Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Senior Center Visit

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.
--Bernice Paglia


Blogger Rob said...

So, the mayor uses the police to intimidate a rightful member of the Senior Center and shove him out the door. It's too bad the other Seniors probably won't see just how Nazi Germany that truly is. Heil Sharon!
If you are a liar, Jerry and Sharon are filthy stinking rotten liars. Because they don't even care when they are caught for proven wrong. Maybe next time Jerry thinks you lied Bernice he and Sharon "will call their Mommies on you and tell them you are bad..."

6:40 AM  
Blogger Joan said...

Bernice -
I believe that the Assembly candidates will also be at the library tonight so you can have chat with Mr. Green. The NAACP is holding a forum on the 25th.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernice, you have a right to be there, but you were not there as a citizen. You were there as a blogger. And you blogged about it. So I think Jerry is right on this matter.

You have not said one thing good about him since your chat. Wonder why he tells it like it is?

9:32 AM  
Blogger Bo said...


How is it that Jerry is allowed to make his political speech and Jim Pivnichny is not even able to ask questions?

In my opinion, the big story here is more about the heavy handed tactics and distortion of TRUTH by Jerry and his shadow. Read Maria's blog about how the police treated her recently. They sound very similar.

These tactics and lies can not be allowed to go on...we must all vote to purge the City and the 22nd District of this horrendous cancer.

Bo Vastine

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that the mayor and assemblyman are so dependent on the senior votes is yet another disheartening symptom of the infantile state of the political leadership of Plainfield.

But the recurring misuse of police for political purposes is anything but infantile. It's corrupt and evil and should not be tolerated in America.

Boss Green flaunts the law whenever it suits him. He uses the weak to stay on top. He uses fear to maintain power, just like the slave bosses he hates to be associated with.

Welcome to Plainfield Plantation, Jerry style.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Bernice said...

To 9:32 a.m.: Ever since I made it clear that I would not do his bidding, the Speaker Pro Tempore has published insulting and untrue remarks about me on Jerry Green's Page that are echoed in very similar language on No Strings Attached. Therefore, I see no means of dialogue as we once formerly enjoyed. Simply put, I will not allow the blog to be manipulated by politicians. The Assemblyman can use his own blog (and has) to attack real and perceived political enemies.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am stunned that the mayor would eject Pivnichny. I think he should file charges against her, the police officers, and Director Brown for allowing this to happen. I hope Mr. Pivnichny brings this up in his opening statement at tomorrow's "forum". I hope he asks Police Director Hellwig to clarify the policy of how police are deployed.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do the seniors really not see through all this? They all cannot be that stupid.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The police state has arrived. It is time for Briggs/Green to depart. They embarrass themselves and are an embarrassment to Plainfield. Power corrupts! God helps those who helps themselves. The corruption and self-servings policies of Green/Briggs will not end unless we have the courage to vote them out of office.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very clear for anyone to see that local bloggers have nothing else better to do with their time and always seem to have nothing but negative comments. When there are positive events here in Plainfield you seldom see them in attendance. Furthermore, I firmly believe that race is a major factor in their so call reporting on their blog sites. These people are a cancer here in Plainfield!!!

10:32 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

What amazes me most is to see the suckerfish for Mayor Jerry and Assistant Mayor Sharon post and honestly not believe the rest of us are laughing at them. Put your name so everyone can see it, not just print it out and run to Mayor Jerry and Assistant Mayor "HEIL HITLER" Sharon and say,"See what I posted for you see ?? do you see??? Do I get that do nothing job for the county ?? Do I ? Do ??? Huh Jerry, huh???"

10:51 AM  
Blogger active citizen said...

I think one of the commenter missed the point. Are you a Jerry and Sharon person. Bloggers are usually concerned citizens and when that concerned citizen is a member of an organization, they have a right to be there and blog to their heart's content. Sometimes, that's the only way we get real, honest news.

Mayor Jerry and flunky Sharon play the game for their good only and ignore the average citizen. Let's change that in November.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernice, this is why our city is in such a sad state. I agree that Pivnichny should make a formal complaint to Director Hellwig, although I don't know what would come out of it. If you look at Maria's Blog, she quotes Hellwig as saying that he is not surprised by the rudeness of officers under his command, but it seems he is very offhand about it. Why isn't he doing something about it? This is the third incident (that we know of) in as many months involving unacceptable, illegal, and possibly criminal behavior on the part of Plainfield police. Where is their leadership?

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:32am: If you believe the assemblyman was right in dissecting Bernice's presence at the center as a blogger first and citizen second, then you also probably have to concede that he took on a similarly dual role by campaigning politically. It's telling -- and petty -- that he and/or (probably "and") the mayor had Mr. Pivnichny removed for the same "offense" -- stumping -- that Mr. Green then nakedly engaged in. Shameless is one thing. Shameless and heavy-handed to the point of near stupidity is another.

Anonymous 10:32am: You're free to have your own opinion on this one. I'm likewise free to tell you I think you're nutso. I’m aware there are finer points to what you’re saying, but still: nutso.

On a related note, allow me to point out that Bernice's role is not what it was when she worked for a newspaper. Most people probably don’t see the distinction, but it’s there, and it’s significant. She's a private citizen now, and as such is free to write what she wants when she wants. (That wasn’t an option for her previously.) She can express her opinions if she so desires. BUT ... everyone who reads this blog regularly should recognize and probably be thankful for the fact that she rarely -- almost never -- does this, and takes pains to be fair and neutral out of a long-held, probably almost biological urge to remain objective. However, everyone has their breaking point, and bad behavior on the part of Mr. Green (or whomever) can have a cumulative effect.

Sometimes pointing out the obvious isn’t the same as taking sides -- it’s speaking truth to power. I think Anonymous 10:32am probably should try humming a few bars of that song.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Yep I Said It! said...

9:32 and 10:32 must be JERRY GREEN himself!

9:32 says nothing good has been mentioned about Jerry Green. Ummm . . . I can't think of anything good and neither can you because you would've stated them.

10:32 says ". . . race is a major factor". Huh???!!! What race? Which race? I hope you mean the human race cuz I believe Heil Sharon (thanks Rob)used racial pictures against Councilman Adrian Mapp during the primary. Don't you remember the sambo like black face in an icecream cone pictures???

Doesn't anybody remember Heil Sharon (thanks again Rob) saying at a mayoral primary forum that Hellwig told her he would NOT work with Adrian Mapp if he were elected Mayor??? Hellwig never disputed it.

Get in line Pivnichny for Internal Affairs because Mary Boninni is ahead of you. The police knocked her to the floor trying to keep her out of the Dem Re-org meeting. Oh excuse me the Dem Re-org PRE-JERRY MEETING.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Berice only goes to the center when she is blogging. So do not let Bernice let coy you into thinking "I am just a poor senior citizen who was attending a senior center event - oh poor old me being bullied".

She dishes out criticism daily - then whines when she is criticized. Bernice it works both ways. Grow up!

The seniors may not be so stupid, but if all of you are swallowing all that Bernice is dishing out this then you just might be.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re 12.33

I'll buy that Bernice is as ideologically leftist as they come (you were thinking rightist, weren't you) and that she tries to hold it in when writing publicly, but what does that have to do with Green being allowed to get away with the exact same thing that Pivnichny was ejected for? What possible role could the monthly meetings between Robinson-Briggs/Green and the seniors have if not to indoctrinate them into thinking the right way? That puts the local politicians' actions in line with practices in Communist China, including using the police to intimidate and suppress the opposition.

Maybe you're right: if Bernice illuminates such behavior here in the USA perhaps she isn't such a lefty after all.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hearing the Mayor not wanting to respond to Crime stats, Methinks the lady doth protest too much, As Queen Gertrude in MacBeth said when she was "smoked out"


1:51 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Yep I Said It! said... : You flatter me and for that, I thank you. If you would like to have a list of my own personal " Mayor Jerry and Assistant Mayor Sharon Nicknames ", please email me sometime and I will give you the list. The only thing I can say is that I don't feel particularly proud as it doesn't take much effort to put those 2 into the WTF Spotlight..they do most of the work themselves, I only at my witty commentary.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:32am - the reason you don't read about positive comments about Planfield is because - WE DON"T HAVE A PR DEPARTMENT! More proof of the incompetence of the mayor.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's irrelevant whether Bernice attends other Senior Center functions than the Mayor's monthly campaign stop. She is a dues-paid member and has the same rights as any other.

She, as a private citizen and as a part of what little media there is in Plainfield, has the right to criticize her public officials, which occaisionally she does, but in a polite way. It is unprofessional and impolite for those public officials to demonize her in response.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Audrey said...

@ Anonymous 12:33 - Here is some equal opportunity commentary on your level:

You are a jerk.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Yep I Said It! said...

7:12PM or should I just call you out - Jerry?

Obviously you look forward to what is being said on Bernice's blog, Dan's blog and the Doc's blog because you are reading it "RELIGIOUSLY"! You have been coming back to this one blogging since 9:32 this MORNING!

Face it . . . you are addicted to Bernice's blog just as I am. I can't get enough of these three blogs. I gotta have my DanDocBernice fix every day. I now and then try a lil Maria when she decides to stop blogging flowers and the school. But these last Maria blogs have been outstanding!

Face it Jerry . . . YOU ARE A BLOGGING JUNKIE!!!

I can't wait til tomorrow . . . I AM GONNA OVERDOSE!!!

4:00 PM  
Blogger Bernice said...

To Yep I Said It!
I can vouch for the fact that 7:12 is indeed Audrey and not Jerry. Let's not get carried away.

7:18 PM  

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