only for mayoral candidates and it seemed to him he had been left out so as not to be able to present "cogent arguments" on his views.
"I feel very set up by this process," he said.
Green's running mate, Assemblywoman Linda Stender, was not present, adding a further dubious note to the format.
Candidates in the Democratic mayoral primary race included incumbent Sharon Robinson-Briggs, Carol Brokaw-Boles, Martin Cox, Bob Ferraro, Councilman Adrian Mapp and Thomas Turner. Republican mayoral candidate James Pivnichny was also allowed to take part. I took sketchy notes on the opening statements with one eye on the clock, as I had to attend the Shade tree Commission meeting at 7:30 p.m. What I heard was largely rehashes of old issues, fingerpointing and rhetoric, with a dollop of misinformation. The audience seemed to be divided mostly among Regular Dem and New Dem partisans, although "Piv" received polite applause for his comments.
If juggling two meetings was difficult Wednesday, imagine the thrill of learning that there is another 6:30-8:30 p.m. meeting tonight in the Plainfield Public Library, with no conflict! The subject is "Plainfield Water Issues" and it is described as an offshoot of the May 12 FOSH meeting on the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority. Guess who will be there? Assemblyman Jerry Green, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, Council President Rashid Burney, Plainfield Democratic Committee members and representatives of New Jersey American Water, according to an e-mail sent to Plaintalker at 9:40 p.m. Wednesday. I did not see any mention of it on Green's blog.
Some have wondered what the water company has to do with PMUA's rate hikes. The question has been raised on how the rate of incoming household water gets translated to higher output on sewer bills, but that would seem to be something PMUA would have to answer, not the water company. Whether this meeting will be "informational" on water issues or merely serve as the setting for more campaign posturing remains to be seen.