Wednesday, October 07, 2009
The Senior Center newsletter is not only mailed to members, it is available at City Hall to the public. Events and comments this week raise the question of whether this group is members-only, and then even open to certain members only. Can a publicly-funded entity bar the public from attending and observing its activities?
As far as this member/blogger is concerned, the mayor has long been aware of my dual role. She has often acknowledged my presence by name at her monthly visits. My camera and notebook have been in plain view.
Now of course news comes in two main flavors, good and bad. The image above is a good-news item where the mayor accepted the gift of a quilt handmade by the senior quilting club.
Here, after seniors marched from the center to a groundbreaking ceremony at 400 East Front Street, the mayor is moved by a song from a young girl for the occasion.
The late center president Charles Nelson and director Sharron Brown are seen here with the mayor on that occasion.
As months wore on, there was some bad news to deliver in terms of delays. Both the mayor's monthly reports and City Council actions were sources in following the story on the blog. Plaintalker reported on the May 20 ceremony at the new center and also on the unfortunate passing of Mr. Nelson.
So here we are in October 2009. A new member who is also a challenger to the mayor's re-election gets removed by two police officers for "campaigning" by asking questions during a question-and-answer session. Within minutes, the Democratic Party chairman turns up to take the microphone and points me out to my fellow seniors as persona non grata in his eyes.
Tuesday's events raise serious questions of free speech and the use of publicly-funded facilities. Expect more news, and decide for yourself whether it is good or bad for Plainfield.