Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Constituent Service: Throw a Party

With all the pressing needs of Latinos in Plainfield, where is the advocacy and leadership?
The late Ray Blanco saw to the establishment of an Hispanic Affairs Commission in 2005, but in the four years of the Green-mentored mayoralty, not a single member has been appointed. Yet JG has time to spend six months organizing a two-day fiesta with food and beer.

His favored representative to the Latino community is a good-hearted JG loyalist who happens not to be a city resident. In contrast, JG has launched vicious attacks on a Plainfield Latino who serves on the school board and who offered his background and expertise to the Regular Democratic Organization a while back, only to be told to stay on the farm team and maybe he would have a chance later.

A broad-based, objective membership on the Hispanic Affairs Commission might have been working all along on such issues as preparing for the best Census outcome, helping Latinos to improve their personal safety, educating the larger community to the legal plights faced by immigrant families and individuals and by generally forging links between these new Plainfielders and other residents. The face of the city has changed remarkably in the last 10 years and there is a lot more to be done than glad-handing Latinos at a fiesta.

Another ordinance passed in 2009 (Correction: 2005) was supposed to help those interested in serving on boards and commissions find out what opportunities exist and how to access them. Here again, one can see the hand of politics when seats get filled by the likes of the mayor's bodyguard, her husband (a very nice guy, by the way), her City Hall greeters, her confidential aide, JG office staffers and many members of the Democratic City Committee. The near and dear are nice, but where is the broad community representation? Plainfield is full of smart, talented people who would be more inclined to serve if there wasn't a political hoop to jump through on the way.

More later ...

--Bernice Paglia

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You conveniently leave out that Al McWilliams did not appoint anyone to the hispanic commision either.

Deceptive blogging.

Tsk tsk.

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo 10:18 -

First, last we checked Al McWilliams was dead and not running for office, so there's no point in holding him accountable for failure to make appointments. Jerry and Sharon are alive, sort of, so we can hold them accountable.

Second, the commission was formed in 2005, so at most McWilliams had 12 months to appoint. Jerry and Sharon have had 3 and one half years, with no action. I think that speaks clearly about their non-interest in Latinos in Plinfield.

Talk about deceptive...

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@10:18 PM. It's not deceptive blogging, just precise blogging. The question isn't whether the Hispanic Commission has been effective. The question is whether or not Asm. Green has actually effectively reached out to the Hispanic community (both as Assemblyman and as Democratic chair).

Regarding appointments to boards and commissions, the political hoop is actually codified. The Plainfield Democratic Party Charter requires elected official to bring all patronage appointments before the Democratic Committee for consideration. (read it for yourself at Councilman Burney's website.) So, even if more people were aware of the application process, who's to say that more people would make it past Jerry Green's partisan test.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernice,
Even with the city in crisis, I have had thoughtful people say to me,"but what is our choice?" When I suggest the Republican candidate for Mayor Of Plainfield, Jim Pivnichney, there is a blank or worse, "he must overcome the legacy of President George Bush." So what must Mr. Pivnichney do to get elected? For starters, take a higher profile-let the voters see his presentational personality. Then, focus on the issues that are grabbers - they will convince the voters he means business and has got what it takes to run Plainfield. Specifically, there is tax abatement, hospital closing, blighted neighborhoods such as North Avenue & the Crescent Historic District, self-serving management practices by the Briggs/Green team that feed the pay-for-play crowd but drive thoughtful people away from Plainfield. If that is not enough, take a look at the inept, some say corrupt, manner of enforcing quality of life issues in Plainfield such as code enforcement(Connolly Properties). In closing, to make a case to convince, Pivnichney needs to go with the grabbers for they are the issues that go to the heart. The heart is where the vote lies-not the brain! The candidate that has emotional appeal is the winner. Let us hope it is Pivnichney.

12:32 PM  
Blogger juliej said...

Bernice, When we supported Ray on the Hispanic Advisory Commission,and it was approved (not an easy feat, mind you)interest and resumes were solicited from both the Hispanic and African American communities. After Ray's passing, it once again came up with the current administration and again interest and resumes were solicited. Nothing came of it and we (those of us who expressed interest and submitted our resumes) never heard anything more about it.

Without an advocate on our city council or in our Administration it will continue to be the sleeping dog it is.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ray Blanco, where are you when we need you the most??

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:18 is right. The past administraton did nothing to fill the Hispanic Commission. Multiple qualified candidates were presented but none were appointed. This is the truth.

Ray Blanco was deeply hurt by this inaction and precedence was set. This current admin continues that trend.

If you want to be critical, then critisism must be levied against both administrations. Not selectively.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 5:33

The commission wasn't passed til late spring 2005, then came the primary, which McWilliams lost. Green was back as Democratic party chair. Do you realy think the lack of appointments was the fault of McWilliams administration, or of Green biding his time til the new/old wave crashed into town? unten

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 6:05

The Mayor has the power of appointment. That power lies only with the Mayor and no one else - not Green, not the Council and not the anyone else (are you are implying that the former Mayor suddenly came under the control of exteral forces).

He had no problem trying to get a bond for $4M for a Senior Center through the Council that Green opposed.

All he had to do was make the nominations. Then it would have been in the Council's hands.

He did not do it.

Not criticizing a man who has passed, but those are the facts.

There is an old saying - if you throw mud sometimes it goes places you did not intend.

Bernice is busy slinging mud every chance she gets. I want to set the record straight.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A position on a city commission is not a patronage job. The Democratic Committee has nothing to do with it, nor does its chairman. The mayor appoints and the Council confirms (or not). I know how disappointed Ray Blanco was that Al McWilliams didn't propose anyone before his term was up December 31--Ray told me himself.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I concede that McWilliams didn't appoint anyone to the commission through his own volition, but I don't concede that Robinson-Briggs isn't more to blame since she has had 4 times longer to accomplish the task, and the Latino population in Plainfield, and the country as a whole, has become larger, stronger and more visible in those four years.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Norman E. Ortega said...

When Ray came to me, because no Hispanic leader supported the idea in Plainfield, I gave him my full support, crafting and getting the Commission passed in the Council. Subsequently, I begged and tried to convince other Hispanic leaders, such as Maria and Christian Estevez to support the effort. They both declined on the basis of ideological make belief. I also tried to convince the mayor and submitted resumes and a list of the persons willing to be appointed. I believe Julie was one of those. But there is no incentive for her to appoint anyone, because aside from Flor Gonzales, Carmen Salavarrieta, Ray and I, no Latino leader supported it. In fact, they publicly objected to it. I blame myself for the whole thing, since I failed to see the entire picture. Nevertheless, if there is going to be an effort in activating the commission, ALL Latino leaders in Plainfield must be in favor of it. Maybe then would the Mayor see the need to appoint members to it.

Norman E. Ortega

9:36 AM  

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