In a rush to attain Cronehood (ask a feminist), I joined the Plainfield Senior Center as soon as I turned 55 in 1993. It was a symbolic embrace of a new stage of life. I have visited the center as often as possible, although I am still too busy to get on the senior bus and spend the day. My favorite spot is the corner where women create things out of yarn. For a time, I joined in to make tiny crocheted caps for newborns.
More recently, I have dropped off homegrown double pink impatiens and purple oxalis plants for sale to benefit the Sunshine Club. One year, I donated a bunch of reusable drawstring cloth gifts bags for the holiday sale. The display from my presentation on plant propagation ("Plant Parenthood") can still be seen near the front entrance.
Often I dropped in for the mayor's monthly visits, which sometimes yielded bits of news on city matters. The center was the site of the signing of agreements for a new senior center and I have blogged on the groundbreaking as well as stages of progress since 2007.
So off I went Tuesday on foot from Park & Seventh to East Front and Roosevelt for the mayoral visit.
On the way, I saw mayoral candidate Jim Pivnichny's new campaign billboard at East Front and Watchung and at the center I saw the challenger himself, also a center member.
Bibi Taylor, the new director of Administration, Finance, Health and Social Services waited along with the seniors for the mayor. Taylor is the latest in a chain of directors for that department and as such is the administration's lead person for both the existing senior center and the new one that is slated to open soon at 400 East Front Street.
Finally the mayor arrived and the session got underway, first with a moment of silence for members who passed away since the last visit, then with inspirational songs from five members and acknowledgements of birthdays and anniversaries. After updates on various city matters, the mayor was reviewing a decrease in violent crime over her tenure when Pivnichny asked about a large increase in burglaries. The mayor didn't have figures and asked her confidential aide to call Police Director Martin Hellwig for the statistics.
Pivnichny also wanted to counter the mayor's remark that city bloggers don't always tell the truth. A bit of a standoff ensued over whether Pivnichny was "campaigning" and the mayor called for police. Soon two officers were taking Pivnichny away.
After the mayor concluded her session, Assemblyman Jerry Green appeared to speak to the seniors. Green denied he was campaigning, but talked about both the gubernatorial and Assembly races. He also criticized bloggers and singled me out as a"negative person in the room" who was taking notes.
I haven't spoken to him since a chat
we had when he called me at home in July 2008. But as he was leaving, I showed him my membership card and mentioned I had just renewed that day. My point was, I had a right to be there, being a member for 16 years.
Well, Election Day is fast approaching. You must be registered by Oct. 13 to vote on Nov. 3. Besides the mayor and Jim Pivnichny, Deborah Dowe is on the ballot for mayor. Green and Assemblywoman Linda Stender are being challeneged for District 22 Assembly seats by Martin Marks and Bo Vastine of Scotch Plains.
Candidates will appear at two upcoming forums at the Plainfield Public Library. The mayoral candidates and the unopposed 4th Ward candidate, Bridget Rivers, will appear from 6:30 to 8:30 tomorrow night.
On Oct. 28, the League of Women Voters will hold its Candidates' Forum at Emerson School, 305 Emerson Ave. Assembly candidates will speak at 6:30 p.m. and mayoral candidates at 7:30 p.m.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the Nov. 3 general election. The mayoral and 4th Ward terms are four years beginning Jan. 1, 2010 and the Assembly term is two years.